Personal Stylist tries Online Personal Shoppers | Lookerio and Stitch Fix

I couldn't be more excited to write this post.  I've always been intrigued by online personal shopping boxes such as Lookerio and Stitch Fix. As a stylist myself, there was never any innate need for me to use them. Nonetheless, I was curious to see how these online shoppers perceived my style based on a series of simple questions and pictures of my fashion inspirations. In addition, it is a brilliant way to be exposed to brands that aren’t available on the high street.  Anyone who knows me would probably describe my style as girly, youthful prints, and simple.  It can fluctuate between Parisienne androgynous garments and Blair Waldorf very quickly.  

Quizzes

The process of determining your style is very similar for both companies.  You complete an online quiz made up of various multiple choice questions.  Some of them involve choosing outfits that most resemble your taste, however the options are not very varied for either.   This is something to be mindful of given the lack of representation of other styles.  You’re more likely to find inspiration from style icons such as those on Pinterest and Instagram.  This is what sets Lookerio apart from Stitch Fix as you can upload pictures of your favourite outfits or fashion icons for the stylist to gain inspiration from.  

Lookerio

SOYACONCEPT: Scblissa Sweater vneck XS C. Beige £30

Sweaters are my go-to. Nothing quite says chic and quick like a jumper with trousers or a skirt.  This is a beige sweater with obvious cool undertones.  It has a preppy equestrian silhouette with a ribbed V-neck that is flattering, slimming, and perfect for layering.  I’ve worn this on its own but also paired it with a light blue and white collared shirt.  Therefore it can be styled to be masculine or feminine in accordance to your taste. An essential basic to have.  The quality is soft and stretchy, yet still form fitting. The elastic hem is perfect for tucking away into Jeans without having too much fabric bellowing out.



SH by Lookerio Shdumbi Pant Raso XS C. black £59.70

These trousers are not ones I’d pick up from a store.  However, on wearing and styling them I’ve found myself in love with the loose fit and glossy reflex.  It’s surprisingly easy to work with and can be worn like jeans in terms of versatility.  They’re ankle grazers which aid in giving height to those that are vertically challenged like myself.  The fabric is thin and breathable yet heavy so it drapes nicely around the body and can be worn throughout summer without getting too hot.  

STREET ONE Finns Sweater Raglan C. Brown light £18 (from £35.99)

This is another stunning basic in a light brown/tan color which has comfortably found its place in my wardrobe.  The main plus about this jumper is its cut off sleeves.  Its the perfect chic top to tuck into trousers or with a midi skirt.  Its a thin material yet, again, making it ideal for layering in the winter months.  It is an item of clothing I plan on reaching for continuously this winter.  I’ve found it works well during clinical placement because we are meant to remain bare below the elbow.  It fairs well with workwear trousers and pencil skirts to give an A-line appearance.  The boat neckline is soft and feminine, wonderfully complimenting my style. 


GARCIA JEANS Gray Skirt midi C. Black £35.99 and Lilo Top Gray C. Black £26.99

There is something undeniably 60s metropolitan about midi skirts.  Its a piece that demonstrates thoughtfulness to an outfit, irrespective of anything else.  Even if the style is more boisterous or plain, a midi skirt screams put-together regardless.  Thus, receiving this coordinate set was certainly my favourite in the box.  Not only can I wear the two together, which looks chic in itself,  but the items separately somehow appeals to me more.  Wearing the tank top with boyfriend jeans gives a stark contrast between masculine and feminine, alongside with plain black skater skirts to make it the feature print of an outfit.  On the other hand, I like to employ a black jumper with the same structure to the tan one above with the skirt for similar reasons.  I do wish the skirt had more pleating but nonetheless, the classic polka dot pattern isn’t one to miss.  I appreciate that it isn’t your standard black and white, rather it’s black and beige; a subtle yet chic detail.  The tank top has adjustable straps so you can change the neckline to your preference. I prefer a higher neckline than most so it was nice to have that little touch of variability. 

Overall, I must say that Lookerio nailed my love for quality basics and gently pushed me out of my comfort zone with the patterned co-ord and faux leather trousers.  The trousers certainly aren’t ones I’d pick on my own accord but impressed me very much.  I absolutely loved every piece from this box and think that the addition of your style icons at the end of the quiz makes a world of a difference and provides better insight to the stylist of your favourite garments.  All of these pieces can be worn together and mixed  and matched without fail.  It makes putting together a look far quicker when your clothes compliment each other as they do with this cohesive box. 



