A Day at the Seaside

Posing by the Cath Kidston beach hutsAren’t those Cath Kidston beach huts gorgeous? This day feels like months ago but it was only six weeks ago that I was on British soil, having the loveliest day by the seaside with my parents.

I grew up in Bournemouth, where these photos were taken, and have many fond memories of summer weekends spent at the seaside, carting cool boxes of sandwiches and inflatable rubber rings from car to beach, jumping waves and eating Calypso ice lollies. Even the time I was chased into the sea by a determined wasp who was after my foot-shaped ice cream (does anyone remember those!?) is now viewed solely through rose-tinted glasses.

Fast-forward twenty years and visit to the UK in summer could only mean one thing – a walk along the seafront. The three of us ate delicious New Forest ice creams, soaked up the sun and marveled at the beautiful colour-coordinated beach huts. For the occasion I wore this pretty jersey dress from Warehouse. I actually picked it up in the sale a few days earlier as I didn’t pack enough clothes for the whole trip, at least that’s the story I’m sticking to…

It was lovely to be able to spend an extra week in the UK and have some quality time with my family – weekly Skype chats are the best but there’s nothing quite like a stroll along the seaside with two of my favourite people to make the perfect day out.

Many thanks to Papa Ship-Shape for taking these photos!

Monochrome Breton dress –  Warehouse / Oak ‘Effie’ bag – Mulberry / Gold sneakers  – Zara

Seaside sunshine in my eyes poseRandom Acts of Kidston beach hutsStripes and sunshine at the beachRainbow beach huts at Bournemouth beachMonochrome stripes and colourful beach hutsNew Forest icecream at the seasideCath Kidston beach hutsBloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

The Little Things #15 – Kittens and Whole30 Escapades

The Little ThingsIt’s that time again – a quick stock-check of life to appreciate all the little things that make life sweeter. The last month has been full-on with the notable arrival of kittens to the Ship-Shape household! I’ve also thrown myself back into exercising and a new eating plan with gusto. Here are the little things I’ve been loving in August…

Blogging about: My cheap-as-chips vintage wedding outfit, a round-up of mini feminist book reviews and the British beauty essentials I picked up while I was in the UK last month.
Watching: Matilda at the Orpheum Theatre – we managed to get a pair of cheap tickets for this production and I’m so pleased we did as it was just as good as I hoped it would be, especially the sets and the actors that played Mr and Mrs Wormwood.
Making: So much food! Since starting Whole30, a healthy eating program that I’m undertaking to kick my sugar habit, I’ve tried so many new recipes – my favourites are tuna, salmon and sweet potato fishcakes, plush pan fried salmon with a mango and avocado salsa – delicious!
Buying: Lots of fruit and veg – I swear, I’ve kept half the staff of Whole Foods employed with the amount I’ve spent in there over the last few weeks. Also, I caved and bought a spiralizer – I bloomin’ love it and ‘courgetti’ is now one of my favourite foods.
Reading: It Starts With Food (the Whole30 book by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig) and Kittens for Dummies – never will I mock a ‘for Dummies’ book again – this one has been so useful to us in the last couple of weeks. I’ve also just finished The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi, which this month’s book club choice. It’s set in Afghanistan and follows the lives of two female relatives who experience the tradition of ‘bacha posh’, where young Afghani girls are allowed to dress and behave as boys. It was beautifully written and shed light on to the cultural practices of Afghanistan. If you enjoyed Tale of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini then you’d love this.
Listening to: All the strange sounds our new kittens, Florence (pictured) and Yoda have been making. We’ve had them just over two weeks and since we introduced them to one another last weekend, they’ve been making all sorts of chirping sounds when playing together.
Wearing: Braids and Breton tops in Bristol.
Eating: Whole30-approved foods (see above). I’ve never dieted or changed my eating habits drastically before, so I’m amazed at how well this eating plan is working for me. I am looking forward to the day macaroni cheese comes back into my life though.
Enjoying: Spending time with our kittens. At two and three months old, they are a handful but a joy to be around. Watching them interact with each other, test their limits (and our furniture!) and being able to come home to them after a stressful day is simply wonderful. Nothing beats reading a book with a sleepy kitten curled up next to me.
Looking forward to: Starting my new job! I’ve been freelancing for British clients but I now have a full time position here in San Francisco – exciting times. I’m also looking forward to Christmas. There, I said it. I’m not wishing the rest of summer and autumn away and I promise there will be no more C-bombs for at least three months, but we’ve decided to come back to the UK for it so I’m already daydreaming about Mama Ship-Shape’s roast potatoes…

What little things have you been loving lately?

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Feminist Bookshelf pt.2 – Mini Feminist Book Reviews

Feminist book reviewsY’all know that I’m proud to call myself a feminist and as a result you may have seen last year’s post on the modern feminist books that I’d read recently. Since then I’ve continued to read up on the subject and the work of authors who align themselves with feminism, so I thought it was about time for another round of mini feminist book reviews.

Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandburg

I found this book in my local library when I was looking for the original Lean In – it’s the same book with a few additional chapters at the end for recent graduates, which actually were quite interesting to read, if not really that applicable to me. I may be late on the bandwagon but I think this book, written by Facebook’s COO, is brilliant and I found so many take-away points from it, particularly when it comes to planning too far into the future and mentoring. Sandburg has had some flack for her middle-class background and aiming the book at a particular type of profession, but I do think that anyone in any career could find parts of this book insightful and inspiring.

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

A collection of essays by writer, blogger and feminist Roxane Gay, this book had me laughing out loud at some points (most notably the essay on competitive Scrabble – yes, seriously) and shaking my head at others. I chose it for the book club I’m part of and although I found myself disagreeing with Gay on several issues, the book generated some fantastic discussions on race, sexuality and how women are portrayed in the media. The collection covers pop culture references, some of which I struggled with because I didn’t grow up in America, but also delves into ‘hard’ topics too.

