Sunday, 26 June 2016

3 ways to improve your mood in two minutes

3 ways to improve your mood in two minutes 

Me when I'd finally got home! - knackered!

So today was a good day. I saw family from Australia, got organised and did some long overdue life admin, spent some time with JB and at long last the sun was shining. 

But after a particularly awful experience with a member of staff at my parents local train station, I left feeling frightened, quite shaky and upset that I had been spoken to in such a rude and unjust way. Even though I could rant about this experience further, I appreciate that this negativeness really does not help anyone including myself!!!

So after setting off on my journey, I took to google to see how I could improve my mood, so that one person did not ruin my entire day. I would not let him have that satisfaction! I read so many articles on my hour long trip back home and the following 3 tips truly helped me bounce back and make the most of my remaining Sunday.
Scientists have consistently shown that our emotional experience (stress, anxiety, anger, sadness, etc.) can have a negative impact on our health. The good news is that, when harnessed correctly, we can use our mind to help heal the ailments of the body. The reverse is also true. When we are in emotional distress, we can use the body to boost our emotional responses.

Smile  —  Especially when you don’t feel like it
Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh said that “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy,” he really was on to something. Turns out that there is evidence to validate his assertion. Researchers at the University of Kansas demonstrated that smiling can alter our stress response in difficult situations. Their study indicated that smiling, even if you do not feel happy, can slow heart rate and decrease perceived levels of stress. Smiling sends a signal to the rest of our body that things are okay, it’s safe to let down our guard. So next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try smiling, even if you don’t feel like it. As irritated and as sad as I felt after my rail experience, after just 20 seconds of smiling I did feel my mood start to improve.

Posture  —  Sit up straight and own it
A study by Brion, Petty, & Wagner in 2009 reported that sitting up straight positively influenced peoples feelings of self-confidence, while slumping over had the opposite effect. Additionally, researchers at Harvard University proved that holding “power postures” for 120 seconds can create a 20 percent increase in testosterone (helping to boost confidence), and a 25 percent decrease in cortisol (stress causing hormone). In order to truly reap these benefits we need to try assuming an open and expansive posture. Take up space, put your hands on your hips and spread your feet (think wonder woman) or lean back in a chair and spread your arms. Hold the posture for at least two minutes. Okay so I may have felt a big silly sitting like Henry VIII on the train, but I did feel more confident, sure of myself and ready to take on any other Southern Rail staff who wanted to take their bad day out on me. I almost wanted one of them to try it again, as I did feel very powerful and much more confident , I would ready to handle it this time.

Comfort yourself - hand on heart it works!
Touch is also a very powerful healing tool. When we are sad we often turn to others for a hug or we crave to be held. (I know I do!) We can actually give ourselves some of the same benefits. During a particularly sad or stressful moment try placing a hand on your heart, rubbing your own arms, or massaging your own head. Again, it may sound cheesy, but it actually can be very helpful in slowing the body’s stress response. Pairing this with the self-compassionate thoughts such as, “This is really painful right now, but this too shall pass” can help sooth the discomfort of the present moment both physiologically and mentally.

So next time you are feeling overwhelmed by whatever is arising for you emotionally, try standing up straight, smiling, or putting a hand on your heart. For a super boost, try all three.

I have learnt today that I can turn the day around, and that I am a powerful, confident and strong little lady. Today I have learnt some top tips for improving my mood and I am now armed with an incredible can do attitude. So if I can learn these top tips for improving my mood, then so can you.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do get in touch if you have been able to use these tips to help improve your mood. I know you can do it.

Thank you guys for all of your support.

Much love,
Alissa Marie 
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Friday, 24 June 2016

4 things you can do to help boost your confidence


4 things you can do to help boost your confidence.

Starting now.
Self confidence is a factor affecting many of us each and everyday. Whereas some hide it well and are able to put on this confident and perhaps overt bravado, others shrink away from the spotlight and often find themselves spiralling downwards into despair with seemingly no way to break the surface. Why do we feel this way?

Low self confidence and esteem is the most common reasons for depression amongst adults and from recent ChildLine statistics – we know its affecting our children too. Everyone has their good and bad days – myself included – but what is important here is a few small steps which can make a lot of difference and help you to instantly feel a little better and begin to rebuild your confidence and sense of self belief.

