For years, I always swore that I'd never be converted to audiobooks. "I love reading, it's just not the same. Listening just feels lazy and I know that I won't pay attention." Well let me tell you, I was very wrong. While podcasts are a long-term love of mine, this current lockdown has converted me to audiobooks and there's seriously no looking back. 

Although I still pick up physical books every single day (I'm in the final term of my English literature degree so reading takes up a large portion of my life), the effortless ability to immerse yourself in an audiobook is my new favourite method of relaxing. So my new evening ritual, after an intense day of university, is to pop on an audiobook and unwind. 

Since the Audible account that I share with my mum recently amassed quite a few credits, I gained her permission to go crazy and stock up on audiobooks for my evening relaxation sessions. Was this haul almost entirely influenced by my friend and fellow blogger, Erin? Yes. Am I secretly pleased about that since she has a great taste in books? Yes.

Since this seemingly never-ending lockdown period is the perfect time to delve into a new book (or five - I couldn't resist), I thought I'd share the ones that I downloaded and hopefully inspire you to give this relaxing method of reading a try.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

32-year-old Nina Dean is a successful food writer with a loyal online following, but a life that is falling apart. When she uses dating apps for the first time, she becomes a victim of ghosting, and by the most beguiling of men. Her beloved dad is vanishing in slow motion into dementia, and she's starting to think about ageing and the gendered double-standard of the biological clock. On top of this, she has to deal with her mother's desire for a mid-life makeover and the fact that all her friends seem to be slipping away from her...

I was obsessed with Dolly Alderton's debut, Everything I Know About Love, after it was published a few years ago. When I recently heard about Ghosts, this time fiction rather than memoirs, I was instantly sold. As an author, she is incredible at creating relatable storylines filled with emotion, whether they've got you reaching for tissues or laughing uncontrollably. I'm sure that this book will be just as eye-opening as her last, and I'm eager to start reading it soon.

Us Three by Ruth Jones

Meet Lana, Judith and Catrin. Best friends since primary school when they swore an oath on a Curly Wurly wrapper that they would always be there for each other, come what may. After the trip of a lifetime, the three girls are closer than ever. But an unexpected turn of events shakes the foundation of their friendship to its core, leaving their future in doubt – there’s simply too much to forgive, let alone forget. An innocent childhood promise they once made now seems impossible to keep ...

Maybe it's the loneliness of lockdown talking but a novel about friendships is exactly what I need right now. Ruth Jones is another author whose work I've previously enjoyed, and the summary of her newest novel instantly drew me in. From what I've heard in reviews, you're bound to feel like you've known these characters for your whole life when reading this novel, so I'm definitely excited to get stuck into it.

Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

Florence's debut book will explore all progressive corners of the feminist conversation; from insecurity projection and refusing to find comfort in other women's flaws, to deciding whether to date or dump them, all the way through to unpacking the male gaze and how it shapes our identity.

While feminism is something that I'm definitely aware of and align myself with, I want to engage in these discussions more and develop my understanding of feminist thinking this year. When doing some research, this book seemed like the perfect place to start. Not only is it accessible for someone like me who identifies as a feminist yet admittedly doesn't have tons of knowledge about it, but it also seems to prompt some important and critical discussions that I'm eager to delve into.

How to Fail by Elizabeth Day

This is a book for anyone who has ever failed. Which means it's a book for everyone. If I have learned one thing from this shockingly beautiful venture called life, it is this: failure has taught me lessons I would never otherwise have understood. I have evolved more as a result of things going wrong than when everything seemed to be going right. Out of crisis has come clarity, and sometimes even catharsis.

I haven't read many self-help books, simply because I've never been able to find one that fits me perfectly. That was until I heard countless reviews of this book and instantly knew that I'd find it helpful. It's no secret that I'm a perfectionist and put immense amounts of pressure on myself to succeed in everything I do, so failure is something that honestly terrifies me. Hopefully, with the assistance of this book, I'll be able to realise that making mistakes isn't entirely a bad thing, and I'm looking forward to developing as a person and changing my sometimes toxic view of 'failure'.

