Under Construction

I'm working on a bit of a re-brand for on-thebias, so keep your eyes peeled (ew) for a bit of a change in very early 2016!
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I Launched a (very glittery) Business! | Life Etc.

a monthly subscription box for diy and crafting projects effie box
If you follow me on social media, chances are, you've probably seen the overwhelming excitement that's been bubbling over on my twitter, instagram, and facebook pages; I've started (co-founded) a business!

Effie Box is a new, fun, pretty amazing (I am not biased, at all), hassle-free, glitter-filled DIY subscription box service, which allows megababes (that's you!) to get crafty with monthly boxes in the post.
Basically, Effie Box is a monthly subscription box (think Birchbox or Glossybox), filled with everything you need to complete a different (surprise) crafty project, every month. You don't have to be a DIY goddess, and you don't have to have a stash of crafting supplies lurking around the house. Everything you need is right there, in the box.

I'm so excited to finally be sharing this with you all, it's been quite a long time coming, and I really hope it'll be something that some of you will be interested in; I know there's a tonne of creativity in the blogging community, so I'm excited to hear some feedback if any of you do subscribe!
You can read a little more about Effie Box over on the brand blog, or subscribe for just £8/month, here - do it before the 31st of July, and you'll be getting the first-ever Effie Box in the first couple of weeks of August!
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Floral Letter DIY | Make It

Flowers are my favourite thing about the warmer months; nothing beats having a fresh arrangement sitting on your nightstand, or the gorgeous floral notes that greet you as you open your front door. 
Having said that, spring/summer never seem to last long here in London, and the first chill of autumn tends to move in pretty quickly, taking all the fresh flora with it. 
Luckily for those of us who can't quite beat the post-bloom blues, though, artificial flowers are making one heck of a comeback, at the moment, and the options are ever-growing. Whilst they'll never have that smell, they are a lot more versatile than their natural counterparts; which means those of thus who have the crafting bug (read: addiction) can have a floral fix in our decor, no matter the weather. 
I spotted these wooden letters on a trip to Hobbycraft a few weeks ago, and knew it would be the perfect home for some artificial blooms, but you could just as easily use an empty shoebox or old container if you wanted to. 
The other supplies you'll need are tissue paper and PVA glue to cover the outside (I used Decopatch papers and Matte Modge Podge, because I already had some going spare, but generic brands will work just as well), and some artificial flowers and dry oasis to fill the shape. (I got my dry oasis here and usually get my artificial flowers at a local market or from Hobbycraft, here). 
The first step is covering whichever shape you're filling, although you could always paint it or leave it plain. If you are using tissue, like I did, though, you'll want to start by tearing each piece into rectangles about an inch wide. Once you've done this, it's time to embrace your inner wannabe 'Art Attack' presenter, and coat the whole thing in glue before applying the strips of tissue however you'd like onto the outside of your shape. Just remember to coat the whole thing in glue to finish it, when you're done. 
Once you've covered the shape, and it's completely dry, it's time for the fun (and messy!) bit - filling it in! The easiest way to do this for an abstract shape, like mine, is to press the shape into the block of dry oasis, as far down as it'll go, and use this as a template; then, all you have to do is use a craft knife to cut out chunks of the oasis to fit your shape!
Make sure you pack your oasis nice and tightly into your shape, so it doesn't go anywhere - as long as there are no huge gaps, you won't need any glue to hold it in place. Once it's all in there, it's time to get creative with your flowers: I opted to buy hydrangeas and azaleas, as there tend to be more small blooms on each stem, but this is obviously completely up to you, and if you're buying online, don't forget to check whether the stems are wire or not - I have wire cutters at home, but trying to separate blooms from their wire stems without these would not be a pleasant experience!
As far as arranging the blooms, I recommend just picking a colour scheme, snipping a bunch of individual flowers, and going for trial and error - the great thing about the dry oasis is that you can take the flowers out and move them around as much as you need to, so just keep playing around until you get something you like!
Are you planning on trying this DIY? As always, feel free to get in touch if you do, I love seeing completed projects!
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Entry-Level Feminist: Must-Reads | My Bookshelf


The word 'feminism' is being thrown around popular culture, and in the media, a lot, lately, and it seems to be dividing a lot more people than it unites. Personally, I've referred to myself as a feminist since studying it during my A-Levels, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm not particularly educated on the subject; with the constant debate that seems to follow the word around, it can be a little difficult to know where to begin.

