Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Hull Spotlight: Sleepers


You may have worked out by now through this Hull series that I love going out for coffee/brunch/any kind of food at all as I've been featuring a lot of cute cafes and coffee shops. I'm branching out ever so slightly in this post (but it's still totally food oriented don't worry) and chatting about Sleepers, which is more of a restaurant/bar than a cafe. Sleepers is on Newland Avenue and a few years ago also opened a branch in nearby Beverley. It's our absolute favourite place for a meal out - I'd say we probably eat there at least once a month, usually as a little treat after a hard day's DIY or as a celebration for finishing a project in the house.




We don't get out for breakfast/brunch very often, but when we do it's usually Sleepers that we'll head to because the eggs - I mean LOOK AT THEM. I'm not exaggerating when I say they make the best poached eggs ever and if you can find me somewhere that does them better then I'll eat my...well, eggs. I always go for eggs florentine because I'm a spinach fiend, but they also do eggs benedict and eggs atlantic and they all come with lashings of the dreamiest hollandaise sauce. If I was rich I think I'd go here for breakfast every morning.

More often we head to Sleepers for an evening meal. The food has never ever disappointed - from the very first time eating there we knew it would become a firm favourite. We even set ourselves a little challenge of having something different every time we went, although I have cheated a couple of times because some of the dishes are too good to only have once (hellooo halloumi kebabs you ultimate babes). Sleepers serves a lot of traditional style food - think meat and two veg, as well as such a wide assortment of other dishes like moussaka, burgers and seafood. So the actual menu isn't anything particularly different or revolutionary, but I can't stress how amazing every single dish is - it's not even any more expensive than your average restaurant in Hull, but it's on another level completely.

They also do dreamy cocktails, which are the perfect accompaniment to an evening meal - they do all different flavours of mojito which is my all time favourite cocktail (and is one of the only things I really miss being able to have since going refined sugar free - sob). Back to the food and I feel like I need to take a moment to talk about the chunky chips because they're basically like a whole potato as a chip - see the below photo. Yes, they're really that big. I don't know how they make them, but they're perfectly crispy on the outside and then so soft and fluffy on the inside - I have to think very carefully before ordering a meal that doesn't come with chunky chips because chip FOMO is a real thing.

My two biggest recommendations would be either the cajun salmon or the teriyaki beef stir fry (neither of which I have pictures of #badblogger). You get a ginormous portion of salmon which is totally coated in cajun spices (with sour cream on the side for the faint hearted like me) and it's so tasty. The stir fry is absolutely huge and the beef is cooked to perfection - I'm not the biggest fan of meat because I often find it too tough so when I find a meat dish that I can't get enough of I know it must be good.

The interiors are very rustic - a lot of wood and brick, which I love because it has a real cosy feel to it. There are also industrial elements with a lot of low hanging lighting and metal stools. The lighting is quite low, which unfortunately doesn't make it the best for Instagram purposes, but does make it the best for a cosy evening meal out where you can actually put your phone away and have a chat (if that's still a thing that people do).

I'm steadily working my way through the menu, but there's still plenty I haven't tried so there'll be plenty more visit in the future!




Have you ever been to Sleepers?

Amy x
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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Wardrobe Staples | Faux Leather Jacket


I'm not gonna lie, it took me a while to jump on the (faux) leather jacket bandwagon. I think I always thought I wasn't quite cool enough and that a leather jacket wasn't quite 'me' being the casual soul that I am. Turns out it's actually a pretty handy addition to my wardrobe as it can be worn with a casual outfit (which is me 99% of the time) but can also be worn on an evening with something slightly more dressy. I've worn mine so many times now over jeans and t-shirts, dresses, blouses - the list is endless because it goes with everything bar my faux leather trousers because however much I wish I was, unfortunately I'm not Buffy.

