Style Inspiration | My Mum

Each month this year I'm going to be talking about someone who inspires my style, from celebrities to friends and where better to start than the person who has inspired my style from the very beginning? My mum!

My mum has a definite style that she loves and sticks to and which suits her down to a T. It's quite feminine, very tasteful and well put together. Think cream tops with lace detail, pretty silky scarves and plenty of cute rings. I've always loved the way she dresses and how she seems to effortlessly put her outfits together. Although we have different styles there is a definite crossover (mainly in the cream lace tops department) and we know exactly what each other likes and what we suit. My mum kindly let me take some photos even though she hates having her picture taken and answered a couple of questions about her style.

How would you describe your style? I would say my style is fairly casual and I buy things I like and which suit my figure rather than being the latest fashion.

What influences your style? I'm influenced by magazines and people around me.

Who is your style inspiration? I'll have a similar post up next month with one of my others! 

Amy x

The Cable Knit

One of the things I like about this time of year is being able to wrap up warm and cosy and I recently picked up such a staple in the form of this cable knit jumper from H&M. I've been leaning towards green recently although I'm sorely tempted to buy one of these in each colour! It goes with pretty much anything, but I like to dress it up slightly by wearing this beautiful skirt from Tu at Sainsbury's with it and the colours go so perfectly for this time of year (I think anyway!).

Jumper - H&M (current but not online)
Skirt - Tu at Sainsbury's (old)

Do you like cable knit jumpers? What do you think of this outfit?

Amy x

Winter Favourites

Time for another seasonal favourites. I know it's definitely not the end of winter (and probably won't be until like April, sob) but I feel like it's been wintry for long enough that I know my firm favourites of the season. Here goes:

Lush Helping Hands Hand Cream | I spoke about how good this is in my manicure routine post (here) and it just really is the best hand cream I've ever used. It's meant for people who wash their hands a lot like nurses, but if you've got dry hands in general or if you just like your hands to be smooth and nourished all the time this is your guy! Being Lush it smells great too of course!

Botanics Organic Facial Oil | I never used to use a facial oil because I can get quite oily skin (rookie error, apparently they're actually good for oily skin and all that jazz) but since I've started using this I've seen such an improvement in my complexion. Any redness or blotchiness has gone, it feels so nice to apply and although it smells good it's not too heavily scented so is perfect to apply before bed. 

Avon Magic Effects Nail Varnish in Copper | So this is a very Christmas/New Year themed nail varnish so I'm a bit late to the party, but who says you can't have sparkle in January? I adore the colour and the finish of this. It does chip fairly easily, but being textured you can just touch up without having to redo all your nails! 

Lush Yog Nog Bath Bomb | So I went into Lush to buy a bath bomb and I always find it so difficult to decide because they all smell so amazing, but once I smelt this I was definitely decided. Gonna throw it out there and say this is the best smelling bath bomb from Lush. It smells like toffee, but not sickly sweet, just the right amount of sweet. It made my bathroom smell amazing. Unfortunately I think it was a limited edition for Christmas which is gutting so if anyone wants to help me start a petition to have it all year round that would be great. 

Topshop Joni Jeans | I bought these jeans just before Christmas and was like 'why did nobody tell me about these jeans before?!' They're the comfiest jeans I have ever worn, it basically feels like wearing leggings but you look like you've made the slightest bit more effort. To begin with I was apprehensive that they would make my thighs look ginormous, but I guess it just makes them look the size that they are and if that offends anyone then I don't really care because I'm probably wearing comfier jeans than them. 

What have been your favourites through winter? Have you tried any of these?

Amy x

15 Random Facts About Me

When I was younger I used to love writing 'fact files' about myself so I'm surprised my inner 10-year-old hasn't already reared her fact file head on this blog. So I thought I'd write a more personal post today and share a bit about myself!

1 - In my 25 years I have lived in Newcastle, Beverley, London and Hull. All four of those places feel like home and I'm never quite sure how to answer the question 'where do you come from?'

2 - When I was little I was always really tall for my age, but I stopped growing aged 13 and most of my friends overtook me!

