It's me.
 Sorry it's been a while. Life got, well, very busy. That sounds ridiculous, it's been over a year, but it's the truth. I had to throw myself completely into work for a while and then, when it all calmed down again, I guess I felt a kind of disconnected from this place. I didn't have the drive or the inspiration that I needed to come back.

I missed it here though. I missed the heavy bulk of my DSLR, fiddling on Photoshop, the words slowly coming together in my mind and the satisfaction when it all comes together into a post. It's a ritual, and falling back into it feels both strange and intimately familiar.

I thought about doing a massive run down of the last year and a half of my life but it would be ridiculous to try and fit everything that has happened in that time in only a couple of paragraphs so I'm not going to try. I've been healthy and happy and so have the people I care about, I'm sure that anything exciting I've done or seen or experienced will come up at some point anyway.

Instead of that I thought I might just start easy, a quick hello and a nice, easy post to start off again. So, yeah, hello.

What I Wore: An Ode To A Coat

Pretty Confused: An Ode To A Coat Pretty Confused: An Ode To A Coat What do you do as a personal style blogger when it is too damn cold to take off your coat outside? You dedicate an entire post to said coat.  This coat had been with my for 2 Winters now and it is still holding up well, I'm not even its first owner - I nicked it off a good friend when she decided she didn't need it anymore and yet it's still going. I love the shape, the colour and most of all I love the hood, which never fails to make me feel like I'm in a fairytale, rather than making a wet and dreary walk to work.

I think finding the right coat is particularly important when you live in a cold country. It is the only item of clothing that I wear for over 200 days of the year. I've actually been searching for a new one since back in October but not had any luck. It's my outer layer and for a lot of the year it is the only bit of my outfit visible to the rest of the world. For that reason alone I always want to find one that represents me as well as an item of clothing can. 

These photos were taken on our New Years day walk with the pups and it was freezing - I did actually take one or two photos with my coat undone to show off the dress I was wearing my I looked so painfully uncomfortable and cold that I didn't want to share them. Instead you get these super cosy ones where I'm piled up with my gloves, hat and a good pair of woolly socks. Also I need to apologise for the photo quality here - you really wouldn't believe these were taken on my SLR would you? They are appallingly grainy. I think there must be an issue with one of the connections between my lens and the camera body. I've checked everything for dust but if my next set of photos come out the same way it might be time to get it sent off and fixed. What a pain. If anyone has any advice or can recommend a good camera repair place  in Edinburgh please let me know! 
Pretty Confused: An Ode To A Coat Pretty Confused: An Ode To A Coat Pretty Confused: An Ode To A Coat

Hello 2015!

Pretty Confused: Hello 2015 Happy New Year guys! Holy heck, how on earth did we get to 2015 already? December with all of its craziness kind of got away from me... and then the start of January got away from me too. 2015 has started on a bit of a low note, it's been a tough time both for myself and lots of people I care deeply about. Blogging definitely fell to the bottom of my to do list for a little while. I'm not leaving you all though, I still love this place too much, but sometimes you just need to step back and focus on the real world and pulling yourself back up. 

2014 was an amazing year for me. It was my first year living with just LF, my first full year at my current job and one filled with memories of triumphs and losses, of learning new skills, of fun with friends and of lots of changes, and yet I am also so glad it is over. I'm more than ready for the metaphorical new start that the new year gives you. It is a chance to reconnect with people, to forgive yourself for the previous years mistakes, to try new things and to measure where you are and where you want to be. I definitely think that is something I need right now!

I posted not that long ago with my goals for before I turn 30, so I'm not going to come up with a huge list of resolutions for this year, you guys probably wouldn't want to read another post on them anyway. Instead I'm going to follow Sarah's lead and instead have a word that I will focus on for the year. Sarah's word last year was comfort, which I think I unintentionally also took as my own. I definitely didn't mean to but I feel like I went easy on myself in some ways last year. I stretched myself professionally and managed to teach myself some awesome new skills (learning the knit and weave was definitely one of the  best things I have done in a long time) but when it came to blogging, socialising and self-improvement I feel like I focussed a lot on taking care of myself, learning my boundaries and self-care rather than pushing myself to go beyond my comfort zone. Those thoughts stuck in my mind as I searched for the right word to describe what I want 2015 to mean for me.

Eventually it happened though, the word hit me. This year the word I want to focus on is tenacious.

This year I want to push myself, when I say yes I want to mean it and the same when I say no. I want to take risks and push myself. I don't want to let the banality of life takeover, which it sometimes does. I want to work hard towards what I want and, if I need to, say 'screw it' to everything else. This year I'm gonna be a little bit selfish, but for all the right reasons.

What are you hoping for during 2015? 