I spent a long time finding a leather jacket that suited me and my style and basically went for the most casual one I could find (obviously). It's from Topshop which I knew wouldn't let me down when I was on my hunt because it's the one shop that never ever fails for me. I love that it doesn't have a collar because it makes it much easier to wear with anything and does make it look a little more casual and I love the quilted detail because who doesn't love anything quilted? The quilting also means that it's super comfortable to wear and we all know I'm all about that comfy life.

A faux leather jacket is perfect for this time of year when it's too warm for a coat, but the weather still hasn't quite made its mind up yet. I was surprised at how warm it actually is as a cover up, which is great for spring and summer evenings when you still want to sit in a pretty beer garden but don't want to pretend you're enjoying yourself when you're actually freezing your socks off.





The rest of my outfit is fairly simple and mostly made up of older pieces. I've felt so much more comfortable shooting older outfits recently - sometimes it feels like there's a certain amount of pressure as a style blogger to constantly have something new and exciting to show, when actually it should also be about what I'm actually wearing day to day because I do have a lot of older clothes in my wardrobe and however it may appear on my Asos account (ahem), I'm not always buying new clothes that I can feature. It finally seems like the right weather to bring out the cropped trousers again (although my legs are so short you can barely tell these are supposed to be cropped) and I've rediscovered this wrap body that I was obsessed with last year as it's super comfortable and looks great tucked into everything. Unfortunately about ten minutes after these pictures were taken I spilt coffee all down it and had to dash home and change before work #glamorous.

Jacket - Topshop (here) | Culottes - Asos (old) | Top - New Look (old) | Trainers - New Look (old)

Are you a leather jacket fan?

Amy x




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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Smart Comfortable


Yes, I've created a new phrase and one I'm quite proud of - 'smart comfortable' (pretty sure I am definitely not the first person to come up with this phrase, but humour me and pretend that I'm some sort of word wizard. The older I get (*stifled sob*) the more I'm all about comfort when it comes to clothes because this girl just doesn't have time for waistbands that dig in or tops that restrict the ability to breathe. 

Generally I feel like when people think of comfortable clothes they think of lounge wear - jogging bottoms, leggings and snuggly big jumpers you'd wear around the house (or, in my case, anywhere at the weekend). But comfortable doesn't have to mean casual and I've recently discovered plenty of ways to incorporate comfortable clothes into my work wardrobe (or in this case my romping around a field wardrobe) without looking like I should be curled up on the sofa with a cuppa and a blanket (which when I'm wearing clothes this comfortable I can totally do as soon as I get home without even changing and if that isn't an achievement in life I don't know what is). Obviously smart comfortable will differ for everyone in terms of what clothes people actually find comfortable, but these are just a few pieces I'm loving at the moment that I've found work for me.




First up, this dress. Can we just take a moment to appreciate that it cost £8.99 from H&M. £8.99. I was tempted to get one in every colour, but because I'm predictable I knew I'd always reach for the black one - plus my mum bought the navy one so we can always play swapsies. I'm absolutely loving the plisse trend (or the 'corrugated cardboard' trend as Nick calls it) and it's pretty much the definition of smart comfortable. The material is smart, the pleated effect is smart, but the fit and the fabric is so 'eat-all-you-like-and-I'll-hide-it-able'. I'm now the proud owner of plisse trousers, a plisse jumpsuit and this plisse dress and I'm only going to keep adding to my collection because it's the comfiest polyester goodness I've ever worn.

I'd usually go for something a little more structured as a cover up with such a loose fitting dress, but I spied this blouse in my wardrobe and I think they actually make a pretty good outfit together. The blouse is super floaty so it's obviously comfortable and the silky material is the type that feels so good against your skin you kind of want to curl up and have a nap in it (it's advisable not to do that at work though FYI...) I love wearing shirts and blouses as cover ups in the summer when you don't need anything too thick and heavy but still want a lil' something to cover your shoulders on an evening (or all the time in England really, lets face it).