3 - I applied to audition for the part of Hermione in Harry Potter but my Dad forgot to send off my application form...still hurts to this day. 

4 - Only my parents, boyfriend and two of my friends know about my blog. It's my secret hobby!

5 - I've been to Disneyland Paris 7 times and yes I would go again!

6 - I have at least eight different varieties of herbal tea in the cupboard because I am truly obsessed.

7 - I have a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts. I loved it, but given the choice again I would probably pick something more practical that I would actually use!

- I once had a rabbit for 20 minutes before it ran away. Really good caregiver right here...

- Cereal is my absolute favourite food. Such exotic tastes I know. 

10 - Me and one of my best friends once watched all of the Harry Potter films in 19 hours. It was great. 

11 - I am absolutely terrified of vomit. I used to think that was a really weird phobia until I realised there were so many other people with it too.

12 - I really want a ginger kitten and a grey whippet. 

13 - I once won an award for making the most money in a year behind the bar I worked at. I was super proud.

14 - I've never been to America and I'd love to go to so many places there!

15 - I have one sister. She has a chromosome deletion among other things, but essentially she can't walk or talk and both her physical and mental development is a lot slower than it would usually be.

Hope you enjoyed this slightly random post. Let me know if we have anything in common!

Amy x

Double Polka Dot

Last week I wrote about my style rules (here) and today I am completely contradicting one of them and wearing two patterned items (although I think I can get away with it because it's the same pattern so doesn't really count). Burgundy and navy are two of my favourite colours to wear and polka dots is one of my favourite patterns so this outfit is me all over. The trousers are very old from Tu at Sainsbury's and the shirt was from New Look in the sale. They didn't actually have my size so I had to go a size up but I quite like the oversized casual-ness of it and the bagginess of the shirt versus the skinny trousers (so I'm at least adhering to my tight with baggy style rule).

What do you think of double polka dots? 

Amy x

How Growing Up With a Disabled Sibling Has Affected Me

A while back I wrote a post about what it's really like growing up with a disabled sibling (the answer, in short, is lovely by the way) and I wanted to follow this up with a few more posts on the same subject. Disability is something that is talked about a lot more these days, which is good, although I think there is still a lot of room for more awareness regarding disability. One of the things I don't think is spoken about a lot is how disability affects families so I thought I'd write a post about how growing up with a disabled sibling affected me. Obviously each situation is unique so everyone is affected differently, but hopefully some people may be able to relate to this post.

This is by no means a negative post or a plea for pity because I had an amazing childhood with the best sister I could have asked for, but I wanted to write honestly about how it has affected me as a person with the hope that someone else with a disabled sibling might read this and feel reassured. I'll try and not get too heavy on you!

The main thing that affects people who have a sibling with a disability is, I think, that your sibling will get more attention than you. That is inevitable and not something that I resent at all because my sibling needed more attention than me and I in no way felt neglected. It has still affected me though. Because I knew that Bethany needed more attention than me I started to shy away from attention myself. If I felt ill or upset I wouldn't always tell my parents because I felt that they had enough to deal with already. This transferred to other areas of my life as well. Growing up I always played agony aunt to my friends, but I never offloaded anything myself. I found it difficult to open up to people and tended to hide away any feelings rather than tell anyone about them. As an adult I seem to have started to overcome this slightly. I definitely tell my parents a lot more and I don't worry about worrying them because I know they'll always have time for me (and they always would have done if I'd told them things when I was younger too). I still don't open up much to that many people, but I now kind of like that in a way. Only my family and close friends need to know exactly how I feel and usually they can tell without me having to explain it anyway. I think it means that I can sometimes appear a bit closed off, but maybe people just think I'm really mysterious? (I doubt it though!)

The second way growing up with a disabled sibling has affected me is definitely a positive. I genuinely think I would be a worse person in general if it wasn't for Bethany. She's taught me selflessness, empathy and unconditional love. I am a very selfless person (if I do say so myself!) and will always think of others before myself. I really don't think that would be the case if I hadn't grown up putting Bethany first and I've seen this with others who have disabled siblings too. Before I get loads of hate I know obviously people without disabled siblings can be selfless and empathetic too, I'm just saying that if I hadn't had a disabled sibling I probably wouldn't be one of those people!