1)      Exercise – I know you really really can’t be bothered, and it’s raining and the newest series of Spooks has just been released on Netflix, but making the time and effort to raise your heart rate will also boost those endorphins and make you feel like a new gal! (or guy!) Check out Youtube for some short and snappy high intensity interval training videos as well as home workout solutions that you can do in the comfort of your living room. Now there really is no excuse.
 

2)      Spruce up your look – Now I am not saying you need to change the way you are, or to try and look like someone else. But what I am saying is that for me, sprucing up my look helps to make me feel more on trend, helps me feel happier about myself and…wait for it…more confident! Buy a inexpensive but good fashion magazine like Look and have a flick through at some of the emerging styles to see if anything takes your fancy, or try going online and looking at the different look books that many online shops such as Topshop or River Island have on their websites. Not in to fashion? That’s okay! I also get the same satisfied feeling by getting a new haircut, a warm bath and slathering on the moisturiser, or even just being more inventive with my hairstyles. Go on get creative to give yourself a glow! Better yet, host a girly evening and enjoy this process with your mates.


3)      Think about what makes you feel good – now this will need you to have a sit down (cuppa in hand) and think about what really makes you tick. Do you feel good having dinner with your super funny and supportive friends? Cozying up on the sofa to watch an old black and white movie? Having a productive session of sorting your life admin? Whatever it is ladies, make a list and then make a more conscious effort to do the things on your list more often. For me its saving those pennies and having a spa day with my mum and sis, getting organised for the week ahead and making plans such as booking theatre tickets and dates with the girls, and taking care of myself by doing a weekly yoga class and eating good nutritious food. It might not sound much, but hey, it works for me.
 

4)      Put others first –taking the time to do something for someone else also serves the mutual benefit of making you feel on top of the world, when you can truly see the difference you have made. Trust me. The next time your in work and the quiet lady sitting in the corner of the office who no one bothers to talk to is about to pass you, make the effort to look up, smile and talk to her. I bet you any money it will make her day that you bothered. Or got a free evening? Make it more productive and use your hobbies or skills to volunteer at an animal shelter, or an elderly residents home. You’ll be amazed by the incredible people you will meet, you will feel much more confident about yourself and be doing a great thing for someone else in the process. What’s not to love about that!?

I use these top tips when I am lacking a little confidence, and I hope that they can also help you too. I am no expert, so please do feel free to use them as ideas to suit your own needs. And hey let me know any others you have any other top tips for me in the comments box below!

Being Happy really is the best way to be.

Much Love,

Alissa Marie
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Monday, 20 June 2016

The Happy Edit & tB Loves: My Dad!


And best Dad award goes to....
Oops sorry this is a slightly delayed post from yesterday - but I know you'll all let me off as I was in fact focused on someone else yesterday. Someone pretty damn special. That special someone was my dad. 

Yesterday in the UK was Father's Day, and although many would say it's a money making American holiday and a waste of time and effort. I say bollocks! It's an opportunity for reflection, gratitude and to say your dad how much he means to you and how special he is. I appreciate that there will be those of you out there who do not know your dads, who have lost your dads and who did not have very supportive dads. For that I can only apologise and empathise that you didn't have the day you deserved yesterday. 

I for one can honestly say that my dad has truly been a blessing on my life. A supportive hug, a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, a squeeze of encouragement and a smile of joy. I am who I am today because of his love and generosity. So this weeks happiness, tb loves and happy Edit post goes fairly and squarely to my dad. 

 

 
Opening his gift!
 
Amazing biscuits from Biscuiteers!
 
One happy bunny!


As early as I can remember he's been there helping me to conquer the world and school was just the beginning. He immediately joined the PA (parents association) and spent the next 11 years being Father Christmas at school fetes, doing all of the school discos for free in his own time and at his own expense, volunteering at school plays and events, and spending hours helping me with my home work and practising my reading (paper mache was definitely in its hay day in the 90s). This continued into my secondary school years, where he continued to be a positive voice on the PA and spent many hours letting me print off my homework from his nice printer, staying up late to tea stain my history homework to make it look old and historic, and never ever failed to attend one of my parents evenings. 

