Berlin Travel Diary #1


12/16/2015














Hello there! I'm so happy to finally share with you some photographs from our trip to Berlin. For those of you who do not follow me on Instagram, and therefore escaped the outrageous holiday spam, let me fill you in with a few key details here. Rachael and I have been friends for five years now and we're so close that even our friends like to joke about how we're basically a married couple. I used to think it was sort of childish to refer to friends as "best friends" but honestly, Rachael really is my best friend and I feel so lucky to have her in my life! To celebrate our little five year "friendaversary" we decided to take ourselves off to Berlin. I genuinely had the time of my life and feel serious post-holiday blues now that I'm home. That city has my heart!

As you can imagine, Rachael was snapping away the whole time and we have so many photographs from the trip, and they're all so lovely! I want to share as many as I can with you on here, so I'm going to do a few different posts instead of just a big one with everything in it. Here are some of the photographs from a day we spent in Tiergarten, which is the biggest public garden in Berlin. It's totally gorgeous to walk around and it's close to lots of popular historical tourist attractions. Most of the statues have been restored but if you look closely, you can still see some bullet holes in some of them from the war.

I didn't want to bring loads of clothes with me on the trip because I really wanted to treat it like a holiday without worrying too much about blogging. I definitely didn't worry about much at all on this trip because I was too busy having a laugh! I basically lived in this hat, coat and backpack the entire time, but I managed to wear a different outfit underneath it every day by rotating the 10 or so things I brought with me! Hands down one of my favourite things about Berlin is how effortlessly people style themselves, while still managing to look amazing. I felt absolutely no pressure to get dressed up for a night out, I just stayed out like this all day and applied some fresh lipstick en-route to the bar. A lazy girl's dream!

If you look closely, you'll also spot the massive hangover I was wearing that day... like I said, I really did treat this holiday just like that, a holiday!

Anyway, I can't wait to share the rest of the trip with you here. I hope you're all having a great week!



Outfit: Coat & Hat - Penny's, Top - New Look, Pinafore, Shoes & Earrings - Topshop, Backpack - ASOS. Photography by Rachael.

New Do


12/02/2015


Hello there! It's been a while hasn't it? If you've been following me on my other social media platforms then you'll already know that I've been taking a little bit of a break from blogging to focus on my health. I'm doing really well these days and I'm working on a new updated blog post to fill you all in on my treatment and how I've been dealing with my chronic pain lately. So keep an eye out if you're interested in that side of things!

I have so much content that I want to share here, especially from my recent holiday in Berlin - which was outrageously good by the way! If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know I had an amazing time. I think I shared maybe 5 million photos of my trip on there, I don't know, maybe more? You know me, Insta-obsessed! If you don't follow me on Instagram, you can do so by clicking here - if you like! It was honestly such a good trip, if you've never been then please stop reading this and book yourself some flights immediately. Seriously, get out of here!

Anyway, back to business and as the title suggests, I've chopped my hair! Now, I've been gradually going shorter and shorter since the beginning of Summer because my hair was in such awful condition. At first I think it was pretty dry at the ends because I had gone a few shades lighter and had some balayage highlights through the lengths of it, but then towards the end of Summer it was breaking off at the ends because I was sick and my immune system was at an all time low. I really wanted to grow it long but there was absolutely no hope for it, so I chopped it off in September into a sort of long bob. I actually loved it so much and couldn't understand why I held off doing it for so long. There's something so liberating about cutting off of dry, lifeless hair! 

I can say been doing well health wise, apart from the odd bad chronic pain day. At this point, I'm a professional sick person and I can deal with those days as they come! However, my body still needs time to recover from it all, so I decided to chop my hair even shorter so it can have a better chance of growing down in the best condition it possibly can. I always, always get my hair cut in Hedonist Hair in Belfast. If you live there, I urge you to try them out because they are honestly so good. I've tried and tested so many different salons, but these guys just get me. You know? They really listen to what I want, I never leave  feeling unhappy, plus they do amazing student discount. I couldn't be happier with my new haircut, which was very carefully considered by the wonderful Hugo, he's my guy! Hugo also brought me down a few shades darker for Winter, which has made my hair look way healthier too. I really like my hair dark and I think it'll keep it in and around this shade while I'm growing it.

