One day, I was mopping the waiting room at the veterinary practice where I worked, and I suddenly realised that it just wasn't enough for me anymore. I felt that life was too short to not do something you loved dearly every day, and that night I went home and started researching university courses. Soon after I started volunteering for the British Red Cross, which provided me with some amazing opportunities - I became employed full-time by the Society, managed to increase the Northwich shop's takings drastically, gave presentations about fashion and merchandising, and met some amazing people. In fact, it was the friends who made it, and I doubt I could have survived those months without them. I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with such an inspiring, hardworking people. Of course I can't forget about my boyfriend, who held my hand throughout that time and reassured me during weak moments that I really was doing the right thing.
Now, I'm in the first term of my International Fashion Marketing degree, about to hand in my first set of assignments. It's been a long journey with many tears and tantrums along the way, not all of them in private (oh, hello, Manchester Met open day..). Whenever I feel tired, homesick, or just plain fed up, I think of how hard I've worked to get where I am, which instantly puts whatever's bothering me into perspective.
That's why this birthday has been less about presents, and partying, and more about spending time with those I love and reflecting over the past year, seeing how far I've come.
However.. you'll be happy to hear I've not completely given up on materialistic possessions. What kind of birthday post would this be if it didn't feature at least a few goodies?!
Remember the post I did on Miista shoes a few weeks back? Well, my mum - an avid reader of my blog (hello, mum!) - saw it and got me the Luanne boots as a present! They're even more amazing in real life, and also really comfy. I spent the whole of today walking in them with no aches. My parents also got me the cosy red knit dress. The bobble details are so cute.
Notice the difference in picture quality to normal? My super duper boyfriend went halves with me on a Canon 1100D. I've been driving everyone crazy by taking pictures of anything and everything, but usually just extreme close-up pictures of peoples' faces (it captures pores really well, in case you were wondering).
I spent the weekend at home in Cheshire, and as a treat my parents took Chris and I to Dagfields, near Nantwich. I don't know how to explain this place other than an antiques emporium. There are various halls full of antiques, collectibles, oddities - and some absolute junk. I love it! You just don't know what you're going to find; I remember seeing a false leg there once.
Nothing that exciting today, but I practised my photography skills by snapping vintage clothing and accessories. I find it interesting how people creatively merchandise their wares without using any fixtures or fittings.
Best Christmas jumper I've ever seen..!
This was my favourite concession - so bang on the heritage trend for this season.
Speaking of heritage, I wasn't expecting to get any street-style pictures in the heart of rural Cheshire, but I loved this chap's look: a real mélange, yet well put together.
There's a huge second hand bookstore too, which you could easily get lost in. Love that there's a fashion section.
If you'd like to visit Dagfields, there are directions and a map here. I'd thoroughly recommend setting a day aside to go for a rummage through the wares.
I'm off to drink a cup of tea, and enjoy the rest of my birthday in true Fashion Dotty style... reading Vogue and doing uni work!