Monday, 24 April 2017

Opinionated: Progress for the Sake of Progress

Believe me when I say that I am not a conservative person at all, I think change is good when justified. Although holding on to traditions is quite charming, it can also lead to a myriad of conflicts as people tend to forget that all traditions were once new. 



Yet there are certain things in this world that upset me, amaze me or that I simply can't comprehend. I would like to introduce a returning column on this blog, where I will share some of these opinions with you. In the future, I would also like to invite guest writers to share their opinions here, so if you are interested don't hesitate to email me on savannahgiersthove@gmail.com to pitch your idea! 

I had been pushing back the first column entry for quite some weeks now, as I was uncertain of a suitable topic to kick start this new section. It came to me a few days ago, while I was reading an interview in NME in which the interviewee expressed his opinion on electronic devices. He explained that we've seen enough progress, that we don't need anymore portable electronic devices connected to the internet to improve the quality of our lives. I couldn't agree more. 

The first (not so) mobile phone was demonstrated in 1973 and the first domestic computers were introduced four years later in 1977. In about 45 years, what was once a luxury quickly became an addiction. When the first smartphone was introduced in 1994 everything changed, suddenly our lives were made so much easier. 

I am very traditional in this sense, as I think the laptop and smartphone are incredible inventions that were necessary to move forward and evolve society. However, my opinion shifts when it comes to smartwatches and cars that don't need to be driven by humans. Do we really need these things when we already have a smartphone that serves us on the road and a trustworthy laptop that serves us around the house and at work? Why would I need a watch to call somebody if I have my phone? Why would I want to be in a car that doesn't need me to drive it? 

Does it improve the quality of life or just encourage laziness? 

Yes, it's all nice and modern, but how does it really improve the quality of our lives? It only makes us disconnect even more from reality. My generation was the first to grow up with the internet, yet we still had those priceless offline moments with friends and family. When someone talked we listened, when we were at a party there were no phones distracting everyone constantly. Yet we also had priceless online moments, while chatting on MSN or more recently, during hilarious Twitter rants. 

Currently the balance between offline and online is good, although I feel slightly panicked when the internet connection is faulty, I can still manage. Instead, I read a book or a magazine, go for a walk or do some organising around my room. Do we really want to depend more on electronic devices to do all our chores for us? What is the beauty of life if we are not living it consciously, by being present in the moment? 

What do you think? 

Lots of Love,

Savannah




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Friday, 21 April 2017

A day in Oxford

After a (slight) internal battle, I decided to push aside any possible fears and I booked two day trips during the Easter weekend; one to Oxford and another one to Cardiff (I will tell you all about that trip in another post). Now these aren't exactly places to be scared of (at all), and it was certainly not the first time I would be travelling alone. However this was still a first, as I was neither meeting anyone at my destination nor was I going to stay there for the next couple of months. Am I still making sense? 


Excitement after booking soon turned into hesitation as the days passed; "what was I thinking, where am I going, what am I going to do in these cities alone". Then Friday morning came, I left my comfortable bed around 7 am, hopped on the Oxford Tube (daily coach service from London to Oxford) and arrived in the most beautiful place, only 1,5 hours later. 

Take a 'free' walking tour

Oxford lives and breathes its history. Although it is quite a small place there is plenty to see and do. I decided to join one of the free walking tours through the city, which is an amazing concept by the way! You pay (or don't) whatever you think the tour was worth. The guides were all locals and knew every single detail about Oxford, including some hilarious anecdotes on the ancient rivalry between students and locals.


The tour lasted about 2 hours and took us to all the must-see sights. Normally, I am not a big fan of guided tours as you don't have much freedom to take (blog) photos and I find that certain things are explained in too much detail to remain interesting. On top of the (sometimes) ridiculous prices, I tend to play my own guide whenever I travel. Yet the free walking tour found the perfect balance between keeping a steady pace and providing plenty information, without causing an information overload. Especially since I was alone, it was a great way for me to become more familiar with Oxford. 