While we were deciding together how short I should go and what style I should get my hair cut into, we also planned how I'm going to grow it longer eventually, and how I'll shape and colour it over time. So not only did I leave with a great new hair colour and cut, but also a really clear idea of how I can look after my hair and a vision of how it's going to evolve over the next 12 months. My hair usually grows out into a complete mess so I'm really happy to have Hugo looking out for it's future!

To be honest, I wasn't really feeling up for blogging while I was unwell. Obviously because I needed to rest but also I just didn't feel very confident in my appearance and I felt like my hair and skin looked terrible in photographs. However, I'm actually feeling really good these days, which feels nice to say and I think it really shows in these photographs. I feel happier and more confident with my own personal style, but also within myself which is the most important thing. I guess it's true what they say, if you look good it helps you feel good, and cutting my my hair off feels like a perfect way to wave goodbye to some of the scariest weeks of my life. It might not sound so bad but being told you have pre-cancerous cells in your reproductive area is very scary! Thank you so much to Hedonist Hair for always looking after my mane and thank YOU all for sticking by my blog even though I've been rather quiet. You're the best!

You can find out more about Hedonist Hair over on their website here or their Facebook page here. Photography by Rachael Gordon  (looking cute as always!)



A Beginners Guide To Self-Care


10/23/2015


"Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication." (Source: Self-Care Foundation)

The term "self-care" is one that I have heard many times, mostly since I first became unwell a few years ago. It is not something that I'm very good at practicing myself. However, as I've learned more about it, I've come to realise the importance of it. At the end of the day, if we don't look after ourselves, who will? Nobody. That's who. So today I give to you my beginners guide to self-care with some tips on how to practice it. The art of self-care might mean something different to each individual person. There isn't a one size fits all option; you've got to take time and discover what feels good for you. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Reading.
  • Yoga/Meditation.
  • Netflix.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Treating myself to a hair/face mask.
  • Organising.
  • Taking myself on a date. (Yes, really! I love to go for coffee alone.)
  • Learning a new skill.
  • A fresh manicure. 

You Need To Create Time For It

It's easy to get caught up in an every day routine. Life is busy and the days can fly by so quickly. However, it's just as important to make time for self-care, as it is for working and socialising. This is something that I am very bad at and I'm working on making more time to look after myself and simultaneously learning how to say no to other things. I've learned the hard way that if you don't take good care of yourself, the consequently everything else will soon suffer. I often hear people make jokes about how "sleep is for the weak" when in reality, sleep is incredibly important if you want to succeed. Feeling constantly exhausted and mentally drained is a big no for me and when I don't get enough sleep I feel like I can't do anything at all.

Without Feeling Guilty


Self-care is something that we should all strive to make part of our daily routines. I always hear my friends say that they feel guilty for taking time out for themselves. This is a feeling that I can definitely relate to as I often feel that way myself. However, it's important to know your limits and try to block out how other people might make you feel about taking time to yourself. Unfortunately this is often easier said than done. Only you know what you truly need, and there should be no guilt when it comes to self-care.

You Can Still Be Productive If You Want

As much as I love to take time out to do almost nothing at all, I also really enjoy when a form of self-care can be both relaxing and productive. A great way to achieve this is by exercising or learning a new skill. When I go home to visit my family, I love nothing more than to run a hot bath and relax with a book. This way I'm relaxing but I'm still feeding my brain.

No Matter What - Look After Yourself

I love to treat myself to new clothes and make-up. However, it all seems pretty pointless if I'm feeling run down. No amount of make up in the world will cover up the fact that I need to sleep more, drink more water and generally look after myself a bit better. When I am stressed or run down it shows. There ain't no hiding it. Stress can have a huge, serious effect on your health and that's not something to take lightly. You never know what's around the corner and your health should always be a priority. This is something that I didn't take seriously at all, whatsoever, because when you're young, you just feel like you're invincible and nothing bad could ever happen to you. I've learned that it's never too soon to start looking after yourself. By taking even half an hour to practice self-care, you could change how you feel for the rest of the day.