Clothes... and Other Things That Matter by Alexandra Shulman

In Clothes... and other things that matter, Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women's lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world - the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity.

As an aspiring journalist who currently writes a lot of fashion content, reading a novel like this feels like a rite of passage as well as important research. This memoir is from the ex-Editor of British Vogue and I'm confident that it'll provide some interesting insights into the fashion industry and how clothing determines our life. I'm definitely excited to start reading (or should I say listening) to this one, and I'm sure it'll help to increase my already existing passion for fashion.

Have you been converted to audiobooks yet? I'd love to hear your recommendations and any titles that you think I'd enjoy!

Hello everyone and happy belated new year! You may have noticed that I have been inactive on my blog lately - in all honesty, life just completely took over and I didn't have time to upload. But don't worry because I'm back and as excited as ever to create some content for you guys! Before I do so, I thought it was only right to give you a little life update of everything that has happened over the past couple of months, as well as my goals and vision for By Daisy Bradbury in 2021. Without further ado, let's get into it!

I was incredibly fortunate that my home was in tier 2 during December, meaning I was able to have a bit more leniency in going out for a meal or visiting the shops. Although I only did this a couple of times, it made a massive difference to my mental health after the November lockdown and intense university term. To add to the lovely build-up to Christmas, my parents also got married on 22nd December, which was an incredibly special and memorable day. Despite having a pandemic wedding, we seriously made it the best day just as a family!

Fast forward to January, and a few days after moving back to Manchester for university, I tested positive for coronavirus! After being known as the cautious one in my friendship group and really trying hard to avoid it, this wasn't the result that I wanted. Although I'm incredibly grateful that it was a mild case and none of my family back home got it, it was still an exhausting and generally low period. This was also right before my university's exam season started, so you can imagine how stressed I was! Thankfully, I made a speedy recovery and I managed to meet all of my deadlines, although the two-week isolation and essay writing stress definitely weren't enjoyable.

The other major thing that has happened since my last blog post is that I celebrated my 21st birthday! Due to my essay deadlines and my boyfriend's exams, I extended the celebrations throughout the week, which I'm really not complaining about! I honestly had the best time and felt incredibly special, even if a lockdown birthday wasn't how I envisioned my 21st. My housemates and I spent the weekend playing drinking games, battling it out on the Nintendo Switch and having a few too many takeaways, and I honestly enjoyed it so much!

Fast forward to now and I'm in a kind of strange, in-between state - my deadlines and birthday celebrations are over but I have another week until the university term begins. I was also supposed to be in Windemere with my family right now but that was obviously cancelled. If I'm completely honest, the lockdown blues have started to hit knowing that I don't really have anything upcoming to look forward to and that my time at university is coming to a close without fully being able to experience it. This term is my final one before graduation, yet it has been almost a year since online teaching started and I feel a bit robbed of my university experience. That aside, right now I'm just taking each day as it comes with lots of reading, Youtube and working my way through Super Mario Odyssey.

Despite these lockdown apprehensions, one major benefit is that I have a lot more time to create blog and Instagram content. I'm really excited to keep blogging this year (in fact, it'll be my 7th blog anniversary in a few weeks - how crazy!) and I have lots of ideas that I can't wait to create! As my love of journalism has blossomed, I'm definitely eager to create more article-style content for here as well as my personal, chatty blog posts, so make sure you stay tuned for that! I don't want to set an upload schedule as I know that my final term of university will be intense and I don't want to add extra pressures, but you can definitely expect to see a lot more from me on here!

I hope you are all coping during this difficult winter lockdown and hopefully, my upcoming blog posts will be able to inject a bit of entertainment or enjoyment into your day!

As a student who is trying to limit their clothes shopping habits, I love creating different looks and outfit combinations using the clothing that I already own. My wardrobe is far from small, so this is a great way to come up with some unique looks rather than styling an item in the same way every single time, or spending a fortune on new pieces that I don't need.