Photography: Visiting Cramond

Pretty Confused blog // Visiting Cramond Pretty Confused blog // Visiting Cramond And it's December! I can't believe we are in the final stretch of the year, it's all gone so fast. I've had a super busy day of work and friends and a driving lesson so I'm not going to write much today, in fact I should probably already be in bed. Instead I thought I would share some of the photos I took last time we were at Cramond Island. See you later in the week for my monthly review!
Pretty Confused blog // Visiting Cramond Pretty Confused blog // Visiting Cramond Pretty Confused blog // Visiting Cramond Pretty Confused blog // Visiting Cramond

New (To Me) Blogs: Friday Favourites

Way, way back when I started blogging I used to include a feature called 'new (to me) blogs' in my Month in Review posts. I kind of lost track of it over time but I thought I might bring it back, at least for once, on this cold and windy Friday night (well, afternoon, but it is dark already). I've started following a lot a lot of blogs over the six months plus I did one of these so I'm not going to include all my new regular reads, but here's a quick look at ten of the ones that I am particularly enjoying.

Petite Panoply Jamie is the adorable blogger of Petite Panoply whose amazing red hair always draws my eye on my Bloglovin feed. Her style is a fantastic mix of modern and vintage that always inspires me to find new ways of wearing my own clothes and she also shares outfit inspiration from other bloggers and intersperses all her posts with little bits about her life and interests.

The Fox and Fern The Fox and Fern is the blog of the beautiful Jocelyn, you'll probably recognize her from more than a few of my Monday Link Lists. She's located in Calgary, Canada and I would honestly follow her blog just for the gorgeous locations she visits but she also wears the most perfect, put together outfits. She's just got that effortlessly cool thing going on that I wish I could emulate.

Chiaki Creates Chiaki of Chiaki Creates is another absolutely lovely blogger and talented crafter, she even has her own Etsy shop of gorgeous sixties and seventies inspired pieces. Originally from Scandinavia she is currently living in London and shares her thoughts on being an expat, her experiences of mental health issues and positive psychology, living a purposeful life and her amazing and perfectly defined style.

Polkadot Pink Donna of Polkadot Pink has been another huge style inspiration for me lately. Her outfits are always fun and whimsical but also completely wearable and she's a big advocate for shopping in charity shops - a lady after my own heart. Donna's background is in journalism, so she's an amazing writer and I always click through when I spot one of her posts.

In My Sunday Best In My Sunday Best is the life and style blog of Sade, a Londoner studying architecture in the Midlands. Not only does this lady have an amazing classically English style but she also has some of the most beautiful photos, her editing is always gorgeous and instantly recognizable. 

She and Life Ella runs She and Life a blog all about her life, family and beautiful photography. She's a 26 year old blogger living in South Wales and she's got a lovely writing style that makes me feel like I'm actually getting to know her through her blog, which I absolutely love. She also seems like a complete sweetheart and her honesty about the happy moments, and the trials, in life is inspiring. 

Tiny Painter Ok, I have a huge soft spot for anyone who tells me their Hogwarts house in their sideboard (Lena's a Hufflepuff, if you were interested) but Tiny Painter is also just a lovely blog to follow. Lena shares her personal style and inspiration, recipes, shares happy moments from her life and talks about what it is like to be a dog foster mum. She's another absolute sweetheart and popping over to her blog always makes me smile. 

Mo'Adore Morag is a Scottish based blogger who really inspired me with her posts about Scottish Independence back in September. Mo'Adore is where she shares her style, reviews of cruelty free beauty products, vegetarian food and music. She also shares one of my favourite link posts each Friday with information about loads of local and international activism, along with funny bits and opinion pieces. 

Colours and Carousels Colours and Carousels is run by Charlotte, another Scotland based blogger who is currently studying Fashion Management. She's got an amazing style and shares some fantastic reviews and 'how to' pieces related to blogging. She's funny, sweet and definitely worth a follow. 

Avant Blargh Is that really already 10 blogs? Is that all I'm allowed? Oh well, I'm saving one of the best for last. Avant Blargh is the blog of Bianca, another one of those bloggers who is just effortlessly cool. Her style is a kind of indescribable but I'm always particularly inspired by the slightly masculine touches she adds to her outfits. She's a gorgeous, inspiring, bombshell of a women who is also an amazing artists and has a fantastic funny, frank writing style. 

What are you favourite new blog finds? Let me know in the comments (and leave links to your own blogs too!)

