Faking Style Confidence

I bang on about personal style enough on this blog for you all to know that I'm a big believer in everyone wearing whatever they want and although I do wear whatever I want that doesn't mean I always feel confident in it.

There's a tag that's been doing the rounds on Twitter recently - you know the 'like this and I'll tweet anonymously about you' one. Well when I liked Rachel's from No Space For Milk she tweeted that she wished she had my confidence in fashion. It took me ages to realise that it was about me because I didn't realise that was how people perceived me. It made me realise that even thought I don't necessarily feel confident wearing certain things, I'm pretty darn good at faking it. 

These leggings for example. I bloomin' love them, they're so comfortable and they're leopard print, but not overtly leopard print and I'm not overtly anything so they're pretty 'me'. I put them on one day, pretty happy because I love them and tootled off to work. As soon as I got to work I suddenly experienced THE DOUBT. The doubt made me wonder what other people at work thought of the leggings, were they too risqué for work? Did everyone now think badly of me? I had that doubt in my mind for most of the day, but I didn't let it show. I walked around the office as if I didn't have a care in the world and I think that's what fools people. 

I shouldn't feel THE DOUBT (I put it in caps the first time so feel like I have to do it again) in the first place because I love these leggings and I feel great in them so why should I not feel confident in them? Unfortunately I think it's because I know we've got a long way to go in terms of accepting each other's personal styles - I've heard people at work bitching about what other people are wearing so I guess it's safe to assume they'd bitch about what I'm wearing too. Please let's all be kinder so everyone can actually feel confident rather than faking it. 

Do you ever fake style confidence?

Amy x

Afternoon Tea With a Difference at Tapasya

When you hear the phrase afternoon tea I imagine it conjures up images of cream scones, finger sandwiches and some good old English Breakfast tea. It does for me anyway even though I've never even eaten an traditional English afternoon tea. So I was intrigued when I was invited along with some of the lovely Hull Blogger ladies to the newly opened Tapasya on Hull Marina for an afternoon tea with a bit of a difference.

Tapasya is an Indian restaurant so the tea we were served was a delicious Chai Tea, and I mean proper Chai Tea made with milk instead of water. They don't serve it in enough places and I'm always meaning to make some myself at home, but it's just much easier to boil the kettle #lazylife, but at least I know somewhere in Hull that serves it now! If you're an English Breakfast fanatic then it's probably not for you, but for herbal tea fanatics like me it was perfect.

When we were brought out a three tier stand each I did wonder how on earth we would eat it all, but funnily enough we managed. We got an assortment of savoury pastries and a grilled sandwich each, which were all delicious and just the right amount of spicy, but let's face it, dessert was the main event here.

I don't think I've ever ordered dessert at an Indian restaurant before because I've usually just stuffed my face with a massive curry and all the naan bread and I've obviously been doing it wrong all this time because they were beautiful. There was two Naan Khatai each which is the most buttery, melt in the mouth shortbread I've ever tasted. Served with those was what I can only describe as Indian fudge, which I believe is called Barfi (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!) and again it was so melt in the mouth delicious and as you can see we got a huge helping of it!

The glass frontage of the restaurant gives you the most beautiful view across Hull Marina and I can just imagine how amazing it will be in summer (or just on a nice day as we were unfortunate enough to visit on the foggiest day so far this year!) The interiors are just as pretty and it feels very much like a high end restaurant inside, but luckily with affordable prices! The afternoon tea cost £12.50 per person and you can upgrade to fizz for a little extra (but I'd highly recommend the tea!).

Have you ever tried an Indian afternoon tea?

Amy x

I was invited to try an complimentary afternoon tea at Tapasya, but opinions and newfound love of Naan Khatai is my own. 

Self Acceptance

Self acceptance. The clue is in the name really, but I always thought self acceptance would come when I'd lost a bit of weight, my skin was totally flawless and I had my dream job. Etc etc. Turns out, as the phrase would suggest, it means accepting yourself exactly as you are and as whatever you may become. Self acceptance is unconditional and is actually a completely different thing to self confidence.

Well I never lost the weight, I still get spots but yes I do have a job I like. Somehow self acceptance happened somewhere along the way. I'm OK with me as I am. I've learnt there's a big difference between self acceptance and self confidence, but I've been able to accept the things I don't like about myself. I hope that makes sense. It's been a pretty long slog to get here though and that's what I want to speak about in this post. 

The dream of being someone I'm not began in my teens. I always felt like the ugly fat one among my pretty friends as well as the boring girl who should try harder to be a bit more fun. I remember one girl telling me everyone else though I was the 'Jas' from the Georgia Nicholson books in our group because she was annoying and desperate. From then on that's pretty much how I saw myself too. 

