Hull Spotlight: Liquid Jade

Doing this Hull spotlight series is a pretty great excuse to make my way around the cutest cafes and shops in my city, one of which is tucked away from the bustling crowds right in the city centre. Liquid Jade is off Whitefriargate hidden in Zebedee's Yard and it's not the type of place you'd just stumble across so it feels like a little secret - apart from the fact that it's always really busy, so it's obviously quite a well known one!

Liquid Jade specialises in loose leaf tea and they have so much choice. I am the most indecisive person ever as anyone who has ever tried to make plans with me will know so choosing which tea I want is a real struggle - I just want them all! I suppose that just gives me an excuse to keep going back though right? Your tea comes in a pot alongside a little hourglass which is timed differently for each type of tea and how long you need to brew it for, which is just the cutest idea and one of those little unique touches that gives a place its character. On this particular visit I went for chai tea, which was absolutely delicious. They also have a small lunch menu and plenty of gorgeous looking cakes (which I have sampled previously and can confirm are delicious!). This visit was actually a 'working lunch' of sorts as my friend and I are starting work on a very exciting project that, although can't be technically classed as 'work' because we're not being paid, served as a good excuse to have lunch out. We've decided that working lunches are definitely the way forward too so here's to many more.

Let's talk about the interiors because although it's the food and drink that really matter, it's pretty nice to consume said food and drink in a pretty environment isn't it? Liquid Jade definitely doesn't disappoint on that front as it's so cosy and homely that you almost feel like you're sitting enjoying a cuppa in someone's living room and that particular someone has an excellent taste in interior design. There's a fireplace, a picture wall, candles, fairy lights and just all the things a cafĂ© needs to be welcoming, cute and cosy. Because it's set back away from the main street it's also really quiet so you don't feel like you're bang in the centre of Hull - the perfect place to escape to if you're having a manic day of shopping or feeling overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle.

The staff are also so friendly and that really makes a difference doesn't it? There's nothing worse than being in a place where you feel like you're inconveniencing the staff just by being there, but at Liquid Jade they're all so welcoming and happy, which always makes me want to keep going back somewhere. It's also really the only place of its kind in the city centre (that I know of anyway). A bit further out there are plenty of cute little cafes, but at the moment its mostly chains in the centre so its nice to have somewhere with a bit more character.

I actually work in the centre of town and this little visit reminded me that it's somewhere I need to go more often especially as I noticed they have takeout cups. As much as I love a good Costa or Nero I'd feel much better about supporting a local business (and my love of coffee provides a fair bit of business to coffee shops believe me). If you're in the centre of Hull it's somewhere I'd definitely recommend checking out!

If you live in Hull have you ever been to Liquid Jade?

Amy x

Wardrobe Staples | A Breton Top

Possibly the most written about wardrobe staple is the breton top, but I couldn't not write about it when it really is such a staple in my wardrobe. I don't think a week goes by where I don't wear stripes of some description and when I recently had a wardrobe clear out and discovered just how many striped items I own I happily ignored the fact that I should probably join some sort of Bretons Anonymous and carefully folded them all back into my drawers. Because you really really can never own too many stripes.

My most worn breton top is this one from Boden. I'm not gonna lie, I only shop at Boden if there's a sale/discount going, but if I earned a little bit more it's definitely somewhere I would shop all the time because the quality is amazing. My breton top, although primarily white, is not at all see through, it's never bobbled even after being washed literally hundreds of times and it's still the exact same shape it was when I bought it years ago. And after saying I only shop Boden with a discount, if I ever needed to I would 100% buy another one of these full price because my price per wear must be about 0.0001p by now.

The reason that stripes are such a staple for me is that they're the easiest way to make an outfit look more interesting while putting in zero effort. Even if it's just worn with jeans there's something that makes a breton pull an outfit together and make me look 100% more chic than I actually am. If I'm feeling more inspired though, another reason I love stripes is that you can pair them with pretty much anything. You can layer a breton under or over things, tuck it in or leave it hanging loose - there's never been a time when I've put one on and thought 'aw, this doesn't really go' because it always does.

This outfit is my current favourite way to style my breton - there's something about stripes and leopard print together that I just love. And if you've been reading my blog so far this year you'll know already how much I love these embroidered jeans because you probably think they're all I wear (you wouldn't be far from wrong).

Are stripes a staple in your wardrobe?

Amy x

Muting My Notifications

March and the beginning of April were super busy months for me. I didn't have a free weekend for four weeks in a row, which is obviously GREAT because I did lots of fun things with some of my favourite people and just had a generally lovely month. However, I was slightly worried about being able to fit blogging and all things social media around that. So I made the amazing decision of having a social media break. I did it two weekends in a row and it was great. No Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter. I was insanely relaxed, I was able to enjoy my time with family and friends without getting distracted thinking about what to post on Instagram that night and I did normal non-digital activities like reading and writing. I switched off completely, I didn't care that I wasn't checking Instagram every five minutes and I felt so zen.

