Style Inspiration | My Best Friend Martha

Despite the title of this post sounding a little like I'm 8 years old and about to give you a fun fact file all about my best friend, it's actually some pretty pictures of my friend Martha and some fun facts about her style (so similar I guess...)

Martha is one of those naturally beautiful people who could wear a bin bag and still look nice, although she doesn't (thanks Marth cause that would be embarrassing). Her style is basic but effective and compliments her perfectly. She's good at layering and she just gives off that effortlessly chic vibe that only a select few have. She has a lot of timeless items in her wardrobe, partly because her colour palette is mainly black or navy so she can never go wrong really! Anyway, enough of my inadequate description skills, let's just look at the pretty pictures instead!

Who is your style inspiration? Do your friends influence your style?

Amy x

Interiors | Fireplace

So before our bedroom transformation post goes live, I wanted to dedicate an entire post to one of my favourite parts of the room: the fireplace. When we bought the house this fireplace was boarded up and wallpapered over so we didn't know whether there was still a fireplace there or not. Luckily for us there was and it was a beautiful old fireplace with original tiling down the sides and to the front.

We cleaned the whole fireplace up and stripped all the paint off. Underneath the white paint was an amazing black slate surround, but because it had already been painted over we weren't able to get it in good enough condition to keep that way and in hindsight it would probably have looked out of place in our mostly white bedroom anyway. So we repainted the surround white, repainted the fireplace bronze and put some beading around it to separate the tiles from the laminate floor.

I absolutely loved putting the finishing touches to the fireplace. I bought the two pots a while ago from a vintage market in Hull and I realised the colours match the fireplace perfectly! I bought a couple of cheap house plants to put in them (my house plant obsession is real). I also bought these cute baby succulents, which I'm keeping on this beautiful saucer that I picked up so cheap from the Barrowlands markets in Glasgow.

I wanted to put some candles out too, but we decided not to clutter it up too much so are leaving it as it is for now. The mirror above the fireplace used to belong to my grandparents and I have no idea where it's from or how old it is, but I love it!

What do you think of our fireplace?

Amy x

What I Would Wear to the Grand National

Recently I was challenged by Ladbrokes to come up with my perfect outfit for ladies day at the Grand National. The actual challenge was supposed to be no expense spared ie if you could choose anything you wanted, however I actually found the perfect playsuit in a bag of clothes my friend was planning to take to a charity shop (typical me, get given the chance to browse outfits that dreams are made of and I go for something that was free!)

My style is a bit more laid back than the typical ladies day attire, but I think I've managed to put together an outfit that's me, yet wouldn't look out of place at the Grand National. I'll let you decide that though! Because I found the playsuit I decided to put together an outfit from things I already own, so this is what I would actually wear to the Grand National. I teamed the playsuit with a pair of wedges from New Look, a small shoulder bag that matches the wedges perfectly (a feat I never usually achieve!) and because it's not quite warm enough to go without a coat yet I popped my grey George coat over the top.

Because hats and fascinators aren't really my thing, I attempted to make my hair look pretty with plaits and flowers instead. It did look pretty before I left the house, but man it was windy!

Ladbrokes are running a competition where you can put your perfect ladies day outfit together for the chance to win a day at the Grand National! There are more details here. Good luck if you enter, although if you don't I would much appreciate a cheeky vote if you're a fan of my outfit.
Playsuit - Byer California
Shoes - New Look
Bag - New Look
Coat - George
What do you think of this slightly different take on ladies day? Have you ever been to ladies day? What would you wear?
Amy x

Pinafore Dressin'

Today I'm featuring yet another trend that I'm late to the party with - the pinafore dress. I've been searching for the perfect one for ages, all the while having serious style envy whenever I saw someone wearing one. The problem is that thanks to my short stumpy legs I don't suit the cute denim dungaree-dress style because they make me look (and feel) like an uncomfortable 10 year old who's bigger than everyone else (shout out to everyone else who used to be that girl). After much searching it turns out that New Look had the answer all along - obviously - it's grey, it's flatteringly baggy and it goes perfectly with my multiple striped tops.

