5 Staple Pieces to see you through the Summer Season in style

The clocks have gone forward, the daffodils have bloomed and those chunky knits have been put away for another year – summer is officially on the way. With the classic British weather being undoubtedly inconsistent it can be difficult to fathom what to buy/wear during the season. So, with careful research, my own knowledge and passion for fashion, I have created a guide of 5 carefully picked garments, which will have you dressing like a true style icon this summer.

1. Bright Denim

Summer is the season of colour, so replace those dreary dark wash denims and black skinnies for a lighter hue. Royal blue is big this year; the bright shade will provide a bold complement to vibrant blouses or a classic finish to nautical tees. For those whom are a little more daring opt for a head turning hue such as Duck Egg green or pastel pink.

bright blue denim

2. Suitable shorts

When it hits about 23 degrees everyone seems to think they are in Barbados and suddenly shirts come off and legs are revealed. Everywhere you turn you’ll find people wandering around with their skin on show trying to soak up all the rays they can. No matter what your age or size, don’t exclude yourself from the opportunity to cool down and get a sunkissed glow; shorts are an absolute must for any summer closet. But, if you get the style wrong you could end up looking more like Liz McDonald from Coronation Street than Jennifer Aniston. Now call me rude but, I don’t care whether the gym is your second home; hotpant shorts should not be worn on anyone older than 30! I’m not saying if you have a cracking pair of pins you should be hiding them, what I’m saying is being able to remotely see any part of your bare bum is never going to be classy. If you have a slender frame, above the knee shorts are a great choice but, make sure they are long enough to only reveal your legs. For a more formal look try a tailored knee length design. If you’re of a more mature age or have a pear or apple shaped frame, stick with longer lengths and looser fits, a pair of ¾ length cargo shorts would be great during the day and chiffon style culottes for the evening.

Suitable shorts

3. The Patterned Top

This may seem like an obvious one however, choosing the right top can make or break an outfit. Summer tops tend to be vests for those who don’t have hang ups about their arms or ¾ length/short sleeves for those who do. On the S/S 2015 catwalks, pattern was highly prevalent so, if you only buy one t-shirt I would suggest it contains character. If you’re a pattern novice, then simple stripes are classic go-to to enhance any look although, if your stomach is your problem area horizontal stripes will only enhance this so, go for vertical. For those truly wanting to embrace the trend and make a striking statement, go big and go bold. Larger prints with contrasting colours are heavily featured in high street ranges, especially the increasing popular fruity fashions; lemon, strawberry and watermelon prints are the epitome of chic this year.

the patterned top

4. Complementary Sandals

Now if you’re anything like me getting your feet out is an absolute dreaded deed. Despite this fact I still own around 10 pairs, because if you want to create style envy during summer then you really can’t avoid them. The key here, as with everything else, is to pick style that suits you. If you have extremely primped feet with immaculate toes and a tan, the chances are you’ll be able to browse between every style there is and look fabulous in all. So make the most of it and invest in a standout style like knee high gladiators or a pair with an emblazoned T-bar. If however, you have almost translucent skin colouring, toes that look almost like fingers and stubby nails; the exact description of my own feet, then you most certainly don’t want attention drawn to them. While bold colours do tend to flatter paler skin tones more than neutral colours, feet complexes definitely pay homage to simple styles such as a slip-on sandal or a caged style that will hide them away. If a wide set foot is an issue then go for a classic toe post or a pair with a chunky ankle and across the foot strap. For those with beautifully dark skin, pattern and vibrant shades will always look wonderful. Heels are a sure bet for adding instant glamour, beware though lots of strutting around could result in blisters or sore heels so, if you’re planning on exploring, an embellished flat will offer the best of both worlds.

complementary sandals

5. The Versatile Jacket

Being a typical cold blooded British woman, I am all too aware that even on warmer days, a jacket can be a saviour for those sudden downpours or cooler evenings. Practicality and style can combine so, don’t sacrifice a hood or waterproof fabric for that awesome print. Trust me when I say sodden style will never set trends. A neutral shade will always provide more versatility; try earthy tones such as beige or a pale grey. If you’d rather a bit more colour in your attire then try a khaki green, pale blue or salmon pink. My advice would be to consider the other clothes you have in your collection and pick a piece that will complement them i.e. if you have a lot of vibrant or patterned t-shirts in pinks, blues or yellows, a bold coral coat is sure to work well. If you’re more of a casual dresser, a parka will always provide a great finish or you prefer to dress smart consider a trench coat or waterfall style.

