Carley's room in hall 2014

When you enter my space in the hall where I live, it’s impossible not to notice my abundance of clothes. Between the huge antique-style wardrobe, chest of drawers and my overfull and never empty laundry basket, clothes are a big part of my life. But when I realised that I had given away / donated four big bags of clothes last year and yet I still had too many, I figured something needed to change. Enter the capsule wardrobe.

Carley

Saying goodbye to 2014

6 January 2015 0 Comments Category: 2014

Field of Light at St Andrews square, Edinburgh

I can’t pretend that I am anything but glad that 2014 is over. Whilst there were a number of good things that happened through the year, my memory has been coloured by my brother’s diagnosis and subsequent brain surgery. I wanted this post to be a recap of the year to remind me that there were good times as well as difficult ones.

Carley

Gratitude, lately

23 October 2014 0 Comments Category: 2014

If this year has taught me anything, it is that you should never be too busy to stop, take a breath and just appreciate all you have in your life. These are just a handful of the things I am grateful for right now.

Carley

Fear of ostracism

21 October 2014 4 Comments Category: 2014

Snapchat with glittery hands and text 'these are the hand of a homosexual'

In my last post, I suggested that there might be more than one reason that I’ve been reluctant to blog recently. It’s something that’s been bothering me for a while, and more than that, something which has felt like an unbreachable wall between myself and some of the people that I’d normally go to with my concerns. I know that quite often, confronting fear is the only way to combat it’s power, and so I’m nervously tapping these words into a screen.

Carley
Carley at sea, summer 2014

Confession: when I received the email reminding me that the A Summer Full Of Peaches domain was due for renewal, I thought about ignoring it. Not actively stating that I didn’t want to blog anymore, but instead just letting it lapse, disappear quietly into the ether.

Carley

Moving forward

20 June 2014 1 Comments Category: 2014

A game of the board game, shadowhunters

I genuinely do not know where 2014 is going; June is more than half over, and that means we’re already halfway through the year. It also means that it’s now been more than six months since Stacey and I broke up, and I am finding it easier to talk about how my life has changed.

Carley

Changing places

10 March 2014 0 Comments Category: 2014

University of St Andrews Students' Association - the Rector's Cafe awesome artwork

Back in 2009-ish, when I was a student at St Andrews, I was elected into a Position of Responsibility – note the capitals! I joined the Societies Committee of the Students’ Association – otherwise known as ‘the union’. The committee had to look after all 140-odd societies affiliated to the Students’ Association – giving out grants and loans, affiliating new societies, making sure everyone was behaving themselves. However, I was also elected onto the SSC – the Student Services Committee – and that’s where I first heard about the plans for the Union’s redevelopment.

Carley
St Sallies Quad cropped

A couple of weekends ago, I spent a Sunday afternoon with one of my best friends. I’m lucky that my move back to St Andrews has been cushioned by a few very good friends, who have dragged me out to have lunch or drinks or just to force me to leave my office each evening. This particular friend is someone I trust massively and am very close to, and we had a lovely afternoon wandering around in the afternoon sunshine and eating ice cream.

Carley
The Single Chronicles - how not to date, part 1

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Stacey and I broke up in December. A while after this, once things had settled down and I had moved into a new flat in St Andrews, a few friends of mine started trying to gently encourage me to start dating again. At the time, I didn’t think it was a bad idea, per se. Here I was, back in a small town where I didn’t know all that many people of my own age, and where I could completely reinvent myself. Cut all my hair off! Change my name! Or at least, go out and meet some people.

Carley in Greece

Pretty tempted to do something drastic. Like go blonde.

Cutting out the long boring bit of this story, I ended up at a point where I’d been given the phone number of a girl who was my age, cute and funny and smart. It sounded like we had a fair few things in common, and I was encouraged to contact her. I usually really respect the opinions of my friends, and whilst part of me did think it was a bit quick, a little too soon since Stacey and I had broken up, I didn’t know whether I was just being too sensitive. So I took the plunge and sent her a message. For the next few days, we text back and forth, chatting about each of our days, our university experiences, our families. It was nice. I wasn’t immediately struck with a longing to go out and marry her, but it was nice to see my phone light up and talk to someone who didn’t know me at all.

Which was all well and good, until she asked if I wanted to meet up with her. Completely uncharacteristically, I panicked. Turned my phone off, pretended I hadn’t got the message, tried to ignore it. I spent a whole lunchtime going round and round in circles with one of my closest friends; him trying to work out what it was that I was worried about, me trying to express that it all just felt like too much of a demand on me. Later, another friend laughed at that comment –

“too much? if you think that going for coffee with someone is too much, how are you ever going to date anyone ever again?” 

- and that was part of what tipped the see-saw from ‘decline’ to ‘agree’. When someone put it like that, it seemed silly. What idiot starts chatting to a girl like that and then can’t pull themselves together enough to go and meet her for a cup of coffee?

Well me, apparently.