Naturally, I took to social media for advice on the subject, and, between Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, I managed to throw myself together a pretty comprehensive list of 'feminist reads', and, to save you the trouble, I've thrown together a quick list of the absolute 'must-reads' that really formed my 'feminism starter-kit'.

Bad Feminist | Roxane Gay: 
I knew I had to have this as soon as I read the synopsis on amazon; is it possible to identify as a feminist, but still have a shameless love of rap music, even when it dehumanises women? Can I be a 'good feminist' even though I love low-brow action movies, even when all the female characters are two-dimensional, at best? This book covers all of that, and more, as well as posing some questions I'd never even thought to ask: why do I even care if I'm likeable or not?
Buy it, here.

How to be a Woman | Caitlin Moran:
This is probably one of my favourite books, ever. Whilst I won't pretend to agree with everything Moran suggests (I like being hair-free, thank you very much), her no-nonsense approach to so many of the 'big issues' (as well as the smaller issues facing young women) is nothing short of awe-inspiring. 'How to be a Woman' is provocative, and forces you to start forming your own opinions and values.

Buy it, here.

Men Explain Things to Me | Rebecca Solnit:
This was a bit of a hit-and-miss read, for me; whilst Solnit made some very thought-provoking points and observations, it was littered with essays which felt a little bit...ethnocentric, I suppose. Highlighting the feminist values in the work of Virginia Woolfe, for example, is educating, but only really hits home for true Woolfe fans (which I'll admit, I'm not). I had to include it in the list, though, if only for the title essay, and the 'eureka' moment it gave me.

Buy it, here.

We Should All be Feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
'We Should All be Feminists' is an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 2013 Tedx talk of the same name, and explores why the word 'feminist' has become a dirty word in the current climate - and why it should be one we're proud to associate with. She highlights how much gender still influences much of our day-to-day lives, and references her own experiences, both in her native Nigeria and in the US, which is a real eye-opener. Whether you've seen the Tedx talk or not, I'd recommend giving this a read. 

Buy it, here.
Don't forget to follow me on Goodreads (here) if you'd like a little more of a glimpse into what's on my bookshelf!
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2015: The Goals

Yep, it's another 'new year, new goals' kind of post. I'm hoping you all love having a nose at other people's aims for the new year as much as I do, and that you're not all sick of them, by now!
2014 was a pretty amazing year, for me; it was the year I graduated, reconnected with old friends, moved back to London, and started not one, but two new jobs...and, frankly, it's been one of the best (and hardest!) years of my life. Having said that, I'm making it my mission to improve everything for 2015, and keep going upwards. The best way to do that? Goals, goals, goals!
Life Goals:
1. Settle on an actual career goal. Whether it be in psychology, or merchandising, whatever...just research everything.
2. Travel to 3 new places. Whether it's cities, countries, or towns, abroad or in the UK, make 2015 the year you see more. 
3. Spend more non-work time with friends. Working late nights and being on your feet all day can be exhausting, but you'll feel better if you make more time for the people you care about. 
4. Read 30 books. 25 is my personal record.
5. Start eating meat again. Being anaemic is tough enough when you have iron in your diet, let alone when you don't. 
6. Save 50% of your pay check. Having a little money in the bank is never a bad thing. 
7. Step out of your comfort zone a little more. Most of the time, that's where the best things happen. 
8. Start journaling. It'll be nice to look over your life, in a couple of years' time. 
9. Go to at least 3 gigs. And remember to save the tickets!
10. Take more photographs. Instagram, Polaroids, fancy DSLR pictures, it all counts. 
Blog Goals:
1. Have a blog makeover. New domain, new banner, new design. 
2. Stay on top of blog emails. Working so much has meant that I haven't been able to dedicate as much time to my blog as I'd like, and I really need to manage my time a little better. 
3. Participate in #bbloggers and #lbloggers more. They nearly always clash with my work rotas or my travel time, but I can tweet on the bus home, right?
4. Branch out, into more 'lifestyle' posts. I already dabble in recipes, but I'd like to post a few more snapshots of the other things I get up to (when I'm not working, that is)! 
5. Start going to blogging events, again. See all the complaints about my work schedule. 
6. Get back into YouTube videos. I've dabbled a bit, on my channel, but I really haven't kept up with it, lately. Maybe 2015 will be the year of YouTube for me...!
What are your goals for 2015? Do you love reading over other peoples' goals as much as I do?
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