The versatile jacket

– H.E. Horton

5 Top tips for helping an Eczema breakout

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First of all I will say that although I have suffered with eczema for over 20 years I am still no expert and the following are just remedies/solutions that help me, I cannot guarantee they will help you. Although I really do hope they do because I know the pain and agitation that comes with an awful flare-up. If you’re an atopic Eczema sufferer like me or even if you have dermatitis you’ll know that a lot of the time when your skin gets bad it’s normally due to an allergic reaction, whether that’s from direct contact with some unfamiliar beauty products/washing powder or a reaction to something you have eaten. Either way you’ll be experiencing burning hot skin and persistent itching, which contrary to most GP’s advice will not subside by simply putting some ‘cream on and not scratching’. The phrase ‘don’t scratch’ has to be the most loathed by any skin sufferer, it’s like people think they are suddenly providing us with some great revelation that we clearly hadn’t thought of or didn’t want to do.

1. Carry antihistamines wherever you go

My first piece of advice will be one most people are likely to have already done – take an antihistamine, now I take these daily so I don’t personally feel they prevent an allergic flare-up but I do believe they provide slight relief. Antihistamines work by blocking the histamine chemical in your body at times when this chemical has mistaken a substance as harmful and i.e. dust or pollen and essentially trying to battle it. Now if you do have eczema prone to allergic reactions these should be carried with you at pretty much all times because as you will know yourself it’s pretty hard to determine all the thousands of allergies you may have and to predict when you might react to something.

2. Calamine is calming

Over the years I have tried many different lotions, potions, tablets and remedies and the only thing that has helped me is something people tend to overlook – calamine lotion! This is used to soothe chickenpox which as you will know if you have experienced it is a very itchy condition, so why it has never been suggested to me by any medical professional for when I have an itchy flare-up is beyond me!  I literally saw this on a shelf in supermarket one day and read the back and thought ‘oh this might be good’. Since then it’s literally become my go-to! and trust me i’ve tried itch relief creams and all sorts and none of them have anything on calamine lotion. The great thing about it as well is it’s so cheap at only around £1.10 for a 200ml bottle, which is rarity for any skin related solutions. It does have one down-side though it leaves a white paste on the skin so you can’t really apply it before you go out anywhere, I tend to leave it on for as long as possible then wash it off and moisturise before I go out.

3. Keep things cool

When it’s a boiling hot day there is nothing quite as soothing as an ice cold drink right? Well the same applies to your skin when it’s irritated. Placing your creams in the fridge or freezer will make them lovely and cool on the skin, as will dabbing the area with a cold sponge or flannel. Although the water may dry out the skin when it is agitated moisturising can make it worse and sometimes it needs to really dry out first before it can then start to heal, especially with skin problems such as blistery dermatitis.

4. Rest

Again it might be really obvious to some but to others those 4 hours of sleep each night could be the exact reason a flare-up is happening. Your body heals best when you are sleeping and new skin cells grow so try having a warm bath, cover yourself in moisturiser and get a good nights sleep you may find you wake with skin that looks and feels dramatically better.

5. Learn to accept it

I totally understand the sympathy looks given when you have a bad skin flare-up and the urge to just cocoon yourself into your room/house. However you’ll only end up getting upset about it and stressed still which in-turn will make the situation worse. So try to just accept that it’s just a bad patch and most people have skin related issues, yes they will have noticed so would you if you saw someone with a skin complaint, but also try to remember after that 1 second glance you look past it and forget it. So just get on with your day-to-day get out in the fresh air and enjoy yourself a happier you will heal far easier.

– H.E. Horton

Image sources: 




The digital age

It’s 7pm on a Saturday evening and you’ve taken the kids out for a meal to get some quality family time; sounds delightful right? Well, picture the entire evening spent watching not only your children but your other half staring into their phone screen, getting snaps of their food to post for all to envy and taking selfies displaying what a thoroughly fun evening they’ve had ignoring one another. This is the digital era and if you’re not a part of it then you may as well get used to the fact your only conversation could be with yourself or the waiter/waitress.