Obviously you don't need heels to be smart, but personally wearing heels does always make me feel that little bit sassier. The problem comes when you realise you have to walk round in them all day doesn't it? In the colder months I opt for heeled boots for comfort, but now that it's getting warmer (can we get a hip hooray?) I've opted for heeled mules. I'd been wanting a pair for a while and when I spied these beauties in New Look I fell hard (in love, not on my face - I can walk in them I promise) and my lovely ma kindly bought me them #whatababe. I can see myself wearing them so much and I'm so surprised at how well I can actually walk in them. I had visions of them flapping off the back of my feet or me very ungracefully managing to walk out of them, but luckily I've avoided that so far.


 
Sorry but I couldn't resist keeping that last picture in...that's just how happy I am that I've found an outfit that's as comfortable as my pyjamas and acceptable to go to work in.

Dress - H&M (here) | Shirt - Asos (old) | Mules - New Look (here)

Amy x


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Sunday, 21 May 2017

My Top 5 UK Staycation Destinations

Following on from last week's post about my hopes to explore more of the UK, I thought I'd delve a little into the places I have been in this country. Turns out I've been to some beautiful places and I have such amazing memories of all of them so I thought I'd do a little round up of my top five staycation destinations in case you need a little inspo of where to visit. This is a complete mixture of city breaks and entire counties I've explored all over the country so all completely different experiences, but all equally amazing.

LONDON

I mean, obviously. This list isn't in any particular order, but if it was I'm pretty sure London would be number one. It was my home for three years and the thing I love most about London is that however many times you go back there's always something new to see and endless things to do. Equally, I love revisiting places I already love - I could walk along Southbank all day because there's something about it that makes me so happy. There's really something for everyone in London and if you're not a fan of the hustle and bustle there are some gorgeous places to visit a little further out - Kew Gardens is one of my absolute favourites. 



CORNWALL

I couldn't narrow it down to just one place to visit in this gorgeous county so just go everywhere OK? Cornwall is possibly the most relaxing place ever and the weather has always been glorious when we've visited so it's one of those places where in my head it's always sunny (disclaimer: it's probably not). Cornwall is the type of place that's just nice to walk around because everything is so pretty and its the most abroad I've felt while still being in the UK (if that makes any sense). Two places I'd definitely recommend visiting are St Ives because it's the prettiest town I have ever been to and Crantock beach (pictured below) which is a tidal beach that has a river running through it when the tide comes in plus there's the cutest cliff top cafĂ© overlooking the beach with a little bridge leading to it for use when the tide is in. Dreamy.





GLASGOW

And to completely the other end of the country is Glasgow. Because it's so close to Edinburgh, which is a beautiful city itself I feel like Glasgow often gets overlooked or seen as a poor relation, but it's definitely an amazing city in its own right. The buildings are gorgeous, there are so many amazing places to eat and drink (apparently it's the vegan capital of the UK) and my personal highlight is the botanic gardens, which are so gorgeous. It's the kind of place that I'd really love to live if it wasn't so far away from my family because it has so much character. Definitely a city break worth putting on the to visit list!



NORTHUMBERLAND

Because I grew up partly in Newcastle I have explored Northumberland a fair bit in the past, but it was only when we decided to walk Hadrian's Wall a couple of years ago that I got a real feel for it. There is so much history that's part of the landscape and it's a part of the country where you feel like you can really switch off from everyday life (unless you live there I guess...) My top recommendations would include Alnwick Castle (partly because it's gorge, but mainly because Harry Potter) and the area around Vindolanda (pictured below) because there's uninterrupted countryside and it's obviously a pretty good place for a hike! There are also some amazing but affordable places to stay around Northumberland - we paid so little for accommodation when we visited the wall and even the hostels are quaint and full of character.



BATH

Bath is somewhere that I've visited a fair few times, but still feel like I need to go again. The buildings are absolutely gorgeous, just the houses themselves are stunning and although there's plenty to do I don't feel like it's your typical fast paced city break because it's the type of place you just want to walk around and drink in the beauty of your surroundings. It's not often that city breaks are necessarily relaxing but I feel like Bath is one of those rare exceptions - plenty to see and do but perfectly chilled. Take me there now?



