five tips #4: Going on a date

A couple of weeks ago saw me going on my first proper date. When I say proper, this means I went for a meal. Stereotypically, I think a proper date involves a meal. Although I feel very awkward so prefer doing something else. Remember when I went to the zoo on a date a while back? That was my favourite! I gathered a lot of people are in the same boat as I was i.e what do i wear, where should we go, should we kiss etc. Well, here's my five tips to a first real date.

You may remember me tweeting whether I should wear red lipstick or not. Red lipstick is my statement and everyone knows me for it. I have worn it near enough every single day for the past three years and have never looked back. It's got to the point where I look DEAD without it and slightly uncomfortable and not as confident. Your tweeted replies were 50/50. A mixture of you said yes to wearing it as it was a part of 'me', and the other half said no as it was 'too much' and I should wear something natural. I wore my classic red lip and I felt happy with my decision to truly be myself.

I had no idea what to wear either. I was debating on wearing my disco pants after asking fellow bloggers for a bit of advice. Again, a mixture of replies. Some said yes as they are great for showing off a figure and some said no as they are too 'tight' for a first date. Being in such a pickle, I resulted to shopping. I bought a really pretty coral lace dress with a peter-pan collar and some black flatform shoes (both featured in my week in photos here). I'm not at all girly and didn't want my date to think I was, as the image of me he would be seeing wouldn't exactly be 'me'.. if that makes any sense?! Either way, it rained that day, so I wore disco pants and a blouse with my Topshop studded vectras. I felt comfortable with how I was dressed all day and don't regret the outfit I chose.

2) "I'll pay!"
A typical date that goes well consists of letting the guy pay (stereotypically). I mean, this is all personal preference and it's all down to the girl. Personally, I was brought up to pay my own debts, just out of common courtesy. Even though my date offered, I still paid for my meal and drinks. I felt content and less awkward and it can definitely never be thrown in my face!

3) Don't expect too much:
Getting my hopes up is something I always do. It's rare that a first date will lead to a relationship that lasts forever. You have to go through a lot of bad dates to find the perfect one. This is something I need to remember! A good date will lead to a second date and maybe even a third!

4) Prepare for awkward silences:
This is something I was definitely afraid of. I don't think it really happened but I prepared for it by thinking of ice-breaker questions.

5) The next day/kiss goodnight:
I don't think there is any right or wrong answer to the question 'should i call/text him first?'. However, I HATE feeling like I'm being ignored so after my date, I text first. I got a reply which was good. If you don't hear from the guy/girl again then don't worry about it too much. You may feel a little down at first but the feeling of rejection will soon go away, when you realise you was far too good for them anyway!
As for a kiss goodnight, I don't think there's anything wrong with it but I do think if it's to happen, then the guy should start it off; true gentleman style.

If you're heading on any dates soon, then good luck! Just be yourself and you will be fine :)
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This is a scheduled post as I am currently on holiday until the 1st August. Thank you for any comments. I will reply to everything, including my emails when I am back. Until then! ^_^ A x

Mark Pedder Photography

Mark Pedder Photography

These were shot all the way back in March! I have no idea why I haven't blogged them already but after going through folders on my laptop, I thought I would share them with you!

Mark is a fellow photographer who was on my course, who I will also be studying alongside when we start our degree in September. He is a lot more experienced than I am and has worked with Photography for years. He is based in East London and shoots a wide variety of work. He is constantly looking for new models to feature in his work and most of the time it's free! All his information is below.

My style is constantly changing. At the time, I was heavily inspired by the 1950's pin up look and this was my influenced style for a number of months. When Mark asked me to model, I wasn't too sure whether or not to go for it. I'm not exactly the most confident of people. I definitely don't stand a chance in the modelling industry (lol). Shall definitely stick to the taking photos side of things! Unfortunately, there was dust on the negatives when scanned in which explains the little odd marks on the photos, but this can be fixed when re-scanned!

We hired out a 50's diner for the location which really put the cherry on top for the theme! All these were shot in film if anyone is wondering. I styled the shoot myself, including the outfits and makeup (although i'm rubbish with hair so didn't bother doing much with it!). It was a really fun day and I was even treated to a gigantic strawberry milkshake as a thank you!

