An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth | Coffee Time

Say hello to a brand new series on Distinctivemode! Previous to relaunching this blog, something I was never able to share was my love for reading. Yet it’s reading and learning that has been a major influence upon journeying with Distinctivemode, as well as developing my character. One of the first things that I did when I sat down to think about what I wanted to change, was find a way to incorporate these influences and affairs.

I came up with “Coffee Time.” Coffee time is a monthly opportunity to sit down, grab a coffee, and discuss what we have been learning. Personally, this will be a chance to review the books that I have read, the world affairs that have perhaps taught some valuable lessons or simply words that have inspired. It’s a time set aside to reflect upon the things that have captivated us, shaped us and enlightened us. For learning is valuable – discussing what we have learnt in forums even more so! It’s a chance to celebrate our influences!

Grab a coffee and let’s get started!

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This month I have journeyed through the awesome, inspiring and intellectual autobiography by Chris Hadfield titled, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.” To this day I have never read anything so informative, intriguing and influential (aside from the bible of course!). In summary the book walks us through Hadfield’s career as an astronaut: his first tip toe steps, his setbacks, space flights, and small neutral moments.

I want to share three points from this book that stand out completely as inspirational:

Photo from Amazon

Photo from Amazon

  1. Dream’s are possible. This seems like such a cliche but immediately I can reassure that this in no such thing. Hadfield starts his book with a flashback to his childhood, 1969, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. From that moment, 9 year old Chris Hadfield set his heart upon becoming an astronaut. However from day one he knew that it wouldn’t be easy – he never spoke a word about this dream to anyone knowing that he wouldn’t be taken seriously at such a young age. Instead he set his mind upon doing whatever he thought may prepare him for space should the opportunity arise. This started small, by simply asking, “would an astronaut eat vegetables or potato chips? Sleep in late or get up early to read a book?” later leading to pilot training and a degree in mechanical engineering. He sweated the small stuff – just in case. When the opportunity did arrive, he was as prepared as he could be, providing him with the very best chances – and he made it! It took years of “just in-case” preparation, but he succeeded. Reading this has motivated me to never waste a moment, to constantly question and to always be looking to learn more! Then I may be ready to run at all the opportunities and adventures that present themselves in the future!
  2. Aim to be a zero. Throughout his book, Hadfield refers to a personality scale, centred around a neutral. Simply put, you can either be a -1, 0 or +1. The minus one is somebody who causes setbacks, brings negativity and who is simply no use to a task in hand. The plus one is everybody’s goal however in reality, those who make themselves known as a +1 genius, contributing massively and standing as most important, often end up being seen as a -1. Nobody likes a self-obsessed personality. Zero however, is completely neutral. They neither add to a situation nor detract. They balance the scales. For example in space, a zero astronaut neither mistakenly reduces progress, nor acts arrogantly, controlling all advances. Effectively a humble zero will be seen as a plus one – but only because they have aimed to be a zero. This lesson has humbled me to aim to be zero in all that I do.
  3. Coming down the ladder – reading this book unleashed such a passion and interest into space exploration! There is a whole universe out there full of stars, galaxies and wonder. Reading about Hadfield’s experiences and the small quirky changes to life in the ISS fascinated me greatly. So much so that I found myself dreaming of going to space myself – as a British Woman with poor eyesight and no flying skills/scientific degree what so ever, I have extremely slim chances! But as he concludes his autobiography, Hadfield discusses his retirement. As an astronaut he found his job roles changing often, and more often than not, this involved climbing down the ladder, rather than up. Something Hadfield mentioned towards the end of his book, is that he had to learn that his time in space was over and that he had now accomplished his dream. But that didn’t mean that he should be fearing, “what if that was all there is?” It really made me think – we may not have the same once-in-a-lifetime opportunities as everybody else, but there is always joy in the small things! I will never get to space myself but I can still fuel such an interest through books, research and artistic exploration! One day like Hadfield, I’ll unknowingly experience the best of my days. That doesn’t mean the rest of my life will no longer be valuable  – every moment is precious!

I cannot recommend this book enough! If you want a little motivation to run at your dreams, some tips on achieving success or simply an insight into what life in space is really like – from toilets, to research, to spacewalks – then this book is definitely for you! You wont be disappointed!

I hope you enjoyed the first of our Coffee Time explorations.

What have you been reading, learning or thinking about this month? Let’s discuss below!