The final way it will affect me hasn't actually happened yet and that is the future. I don't know what will happen in the future, but I know that Bethany will play a large part in that. When my parents get too old to care for her full time I may give up my job to take over, which would obviously be a massive lifestyle change (but also a delight). In general having a disabled sibling has made me a better person and has made me who I am. I know that there are other siblings out there with much sadder outcomes than mine and for that I am eternally grateful to Bethany and to my parents for being just generally wonderful.

Have you grown up with a disabled sibling or family member?

Amy x

Style Rules I Live By

I've never really thought about style 'rules'. I'm all for personal style rather than following trends because really it's all about what you like and what suits you, but when I thought about it more I realised there's a definite pattern in what I stick to and that in a way I have my own style rules that I don't even have to think about. These are my rules for my own style rather than rules for everyone so let me know your own style rules in the comments! 

One pattern per outfit | I used to be quite scared of pattern, now I wear it with caution. The rule I seem to go by is one statement patterned item at a time. For me making a statement with pattern is quite understated (if that sentence makes any sort of sense!), for example I love wearing an all black outfit with leopard print shoes. I will make exceptions to the rule occasionally, but only if I'm being very brave! 

Tight with baggy | Another rule I tend to unknowingly stick to is wearing tight clothes with baggy clothes, so I'll either wear a baggy t-shirt with tight jeans or a tight top with baggy jeans. I think this is just because subconsciously I know that on my body shape it's more flattering to mix and match like that - if I wore all baggy I'd look shapeless but if I wore all tight I'd look a bit too shapely!

Wear the opposite shoes | I love messing around with shoes, they really do make an outfit and the thing I seem to love doing the most is wearing shoes that you wouldn't expect to see with an outfit. With plain and casual outfits I love wearing heels (usually heeled boots) because they dress the outfit up then with less casual outfits like dresses and skirts I love wearing trainers or ankle boots to dress it down. Might be weird, but works for me!

Comfort | I've gotten old because comfort really is a biggie for me. If I put something on in the morning and I can feel that I won't be comfortable in it for the rest of the day I take it right back off again and choose something else. It sometimes means I have to rule out entire categories of clothing from my wardrobe (pencil skirts I'm looking at you) but daaaamn it's worth it.

Confidence | This is similar to the comfort point, but sometimes I'll put on an outfit that I've worn a hundred times before and I'll just feel a bit 'meh' in it. If that happens, as above, I take it right back off again and choose something else. If I know I'm not going to feel confident in an outfit I won't wear it because I definitely don't want to spend that day feeling self conscious thanks!

Do you have any style rules you live by? Do you agree with any of mine?

Amy x

An Ode to Topshop Jeans

Topshop has been my favourite place to shop for a very long time and although I shop there less often now that I don't have a disposable student loan (those were the days) I still rely on Topshop completely for jeans. I haven't worn a pair of jeans from anywhere else for years. The quality is good, they always seem to fit my body shape just right and there are so many different styles to choose from. In this post I'm going to round up my favourite three pairs of Topshop jeans and bang on about how much I like them!

Jamie | High Rise Ankle Grazers

I've owned these jeans for about five years now and they're still going strong. I find ankle grazers to be strangely flattering on me even though my legs are about 2 inches long and these are a perfect length and fit. I've worn them so much as they're such a classic colour, which just proves how good the quality is as they're in just as good condition as when I bought them. Hopefully they'll last me many years to come! 

Mom | High Waisted

Never in a million years did I think that this style of jeans would suit me because I just didn't think they'd be flattering on my body shape. Turns out I was wrong and these were my staple bottom half throughout summer because they're loose fitting so amazingly comfortable and also go so perfectly with summery tops. In winter they're perfect for tucking tops into and keeping warm! Again the quality is amazing and I imagine these will last me years.

