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5 Summer Style Essentials | Video

5 Summer Style Essentials Video Flatlay


My top 5 summer fashion essentials, clothing and accessories. What are your summer staples?




Silk and Roses | OOTD

An outfit with a cute dusty pink pussy bow blouse hawes and curtis black fedora uk fashion blogger

An outfit with a cute dusty pink pussy bow blouse hawes and curtis black fedora uk fashion blogger

An outfit with a cute dusty pink pussy bow blouse hawes and curtis black fedora uk fashion blogger

An outfit with a cute dusty pink pussy bow blouse hawes and curtis black fedora uk fashion blogger

Who doesn't love a good shirt? They just make an outfit look so much more classic and put together. I think this is actually the first pussy bow blouse that I have owned and I'm loving it. This colour is gorgeous, I hadn't noticed before editing these photos that it's quite close to my hair colour in some angles. Of course, I had to pair it with almost all black and some cute boots. Not an outfit I would have thought was going to be appropriate at the end of July but we all know what the British weather is like.

I tied the bow lower down to make it a bit more casual and tucked it in to show off the high waist of the jeans. It can be awkward to style a fitted shirt in a way that doesn't look like workwear or a school uniform but simple tricks like rolling up the sleeves to create a less polished look can make a world of difference.

An outfit with a cute dusty pink pussy bow blouse hawes and curtis black fedora uk fashion blogger

An outfit with a cute dusty pink pussy bow blouse hawes and curtis black fedora uk fashion blogger
Hat - Primark  |  Shirt* - Hawes and Curtis  |  Faux leather jacket (similar) - River Island  |  Jeans - Topshop  |  Boots (similar) - New Look

An outfit with a cute dusty pink pussy bow blouse hawes and curtis black fedora uk fashion blogger

An outfit with a cute dusty pink pussy bow blouse hawes and curtis black fedora uk fashion blogger



Easy Strawberry Milk Pop Recipe and Creamy No Churn Ice Cream

Easy Strawberry Milk Pop Recipe and Creamy No Churn Ice Cream

I love ice lollies and I picked up an ice lolly mould in Ikea recently so I just had to make my own. I decided to be a bit adventurous and go for milk pops. Not something I had made before but I'm so glad I did. It's so easy and so so delicious, I made a bit too much for the mould that I have so I used the extra mixture to make some ice cream, which is also amazing! So here's my super easy strawberry milk pop recipe and how I made a beautifully creamy no churn ice cream.

Ingredients
400g Strawberries
200g Condensed milk
100ml Semi skimmed milk
Quantities will vary depending on your mould - this amount made too much for mine.

Optional if you also want to make ice cream
284ml Double cream (I used one pot of Elmlea, the consistency would be much thicker if you used 'proper' cream and I'm sure very delicious)
200g Condensed milk (I used one 397g can altogether)

Easy Strawberry Milk Pop Recipe and Creamy No Churn Ice Cream

To make the milk pops:
  1. Pop the strawberries into a blender until smooth - leave a few out so you can put slices in too
  2. Add the milk and condensed milk and whizz it all up
  3. Pour into your ice lolly mould, adding slices of strawberry around the edges
  4. Put in the freezer for around four hours to set

If you have leftovers of the mixture (I had about 2-3 more ice lollies worth). I would definitely recommend making it into ice cream. This gave me the perfect amount to fit into a 1 litre container. It's also worth noting that this isn't a soft scoop ice cream, you'll need to leave it to thaw for about 10 minutes before scooping it out of the tub (it's totally worth it)!
  1. Pour the remaining mixture into a large bowl
  2. Add the cream and remaining condensed milk
  3. Use an electric whisk to mix it together, blending until the consistency thickens
  4. Add some slices or chunks of strawberry if you want to and fold into the mix
  5. Put into a freezer safe container (I happened to have an empty ice cream tub) and freeze overnight

How easy was that? This took me about two hours in total but that was including a bit of googling, debating what to do with the left over mixture, working out the right quantities, and I was very particular about the placement of my strawberries in the lolly moulds because if it doesn't look pretty in photos then what's the point, right? You could easily whip up both of these recipes in about half an hour, the frustrating part is having to wait to eat them!

