Monday, 28 December 2015

Something important.


Hey friends.
I've been running British Mermaid for three years now - you've all become familar with my style, absorbed my sense of humour and seen my personality. But there's a big part of my life that I've never actually addressed on here, despite it hugely affecting my blogging and the absences that I often take from posting. I see every page and account that I own online as a safe space to discuss social issues and British Mermaid, despite being primarily a fashion blog, as no exception to this rule. So today, reader, I'm going to tell you about my mental health.

Mental health problems have affected me for the majority of my life, from what my memory serves me, and to be honest? They may affect me forever. I can pinpoint a few specific milestones in my growing up - the tightness and numbness in my chest that would strike me every morning before attending school for around 8 years; throwing away half my dinner aged 15 as I worried why my boyfriend at the time wouldn't talk to me; being forced to doctors appointments by my heartbroken mother; not leaving the house or getting dressed for a week because I felt too low to. These feelings are still with me. If I eat a single chocolate I will over analyse this in my head for hours on end. I'll check my body countless times in a day to see if my thighs are slimmer or my stomach flatter. Most mornings will be a struggle to put on makeup and leave the house to go to an hour long seminar. 

You may be thinking to yourself, "okay Cara but what is the point of this post?" and if you are then I'm glad you asked. If you feel uncomfortable by this post, then I want to challenge this with my own question. Why? Why is it such a taboo still to discuss mental health? This blog was created to share my personality and my style, and my mental health is a huge part of me. To be truly open and honest with my readers I want you all to know about this aspect of my life and to realise that it's OKAY to share these parts of yours. No one should feel that they have to hide who they are - even the parts that society doesn't approve of. I've lost followers on Twitter for openly discussing my struggles with eating disorders and anxiety, and I used to really care. Was I bumming people out? But my mental health is who I am, and I love social media as a tool to express myself. Every single piece of myself.

I'm glad I could share this with you. I'm Cara, I'm 20 and this is who I am. And that's okay. We're all okay. xo

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Birthday/Christmas Lust List | Winter 2015

// Unif Frost sweater - Skinnie Belle // Unif Trixie backpack - ASOS // Unif Dedi boots - ASOS // Stevie top - American Apparel // Urban Decay Vice 4 palette - Feel Unique // Kevin Bacon clutch bag - Skinnydip London // Ring Leader choker - Stone Fox // Missguided faux fur longline coat - ASOS // Unicorn Christmas socks - ASOS //

I honestly can't believe that it's almost December already. It seems like only a month ago I was wandering around the sun soaked side streets of Rome, and hanging out in the V&A garden wearing tennis skirts and chunky sandals. Not that I'm complaining, of course; December is my favourite month of the entire calendar year. I love winter, especially in cities and I'm lucky enough to live within a short train ride of London. I've already seen the romantic ice rinks popping up in my favourite locations, and walked beneath the sparkling lights that are suddenly EVERYWHERE. Back in Bournemouth, the annual winter market has arrived rife with Bavarian huts and animatronic singing moose head - because what's Christmas without one, am I right?. December is also my birth month and I'll be waving goodbye to my teens (gulp) and turning the big two oh. To soften the blow of actually having to become an adult, I've been indulging in a bit of online lusting - here's what I've been coveting lately...

A brand that I've been obsessed with recently (my bank account not so much sigh) is LA based label Unif. Unif have been on my radar since 2012 but they're one of those brands that just seem to get better every year. There are not one, not two but three Unif pieces on this wishlist alone, though I could probably do an entire post just based on stuff I want from them. The Frost sweater is sold out everywhere for ages and you can see why - it's oversized pastel perfection. I love winter pieces that are unabashedly colourful. Sticking with the candy coloured theme, the Trixie backpack reminds me of the colour of Parmaviolets. It's the perfect 90s backpack due to the transparent material and the Clueless-esque fluffy heart, I can totally see Cher and the gang toting one of these. The final Unif piece on this list is the Dedi boots - I own a ridiculous amount of black boots but I've been looking for the perfect lace up, semi-flat pair. These fit the bill totally, not being too high but still with a bit of a heel. I've been loving high neck tops lately and American Apparel do some great ones in really unique colours - I'm obsessed with the burgundy and "Paulette" pink shades. Urban Decay do my favourite eyeshadows out of any brand on the market and the new Vice 4 palette is no exception. I love the mix of neutral wearable colours and totally insane jewel tones and glitter. On the subject of brand favourites, Skinnydip London are definitely a new addition to my list. I own two of their crossbody bags already (both bought within the past two months) and this clutch is next on my wishlist. Alongside about 10 others, sorry not sorry. I've been loving chokers this year and Stone Fox do some really rad ones, I love the black leather "Ring Leader". I've also been building up my faux fur collection and this Missguided beauty is on it's way to me at the moment, thanks to my amazing parents who bought it for my main birthday present. I'll undoubtedly be living it this season. Last but not least are possibly the most relatable socks known to mankind - because no one doesn't want a unicorn.