Joni | High Waisted Skinny

They call these jeans skinny and they really mean that. I didn't buy these the first time I tried them on because I was like 'oh hi thighs', but I kept thinking about them so eventually went back and bought them and didn't regret it one bit! They are the comfiest jeans ever and although they're not the most flattering on my thighs they're not as bad as I first thought and I love that they go with pretty much anything. The quality isn't quite as good as some of the other jeans because the denim is thinner and I managed to pull mine a bit on a ring (sad face) but I'm sure they'll still last.

Do you like Topshop jeans? Where is your favourite place to buy jeans from? 

Amy x

When I Have Nothing to Wear

There are those days where you feel like you can put together the perfect outfit and then there are those days where you stare into your wardrobe and wonder why you don't own anything that you like. When the latter happens there are some staple outfits that I know I can always turn to that will still make me feel good and look like I've made an effort - not sure what I would do without these items in my life!

Breton Top & High Waisted Jeans 

This is my number one go to outfit for when all else fails. Comfort - tick. Stylish - tick. What else do you need? You can completely transform this outfit with shoes too as it goes with everything from trainers to heels. I personally like to wear it with heeled boots as I love high waisted jeans with boots.

White Shirt & Leggings

Another easy to put together classic outfit. Again it ticks both comfort and style boxes and a good white shirt never fails. I prefer to wear men's shirts as for some mind boggling reason there seems to be more room for boobs in them (note to designers: men don't have boobs, women do). This is another outfit that can be worn with literally any shoes, but again I would usually go for heeled boots because it dresses it up a little.

Grey Top & Black Jeans

I love the combination of grey and black and it's just that little bit more interesting than all black. This is such a plain outfit that it really doesn't take much thinking to put it together, but somehow looks like you've spent more time on it than you have, especially when you add in some interesting shoes. I love wearing leopard print shoes with this outfit, but any pattern or bright colour would jazz it up.

Cotton Dress

Cotton dresses are so easy to throw on with tights and come in such a range of styles and colours. For me at the moment it's all about this long sleeved green cotton bodycon, but in the summer I'll switch it up for a short sleeved more floaty fit. Again the shoe choices are endless, but I like to grunge my dresses up a bit by wearing boots.

What outfit do you turn to when you have nothing to wear?

Amy x

All Black Topshop

I love a good all black outfit. Some may say they're boring and some people swear by them, I say you've just got to get it right (and then I cross my fingers that I have somehow got it right). I recently picked up the Joni jeans from Topshop which I absolutely adore even though I was dubious about thigh-gate at first and at the same time I bought this black velvet top in the Topshop sale. Paired with my (you guessed it) Topshop black heeled boots this is the perfect outfit for so many occasions. I threw my non-Topshop H&M cardigan over the top because only brave people wear no sleeves in winter.

Jeans - Topshop (here)
Top - Topshop (sale)
Boots - Topshop (old)
Cardigan - H&M (old)
What do you think of all black?

Amy x

Going Bare Faced

I love make up. I love the process of putting my make up on, I love how a slick of red lipstick can transform my confidence and I love playing around with new products. However now that a lot of my spare time is spent attempting to renovate our dust ridden building site of a house I've found myself going bare faced more often than not. What began as just not wearing make up because I was staying in the house all day turned into not wearing make up to the supermarket and has now developed to only wearing make up for work or if I'm going out somewhere nice. 

I didn't have much confidence without make up before. I felt uncomfortable going shopping or to a cafe without make up on down to fear of being judged for my bare face. My bare face is what I really look like so what if people didn't like it? I think a lot of people feel the same and yet it's amazing what a few days without make up can actually do for your confidence.

While I was moving house I didn't wear make up, which is where my bare faced-ness (totally coining that word) began. I didn't have time to put it on and I didn't have time to look in a mirror (or have a mirror at all actually seeing as it was packed) so I went two days without even thinking about what I might look like and I found that, actually, I didn't really care. I mean, of course I care about wearing make up if I'm going out for lunch or out for drinks with friends, but why did I ever worry what people might think of my face while I'm doing my food shop? My bare faced-ness continued when we started stripping wallpaper and ripping walls down because obviously, but I stopped putting make up on when we needed to leave the house to go to B&Q or comparing tile prices and the like, partly because I didn't really have time and partly because I just stopped feeling the need to.