With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+, LinkedIn, Viber and Youtube to name only a few, it’s pretty fair to say communication is now mainly done digitally. So what does this mean for you business owners? Well in a nutshell it means multichannel strategies must be paramount.

Whether you sell online or not you need to be promoting your business digitally. Gone are the days of relying on leaflets, direct mail, and telephone calls to intrigue prospective audiences, increase return buyers or gain service feedback. Don’t get me wrong these more traditional types of communication should still be used, because some audiences – particularly the more mature age range will prefer these methods. However if you want to widen your reach you need to be evolving your digital tool use and the first port of call should be social media.

Social media may be an uncontrollable communication platform but it’s one of the most powerful tools you can use to gain a vast reach in a short space of time. Just look at the ‘no make-up selfie’ campaign which raised millions for Cancer Research in a matter of days, including receiving numerous celebrity endorsements. Now I’m not saying if you create a social media account you can achieve the success of such campaigns straight away, but you will be able to allow a wider audience to see your business at no extra cost (other than the staff who control it).

If you do a little research you’ll see that Facebook is the most popular social media platform and you’re also likely to discover that it’s not just the big corporations that have a Facebook business page. A large proportion of SME’s and freelance workers now operate a Facebook business page too. It can be a totally free platform to use, it’s enormously popular; with the right post Facebook ‘shares’ could get someone in a totally different region to discover you or your business and it’s easy to use just click here to see how simple it is to get started.

There is so much more which could be said about the importance of social media and how to effectively use it, but I think I’ll save that for another day. For now my advice would be to boast using posts.

– H.E. Horton

“A picture is worth a thousand words” – the power of Instagram

Instagram image 2

According to Techcrunch Instagram is the fastest growing social media network globally, increasing its users by 23% in 6 months during 2014. This Facebook owned platform is one all social media lovers are taking to, to post visuals of their lives.

So how can it help you grow your business?

Whether you’re showcasing your latest product range or creating business lifestyle envy people love visuals. Now as a writer it pains me to say this but words can overwhelm people and lengthy text can be particularly off-putting to some. Which is why Instagram is preferred because all you need to do is load up your camera take a snap and upload it…well that’s the theory of it but the principle is somewhat different. People do love visuals but they love aesthetically appealing illustrations, so I’ve created the following 3 top tips to get you thinking like a photographer and encourage people to hit that ‘like’ button.

1. The Lighting

Dull lighting leads to drab imagery, so try to use natural lighting or switch on a lamp if you’re taking the snaps inside. You want the detail to stand-out in your images so if you can’t really see it when you’re taking the photograph consider moving the object within a close parameter of a light or take the snaps outside where you’ll also get more picturesque scenery.

Quick technology tip: For iPhone users tap the part of the screen where you want the camera to focus and this should automatically adjust the lighting too. You can also adjust the lighting within tools part of Instagram – just look for the icon which looks a bit like a wrench (it’s on the same upload page where you can select a filter).

2. The Saturation

Vibrancy brings photographs to life and displays all the beautiful hues within the imagery – unless of course you’re opting for monochrome photography or sepia. Try to pick vivid coloured objects for your imagery or place your products onto a neutral or contrasting coloured background to make them really standout.

Quick technology tip: If you haven’t quite got your saturation right when you’ve taken the image this can also be adjusted in the tools section of Instagram; just beware not to overdo the colour boost, small adjustments can make a big impact!

3. The focal point

Now in photography terms this means the part of the image your camera will be focussing on when taking the image. However the question I want you to be asking yourself here is – what is it you want the audience’s attention to be on? If you’re a multi level marketer promoting your working lifestyle then make sure you’re thinking about what you want the viewer to envy about that particular image? If you’re promoting a product then think about its positioning; are you placing it in front of lots of other objects, which could distract the eye? Could you create interesting lines or shapes within the frame using the other objects? There’s a handy tool in the Instagram settings called ‘tilt shift’ which allows you to select the focal point and effectively blur the surrounding part of the frame giving an illusion of a shallow depth of field.

Quick photography tip: Photographers usually work in the rule of thirds, imagine your photograph is broken up into thirds both horizontally and vertically which would mean you have 9 squares. Now try to position points of interest along one of those lines or intersecting points, for landscape photography, paths or horizons can look particularly effective when placed along one of those lines.

