The Ongoing Battle With Body Image


I listen, completely dumbfounded, to some of my gorgeous, kind, amazing friends completely put themselves down and devalue themselves because of their insecurities. Insecurities that nobody else but them even see, but insecurities that they have been taught they should have by the media as they've grown up. 

I find it incredibly frustrating when someone can't see how amazing they are and genuinely heartbreaking that people don't place enough value on themselves. 

However, in this instance I'm being incredibly hypocritical. I've posted uplifting captions on Instagram, messaged friends words of reassurance when they've felt low in confidence; I've even written entire blog posts almost lecturing anyone happening to be reading that they should love themselves more.

But what do I tell myself?

Certainly nothing uplifting or reassuring. 

I tell myself I could be fitter, healthier, kinder, harder working, more toned, more understanding, prettier, a better friend/girlfriend/daughter; the list goes on. 

I am exactly the same as the friends who I wish would value themselves more highly and that's frustrating in itself because how can I preach something I don't practice myself?

From a young age we're taught the things we 'should' be; slim, toned, tanned, flawless, elegant. Our perception of beauty is completely warped by what we've seen and read in magazines, on TV and on the internet. The majority of people and bodies are completely under-represented; growing up it was rare I was exposed to plus-size, mid-size, black, disabled, people with cellulite, people with acne, the list obviously goes on.

We've been so used to seeing bodies put on a pedestal that are nothing like our own that there's no wonder we're all riddled with insecurity. Learning to love your body is difficult when you've spent so long essentially being told that you shouldn't.

Realistically I think that breaking away from that is probably impossible in this generation, BUT I'd like to hope that if we attempt to change our mindsets it can only get better for future generations. I hope with all my heart that any son or daughter I have is able to grow up in a world where all bodies are normalised and that they love themselves as much as they should.

The most ridiculous paradox is that I'm able to see past these stereotypical and unrealistic beauty standards when it comes to other people, yet not when it comes to myself and I think that's the case with a lot of people. I have plenty of friends who lift me up when I'm low in confidence, yet subsequently are extra hard on themselves. It's like there's something deep rooted within us that can't see past our own insecurity. 

So just remember when you're attempting to boost someone else's confidence and looking at them wondering why they don't love themselves when you think they're beautiful, they probably feel the exact same way about you. Look at yourself the way you look at your friends and most importantly, be kind to yourself. Please.

Amy x

Recent Reads I'd Recommend #4


It's been almost two whole years since I wrote Recent Reads I'd Recommend #3 and I don't really have an excuse as to why because it's not like I stopped reading. With the aid of lockdown I've certainly been reading a lot more recently though and fancied doing a lil' book post again. The following are the best of the best of what I've read recently:

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
// I powered through this in two days (I do love a book with short chapters) and despite the rather macabre subject the way it was written wasn't too heavy. It's about a woman (Korede) whose sister (Ayoola) keeps killing the men she's dating, in self defense according to her, although Korede has her suspicions. The plot thickens (have always wanted to use that expression to describe a book) when Ayoola starts dating a man Korede is in love with.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo // This was a very cleverly written book, telling the stories of twelve different women whose stories weave in and out of each other's as they're connected in some way or other. It explores topics such as race, sexuality, feminism, gender, wealth along with the intersectionality of those issues. The book ends on a twist, but I would have been hooked regardless. This may just be my favourite read of 2020 so far.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid // This was another book that I absolutely powered through. It's an account of a seventies rock band's rise to fame by the band members themselves, written interview style, which I really enjoyed. I did have to look up whether they were a real band or not more than once because it's written so convincingly (spoiler: they're not although I have read that they're loosely based on Fleetwood Mac). 

The Binding by Bridget Collins // This was a slow burner for me; it's written in three parts and I didn't start properly enjoying it until part two, but once I started enjoying it I really enjoyed it and whizzed through the rest so it's 100% worth sticking with. It's a magical story of forbidden love, betrayal and books that can bind memories people wish to forget, which sounds good on paper (nice unintentional pun there Amy), but there's obviously a lot more to it than that.

If you have any book recommendations please drop them below as I'm always on the lookout! 

Amy x

Slow Fashion Season // No More New Clothes

Let me paint you a picture of two Amys (there's a scary thought).

Amy number one has a whole folder full of clothes shopping apps on her phone, which are scoured daily for sales, new trends and offers, resulting in a fair few full shopping baskets sat waiting for the purchase button to be clicked. It isn't always, (Amy number one wasn't a) completely stupid or b) ridiculously rich), but at least one hefty clothes order a month is made usually without all that much thought aside from 'I want that.'