In March, I wrote a blog post about how to style a slogan t-shirt for any occasion, so I thought I'd do a follow-up and show you some of the different ways that I'd style a sweatshirt. Since 2020 has felt like a never-ending lockdown where we've been living in loungewear, I was eager to step out of this comfortable attire and style a sweatshirt in some different ways instead. Keep reading to see what looks I created!

Layered over a shirt dress

One way to easily style your sweatshirt and look like you've put more effort into your appearance is to layer a shirt underneath. You could totally do this with a crisp white blouse and pair it with jeans, but I thought a flannel shirt dress would be a nice change. This is incredibly comfortable and easy to throw on yet looks like you've put some more thought into your outfit. I also love the look of the collar peeking out from underneath. Although I styled this with bare legs, I think it'd look equally nice with a pair of tights and boots to add a layer of warmth during the winter.

Paired with a pleated maxi skirt

Not only are pleated midi and maxi skirts really on-trend this winter, but they're one of my favourite items of the season. If you're like me and prefer wearing skirts over trousers then this is ideal, especially if you don't want to have your legs on show. Pairing a sweatshirt with a skirt like this instantly makes your outfit feel dressier and completely different to the usual leggings or gym wear combos. I think this would look gorgeous with some biker boots or even a pair of trainers to complete the look.

Mom jeans and roll neck

I feel like this is the way that most of you would feel comfortable styling a sweatshirt, but surprisingly this was the furthest from my usual outfit choices! I don't wear jeans that frequently in the winter, but I have to admit that mom jeans are an incredibly comfortable yet stylish way of wearing them that is great for if you've been living in joggers for the past few months. Since the jumper was already quite baggy on me, as are the jeans, I decided to tuck it in to create a more 'thrown together' casual vibe, which I really like. I also added the roll neck underneath both for an extra layer of warmth and to add a bit of interest to the outfit, since I felt like something was missing.

Swap the jeans for some smart trousers

I love wearing tailored trousers as I personally find them quite flattering and they look like you've put in more effort than just wearing jeans. Although this is the only difference from the last outfit, I feel like it has been completely transformed and creates a very different overall look. I tucked in the sweatshirt again so it didn't drown me and detract from the trousers, and honestly, I really like this overall outfit despite it being very simple. I know that this ended up being quite monochromatic, but I think a pop of colour here would also be amazing!

Underneath a floral mini dress

Ditsy print dresses are really my jam, so an outfit like this one was a must for this blog post. Normally with a dainty dress like this, I'd wear a t-shirt underneath or perhaps a jumper over it so it looks like a skirt, but I instead decided to have my sweatshirt underneath. This is the perfect balance of girly and casual that'll keep you warm this winter, and I can guarantee if I was still going to university in person it'd be easy to wear outfits like this that I'd be throwing on. Yet again, tights and boots would be the perfect finish for this if you're not brave enough to embrace the bare legs this winter.

So these are some of the ways that I'd style a sweatshirt! It was honestly so much fun creating this blog post and trying on a variety of existing items in my wardrobe to create these looks, and hopefully, they've proved that sweatshirts have much more potential than just as a loungewear or gym item. I'd love to know which outfit is your favourite or if I've inspired you to create any pairings, so make sure you leave a comment and let me know!

October was a very busy month for writing articles - I think 12 in total is pretty impressive considering I balanced this with my university work and editing for my student newspaper. Since you guys are always really interested in hearing what pieces I've been working on and I enjoy sharing my passions, I thought I'd do another article round-up and give you a behind the scenes glimpse into all of my pieces published in October!

The Mancunion

Your winter wardrobe staple based on your zodiac sign

Our horoscopes have a lot to say about us, from personality traits to our compatibility in a relationship, but have you ever thought about letting your star sign dictate your wardrobe? Read more...

Many people religiously follow their horoscopes and strongly believe in their predictions and personality traits. I went through a phase a few years ago of reading my horoscope daily (purely out of interest, I never quite believed in it) and while there were times that it was scarily accurate, there were others that felt miles from the truth. I thought it'd be interesting to put horoscopes to the test and let them pick out a clothing item for each star sign that was their 'perfect' addition to their winter wardrobe. This was an enjoyable article to create, and it was interesting to see what clothing my horoscope dictates that I should be waring.