As I then spread my wings and moved out to university, he supported me financially if I was struggling, helped me move house each and every year when I needed to, and always came to pick me up at the end of every term so I could come home for the holidays. Now he's my biggest cheerleader, biggest believer and never fails to cheer me up when I'm feeling down. I know all this sounds like something any dad would do for their kid. But believe me, myself and my sister were the lucky ones and none of my friends dads can compare to how great my dad has been. Also let me just mention that my mum is pretty super human too. But she will get her shout out too on this blog when Mother's Day comes around again. But today, this day is for my dad.

So Dad, thank you for all of your love and support. Thank you for the laughs, the opportunities, the chance for me to experience the world as you never did and grow into the person I was meant to be. Thank you for guiding me, for driving me, and for simply being there whenever I have needed you. I love you more than words can say and will never forget all you have done and all that I am sure you will continue to do.

You are #simplythebest.

 
My mad but wonderful family!
 
Home made roast - made by me :)


How did you spoil your dad on Father's Day?
 
Much love,

Alissa Marie
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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Review: Revlon Colour Stay Gel Envy Nail Polish

So I have never really been one for painting my nails, as I seem to be inept at painting the area of my nail and usually my fingers are covered in polish. Nor am I the type of gal to spend £20-30 on my nails every month or so. I’m pretty tight on funds and this is an expense that I just cannot justify.

I first tried this polish around 2 weeks ago when I had a girly sleepover with some friends. One of them was attending a christening the next day and needed to do her nails ready for the occasion. She had the Revlon Colour Stay Gel Envy Nail Polish in Perfect Pair 535, and so I thought I would give it a go. We first applied a base coat (for the life of me I cannot remember which brand it was, all I know is that it wasn’t Revlon.) we then put on two thin layers of colour followed by a top coat. The result was a slick and shiny finish which I have previously only seen at salons.

I just then had to buy my own. I purchased the special offer pack of one coloured polish (in Roulette Rush 750) and one diamond topcoat polish for £11.99, instead of the usual £7.99 per polish. I also bought the quick drying base coat (955) and the same nude shade I'd used the previous week. (Perfect Pair 535). 

Step One - Base Coat 955

 
Step Two - Colour, and Step Three - Top Coat

Perfect Pair 535
Too excited to wait until I'd got home, I decided to do my nails during my lunch break and the results were yet again impressive. The base coat did dry unbelievably quickly, and left my nails with a healthy glow and the tops looking significantly whiter. As before, I then applied two coats of colour ensuring I let the first coat dry before putting on the second. The colour is highly pigmented so you get great coverage even after one coat, and my nails had an amazing shine even after using the coloured polish. The brush is also thicker than your usual polish ensuring that your entire nail is covered with polish in just two swishes! I then finished off my manicure with one coat of clear polish and was left with salon worthy nails that were easy to apply, quick to dry and left my nails looking absolutely fabulous!
Painting my nails at my desk
I only wish I could run out and get more colours right now!

Let me know if you've tried them too, and which colours you recommend!

Much love,
Alissa Marie
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Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Happy Edit: This weeks top 3

Little Happy me :)
It seems like a while since I last posted one of these, and so I felt it important to take the time to reflect and make the effort to do so this week. The Happy Edit encapsulates the things that I love and am grateful for each and every week. Too often do we go through life not appreciating the world around us, and the people who make our lives worth living.  I hope you will join me, and I look forward to hearing what makes you happy too!

1) The clever people over at Revlon
Okay so this may sound daft, but I can assure you I am deadly serious. So as you will all likely know, I am saving my butt off to buy a house with JB. That means I often have to be the boring, sensible one and not spend money unnecessarily where the rest of my friends can. A perfect example of this is getting your nails done. Okay so I have horrid nails, but whenever I have had my nails done previously I truly feel a million dollars. I recently discovered Revlon's Colourstay Gel Envy nail polish range, and can certainly give them the thumbs up for a formula which lasts, is so affordable and gives you a salon perfect finish so that you don't miss out on looking your best! WELL DONE REVLON!!! (I am going to post a review of the Revlon Colourstay Gel Envy next week - stay tuned for more information!)


