Hull Spotlight: Tessie's

The latest in my Hull Spotlight series celebrating local businesses in Hull is Tessie's, an independent clothing and accessories shop (find my previous post on Thieving Harry's here). Tessie's is located on Newland Avenue, which is one of my favourite places to go for a bit of a wander, a coffee and, let's face it, probably (/definitely) some cake plus obviously a snoop around Tessie's, which I can't seem to be able to leave without buying at least one ring because they do the cutest rings I've ever seen and they're super affordable. I've recommended Newland Avenue in a post before as a great alternative to shopping in the city centre and it really is a great street for a wander, a browse and a coffee or a spot of lunch.

(Update: Tessie's has now moved location since I wrote this blog post and have a fabulous bigger shop on Humber Street, so pretty much ignore everything I say about Newland Avenue in this post...)

You can't really miss Tessie's as you walk along Newland Avenue, with its standout turquoise and pink frontage and the ever cute window display, which at the moment is Valentine's themed and full of paper hearts with customers' descriptions of love written inside them. If that isn't the cutest idea for a window display then I don't know what is. That alone shows how engaged the staff are with their customers and that's something I love about independent shops. You get a much more personal experience and it's nice to go into a shop and be able to have a real chat with the staff as opposed to a 'did you find everything you were looking for today?' chat. The Tessie's staff themselves are absolutely lovely, which obviously just makes you want to keep going back (see above re my ring buying habit) and you can absolutely tell that they're passionate about the shop.

Inside the shop is just as cute as the front and as well as having beautiful looking jewellery displays that must take so much effort and time and rails of the most gorgeous clothes, there are also some lovely personal touches like plants, prints. and vintage mirrors. As you enter you're greeted by jewellery, which as I said is displayed beautifully and properly laid out, which means you can see all of it and have a proper browse and then clothes are further in, displayed on rails along the wall. Everything they sell in Tessie's is very on trend (as you can see they've got both embroidery and velvet nailed), but with something that little bit different at the same time, which makes it unique and sets it apart from the high street. I'd actually say it's a very 'me' shop and I love pretty much everything in there. It's also very reasonably priced - as I mentioned already the jewellery is so affordable and the clothes are cheaper than some high street shops.

I said this in my last post, but it really is the personal touches and general feel of an independent business that make it lovely and unique and the quotes that are all around the shop are so positive (they even have positive quotes you can rip off and take away with you in the changing rooms - best idea ever) and that's the general vibe given off by Tessie's - it's such a positive and friendly environment. It has heaps of personality and pair that with the lovely staff and it just generally makes shopping there the nicest little treat. If you're Hull based and you haven't been in yet then definitely check it out! If you're not Hull based then don't worry because they have a website - HERE - where you can browse to your heart's content, plus they do free UK shipping so why not treat yo'self while you're at it?

Have you been to or heard of Tessie's?

Amy x

Expressing Yourself Through Your Style

It's often said that the reason people love fashion so much is because they can express themselves through their personal style. It's something I've been thinking a lot about recently - about whether I do that or whether I'm actually expressing who I want to be rather than who I am. And maybe it's the same for everyone else too. We all use fashion to express ourselves - not just clothes, but makeup and hair too - and fashion is a choice so ultimately we can choose to express ourselves however we like. 

Take me, for example. I'm quite shy, quiet and introverted, but do I dress like someone who's shy, quiet and introverted? Hell no! Fashion is my way of expressing confidence that I don't have and giving off the impression that I'm 100% sure of myself when I'm not. And sometimes my style makes me feel like I am that confident sure of herself person so maybe the reason I dress like the person I want to be is because it takes me just that little bit closer to actually being her. You know when you get the feeling you're no longer making sense in a blog post? Mm yeah that. Hopefully y'all get me.

I think personal style is kind of like Instagram. We portray ourselves how we want the world to see us and not necessarily exactly as we are and I don't think that's a bad thing in either case. Style choices give us the freedom to not only express ourselves, but make ourselves feel a certain way. I'm not a confident person, but by dressing as though I am I'm helping myself become a little more confident.

What do you think? Do you think you use your style to express who you are or who you want to be?

Amy x

P.S. I feel like I need to acknowledge the fact that there are tears rolling down my face in some of these pictures - it was VERY windy so soz. 

Winter Pamper Routine

There's just something about winter and a good pamper that goes well together isn't there? I definitely indulge in a pamper night more often in winter than in summer and because it's cold outside it feels so perfect. This has actually become pretty much a Sunday evening ritual for me unless I'm at work (in which case I'll just do it another night instead!). I am trying to make a conscious effort to take more time for myself this year and not feel guilty about it so I've really been enjoying my Sunday evening routine and thought I'd share it.