The Female Eunuch by Germain Greer

Some might call this a seminal text, the feminist manifesto of of the 20th century, but for me it was a tough read, which makes me feel much like the title of Roxanne Gay’s book. It’s very academic, with references to studies, papers and research in every chapter, so I wouldn’t call it a light read, but then I guess it’s not supposed to be. Had I been around to read this when it was published in the 1970s it may have felt more relevant, but at the same time it’s interesting how women are still battling the same issues (discrimination in the work place, sexual ‘promiscuity’ etc) 40 years on.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I’m a Lena Dunham fangirl so I was eager to read this collection of autobiographical essays. Dunham goes into a LOT of detail about her sex life and bodily functions and many casual sentences sound like they could have come straight out of her Girls character Hannah’s mouth. This being said, there are some heart-warming chapters, particularly those focused on the joy of female friendships and the importance of helping other women. Also, the lists of what she has learned that are sprinkled sporadically through the book are laugh out loud hilarious.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

This is my current read and although it is similar to The Female Eunuch in that is a heavily academic text, it feels a lot more digestible. It’s so interesting to see the patterns throughout modern history that have bound women to their looks and the wider impact this has on society. I’m only half way through but already enjoying  it and learning a lot – I’m currently half way through the Hunger chapter that looks at the female relationship with food, a particularly pertinent one given that I’m currently doing my first Whole30!

If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear what you thought of them, and if there any you think I should read next, please let me know in the comments!

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Braids and Bristol

Posing in front of a grafitti backdropHappy Tuesday! Here is the last style post featuring my beloved milkmaid/Heidi braids for a while. Since taking the plunge and having a fair amount of my locks chopped off, my hair is just slightly too short to braid like this at the moment *sob*.

Braids aside, this is a sneaky little set of photos that I managed to convince Mr Ship-Shape to take while we were back on our home turf last month. It felt so strange to know my way around the city like the back of my hand but not return to our house every night, instead staying with friends and treating each day like a holiday – eating out, seeing friends and enjoying Bristol in the summer (hands down the city’s best season).

I’m terrible at packing light, but I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a versatile breton top and my gold sneakers – a pre-holiday purchase from Zara. I’ve decided that one of my new style goals in life is to slowly replace my footwear with silver and gold shoes instead. Mmm, shiny…

Until next time, Bristol!

Sleeveless Breton top –  Zara / Pale blue midi skirt – Topshop / Gold sneakers  – Zara / Oak ‘Effie’ bag – Mulberry

Gold Zara slip-on shoesZara stripe t-shirt and Topshop midi skirtHiedi braids and nautical topsOscar Wilde quote graffiti BristolBristol grafitti OOTDGrafitti covered walls in BristolChecking out the grafittiGrafitti covered grass in Bristol


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My British Beauty Essentials – A Mini Shopping Spree

My British beauty essentials – a mini drugstore shopping spreeWhen I was back in the UK last month I made a beeline for Boots and Superdrug to stock up on some of my favourite British beauty essentials. Once upon a time I would have been thinking the reverse – daydreaming about drugstores and Sephora before any trip to the States. Now that I’m lucky enough to have them on my doorstep, I’ve realised that, actually, the UK has some pretty darn good brands that I’m missing out on over here.

Here are a few beauty bits and pieces that I picked up on ‘holiday’, along with a few copies of my beloved British ELLE magazine:

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets in Ole Flamingo and Hot Pepper

Mmm… liquid lipsticks, my make-up vice! I haven’t found Bourjois anywhere in the US (I think you can order it online but it seems to be double the price) so these babies were first on my list of bits to buy. I’ve heard great things about them and they don’t disappoint! I’ll definitely be picking up a couple more the next time I’m in the UK, so let me know your favourite shades.

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Tropical

Until an Ulta Beauty appeared in San Francisco two weeks ago, Batiste was hard to find, so I picked up my favourite scent when I was back in the UK. However, it now has competition as I also picked up a little travel-size…

Colab Dry Shampoo in New York

I’ve heard great things about this Dry Shampoo so I wanted to pick up a little can of the stuff when I was back in Blighty, to see how it compares to Batiste. I’ve heard that it doesn’t leave that irritating white residue like Batiste can, so I’m looking forward to giving it a whirl.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Cool Medium

A bargain multi-tasking concealer that is perfect for under my eyes and any little blemishes. I do actually have a tube of the lightest shade, Fair, to work through, but I wanted to try shade no.2, Cool Medium, as despite my best efforts, I’ve developed a natural tan from living in California.

Sure mini deodorant

Americans don’t seem to be big on aerosol antiperspirants/deodorants, especially miniature ones, and I like to keep one of these dinky deodorants in my bag for trips to the gym and freshening up throughout the day, so I took advantage of a classic 3 for 2 offer in Boots – happy days!

Bourjois Healthy Balance powder in Light Beige

Another product that I’d heard great things about, and since I don’t have a face powder at the moment I thought I’d pick one of these up. I wasn’t expecting it to smell of anything but it has a delicious peachy scent and goes on to the skin so smoothly, which is ideal for warmer days when I don’t want to look super-shiny.

Original Source shower gel in Lime

I’m so unimpressed by the shower gel offerings in the drugstores over here, so I made sure to bring back a couple of bottles of Original Source goodness. The lime one is my favourite scent – there’s nothing quite like starting the day smelling like a packet of green Jelly Babies.

For our next visit I’ve got my eye on the Una Brennan Super Facialist range and restocking my Neal’s Yard Remedies stash – are there any other British beauty essentials you’d suggest I stock up on?

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