Straight out of the Wizarding World

As we finished around lunch time, I decided to sit on a bench while having my lunch. The weather was actually quite nice, despite the skies being depressingly grey most of the time. Once I finished my lunch I went back to the Bodleian Library, which is where the Harry Potter infirmary and ball room scenes were filmed! While I stood in the middle of the Divinity School, I was completely amazed by its beautiful architecture and I couldn't believe that I was standing in the same room in which two Harry Potter films were shot! 


There are actually more Harry Potter locations in Oxford, Christ Church is where the Great Dining Hall scenes were filmed as well as the Hogwarts staircase. Unfortunately the queue was too long for me, as I only had limited time in the city before catching the coach back to London. Only slightly disappointed, I turned around and decided to hit the shops for a bit. 


Luckily, no major spending was done! My only moment of weakness was during my final hour (how dramatic) at Waterstones, where I bought two (!) books that I'm currently trying to finish, so my mum can bring them back home after her visit. Pretty stressful yes. 


All in all, I had an amazing experience. I am so happy to have seen more of England and can't wait to continue falling in love with all the picturesque places it has to offer. 

Lots of Love,

Savannah




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Monday, 17 April 2017

Simplicity at its best


One of the many things minimalism has thought me is how to dress with less. If I would've seen this particular outfit a couple of years ago I probably wouldn't like it at all. Every outfit had to be bigger, better and more colourful than the previous one. Yes, colourful




Photography by Carmen Castrelo

Now, on the other hand, what with all the clean Instagram feeds I stepped away from (mostly) all colour and other statement pieces in return for much simpler and more timeless outfits. I am constantly on the search for items that I can mix and match endlessly with key pieces in my wardrobe. 

Comfort first

The biggest shift in my style has been my need for comfort. While comfort used to be last on my list; wearing high heels and tight skirts, I can't tolerate to feel the slightest discomfort nowadays when it comes to my outfit choice. Last week, I decided to wear a gorgeous pair of heels to the office, which I started to regret about 3 hours later. I ended up cursing myself the entire day, nearly cried while walking home and gaining a blister that was perfectly placed on the sole of my foot. Torture indeed. 

Toning it down a notch or two (go ahead and make that three), didn't make me feel like less of a 'fashionista'. I learned that being able to create a trendy outfit with less, only shows that fashion is in your blood. It is easy to pile up on the latest trends and call it a day, but being able to incorporate contemporary items into a timeless wardrobe is what makes fashion even more fun.

OUTFIT
TRENCH COAT - ZARA (similar
JUMPER - ZARA
NECKLACE - PRIMARK
MOM JEANS - ZARA
BOOTS - ZARA 

Lots of Love,
Savannah



         

     
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Friday, 14 April 2017

21 things I learned throughout my 21 years

Now that I have reached the age of international adulthood I thought it was only appropriate to share with you the wisdom I gained during these 21 years of life. Prepare yourself to be enlightened like never before! ;) 



1. It is important to learn how to love yourself, which is most likely also one of the most difficult things we will ever learn to do.

2. Don't be afraid to say what you think, people are actually interested in your opinion rather than hearing the same opinion over and over again.

3. True friends will always find their way back to each other.

4. Always question information you're getting (from the news/social media). Ask yourself if this news is objective, if it tells the truth or just one side of the story.

5. Choose your battles wisely.

6. Don't waste your time and energy on people or things that don't deserve it.

7. Don't compare yourself to others, we are all unique.

8. Learn to have your own back, don't depend too much on others.

9. That being said, don't be scared to accept help when offered.

10. Accept that change is good, although it can be scary at times.

11. Dream big and work hard to achieve these goals, but...

12. Live in the moment and enjoy the journey towards achieving your goals as well.

13. Be grateful everyday that you wake up healthy and loved.

14. Seriously, we tend to be negative quite a lot but in these moments count the many blessings that you have every single day. It is so easy to forget how blessed we are sometimes.