In my late teens I was no longer friends with that girl (funny eh) and I felt much better about myself looks-wise, although mainly because I had started to get attention from boys and that's not really the best way to validate your body image because once you lose that attention your self confidence falls right back down again. The main issue at this point in time was my desire to people please. I wanted people to like me and think I was fun so I said yes to everything. I don't actually regret having that attitude because I had a lot of fun in those years, but some of the choices I made were probably not the best.

You'd think it would continue to get better, but my early twenties was oddly probably the worst time for me. Because I'd placed so much of my self confidence in my body image in the hands of boys it was completely shattered and I'd stopped saying yes to everything, which caused friends from university to (in my mind) think I'd become boring because I no longer wanted to stay out until 4am. I wasn't particularly happy at university in my final year, but I also had no clue as to what direction my life was going to take afterwards. 

The change from then to now is pretty drastic when I think about it and I can't really explain why it happened apart from that I guess the friendships that weren't real fizzled out, I stopped caring so much what other people thought and I started this blog, which has been the best thing for self confidence. At some point in the past couple of years I accepted myself just as I am. Obviously there are times when I have little hiccups about my appearance or personality, but generally I'm pretty comfortable with who I am and it's such a big weight off my shoulders. There are things about myself that I don't like, but I don't let them bother me (very often anway). Pretty much every day I look in the mirror and think I could do with losing a bit of weight or a nose job, but it also doesn't bother me that I'm probably not going to do either of those things. It's a difficult one to try to explain so I'll stop trying to and sign out, hoping that you get what I mean!

Amy x

Adding Colour to Your Wardrobe

It may seem ironic that the title of this post is all about adding colour to your wardrobe and I'm actually wearing a black dress, but hear me out. I used to be scared of colour and stick to black, grey, navy or white. That may sound quite chic, but unfortunately I'm not one of those people who can make a basic outfit look interesting (those people are the coolest) so I do need a bit of help. I still love keeping it simple and classic and I'm actually obsessed with grey at the moment, but in the past year or so I've really learnt to embrace colour into my wardrobe.

I've learnt to stick to one rule when it comes to colour, which has helped me incorporate it into my wardrobe without running scared. It's pretty simple - if I'm wearing colour I also wear either black, grey, navy or white. I get the comfort of one of my safe colours, which I find tends to make the colour much more wearable and I feel less like 'HEY EVERYONE, I'M WEARING COLOUR'. Hence the black dress. Yes it's black, but look at all the colour in it too.

Let's talk a little bit about the dress because I'm madly in love with it (to the extent that you can be madly in love with a dress). It's actually the only thing I bought on Black Friday and it wasn't on offer so I'm either a champ for not getting drawn in by all the deals or I'm a fool for not making the most of the cheap stuff. Anyway, it's black with just the right amount of colour so I feel like I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone a little. The shape and length are perfect and the print along with the ruffle detailing just make me swoon (I told you I was madly in love with it). I have a feeling this will probably make it into my most worn winter outfits post because I'm wearing it for pretty much every occasion I can.

Oh and I also love my bag and my boots, but I've mentioned them before and seeing as I wrote a pretty hefty paragraph about the dress I'll leave it there.

Dress - Next  | Boots - Truffle Collection (old) | Bag - Fiorelli 

How do you wear colour?

Amy x

5 Things Blogging Has Done For Me

I blimmin' love blogging and I'm sure if you're reading this then you either love writing a blog yourself or love reading them (or both). This post is like a little thank you to my blog in the form of 5 things blogging has done for me/things I just love about blogging in general.

Self Confidence | There's something about the terrifying experience of having outfit pictures taken in front of random members of the public who look at you with the same expression they'd have if you were standing there naked, editing said photos while overanalysing every bit of your appearance and then uploading them for even more people to see that actually improves your self confidence. It seems like it should do the exact opposite, but I think the fact that I've put myself out there makes me feel empowered and all that jazz. Plus all the nice comments I get from you lovely lot help quite a bit (babes). The fact that I've actually told people I know about my blog just shows how far my self confidence has come (even though I do feel super awkward if anyone actually asks me about it). 

Made me a nicer person | Blogging has just made me much less judgmental because I've been able to speak to so many different people I wouldn't have otherwise and see that most people are just pretty nice really! It's kind of hard to explain so you may be better off reading my old post about it (shameless plug although that post does use the exact same photo as this one so don't judge me for recycling OK?)

Created opportunities | From working with brands and trying products I wouldn't have otherwise to attending some amazing events and meeting lovely people blogging really has given me some opportunities I'm incredibly grateful for and I'm excited for whatever is to come next! Going to events is still something that's quite nerve wracking for me because I'm a nervous nelly so I'd definitely like to go to more and get over that. 