Once I've made my way through eating all of this deliciousness I'm definitely going to be attempting a chocolate version, I'm drooling just thinking about it.

Easy Strawberry Milk Pop Recipe and Creamy No Churn Ice Cream


The Floral Raincoat | OOTD

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains
Floral Raincoat* - Shores  |  Jeans - Forever 21  |  Boots (similar) - New Look

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains

scottish highlands landscape mountains pretty purple flowers

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains

scottish highlands landscape girl hiking mountains
If you follow me on twitter (@tessaholly) or snapchat (hollysparkly) then you might know that I'm currently in the Scottish Highlands. Despite it being July and supposedly well into summer, it's been pretty wet and rainy so I was super excited to get this floral raincoat from Shores. It's the perfect pop of colour on these dull days and nice and lightweight so it doesn't weigh me down or make me too hot when I'm walking around the mountains. Basically, I'm absolutely loving it.

I could talk for days about the Highlands and the scenery but I'll leave that for another post. I'll have a vlog of the trip coming soon too so make sure you're subscribed to me on youtube to see that!


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Homeware Haul July 2016 IKEA, Primark, Wilko, Tiger | Video

Homeware Haul July 2016 IKEA, Primark, Wilko, Tiger Video

I've accumulated some things over the last few months so I thought I would share my homeware haul! Links to everything I can find online are in the description box on youtube.




Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too | OOTD with SammyDress

short Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too

You know those 'How to Dress for Your Shape' articles? I've seen so many that say short girls shouldn't wear long dresses or skirts. But I'm calling poppycock because I've been enjoying wearing maxi skirts and dresses for years and to be honest I think they make me look taller, which when you're 5ft tall is quite helpful. It also helps that maxi lengths look great with heels, which even further adds to your height.

I'm kind of against anything that says 'you should wear this but don't wear that'. If you feel good in something then you wear whatever the hell you want. It seems to be frowned upon to wear all black in the summer but here I am in a pretty much all black outfit on a lovely sunny day because that's just what I wanted to wear. So how can a short girl wear a maxi dress? You put one on. I have a couple of tips for finding one that fits:
  1. Try the children's section. I have many items of clothing from the kid's section, they're often just smaller replicas of the adult section but for way cheaper and have a better fit. Win, win.
  2. Shop from Asian brands. The lengths are almost always shorter and the dress I'm wearing fits me perfectly!
  3. Shorten it. The chances are that you've had to take up quite a few hems in your time but if you haven't I would recommend learning to do so. It's not that hard and often can be done with no sewing involved. 


short Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too

short Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too
Sunglasses* - Sammydress  |  V Choker* & Bead Choker* - Sammydress  |  Faux Leather Jacket - River Island  |  Polka Dot Dress* - Sammydress  |  Platform Shoes* - Gamiss  |  Backpack* - Sammydress
I'm trying to make a bit more effort with accessorising, it completely changes an outfit. If I wasn't wearing the chokers or the sunglasses in this outfit then it just wouldn't be quite as good, would it? And not just because you'd be able to see my squinty frowny eyes. I'm in love with these glasses now, the frames are a grey/silver marble effect and of course they have mirrored lenses. You know I'm not one for jumping on trends but even I have to admit this blogger cliché is just beautiful.

I've been wanting a backpack that's a bit more chic (than my previous Primark one) for a while but all the nice ones have been super expensive. I was so close to buying one in the Kate Spade sale. But alas I waited and now I have this one from SammyDress! I'm so happy with it, the fabric is so soft and feels so much more luxe than it is. The only downside is that the flap doesn't like to actually stay flapped, especially on a windy day like this it just kept blowing up. But there's a zip inside so it's only a problem for how it looks and nothing to worry about in terms of your things falling out or being easily stolen.

short Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too

short Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too

short Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too

short Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too

short Petite Girls Can Wear Maxi Dresses Too



Why You Don't Need A Blogging Niche

Girl with mushroom teacup coffee sitting on a bed

Despite knowing better, I always click those blog posts titled How To Be A Better Blogger or How To Get More Blog Followers in the hope that it might, just maybe, tell me something I haven't heard before. Alas, most of these posts say the same things. 