15. Be kind.

16. But don't let people take advantage of that kindness.

17. Take good care of your body. They often say that your body is a temple and this is true, you only have one body and you have the sole responsibility to care for it.

18. Take good care of Earth/the environment. We also only have one planet (so far) that we can survive on, so be better care for it.

19. Find the right balance between being selfish and helping others. Too much of either will always cause problems; either you become too self-centred or you completely forget about yourself while being busy helping others.

20. Don't listen too much to what others have to say about you/your life/life in general. It is good to take advice once in a while, but in the end it comes down to whatever you think will be best for your life.

21. It's okay not to feel like an adult. I don't think anyone does? Being young at heart is what makes life fun after all!  

There you have it, (most of) my precious wisdom gained throughout the years. Most of these points are pretty straightforward but tend to be quite hard to practise.

Please do share some of your advice in the comments below!


Lots of Love,

Savannah
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Monday, 10 April 2017

Thrifty reads


If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know how much I enjoy reading. There's nothing like a Sunday spent in bed, or on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. If  the book is good, I will completely dive into that universe and lose track of time. I am always on the hunt for bargains, as books can be quite expensive. Luckily I have plenty bookstores near me and a great deal of charity shops that also sell second hand books for 5 pounds or less! 



At one of those charity shops I purchased The Help, one of my favourite films ever. The storyline in the film was incredibly engaging, which makes me very excited to start reading the book. Nowadays I would read the book before seeing the film, but I saw the film such a long time ago that I'm not even going to count this (no this is not cheating). I also purchased a more recent book: You. This book is particularly interesting as it is supposed to be told from the perspective of a stalker, constantly referring to the main character as 'you'. Yes, very intriguing indeed. However I am not sure if this is a book I should be reading alone at night...

Worry not if there is no thrift store nearby

Before I came to London, I would buy books at the Waterstones branch in Amsterdam every now and then. Most of the time however, I would order my books online at Book Depository, which offers cheap books and free world-wide shipping! Pretty amazing right? Ever since I found out about this website I have been gifting myself about 15 books for Christmas... It's a blessing and a curse! 

On Goodreads you can keep track of my bookshelves and my to-read list. This year I set myself a goal of 20 books to read. Last year I completed my goal of 15 books and am still pretty proud of that accomplishment if I'm being honest with you. 

Lots of Love,

Savannah


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Friday, 7 April 2017

The Natural Hair Journey: Stage 1

When it comes to the tale of my hair and I we could go all the way back to that iconic day in the early 2000s, when I desperately wanted bangs like all my straight-haired friends. My mother then realised that I wasn't going to take no for an answer on this one and decided to grab a pair of scissors and cut me my beloved bangs. No, they didn't turn out exactly the way I wanted them to look...



Fast forward a decade and here I am embracing my natural bouncy curls, partially thanks to my mother, who always made sure that I loved and appreciated my hair despite it being so different from everyone around me. Believe me when I say this journey hasn't always been easy and it still isn't. For years I had been religiously straightening my hair, manipulating its natural texture, because I simply didn't educate myself enough about my hair. 

The difficulty with my hair has always been the fact that it is too 'European' for Afro-hairstylists and too 'Afro' for European hairstylists, same with the hair products. Luckily, there are so many curly haired girls and guys out there now, resulting in an ever-growing supply of curly hair products, curly hairstyles and the many curly hair routines shared on YouTube (which have been my guide to my current natural hair care). 

Last month marked exactly one year without straighteners and I am already able to see how my curls have developed. As I mentioned before, the many tutorials and informational videos available on YouTube really helped me to understand what natural hair needs in order to be healthy. For instance, I discovered that there are different hair types, mine being somewhere in between type 3B and 3C as well as density and porosity (it's only been one year; I am yet to find out my hair's density and porosity). I learned to step away from hair products containing parabens and sulfates, although I find my scalp tends to get a tad oily at times and I therefore still use regular shampoo every now and then. 

