*This post is sponsored, but all writing/opinions are my own
Hello!! Happy Monday!! If you're wondering why it's taken me a little while to get my next post out there (the first since LA - eeeek), it's because I've found myself in the dreaded bloggers rut. Keen to get posts up that I love, but reluctant to upload anything too "ordinary". I'm writing this post from Rhodes, Greece and it's taken me to get out of my routine and do something different to be blog-inspired once again. I never thought I'd admit it, but I definitely need to be tipped out of my comfort zone and once I'm out of that zone, I feel 10 x more creative. And so here we are - with a new blog post all about the joys of side-stepping the norm and the safe, and why dipping your toes into the unknown can only be a good thing.
Before I get into the bulk of this post, you may have noticed this particular post is sponsored by Warehouse! And, of course, this denim dress of dreams is one of theirs. I have been desperate for a denim dress like this for some while now, but at 5 ft 8, it is near enough impossible to find a dress which cinches in at the right places, but doesn't also resemble a belt. So Warehouse - you've nailed it. I'm so glad they have brought their dresses to my attention. My guess is they'll now make a regular appearance in my wardrobe. This Spring/Summer, they really are killing it so it's a site you should check out if you haven't already.
A prime example of how good it can be to step out of your zone of 'regulars' and give something new a try.
Comfort Zone One - Style
So, onto the first comfort zone; style. A denim dress - nothing too new there. You can't wear it and say you invented the look. But when you find one which feels as if it was made to measure, you want to make it pop, stand out and you want to feel like you set the trend and got there first.
Denim is absolutely a comfort zone staple for most people - and I don't believe a week goes by where you don't find yourself wearing a bit of it. So a denim dress falls squarely in the fashion box marked 'safe'. However, that doesn't mean it can't be bold and progressive.
Rather than sticking with my faithful Converse and Ray-Bans, I styled this Warehouse dress with all white 70s-inspired accessories and a ruined building from the 1930s!!
By dipping your toes into the less obvious and the more unusual, you can turn a staple piece into something individual. Opt for the things you might normally shy away from. Or the things that you haven't seen anyone else wearing. Seek out brands you wouldn't typically shop with. I can't say I was 100% sold on these 70s cat eye frames until I got them home and realised they are the PERFECT angular accessory to combine with an otherwise classic outfit.
That's how you'll transform your security blankets into statements. By being brave and by being different.
If you start searching for items in places away from the herd, you will often find your reward - a look which is right on the now, but a look that no-one else is sporting exactly.
The same goes for travel, and this is something I haven't been able to get out of my head since touching down in Rhodes a week ago (a week already - I swear someone sped time up last week!).
Comfort Zone Two - Exploring
So comfort zone number 2, which draws a lot of parallels with style - travel and exploring. I think finding new places and seeing new things is one of the best ways to inject some inspiration into your style. Drawing colour palettes from your surroundings is one of my fave ways of doing this. I mean, just look at all the peeling teal wallpaper this building has to offer.
These photos were taken in the amazing village of Eleousa - part of the Italian history of Rhodes (which I try to learn more about each time I visit).
Hidden away in the mountains, you will stumble upon this eery site (and I really do mean stumble - there isn't one sign post, tourist sign or information board to point you in its direction). If you didn't do your research, you would never know this spot was here, and it is odd that there is little information about this place if you Google it. From what I gather, this building (also known as Campochiaro) was built in 1935 to house Italian workers (who were working in the pine forests in Eleousa) during the Italian occupation of Rhodes, and it was used as a hospital for the quarantine and treatment of Tuberculosis. Now - it's completely abandoned and derelict (and is certainly somewhere Yvette Fielding could have fun at night).
But it got me thinking that, if it weren't for me having been visiting Rhodes for 11 years and having a proper base here, I don't know that I'd have found this unusual and inspiring spot. And that made me realise how important it is to seek these places out, especially if you'd typically gravitate towards the comfort of the familiar - be that sandy beaches or vibrant cities.
Sure - the beach is a riot, and there's such a good vibration to a new, bustling city. But what about the unknown? The places no one tells you about, and when you stumble upon them or seek out these quirky sites, you literally feel like you're the only person in the world who knows about them? That's where there's fun to be had.
The same goes for style - how good does it feel when you feel like you set the trend and got there first?
I really think that high on the top of everyone's list when planning a trip (other than to seek out the nearest Sephora...guilty) should be to take time and research (or just go and explore!) sites away from the main strips.
Locate the hidden gems - high up in the mountains or deep in the pine forests.
That's where you'll create the best and most inspiring memories - the stories of which you'll tell for far longer than the traditional, touristy tales.
So whatever you do - whether it's choosing outfits or choosing how to spend your days in a new place - be brave and seek out the hidden, the unusual and the lesser known. Side-step the herd and go your own way. It will be so worth it.
I hope to upload a post all about my favourite spots in Rhodes - the spots that you're less likely to find on TripAdvisor, so stay tuned.
Feel free to follow me on Instagram in the meantime, and see you in the next post!