One thing that keeps popping up is that blogs need to have a niche in order to be successful. I certainly understand the logic behind this and I've even seen the evidence that supports the truth of this, but as a general rule I think it's poppycock. 

I had an email conversation with Patricia Handschiegel a couple of months ago after watching the last episode in the British Vogue Future of Fashion series which is about bloggers. She sent me an email in reply to a comment I had left on the video and I wanted to share some of what she said as it's the gist of what I'm trying to say with this post.


"I know a lot of people say you have to have a niche, but I never saw it that way. You have to have a position, but why own a niche when you can take a category?! I agree with your comment about staying broad in your interests. If you notice, a lot of the fashion bloggers are expanding outside of their niche versus the other way around. It can work both ways. But point of view/position is what gets you there."
 - Patricia of StyleDiary and Condiment


I've never really understood why it is assumed that people want to segregate their lives into different sections, life is an endlessly intertwining mess at the best of times, why should we pretend any differently? Of course in blogging it would make no sense and probably infuriate readers if posts were as diverse and sporadic as life can be, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't share the different aspects of ourselves. 

Lifestyle blogging is probably the most common type of blog (don't quote me on that, I've not done the research, that's just my perception from within the blogging community) and I don't think that's because all of us bloggers are too lazy or unmotivated to choose one niche and stick to it. I think it's because we know how short people's attention spans are these days and that people will get bored (ourselves included) of the same thing being churned out over and over. So what's the best way to make something original and unique? Make it personal. 

Sure this can be done within a niche, but then it seems as though that is the only thing of importance in your life. More and more often we're seeing the big bloggers and YouTubers branching out into topics that differ from their original content. Bubzbeauty is a recent example of this, she posted a video not long ago saying that she has inevitably changed over the years and wants to change her channel along with that. I think that's perfectly fine. Although I do try to focus my content on fashion and my personal style because that's my biggest interest, I love including all sorts of other posts - like this one - because it gives me some variety when I'm coming up with content ideas and hopefully my readers enjoy it too. I don't stick to one category let alone a niche, so I guess that means I'll never be successful 😉.

So what do you think? Should a blog have one set niche or is it more interesting to see a variety?


The Striped Circus Skirt | OOTD - Gamiss Review

london street fashion blogger summer outfit

london street fashion blogger summer outfit


The skirt reminds me of a circus tent, in the best way possible. It’s so summery and also gives a bit of a deck chair vibe but isn’t too bright of in your face, especially when paired with black which is great news for me and my summer hating wardrobe. 

I love that the top and skirt meet perfectly at my tattoos, these two little guys hardly ever get seen so it makes me happy to spot them poking out now and then. Also, this skirt has pockets! I do wish that it had belt loops to hold a belt nicely but I love the fit of it, it's just the right length and the elasticated waist sits nice and comfortably.

I also need to mention these shoes. I've been wanting a pair like this for a while, and this particular pair is actually really comfortable, it doesn't feel as though I'm wearing heels at all, just a platform. The sole is a bit hard but nothing some insoles can't solve. They're also really, really light, which is amazing for such a chunky shoe. Also the buckle isn't a real buckle, the straps slide together to fasten which is genius.

This whole outfit (minus the camera) is from Gamiss, which is a site that I hadn’t heard of before. I know a lot of people have a problem with these cheap clothing sites because we always see the horror stories and the photos of the items that look nothing like what they’re supposed to. And of course those things do happen but I’ve been ordering from Asian companies for a long time and I’ve never had anything particularly bad. The quality isn’t amazing, of course it isn’t, but if you’re a regular in Primark then it’s easily comparable to their clothing. 

The main reason that I like getting clothes from Asian websites is that they fit me better. I’m pretty small at 5ft nothing so buying clothes in the UK that don’t completely drown me can actually be a bit of a struggle. Whereas by Asian standards I’m quite a normal height so things like trousers, skirts, and maxi dresses are almost always just the right length on me. 