Stitch Fix

VERO MODA Fay Tiered Short Skirt C Black £22

Despite being a lover of mini skirts and floral, this piece is way off brand for me.  The quality of the fabric and structure of the skirt is perfect. It synchs at the waist but falls at the correct height for my petite frame.  However, the pattern of the skirt is quite dull and young.  It isn’t one I’ll find myself reaching for very often simply because I have skirt I would rather wear.  They say the next thing you purchase should be better than your last.  I am likely to wear this casually around the house if my Pajamas aren’t cutting it.

MANGO Linda square neck linen Vest C Off White £25.99

I do not own any tops with this structure in particular.  It has thick straps and a square neckline which compliments my face shape much more than alternatives.  This is another garment that I wouldn’t find myself purchasing at the mall but it is a cute staple.  Its ideal for the warmer months in particular.  I can see myself wearing a white midi skirt or jeans with this top on a casual day out.  If the fabric was any other material other than a linen blend I wouldn’t like it quite as much.  The earthy tones and beige buttons certainly add to the countryside, bohemian vibe this top carries. 


VILA Flippa top C White £28

I really don’t understand the pricing or some clothes.  This isn’t worth £28.  I’ve spent far cheaper on a white sleeveless top from New Look that is far superior.  Should I ever want to wear a white sleeveless it won’t be this one.  This top doesn’t hold its structure because of the breathable fabric.  Nonetheless, that is a positive for our Indian summer.  The actual crocheting detail is too simple for my taste. I can’t see myself using this unless it’s a throw-away top for painting a house or going to a theme park.  I’m sorry for being harsh.  


MAUVETTE Belle Broderie Front Top C Blush £32

This is a similar shape to the previous top but with more diffuse laser cut broderie work. The colour isn’t my first choice as it does have an orange undertone which warms the pink shade. Similar to the white top, I wouldn’t ever buy this and I can’t see myself wearing it now because I have tops that are better quality, for cheaper, and look expensive.  Thus this is one I’d give to charity instead or use as a throw away top also. As much as I wanted to love this shirt, I cannot even justify the £32 price tag when the high street has higher quality pieces for half the price. 

&et Valerie High Rise Stitch Detail Jeans C Indigo £42

This is the winner of the entire box. Its the only good that came from this.  Its a beautiful pair of jeans for a brand I hadn’t previously heard of.  The jeans are tight fitting ankle grazers in a medium-dark wash hue. It has some evidence fading around the upper limbs to cause the wearer to look more slim.  They are high waisted (because what can top that, realistically?) and synch beautifully around the waist. These have become my go-to jeans.  I recently got rid of my 8 year old DKNY jeans and thought I’d struggle to find a pair that would be half as flattering.  Safe to say, I have and I am so pleased.  


Unfortunately, StitchFix was incredibly disappointing.  As much as I wish I could love these pieces, they’re far from my personal style and look cheaper than the price tag.  Bar the jeans and the linen top, everything else looked cheap, old, and unflattering.  Its one thing to not be my style but I can’t see many or any individual wanting to wear those given their outdated appearance.  Money would be better spent elsewhere. It could be down to having a stylist that struggled with my quiz answers.  Fashion is very subjective so this company may work better for someone else but I am not convinced. 

Thus, Lookerio was certainly the winner here as the items are ones I have successfully incorporated into my wardrobe and reach for regularly.  Although I won’t be subscribed to any style boxes, if I were to be, Lookerio would be the one I’d turn to.  Its evident that giving visual examples of what you prefer helps guide the personal shopper to curate a box that fits your aesthetic.  The prices of some items is slightly costly but you can adjust your box value when you take the quiz.  I’m very impressed with Lookerio and if I’m ever in a style funk in the future, I’ll certainly purchase another box.

How to Dress like Beth Harmon | The Queen's Gambit

To the surprise of many, I use to be a little chess nerd and competed in countless tournaments from 7-12.  There was a point in my life where I had stocks of chess books, had chess classes/clubs 2-3 times a week, and watched/read every chess-related publication.  I was your typical nerd and was indeed teased for it. Thus, to see The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis was adapted into a Netflix series was definitely exciting.  Nonetheless, this post isn't a review of the movie, rather, it is to offer advice on how one can channel Harmon's stunning 60s' attire without breaking the bank.  Chess is finally fashionable. 