The special offer available at Revlon right now!

2) Spending time with the people you love
This week JB and I took the time to spend one night out together, mobiles off (except for the odd picture), and spent time enjoying each others company and reconnecting. We made the effort to dress up, to do activities that we love and it was absolutely wonderful. We went to see Me Before You at our local Picture House cinema, followed by a meal at Metro in Clapham London. See here for a review of Metro. I really appreciated having someone to share this lovely evening with and I appreciated his thoughtfulness being able to just talk and focus on one another. Spending time with positive people and those that make you feel good, has been scientifically proven to boost happy hormones! Go on - make time for those who count. 


Me and JB in Metro, Clapham.
3) Working out
I have been off of exercising recently as I was still recovering from a cold. (Well that was my excuse anyway!) This week I really made an effort to step it up and I went three times this week. I really enjoyed it and actually felt so much better for it. It makes you feel much more awake, more refreshed and ready to start your day. As you all know it also has significant health benefits - so come on girls. Get on your kicks and get outdoors for a run. 

My big bright gym kit!
Hope you all had a happy week too. Do let me know what makes you happy too and share the love.

Much love,
Alissa Marie

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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Food Review: Metro, Clapham Common, London

So last night, JB and I had our regular date night. We went and watched the new romance movie, Me Before You, which was excellent and made me blubber like a baby.  But then we headed on over to one of our favourite secret places in London, Metro, which is situated almost directly opposite Clapham Common Tube station.



I have now been to Metro approximately 5 times, and each an every time has been an absolute pleasure. The first time I went there was around 3 years ago on one of my very first dates with JB. Man did he do good on that date! Since then we have been back numerous times, and it was even our restaurant of choice to introduce our parents for the first time. So we absolutely love it – you get the picture!

 

From the outside you could never guess how magical the gardens are at the rear of the restaurant. Metro’s gardens are probably Clapham's best kept secret. Those in the know spend many balmy summer evenings under the twinkling lights. They also have candles flickering throughout the entire restaurant, original church pews and a wonderful outside dining area under a silk tent. It’s shabby chic interior makes you feel immediately at home.

Looking in from the garden. It was too dark to photograph the garden - sorry!
On top of that the staff are always friendly, they have great entertainment (last night was a fab male singer on the guitar), and the value for money is incredible as the food is absolutely divine!

Their food is also delicious, fresh, seasonal produce which is home cooked to perfection. They have the opportunity for an al la carte menu, or a set menu of 2 courses with a large glass of wine for £20. (Bargain!) As we are trying to save for a house, JB and I decided to be a little more sensible than usual and go for the set menu. On offer was;

Starters

 Homemade Chicjen Liver Parfait
With croutons and tomato chutney

Warm Honeyed Goat’s Cheese
On mixed leaves with balsamic sauce (v)

Salt ‘n’ Pepper Squid
On mixed leaves with sweet chilli dressing

Mains

Hand Rolled Ricotta Gnocchi
With sage butter and sweet potato crisp

The best Chicken Caesar Salad you have ever tasted!
(That is actually what it said on the menu!)

Homemade Giant Salmon Fishcake
On Chunky Chips


My Chicken Caesar
 
The Hand rolled Ricotta Gnocchi - So good!!

 
How delicious are those options? Seriously I could have tried each an every one of these. In the end, I chose the squid and Caesar salad, and JB had the squid and gnocchi. In my haste to cram the delicious starter into my mouth I forgot to photograph it. Sorry! But let me tell you it was soft, well cooked, and bloomin delicious. JB and I even stopped talking to focus on the amazing flavours of the dish. It was gone in a flash. Likewise my main was lovely. Very nicely cooked chicken, fresh lettuce, lovely homemade croutons and great dressing. The only tiny thing I will mention is that definitely do ask for your dressing on the side! The dressing they gave me was a huge amount and if I hadn’t asked for it on the side - it may have drenched my salad. I was also lucky that Josh let me steal some of his which was delicious. I did just managed to get two very crappy photos of our mains before it was engulfed - and the photos really do not do the food we ate justice!