I would love to hear your suggestions for practicing self-care. Let me know!

Personal: World Mental Health Day


10/10/2015



Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay and I'm sure many of you already know that this subject is very close to my heart. I have suffered from depression and anxiety ever since I can remember, I have been professionally diagnosed by my GP and treated for it over the years. I have found counselling along with self-care to be the best form of treatment for me, personally. As some of you may know already, I have always been very open about my personal experiences, however, I think when I was younger I was probably a little bit too open online. As I get older, I understand the importance of being more selective with what I choose to share, so these days I only share really personal information if it feels really important.

I was scared to write this blog post, but in the same way, I was also scared to share my cervical cancer diagnosis a few weeks ago and that turned out to be absolutely one of the best decisions I could have made. So many of you got back to me about it and it feels incredible to have reached out to so many people. I couldn't believe how many of you were going through similar experiences. I feel the same way about spreading mental health awareness, it's very personal to me but I know that so many people are going through something similar and it's good to know we're all in this together. Many of you have commented on my social media pages about how brave I have been through my treatment, but honestly, I've become very good at covering up how I feel and I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely terrified the entire time. I didn't feel brave at all. Some days I would read your comments and feel like a fraud, however, the love and support I received is what helped me face it head on – so thank you you all so very much.

To be honest, these past few years for me have been plagued with anxiety and depression. I shared my experience of living with chronic pain on the blog a few months ago, so some of you may know this already. It has been a very overwhelming, distressing, confusing, mentally and physically draining journey for me. It's easy to cover up how you feel on the internet, and there's nothing wrong with projecting an online “persona” as such. However, I think it's important to take days like World Mental Health Day and use them to share what's really going on behind the scenes. This might seem like too much information for some people, but I personally feel a great deal of admiration for others who share their stories. I know it helps me and I hope I can help you too. I think it's necessary for us to continue to talk about this topic because too often it is just swept under the carpet.

My anxiety has been over another level recently and I'm determined to get extra for help it and work on feeling like “me” again. I know by allowing others in and by opening up about my own struggles and experiences, I will continue to feel better and hopefully help others too.  Remember that you are not alone and we are all a whole lot stronger than we think. It's incredibly important to talk to people and support each other, no matter what. You can even talk to me if you want to. Let's help break down the stigma that surrounds this topic and remember that mental illness doesn't define us.

xo Karen

Tips For Taking Better Instagram Pictures


9/16/2015



It's safe to say, I am Instagram obsessed. I usually post a picture once a day but sometimes if I'm really feeling it, you'll catch me uploading maybe 3-4 in less than 24 hours! I've been using the app for a few years now and I can't see myself getting sick of it. I post so often that I feel like I've pretty much got it sussed and can offer a few tips now. I am frequently asked the same questions about my posts, so hopefully these simple tips will come in handy to those who were wondering!




Lots of Light

I feel like this one is key to any good photograph. You can now edit your photos within the Instagram app itself, so after you take a photo you should play around with brightness tools to make your photo appear more clearly. However, I advise only brightening up a little bit otherwise the subject can end up looking washed out. I also like to play around with contrast/highlight/shadows too.




Keep Things Interesting

I find that flat-lay photos look really nice when snapping food, beauty products and my personal favourite - coffee! I also like to take my entire grid into consideration too, so when people come to my profile they are absolutely BLOWN AWAY by how beautiful it looks. Just kidding! I do actually take the entire grid into consideration though because it is nice to have a "look" that is unique to you and your personality. 




Take A Few Practice Shots

My camera rolls is often filled with multiple photos of the same thing. Sometimes it just takes a few tries before you get the right snap. This can be frustrating because it takes up so much space on your phone, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, you know?




Make Use Of  Other Apps Too

The question I am most frequently asked is, what app do you use? Instagram has made things a lot easier now that you can edit your photos within the app, however I am still a huge fan of using other apps with more features to edit your photos before uploading them. 

I use the Afterlight app to edit all of my photos, probably just out of habit at this stage. My favourite filter is Russ and I like to add a grainy effect over the top. I keep each of my photos square, however I'm really loving the Instagram feature that allows you to upload bigger photos. I think this will look great for outfit posts in particular. 