I text her back (more than a little delayed), agreeing to meet up for a drink rather than coffee one evening. All the way there, I studiously ignored the fact that I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to go. I wasn’t nervous – on paper, the idea of meeting someone new for a drink was perfectly reasonable, and I went through the motions perfectly. Shower. Choose an outfit. Work out how long it’s going to take to get there. Take cash out. Check teeth. Remember keys. Leave house. But it didn’t really feel like it was happening to me, it felt like this story that I was telling someone; That Time That Carley Went On A Date.

Teen wolf, wine and snacks

What I really should have done; stayed home with Teen Wolf, wine and snacks

And I got there, and meet up with her and she was great, chatty and personable and interesting. We had common interests, told related stories, reminisced about university craziness and shared experiences and our favourite types of gin. The whole time, I felt detached. I don’t think it was noticeable. It certainly wasn’t awkward, but a voice in my head wouldn’t stop distracting me with a multitude of put-downs. What are you even doing here? Do you really think that this is a good idea? Anyone can see that you’re just desperately trying to fill this hole in your life with anything or anyone available. But by that point, I was there. It was too late to back out, and besides, I was having a good time, right? Stupid voice in my head aside? And you know what, it was fine. A couple of hours passed before I said I should probably head – work in the morning, better be well behaved etc – and once I left, I text her a message of thanks; non-committal, I had a nice time, thanks.

But the whole what the hell am I doing cycle started all over again a few days later, when she text me and asked if I wanted to go for dinner.

You’ll be able to read more about my cringe-worthy dating adventures whenever I’ve recovered enough to detail them; you can find them tagged ‘The Single Chronicles‘.  

Carley
St Andrews at twilight

One of my big changes this year has been how I’ve moved from Edinburgh back to St Andrews. Whilst it’s been a mostly smooth transition, there are a few things I’d forgotten about living in this little town, like how students like to shop in Tesco at 10pm. Or how there are only about five clothing shops in these three streets. Or the fact that being nestled on the east coast of Scotland means that four seasons in one day really does happen. A lot.

Twice in the last week I’ve managed to get dressed for work based on the weather outside, only to find that by the time I’m walking home in the afternoon my outfit is completely impractical. The days I wear wellies and gloves, the afternoon ends up being sunny and I would swear that spring is just around the corner. Other days I choose a cute dress and ballet pumps and get soaked by the time I leave the office. So now that payday is just around the corner, I’ve been creating a wishlist of things to buy (from places in St Andrews) that will take me from winter to spring in Scotland. (Apparently, I also have a thing for the nautical theme which is pretty big this spring – who knew?)

New Look ankle boots with gold heel

One of the most difficult things to find are shoes – St Andrews fashion seems to dictate that white Converse are de rigeur year round, but I have no desire to get cold, wet feet every time it rains just a little. I love these black boots from New Look because they’ll work right through to the summer, but I’m also a big fan of wellies. I already have a pair of black Hunters, but on dull days I get the feelings that these short and bright wellies from Joules might bring a smile to my face.

Joules red nautical style wellies

I’ve fallen a little bit in love with this lightweight, showerproof quilted jacket from joules. Before now, I’ve avoided quilted jackets because so many people in St Andrews wear them, but the details on this one are so cute. The little fox button for one, the red piping on the inside, the suede patch on one shoulder – definitely a want.

Joules Calverly Women's Coat in navy

One of my spring wardrobe staples are leggings – they’re perfect under dresses (like the black one below) for work but also great for lazy Sundays, walking along the beach. I often find leggings are overpriced but I like these paisley print leggings for under an oversized black jumper, and the plain black ones for workwear.

Jack Wills leggings collage

Continuing on with the nautical theme, these bamboo socks are brilliant. Under boots and wellies they’d be lovely and warm, but even with brogues or flats, they’re cute enough to see poking out from the bottom of smart work trousers. They’re cheap, too!

Joules bamboo nautical style socks

I’m a big fan of  this  black and pink jumper. Right now, I’d put a white shirt underneath and wear it to the office, and come the warmer days I’d totally wear  with the paisley leggings, above. I really love the hearts on the sleeves – something very poetic about them!

White Stuff black jumper with pink hearts

Now that I’m working in an office which errs on the smart side of smart casual, shirts have become favourites of mine again. I have a beautiful crisp white one from Hollister, and I think this smart blue shirt from Joules would be a great addition to my wardrobe. I love the styling on this photo too!

Joules Kingston shirt and yellow jeans

This square-collared nautical style shirt is another favourite too!Joules nautical style navy shirt

Finally, this boxy black dress is the kind of thing that I’d completely ignore if I saw it in a store, but completely fell in love with online. It’s perfect for work, but the darts under the bust make it interesting and the length means that it could be worn out after work. Especially with the black boots, above!

The White Stuff textured dress

(Looking back at this list, I’ve realised that I love the entire new collection from Joules – it’s perfect for the blustery St Andrews weather, which is all about layers and warm fabrics and muted colours. Can payday be now, please?)

Carley