Instagram image

– H.E. Horton


If you don’t believe it you won’t achieve it

As you may have noticed by reading a few of my other posts, I like to centre my quotes around PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). This is how I like to think I live my life; for the most part anyway!

So I’ve created the following few tips on how to gain a better outlook on life:

1. Don’t Overthink Things

We are all guilty of doing this from time to time, I definitely am! Overthinking just leads down a path of anxiety, stress or guilt. If your boss emails you asking you to attend a meeting later that day, do not sit at your desk going over every possible thing you may or may not have done to warrant said meeting. You’ll lose focus on your work and you’re likely to make yourself feel unwell through worry which is more than likely over a routine 1-2-1. This is a classic example of a situation you can’t control, which leads me onto my first quote.

“Don’t waste precious time worrying over a situation you have no control of you’ll only end up regretting it.”

2. Don’t let one negative event destroy your positivity

When you’ve really psyched yourself up for something and it doesn’t go according to plan it’s often all too easy to slip into a negative outlook, “I fell over in front of him, he won’t want to see me again.” “I didn’t get the job, no one is ever going to hire me.” “I failed my test, I’ll never be good enough.” Any of those sound familiar?   It’s understandable to feel embarrassed, frustrated or upset should one of those events occur, but the key is to not let those feelings shape your future views about the situations. Yes you did trip a little but you’re only human, we’ve all done it and if he doesn’t call because of that then he clearly wasn’t worth investing anymore with anyway. Yes it really does suck that you didn’t get that job but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t see your potential, keep applying your dream career awaits. Yes it really is devastating that you worked so hard and didn’t get the grade you wanted but get feedback, figure out where you went wrong and learn from it, your perseverance will pay off.

“Life will throw you curveballs, it’s up to you if you knock them back out of the park or get hit and crumble.”

3. Envision it to acquire it.

This is possibly my most important tip for developing a positive mental attitude, it’s based upon the premise of ‘see it to believe it’ and is a mindset I have come to use since watching this video. If you’re sat there right now thinking “I always think positively and nothing I imagine ever happens to me”, well now try to visualise your wants, can you see them clearly in your mind? If at this point if your answer is no or, yes I can see it happening but I can’t see my face etc. the chances are you don’t actually believe it. So, if you don’t believe it how can you ever expect to achieve it?

“See the positive to achieve the positive.”

Do you have any other tips that have helped you or a story regarding how you have changed your life outlook? Leave a comment below I’d love to hear your feedback.

Have a great week, back soon with more quotes and posts.

– H.E. Horton

You have to be grateful for what you have in life before you can achieve more

So last week I attended a Forever Living business conference where a number of women stood up and spoke about their reasons for starting multi level marketing. One thing I noticed about their stories was that although so many of these women had faced some extremely tough challenges in their lives, non of them resented their past or held onto anger about their bad life experiences. They all valued the lessons they had learnt from those hurdles and had managed to turn negative situations into positive futures. Life may not be as you expect now and yes you may have to face some pretty tough times but you have to try and remain positive about everything you still have to be happy and grateful for.

Happiness quote

– H.E. Horton

Back to reality

After an amazing 10 days on holiday I returned back to reality this week feeling fully refreshed. Following days spent getting lost in the words of John Grisham and dissipating the bustling noises of children playing in the pool and evenings spent enjoying cocktails and conversations, I decided I would return to blogging with a quote inspired by a man who always brings sunshine into my life. DSC_3862 copy

– H.E. Horton

Always challenge yourself

During the past few weeks I have been involved in an exciting writing project which has required me to produce copy for a totally different sector than I am used to. I’ve loved being able to seclude myself in a corner with nothing but a blank page on my Macbook, especially when I’m writing for one my favourite platforms. Feature writing is one of my favourite styles of content as I’m being given the task of telling someone else’s story and for this particular project I had the challenge of writing 8. Two weeks later and the whole lot are complete – 15 days before deadline, I just got utterly caught up and couldn’t stop myself going onto the next, then before I knew it all 8 were finished. I am exceedingly glad I chose to work in this manner as I am now about to jet off for a break in the sun feeling a sense of accomplishment and being able to relax a little without feeling too guilty about everything else I could be doing, other than sitting with a sangria watching the waves.