Pinafore dress - New Look (here)
Top - H&M (here)
Shoes - Topshop (old)

Do you like pinafore dresses?

Amy x 

A Wee Weekend in Glasgow

So today's post was supposed to be all about our bedroom redecoration, but doh didn't get the bed actually moved in in time for me to take pictures soooo this is a random little post about last weekend in Glasgow. My best friend lives there and it was my first time visiting because it's soooo far away, but a five hour drive and all the coffee later I made it and what a beautiful city!

I think it helped that the weather was amazing - so sunny and actually warm (a rarity for Glasgow though apparently). I'm sure that even when it's a bit grey Glasgow would still be beautiful, as all the buildings and streets are so pretty. Even though it is a totally different kind of city, it made me miss living in London so much because it has that exciting fast paced feeling and coming back to Hull made me realise how behind Hull is as a city (sorry Hull, love you still).

We went to the Barrowlands, which are markets full of cheap gems (got some jammy saucers to keep my plants on) then wandered into town where I lusted over the Jo Malone counter and spent too much money in Lush. I didn't know before I went that Glasgow is the vegan capital of the UK and we ate at the yummiest vegan cafe called Mono. In the evening we went to the cutest (although massive) pub called The Chip, which was on a street covered in fairy lights.

The next day we spent wandering the west end, visiting the botanical gardens and sitting in the park in the sunshine. Healthy food was ridiculously available (someone please open a healthy deli in Hull where I can buy lunch) and I had a tasty green juice from All About Juice (later followed by McDonalds at a service station on my way home, balance right there). I was pleasantly surprised by Glasgow and will definitely go back to explore more!

Have you been to Glasgow? 

Amy x

My Current Pamper Routine

As I seem to be working harder than usual recently - full time job, part time blog, house renovation plus an (albeit small) social life - I've really been making an effort to give myself some down time. This means that on a weekend evening when I'm not busy I've been having a good old pamper. I can't stress enough the importance of taking some time out for yourself, whether that's for a pamper or just reading a magazine, I've felt so much better for it. Because I've been appreciating it so much I thought I'd share my routine!

The first thing I'll do is take off all my make up (if I've got some on!) and really take my time over my cleansing routine. I've been removing my eye make up with eye make up remover from Boots and then removing the rest of my make up with the Nip + Fab Deep Cleansing Fix. I'll spend a few minutes massaging this in and then rinse with a wet cloth before using the Lush Tea Tree Toner Water on a cotton pad to make sure all my make up is gone. I'll then usually go in with a face mask and one I've been loving is the Soap & Glory Fab Pore.

While leaving my mask on I'll run a bath. We almost didn't get a bath put in our new bathroom, but I'm so glad we did because I haven't had this many baths in years. I've always been more of a shower person and always felt a bit bored in the bath, but now that I'm so busy I think I can finally appreciate the art of doing nothing! My favourite products to use for a nice relaxing bath are Lush bubble bars, in particular their cute bubbleroons! I'll remove my face mask just before I get in the bath and then while in the bath I'll use the Aloe leave on mask from The Body Shop which you just leave to sink in and then moisturise into your skin. While in the bath I'll also have a good exfoliate with the Soap & Glory Sugar Scrub. A glass of wine or a gin and tonic are also regular features!

After my bath I'll have a good moisturise all over and at the moment I'm using Boots Extracts Cocoa Butter Body Lotion, which smells divine. Then I'll get cosy in my dressing gown and generally just chill out before bed, either watching TV or reading and sometimes I'll paint my nails too, although these days that seems to be feeling more like a chore to me (probably because I spend so much time painting other stuff now).

And that's it - a pretty simple routine, but one that just makes my weekend that much more enjoyable and really helps me relax and feel calm.

What's your pamper routine? What do you do to relax?

Amy x

My Most Worn Winter Outfits

Fingers crossed we are nearly done with the wintry weather and spring will be on its way soon, so to mark that I thought I'd do a round up of the outfits I've worn the most over winter. To be honest, a lot of my winter clothes are still in boxes so this is more of a 'the only winter clothes that were in my drawer' post, but having half my clothes packed away has shown me that I really don't need so many! 