First things first, I tend to start the evening by painting my nails because having brand new nail polish on to start the week just makes me feel a bit more put together and like I'm nailing life (HA I just had to say that sorry). One of my favourites at the moment is this Jack Wills nail colour, which doesn't have a name because it came in a little Christmas gift set, but it's such a lovely deep burgundy and I can't believe I didn't actually own a similar shade before this because I love it. This picture is in my bathroom for aesthetic reasons, but I would usually paint my nails in front of the telly and let them dry properly while I'm watching something (let's face it, probably trashy) before I carry on with the rest of my routine. 

I'll usually already have taken my makeup off at this point if I've been wearing any so I'll go straight in with the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm which I got in the M&S beauty advent calendar and just adore. I'm nearly running out now but the small size has lasted nearly three months so I think it's probably a solid investment to order the normal size to replace it! I don't know if it's just a coincidence but my skin is the best it's been in a long time since using this. It also smells divine and I know that's not the point of skincare but it helps right?

You can't have a pamper night without a face mask and my favourite at the moment is Rosy Cheeks by Lush and it's the perfect one for a pamper because it smells so lovely and calming, it feels nice and gentle and I basically just want to wear it all the time. I'm actually not usually one for using the fresh face masks from Lush because I find I never use them up before their use by date, but I got this one free because I had five empty tubs (best thing ever) and I actually used this one in time because I just wanted to use it so often!

While my face mask is drying I'll run myself a bath because what pamper night is complete without one of those?! I use something different in my bath every time I have one, but one of my all time favourites is the Lush Furze Bath Melt. It looks so cute and makes your bath water the prettiest, smells absolutely amazing and makes your skin feel so soft afterwards. If I'm using a bath melt or bath bomb I'll usually add some bubbles too because I actually can't have a bath without bubbles. The only time I ever exfoliate is in the bath because is it just me or is it kind of an awkward thing to do in the shower? It's also pretty relaxing and my scrub of choice at the moment is the Soap and Glory Sugar Crush, which is lovely and gentle and I basically want to eat it because it smells so good and sugary. 

If I'm really indulging I'll double up on my face masks and use this moisturising Aloe one from The Body Shop. This is actually one that doesn't smell amazing or of anything in particular actually, but it just sinks into your skin and leaves it feeling so hydrated so it's a lovely one to use at the end of a pamper because you can just leave it on and tootle off to read a book/check your phone because you've got Instagram withdrawal symptoms (guilty). 

What do you use in your pamper routine?

Amy x

My Essential Winter Accessories

If there's something I don't talk about very often on my blog it's accessories (and a whole host of other things actually but that's besides the point). So I thought I'd talk about the accessories I've been loving the most throughout winter and style them with an outfit (which wasn't hard seeing as I've been styling them with pretty much every outfit I've been wearing anyway). There aren't actually very many - it would seem I skimp on the accessories front during winter. I think that's just because I tend to be wrapped up in big jumpers that would cover up any jewellery and also, let's face it, I'd probably rather spend an extra few minutes cosied up in my warm bed than accessorising. Anyway, here are the few I've been obsessing over lately:

A blanket scarf | Wearing one of these is basically as close as I can get to going outside wrapped up in a blanket, which is what I'd really like to do in winter if it were at all practical/socially acceptable. This is actually the only one of these that I own and I'd really like to add to my collection (if you can call one a collection) because I do wear this all the time. Fun anecdote (a.k.a. not an interesting story at all) - I accidentally left it in a fish and chip shop when it was quite new and actually nearly cried, but IT'S OK GUYS it was still there when we went back.

Little leather backpack | These seem to be everywhere at the moment and I absolutely love them, especially mine. It's a little bit like a Mary Poppins bag because it fits a deceivingly large amount of stuff in it even though it looks quite petite. It's also just so darn pretty and also practical - backpacks are seriously underrated because they leave both of your hands free and don't even hurt your shoulders like the evil that are one shoulder bags. Winning.

Sleeper earrings | Are they still even called sleeper earrings? They were when I got my first pair about age eleven when it was a pretty exciting concept because not only could you just leave them in and comfortably sleep in them, but they were the only kind of hoop earring allowed at school. I've worn these a lot over winter because they go with everything, they look cute and you really can just leave them in forever and ever without thinking about it. The lazy girl's dream. Fun fact though, when someone is taking a photo of them in macro mode on your camera your ear hole looks kinda gross. Soz.

What accessories have you been loving recently?

Amy x

Choosing a Kitchen

A lot of my friends ask how I make decisions on home decor when it comes to renovating our house because you really do have complete free reign on everything when you're completely stripping back and starting again. Up to this point it's been hard to explain because I've always just known how I want things. However the kitchen was hard. When you've got a blank shell of a room it's kind of difficult to picture how you want your kitchen to be - never mind the style and colour, just the layout is a complete puzzle in itself. 

We ripped down a wall and had a new one put up to change the layout of the room before we'd even decided what we wanted the kitchen to look like and had a pipe dream of having an island without having actually properly planning it out. Basically we had a vague idea we'd been working around for months but hadn't prepared for it. After getting the sharpie out to draw on the floor and throw around ideas we finally settled on a much more sensible layout and suddenly it all clicked into place. So really that is how not to plan a kitchen.