With our meals we had some house white wine, which was also very fresh, crisp and delicious. It was of the sweet variety, which suits me fine. However for those of you who like a wine that's more dry, you may need to ask for alternatives.

So how many tB stars would I rate this place.... quite obviously I would give it 5/5!

I do really recommend this place for a quiet drink, a meal with your family, or even a romantic night for two. Metro really has it all, and its hidden in Clapham waiting for you.

Let me know if you've been to Metro and if you love it as much as me! Or tell me places that I should go next - I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Much Love,
Alissa Marie
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Sunday, 5 June 2016

tB Loves: Topshop's Ditsy necklaces

So I have been going on about this item for the entire week! If you look back at my Bank Holiday Fun and Spring Fashion Edit post, you will see this little guy has been a key feature of my week.

Meet the newest edition to my jewellery collection - the Brumby necklace!!!!




Okay so its not actually called the Brumby necklace, but it does feature a very small and intricate horse pendant. (For all you guys who don't yet know, a brumby is technically a wild Australian horse.) So I thought it only fitting that I give this guy a home, and now I can wear this blog proudly during my day job.

It doesn't just end there... Topshop's collection features a butterfly, a bear and a frog! Any lovers of those out there? And better yet, they are all on sale right now. £6.50 down to £5.20. Get em' whilst you can girls!

What have you been loving this week?

Much love,

Alissa Marie


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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Happy Days: Bank Holiday Fun!

Okay so this bank holiday wasn't entirely what I hoped for... No scorching sunshine and no excuse to get my newly prepped pins out. But hey ho! We cannot have everything!

Instead, what I did do was relax, get my life back on track since being ill and spend some quality time with friends. 

Me and my girls :)
Determined not to let the lack of sun deter us, myself and my friends had an indoor picnic featuring cute baskets, childhood worthy treats, board games galore and copious amounts of our favourite cocktails. Hurrah! 



My lovely fireplace complete with cosy candles and summer toes!

We all brought different food to mix it up, as well as alcohol. Because hey – no party ever started with a salad! I was in charge of nibbles and therefore grabbed all my guilty pleasures at Co-op including chip sticks, Wotsits, Pringles (Paprika flavour = winning at life), chocolate fudge cake, garlic bread, sliced cheese and salami. Thankfully my friends L&J brought fruit, nuts, marinated chicken drumsticks and rolls with a huge choice of fillings #feast #fattys.

We cranked up the summer tunes including my old school fav – Summer Jam, and lounged about on pillows and throws whilst sipping G&T like the classy birds we are! I have to mention that we did also have a Frisbee packed - just in case the sun decided to make an appearance but alas it was not to be.It was such a lovely afternoon and I will definitely be making this a regular on my summer schedule, weather dependant obviously!

My top tips for organising your own?

- Decide who brings what! You do not want four bags of apples, no crisps and some random spread. Co-ordinate with your pals and all bring either a different course each (nibbles to start, sandwiches for main and fruit and cake to finish), or all bring something from each category. 

- Bring blankets and cushions to make you more comfortable. As we were inside this was pretty easy, but we did lay out rugs on the table and floor to give it that picnic feel. We also lit candles since we were inside to really up the ambiance! If you are outside, choose a blanket with a waterproof underside as no one wants to sit in damp grass all afternoon. Its all so fun and glamorous until your bum goes numb and gets wet!


My cute matching baskets and picnic blanket

All my goodies! This doesn't even begin to cover what the girls brought!

- Rubbish bags. This never seems to be something we all remember to do but is so important if you are out and about in public. Littering is an offence, so don’t get caught out. Just bring a rubbish bag with you and either put it straight in the nearest public bin or take it home and dispose of it there. If we don’t take care of our beautiful, green public places we won’t have them for much longer. So take care of them. Haha sorry rant over!
 
- Get your outfit and accessories on point! Okay so I am not the most trendy gal out there, but a few well chosen accessories such as amazing shoes can really make you stand out. Today I chose to wear my new asos dungarees (see a link to my recent fashion post on it), a cute high neck top from MnS and some amazing shoes from Matalan!


Me rocking my dungarees!