Colour.  Harmon's stunning wardrobe evolved subtly as the character grew more successful. However, her garments generally stuck to pastels, stones, and neutrals but played with patterns such as plaid or checked prints.  The colours she chose were rarely bold and daring, but soft yet strong.  Having a closet filled with neutrals may appear boring but there is an air of elegance and hardiness in it which tends to go amiss.  It's far easier to put together an outfit as such hues and shades compliment one another effortlessly.  


A-line.  An A-line silhouette is one where it is tight or form-fitting at the top, tapering itself around the hips and outwards; much like the letter 'A'.  This is a very gradual flare that is flattering by synching at the waist, giving the illusion of an hourglass figure, whilst remaining modest.  A line outfit ideas include skater dresses, high-waisted midi skirts, and even high-waisted boyfriend jeans with a narrow blouse or T-Shirt.  Something about this shape screams 'power' and 'femininity' which is what Harmon's character represents throughout the series. 


Scarves.  Whether it's a neckerchief or a hair scarf, it never fails to say Audrey Hepburn or the 60s. I've loved hair scarves and neckerchiefs for the longest while.  A patterned scarf can easily act as a feature piece of an outfit. It's the perfect touch of glamour. 


Layering.  We rarely see Harmon layering in this series.  Albeit the weather permits for midi-skirts and sleeveless dresses, it is undeniably sleek to wear fewer pieces and accessories.  I am guilty for wearing multiple garments at times but Harmon clearly demonstrates that less is more.  She hardly strays beyond a one-piece dress or a midi-skirt and a blouse.  This emulates classic French fashion; simplicity is key. 


Outfit-repeater.  It is clear that Harmon has her favourites for which an extensive amount of credit goes to the stylist, Gabriele Binder.  Especially in this age where sustainable fashion is gaining importance, I really appreciated and loved how we see the same white with black-trim blouse or beige turtle neck jumper reappear in subsequent episodes.  It's unreasonable to wear something new everyday!  Capsule wardrobes are ideal, particularly when one is jet-setting across the world to Fashion capitals such as Paris for a tournament.  It also emphasises the versatility of certain garments; you can wear them in the comfort of your own home, to a formal event, or when meeting friends. 


Collars.  We often see an array of collars: bowtie, Peter pan, turtle neck, or or low cut V-line. The detail of the monochrome outfits rests in the collar.   We see a stunning pussy-bow when Harmon is in Paris, about to face Borgov with a mean hangover, or beautiful Peter Pan dresses and blouses paired with a swinging 60's skirt.  



Trimming.  Chanel piloted the stunning contrast-border we often see in the high-street and in this show.  It is evidently classy and chic.  It requires little to no accessories or prints as it is a statement in itself.  We see this theme running through the character's wardrobe as the series progress.  
 

And there you have it.  It is very easy to dress like a glamorous chess champion, without having to be a chess grandmaster or shop designer.  

Thank you for reading!

All images courtesy of Netflix.



Medicine | What I wish I knew during Preclinical years

Hello!  It's been a couple months since my last post as I dedicated that time to research and studying for my final pre-clinical exam.  Given the pandemic, my May exams were postponed to August.  Nonetheless, I recently got my results and can officially call myself a Third Year Medic! I will be starting my clinical placement which is a huge milestone to many medical students.  Here are a few tips that I wish I followed myself more religiously or found really aided my learning.  A lot of this will be straightforward tips you would've heard elsewhere or common sense (sorry!).  

Little but often.

Often times, medical students are seen as the epitome of studious. They're expected to be hitting the books 24/7.  This is far from the case.  Instead of spending every waking hour worshiping Gray's Anatomy, do a little bit often.  

Admittedly, I wouldn't do all the pre-reading for every subject before lectures because that material is generally covered on the day.  Unless the subject is one I found particularly hard, I wouldn't bother.  

The day of teaching, I would revisit the lectures we had to make sure I understood the material and make appropriate notes on the lecture slide (Link here for how I take notes in med school (I prefer the 'second place')). Do not waste time writing out your notes or making them aesthetically pleasing.  Just ensure the information you need is accessible and understandable. This was a far better use of my evenings.  If your university offers practice questions or a workbook for each subject like mine, I recommend working through those (which I wouldn't always do) to consolidate your learning.   

Empty your plate.