If you are interested in modelling for Mark, don't hesitate in contacting him. He is super friendly and I will probably assist him! He is yet to get a website up and once he does I will no doubt feature another little post on his work. (:
Contact Mark Pedder via:
Twitter | Email:
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This is a scheduled post as I am currently on holiday until the 1st August. Thank you for any comments. I will reply to everything, including my emails when I am back. Until then! ^_^ A x

Happy 1st birthday ASHLLYD!

image credit - edited by me

Today marks my blog's very first birthday and I am so excited. I know it's only a blog but I've been writing, scheduling and posting blog posts for ONE WHOLE YEAR! My blog is something I work very hard on and I am very proud of it. When I get asked that awkward question, "so tell me a little bit about yourself"; I always mention my little blog because it's such a huge part of my life.

I have always enjoyed writing and reading for as long as I can remember. English at school was always my strongest point and I think this is the main explanation behind my reasons for deciding to run a blog. 

Well where am i a whole year later?
In a year, my little space on the internet has developed over 800 solid followers on different platforms and over 220,000 all time page views. Amazing! I am grateful for every person who reads everything I write and every person who has then clicked 'follow'. I know a lot of people have followed ASHLLYD from the very beginning so thank you so much! Nothing makes me more happier than coming home from a long day at work and sitting down to read and reply to comments/emails.

My blog layout has changed 23438944 times (slightly exaggerated). I know this may bother some people, but as somebody who adores photography, art and design, I like change! I am always messing about with my coding and changing bits and bobs about; half the time you probably won't even recognise any changes. The design up at the moment was installed earlier this month and is something that will remain ASHLLYD's makeup for a while. I'm actually really happy with it. (I say this now, but it'll no doubt probably change by the next time you visit my blog!).

Sadly, there's not a 'one year birthday giveaway' as I have featured a few giveaways over the year but I will always run little ones in the future. I like to celebrate reaching certain milestones. My next one will probably be when I reach 1000 GFC followers!

Well, I hope you can join me next year. Blogging is not something I am thinking of giving up (ever) any time soon. I just want to say one more huge thank you to all my readers. It means an awful lot to me (:
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This is a scheduled post as I am currently on holiday until the 1st August. Thank you for any comments. I will reply to everything, including my emails when I am back. Until then! ^_^ A x

five tips #3: Starting college

Starting college is never an easy thing. I started sixth form when I left school. I took on four subjects; Sociology, Psychology, Photography and Art. It all became too much and cutting a long story short, I decided to drop out around 5-6 months into it; April 2010. Photography has always been something I've had a strong passion for so I decided to re-apply for college to start later that year; September 2010. This meant that the people in my year and the same age as me were a year in front of me.

Starting college was as expected. I was stupidly nervous and felt sick all week before I was due to start. I am far from being a confident person (I wish I was). I am incredibly shy and I knew starting at a place where I knew nobody would be quite hard for me. 

The first week:
The first day involved introducing myself to everybody in an incredibly awkward circle and then collecting my timetable stating the days I would need to be in for the rest of the year. That's all I remember doing so not bad for a first day, huh? The second day was the most nerve-racking. We were introduced to the second years (they were the same age as me!) and had to play a game of 'speed dating'. This involved us first years sitting on a chair and every second year sitting in front of us for a quick one minute chat. What's your name? What  music do you like? Why have you chosen to study Photography? What do you hope to get out of it?
I absolutely hated every second of it but looking back at it now, it was a great way to find people that I had things in common with.

1) Be yourself:
There is nothing worse than someone who tries too hard to fit in with a certain group of people. You should be proud of who you are and what you've grown up to be. It's often very obvious when someone is trying to be like someone else so just avoid doing that. People will accept you for you and if they don't.. well, they're not worth it.

2) Dress how you normally would:
This is similarly linked to point 1. Fashion is a way of expressing yourself. You should never worry what people are going to think. Just wear whatever you want and be confident. It sounds harder than what it is, but walking in on your first day dressed how you would normally dress will make people think you're somewhat 'brave' and original. My fashion sense is constantly changing. Of course you will look back at some of the things you decided to wear and cringe; everyone does that! I think on my first day I wore a denim mini skirt and maroon tights... YES, MAROON TIGHTS! However, at the end of the day, I was just being me.

3) Be polite, smile & ask questions:
Being polite doesn't need instructions. I am self-diagnosed with chronic bitchface so I'm not smiley smiley every single second of every single minute of every single hour for the whole day. I don't think anyone is? However, I smile at people often and I think that's all that matters. When engaging in conversation with someone, ask lots of questions! This is a great way of finding out things about people and creating friendships that will last you throughout college or even longer!

4) Be ready for rejection, competition and bitchy fallouts:
I'm the worst person to come to for 'friendship advice'. I have never kept a solid group of friends for various reasons. For the first few months of college, I had quite a wide group of 'friends' (or let's just call them people I hung out with?). However, after months of getting to know people, personalities shine and true colours start to come through. I saw people for who they really were and people saw me as possibly, boring? Now I've finished college, I wouldn't say I made one good friend out of the whole experience. Of course there are people I spoke to, but it was nothing more. I don't know about competition in other subjects, but in any creative subject, people are always in the game of 'competition'. I kept my head down and got on with my work and it's paid off as I got top marks. Don't get me wrong though! Making friends is great, but it wasn't that important to me.

5) Do more than what you're asked of:
I don't know if this will come across as 'geeky' to some people but what the hell. Every brief that was issued to me at college was always completed and handed in either on the deadline or a week before it was due. I always researched into more than what the brief asked me to and I always did 3/4 test shoots before the final photoshoot. See your work as a journey. It's fun to look back on stuff from start to finish and see how things progressed. There was also a few opportunities throughout my two years that I was personally asked to carry out. Not only was this an absolute pleasure, but it was a great way for me getting recognition in other parts of the college and to people outside of college.

I now have to take my own advice as I am starting University in September. I'm super nervous but really excited! I hope this has helped!

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This is a scheduled post as I am currently on holiday until the 1st August. Thank you for any comments. I will reply to everything, including my emails when I am back. Until then! ^_^ A x

Sister's Prom

Yesterday saw my little sister's prom and I have never felt so proud. Louise is the one in red! She went with her two best friends in a taxi that our neighbour kindly provided and drove, decorated with ribbons to match the colours of the dresses. I took some photos, cos I'm such an awesome big sister and will be getting them printed for the mum's to keep. There are loads more but I felt these were the best! It's weird to think my prom was THREE years ago! Here's what I looked like if anyone's wondering ^_^.
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Off to Cyprus tonight so will be unable to reply to any comments/emails for the next two weeks. I am back on the 1st August. I have a few posts scheduled for the next fortnight but I won't be able to advertise them on twitter/facebook, so if you're an avid reader, check my blog for new posts! I hope everyone has a lovely next two weeks! I will be revealing my giveaway winner on Twitter tonight and I'll contact the winner directly via email! There's still time to enter! A x

Two weeks in photos: 2nd - 14th july 2012

Whale jokes part 1 · Whale jokes part 2 · First Dominos order (impressed) · Clubbing outfit  (shorts Topshop & shirt c/o Oasap) · Models own purchases · Chicken salad · Baby face! · New blog design July 2012 · Camo jacket (bought from a blog sale) · Planned outfit for the weekend (rain ruined everything) · New bag and shoes (both primark) · Rainy UK summer · Had my hair cut · Models own/hed kandi 'hedonist' · Date night · Saturday's journey planner · Wonka treats · More treats · Even more treats!
001: Another two weeks in photos post this Sunday as I didn't collect enough together for a post last week.

002: Re-designed my blog again. It's looking how I've wanted it to look from the very start. I'm so happy with it. Hopefully it's a lot easier to navigate around?! Do let me know below!

003: Visited the Cyber Candy shop in Covent Garden yesterday, which was a mission to find at first (come out of the station, turn right to where the street entertainers are, turn right at the indoor market place, keep walking till you get to the Tesco's express and it's on the right next door to the 'snog' shop). IT'S ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The oreo ~meets~ milka chocolate has kinda already been eaten and I wish I had bought loads of it. The grape fanta is a little weird, but a nice weird? I'm not keen on the pretzel m&m's though. I've never had a pretzel in my life so no idea why I picked them up, but I didn't realise they would be salty and sweet at the same time!?

004: I'm off to Cyprus on Wednesday (7am flight!) so I won't be around to reply to comments and emails until I get back to the UK on the 1st August. I hate the thought of abandoning my little blog for two weeks so I have scheduled a few blog posts which will be posted throughout the fortnight. I'm really excited more than ever! I couldn't go on the family holiday last year as I couldn't get the time off of work so I think I am the most excited out of everyone. Cannot wait to get back and blog all the photos.. possibly a week's worth of posts? I know I will have loads to show you!

005: My giveaway ends Tuesday! Enter here!
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REDROCK blogger competition

featured redrock item: shorts
top · hi-tops · polish · lipstick

I first heard about REDROCK via their competitions they run through Twitter. I recently saw that they have a fab new competition running for fashion bloggers. If you want the chance to win a bag of REDROCK goodies, all you have to do is choose one or more items from either their website or ASOS marketplace page, show us how you would style it and write a little bit about the outfit!

I have chosen to feature one item; the floral drawstring shorts. They have one of the most exciting patterns! I'm an absolute sucker for anything ~90s~ so I've really enjoyed putting together a dream outfit. I like the fact they have a drawstring as they will be slightly more flattering around the waist area, and obviously scream out summer (when we finally get around to having one this year!). As they're very statement, I knew straight away I wanted to pair them with a crop top. After searching around, I came across this cropped halterneck top which is so pretty! I love the fit around the boobage area. I really like the clash between ~90s meets 50s~.  The hi-tops are something I would most definitely pick up and buy straight away, but sadly I haven't seen them in any Topshop stores lately *sobs*. I think they add a little more edginess to the whole outfit, especially because they're studded... and it's just a bonus the gold studs match the halterneck's gold buttons!

What do you think of this outfit? I love it!
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five tips: #2 Surviving a break-up

I'm still new to the experience of breaking up with a boyfriend so I wasn't too sure whether to include this in my new little feature, but hey ho, I'm going in!

1) Cry loads and watch soppy movies within the first two weeks:
This is exactly what I did. From the likes of 'The Notebook' (probably the best but worst film to watch at such a time) and Jennifer Aniston's, 'The Break Up' which is probably the best one to watch as it reminded me I am better off without a man like that in my life! Don't worry about your figure. Eat lots of junk food, with a million calories. It doesn't matter about the calories, just keep on eating. I think I must have eaten about 148971234 Twirl bites pouches. Buy cheesy nachos and only share with family and friends.

2) Spend time with the people who mean the most:
I know this sounds so cheesy, but it literally is sooo true. I lived in my room for a whole month. I was in a very dark place and I have never felt like that in my whole life before. I regret spending so long by myself as looking back at it all now, I have lost out on a month's quality time with my family. I'm not really one for "going out", mainly because as soon as I left school, I got into a relationship and that's how life has been up until almost five months ago. However, one day I thought ya know what, I'm going out! I went out with some friends and life was grand.

3) Throw yourself into something you love:
Breaking up with my ex was unfortunately around the time my University interviews were scheduled and final projects were due. Looking back at it now, which is kinda weird as it still wasn't that long ago, I really do regret letting him get to me and get in the way of my college work. I remember waking up one day after missing three weeks solid of college and thinking 'I can't go on like this any longer'. I unfortunately had to face my biggest fear; seeing him in college and I think that was a big reason behind me refusing to leave my room and attend college. However, I attended. I remember it being a Wednesday. I got in for 9am, walked past his classroom and got on with my day. I caught up on loads of work and felt simply, great. Since that day, I threw myself back into my college studies and spent a couple of weeks on my final major project, which was fortunately around the area I grew up in which meant I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. Photography is the one subject I have adored for years and the thought of failing at something I love just because of a person who doesn't care and has no feelings really scares me. I nearly let him ruin everything for me.

4) Listen to happy music:
I remember Olivia telling me on twitter a few days after I broke up with him to listen to Beyonce's album. I have never really been into Beyonce. After listening to her album for the first time, it was something I continued to listen to non-stop. All her songs are about being an independent, powerful woman which is what us women are! We don't need any man to depend on (even though it feels like the world's going to end at first). AVOID SAD, DEPRESSING BREAK UP MUSIC. I went through a phase of listening to End of the road over and over again (cheesy!) until someone told me to stop. Listen to Joe Brooks. He's not that well known but his album is so beautiful. You will know what I mean when you listen to his music, but it really makes me happy and excited for the guy who I will meet in the future who will treat me a million times better than my ex ever did.

5) Spend money on yourself:
As selfish as this sounds, buying something you've wanted for ages will really cheer you up. You don't have to buy presents for the guy anymore, think of it like that! I was lusting over disco pants for absolutely ages and £70 is obviously a big amount of pennies to spend on one item of clothing. My laptop cursor hovered over the 'submit order' button for days and days, but then I did it. If there's something you've wanted for more than a month but aren't too sure whether to purchase or not; purchase :-)

If you have recently broken up with your boyfriend, I am really sorry. This is going to sound like a huge, fat lie but it does get better. I remember people always telling me this over and over again but I never believed it. My instant thoughts (although I never said it as it's slightly on the rude side) were 'grrr go away, what do you know?! this feeling's gonna be here forever!'. It really does get better. I never relied on a guy before my relationship so I don't need to rely on one now. I am far more happier these days and it's because I have learnt what it's like to be alone. I'm a lot closer with my Mum. I have lost weight. I am able to buy clothes that he didn't approve of before. There are lots of advantages to breaking up with someone. They're just hard to recognise at first.

By no means am I completely over this huge hiccup in my life. A part of me will always think 'what if i', but I am no longer going to blame myself. I didn't do anything wrong. Breaking up with people is a part of life. You like I, just need to learn that you don't deserve to feel how you currently do. You're worth a million of him.
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£100 ASOS challenge

tee · skirt · shoes · necklace · socks
(prices in red are now sale, reduced items)

I've seen a few bloggers enter the £100 asos challenge competition, so I thought I'd add my two cents in. Gotta be in it to win it as they say!

I think black and white are my two favourite colours to mix and match together. They can both be dressed up and down. I absolutely love for example, the american apparel disco pants. If I am going out and I'm finding it hard to pick a "going out-out outfit" then my disco pants are always my trusty resort. I thought I would be a little different however, considering the UK is experiencing some kind of Summer at the moment. I based everything around the black faux leather pleated skirt, which I simply adore. It used to be £125 though, so it's a real bargain! I love crop tops. I don't think there is anything wrong with showing a little belly (to an extent!). I often wear crop tops with denim shorts and of course, AA disco pants. This black one is from American Apparel via ASOS, however you can pick them up anywhere really.

 I absolutely love the shoes. I cannot walk in heels to save my life. I've had too many "ooooooohhhhh nearly!!!" moments attempting to walk in heels and I just can't hack it. I've never really been too good with wedges either, but these flatform wedges look super easy to walk in and would look really cute with the lace trim socks (which I own a million pairs of - can't get enough!). I also had £10 left after piecing together the outfit so I chose a gold necklace to break the black up a little bit.

TOTAL: £100

What do you think of this outfit? Is it something you would wear?

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700 follower giveaway: CLOSED

Firstly, a huge THANK YOU for 700 followers! It's my blog's first birthday on the 20th so I am soo happy that so many of you read my little space on the interweb! Blogging is literally my life (as sad as it sounds). Nothing makes me happier than reading new blog comments and interacting with everyone on Twitter. Blogging's so much fun! ^_^

These beautiful handmade necklaces were gifted to me by the lovely Nikki from an eBay shop called Palypaly. I absolutely love wearing them with a buttoned up shirt! I haven't had a chance to feature them in any outfit posts yet but watch this space!

Nikki has kindly offered to sponsor my 700 follower giveaway (although I'm a little late and over the 700 mark now!). You can win the Carrie necklace (the white, silver chained one) with any name of your choice! You could choose your name or maybe you have someone's birthday coming up and could choose their name... it's entirely up to you! You can choose either a gold or silver chain and the actual name can be baby pink, white, baby blue or black. Here's how to win:

You must:
  • Follow ASHLLYD via Google Friend Connect (click 'join this site' on the right)
  • Leave a comment on this post simply saying "enter me" with an email address/twitter username so I can contact you if you win! 
A winner will be selected randomly via Any entries without a contact email/twitter username will not be considered. Blogs that are only created simply to enter giveaways will be disqualified. The giveaway closes 17th July which gives you two weeks to enter! The winner shall be contacted on the 17th which is the day before I go on holiday. Your details shall be passed onto Nikki including your delivery address and the prize shall be sent directly from her. Please make sure you have parental permission if you're under 16.

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My week in photos: 26th june-1st july

Ashleigh the awesome daughter cleaned the kitchen · Generic bubble bath photo · Wearing Channing to bed · Started watching TWD again · Received a lovely dress this week (a feature shall be coming soon!) · Friday's face (about to pick up college grades, eek!) · AM90's · Friday's outfit · Letting instagram know about my good news! · College grades (SO HAPPY - post here!· Going to buy these janoski's · Reached over 700 GFC followers! · Saturday's outfit · Sunday hangover · 1000 followers on Twitter! · MY NEW JACKET RIPPED TO SHREDS.
001: I'm sure you're already aware about my good news this week, due to my non-stop ecstatic tweets and my last blog post, but I am literally still buzzin' from happiness! Thank you for all your kind and words and support, it really does mean the world to me!

002: Last night I went to a friend from work's 18th (Happy birthday Joe!). It was a really good night. I haven't laughed so much in ages. Really sad about my jacket though. I have no idea how it ripped!

003: Tomorrow night I get to see a preview of the new Spiderman at work. I'm more excited about the new Batman though! Oh and, happy July!

2 blogs I'm really enjoying at the moment:

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