Monday

Why I decided to leave my whimsical mansion & comfortable job to become unemployed & live in a caravan...

Hey guys,
 First things first there's been a whole lot of changes happening here at Whimsy Towers...

After April being a fairly crappy month, I found out I didn't get a job I'd been hoping for, my contract hours going down at work, things fizzling out with the guy I was seeing & general family dramas I decided I needed a change.

Where will I go? What will I do? Well, dear friends, this is something I've been trying to work out and the answer is I don't know the next step...
All I know is that I'm leaving Preston to go back to The Lakes & live in a caravan. I'm going to become a gypsy woman & take a few months off to discover what I really want to do with myself & maybe even find my calling. My housemates are in the same boat & they'll be leaving the ladybird nest & moving back to their parents. So the timing feels right.

After working in retail for 8 years (phew!) & struggling to get on the fashion career ladder without any 'experience' (read: years of unpaid internships) I'm going to take some time-out in the countryside. I'm going to finish my Nutritional Therapist course, start my Blogcademy course & really get to terms with creating content for my little space on the internet. Like a modern day Wordsworth...

The eclectic home of Trish Bygott, Nathan Crotty and their family in Fremantle, WA. Photo by Angelita Bonetti, styling by Anna Flanders for thedesignfiles.net
From beautiful blossomy Whimsy Towers to Bohemian caravan life. (I wish that was my caravan)

I feel like I just need a couple of months of me-time. Is that selfish? Perhaps. I've not had a proper holiday for a few years now & my wanderlust urges are growing stronger by the day. So many people my age have seen so much of the world & I've never left Europe. I've been trying to save up to go travelling, but it just isn't happening & most months I break even.

I'll get a part-time job to tide me over & so I can give my parents some help with the bills. My mum gets married next month too so I'm really excited to have a family get-together. We've not had any marriages in the family since I was about 3 so I'm really looking forward to it.
After the wedding, my mum & future step-dad are going on a two-week honeymoon to the Outer Hebrides so I'm in charge of a nine-year-old, two border collies & three mischievous kittens. That'll be a reality shock consisting of school runs, dog walks & cleaning out the litter tray more times than I'd like to...

I'm really excited to be reunited with my friends from school who I don't see enough of. Spending the summer with them will be wonderful :) Plus catching up with my family who I rarely visit will be a treat! Saying that I'm really going to miss Preston, I leave here on the 7th June so between now & then I'm really going to make the most of my surroundings.

Right now, I'm on a minimalist mission, for those who know me personally-it's a big thing. I'm a little bit of a hoarder but in reality all my whimsical belongings won't fit in a 1980s caravan. I'm being super-ruthless & having a huge clear out.


So, that's quite big news for a Monday!
Thanks for reading & I'm excited to document the next few chapters into the unknown...
Rachelle xxx





Saturday

Veggie Life: WHY I DECIDED TO GO VEGGIE & THEN VEGAN...

Hi everyone,
Over the last few months I've been having a bit of a overhaul in the diet department. I don't mean diet in the sense of calorie counting but generally what I consume on a daily basis.
I've always dabbled in vegetarianism since the age of about 8 but I never really took it seriously or had any proper motivation behind it. People just generally assume I'm a vegetarian, it must be my hippy aura/my save the planet vibes ;)
I've only considered myself vegetarian since October 2014. The main thing I get is 'oh my gaaahd you're veggie? I bet that's so hard...BACON THO?!' Well in fact it's been pretty easy. The only blip I've had was red velvet cake (sorry red squashed bugs!) I really don't find myself missing or craving meat at all.
Happy Vegetables Illustration Print by NeatoNectarine on Etsy, $15.00

I thought that being vegetarian was a step in the right direction but after researching the dairy industry I'm transitioning to become a vegan & eliminate all dairy products from my diet. As i'm still in the early stages I'm not beating myself up if there is a little egg powder in something or recoiling in horror when someones made me a brew with cows milk. I'm gradually phasing it out & I'm at the stage where I no longer buy milk, cheese or eggs.