Hooked me up with some mega babes | As briefly touched on it my last point I've been able to meet some lovely people both in person and online and it's odd to think I wouldn't have known any of those people existed if I hadn't got into blogging. It's nice to have friends who don't get embarrassed when you stand up in a cafe to take a flat lay of your coffee and cake and who you can properly chat to about blogging. 

Given me passion | Before blogging I didn't really have a proper hobby that I dedicated time to. It was just work, home and gym and I was getting kind of restless. Blogging filled that void and although I'm sometimes ridiculously busy because of work, my blog and renovating the house I wouldn't change it because blogging is something I'm completely committed to and adore. 

What has blogging done for you? 

Amy x

Always In My Makeup Bag

I don't do beauty posts all that often, but I thought these products definitely deserved a mention - the unsung heroes of my makeup bag that I repurchase over and over again and rely on every single day.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer | OK I know what you're thinking - 'she's a blogger so of course she likes the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer'. Yes it's possibly one of the most hyped products within the blogging world, but there's a darn good reason for that. IT WORKS. Out of all the concealers I've tried this is the one that covers blemishes best, but doesn't give that horrible 'this is makeup that's covering a blemish' look. I'll wear this without foundation if I'm feeling brave.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder | I've been using this powder for about ten years now and it's always been my holy grail. It's just SO good. I never get shiny even if I've applied it hours ago and it's just a real 'my face but better' product (LOL yes I did just say that.)

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara | This is a product I only discovered about a year ago. I'd tried and loved Benefit's Roller Lash, but mascara isn't a product I like to spend a lot of dollar on as I go through it so quickly and I'd heard this was a dupe. It's actually better than Roller Lash in my opinion and at least half the price!

Estée Lauder Double Wear | Most of my holy grail makeup products are budget options, but when it comes to foundation I'm willing to spend a bit more. Estée Lauder Double Wear was recommended to me by a friend whose skin always looks flawless so after getting at least three free testers of it I made the splurge. It's my get out of jail foundation - it's like putting a mask on and as well as being my special occasion foundation it also comes to the rescue on days when I'm just not feeling my face!

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge | Since buying my first sponge a couple of years ago I rarely use a brush to apply my base (basically only when my sponge needs cleaning...) - a sponge is just so much better. I tend to get a much more natural finish with a sponge and it's also really nice to use in a weird way. I like to use a toner water on it instead of normal water sometimes for a treat (it's the little things).

What products are always in your makeup bag?

Amy x

How To Spend a Weekend in Iceland

three women walking down huge hill in the middle of rural Iceland

Iceland isn't really the type of place you'd think of for a weekend break, but recently I went with some gal pals for three days; although I'd definitely love to go back to explore more because we couldn't squeeze everything in, it was 100% worth doing plus I'll be more clued up ready for the next time I go. If you do fancy a short break there though, I've put together some tips on how to do Iceland in three days, plus just a few tips for visiting Iceland in general (that I can reread myself when it comes to me going back; future me says thank you Amy).

two glasses of prosecco clinking together with two glasses of green juice over the steamy blue water in the lagoon

wooden steps leading up to a log cabin, against the backdrop of a rural grassy expanse

Prioritise // Decide what you want to do the most. For us that was The Blue Lagoon so we made sure we had that booked as a definite before we went and built the rest of our time around that. We would have loved to have seen the Northern Lights and the Golden Circle, but there just wasn't enough time (which is why I'm obviously just going to have to go back). As The Blue Lagoon was our priority, we made sure we were staying near it and explored the rest of the area around there.

Stay rural // We stayed in a wooden cabin in the middle of nowhere on a flat expanse of barren land right next to the sea (sounds grim, but it was bloody great). It was much cheaper than staying in Reykjavik, it was super cosy and it just felt a bit more like real Iceland. I'd say only stay in Reykjavik if you're planning on getting tours from there as there isn't actually much there and it's not as pretty as the rural areas. Although we visited the city and I'm glad we did, I probably wouldn't bother going there again when I revisit celand. It's not difficult to stay rural either seeing as the majority of Iceland is!