Not wearing make up all the time has given me more confidence, has made me enjoy the times when I do wear make up more and my skin looks so much better. If you struggle with confidence in terms of wearing make up I would really recommend having a few days off and seeing how you feel going bare faced. I actually (shock horror) now like the way I look without make up. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, try to love yourself with and without make up. Make up only enhances the beauty that's already there after all. But more importantly, do whatever makes you happy without a fear of being judged.

Do you go bare faced?

Amy x

The Shy Girl's Guide to Events

I can't exactly claim to be an expert at attending blogging events (I've been to a total of two) but I can definitely claim to be an expert at being shy, which is something that I found to be a massive barrier at those events to the extent that I almost didn't go because I was worried I would just sit quietly in a corner and look like a fool. So I thought I'd write a post about how I overcame the barrier that is being a shy girl at events in the hopes that it'll help some of you other shy girls bite the bullet and attend blogger events because they're not as scary as you might think!

Social Media | For both events I found out who else would be attending, added them on social media and tried to interact with them on there. I felt like if I'd virtually 'met' someone it would be easier to speak to them at the actual event because I'd feel like I already knew them a bit. 

Read | Once I'd found out who was attending I tried to read the blogs that I hadn't read before so I would know who wrote about what and would have something to chat to them about if all other conversation ran dry!

Let go | The main reason I'm shy is because I'm worried I'll say something stupid or make a fool out of myself so the attitude I tried to adopt was to just let go and if I did make a fool out of myself I didn't have to go to another event or see those people again. I usually wouldn't actually approach people I don't know, but at events you kind of have no choice and adopting this attitude definitely meant I spoke to more people!

Ask questions | It's so easy to ask other people questions and then just comment on their answers and that was mainly what I did. It shows your interest in them but also means that you don't have to speak about yourself too much and you'll feel more comfortable with that person next time you meet them because you'll have learnt all about them.

Keep connected | Once you've attended the event keep in touch with the people you've met. Speak on Twitter, comment on their blogs and Instagram pictures and you'll feel so much more comfortable next time you meet at an event rather than leaving a big gap and feeling like you have to get to know them again!

These are only tips and have by no means suddenly cured my shyness! But I do find they help so hopefully they'll help any other shy people out there. 

Amy x

Call Me Amy in 2016

Hello and happy new year! I'm not sure if anyone even reads blogs on new year's day or if most people are just stewing in bed with a terrible hangover, but this post is just a little update about the direction of my blog and also YouTube in 2016. 

I've been feeling quite disconnected from my blog recently, mainly because for some mad reason I've decided to renovate a house while living in it, which has just meant I've had zero free time and any free time I do manage to grab is spent trying to make our little building site into an actual livable environment! But hopefully things will slow down a bit now we've got the bathroom and bedroom done and I'm going to really throw myself into my blog and YouTube this year. 

Blog wise I'm still going to be posting three times a week, but I think the content may change a little. I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I blog about and the type of person I actually am and I really want to reflect my true self in my blog as much as I can so you may have noticed (although probably not because you'd have to be pretty darn observant to) that my blog header has now changed to 'Style and Lifestyle Blog'. I've changed fashion to style because although I adore fashion I do really dress for myself rather than follow trends and I'm not exactly an expert in fashion so can't really class myself as a fashion blogger. I already had lifestyle in my header before, but I think this blog will become a lot more lifestyle-y than before so I hope that's OK! Beauty has gone from my header because although I love beauty and will still do the odd beauty post I just felt again like I couldn't describe myself as a beauty blogger. 

I'm rambling now so I'll try and keep the YouTube bit short! Basically I'm going to start posting a video every other Sunday rather than just ad hoc videos. Hopefully that will last, although with working full time, writing my blog and renovating a house we might have to wait and see with that one!

Here's to 2016! Hope it's a wonderful one for all of you. 

Amy x