I spent months changing all my beauty & household products to cruelty-free options yet I was still eating meat without even thinking about the consequences. I've genuinely been awoken to follow a more compassionate lifestyle & I know this does sound a bit 'out there' & I should go back to my tie-dye & incense but when did caring about things become a negative trait. People say to me 'like, seriously, why do you care?'& I'm like 'uhh why don't you?' 


Kindness matters in the world.Be kind.Be right ♥

I'm never one to preach & I honestly believe that you should be able to live your life in however way you wish. I genuinely didn't know about the things that went on in the food industry. I was ignorant towards it. Part of my nature is that I always like to find out more so I got books out from the library, watched documentaries,went on forums etc & I really opened my mind to a different way of thinking about my diet & the food industry.

I know that embarking on this lifestyle change can be a little lonely. I'm really chuffed that my housemate Becky is vegan & we share a lot of similar views so I think that has made the whole experience much easier for me. There is a huuuge vegan community on Instagram which I love, it's really inspirational. My housemate goes on a lot of Facebook groups but there seems to be a lot of negativity on them so I tend to stay away. At the end of the day you've got the same goal in mind so what's the point in trying to one-up each other?
Ciara Phelan Ciara has a particular passion for collecting vintage ephemera and textile patterns, this love can been seen throughout her work. The foundation of her practice is mixing analog and digital media both on screen and with a scalpel to create playful, colourful and dynamically composed illustrations.

My goals are to be happy, healthy & fuel my body in the correct way whilst making minimal impact on the planet & the animals. So I guess what i'm trying to say is my little space on the internet here is going to include more compassionate based posts. I've also started a Nutritional Therapy course so that I can hopefully gain a real understanding of the way food affects us. So holla if you have any questions about anything...

Don't worry 'Inspired By The Retired' will still be a thrifty/whimsy/magical/vintage place but with a few more hippy vibes sprinkled around :)

Are any of you lovely readers veggie/vegan? Have you ever tried it before?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx


Monday

Charity Shop Chic: VINSPIRED GOODSTOCK CHARITY SHOP, OXFORD ROAD

Oh hey there,
A few weeks ago I was invited to attend the launch night of a brand new charity shop opening it's doors on Oxford Road, Manchester. Now this isn't you're typical run-of-the-mill charity shop which looks like the remnants of jumble sales from the past 10 years no no no...this is Goodstock a project by vInspired which is a charity that helps young people improve their confidence, gain skills & change the world!
'A creative shopping space for the cash-strapped & fashion concious. For charity.'
As soon as I walked through the door I could tell it was a completely different experience of a charity shop. The shop itself is huge, spread over three floors, with spacious displays so it doesn't feel like you have to scour rails & rails to find a diamond in the rough. All the clothes on the rails are real gems, handpicked to reflect the target market which is ultimately young people. The clothes were in excellent condition & there was a great mix of high-street, designer & vintage garments. All very reasonably priced. The visual merchandising was more alike to Urban Outfitters rather than a traditional charity shop. I absolutely loved all the little displays with pop culture references. It's genuinely a really cool shop.

On the opening night the shop was absolutely buzzing, I bumped into Katie from Gold Dust who I've met several times before which was lovely. There was a street style competition, nail bar, customising group, amazing food & free bar :)

Here's one of the dresses I picked up...Monochrome, mod, high neck, long sleeve? All the things I look for in a dress!

 I'm an avid charity shopper anyway so I'm not bothered by a good old rummage & sifting through old Primark from 4 years ago but I think this concept store will promote charity shopping to a younger generation & make it far more accessible & appealing. I know that whenever I visit Manchester I will always pop in & have a mooch as it's such a lovely environment. The vInspired team should be incredibly proud of there achievement & I hope that it's successes means that they can roll out the scheme to other cities too (include Preston please!) Thank you for inviting me.