Appearance in the age of Zoom: How to dress for a virtual class

Following The University of Manchester’s decision to suspend face-to-face teaching, students have become increasingly familiar with Zoom classes and virtual learning. Although we’ve quickly gathered the online etiquette of muting the mic when you’re not talking and not joining a lecture late (that bell sound can become very irritating), there’s one thing we haven’t quite cracked – what do you wear to a virtual class? Read more...

As my university made a decision to transition to online teaching, I thought it'd be interesting to look at our fashion choices and the new styles that the pandemic has enabled. With an increase of Zoom calls and virtual hangouts, I wanted to gain a consensus of whether students were putting in minimal effort and rolling out of bed in loungewear or dressing up to impress for their online classes. It was also very insightful chatting to some students about their approaches to fashion and beauty during the pandemic.

Style saviours you never realised originated from black communities

Diversity in fashion is an ongoing battle – many fashion houses still favour Caucasian models and social media is largely whitewashed, despite widespread campaigns for equal representation. Black people have made massive contributions to the fashion industry and are to thank for some of our favourite styles, yet many people are unaware of this. Don’t believe me? Well, how many of these iconic trends did you realise we owe to black communities? Read more...

October was Black History Month, and I really wanted to pay homage to that, yet I'm very aware that as a white female, I don't have the experience or ability to speak on behalf of this community. I decided to go down a different route and instead explore some inventions and popular fashion trends that we owe to black people. I loved having the opportunity to highlight some iconic looks and fashion creations that black people are responsible for yet a lot of people might not be aware of, and I also learned a lot while writing this article. Spoiler alert - did you know that hoop earrings, the hairbrush and acrylic nails all made the list?

The Manc

The Manchester skincare brands treating 'maskne' during the pandemic

Everyone gets bad skin from time to time. Whether it’s due to hormones, stress or an unhealthy lifestyle, a sudden burst of blemishes can function as a reminder that we should be kinder to our skin. But the newest influx of breakouts is completely out of our control: ‘Maskne’. A hybrid of the words ‘mask’ and ‘acne’, this skin invasion is caused by the heat and friction produced by regularly wearing a face mask. Read more...

Maskne has been the bane of everyone's lives since the beginning of the pandemic, and I've definitely struggled with my fair share of it. Rather than letting it take control, I thought I'd write an article about how to beat these blemishes with the help of some Manchester skincare brands. Not only was this a great opportunity to write about skincare (which I don't often do) and share some local makers, this post also received a lot of traction online, so hopefully it helped you guys out!

Ginger's Comfort Emporium launches new autumn-flavoured ice cream menu

The days of enjoying ice creams in sunshine soaked parks might be gone for now… but that doesn’t mean sweet treats are off the menu in Manchester. Read more...

I'm a sucker for a sweet treat and ice cream is one of my (many) favourites, particularly in the warmer weather. However, I wrote this article to share some cool and creepy Halloween ice cream creations to prove that this doesn't have to be a summer dessert. Ginger's also sell some unreal ice cream flavours, including apple crumble and s'mores, that had my mouth watering the entire time I was writing this piece.

Introducing Kay Lou Klub, the awesome brand launching Manchester's mental health movement through clothing

‘You are more than enough, and we are more than just clothing.' Kay Lou Klub doesn’t create ordinary clothes – they are clothes with courage. Read more...

One of my favourite things about writing for The Manc is having the opportunity to showcase some incredible local businesses that are really working hard to make a change. Kay Lou Klub is one of those, as they are actively using clothing and online workshops to combat the stigma surrounding mental health and encouraging people to speak out. It was incredibly eye-opening chatting to Kay and I'm a huge fan of what she does, so creating this article was potentially my favourite from the whole month.

The must-visit Manchester boutiques for Halloween this year

Halloween may be very different this year, but that doesn’t mean our costumes have to be. Whether you’re holding a COVID-compliant spooky garden party or going to Manchester’s immersive Halloween drive-in theatre, it’s important that you look the part. Read more...