Amy number two has no shopping apps on her phone (unless you count Just Eat), she researches a brand's ethos before making a (rare) purchase and when she does part with her money it's for something she'll get a lot of wear out of and that will last a long time.

Amy number one only started evolving into Amy number two in the second half of last year. 

And there you have a rather long and pretentious way of me saying I'm getting better at shopping sustainably.

So as someone who has already drastically reduced and rethought her shopping habits, lasting the three months of slow fashion season (June 21st aka today until September 21st), should be easy enough. However the reason I've signed up to take part isn't just to not buy new clothes; I want to work on changing my mindset in order to carry on making more sustainable choices going forward. 

During the three months of slow fashion season you can only:

- Buy second hand, including vintage
- Upcycle clothes
- Take part in clothes swaps
- Buy from small, local and sustainable businesses

Although I've made steps towards reducing my fast fashion consumption I've not really implemented many of the above so over the next three months (hopefully documented on here if I get my bottom into gear) I'm hoping to focus on each one, discovering new vintage shops, local sustainable businesses and ways in which I can upcycle what I already have. 

Please all cross your fingers for me on that last point.

Amy x

An Attempt To Up My Photography At Home


I've always enjoyed taking pictures in my home, but I've never experimented with it all that much until recently, when we've all had no choice but to turn to our homes/gardens/yards for our backdrops. I'm definitely no photographer and I never will be, but I enjoy taking pictures so I thought I'd jot down some of the things I've been doing to try and up my game.

LIGHTING // I've been loving playing around with natural light; seeing as we've been having such gorgeous golden hours at the moment it'd be rude not to wouldn't it? Making use of light and shadows has added a dimension to my photos I've not had before and seems to take what may have been an average shot to something I'm a bit prouder of. When natural light has been lacking I've been making sure to actually use my ring light too, which is a huge help at lifting photos indoors (and is also super useful for sticking things to, but we'll get to that...)

red shoes stood on mirror with foliage in the foreground

ANGLES // There are only really so many places in our house I can take photos so to prevent everything from looking samey I've been trying to get creative with angles. As a result I've sat/laid on the floor, had my tripod balanced precariously on a windowsill, shot through doorways, the list goes on. I've also played around with making the same area look completely different by shooting at it from a different perspective.

PROPS // I haven't exactly been using anything groundbreaking for props; a coffee, a book, a cat, but they definitely help me feel less like a lemon when I'm shooting in my house. As well as stuff I can actually hold, I've been trying to get more creative with what I'm putting in frame; I've been using my ring light to stick flowers/leaves/hoop earrings (yes really) to so as to add a bit of depth to otherwise potentially bland images.

PINTEREST // After the first couple of weeks of taking photos solely at home I started to run out of inspiration, so I took to Pinterest with gusto to find new ideas to try. It's full of fab self-portrait inspiration, coffee shots and flatlays. I try to take the seed of an idea then make it my own (which usually means whacking a house plant somewhere and hoping for the best).

USING MY EQUIPMENT // As I said above, I've been making the effort to actually use my ring light to lift my photos, and I've also been making the effort to use my camera. It was almost in semi-retirement due to both myself and my boyfriend having fairly good phone cameras and us tending to just shoot off the cuff outfit photos out and about, but it really has made a difference to the quality of my photos and fingers crossed it doesn't go into retirement again once we're out of lockdown.

And that's about it really; I'll never be the best at taking photos but I sure enjoy trying.

Amy x

woman laid on sofa reading a book

A Note On Perspective


Life at the moment is, at the very least, bizarre. For everybody, everywhere.

Things we value have been taken away from us; family time, travel plans, shopping trips, nights out with our friends, day trips to different cities. We don't have the freedom that we're used to. 

With all those things taken away, the things we value have shifted. Weekly zoom calls with family and friends, the kindness of strangers, spending quality time doing little more than nothing with the people we live with.

As the things we value are changing, so is our perspective. 

This bizarre life we're living has, if nothing else, cast a sliver of light on what's really, truly important.

People, experiences, moments.

Never again will I take for granted a quick coffee with a friend, a hug from a family member, an evening meander to the local pub with my man.

These simple pleasures currently only exist as memories, and as hopeful glimpses of a future that seems far away. 

And when we get there I'll be cherishing every moment and only hoping that whatever else happens in my life, this change in perspective will stick.

Amy x