I hope you're all having a brilliant week, and are loving the new Bieber album as much as I am - because as much as we all may try and fight it, it's amazing and we will deal.


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

London According To Cara - Favourite Galleries, Museums and Sights

If you're a long term follower of my blog then you may remember that back in 2013 I did my first "London According to Cara" post, which is a series where I tell my personal favourite things to do, see and eat in London. I'm finally getting around to doing the next post and today I'll be sharing all of the museums, galleries and sights that I love to visit when I'm in the city. 

Museums and Galleries 

Besides being into fashion I love to visit art and photography exhibitions and it's no secret that London is one of the best places in the entire world for a slice of artistic culture. My all time favourite gallery is probably the most well known one in the city but that doesn't make it any less wonderful and awe-inspiring, and that is The National Gallery. Located in the iconic Trafalgar Square right next to Charing Cross station and a mere stone's throw away from Buckingham Palace, the building's exterior alone is as classic, wonderful and awe-inspiring as the artwork inside. I've been to this beautiful gallery countless times over the years and there is always something new to see. There is every art style imaginable dating as far back as the 1200s and some of the world's most famous and celebrated artists have work housed here including Monet and Van Gogh (his beloved Sunflowers painting is housed here). Besides this, there are always fantastic exhibitions on both here and at the National Gallery's sister establishment The National Portrait Gallery next door. 

One of my other favourite galleries is the Saatchi Gallery which finds it's home on King's Road in Chelsea. With it's modern art theme it's much more of an acquired taste than The National Gallery, with controversial and taboo breaking artwork commonly seen. The gallery often changes up it's pieces too which means that every visit is different and refreshing. However my personal favourite part of the Saatchi is the 20:50 installion by Richard Wilson - I don't want to give anything away but it's well worth a visit if you're ever in Sloane Square. The best part is, it's free! 

Also worth a look if you're ever in the Kensington Gardens area is the Serpentine Gallery. Similar to the Saatchi, the content is ever changing and always eye opening and unique - I recently saw the Duane Hanson exhibition and it blew my mind (it's on until the 13th so go have a look if you can - you'll be wowed). Plus this year for a limited time there's also the Serpentine Pavilion, a gorgeous and eye catching installation where you can grab a drink and just generally be enthralled by how pretty the place is. You can't miss it. Another huge plus is the location, situated amid beautiful park land and near to both Hyde Park and South Kensington's famous Exhibition Road. Other honorable mentions of the London art gallery scene include the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain. 

Onto museums, London is definitely a great place to visit if you're interested in this type of attraction. There is literally a museum for everything from fashion to childhood to science and Sherlock Holmes (which is actually pretty cool - check it out). My personal favourite isn't an obscure one but is indeed the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. South Kensington has to be one of my top three places in the entire city because there's a kind of charm and magic to it which I can't explain. I used to go there a lot as a child so it has a certain nostalgia for me, especially Exhibition Road where you can find the "big three" of London museums. The V&A will forever be my favourite though as it mixes all my passions - art, music, theatre, photography and of course fashion. I could spend hours strolling around the fashion exhibit which showcases pieces from different designers through the ages to show the progress of style and trend. There are outfits on display by everyone to Chanel and McQueen and it's just a visual treat for any fashion fan. Similar to the National Gallery, the building itself is absolutely gorgeous - if you enter from the tunnels in the tube station you will find yourself first of all in the Sculpture Room which is, in my opinion, the most stunning part of the whole museum. Other highlights for me include the Theatre & Performance room (featuring actual costumes from The Lion King on the West End!!) and the jewelry room which is stunningly designed.

