Style Inspiration | My Mum

In this new series on my blog I'm going to be talking about someone who inspires my style each month, 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. The only thing I don't like is that she didn't save all her excellent 80s jumpsuits for me...

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

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' so I suppose it's a little hypocritical for me to have named this post that. 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 do 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 (personal style FTW) 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 (hopefully someday I'll be brave enough to do a print clash?). 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.

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, in fact 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 basically just bang on about how much I like them so erm, yes, enjoy...

Jamie | High Rise Ankle Grazers // These are the oldest member of my jeans collection; I've owned this pair 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! (Update: I've come back to this post four years later and yes, I do still have these.)

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 (especially crop tops if I'm feeling extra daring). In winter they're perfect for tucking tops into and keeping warm and also look cute with cropped jumpers. Again the quality is amazing and I imagine these will last me years. Despite the brightness of the blue, the colour hasn't faded at all yet which is pretty good going I'd say.

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! I may even pluck up the courage to buy the white version one day, but who knows... 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 (plus my thighs are just that; thighs, and I need to learn to embrace them) 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

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. Recently though, 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've never had 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? Would that mean they didn't like me? 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, I still care about wearing make up if I'm going out for lunch or out for drinks with friends because that's just what makes me feel good, but why did I ever worry what people might think of my face while I'm doing my food shop? (Side note: there's obviously nothing wrong if wearing makeup to do your food shop does make you feel good, I'm just bloody glad I don't need it for that anymore).

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