The Fashion Intruder book review

The Fashion Intruder is the multi-faceted debut novel by Roma E. Black. Promising to immerse you in to a world of fashion, whilst also giving an insight into the life of a lawyer, I was excited to give it a try.

One of the best things about being self-employed has been cutting out commuting and late nights, giving me back that all-important ‘me-time’. I’ve used this time over the last couple of months to read as much as I can, stepping out of my comfort zone (autobiographies and true crime books…for my sins, Will thinks I’m psycho reading THAT stuff before bed).

The main character in The Fashion Intruder, Sofia, has chosen a career in law, receiving several awards for leading her legal department. However, she is unsatisfied and when given a chance leave her law career behind and pursue a brand new business in fashion (her passion, passed on by her Grandmother), she listens to her heart and strives to succeed.

An inspirational read

There is a strong theme of determination, backbone and grit throughout – Sofia will stop at nothing until she gets there.

From Roma in her own words:

“The Fashion Intruder shows you how to fashionably quit a job, create a start-up of your dreams and leave a lawyers’ world. It is not about fashion itself, it is about chasing your dreams and believing in love. Having strength for fighting and resistance to stay on your way. Even if everything is falling apart….The Fashion Intruder is about believing that it is never too late to do what you love.”

blonde girl reading The Fashion Intruder on a bed

I was a little worried at first! I thought the story would have many references to designers and trends that I’d be lost, but I was pleasantly surprised. With references to Karl Lagerfeld and front-row seats to catwalk shows with Gigi and Bella Hadid, I felt at ease, as well as learning a few things along the way.

Late into the night I found myself Googling the famous rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli and becoming more absorbed into the world of fashion. In addition, I’ve been browsing travel blogs and Skyscanner non-stop. This is due to the fabulous Italian and French locations included in the novel, so beautifully described.

Overall, The Fashion Intruder is sophisticated, fast-paced and aspirational. It’s a fun story that intertwines fashion, love, mystery and most importantly, taking a chance on a dream.

A final note from Roma:

My novel addressed to all the people who are fed up with hearing such lines as: ‘It is too late’, ‘It is not possible’, or ‘No one likes their job.’”

Roma is currently working on a screenplay and part two of The Fashion Intruder.

I want to read The Fashion Intruder!

Head over to amazon to order your copy today (available on Kindle and in paperback). You can also find The Fashion Intruder on Facebook and Instagram.

Read more of my reviews here.

Cornwall week away, including Mevagissey, St Nectan’s Glen and Boscastle!

Three people at Asia Scenic Cooking School wearing traditional Thai hats

We headed to Thailand in May and couldn’t wait to take a cooking class in Chiang Mai! There were so many options, but we settled on Asia Scenic Cooking School.

It was incredible! We started the morning in the home garden, full to bursting with herbs, fruit and spices to be used in the dishes. Following this, we then went to the local market, wearing full Asia Scenic uniform of course. During our time there, we spent a while learning about different types of rice, fish and vegetables. It was such a different experience from the tourist markets!

Once back in the Asia Scenic Cooking School, we began making different dishes, including soup, curry paste, curry, sticky rice and spring rolls. We’ve captured the spring rolls well in the video. Will had a great time making his…not.

We were able to sit and eat each dish, which was lovely, except we were so ridiculously full afterwards.

It was honestly such a lovely day. We picked up so many tips to use at home – and trust me I have been! We even received an Asia Scenic cookbook to take home, which has proved successful in our house.

I’d recommend Asia Scenic Cooking School to anyone. The price was amazing (about 800B for half day and 1,200B full). We met so many lovely people on our course too, with nationalities spanning Australia, Germany, Korea, Netherlands and of course, England.

If you’re in Chiang Mai and have a few hours to spare, just go for it – you won’t regret it!

Video

Want more travel? Click here.

pink workspace with pen mug notebook and candle

“You’re so lucky you get to work from home!” is a phrase that often leaves people’s mouths when I tell them what I do for a living. Well, yes I am – and I’m absolutely loving my new-found freedom and flexibility, not to mention my new affinity for Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour. I don’t have to drag myself up at an ungodly hour to get to the tube station in the rain, only to find that the Central Line is busted (again!) and I’m going to be late to a V. IMPORTANT. MEETING. I don’t need to fanny around with my makeup, hair and outfit or worry about nasty colleagues or a lacklustre boss.

HOWEVER, it’s not all brilliant. This is my second “go” at working from home, albeit this time I’m working for myself rather than for a company. The first time around, I really didn’t have a nice time. Working from home can make you feel so lonely and out of the loop when you’re not seeing a regular group of clients every day or heading for post-work bevs of a Thursday evening. Although I wasn’t particularly enjoying my role in the company when I worked from home the first time around, I certainly didn’t make the best of my situation. This exacerbated the difficulties within my role and eventually, my mental health was at stake.

Now however, I feel I’ve finally cracked this work from home malarkey. Not only am I working for myself (madness!) in something I love (absolute madness!), I can make my own rules, be flexible and focus on that all-important (and oft-neglected) mental health, should I need to.

Here are a few tips, from me to you, to make your work from home journey a little easier and hopefully, long-lived.

gratitude and happiness planner

Have a to-do list, every day

I write out a to-do list every morning in a notebook. I then create another one in the afternoon and don’t stop until it’s done. Whichever way you choose to create one – whether it’s on a Post-It, your phone, or on the computer – it will add a much-needed structure to your day. Also, do your most important task first. In the past, I’ve got heaps of housework done and even deigned to fix a hem on a pair of trousers I’d not touched in six months to avoid a task. However, I obviously ended up having to do it anyway and worked much later than I needed to. Getting it out of the way early will ensure you are much less likely to stray from your work.

Get out and about

I absolutely love my home and Will and I have worked hard to make it the eclectic, interesting place it is. However, sitting at my desk – sometimes not leaving it all day – can get jarring. Make use of the space around you. During the heatwave, I took my laptop down to Walpole Park and sat in the sun. I’ve written in cosy pubs in the colder months, hipster coffee bars and also on a hill looking out at the Cornish sea. If you’ve got an internet connection, you’re golden. If you prefer working within your four walls though, just taking a “proper” lunch hour and getting out of the house for a walk makes such a difference.

Create a workspace

“Oh wow, you must sit in your pyjamas and work from bed all day!” Well, yeah – kind of. It’s true that my work uniform consists of various underwear items, baggy dungarees and a vast array of Will’s t-shirts – but working from bed is a no-no. I have a clear work-space which is a proper desk set with all my lovely plants and stationery. Sitting there puts me into “work-mode” and makes me productive in a way that sitting in bed just can’t compare to. That’s not to say you should NEVER work from bed if it takes your fancy, but making sure you have a set space will ensure your deadlines are met instead of drifting off for a random 11am snooze after Jeremy Kyle.

working space desk with apple macbook notebook and plants

Top three work from home pros

  • You can work ANYWHERE you like
    See above. World is your oyster, mate.
  • It doesn’t have to be 9-5
    I’m 100% more productive and creative in the afternoon and evenings, so I why on EARTH would I start work at 8am? I often write my best pieces working late into the night.
  • Working in your pants
    Need I say more? ALSO, makeup-free days. My skin LOVES me. Seriously though, you are your best you when you’re comfortable.

Top three work from home cons

  • It’s not always 9-5
    I often find myself working at weekends, which is fine for me if I have a spare hour or so. However, others may require a much stricter work schedule to work to.
  • It can be isolating
    As above, I hated this element the first time round. I’d sometimes find I hadn’t spoken to a single, solitary soul all day. Now, I make sure to get on the blower and annoy the hell out of everyone I know. Also, call clients or any work colleagues if you can. Because you know, sometimes it’s hard to read the tone of an email and take shit to heart. I also take the opportunity to catch up with friends I haven’t seen for years by co-working. It really is what you make it.
  • You need to be totally strict with your diet
    Not doing a mad early-morning march to the tube can make a difference to your waistline. Be honest with yourself if you’re being totally sedentary and get on the treadmill and swap biscuits for celery. I’ve been doing the 5:2 diet for a while, which is easy enough, as Will and I plan all our meals in advance. Somehow, knowing what is coming next saves me from snacking.

pink background googly eyes

How can YOU work from home?

Jack in ya job and go freelance, boi. If you’re not quite at that stage yet, many workplaces offer flexible working patterns. For jobs that only require an internet connection and a laptop, there’s no reason why you can’t work from home. If you think your boss is sound, why not broach it?

Freelance Friends, Office-Population-One Pals and Solo Sidekicks…

I work around London most of the week and am always looking for someone to work alongside in the fabulous spaces we have available. If you want to meet up, contact me at ella.delancey@gmail.com. Obviously, there’s the mandatory five o’ clock Cocktail Hour – but if you can stomach that, we’ll be grand.

pink fresh fruit lycheesI recently wrote a post on the best things to eat in Berlin, which inspired me to create another post focusing on our fave country, Thailand.

We’ve been twice now, and both times we’ve tried to be really adventurous with what we eat throughout the whole trip. We may have had a couple of hangover pizzas, not gonna lie, but the majority of the time we ate authentic Thai food. The food is UNREAL out there, and almost offensively cheap for how good it is.

Here are our top picks for what to eat in Thailand…visit hungry!

Pad Pak Boong (Morning Glory)

The best hangover cure EVER. It’s basically stir fried veggies, specifically water spinach with chilies. It’s quick, healthy and a perfect way to start the day. Definitely get this over there, because I’m yet to find it on a menu in the UK.

Mango Sticky Rice

My FAVOURITE! This is such a great, cheap food for breakfast, light lunch or just a quick snack. Imagine the juiciest mango ever, with a side of perfect sticky rice, covered with the sweetest coconut cream. It is the actual best. It usually costs between 40B and 60B (90p – £1.30) on the street depending on where you are, and up to 80B – 150B (£1.80 – £3.50) in a restaurant (rip off, it’s better on the street, anyway).

young man at a thai cooking class in thailand

Khao Soi (Yellow Curry)

This is a famous dish in Northern Thailand and especially in Chiang Mai. It’s a creamy but spicy curry with coconut milk and usually chicken thighs, topped with pickled shallots and crispy noodles. Buy some for 150B at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar (if you can resist all the other amazing food there!).

Fresh fruit

There’s just no excuse not to. You can buy SO much fresh fruit wherever you go in Thailand and once again, it’s better from the street. Mango, bananas, jackfruit, dragonfruit, watermelon…the list goes on. You can get a large amount of fruit for about 50B (£1) – we used to stock up and take it all down to the beach for snacking.

You can also find durian fruit, usually accompanied by a sign asking for 10B, should you want to take a picture of it. If you haven’t heard, durian is the ‘smelliest fruit in the world’, with a smell some people describe as either onions or vomit. When I smell it, I just think of bin juice. Surprisingly, it tastes fine? Odd. Most hotels ban them and put signs up with warnings of an 1000B fine should you bring them in!

girl drinking strawberry drink in chiang mai night bazaar thailand

Geang Keow Wan Gai (Green Curry)

A classic, but still worth eating! Thai Green Curry is one of the most well known Thai dishes throughout the world. It’s so cheap too. In fact, you’ll find that at restaurants, most Thai dishes are the cheapest (and nicest), whereas more European dishes are more expensive, most likely because they need to import the ingredients.

Bugs & Scorpions

Because obviously. When I went last year it was a must-do tourist thing for me, and I dutifully made my way down to Khao San Road and bought a deep-fried scorpion from a man on the street. I mean, it’s not the nicest thing in the world, but it’s not the worst. At least you can say you’ve been there, got the t-shirt (and the pic for the ‘gram!)

What have I missed? Take a look at some more of our Thailand content here and here.