Aren't these shoes gorgeous?! - ignore the wonky toe nail painting!


The best thing about this bank holiday weekend was getting together with friends and making the most of a long weekend to unwind and relax. I sure had a good one - what about you guys?
Much Love,

Alissa Marie
 
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Spring Fashion Edit: Dungarees

Spring Fashion Edit: Dungarees

 
I am absolutely adoring dungarees at the moment! They are fashionable, can be dressed up or down, and are one of the only forms of onesie you can legitimately wear in public!
 
Therefore I wanted to share with you some pieces I have recently purchased and how I am choosing to style them. Especially as this weather cannot seem to make up its mind! Hello June - where are you?!
 
Be sure to check out my post (coming soon!) Happy Days: Bank Holiday Fun - to see me wearing some of the items listed below.


Short sleeve top
marksandspencer.com
Now this is an essential that I have recently purchased. Fpor all you gals who currently don't have a number of basic, quality tees in your wardrobes get to Marks and Spencer's now! These tops are 100% cotton, wash and tumble dry extremely well and really feel luxurious and of an excellent quality. Especially when you see the price!


MANGO v neck shirt
johnlewis.com
I love this top. Its light and delicate quality will really make your outfit ready for the summer. Its also a versatile piece and would work well on its own with jeans or tucked into your jumpsuit. Team it with a delicate necklace like the one below for the makings of a strong and feminine look.


Sleeveless top
£8.23 - nastydress.com
Now I didn't buy this one in the end from nastydress.com, but opted for one incredibly similar from Marks and Spencer. These tops are fab for dressing up or down and under dungarees, I need not worry about my untoned belly showing. This one is very cute with very subtle stripes and would work in a multitude of outfits. Many reasons to snap one up quickly.


ASOS jumpsuit
£49 - asos.com
I recently bought this very jumpsuit from asos. I am a petite size 6-8, and at 5'1 often find it hard to find outfits to fit my shape and size. However rolls the legs up a tad, and this fits like a dream. Its also great material that I know will just wash very well and is so comfortable. I cannot recommend these bad boys enough. If that hasn't sold them to you - asos' free returns should!


Kendall + Kylie ankle boots
£145 - neimanmarcus.com
Now I really liked the style of these, and thought they'd go very well with my new dungarees. I have yet to purchase a pair, and so was surfing the net last night looking for the perfect pair. These boots by Kendall and Kylie look ideal. Not to high, thick and sturdy heel (very in right now), and edgy lace ups at the front will make sure you are bang on trend. The only downer is the price tag - can anyone suggest any cheaper options perhaps? (If I find any, I will update you all!)


Adidas sneaker
office.co.uk
I have just purchased these beauties for all of my many adventures on and off the beaten track. Yes, I know what you are all thinking.... They are white. Solid white, and likely not the best choice if I am going to be running about all over the place. But I wanted them as they go so effortlessly with everything. A cute summer dress, to dungarees and jeans. They are a fantastic all rounder. Now I just need to go and buy some excellent shoe cleaner! (PS. check out Sportsdirect.com and other discount shops to find these babies at a fraction of the cost! More money for Pimms!)


Engraved ring
the-dressingroom.com
How cute is this ring? This is a recent new shop I have found online thanks to instagram, and I am in love with some of their stackable rings. They come in a range of styles as well as metals (rose gold, and silver) and are essential for helping to lift dungarees from just a day romper suit to a sleek evening outfit. I think this ring is as good as sold!


Topshop horse necklace
topshop.com
Now being theBrumby.com I just had to have this necklace in my life! Check out my blog post on Bank Holiday Fun - where you can see me wearing it. Topshop are selling loads of cute little necklaces at the moment, all representing Chinese new year figures. If you hadn't guessed it - I am year of the horse and so had to buy this - and at £6.50 its a complete steal!


I hope you've enjoyed taking a peek at this look book with me. For any further inspiration on styling dungarees - check out my pinterest page where I have started to pin my favourite looks that others are currently wearing!

As always, please leave me comments and questions if you'd like to!

Happy Thursday everyone! Keep going - the weekend is just 2 days away!

Much Love,

Alissa Marie



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