Where are your favourite places to visit in the UK?


Amy x
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Does Being a Blogger Mean I'm Shallow?


All in all bloggers get quite a bad rap don't they? There's a reason I didn't tell anyone about this blog for a while and that I still feel a little awkward talking about it - there's always a little part of me wondering what people actually think about it. Maybe they like it or maybe they wonder why on earth I'd think anyone would give a crap about what I like to wear. Maybe they think I'm shallow, which tends to be a common view of bloggers in general - why would anyone want to write about clothes or holidays when there are much more important things going on in the world?

Funnily enough I'm well aware that I'm not doing anything revolutionary, I'm not trying to change the world and I'm not writing about the most important issues in existence. But I like clothes, I like food, I like interiors and I like exploring new places. And I like documenting it on my blog. Does that make me materialistic and shallow? Am I automatically a complete airhead if I like to chat about my new favourite pair of shoes or what I had for breakfast?


I actually do get it. I get why, from the outside looking in, bloggers may seem shallow. And hey, I'm sure some of them are, just like some non-bloggers are shallow too. Sure, some bloggers talk about politics and mental health and do a very good job at raising awareness of those issues. But most of us? We like a good chat about what our dream house would look like, what style of clothes we're lusting after this month and how much we love coffee (or is that last one just me?...) And yes, all of those things are quite shallow. But there are plenty of other shallow interests too, like cars, TV shows, stamp collecting... And secondly, just because I blog about my style and my house doesn't mean that's all there is to me. I pour a lot of myself into my blog, but not everything. There are things I'm interested in, things I do and things about me that never make it onto this blog and does it make me shallow that I don't talk about them? I don't think so. Maybe you do.


Unfortunately for myself I'm always going to be one of those people who worries too much about what other people think. If I wasn't I suppose I wouldn't have felt the need to write this post, which when I read it back, doesn't actually have any sort of point or conclusion does it? I guess it's just a plea from me to never judge a book by its cover because we ain't all as shallow as we seem.


Do you think bloggers are shallow or do you think that perception is wrong?


Amy x
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Sunday, 14 May 2017

A Vow to Explore the UK


I'm writing this post fresh from a long weekend in Dorset, an area of the country that I'd never previously explored. Despite being a hen weekend, it was the most relaxed I've felt in a long time. There was something about the fresh country air, quaint farmhouse cottage we stayed in and the breathtaking views that made me breathe a hypothetical sigh of relief and chill out. It made me really appreciate this little island of ours. We're forever looking for new places to explore and travel to, but when breaks abroad are so cheap and accessible we often overlook the country we already live in. When I was younger our family holidays tended to be in the UK rather than abroad, which means I've always thought of myself as being quite well-travelled within this country, when in reality there's so much more to see. It's funny how the UK is really quite small yet seems so big when I list all the places I'd still like to visit.

I'm always making a travel wish list of places I want to visit abroad, but I never add UK destinations to the list. I think I've neglected thinking about them partly because I have been under the impression that I was quite well travelled within the UK and partly because it's very easy to get swept away with FOMO simply when scrolling through Instagram and seeing what seems like everyone but you on an exotic holiday.

I know a lot of people think it's not worth staying in the UK when you can sometimes get a holiday abroad for the same price and I've even used that excuse myself, but UK breaks can be much less hassle and therefore much less stressful - you don't need to think about the exchange rate, you don't need to try and speed teach yourself a different language and you don't need to worry about missing a flight. I also think some places in the UK are worth the price of a holiday - just because you haven't flown somewhere doesn't mean you're not going to have a nice time.

Saying that, I also think you can make a UK break as cheap or as expensive as suits you. Booking trains or buses in advance can save a lot of money and if you're not bothered about having a luxury hotel there are Travelodges and Premier Inns up and down the country. Personally I've camped a fair few times, which really does save you money and can be fun if you're with the right people and at a nice campsite. I realise that's not to everyone's taste though! 