Halloween was a bit of a bittersweet occasion this year as many of the usual events couldn't take place (not to mention it was the day that lockdown 2 was announced). However, for the people who still wanted to dress up at home or have a family party within their household bubble, I thought it'd be nice to share some of the best locations to find a last-minute costume. Manchester is home to some amazing fancy dress boutiques that deserve more recognition, and hopefully, this article was helpful for people still attempting to celebrate Halloween this year.

This Manchester-based menswear start-up is offering a free shirt to all new subscribers

Look the part, be the part. Even though many of us are back working from home, getting dressed in style can play a big role in productivity. Whether you’re returning to the office, grabbing a bite to eat or trying to look professional via Zoom call, a fashionable shirt is essential. Read more...

The pandemic has completely revolutionised how businesses are operating, and one local example of that is The Shirt Society who set up a menswear subscription during lockdown. While office life may feel like a distant memory, many people are still trying to look professional and feel productive whilst working from home, and this service can hopefully assist with that. The team at The Shirt Society contacted me to work on this article and I definitely enjoyed creating it, even if it was a little bit out of my comfort zone as it was my first time writing about menswear.

Classic Football Shirts: The Manchester brand revolutionising the sports fashion industry

There’s a shop on Deansgate that’s a mecca for football memorabilia. It’s called Classic Football Shirts – and it’s the proud owner of the most diverse, exciting and prestigious collection of sports clothing available anywhere in the city. Read more...

If any of you know me, you'll be aware that I'm really not a football fan. However, my exception to this rule was when writing about Classic Football Shirts, which are an amazing Manchester brand curating the country's largest selection of vintage and classic football jerseys. It was really interesting to learn about the journey of two students interested in football and how they managed to completely take over the football memorabilia market, and chatting to them about their ventures definitely opened my eyes to a side of sports I wasn't aware of.

The bucket hat, a Mancunian staple, is returning as a winter fashion trend

Bucket hats may be associated with boozy festivals and summer picnics, but little did we know that this accessory would be the hottest new trend for this winter. Read more...

I wrote an article a few months ago all about bucket hats and how they're a Mancunian style staple, so it was only right to follow up on this with a winter edition. This article was prompted after I bought a cosy bucket hat in Primark and realised that this festival essential is now one of the hottest trends for winter. It was another fun article to create, although I did have to resist the temptations of ordering all of the fluffy hats that I discovered!

Meet Eighth Day - the co-operative making sustainable beauty accessible to students

In the heart of the bustling student quarter on Oxford Road, a very different kind of venue has taken root: An independently owned, eco-friendly food shop and cafe. Read more...

Eighth Day is positioned in the middle of my university's campus and was directly on my bus route to and from work, meaning I frequently passed by this sustainable store with curiosity. After chatting to the team, I discovered that they've been Manchester's go-to source of vegan food and eco-friendly products for years now, and more recently they have delved into sustainable beauty options. They also have a vegan cafe that looks absolutely delicious, and I'll definitely be visiting for lunch once they reopen.

Your Coffee Break

The realities of starting a blog - my experience after 6 years as a blogger

For many people, being a blogger instantly sparks stereotypes of constantly jetting away on holidays and receiving gifts in the mail, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Daisy, who started her blog entitled By Daisy Bradbury in 2014, speaks about the reality of being a blogger and the common misconceptions that people may have. Read more...

It's not often that I get the opportunity to write for somewhere other than The Manc or The Mancunion, but October presented this opportunity that I couldn't turn down! I started my blog in 2014 and so by this point, I feel a bit like a seasoned pro, and so I'm well aware of the stereotypes that people may have and the impressions that simply aren't true. It was really interesting chatting to Your Coffee Break about the realities of being a blogger and delving into the behind-the-scenes facts that people may not know or realise, and I was also able to call upon some of my favourite bloggers (and friends) to assist with this one.

I hope you enjoyed getting a sneak peek into all of my articles that were published this month - make sure to let me know which is your favourite!