1000 Days

Pretty Confused 1000 Day Challenge
In 1000 days I will turn 30. That seems like a ridiculously long time but also a pretty damn soon. I lament here constantly about how fast life is moving so I figured I better get on it and think seriously about what I want to achieve in my life. It was a long list. Some of the things were small, easy, others were big, too big to achieve in the next few years. It was a great exercise though and I did manage to pull together what I think it a somewhat reasonable (but still big) list of things I want to do before I hit my next major milestone though. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 Yeah, I'm not starting off easy. I've always found other languages incredibly difficult. I even have a Standard Grade in French but all I did was memorise the phrases I needed, having a conversation was not something I was capable of doing then and ten years later I can just remember how to say 'hello, I'm Alice and I'm 13 years old', not exactly helpful. Not too long after this 1000 days runs out I'll probably be thinking about having children though and as LF is French it only makes sense that we teach them that alongside English. I really don't want to be a parent who cannot understand their children so this is a really big one for me. At the moment I am using Duolingo to learn the basics, after that we're thinking of banning English at home so I can practice my conversation skills with LF. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 The obvious next step after learning French is obviously to move to France and be fully immersed in the language. Plus I would get to live in France. We've been discussing this idea pretty much since we got together so it is definitely on the cards, we just can't figure out when! I don't want to leave it until too late so adding it to this list gives us a nice incentive to get on with it. We're not sure how long we would go for, or even where in France, but three or six months there sounds just about perfect to me. And I think LF would like to be back home for a little while. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 I have not done nearly enough travelling in my twenties. It's a fact. The travelling I have done has all been amazing, Sweden, Italy, Romania, but there are still so many places I want to see. Unfortunately with the dogs travelling has to be planned pretty well in advance, I'd really like to sneak in at least a couple of long weekends away over the next few years though and see somewhere new. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 This has been on my resolutions list every year since I turned 19. I've still not managed, in fact running for more than 3 or 4 minutes gets me totally our of breath. It's going to get harder and harder the longer I leave it though so hopefully this will give me the push to get it done, finally. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 Apparently getting my licence wasn't enough of a challenge for me, I decided to throw in buying a car. This is also one that I have been working towards already, I've mentioned it a couple of times on Twitter but I'm doing weekly 2 hour lessons at the moment and I feel like they are going really well. I'm going to write a longer post on what it is like learning in your late twenties but there is one thing I will say now. If you are putting off learning because you are afraid of being in charge of a massive piece of metal that could easily kill someone, it's really not as scary as I thought it would be. My driving instructor is incredibly nice (if your local and interested in learning I can give you his details) and most importantly, I always feel safe when I'm in the car with him. I'm hoping to do my test in Summer next year (I'm taking it slow) and hopefully by then I'll have some savings to get a car of my own. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 I love sewing, but my skills are basic at best. I'd really like to learn as much as I can and then translate that into sewing a dress for myself. Not only is it a useful skill but I would also be able to get exactly the dress I wanted, rather than wandering around the shops in a daze each time I need something for a specific event. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 This goal has been really inspired by all the amazing, business savvy, blogging ladies there are out there. I'd never even thought of turning one of my hobbies into a way of making a little bit of extra money until I joined this community. I don't particularly want to be 100% self-employed, I really enjoy my line of work, but I think running my own business would be an amazing experience, would teach me lots of useful skills and, you know, a little bit of extra cash would be nice. I've not worked out which of my hobbies I (i) would want to dedicate that much time to and (ii) would be financially viable but making those kind of decisions is also an exciting part of the process. Hopefully I'll be telling you all about my wares sometime next year. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 I love writing whether it is on here, for work, fictional bits and pieces or even fanfiction. I'm pretty terrible for not finishing things that I have started though. Short stories, fine, anything coming close to a novel though and I get about a third of the way through and then get bored. I really want to either finish something I have already started or begin anew and actually get it done this time. I've no illusions that anyone else will want to read it, but it'd be nice to do it for myself. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30 This kind of goes hand in hand with my running goal but I really want to take a little bit better care of myself and think more about the things I put into my body. Doing this now will put me in good stead for the future and is one of those things I should be doing, but I'm not. I won't say I'll never eat junk food or forget my breakfast again, but I will try and get a bit better with it. 

Pretty Confused - A thousand days until 30
And a big super serious note to end on. This is kind of a necessity rather than a desire though. A lot of my goals are going to involve some financing so it only makes sense to start saving for some specific things and other just general life bits and bobs. I'm not expecting to put a lot aside but every little counts, right? 

I'll be trying to do seasonal updates, maybe ever 100 days or so, both to keep you updated on my progress and give me regular check ups as I go. I'll still be doing resolutions at New Year but I'm going to keep them small for the next couple of years and try and focus on this list in the long run. I'm really excited and a little bit anxious about all of them so it'll be fun to see where I am on my next check in day on March 6th next year.

Are you working towards any big goals at the moment? Or are you still wrapping up your resolutions for 2014? I'd love to get some inspiration from you guys!  

Oh, and if you wanted to know, I will turn 30 on the 23rd of August 2017. 

Photography: Autumn Colours

Pretty Confused blog // Autumn Colours Pretty Confused blog // Autumn Colours Pretty Confused blog // Autumn ColoursIt's been a horrible, wet day here in Edinburgh today so I thought I might share some photos of a slightly nicer Autumn day. These were taken on my holiday at the end of October out in Cammo. It's an estate on the outskirts of the city with a beautiful ramshackle old house on it and a perfect spot for dog walking. I figured it was a great excuse to practice my photography so I wandered around the entire time with my camera at my face trying to capture all the beautiful colours of Autumn. Here's my results, I definitely need to take my camera out so often, it was great practice. Oh, and sorry for the (very) photo heavy post guys. 
Pretty Confused blog // Autumn Colours Pretty Confused blog // Autumn Colours Pretty Confused blog // Autumn Colours Pretty Confused blog // Autumn Colours Pretty Confused blog // Autumn Colours Pretty Confused blog // Autumn Colours