So this is my vow to explore more of the UK, not just dreamy countryside retreats like Dorset, but also busy city breaks to the countless ones I'm yet to visit. When you think about it, the UK actually has a lot to offer (despite the questionable weather) - you can spend a holiday nestled in a countryside cottage, hiking up a mountain or shopping and visiting galleries in a city. There's something for everyone and actually, I'd quite like to do it all!

Do you like UK breaks?

Amy x

P.S. If you want to see more of my weekend in Dorset I've popped a video on my YouTube channel - it's the first in a new series called 'A Day In The Life'. I'm basically starting YouTube afresh with a better idea of what I want to create and what I enjoy making so head on over there if you fancy a watch (I'll love you forever if you do!) Link here.

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Back to Basics


This year I've really been trying to up my blogging game and as a result haven't done a plain old outfit post in a while. Whenever I shoot an outfit I'm thinking about what kind of post I can write to go with it, what message I want to get across and if there's a story to tell. That's all good and well, but there's also something nice about the simplicity of putting an outfit together, photographing it and then just chatting about it, because that's how I started and I don't want to lose that little bit of simplicity. Post ideas don't have to be bold and grand, sometimes it's nice to just go back to basics.




So, with that in mind, here's my outfit. It's nothing spectacular, but it's the kind of thing I wear on a day to day basis and it's the shoes I really want to focus on because can we all just agree that they're beautiful? I'm not one to spend much money on shoes at all and when I say that I mean £20 max, partly because I'm not very good at looking after them and partly because I've got quite stingy in my old age really. So I knew I must really really like these when I paid - wait for it - a whole £35 on them. They're not really very serviceable because they're silky and they're beige, but I actually am going to be so careful with them (I think I can almost hear my mum saying 'yeah right').

I quite like matching my top to my shoes so I tried to do that here with this shirt, which is a really old one from H&M, but it's such an old favourite. I'm very into floaty things at the moment and because this is so long it makes me feel like the hippy I wish I was (I'm way too uptight in reality). It also hides any potential food baby and any item of clothing that does that is a winner in my eyes. I also love the neckline of this with the beaded detailing - I'm a big fan of a white (well, cream in this case) shirt and it's nice to have ones that are just that little bit different.

These faux leather trousers are a real staple of mine at the moment, ever since my black Joni jeans died a very sad death and I couldn't bear to part with £36 to replace them, which is ironic seeing as I just about paid that for these shoes. Although they're very tight fitting, they're so comfortable and feel almost like leggings. I'm all about comfort these days (as you may have noticed with the food baby reference) plus they go with everything.




This is exactly the kind of casual but not too casual outfit that I wear to work on a daily basis. It's comfortable, easy to wear and still looks like I've put in some sort of vague effort. Amen to that.

Shoes - Next (here) | Top - H&M (old) | Trousers - Asos (old)

Amy x
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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Making the Most of Breakfast


Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day - I don't think I've ever skipped breakfast in my life and I like to leave a good half hour in the morning for a leisurely breakfast, regardless of what time I need to be out of the house. For me, breakfast sets me up for what sort of day I'm going to have - I know if I don't put much effort into my breakfast then I'm probably not going to have a very productive day. I like to try and make it tasty, but healthy, as eating a healthy breakfast means I'm more likely to keep up good eating habits throughout the day.


I realise that we don't always have time to make a big deal out of breakfast (unless like me you get up early especially for it which I imagine isn't all that common!), but I do think it's nice to make a bit of a thing of it when you can so that you feel healthy, positive and motivated for the day ahead. So when the lovely people at Amara kindly offered to send me some home bits I knew it was breakfast I wanted to focus on to make it as visually pleasing (surprisingly not just for Instagram, but for myself) and enjoyable as possible.