The Long Sleeved Cotton Dress
This was a bargain from H&M I picked up at the beginning of winter and it's been my go to dress all season. It's plain and simple, but I love the colour and it seems to magically flatter me in all the right places. Generally I wear it with black tights and boots so it really is the simplest of outfits, but maybe that's why I like it so much!

The Woolly Jumper

I got this from Asos way back in Autumn when it was warm enough to wear it without a coat! I wear this a lot on weekends when I'm not going to be outside too much because then I can get away with wearing it over a long sleeved top with leggings as long as I wear my hat too to stay warm!

The Cable Knit

This is just the easiest jumper to throw on which is probably why I've worn it so much! I wear it a lot with my Joni jeans from Topshop, which are the comfiest in existence or with this skirt from Tu which looks good but is also so comfortable. The jumper from H&M is in keeping with the green theme I seem to have going on this winter plus it's nice and cosy, but still work appropriate. I bought this jumper mid-way through winter, but have worn it so many times since I got it it definitely deserves a place on this list!

A Good Blouse

Blouses seem to have really been my thang this winter, probably due to my ongoing love for 'cheat clothes' (clothes that look good but take zero effort to wear). There are actually loads of blouses I've been rotating over winter, but the one I've had the longest (since Autumn as you can tell by the picture!) and so worn the most is this absolute beaut from New Look that I got way back in Autumn. I adore the pattern and it looks great with either leggings or again my beloved Joni jeans!

Which outfit is your favourite? What have you been wearing over winter?

Amy x

What it's Like Living in a House You're Renovating

So if I haven't spoken about this enough on my blog already - here's another house related post! I thought I'd write a post about what it's like to live in a house you're doing up so if you're thinking of doing the same, bear the following in mind!

You will always feel like you're covered in a fine layer of dust. Renovating a house is messy and however many times you dust, wipe and hoover there'll always be more dust. I'm trying to accept that our house just won't be fully clean until it's all finished and I'm constantly going to feel like I've got a layer of dust covering even myself.

You will ruin a lot of clothes. Although I have a couple of sets of painting clothes, sometimes you'll start a job without changing thinking it won't be messy, but it's easy to forget where there's wet paint...

Everything will take longer than you thought. I had unrealistic expectations when we moved in about how long everything would take. It's the little fiddly things that take the longest, plus I hadn't really factored in that you need to leave paint to dry in between each coat...

There will be plenty of hidden surprises along the way. So you set your budget and your timescale and then as soon as you start ripping things down you find there's actually twice as much work to do than you thought. Hello cute little damp patch hiding behind the bathroom wallpaper.

You won't want to stop. When you live in the house you're doing up sitting around watching TV seems like a total waste of your time because there is so much to do on the house you're sitting in that you feel you should be getting on with. And once you're on a DIY roll, it's easy to forget to eat, drink or even sleep.

You need to allow yourself to take a break. Following on from the above, while the temptation to keep going until you burn yourself out is real, you really shouldn't do that. You need to consciously make an effort to chill out and give yourself a break. If that break lasts the whole weekend because the weather is nice and you'd rather be out and about then so what? The house will still be there next weekend.

You'll be embarrassed having people over. It's always messy, it's always dusty, there's always something being done and you can't help but worry about what people think when they see the state of where you live.

If you're doing it with someone else you will argue about everything. Who knew choosing a cooker was such a big deal? We've even argued about skirting boards...

It just might drive you up the wall, but it'll be worth it in the end (you hope).

Do you have any experience of renovation/redecoration? Would you like to?

Amy x

An Asos Haul in One Outfit

When we bought a house I did the unthinkable and deleted the Asos app from my phone because yanno, it would be nice to save for a new kitchen. Three months on and that kitchen fund is probably on hold because Asos made a mysterious appearance on my phone again and before I knew it there was a delivery at my door.

I actually bought only three things, which for me is quite a modest Asos haul and when trying on said three things I realised I'd actually inadvertently bought an outfit. A pretty darn good outfit too if I do say so myself, the type of outfit I will wear non-stop for the next month (exaggeration, I do wash my clothes obvs). I don't know whether I love the trousers or boots more, you know when you feel a bit pathetic about being so excited about clothing? Yeah, that.

Top - Asos (here)
Trousers - Asos (sale)
Boots - Truffle Collection via Asos (out of stock)

What do you think of bold trousers?

Amy x

The Oily Saviours

I never ever used to put oil on my skin because I thought it would just make my skin really oily - hey rookie error - apparently oil is actually good for oily skin, crazy eh? I actually only learnt this through reading blogs and finding out that oils had actually worked well for people with the same skin type as me (normal/slightly oily and blemish prone if you're interested). So I thought I'd give oils a go myself and see how I got on with them. Turns out oily products are an absolute godsend and my skin hasn't actually looked this good in years.

The two products I've been using are the Una Brennan Vitamin C Cleansing Oil and the Botanics Facial Oil. I use the cleansing oil every morning as it is so refreshing and makes me feel a bit more awake. I apply it to dry skin, add a little bit of water and massage it in then rinse off in the shower. I use the face oil about twice a week overnight to really give it time to sink in and I'm left with such bright looking skin in the morning that sometimes I think I actually look better when I've just woken up than later on in the day. I haven't changed anything else in my skincare routine and I've probably been eating worse than I was before (maybe that's the secret...wouldn't that be great?!) so I'm putting the improvements in my skin down to these gems. I've also not had any breakouts, just the odd blemish and it's made me so much more confident with wearing less makeup, something I spoke about last month on this here blog.

Have you tried either of these products? What do you think of using oils?

Amy x 

20 Things You Notice During a Harry Potter Marathon

At the start of this year me and one of my best friends had an actual Harry Potter marathon. When I usually use the term 'Harry Potter marathon' it means a couple of the films were on TV and that's how I spent my afternoon, but this time I mean that we started watching The Philosopher's Stone at 8 in the morning and finished Deathly Hallows part 2 at 3am the following morning. We were both so proud (this is the point where you're allowed to be rude and tell me to get a life), but along the way there were a few 'observations' we made - I thought it could be fun to list our random musings on here (sorry if you're not a Harry Potter fan, this will be dull for you!) 

1 - What did all the pure blood children do before Hogwarts? Did they go to wizard primary school? And if they didn't how did they learn to read and write?

2 - Although it's nice that wizards use owls, mobile phones would definitely be quicker...

3 - Also biros would be a lot less hassle than quills.

4 - In The Philosopher's Stone why did Dumbledore fly all the way to the Ministry of Magic in response to that urgent message when he could have used floo powder and got there straight away? Then he would have known it was a hoax much quicker (but I guess that wouldn't do much for the plot...)

5 - Why did they only ever have one flying lesson?

6 - Where are the showers?

7 - Isn't it just the biggest coincidence that Scabbers the rat ended up living with someone who would become Harry's best friend? 

8 - Where did Ron get the sellotape to fix his wand from in The Chamber of Secrets?

9 - The slug belching scene is definitely not as gross as you imagined it would be.

10 - In the Prisoner of Azkaban it's never actually explained who Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs are.

11 - If Fred and George had always had the Marauder's Map, how had they never noticed that Peter Pettigrew was sleeping in Ron's dorm?

12 - The way Hermione pronounces 'owl' when she says 'I'm not an owl' in Goblet of Fire will never cease to annoy you.

13 - Once the idea is planted in your head that every time there's a close up of Harry in pain in the final film it's actually his sex face, it's hard to take him seriously.

14 - Why are the characters not much sadder when Fred, Lupin and Tonks die in the final film? I mean while I'm still sat on the sofa sobbing they're having the generic end of film motivational chat.

15 - Isn't Harry whiny?

16 - Seeing as Harry has loads of money in the bank why does he never ask if he can use some of it to do something a bit better in the summer holidays?

17 - Since Harry is a horcrux would it have been impossible for him to die any of the times he nearly died? (apart from when he's stabbed by the basilisk, obvs).

18 - At the very end how was Harry just able to snap the most powerful wand in the world in half with his bare hands?

19 - Snape dying will never get any easier.

20 - A Harry Potter marathon is always a good idea.

I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post! If you have any other Harry Potter wonderings please leave them in the comments!

Amy x

System Professional at Unique Salons

Recently I've been in a real hair rut, partly because it's the one part of my beauty regime that I always seem to skimp on (messy hair is chic right?) and partly because I couldn't seem to find any products that worked for my hair. So when I was kindly invited to Unique Salon in Hessle for a blow dry and an introduction to the System Professional product range I jumped at the chance.

The premise behind System Professional is that we as individuals need a tailored haircare routine to suit our needs, just as we have a skincare routine. It's fairly logical if you think about it - I wouldn't use all moisture heavy products on my skin because as well as dryness I need to tackle blemishes and some oiliness and the exact same goes for my hair. System Professional gives you an individual 'energy code', which tells you which products from the range suit your hair. This is worked out by answering some simple questions about your hair and you can actually find yours out online here.

My experience at Unique itself was made absolutely lovely by my stylist Ellis. I felt totally at ease talking about my hair concerns and she was very helpful and honest in her advice. Once I'd found out my energy code (B1+R2+V3 if you're interested) Ellis explained exactly what that meant and what each product would do for my hair. Straight after washing I could see and feel the difference in my hair. I have quite a sensitive scalp, which is usually visibly red after washing and my ends are usually quite tangled and dry. After a wash with the Balance Shampoo my scalp looked so much better, which I was amazed by as I'm not used to seeing results the first time I use a product. My hair was also much less tangled than usual and felt amazingly soft.

 I've had a fair few bad experiences at salons, mainly involving the stylist not listening and giving me a style I've not been happy with. This experience was completely different - Ellis listened to exactly how I like wearing my hair and blow dried it into a style that I loved and that made my hair look really healthy. This was the first salon I've been to where I actually felt like my stylist was truly passionate about her job and actually cared about making my hair the best it could be. I will 100% be going back there in the future and even though it's a little bit more than I've paid in the past it's worth spending that little bit extra to get hair you're 100% happy with.

In terms of System Professional I was so impressed with the results from the shampoo that I bought it (and this is a girl who has never bought a product from a salon before #ultimatestinge.) The shampoo was really very pricey at £18.25, but I'm willing to pay that if it's going to solve my scalp issues and having tried so many products that have failed I'm just so pleased to have discovered one that actually works!

I would definitely recommend the lovely team at Unique and if you're not local you can check out which salons near you offer the System Professional range on their website.

Have you heard of System Professional? Where do you like getting your hair done?

Amy x

The One With The Salmon Shirt

Ever since I first spied this blouse (actually my Grandma spotted it first, insisted I tried it on and then bought it for me, thanks Grandma <3) the colour reminded me so much of the Friends episode where Ross insists that his pink shirt is in fact 'salmon'. I've probably mentioned before that I'm really not a pink person so imma steal Ross's angle on this one.

The older I get the more I appreciate a good blouse. They're an item you can throw on and instantly make yourself look like you've made more effort than you have, plus they're probably the most flattering item of clothing in terms of just being the right amount of baggy to hide any cute tummy rolls, but not so baggy that you look like you're wearing, well, a bag.

Blouse - New Look (here)
Jeans - Topshop (here)
Boots - Asos (out of stock) 

I can only apologise for my Joni jeans being in pretty much every outfit post so far this year, but I do like to show what I've actually been wearing and I've been wearing these so much! I love mixing casual and smarter pieces so I love that the jeans form a casual part of this outfit in contrast to the blouse and my gorgeous new boots (also featured previously, soz but I love them). This is just the perfect outfit for work, or anywhere else really!

What do you think of mixing casual and smart styles? Do you like wearing pink?

Amy x