 The other museums on Exhibition Road certainly hold their own too - I'm not a huge biology buff (that's more my sister's game) but the Science Museum is a worthwhile and engaging visit even if you can't tell your Carbon from your Chlorine. There is everything in here from actual planes and trains to fun interactive activities, and it's genuinely awesome for kids and adults a like. Last but by no means least on this road is the Natural History Museum which I've been spending a lot of time in recently - never ever a bad thing, folks. There is so much to see here that it's hard to choose a best bit; from the awe inspiring entrance hall, to activities in the Biology room and that escalator that only takes you INTO THE SUN. It's impossible, however, to miss the dinosaur room. There are actual skeletons. There are machines that let you pretend to walk like a dinosaur. There are raptors, and most famously there's a giant animatronic T-Rex that has to be seen to be believed. Go, marvel at all the wonders and most importantly - pretend to be Chris Pratt in Jurassic World. I wish I could write about all my other favourite museums because London has so many gems but also worth visiting are the British Museum, the RAF Museum in Hendon (just outside Central so you may need to buy an overground ticket for this one) and the London Film Museum near Covent Garden.

Sights and Attractions

This category is possibly the hardest of them all. London is chocka full of iconic landmarks - the London Eye, Big Ben and even Piccadilly Circus to name but a few. My number one personal favourite place in the city, however, is Somerset House. If you cross Waterloo Bridge from the South Bank end, you'll see a huge neoclassical white building looming over the strand - that's her alright. Though it is well known by fashion bloggers and editors all over the world as the former home of London Fashion Week and Weekend, there is so much more to Somerset House than that. It is home to several small galleries and spaces where I've seen exhibitions by Valentino, Tim Walker and Miles Aldridge over the last few years alone to name but a few. In summer there is a giant fountain in the courtyard (and sometimes a cinema screen) which gives way to an ice skating rink in the winter, both equally stunning and Instagram-able. Add to this not one, not two but seven amazing eat and drink places inside and unbeatable views over the Thames and you have a location that is perfect for anyone, Londoner or tourist.

 There is also a million and one "family friendly attractions" in the city, from the London Dungeon (you couldn't pay me to go there) to the newly opened Shrek Adventure. My favourites both involve animals. Located in County Hall on South Bank, the Sealife Aquarium will take you unda da sea in a truly immersive experience while the ZSL London Zoo is home to every wild creature you could hope to see, be this a giant giraffe or a sleepy bat. Fun fact: The reptile house was used in Harry Potter. Though I haven't been in a while this is undoubtably one of my favourite zoos in the UK and is super well located too, well within walking distance of Camden Town and another of my favourite sights Primrose Hill. I was recently introduced to here by my best friend Emily who loves this place more than anywhere else and I can see why. It's potentially the perfect picnic spot boasting unbeatable views of the London skyline and for free! There's also a bounty of cute dogs being walked there, and the chance for some major celebrity spotting. Other personal favourites of mine include St Paul's Cathedral and The Tower of London.

So, what do you all make of my list? What would you rank as your top things to see in the Ol' Smoke? 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

What the **** has British Mermaid been doing?! (Or, an Instagram recap.)

Back in the early days of my blog, I used to do a miniseries every now and again (aka, I did it twice) where I'd sum up what I'd been getting up to that month via my posts on Instagram. Looking back on this I realised that it's still a pretty cute idea for a series of posts, and I always enjoying reading similar on other blogs. This month was absolutely amazing for me - I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Rome, ate some delicious food and treated myself to some gorgeous new pieces. Because, y'know, new season and all that.

As mentioned above, at the start of the month me and my family went on holiday to the beloved "eternal city" that is Rome, Italy. Let me tell you, it earns it's place at the top of the list of most beautiful places in the world - true to it's nickname it is completely unchanged by time, apart from the usual tourist shops and chains that come with any big city. But Rome has a old-worldly ancient feeling I've never experienced in London or even Paris, making it distinctly special. On our first two days we hit all the main spots to see in the "ancient" district of the city, from the breathtakingly unchanged Colosseum and Roman Forum to the Capitoline museums. There I saw Bernini's famous Medusa which, as a not even remotely low key art nerd, made me lose my chill. We also ventured to the Trevi fountain in the evening which was still incredible and awe inspiring despite sadly being under maintenance. All was not lost, however, as I had my first gelato of the holiday - oreo flavoured, obviously.