Being currently without a kitchen (although not for much longer hopefully - watch this space) breakfast options are limited, but luckily one of my favourite breakfasts is granola. I usually make my own, but being without an oven means I've had to shell out and buy a few packets. As I mentioned, I like my breakfasts to be as healthy as possible so fruit is a must. My go to breakfast at the moment is greek yogurt with granola, fruit and either nut butter or honey (or yanno, both cause a girl's gotta treat herself every now and then). All topped off with a coffee of course (or, ahem, two).






You may be able to tell from this breakfast set up that I am possibly the most clichĂ© marble loving blogger that ever existed. Soz about that. Not soz though because it makes me pretty darn happy to have my very own marble patterned cereal bowls* to eat out of and mugs* to drink from. In a breakfast for two set up my new marble platter* is perfect for condiments like honey and nut butter so we can help ourselves from the middle as well as being the perfect platform for some gorgeous flowers* (fake so they last forever obvs) because call me shallow but I really do love a good looking breakfast set up. It's the simple things isn't it? And now I have the most perfect breakfast set up ready to go for my new kitchen and I can't wait!


Are you a fan of breakfast?


Amy x


*Some of the products in this post were kindly gifted to me, but all views and marble obsession completely my own.



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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Upping My Hair Game


Something I'm forever telling myself is that I need to make more effort with my hair. I think carefully about my outfit everyday, I have a full skincare routine that I stick to religiously and I spend about fifteen minutes each morning applying makeup in an attempt to make me look more awake than I actually am. But my hair? That's where the effort stops. It's the last thing I consider so is often the one thing that I run out of time for. I buy whichever shampoo and conditioner is on offer at the supermarket and more often that not will just leave my hair down without doing anything to it, which I sometimes likes to think gives me a cool 'just got out of bed' look, when in reality it gives me a 'just got dragged through a hedge' look, which I most definitely do not rock.

One thing that I've come to realise is that my hair gets used to products and after using the same shampoo a few times the effects wear off and I'm left with dull, flat, unmanageable hair. In an attempt to stop this from happening I've been switching between two shampoos that do completely different things to my hair and I've seen a real improvement in its general condition.



A couple of months ago I was kindly sent the Coconut Water range* from Natural World, which is formulated to add hydration and shine to dull and dry hair, which I am most definitely prone to having. I've been using both the shampoo and conditioner, which smell absolutely divine - anyone else obsessed with anything coconut scented as soon as the weather starts to get nicer? The range is made up of 95% natural ingredients, which is always a plus for me as I find that natural products tend to be kinder to my hair and after using these my hair is so soft. You know the kind of soft you only usually get after leaving the hairdressers? Unfortunately I have caught myself stroking my own hair on occasion because of this so if anyone has seen that and thinks I'm a weirdo, I'm not, I just have soft hair OK? As well as the soft hair benefit, the range is also super affordable. It's available in Tesco and these one litre bottles are only £6 so I'll definitely be trying out a few of their other ranges too. 

The second shampoo I've been using is the Salt Crystals from New Look, which was a total on a whim purchase, but I'd spied it on Ellie's blog and thought it might be similar to the Big shampoo from Lush, which I love, but this was half the price and I've been absolutely loving using it. It feels so cleansing, it's really good for my sensitive scalp and it adds that extra bit of volume that flat haired girls like me need without adding frizz. I could bang on all day about how much I love, but I'll leave it at that to spare you from getting bored (if you aren't already). 



After washing I tend to have quite tangled unmanageable hair so I've been using the Coconut Water Hair Oil*, again from Natural World, which not only leaves my hair smelling amazing, but makes it easier to brush through and leaves the ends smooth and manageable. I've also been using this as a hair mask once a week by applying it to my whole hair and leaving for half an hour before washing. The R&B Hair Moisturiser from Lush has been a long time favourite of mine and I carry a little sample pot of this around in my bag with me for on the go tidying of flyaways - just running a little of this through my hair instantly takes me from 'dragged through a hedge' to vaguely acceptable.

So that's my new haircare routine that I'm hopefully going to stick to. Have you ever tried any of these?

Amy x

*Some of the products in this post were kindly gifted to me, however all views are my own.

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