To prevent burnout, it is vital to have hobbies and interests outside of medicine.  However, don't make the mistake of having too much.  In my first term of Year 2, I had dance practice 9 hours a week and worked in the hospital on a research project every weekend and morning off.  This left little to no time for me to revisit lectures or even relax.  Extracurriculars are important for your CV, socialising, and ensuring you're a well-rounded individual and not a med-head.  However, it is equally important to do nothing. I found that I did not manage my time well in the beginning of my second  year which made for a gruelling 3 weeks of revision during Christmas. I didn't take care of myself physically or mentally.   

Society promotes this idea that success equals hard-work at the expense of self-care and a balanced lifestyle.  Looking back, I would ensure that I give myself a couple evenings off to do nothing, spend time with loved ones or friends,  or even just binge watching Netflix.  Not every moment or day in your life has to be 'productive'.  I feel accomplished if I have an evening not touching or thinking about work.  

Don't leave revision to the holidays.

Medicine is not hard; the volume is hard.  Learning objectives tend to span pages, the number of systems feels infinite, and there is always more to learn.  I made the mistake of leaving revision to the holidays which made for the worst breaks and a lot of cramming.  We may think 3 weeks or even 5 weeks is enough but in actual fact, the amount you need to learn is so vast that you will always be kicking yourself for not keeping up with the material during term time. 

Revisit old material. 

My med school will test us on anything and everything that has been covered, even if it is the most obscure fact from a 10 minute lecture in term 1.  Make peace with the idea that, you will never know everything, but take time out to revisit old yet high-yield information.  On the other hand, revisit old material that was covered which directly correlates or links to other subjects.  For example, how heart failure can result in kidney disease.  I recommend spider diagrams for some conditions that are multi-systemic.  In the process of making it, go over the specific physiology of those systems to understand how and why the pathology presents as it does. 

Questions. Questions. Questions. 

I cannot emphasise how important practice questions and active learning is when it comes to revision.  It's extremely difficult but the most efficient.  It can be writing out everything you learnt, doing MCQs, teaching your stuffed animals (my way), or going through questions/cases.  Our university sometimes puts MCQs from practice quizzes in the exam which provides more of an incentive to actively learn.  

Favourite resources.  

Textbooks are overwhelming.  They are great for quick referencing but even so, most people turn to google.  I hardly use my textbooks because there is so much low-yield information.  Your brain can only handle so much.  Even if you're from the UK, I do like the USMLE First Aid book and Pathoma as it discusses pathology and physiology of diseases and conditions short and sweetly. 

90% of the time, I am just reading my lecture slides and hitting all the learning objectives.  I'll turn to Youtube to watch videos on anything I'm struggling with such as embryology or specific diseases.  My favourite Channels are:

Osmosis - If you can, I recommend getting a membership on their website as their 1 week free trial proved very helpful for my finals.

Geeky Medics

Medicine in 3 Minutes

PassMedicine - Question Bank.

Dr Najeeb

For a quick, yet thorough overview on specific topics I love:

TeachMePhysiology

TeachMeAnatomy

TeachMeObGyn

Thank you so much for reading! 

Skincare Routine (Backed by Science!)

The beauty industry is overwhelming.  It's difficult to form a skincare routine when being fed dramatic claims by various brands.  What's true and what's an over-exaggeration? On top of that, we feel compelled to dish out as much money as possible because it's assumed that a higher priced good is better for our skin but this is far from the case.  Therefore, I wanted to share my current skincare routine with scientific evidence to explain why I use these products and changes I've experienced, without having to break the bank.   Products are mentioned in order of application. 

Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist or a doctor, I am simply imparting the knowledge I have gained through researching skincare ingredients and products.  On top of that, I do not want to influence your decisions.  If you want proper advice, seek a professional such as a dermatologist or your GP before changing your skincare regime or including new products into it.  

Morning Routine


Fragrance is known as a hit or miss in the beauty industry.  Fragrance has no functional property and is present to mask the natural scent of a product which may smell too medicinal to the user. Fragrance can cause a sensitising reaction on the skin: mild to severe. Similar to exposure to sun damage or pollution, the effects appear over a period of time. (1) Luckily, this product is fragrance free! On top of that, there are very few ingredients in this product so it is less likely to cause irritation or sensitisation of the skin. Interestingly, this also contains niacinamide which is a common component of many skin brightening creams.  Therefore, it may aid in dark circles and brightening the face in the process.  Freederm face wash is gentle and cleans pores and removes makeup and excess oil without the need for vigorous scrubbing.  Personally, I apply the face wash and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it off.


Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 (niacin) with an amide group.  It is said to prevent any itchiness or irritation of the skin, protect against UV rays (but does not negate the use of Broad Spectrum SPF), prevent excess oil, and brighten the face. (2)  It is readily absorbed by the skin and body. It is considered safe to use and rarely results in adverse reactions.  (3) A study by Bissett et al in 2005 conducted a clinical trial with a sample size of 50 white females (note: this is a poor representation of a wider population) where they applied the 5% niacinamide to one half of the face and control to the other for 12 weeks.  The found improvements in: skin elasticity, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowness).  (4) Kawada et al in 2008 found that, in a randomised control trial, 64% of 30 participants had significant skin improvements (p <0.0001) with reduced wrinkle grades in tested areas. (5)  Draelos et al in 2006 conducted a study using 2% niacinamide in a double-blind, placebo control trial.  It aimed to see the effect of niacinamide on sebum excretion rates which tends to lead to comedonal and inflammatory acne lesions.  After 2-4 weeks of application, the sebum excretion rates significantly reduced in those who used 2% niacinamide compared to the control group. (6)


Vitamin E is a potent lipid-soluble antioxidant.  Here is a link to a post I did discussing free radicals and the role of antioxidants.  As a result, vitamin E is said to be antitumorigenic, photoprotective (but does not substitute broad spectrum SPF), and stabilises skin barriers. (7)  It adds an extra layer of protection against sun damage when used in conjunction with Broad Spectrum SPF. It is rare for Vitamin E to cause allergic contact dermatitis. (8) In conclusion, vitamin-E is said to have anti-aging affects by preventing photo-induced ageing.  This in turn prevents atypical pigmentation and wrinkles. (9).  


CereVe has gained a lot of recognition as a medicated skin care despite being an over the counter product.  It is said to be beneficial for dry to very dry skin due to the inclusion of ceramides.  Ceramides are epidermal lipids that are part of the stratum corneum which forms the outer layer of the skin. (12)  Thus, it helps to restore the skin's natural barrier against pollution, irritants, and aids in retaining moisture or hydration. (11) There is no point drinking 2 litres of water if you don't have a proper barrier! Spada et al in 2018 stated that use of a ceramide-based cream improved skin hydration (P<0.001).  At 24 hours, the skin hydration was significantly better than the placebo and three non-ceramide based creams (P <0.05) and reduced transepidermal water loss (P< 0.001). (10) Finally, ceramides are found to improve various skin assessments (decreased water loss, improved skin smoothness, and increase water content of the skin) after four weeks of use in individuals with sensitive skin conditions.  (13) Alongside ceramides, this product contains hyaluronic acid which has various benefits I discussed here. 


My post here discusses the benefits of Broad Spectrum SPF and how to determine the strength you require.  This sunscreen does not result in ashiness when used on top of a separate moisturiser.  

Evening Routine


See above.


See above.


This is slightly pricier in comparison to the other products however a pea-sized amount is more than enough to cover the face and its advised to use retinol 3-4 times a week max.  Retinol is also known as Vitamin A1.  It is converted to retinoic acid and retinal in the body.  Kong et al in 2018 found that four weeks of retinol usage increased epidermal thickness, upregulated two collagen genes (collagen type 1 and collagen type 3), and significant wrinkle reduction after 12 weeks of use.  (14) Shao et al found that topical retinol showed anti-ageing affects through increasing epidermal keratinocytes proliferation (skin cell division and production), dermal endothelial cells by increasing vascularity and proliferation, and through the activation of dermal fibroblasts, it improves extracellular matrix homeostasis.  (15)  Applied retinol is said to reduce wrinkles and induce hyaluronic acid production by stimulating the activation of all three hyaluronic acid synthases (genes which make hyaluronic acid).   Thus, participants had reduced wrinkles, skin ageing, and improved skin moisture. (16)  Dhaliwal et al in 2019 found that retinol significantly decreased wrinkles, photoaging, and hyperpigmentation. However, caution should be exercised and one should gradually build up retinol tolerance as participants were found to experience scaling and stinging. (17) Finally, Riahi et al also found that the use of topical retinoids aided in improving photoaged skin. (18)


See above. 

And that is my entire skincare routine! Although a few products appear expensive, they are long lasting (3 months before needing replacement) with significant results.  I noticed that my skin has been a lot more even toned and I've not reached for any foundation or concealer in the last month.  My entire routine does not take longer than 10 minutes in the morning and evening.  I allow a few minutes between each product for it to set and soak appropriately.  