One of the must see areas in Rome has to be the Vatican City, and we spent two days there seeing both the museums and St Peter's Basilica. Despite a lengthy walk around the museums on a 40 degree celcius day surrounded by hundreds of other tourists, seeing the Sistine Chapel was truly worth it. I'm not a religious person but have always longed to see it in person for as long as I can remember and it blew my mind. Please, if you're ever in Rome, go see it because it's unlike anything I've ever seen. St Peter's Basilica was an unexpected treat, definitely coming near the top of my list of most beautiful churches I've visited; the art on the ceilings and the imposing marble statues are especially impressive. While in Rome I had to seek out a Disney store (possibly twice...) and the Via Del Corso branch was adorable, featuring mosaics and busts of all the classic gang. I loved it, Disney always nail their theming. When we finally had to bid farewell to the city, we were sent off with this gorgeous pink sunset - a fitting end to a great holiday. Shockingly I didn't spend a great deal of money while abroad so I decided to go on a "treat-yoself" shopping day in London where I picked up these pieces from American Apparel. This is now my fourth tennis skirt and I have no regrets. NONE.

Also new to my wardrobe is this insane Missguided bodysuit which I'll admit I was slightly scared of at first as it's a lot more revealing than my usual outfits. However I think it's super fierce and I love the whole lace up trend at the moment, so I can't wait to wear it on a night out when I'm back at university! A couple of days ago I met up with one of my best friends/soulmate Emily and we spent a rainy Monday cackling our way around Central. We stopped off at The Diner off Carnaby Street for dinner, where we both got the BBQ Chicken Burger and cheese fries (Regina George eat your heart out). Diet who? I also snapped the adorable lighting installation on the street outside - Soho always kill it. I also made a trip down to Bournemouth recently which ended in a spontanteous few hours driving around the New Forest with my dad accompanied by baby donkeys walking in the road and Radio 1. We stopped off at one point where I made friends with a couple of horses who seemed very interested in sniffing us humans. 

If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me at @carackobama. Let me know if you enjoyed this post and I'll do another next month! 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Things I'm Feelin' - A/W '15

Hello friends! So here in (sometimes) lovely England the weather has taken a pretty gloomy turn lately which heartbreakingly seems to mean summer is drawing close to its grand finale for yet another year. While this may mean we have to say goodbye to sunny days on South Bank and our favourite sandals (unless you're into pairing your summer faves with autumn friendly socks but that's another post altogether - spoiler alert: LOVE. IT.) let us not despair - we can now get reacquainted with red cups from Starbucks, faux fur and Christmas decorations which will - let's be real - start appearing in a number of weeks. I thought that today, on an extremely wet and miserable day in southern Hertfordshire, I would welcome in the new season by talking about what I'm loving for Autumn and Winter this year.

Star print everything

All images found on Pinterest/

Over the past couple of seasons I've picked up on a recurring theme of celestial motifs on pieces across the board, from coats to boots. I especially love the star print that high end fashion houses like Tommy Hilfiger and Saint Laurent have embraced, a simple but extremely eye catching take on the trend. Like these Hilfiger metallic boots? PLEASE. Luckily for us who want to add a bit of star print to our wardrobe without breaking the bank, online heavyweights Missguided and ASOS have made our dreams come true - my favourites are this gorgeous 70s-inspired playsuit and these insane ankle boots (there's a silver and blue glitter version coming out soon too and I can't decide which to get). 

Colourful faux fur

All images found on Pinterest

I've been a huge fan of statement faux fur for a few years now, but my love has intensified for 2015 after falling in lust with a navy jacket in Forever 21 recently. There's something so effortlessly chic about throwing on a jewel toned faux fur number over a casual base outfit, but they can also look amazing when mixed with other bold colours. I'm dying to get my hands on one so I can style it with a simple dress and some killer statement boots. Also can we talk about the incredible multicoloured coat pictured above? SO SICK, I can't even begin to deal. RIP me.

Statement chokers

All images found on Pinterest

For the past couple of months or so chokers have become my staple accessory of choice. This love-in looks set to carry on to autumn and winter time and my collection is gradually growing in size. I've mainly been obsessed with the tattoo style that every tumblr girl and their mother has been rocking - I love how they look when layered with a delicate pendant as seen in the right hand image above - but for the new season, I've fallen in love with leather chokers. These are not for the faint heart, commonly associated with alternative subcultures and Soho sex stores however against the odds they are now making waves in the style blogging community. They look as rad with a simple ringer tee and tennis skirt combination or a cute 90s style slip dress as they do with a statement jacket and a sick pair of shoes for something fashion week worthy.

So these are my favourites for the upcoming season - expect to see them making an appearance in some of my upcoming posts over the next few months. What are you adding to your wardrobes for Autumn/Winter, and do you agree with my picks? I'd love to know!