Eleanor ♥

May Day Maxi

In light of May-Day, how could I not share this skirt? Late April is one of my favourite times of year. The evenings are coated with golden light, the weather can be promising and we start to think about Summer!1 2

This H&M maxi skirt is lightweight, a bold statement and extremely comfortable! I actually picked this up in a charity shop for £5 however it was brand new with the tag still on it. At first sight I wasn’t fully convinced but since I’m going to Africa soon, it would have been silly to disregard something so useful, light-weight and modest at a good price…
3 I decided to pair the skirt with a plain black tee and this helped to add contrast whilst toning down the colour. A white or coloured tee would have been too much for my liking! In terms of the pattern, the stripes have once again claimed a victory – they are diagonal so it’s a contrast against the rest of my wardrobe, right? One thing I have noticed is that the pattern doesn’t match at the seams but I’m not too caught up over this.5 6This skirt is a size 6 and fits perfectly. Due to my height I’m usually a 8/10 but this is just the right length, if not a tad long – if buying from H&M, always try things on since I often find that their sizing varies.
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Browse the H&M skirt collection here

Eleanor ♥.

 

For a Girl on the Move

If there’s one essential to my wardrobe, it’s a good handbag! A well-matched, stylish looking bag can transform and complete any basic outfit. Besides it’s always handy to take with you. Weekends are extremely busy for me and involve driving round completing errands, meeting friends and collecting photographs for art projects and blog posts. When I came across this steal of a bag, I just had to purchase it!_MG_1036

This large stripy tote bag is from Primark and at £9 I couldn’t go wrong. I don’t own a lot of bags despite my love for them simply because I am so particular: a bag must be a good size, fit my camera, be strong enough to hold weight, and look nice. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it’s a boring, plain black or tan bag! I have a couple of good, unique bags that I’ve picked up on my travels and I also ensure that I have a patterned back pack in my wardrobe for college use – I tend to purchase these from Accessorize every two years since they get daily wear during term. _MG_1079

As you can see from the photographs, the bag is a faux leather navy tote with red and white accents. I’ve wanted something with a red accent for a while because it’s a great way to add colour to your outfit and the royal colour just makes the piece look a little more “luxury.” The bag also comes with a detachable tag that can be used to write your name and an emergency contact number – this will be really useful for when I’m travelling or running errands alone._MG_1087 _MG_1069

I honestly love this bag and have used it so much already! I only bought it last weekend so it will still be in stock across Primark stores. Again, for £9 you can’t go wrong! If you’re on a budget like me, it’s definitely a great bag – I spotted it at the right time since my old camera bag broke the other week!_MG_1089

Who will be purchasing? Thanks for reading!

Eleanor ♥

Stripes with Velvet and Vibranium

This week we are joining with Kelly from Velvet and Vibranium! Together we are creating a style edit focusing on “stripes.” Whilst over in South Africa they are in the midst of Summer, here in the UK we are hanging onto winter days. However this does not mean that we haven’t yet seen the sun – spring is on it’s way!

 

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I honestly love all things stripy! It’s my go to wardrobe choice and I probably have too many striped items. But what do we choose for risky, early spring afternoons? Long sleeves are key and a turtle neck adds both warmth and definition. Looking for a little striped magic yourself? H&M will have you suited and booted in it all! I also love contrasting a spring/summer denim skirt with my winter biker boots (boohoo) for a bold late February look!

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Head over to Kelly’s blog to see what she’s styling up for a hot South African Summer – you’ll be sure to find something stripy!

I hope you like this outfit – what will you be wearing this late February?

Eleanor ♥

Top – H&M; Skirt – New Look; Boots – Truffle by Boohoo.

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Love Pinterest and Want A Little More?

The phrase, “living the Pinterest life,” is something that seems to have grounded itself as an internet “goal.” Pinterest, known as the catalogue of ideas, is a wonderful application – you can browse pretty images, find inspirational quotes, view fashion trends and generate hundreds of ideas! Pinterest paints an intelligent, beautiful and creative picture of life – so much so that many of us find ourselves saving pins after pins and dreaming of such a lifestyle…

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But even Pinterest has flaws! We can’t help but realise, that a lot of the things we pin, just become hidden beneath new pins or perhaps when trying to replicate certain ideas, we fail. Not only that but half the time, we find a brilliant idea only to discover that it takes a great amount of effort, to click link after link, only to find that there’s no article or tutorial attached…

What if, on top of pretty pictures, neat ideas and all things creative, we could read Pinterest like a magazine? If as well as a catalogue of ideas, it included readable articles? Perhaps we could be the editors of our own feed?

Love Pinterest and want a little more? Bloglovin’ is the perfect platform you! All your favourite links, images and articles collected into a readable magazine-style application. Save your favourite articles and links just like pinterest, subscribe to your favourite contributors and easily read the words behind those “oh so Pinterest” features. Unlike Pinterest, Bloglovin’ extracts webpages and places them directly into your bloglovin’ feed – no more clicking links and flicking between your app and browser!

The best thing? Bloglovin’ is completely free! Whether you use it to receive fashion updates, or keep on track with your favourite bloggers, it’s the best way to digest the world’s news, trends, ideas and thoughts. You could even follow author’s and have all your literature in one place! As a relatively new app, they have recently updated to allow you to sync your pinterest account with bloglovin’ allowing you to follow similar blogs!

I converted to Bloglovin’ and I really do love it! In fact, you can follow distinctivemode here, and subscribe for a free email service, that lets you know whenever I post something new!