References:

1. Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419

Bibliography:

Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement pages 1-43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446—475
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202

Favourite Pink Occasion Dresses

When it comes to occasion-wear, the world is your oyster.  Not only is there an array of cuts, structures, and lengths but also shades to choose from.  Most individuals opt for a little black dress, but pink is more my colour.  I have curated a list of my personal favourite pink dresses that are on sale.  



Have you seen a dress better suited for a princess? The dress has cleverly used two shades of pink to help accentuate the waistline.  On top of that, the Cinderella neckline and horizontal pleating perfectly contrasts the larger, more bellowing pleats of the frock which elegantly drapes over the body.  It is lined with a silk-like material to ensure opacity.  I wore this to my university's ball and stood out like a sore thumb, but life is too short to not play dress up.



Although this isn't the exact dress I own, Lauren by Ralph Lauren is a beautiful dress line that produces garments that suit formal business events alongside balls, dances, or parties.  These midi dresses hug the waist and hips far more than the Chi Chi London dress, drawing attention to your curves without stretching the fabric.  They have a matte satin finish which catches the light wonderfully; looking brilliant in pictures. 



I do not personally own this dress but nothing says pink and classy quite like Ted Baker.  If my wardrobe had to consist of only one brand, I would pick Ted Baker without hesitation.  Maxi dresses scream femininity and have a natural grandeur aura.  They look effortless yet stunning on anyone.  The balloon sleeves and large pleats of the frock demonstrates this without fail.  



This dress looks like art.  From the puffed sleeves to the gold and lilac brocade weave pattern, this dress is breathtaking to me.  Brocade differs slightly to embroidered dresses, as the pattern appears woven into the fabric instead of raised.  Thus, it illustrates the artistic and ornamental nature of such material.  Though I normally shy away from midi/mini dresses for occasions, this is too beautiful to pass up.  When I received this dress in person, I noticed that, despite the length, the dress still keeps its sophistication making it appropriate for most occasions.  

5. H and M Puff Sleeved Brocade Top with Flared Satin Skirt


If the above dress is too dramatic or eye-catching for a particular event, you can pair the sister brocade top with the flared satin skirt for a more subdued yet equally alluring duo.  The skirt pulls the pink from the top to draw emphasis on the brocade pattern's gold and lilac.  This makes the top the statement piece and both the top or skirt can be paired and styled separately to achieve differing appearances.  

Puff Sleeve Brocade Top £34.99
Flared Satin Skirt £29.99
Thank you for reading!

Fashion Favorites Vol.3 | Winter to Spring

This post is long overdue. Without a doubt, my favourite fashion period is the seasonal transition from winter to spring.  I can continue to wear my beautiful jumpers whilst simultaneously incorporating floral and pastels into my day-to-day outfits.  Here are a few of my current go-to garments that you can still snatch up on the high street!

NB: I am very blessed to get sent items to review/wear and I would only mention the products I truly use and like, returning those which aren't my normal style.

Topshop IDOL Cream Floral Print Layered Mini Skirt


£26.00 from £29.00

This print resembled Paul & Joe's skirts, so much so, that it's hard not to love.  When paired with the cami pictured underneath, it is easy to fake the appearance of a mini dress.  Nonetheless, the skirt can be paired with a cream, purple, or even green jumper for the cooler spring days; making it the perfect year-round piece.

Topshop IDOL Ivory Floral Print Ruffle Cami Top


£15.00 from £22.00
Similar to the skirt, this is a stunning floral pattern.  It's art. It's simplicity and the subtle v-neck line makes it a spring staple.  It can be paired with a cardigan and high-waisted white jeans or trousers to transition from the colder winter days.  The top is far longer than the picture depicts so can be styled in accordance to your comfort. 

Topshop Dennis Pink Mules

£20.00 from £22.00

Mules have received the reputation of being too 'office' or 'vintage'.  In my opinion,  mules are elegant and classy for everyday.  They're comfortable and fail-proof for any outfit.  Surprisingly, I have very few pink shoes in spite of my deep love for the colour.  These are perfect for those floral spring dresses but can also dress up jeans due to the miniature heel.    

Zara Printed Top

£25.99

This is the top that has dreams woven into its fabric.  It's a breathtaking print with hues of pink, blush, and red.  Although cropped, similar to the Topshop shirt, it does come down reasonably below the belly button. When paired with high-waisted pieces, the mid-drift is not visible.  Thus, if you have a more modest wardrobe, this can still be a potential addition.  It may look uncomfortable but the inner lining is soft to the touch.