Ordering from Gamiss was nice and simple and the delivery charges are calculated in the basket too so there’s no nasty surprise when you get to the checkout which is great. I had these items sent to me via DHL express and they arrived just two days later, how amazing is that?! I think that’s another reason people are reluctant to order from so far away, cheaper delivery options can take a while but if you’re not in a rush for your things then it’s no problem.

I'm pretty sure that unless I mentioned it, no one would expect this outfit to be as cheap as it was. I think if things are styled in a certain way and have a more classic look then it doesn't matter where it's from or how much it cost in terms of the outfit looking good.

london street fashion blogger summer outfit
Cropped Top*   |  Belt with Gold Buckle*  |  Striped Skirt*  |  Platform Shoes*

london street fashion blogger summer outfit

london street fashion blogger summer outfit

london street fashion blogger summer outfit

london street fashion blogger summer outfit



Atop The Cliffs | OOTD

pembrokeshire coast the green bridge of wales casual walking outfit

pembrokeshire coast the green bridge of wales casual walking outfit

For the super keen eyed among you, you may have recognised the cliffs in the background from yesterday's photo challenge post. We took a few snaps whilst we were up there, it's such a great place. I mean look how blue the water is despite it being misty (it looks bluer in the photos in the other post).

It was rather windy up there so it got a bit chilly when not on the more sheltered side but we had a lovely walk along the clifftop and watched the waves and the (many, many) birds. I still find it hard to believe that despite living in Wales all my life there are still so many of these amazing parts of it that I haven't been to.

Growing up just a few miles from the coast and going to the beach constantly as a kid (my mum adores the beach and the sea) I tend to take it for granted a bit but I'm definitely starting to appreciate it more and this little outing left me feeling a bit inspired so perhaps there will be some more coastal content to come (there will, I've started making it)!

I'd love to know if there's somewhere near where you live that you want to visit but just never have or if you forget to appreciate your surroundings. I hope I'm not the only one!

pembrokeshire coast the green bridge of wales casual walking outfit
Vest (similar) - AllSaints Mens  |  Acid Wash Jeans (similar) - F&F  |  Boots - Dr Martens

pembrokeshire coast the green bridge of wales casual walking outfit

pembrokeshire coast the green bridge of wales casual walking outfit

pembrokeshire coast the green bridge of wales casual walking outfit

pembrokeshire coast the green bridge of wales casual walking outfit

pembrokeshire coast the green bridge of wales casual walking outfit



Photography Challenge: 7 Days of Nature

the green bridge of wales pembrokeshire coast


I'm not really one for tags and challenges but I thought this one was rather lovely and I happen to have a lot of photos floating around that I haven't gotten around to sharing yet so I thought this would be a great opportunity to do so!

I was tagged (a while ago) by Sarah, here's her post, to complete this. I'm going to cheat a little bit like Sarah did as you're supposed to post photos from the last seven days, but frankly I haven't been anywhere interesting in the last seven days and I have much better photos that I'd rather share with you (but if you are interested in what I've been up to lately then make sure you're following me on snapchat, username is hollysparkly). I'm also cheating because there are actually eight photos not seven, it was so hard to narrow down!

If you want to see some more of my nature/landscape type photos then here's a little list of photo diaries from trips and days out!

A long weekend in Somerset
Here and There
Snowdonia Photographs
Edinburgh and Scottish Highlands Trip
An Evening in the Forest
Highland Adventures
North Wales Photo Diary

the green bridge of wales pembrokeshire coast
The Green Bridge of Wales - 26/06/2016

southerndown beach sea waves ocean rocks
Southerndown Beach - 25/06/2016

hay bluff wild horse landscape
Hay Bluff - 04/06/2016

ystradfellte falls waterfall country walk wales
Ystradfellte Falls - 28/06/2016

ystradfellte falls waterfall country walk wales
Ystradfellte Falls - 28/06/2016

forest light trees landscape ystradfellte falls
Ystradfellte Forest - 28/06/2016

forest light trees landscape ystradfellte falls
Ystradfellte Forest - 28/06/2016