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of white borders on my grid, however, this is purely personal preference and I think they can look great if they are used consistently!




Tap To Focus

We've all be there. You try to take a quick photo only to later discover how horribly out of focus it is. This is a handy tip I picked up recently for creating a sharp image with the best possible light. To avoid an out of focus snap, tap the screen at the point you would like to focus - this will sharpen the photo at that point and it just makes the entire image really crisp.  It also adjusts the exposure and white balance of the photo, e,g, if you tap on a white area of the photo, the entire image will darken.


Make sure to follow me on Instagram here and share any of your own tips below!

xo, Karen

Personal: Blogging In A New Direction


7/29/2015



"That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

A little something different from me this evening, I hope you don't mind. I've been taking prolonged breaks from blogging over the last few months, and each time I return with a burst of energy and a desire to share more content with you all, but with that also comes a desire to share more than just outfits or make-up reviews here and there. Don't get me wrong, I still love to blog, but I desperately want to take mine in a new direction and express my true self on my own platform, because if I'm not doing that then I'm doing the reader an injustice, aren't I? It's all well and good sharing lovely outfit posts and talking about my personal style, but personally I find my favourite bloggers are those who inject more of their personality into their posts and my least favourite are those who don't seem to put any heart into what they do. Of course everyone has their own blogging style, but I think you can usually tell the difference. I really don't want to ever come across like the latter, because it means the world to me that people actually read my blog. It's still so crazy to me that even one person might read this! I have always wanted to be a writer, honestly, ever since I can remember and sometimes I get down about the fact that I don't make the most of this wonderful thing I have right here in front of me.

Of course I still want to share my personal style, but I can't resist the urge to share more. As I said before, I've been turning this over in my mind for quite some time now, but I think with my 24th birthday looming over me, I've finally decided that now is the time to go for it and write whatever I want. From this post on I want to start sharing more honest insights into my life, the things I do, the places I go, the people, fashion, art, ideas and projects that inspire me every day. Life is good and I want to write about it.

What do you think? Let me know!

xo, Karen

A Walk In The Park


7/12/2015


Hello there! I had to share these lovely photographs my friend Rachael took a couple of me weeks ago. It was such a beautiful sunny evening, so perfect for snapping Summer outfits!


I love the freedom that comes with throwing a simple pinafore over (pretty much) any outfit, and I'm obsessed with this denim one from Topshop. I want it in every colour! I know I said this in my previous post, but I'm going to say it again anyway... It feels so good to be blogging again! I can't wait to share more with you all.

xo, Karen

Outfit: Pinafore - Topshop, Top - H&M, Shoes - Converse, Sunglasses - ASOS, Tote - Maven. 
Photography - Rachael Gordon Photography

The Way You'd Love Her


7/04/2015



The sun is back and so am I! Honestly, it feels like I begin almost every blog post with a similar sentiment, but I really can't believe how long I have left it since my last update. The only real explanation is that I guess I've had a bout of bad luck recently, which included breaking my laptop! It's not all bad though, I got it fixed of course and now I'm back to blogging! I also started a new job which I really like but it takes up so much of my time, I'm going to have to really discipline myself and make sure I create time for A Stitch To Wear because I've really missed sharing with you all so much. 

It is so sunny here right now, I can't get over how beautiful the weather is every day. It honestly feels like a gift because it rains in Ireland almost all the time. I've been making the most of the sunshine by dressing up in all of my Summer outfits that I had to hide away because it was always too cold to wear them. It feels so good to get my legs out after living in tights for so many months!

On another note, I'm really excited about sharing new content here and if you have anything in particular that you would like to see, please let me know! I love to hear from you guys and reading the comments section is my favourite thing. I can't wait to develop new ideas and become more creative with my photographs and outfits. I'm always looking for new bloggers to inspire me, so if you have your own blog, send me a link below and I'll be sure to have a read.

Have a wonderful day!

xo, Karen


Outfit: Shirt - Topshop, Skirt - ASOS, Shoes - New Look
Photographs by Rachael Gordon Photography
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