Hire a car // With only a short amount of time there we couldn't really do tours to places because they take up quite a bit of time, plus we thought it'd be easier to just do our own thing. We'd definitely have been lost without our car because we were staying so far out we needed it to drive pretty much anywhere (I think this is generally the case in Iceland). It also meant we could make random decisions about where we wanted to go; at the last minute we decided to stop off on the coast on our way to The Blue Lagoon so without the car we'd definitely have seen less and would have spent a fortune on taxis! It goes without saying that you do have be very careful driving in Iceland as the weather is extremely unpredictable. 

blue icy choppy waves against black rocks

snowy path leading up to snowy mountains, moody sky

Don't underestimate the weather // As I briefly touched on above, the weather is very changeable and often very quickly. We'd just driven through a massive hail storm before the above picture was taken and the ground was clear of snow about ten minutes earlier! I'd like to go back in the summer months because daylight wasn't very long (6 hours) and the wind was ridiculously strong which made it feel bitterly cold. Obviously the romanticised vision of Iceland is being in the snow watching the Northern Lights, but for practicality I think it'd be better to have more daylight hours to see things and for it to be a little warmer so you actually enjoy being outside for long periods of time, although it's personal preference I suppose!

Tips in brief:
- I'd read a lot about it being a requirement to have a naked shower before you enter The Blue Lagoon and a lot of people seemed to be worried about that. Don't worry because there are separate cubicles so it's all very private.
- I'd also read a lot about how bad The Blue Lagoon is for your hair. I did layer conditioner (provided) on before I went in, but I honestly didn't notice any bad effects at all.
- Unlike most other European countries the tap water is very clean and drinkable so you don't need to waste your money stocking up on bottled water.
- It's very expensive for things like food and drink. I don't know if it's just because of the bad exchange rate or if it's just expensive anyway, but be prepared!

Have you ever been to Iceland?

Amy x

My Most Worn Autumn Outfits

I swear autumn is the shortest season - before you know it all the leaves are a slippery mess, it's cold AF and your heating is on full whack. Hello winter I guess. I know winter doesn't officially start until December 21st, but unofficially it basically lasts about five months. Ew. 

Anyway, there are less outfits in this post than there usually are in a seasonal most worn compilation because I've tended to switch it up quite a bit and only have a real select few outfits I've worn a lot. So I guess that makes these ones super favourites. 

Jumper - New Look | Trench - New Look (old) | Jeans - Topshop | Boots - Topshop (old)

First up, THIS JUMPER <3. I love the high neck, I love the colour and I love how darn cosy it is. I've worn it so much and will continue to do so throughout winter I imagine. I've been pairing it either with these black jeans or with my blue embroidered ones which you'll be seeing very shortly...

Jeans - Topshop | Jumper - The Glasgow Vintage Company | Body - Next (here) | Boots - Truffle Collection (old)

I'd been wanting some embroidered jeans for a while and when I found these it was love at first sight (to the extent that you can be in love with a pair of jeans anyway). They actually go with just about anything and they're so comfortable. I've also been constantly wearing this cashmere jumper over the grey body - I adore grey at the moment and rediscovered this jumper at the back of my wardrobe. SO SOFT and it was only £10 from a vintage shop in Glasgow so it feels like the best win. 

Dress - New Look 

This is the last outfit I've really been wearing to death during autumn. Very stereotypically autumnal in colour I know, but it's one of my favourite colours to wear anyway and I've really started to love wrap dresses - like there are about 50 of them on my wishlist. As well as on its own I've been layering this over a long sleeved top on colder days!

Which is your favourite look? Have you had any go to outfits this autumn?

Amy x

Iceland In Pictures

It's currently Wednesday as I'm writing this, I've just got back from Iceland and I'm sat at my computer with a green tea and a Christmas candle on feeling pretty unmotivated to actually write about Iceland because I'm tired AF, have the prospect of working 26 hours over the next two days ahead of me and I don't have any food in the house which has got me seriously wondering whether I should drive to McDonalds or not.

Anyway, I will write a proper post about Iceland, but for now here's a whole load of pictures which will probably make you want to book a flight right away, unless I haven't done it justice in which case I probably shouldn't write a blog.

a snowy, cloudy, moody scene in Iceland

wooden jetty overlooking huge lake, snowy hills in the background

wooden steps leading up to a lodge in the middle of a wild grassy field

black cliffs overlooking choppy icy blue waves

evening, lots of people swimming, steam rising off the water into the atmosphere

smiling woman in a bobble hat in front of a lake

two glasses of prosecco and two glasses of green juice being clinked together above blue water with steam rising

blue water, snowy mountains in the distance, boats out at sea

three girls walking down a huge hill in rural Iceland

wooden fencing around a log cabin

black rocks in foreground, empty road in the background

black rocks against icy blue waves

red smoothie against backdrop of blue water

snowy path leading to snowy mountains

cliffs looking down onto icy blue waves, choppy

log cabin, isolated

bird flying over icy blue choppy waves bashing against black cliffs

fisheye lens, woman with face mask on in water

spiky black rocks sticking out of the sea

woman in bobble hat looking out onto snowy mountains

woman in face mask looking out on the water at the Blue Lagoon

Have you ever been to Iceland?

Amy x