Have you visited Goodstock yet?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Sunday

5 Beauty 'Hacks' That Will Save You Money & Save The World! (Kinda)

Howdy all!
So I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite beauty 'hacks', I hear some at work from customers & others I've discovered from experience. They will help you get more use from your beauty tools, make them perform better & save you pennies coz you won't need to replace them as often :D Plus the less you buy & more you recycle/reuse/repair the higher you get on the 'eco-babe' chart ;)

1) Sharpen tweezers using a knife sharpener.
I have been plagued with rubbish tweezers for many years, I've never splurged on a Tweezerman pair but when I was debating it, I noticed they offered a 'tweezer sharpening service'. Err why had I never thought to sharpen my tweezers before? So I ran my cheapy, blunt pair over my knife sharpener & boy what a difference it made! They are now much more precise & I don't spend ages trying to grab that one unruly eyebrow hair...

2) Use a 'magic sponge' to clean eyelash curlers.
Y'know the gross mascara gunk that likes to stick your eyelash curlers together so they don't perform that well. I'm guilty of leaving it for a while before I actually remove it (sorry!) but those amazing white sponges that claim to be magic really are! Just rinse them with water & the make-up residue comes off so easily. It takes seconds & they look good as new. My Shemura curlers have been going for over a year & they do recommend that you change them every 12 months but after they've been cleaned they still work really well.

3) Cut edges off worn down beauty sponges.
This one is a little more common sense than anything but if you have a beauty blender & it's stained with foundation & looking a little tatty simply cut off a layer of sponge at the same angle with some sharp scissors so you have nice new sponge underneath. Super simple & it means you can get more sponge for your dolla ;)

4) Keep & re-use travel size bottles. 
I'm a sucker for miniature products but if you buy them once, rinse them out real good & keep them for next time a sleepover or weekend away arises. You can then re-fill them with whatever your favourite shampoo/shower gel/ body lotion is at the time. I begrudge buying empty travel bottles when I throw away so many throughout the year! Save them £££s recycle your plastics & save the world maaan!

5) Have a designated brush cleaning cloth.
What? Use a face cloth to clean make-up brushes? Yep indeedy it works a treat! The texture of a flannel means that when you swirl the brush over a wet cloth it gives it a real deep clean. Apply a brush cleaner/mild shampoo & use a circular motion for best results. I recommend a visit to Home Bargains or the pound shop to pick up a cheap one & use it especially for cleaning your brushes. The cheaper ones often have a rougher texture so are prefect for the job.

I hope these tricks will help some of you!
Do you have any unusual beauty 'hacks' that you swear by?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Life Up North: MARY & MILLY BOUTIQUE BLOGGER MEET

Aloha!
So it's always exciting when a new shop opens up in Preston. It's even more exciting when it's an independent clothing boutique & it's super exciting when they invite a group of local bloggers over for an evening of mooching & a mingling.
The shop I'm talking about is Mary & Milly boutique which has just opened it's doors on Guildhall Street just off the main high street.. If you're wondering why the name sounds familiar- they've been trading on ASOS marketplace & doing pop up fairs across the North-West for the past couple of years.
The boutique itself is cosy, or it is when there is a huddle of bloggers snapping from every angle! The rails are carefully curated with on trend pieces that are a little more special than typical high street items. There is also a selection of statement jewellery (lots of sparkle!) cute clutch bags & handmade cards.

On the walls are framed articles about the shop's success & the brand's story. Poppy Waters is the lady behind the business & set it up after being inspired by her grandmothers-Mary & Milly! Poppy said that Preston is the heart of her brand, she grew up, graduated & set up shop here. I love that the photoshoots for the collections are shot in Avenham park (my favourite place in the city). I think its fantastic that she's working with local university students & bloggers. Preston isn't exactly known for it's fashion scene but I feel like it's an up-and-coming city! I believe with more independent shops, the creative fashionable folk will spark some interest & the scene will hopefully blossom.