When I started my degree, I never expected that I'd spend my final year as a virtual student. The pandemic has caused my university to suspend all face-to-face teaching until the end of this year, meaning I probably won't be on campus until after Christmas. Pretty much everyone who I've spoken to has said that they're unhappy about this change and would much rather attend classes in person if the virus wasn't around, but I'm in the small minority of people who actually enjoy and somewhat prefer online teaching! If you're school or university is online this semester and you're struggling with this change, keep reading to hear my advice on making the most of it and staying productive in these strange circumstances.

Make a work schedule, then don't be afraid to break it

I know this sounds contradictory - why would you need to make a schedule if you're going to ignore it - but just hear me out on this one. When you're working from home, it can be easy to lounge around without getting any work done, so a schedule helps to stay on task and give your day some structure. I like to make mine based on an actual day of university, leaving breaks for meals and sticking to the average hours I'd work on a normal day so that it doesn't feel overwhelming. 

Having said that, don't feel as though this timetable is set in stone. Working from home allows you to be flexible and do things at your own pace, so you're free to do a lecture at midnight or have a lie-in if that's what works best for you. Although a schedule is a good framework to get you started, don't be too hard on yourself if you need an afternoon off or want to shuffle a few tasks around, especially when working during the middle of a pandemic.

Have a few different workspaces to switch between

Since all of your work will be done at home, it's important to have a comfortable and clean workspace that you can use without getting distracted. There are no set rules for this - I'm probably my most productive when working from my bed, despite many people advising against this - just go with whatever works for you. It's also helpful to have everything you'll need nearby so you don't feel like you're getting up every 5 minutes.

Another thing I'd highly recommend is having a few different workspaces that you can alternate between. When you think of university or school life, you're constantly moving between different classrooms, lecture theatres, libraries and study spaces, so you don't want to feel confined when working at home. Also, a change of scenery definitely helps to clear your mind and gain a fresh perspective. If this isn't possible within your house, perhaps consider working from a coffee shop or local library if you feel safe doing so.

Try and incorporate some off-screen time into your routine

This is definitely something I still need to work on, as I practically live on my laptop, but staring at a screen for long hours every day really isn't good. It's difficult to avoid it when all classes and assignments are online, but I'd encourage you to take a bit of time out of your day to do something that doesn't require a screen. I've been catching up on university reading during this time so that I'm still being productive, but you can do anything from making hand-written notes, playing with a pet or practicing a hobby.

Make time for exercise and getting some fresh air

Sitting inside all day whilst working can quickly become claustrophobic, so it's important to go outside and get active if possible. Although I wouldn't usually exercise on a normal university day, I've really found myself missing little things like my morning walk to the bus stop where I could get some fresh air and listen to music. I've made a conscious effort over the past few weeks to walk to a local park for a bit of fresh hair, even if it's only a couple of times every week, and I've definitely felt the benefit of doing so. 

Block any social media on your phone

As ruthless as it sounds, sometimes desperate actions need to be taken. If you're the type of person who knows you'll end up scrolling through TikTok all day, don't let yourself be controlled by this. There are lots of apps available that will block you from using your phone for an allotted period of time, my favourite being Flora, and it definitely makes you feel successful when you complete each task.

Although I don't always use apps like this as I'm quite good at getting off my phone and eliminating any distractions, there have definitely been days when I needed to knuckle down and this was a great way to focus without receiving notifications every few minutes. There's also an option to attach your bank account so that you'll have to pay if you check your phone during the allotted time if you'd like to make it more interesting!

Know when it's time to stop

It can be really difficult to find a work-life divide when studying from home, as there's no longer the end-of-the-day feeling where you return home and relax. It's easy to get carried away with working long into the night, but remember to take breaks and give yourself some time for relaxation as well. 

This is definitely something I need to work on more, as I'll quite often work late into the evenings, and working from home has definitely made this harder. If you're like me and struggle to switch off at night, I'd recommend giving yourself a time that you're not allowed to work beyond, or doing something else in the evening that is productive but not study-related (for me this is often writing articles or doing things for my blog).

If your university or school has also continued with online classes this year, I'd love to know what your study tips are, so make sure you leave me a comment!