After too much hair damage caused by bleach, I cut my hair in an extremely short bob that I used to straighten during the first couple of months. I then miraculously decided it was enough (to be honest with you I was just so fed up with spending over an hour every week straightening my hair) and wore it as a curly bob. 

Growing out your hair is never a fun process but that doesn't make it less necessary. I just let my hair be for at least 5 months, until I finally went to a hairstylist specialised in cutting curly hair. It is honestly so important to find a hairstylist specialised in your hair type. 




While I have been told by hairstylist after hairstylist that my hair was too thick, too curly and too whatever to cut bangs (even after I ensured them I always straightened my hair). I finally found a hairstylist that agreed on the fact that bangs do look bloody good on curly hair! Victory at last!


Stay curly my friends.
Lots of Love,
Savannah








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Monday, 3 April 2017

Wardrobe Update: Spring

Come springtime I always get this urge to tidy everything up, to clean every last corner of my room, to go through all my belongings and to give away what I no longer need or like, and of course,  I always have this intense urge to update my wardrobe. 

Miss Selfridge Jumpsuit



Around this time of the year I always like to invest in new spring items that are easy to combine, on-trend while still timeless, ensuring that I will be able to wear them throughout a couple of seasons. 


It's been nearly two years now that I have been trying to limit my shopping, by critically looking at the items I am about to purchase. Although I must say that I have been pretty successful and have built a wardrobe that (almost entirely) fits into a large suitcase, it is time for an update. I am still on the hunt for interesting basics that are basically the 'glue' of the wardrobe, but it is time  to update some of the 'statement' pieces.

Research, think, BUY

After a quick orientation online, Instagram, blogs and the streets of London, I made a selection of items I will be adding to my wardrobe this spring. I gave myself a week to consider the options and also to see what I was missing most in the morning when I am struggling to put together yet another outfit. Finally, last Saturday, I went to Westfield's shopping centre and walked out as a very happy girl! 

The first thing I fell in love with is this gorgeous striped jumpsuit by Miss Selfridge. It took me a while to decide whether or not this was a smart purchase, but the fact that a piece of clothing could possibly make me so happy was reason enough. It is a lovely fit, not too tight, not too loose and quite easy to zip up by yourself.


I also found the perfect summer sandals at New Look, that will take me from a day at the office to a walk along the river on a warm summer evening.  What I like about them most is that they are slightly heeled, but still incredibly comfortable because of the wide fit. Normally I am not very keen on wearing feet-exposing shoes, just because it freaks me out. However this pair had a certain simplicity and elegance that I just couldn't resist. 

At Zara I got some pink trousers. Yes pink trousers, because why not? They are comfortable, on-trend and shockingly easy to combine. For instance, I bought two basic t-shirts at Zara. One in white and one in the season's colour: Khaki. I think both will look lovely with this pair of trousers, the New Look sandals and a trench coat.

As you can probably already tell I have a profound love for trousers, as I also bought a pair of black pleated trousers at H&M that are perfect for that transition into the warmer weather. I can't wait to wear these with a white t-shirt and a leather jacket. Also at H&M, I got the loveliest summer top I have ever seen. One of the mannequins  was wearing it combined with a white t-shirt underneath and a pair of jeans. 

At Topshop I got a gorgeous pair of checked trousers that I will be wearing to work a lot. I also got the striped crisp shirt that I was wearing in this outfit post, where I declared it was my new favourite shirt ever. 

Some suggestions for your spring update

All of this will definitely keep me going for a while, and give my credit card some well deserved rest. I made a collection of the items I bought, and similar items to save you the trouble of searching the infinite web yourself. I will also include a brand new 'shopable' section on the blog where you will find all my monthly picks just one click away! 





Lots of Love,

Savannah
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