‘There is no greater feeling of elation than the one which comes from discovering your own credibility.’

Time management

Being stuffed-up with sinusitis has meant getting my work done this weekend was a slight fail. I only managed to accomplish 1 feature and 650 words of an assignment, which is minimal considering the last assignment I handed in was over 5000 words.

Complete exhaustion has taken over recently and I have realised you can have all the determination in the world but there are only 24 hours in a day. So I have resorted to downloading an to-do list app (The Wunderlist – for those who are wondering which I use) and some serious consideration of what should take priority. When you’re working full-time, studying part-time, training for performances and undertaking voluntary work, things can get beyond hectic and it’s ever so easy to get lost in a haze about what you need to do for whom and when. So, my advice to anyone struggling to find a work life balance would be to organise your time and learn to say no and by this I don’t mean say no to fantastic opportunities; they should be a main priority, I mean say no to the smaller things like helping plan a dinner, or baking your sister a birthday cake. The latter may seem pretty harsh but those who love you and understand how much you have on will understand your need to alter the normal schedule for a period of time and won’t expect you to be as involved as you would be normally. Never feel you need to justify your actions to anyone and never feel guilty for being the ‘no man’ and becoming a little selfish, it’s your life, it’s your career and it’s not forever!


– H.E. Horton

MHAW – Mental Health Awareness Week

This isn’t a topic I am 100% comfortable discussing, in fact I have typed and re-typed posts for this a number of times. However I know that talking about my situation could help others and prevent others from feeling alone, so to put it bluntly I’ve decided to suck it up and be brutally honest about my week this week. So here goes…this week is mental health awareness week, which is pretty ironic because as a previous battler of anxiety, mine resurfaced slightly this past 7 days, but if I’m being completely truthful here it’s been lurking around me for a while. Over the past 4 days, due to a health problem I have been battling to prevent my anxiety from coming back, my fear of eating was beginning to come back and my emotions were extremely high. The constant tense muscles and increased heart rate has been utterly wearing me out. Now I know this may sound ridiculous to some because I understand when anxiety is at it’s worst you cannot just simply do this but I decided to say no to the anxiety. I forced myself to eat, I’ve decided to cut-out caffeine for now as this is known to make anxiety worse and I’ve been doing some relaxation yoga to try and focus my breathing. Now I’m not saying it’s just going to disappear again with the blink of an eye but I am taking positive steps to try and prevent it from getting any worse. This slight blip has made me realise just how petrified I am of becoming the person I used to be and just how much of a battle living with a condition such as anxiety can be. I have been at a stage where I felt completely depleted before, where every normal task in the day felt like a sheer struggle and I know how alone and terrifying it can be to feel as if you have lost all control of your mental state, to want to be the person you were but have no idea how to get there. I had counselling, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, tough love and none of it worked. For me university saved me, socialising with others, actually getting drunk, learning to let go of the tension and mostly facing situations I was afraid of and discovering I was going to be alright. But I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m some patron of anxiety sufferers because if I’m going to be entirely honest here then the one crucial thing I have realised recently is I haven’t learnt to accept myself as an anxiety sufferer.  I have always tried to battle it as if I’m weak for being that person. I’ve had an outlook that I should just be able to deal with everything and be fine, others do why can’t I? As I sit here and type all this I’m beginning to see things a little differently.  I know that being an anxiety sufferer isn’t something we choose to be and it certainly isn’t a weakness, those who battle such mental health issues or any mental health issues for that matter are some of the bravest and strongest people. A lot of people may see anxiety or mental health issues in a negative way – hell even me an anxiety sufferer did – but if I hadn’t have been through it I would not be the person I am today. I would not have the strong will I have, nor the determination or the belief that I can achieve my dreams, because when you’ve been an anxiety sufferer somehow nothing seems so impossible anymore. So let’s stop the mental health stigma, we are always taught to be ourselves because that is the most beautiful version of us and I choose to say I am an anxiety sufferer.  Mental health isn’t something to fear, through acceptance you can find peace, so show some support for all those brave people out there fighting battles with mental health everyday, because trust me if you ever found yourself in that situation you’ll realise just how cruel it is to judge others and how grateful you are to have support.

I’d love to hear your stories and get your opinions on mine, so leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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– HE Horton