Zara Puffy Bermuda Shorts

£19.99

Nothing says spring quite like a crisp white garment.  These shorts have asymmetrical pleats and is double lined to give the appearance of a skater skirt instead of shorts; allowing us to prevent any potential flashing when out and about.  The fabric is satin with only a subtle reflective finish. 

Adidas Essential 3-Stripes Women Leggings

£9.99 from £24.99

Anyone who knows me knows, I hardly purchase workout gear.  Nonetheless, M and M Direct is the best online outlet for designer brands at high-street prices.  Never in my right mind would I spend £25 on workout leggings because I rarely move a muscle.  On the contrary, I can imagine why someone would for these leggings as they are exceptionally figure flattering and the high waist band just adds to that effect.  Despite being thin, they are not transparent by any means so it is perfect for anywhere and any work out.

Pindydoll Woman's Co-Ord Set

£9.99

Are we seeing a theme with crop tops?  This cute two piece co-ordinate transitions from the gym or dance studio to loungewear (my personal preference).  The only downside is that the lining on the inside can be quite itchy but after a few washes this feeling subsides.  At £10 for two pieces of clothing, what can go wrong? 

Henleys Womans Trainers in Black and Bright Pink

£6.99

£7 for a pair of trainers is daylight robbery.  I usually wear them to dance practice  (hiphop especially) where the floor might not be forgiving on the feet.  They are extremely lightweight and act as great shock absorbers; supporting the ankle and fascia of the feet. Albeit this isn't my first choice print, it's a very small price to pay (literally) for the quality. 

H and M Jacket with Gathered Sleeves

£34.99

Blazers are a classic and chic raiment.  It was only in the last year did I begin to wear blazers more often.  Frankly, I was convinced they're too uniform or corporate for everyday but how wrong I was.  Blazers are the feature piece to any outfit: jeans with trainers or tailored trousers and moccasins, these jackets won't fail you.  In defiance of being a traditional spring piece, anyone looking to freshen up their wardrobe should look into investing in blazers.  My closet has a tendency to look very young and youthful but so a jacket certainly matures any outfit.

H and M linen-blend top

£17.99

If you know me, then it's a fact that my favourite textures are boucle, tweed, and linen.  Linen is the epitome of 'Sunday Market' vibes.  This top is a very simple silhouette with balloon sleeves, elasticated at the hem.  The ruched neckline adds a further touch of femininity.  This can be paired with jeans, skirts, or the ankle-length twill trousers I mention below.  The cream colour is brilliant monochrome; allowing it to be paired with other shades such as brown, stones, beige, or pastels.  

H and M Ankle-length Twill Trousers in Light Beige

£17.99

There are very few moments where I feel cool, and wearing ankle-length trousers is one of them.  As someone that generally shies away from tom-boy-esque clothes, something about capris length pants is extremely stylish.  These trousers can be rolled up to your mid-calf, which is my personal choice.  When worn at the ankle, they are far more baggy. Nonetheless, they assimilate wonderfully with my existing girly style.

H and M UK Crinkled Jersey Dress in Powder Pink

£19.99

This beautiful milkmaid jersey dress in powder pink couldn't be more me.  The material is light, feminine, and airy, making it perfect for those summer strolls. Synched at the waist, this figure flattering dress is a spring essential.  

& Other Stories Oversized Wool Blend Workwear Shirt

£120

If you're unfamiliar with the brand & Other Stories, they are owned by H and M and have been known to be a timeless clothing brand with high quality pieces (and high prices to match).  Monochrome is a branch of my aesthetic. Although this is is described as a shirt, it is in fact a lightweight coat with the shape and structure of a formal dress shirt.  Given the wool, it is ideal for baring those cold winter months but is suitable enough for breezy spring days.   This is an investment piece without a doubt, but its versatility means it can be worn all year round.  





   



Recipe | Spicy Peanut Chickpea Curry Bowl

I've never been blessed in the culinary arts but this recipe is a glorious combination of nutrition and taste.  The intent was to create a Buddha Bowl but it quickly turned into a curry.  Nonetheless, it is delicious and had to be shared.  It contains my favourite ingredients: chickpeas, peanut sauce, and spice so it was a sure success to me.   As mentioned in my previous recipe (click here for Stir Fry with Ramen Noodles), I find frozen vegetables easier to use as they are long lasting. Hence, this is more of a Buddha Bowl inspired curry than an authentic Buddha Bowl.  If you wish to use fresh alternatives, feel free to do so.  It's the perfect lunch and meal-prep recipe if you're like me and struggle to plan ahead.