In terms of style, the best thing to do is go out and look at a lot of kitchens to rule out what you don't want. We looked at a lot of kitchens and early on I knew that a super modern one wouldn't suit our house so we had a vague idea more of a traditional/country style. Once we knew that choosing the kitchen wasn't actually too difficult. We knew we wanted it from IKEA because it would be reasonably priced and we wanted to fit it ourselves and figured that seeing as IKEA is flat pack central anyway it'd be reasonably straightforward (ha - I'll let you know) to put together. We also knew we wanted a wooden look worktop and thought white would go best with that so our minds were pretty much already made up before we even went. 

The biggest headache was the little things that we hadn't thought about - did we want a cupboard with three shelves or four shelves? Did we want two big drawers or four small drawers? We got to IKEA and realised we actually didn't have a clue so sat in the cafe for two hours fuelled by coffee and muffins and properly planned it out. By the time we went to our appointment with the designer we were so prepared she said we were the most organised customers she'd ever had. Despite that we were still a whole hour with her so I'd recommend being as prepared as possible! Also be prepared to spend a lot longer actually buying your kitchen than you'd expect. I thought we'd be in and out of IKEA in a couple of hours...five hours later...

Basically what I've learnt by doing it the wrong way is:

- Plan your kitchen layout early on so you know how you can maximise the space and so you have a clear idea in your head of where everything will go so you can visualise your kitchen better. 

- Get out and look at lots of kitchens. Use Pinterest religiously in your spare time. 

- Know your budget. When it gets down to the nitty gritty, having drawers is more expensive than cupboards, laminate worktop is way cheaper than real wood etc etc so it's good to bear these things in mind. 

- Price up before you buy. This is what we did in the IKEA cafe - worked out roughly how much we thought everything was going to be so we didn't cry when the kitchen designer told us. 

- Get help if you need it. I don't know why we didn't do this, but we should have just got someone else to design our kitchen (places like Wren do this for free) because then you have a plan with measurements ready to use however you like. 

When we've actually fitted the kitchen I will definitely be doing a kitchen transformation post because it may just be the most dramatic transformation in our house yet, but for now unfortunately the room is still a blank shell and the kitchen is sat in an IKEA warehouse somewhere waiting to be delivered.

Amy x

Adapting Trends to Your Style

Oh hey, here's yet another post where I'm going to bang on about the importance of personal style so hopefully you're not sick of me banging on about it yet. What I'm really going to talk about is adapting trends to suit your own style because there are so many trends that I just love, but can't get on board with because they're just not really 'me'. But there are ways my friends, there are ways. Not quite sure why I just wrote that, but we'll blame that on the fact that I've had a long day and am writing this post accompanied by a glass of red. 

One trend that I absolutely love is embroidery, like give me embroidered everything please. I have some embroidered jeans, I have an embroidered shirt and what I've wanted to add to my embroidery collection for a while is some embroidered boots. Problem is, they tend to be pretty colourful and they all seem to have a pretty high heel. I do wear colour, but I tend to wear it fairly subtly and boots with red/yellow/blue/green stitching all over them, although they look amazing on everyone else and would be pride of place in my shoe collection, would never actually be worn because they're just not something I feel comfortable in. Then there's the heel issue. I walk to work most days and I already have one pair of heeled boots that I wear on those rare occasions I drive so it would be overkill to have another pair of boots I can't walk all the way to work in (I promise I'm not being a wuss here, it's two miles away). So, to summarise a rather lengthy blathering paragraph, I thought the embroidered boots trend was just not going to happen for me. 

Now, I said I was going to talk about adapting trends to suit your style. By that I don't mean any DIY adaptations to clothes or anything like that so sorry if that's what you were expecting, I basically mean scouring the shops and the internet until you can find something that fits the trend you love, but also suits your style. It means compromising on the really trendy part of the trend so you have something you feel comfortable and confident in. LOL I'm totally blabbing. 

Enter my embroidered boots. 

The embroidery is black and grey so it kind of blends into the boots and also goes with anything else you might want to wear. With the colourful versions, there's too much for me to think about in terms of matching your outfit to the zillions of colours in the boots, but with these ones, it's simple. Saying that, I did actually accidentally match my outfit to my boots on this occasion by wearing black and grey, but my point is you totally could wear them with anything. Another plus is the heel. It's little and chunky and totally walkable in. HOORAY. Oh and can I just mention that they were £20 on offer in New Look?! 

And that is what I mean by adapting trends to your style - don't buy those tempting and amazing looking embroidered boots that everyone is instagramming (that's underlining in red - is that seriously not a word yet?) if you won't wear them. Find some that you feel confident wearing because it's much better to do you. 

Boots - New Look (here) | Top - New Look (here) | Faux leather jacket - Topshop (here

Amy x