Sign up here to try it out – and say hello to your better-than-Pinterest platform! Oh, and be sure to give Distinctivemode a follow – I’d love to follow you back!

Eleanor ♥

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Pierced

Things have been rather quiet here over on the gallery page. That’s because between March and June I was actually working on a secret illustration contract with group magazine. I can’t explain how desperately I wanted to share my work with you nor how time consuming it was! As my first paper publication, it was a learning experience and I loved every second of it!

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About the project: I was comissioned (along with a team of US student artists) to illustrate a new youth new testament bible called Pierced. Each book within the bible has it’s own book cover, designed and illustrated by one of the ten artists. We were asked to “put our own interpretation and testimony” into the artworks. I was given Ephesians, Philemon, and 2 Peter for which I used a range of mixed media. My favourite would be Ephesians – here I layered a self portrait painting over some photography. It relates to Ephesians 3:14-19 that talks about being filled with the fullness of Christ.

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The bible itself contains journalling margins for your own notes, as well as printed handwritten notes on each page to provoke thought and guide you through quiet times. These notes have been produced by another team of student writers. The books of the new testament have also been rearranged, placing each gospel at the front of four groups that consist of closely related books. It aims to provide 4 witnesses to the story of Christ. I find this layout interesting and really helpful – no more “I wonder what to read now.” Simply start with one of the gospels and follow through the group! Finally, it’s 6×9″ in size which for me is perfect – I was struggling to read my smaller bible!

The pierced bible can be purchased online from Amazon. If from the UK, you can still purchase the product from the american site – it works out at around £20 (although last time I checked it was on sale for less) once you’ve added shipping costs!

Eleanor ♥

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P.S. Although I cannot recommend this bible enough, I in no way intend to pressure people into purchasing. I was not paid to write a review and also suggest that if purchasing, you use this bible alongside a full bible. The Pierced Bible is only a New Testament resource and therefore shouldn’t be relied upon alone.

Striped Magic

Have you ever walked around a shop 3 times, looking at everything over and over again, and then suddenly discovered something hiding – as if you missed it? I was in H&M a few weeks ago and did exactly this – I suddenly stumbled across a small, shoulder cut, stripy dress. For £5.99 I couldn’t go wrong, and as if by magic, I fell in love as soon as I tried it on! If you were to ask my best friend Amy, she would tell you that I am OBSESSED with stripes at the minute! I just can’t get enough – my Instagram is full of them!

This dress is comfortable, stylish and classic! I love how it shows the shoulder, adding some simple detail. However, I would say that it does tend to rise up if you raise your arms a lot, due to the fit of the sleeves – my best advice is to only wear it for leisurely occasions such as beach walks, or light shopping trips etc. It’s a strictly no partying dress that’s for sure!

You can buy this little beauty here!

Eleanor ♥
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Statement Zip | Summer Essential

I’m back again with a summer essential – the statement zip! This top is from New Look, and was initially just a quick pick up from the sales lines. However now that Summer is here, I’m falling head over heels in love with it! The floral print screams summer, and the statement zip works to add that little bit extra. I also love the floaty feel of this top – it’s light weight, and the V-neck makes it breathable! It’s definitely a summer essential – choose your favourite jeans, shorts or skirt and you’re good to go!

Shop here

Eleanor ♥

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Hello Love!

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Hello Love! It’s May 1st, and today I’m celebrating sun, skirts and body confidence! Recently I made it my goal to purchase a few more skirts – for some reason I’ve never really been one to dress in skirts a great deal. But when I came across this beautiful A-line geometric skirt, I fell head over heals… In love… I don’t always feel confident in skirts because of many things (the height, the fact that I’m constantly active/doing some kind of sport, the fit) but there’s just something about this that makes me feel feminine – whilst still feeling equipped. In fact, the sporty feel to this brings such a change to my wardrobe and I never ever want to take it off.  The skirt has a feature zip which was something I did worry about when shopping, but it’s safe to say that it looks great, holds up always, and I’ve never had a problem with it – so have confidence and trust the thing!

Confidence is essential – clothe yourself with it! You can shop the look here: skirt Asos (they’ve sold out of this one :( but they also sell it in lots of other colours. Here’s a red one I absolutely adore!); top H&m; watch Olivia Burton.

Eleanor ♥

(PS – head over to the distinctivemode facebook page for a chance to win a free print)
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Safari Adventure

Last week, I visited the Safari Zoo in the Lake District – I had such a great day! The enclosures gave great access to the animals, and I was able to get right up close to tigers, jaguars, giraffes, lemurs, kangaroos… My creativity jumped at the chance to shoot! Even if I did end up freezing and numbly sipping a coffee post 6 hours outdoors!

Enjoy the shots as much as I did!

Eleanor ♥_MG_6182_MG_615327-10-1527-10-15227-10-153_MG_6206 27-10-154 27-10-155 27-10-157

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