Another point that Poppy mentioned was that one of her goals was to make the shopping experience more exciting! At the moment you can buy through various channels, online, fairs, the boutique & they are even offering private shopping parties at your own home! What more could a girl want?
As always it was lovely to meet up with local bloggers. I already knew Claire & Lily from past events so it was great to have a catch up. Plus it's fab to meet some new faces too (I hope I include everyone) Sarah, Amy, Emmi, Katy, Chloe & Lucy :)

If you are having a little shopping spree or fancy an outfit that's a little different for a night out you should definitely head over to the boutique. Follow all their social media too, there's always something new & exciting up on their page whenever I look.
Thank you Poppy for hosting such a lovely event & I'm so excited to see how the boutique grows :)

(Pic on the right stolen form their Facebook Page)

Have you visited the boutique yet?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

PS: Life Up North is going to be a new segment on here with any exciting news based around the North-West area :)

Monday

North-West Christmas Blogger Meet: PRESTON EDITION!

Hii everyone,
As some of you know I work for The Body Shop and over the past few years I have organised blogger events in store. My personal favourite being the Christmas event!
So I'm planning another meet up for December but I want to meet as many local bloggers as possible, This invitation is for all bloggers in the North West region who fancy a trip to Preston to experience the Winter Wonderland. Beauty, lifestyle, fashion, fitness, food, whatever genre of blog you write-it would be lovely to get together.

The event will be on Friday 19th December & it will be after 6pm as I know a lot of people will be working in the lead up to Christmas.

The evening starts with a warm invitation into The Body Shop to tick off those last minute gifts on your list with an exclusive blogger discount, nibbles & a good natter about all things beauty.
Photo of the last year's Christmas blogger bonanza!

Next we can head over to the Lancashire Christmas markets for some traditional festive shopping around the log cabins and maybe a cheeky mug of mulled wine in the pop up Merry Monks Tavern bar ;)


The gorgeous new Turtle Bay has recently opened it's doors to Prestonians and it has such a great atmosphere so we can continue the party indoors (did I mention it was a rum bar!)
1PJM3061

What better excuse do you need to parade your favourite Christmas jumper, finish off you last bits of Christmas shopping (& treat yourself too!) and spend a lovely evening with like-minded blogging pals?!

I cannot wait! If you want attend or have any questions please contact me on twitter @mynameisrachey

Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

#CheapNChicChallenge: 22/30 AUTUMNAL CHARITY SHOP FINDS!

 Aloha,
I'm hoping you are enjoying the #CheapNChicChallenge so far. I've got just one more week left & I have a few great posts lined up for you, including an exciting giveaway-so stay tuned! I shot these photos a few weeks ago when it was actually still summery. I am dressed 'neck-to-knee' in charity shop finds! I thought I'd style an outfit that has a vintage feel but still nods to the trends for Autumn.
Coat, Jumper Belt, Skirt -All Charity Shop Finds
Boots-New Look

The coat is my fuzzy lil bear baby. I bought it from a charity shop in St Annes where everything was only £1! The only downside was on that fateful day it was about 25 degrees out & I'd just been to the beach & the last thing on my mind was a huge furry coat. However this is a prime example of shopping for upcoming seasons. If I wanted to get an over-sized furry coat in the height of winter I'd definitely expect to pay more! It's originally from BHS & is a size XXL, again not my size but I want it to fit over 3 jumpers & a scarf :) 

The jumper was from the same charity shop (so again only a quid!) I'm a little bit obsessed with roll neck jumpers & the bright orange shade is perfect for Autumn. When I wear it with my glasses I do feel a little bit like Velma from Scooby Doo but I think it's a strong look :)

The Houndstooth skirt is an original 1960s St Michael found in a charity shop in Cleveleys. I can't remember how much this one was but it's a pretty snug fit! I'm a fan of houndstooth & I don't think  a pencil skirt ever really goes out of fashion.

The belt was 50p from St Catherines Hospice in Preston. I love the detailing to the buckle, it's almost a bit cowboy/western inspired. I tend to buy black belts so this brown one is a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

Have you found any amazing autumnal charity shop pieces?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx