Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Style Inspiration | El's Fashion Fix

This month in my style inspiration series I'm excited to be featuring Elise from El's Fashion Fix! I've been reading El's blog for a while now and every outfit she posts gives me major style envy! Her outfit posts are always a delight to read as she is so lovely and always so smiley and happy in her pictures! She's kindly let me use some of her pictures for this post so please note that all the photos below belong to El.

When I think of El's style I think of pretty printed dresses and button down skirts - she is the queen of button down skirts! She always looks like she's put so much effort into her outfit while managing to look effortlessly lovely at the same time (if that makes sense!?). El knows exactly what suits her, which luckily for her is a lot! I've put together some of my favourite looks of hers and she also kindly agreed to answer some questions about her style so see below for those!

How would you describe your style? I would say that my style is feminine and sophisticated! I really enjoy wearing dresses, skirts and anything ladylike :) I also adore wearing heels and tend to wear them as much as I can! My wardrobe is full of chic staple pieces which are perfect for any season or occasion. Fashion is all about having fun and I really like experimenting with my look and mixing vintage classics with modern pieces. I also enjoy keeping up with the latest trends and checking out what's new in the fashion world!

Where do you get your style inspiration? Many factors influence my style! From fellow fashion bloggers and friends to street style and even my emotions, I feel inspired by life itself and everything that I see on a daily basis. I also feel inspired by the latest fashion trends and fashion week shows! Fashion is an art and everyone's style is beautiful! I love seeing what others decide to wear and I adore how we all have our own individual style.

Who is your biggest style inspiration? My biggest style inspiration is Kate Moss! Her sense of style is amazing and I love the way that she dresses! She makes everything look super stylish and always looks impeccable! Her outfits are always very well put together and I love her rock chick vibe.

Thank you so much to El for letting my use her pictures and answering my prying questions! What do you think of El's style? Who is your style inspiration?

Amy x

Sunday, 26 June 2016

6 Days of DIY

What do most people do when they're off work? Go on holiday, hang out with friends, have a bit of chill time etc etc. And what do we do when we have time off work? DIY of course! I went back to work on Thursday after some time off which included a nice weekend for Nick's birthday and also six days of hardcore DIY. If you haven't read my blog before then you won't know that Nick and I are currently renovating our first house. I wanted to show what we got done in the time because six days really isn't that long and I'm so pleased that we worked all the way through them (literally 9am-9pm!) because it just goes to show what we can actually get done if we put some effort in! Sorry for the quality of the pictures, I only decided I wanted to do this post after we'd done the work so the first few are from snapchat!

We got the wooden floor sanded and varnished, the walls painted, coving put up, shelves installed and painted and the fireplace and all the woodwork painted too. The room is now pretty much finished apart from a few last touch ups! I'm not sure if I'll do a proper transformation post on this room because it's actually our guest bedroom, but we're going to be using it as a living room while we decorate downstairs! 

What do you think of our six day transformation?

Amy x

Friday, 24 June 2016

Off The Shoulder

As I was writing the title for the post I mis-typed it as 'over the shoulder' and instantly the phrase 'over the shoulder boulder holder' popped into my head and made me lol - anyone else used to be obsessed with the Georgia Nicholson books? I kind of want to take a trip down memory lane and read them again, but something tells me they probably wouldn't be quite as good as I thought they were at the time. 

Anyway...this outfit. I love the off the shoulder trend that popped up everywhere as soon as we saw the slightest hint of sun, but I have quite broad shoulders so it can be difficult for me to pull off. I think I just about get away with it with this top though because it's quite floaty. Plus I would probably have bought it anyway because I love the pattern and the colour - red is my favourite colour but I hardly ever wear it anymore, I guess I've got more safe in my old age! 

The good news is that I've managed to do an outfit post without wearing white trainers, the bad news is that I am yet again wearing my Joni jeans, but I guess it just goes to show what my real wardrobe staples are. I couldn't really wear this top with anything else because it's so floaty I felt like I needed skinny jeans to offset that. 

Let's talk about the shoes...these are from last summer and were my absolute favourites then and they've resurfaced and become my absolute favourites again. They're so comfy for wedges and so supportive too and I can actually manage the 40 minute walk to work in them without hobbling/crying. Plus I like the height because it makes my legs look a little less like two little stumps!

Top - New Look (here)
Jeans - Topshop (here)
Shoes - Asos (old)

What do you think of this outfit? Are you a fan of the off the shoulder trend?

Amy x

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Why We Need More Understanding of Disability

I want to clarify straight away that it is totally fine not to understand disability and that's kind of the whole point behind this post - that there seems to be a lack of education and/or experience in society surrounding disability, which has resulted in a lot of people feeling completely out of their depth when they find themselves in situations involving disabled people. 

I wanted to write this post after hearing a statistic that really horrified me - 90% of pregnant women have an abortion after finding out their baby is at high risk of having down syndrome. I can't say how accurate this figure is, just that it came from a down syndrome campaigner. At first I was appalled, but after chatting to a few friends about it I realised that as someone who has grown up around disability I was jumping to the conclusion that women were doing this because they just didn't like the idea of having a baby with down syndrome, when in fact they're doing it because they're downright scared. And why are they scared? Because they have absolutely zero knowledge or experience of disability. Obviously I'm not saying you shouldn't have an abortion if you want one, but the fact that people are so uninformed is a big issue and must contribute significantly to this figure.

For someone who hasn't had any experience around those with disabilities it must be so difficult to know how to act around people with disabilities, never mind begin to understand them so I think it's really sad that people aren't being given the knowledge they need. Women can be in a situation where there is a chance their baby may have down syndrome and they're still not being given enough information.

I think people who do have experience of disability are quick to judge those who don't and I've learnt over time to see it from a different perspective. When I was younger I glared at any other child who dared to stare at my sister, but now I realise it's natural curiosity for a child to be interested in something they haven't come across before. Only a few years ago Nick admitted to me that the first time he saw my sister eat he felt a bit sick (it can be a messy affair!). If he'd told me that at the time I would have completely flown off the handle at him, but when he told me I understood that yes, for someone who hasn't seen Bethany eat before, it's probably slightly off putting.

The fact that I've grown used to people not understanding disability doesn't mean I think people shouldn't. I think there needs to be better education, particularly around mental disabilities that a lot of people don't know how to deal with and better integration within society (in Hull a lot of mainstream schools are now twinned with SEN schools, which I think is great).

I don't really know how to end this post because basically I've just moaned about a problem and not really worked out how to solve it. But I suppose what I'm trying to say is, let's be more tolerant of each other - if someone doesn't understand disability don't jump down their throat because it may just be lack of experience and alternatively, if someone has a disability why not make the effort to better understand it?

Do you agree with any of the points I've made in this post? (If I put them across clearly enough!)

Amy x

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Fitness: C25K Running App

I've touched upon fitness before on this blog and if you read my Fit February series you may remember that I attempted (and miserably failed) my running week (post here). My attitude to health and fitness has really changed this year  and I'm focusing on eating and exercising to keep fit and healthy rather than to lose weight as I've tried in the past, which just made me miserable. 

Since the weather has got a bit (emphasis on the word bit) nicer I've been wanting to exercise outside rather than do my YouTube workouts indoors. On a whim one evening in April I downloaded the C25K app (the free one with the orange logo) and vowed to start the very next day. 

The aim of the app is to get you running 5k in 8 weeks and it is aimed at people who haven't run before and who aren't particularly fit. It starts off by building your stamina using interval training to ease you into running, with each week challenging you to run a little further before taking a break. You're supposed to go three times a week, which really is doable! The app is so easy to use as it tells you when to stop and start, plus you can still listen to music on your phone at the same time! Also, if you feel out of your depth you can repeat days until you complete them. The only bad point about the app is that it doesn't have GPS and works solely with time so once I started the longer runs I used Map My Run at the same time to track how far I was actually running.

Week 1 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 60 seconds of jogging followed by 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. As someone who was already exercising I found the first week fairly doable, as you get such big breaks in between running. I would imagine this could be challenging if you haven't run before, but definitely still doable!

Week 2 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 90 seconds of jogging followed by 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes. Again, I found this week fairly easy because even though you increase the amount of time you're running for you also increase your rest time. I wouldn't say it was any more difficult than the first week, just different!

Week 3 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 90 second jog, 90 second walk, 3 minute jog, 3 minute walk then repeat. When I saw this pop up on the app I thought it was a huge jump up to 3 minutes, but you get a three minute walk afterwards which was nice! It was a bit of a challenge, but I found the run actually went faster when I was running for longer chunks of time!

Week 4 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 3 minute jog, 90 second walk, 5 minute jog, 2.5 minute walk, repeat. I was definitely ready to stop after 5 minutes, but again I found that running for longer chunks of time made the whole run feel shorter and by the end of it I felt like I could probably do more. Also at the very end of week 4 a nice little message popped up congratulating me for getting halfway through! 

Week 5 | This week is different every day, building up to the end of the week when there's the first big run of 20 minutes without stopping! It does seem like a big jump (and feels like one!) when earlier in the week the longest you've run for at a time is 8 minutes! I could have easily stopped after 10 minutes, but I kept going and even though I was so tired and red faced it felt like such an achievement!

Week 6 | The first 2 sessions of week 6 take you back to interval training, which felt quite easy after doing the big run and was quite nice to go back to. The third day is another long run at 22 minutes without stopping. This was a challenge, but I completed it again and at this point was feeling so good about myself!

Week 7 | Week 7 is pretty brutal I'm not gonna lie! It consists of 3 25 minute runs with no walking and I didn't find it got any easier as the week went on! I did keep track of my pace though using Map My Run and managed to improve my pace slightly each day so maybe that's why it didn't get easier! 

Week 8 | This week again consists of three long runs, 2 at 28 minutes and then one at 30 which is supposed to be your 5k. I actually did slightly over 5k on my final run, but found it a massive struggle! I was so tired and definitely could have stopped halfway through (and would have if I hadn't  wanted to complete it so bad!). 

I'm so chuffed that I achieved my 5k - it's the furthest I've ever run without stopping and I'm determined to carry on running and keep my fitness up. I would definitely recommend this app as it really does work! For me I think it worked psychologically rather than physically - I think fitness wise I probably could have run 5k before doing this, but I never would because I didn't think I would be able to, plus I would have stopped as soon as I got tired, whereas the app kept me going!

Since finishing it I've been going running twice a week and I have to admit I haven't actually achieved 5k again and am tending to run between 3 and 4k. I'm aiming to get my pace up and hopefully eventually 5k will feel comfortable enough for me to start training for 10k! 

Do you run? Have you tried this app? Would you?

Amy x

Friday, 17 June 2016

All Wrapped Up

Enter my new favourite outfit - a wrap top (which is actually a body i.e. the comfiest thing to wear with anything high waisted) paired with a wrap skirt. I don't own anything else like either of these and I really don't know why I haven't ventured into the world of wrap tops before because they're so flattering. I wouldn't usually go for a body because whenever I think of them I just imagine Beyonce wearing one by itself and unfortunately that's not really me...however picking this one up has made me realise just how useful they are for wearing under high waisted things - no double checking you're all tucked in and this one has poppers so you don't have to get completely undressed when you go to the toilet (sorry if that's TMI but I feel like many of you will understand!).

The skirt is one of those scary ones that's just held together with a little button and the tie that you do up yourself so there is a slight fear when I put this on about whether it's actually going to hold up all day, but so far so good. I love the stripes and the colours and luckily for me it goes with the top perfectly. I also like the length of the skirt because it's work appropriate which ultimately means I will wear it more!

Yet again I'm wearing my babin' trainers from Tu, which dress down this outfit nicely meaning I can wear it alla the time! I think this might be the third outfit post in a row I've worn them in, but I really am wearing them so much because they're so comfortable and didn't even need wearing in.

I've been getting a bit braidy recently and this hairstyle was an attempt to channel my inner Daenerys Targaryen, although I couldn't look less like a mother of dragons in these pictures if I tried.

Top - New Look (here)
Skirt - New Look (here)
Trainers - Tu (here)

What do you think of this outfit? Do you wear wrap skirts/tops?

Amy x

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

My Most Worn Spring Outfits

I did one of these style posts for my most worn winter outfits (here) and I really enjoy looking back at what I've been loving wearing throughout the past few months so I thought I'd do it again for my most worn spring outfits! Most of these are pretty casual as I seem to have been dressing down a fair bit recently!

Double denim

I've been absolutely loving this denim parka jacket I picked up from Tu back in April. It's so easy to wear and the perfect spring cover up which, let's face it, is definitely needed in England! I've been wearing it with my black Joni jeans from Topshop, a pair of white trainers and then any one of my many striped tops!

The salmon shirt 

I'm not a pink person, but this blouse from New Look has probably been my most worn item this spring. It's just so easy to throw on and, like most blouses, just makes it look like I've made more effort than I have! I wear it with either my Joni jeans or my Jamie jeans from Topshop and as an outfit it goes with pretty much any pair of shoes so I'm able to decide depending on the weather!

The check shirt

As I said I've been big on casual and comfy clothes this spring and this shirt from H&M has been perfect, again on days where I don't want to make the effort but I want to look like I have (can you see a theme emerging here?). I really want to pick up some more of these in different colours too. Also I promise I don't literally wear my Joni jeans all the time, but I just happen to be in all of the pictures so far!

The casual culottes 

These are a more recent addition to my wardrobe, but I've worn them so much already and I think they'll continue to be a staple throughout summer. They're from Topshop and they're just so comfortable and floaty so perfect for days when we actually get some decent weather!

Which outfit is your favourite? What have you been wearing throughout spring?

Amy x