This picture makes the dish look very basic but my fancier bowls weren't clean.

Total time taken: 30 minutes
Recipe Feeds: 2-3

Ingredients

Base:
Quorn Meat Free Pieces*
1 Canned Chickpeas
1 Cup Frozen Peppers
1/2 Cup Frozen Mushrooms
1/3 Cup Frozen Spinach
1/3 Cup Frozen Chopped Onions
 2 Garlic Cloves
2 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1 Avocado

Flavouring: 
1 Tablespoon Amoy Peanut Satay Sauce**
Chilli Flakes or Chilli Powder*
Paprika*
Salt
Black Pepper
Lime

*Starred Ingredients are Optional 

**Vegan Alternative: Smooth peanut butter, Soy Sauce, Lime, Coconut Milk, and Water (depending on desired viscosity) heated in a pan for 5 minutes.

Method:

1. Heat up the sunflower oil in a pan at medium heat before adding the salt, black pepper, chilli powder/chilli flakes*,  onion, and garlic; stirring for 2-3 minutes

2. Add the frozen peppers and frozen spinach and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. 

3.  Add the frozen mushrooms and Quorn meatless chunks and close the pan to cook for 5-7 minutes.

3. Add the drained chickpeas and the peanut satay sauce and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the Quorn Meatless Chunks and chickpeas are cooked and hot.  Keep stirring to prevent any food sticking to the pan. 

4. Top with sliced avocados and drizzle with lime.

Happy cooking!



My Favourite Global Health Books

Whenever I get DMs or emails, a majority of them ask about how one can pursue or enlighten themselves on the topic of 'Global Health'.  This is challenging as the phrase is an umbrella term for a truly multidisciplinary field.  However, these books are fantastic for those wanting to dip their toe in the water to learn or improve their understanding of global/public health without cracking open a textbook.   

The Health Gap by Sir Michael Marmot



Sir Michael Marmot has been one of many leading the conversation about social determinants of health and their impact on health and wellbeing.  He pioneered the Whitehall studies that analysed the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and mortality amongst British civil servants. Thus, coining the term 'Status Syndrome'.  His writing emphasises on how the definition of health is contextual and the innate requirement for health systems and policies to address this unmet need.  As stated in his book, we treat patients in our clinic and put them back in the very environment that made them sick in the first place. 

Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer



This is a slightly heavier read in comparison to 'The Health Gap' but equally as phenomenal.  Paul Farmer is one of five individuals that founded the 'Partners in Health' nonprofit health care organisation.   It aims to develop and provide access to appropriate healthcare for poverty-stricken nations.   The book can be difficult to swallow when learning about the heart wrenching conditions and environments of the world's most under privileged.  Nonetheless, what makes this a written masterpiece is the underlying optimism and hope.  Farmer explores potential solutions with evidence and examples on how we can improve the situation of many helpless people through realistic approaches.  He, too, highlights the importance of policy and how lack of access to care is a breach of human rights.  

The Great Influenza by John Barry



This is easily one of my favourite books.  The approach that John Barry takes in depicting the history of the 1918 Influenza resembles that of a thriller novel. Despite the slow start, this biography of one of the greatest pandemics in history builds momentum as we learn about the key players in public health during this time, the impact of this infection, and the importance of research and development.  Many of these lessons are applied in similar situations today.  In light of the 2019-nCoV (Coronavirus) outbreak, this book actually forewarned why we may soon be experiencing another viral epidemic when published in 2009.  If you have a keen eye for infectious disease and epidemiology, this is a terrifying yet brilliant read.  

Fighting for Life by Sara Josephine Baker



Dr Josephine Baker was Physician and Public Health/Medical Inspector Civil Servant with a particular interest in migrant health within the New York population.  In addition to this, she worked to improve the health of children - especially those succumbed to urban poverty.  Dr Baker campaigned the hiring of nurses in schools, the importance of preventative medicine, and tracked down the infamous Typhoid Mary.  Mary Mallon was a cook that transferred the Salmonella enterica pathogen and thus typhoid fever via being an asymptomatic carrier.  Not only is this an autobiography which explores the presence and impact of social inequalities, but acknowledges the difficulties women faced in championing change, then and now.  Public health and woman empowerment - can you think of a more dynamic duo?

And those are my top books for the moment.  These are comprehensive for those who simply want an engaging read or those pursuing the field.  


Happy reading!
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