It's something I'm definitely planning on doing more often because it was the best decision for my sanity. It made me realise how long its been since I've really switched off and just felt relaxed rather than thinking about everything I have to do. It made me realise that I exhaust myself by constantly being busy, not necessarily physically, but mentally. Having a social media break for some reason meant that I felt like I was having a break from everything else too.

Having a social media break made me realise how all consuming social media can be. The Instagram notifications that somehow make me feel the need to open the app each time one pops up, the Twitter feed I need to be constantly checking to stay on top of who's saying and doing what and even the Facebook notifications that are usually just telling me it's someone's birthday who I haven't spoken to in ten years, but still make me click. So I muted all of them. And it was the best thing I've done in a long time. I realise that makes it sound like I'm doing nothing worthwhile or interesting with my life if the best thing I've done in a long time is mute my notifications, but I mean the best thing for me, literally the best thing for my sanity.

I can now leave my phone for a good couple of hours without being tempted by notifications. I'm on social media less often (although I'm not pretending that I'm not still on Instagram a lot because I am), I'm able to switch off more easily and surprise surprise, my notifications are there waiting for me when I want to check. I would genuinely recommend muting social media notifications to anyone who sometimes feels a bit overwhelmed by it all or who feels like they need to cut down on their usage. Sitting down and checking Instagram and Twitter is now more of a relaxing enjoyable thing rather than something that I'm constantly doing on the go and whenever I get the chance.

Do you have your notifications muted?

Amy x

How Blogging Has Changed My Style

I've always loved fashion and clothes. From the first outfit I ever chose for myself (a white two piece co-ord with bright pink and orange flowers on it that my mum hated) to sporting a turquoise crop top and ginormous hoop earrings to my year six school disco to spending my sixth form free periods throwing all my weekend job earnings at Topshop, I've always expressed myself through my style (even if I'm not sure exactly what I was trying to express at that year six school disco...) and I've always enjoyed experimenting and putting outfits together.

Although I have always enjoyed experimenting I think I've generally tended to play it relatively safe in the past (co-ord and disco outfit aside) and I stuck to blacks, whites and greys for a long time. In the past I've bought things that I've loved, but never had the guts to actually wear. Let's take a moment to remember all the amazing pieces that never saw the light of day.

When I started blogging and reading other blogs I was suddenly thinking even more about what outfits I could put together as well as being exposed to a lot of other bloggers experimenting with their style and absolutely killing it. Through a growth in confidence spurred on by my blog as well as the inspiration taken from other bloggers I started wearing those more stand out pieces and experimenting even more with my own style. It feels less 'safe' now, but more me. I'm enjoying it more too - I feel like I have more colours, patterns and textures to play with and just as some people enjoy putting their makeup on in the morning, I enjoy getting dressed.

Has blogging changed your style?

Amy x

Don't Take Your Siblings For Granted

I'm surprised I haven't written this post already, I'm surprised I didn't write it years ago because it's a topic I've always had at the back of my mind since I can remember. I realise that most people don't take their siblings for granted, they love their siblings unconditionally and are extremely close to them. This post is in no way implying anything different, it's just a little reminder to make sure you don't take your siblings for granted, make sure you cherish them and let them know how important they are to you. Posting this today seemed apt because Tuesday is my sister's 21st birthday and tomorrow is her party. Bethany's 21st birthday is something nobody ever really thought would come when she first came into this world - it was expected that her life would be a brief one. In fact it was only really when she became a teenager that I stopped worrying and I started to believe that actually, she would live a long and happy life. 

When I was younger I resented other children who had siblings. I realise that's an awful thing to say, but it's true. I was jealous that they had a brother or sister that they could play with, that they could grow up with and I hated seeing siblings argue or fight. It made me angry that while I had a little sister who we all loved and cared for so much and who might not make it, that other children would kick and punch their sibling as if they wished them harm. I didn't get it. 

I do get it now. Of course you're going to argue with someone who you live with 24/7 and it would probably be odd if siblings didn't drive each other mad. I probably always got it and was just jealous that I didn't have a sibling to argue and fight with. I am still kind of sad that I never had that, but what I'm extremely happy about is that I had and still do have a little sister to love and care for and who brings me so much happiness. 

It's very easy for me to tell people not to take their siblings for granted because as someone who thought she might not have a sibling at this point in her life, I never take Bethany for granted. It's probably easy to take your sibling for granted if they've always been there, always been healthy and you expect them to be there for a long time. But here's a friendly little reminder to tell your sibling that you love them, spend time with them and appreciate them.

Amy x

How To Make Dainty Jewellery Stand Out

Before I get into this post can we just talk about how difficult it is to photograph jewellery?! Also don't even ask why I thought it was a good idea to thread my rings onto a house plant for a photograph - I think lack of sleep and coffee delirium is probably to blame...

When it comes to accessorising, I'm very much a minimalist. I like dainty jewellery; pretty pieces that you can wear everyday without having to think about whether they match your outfit or not. I suppose that you could call me lazy, but I prefer the term minimalist. It sounds cooler. As well as being what I prefer, I find dainty jewellery much more practical too. Working in TV means I'm often behind a camera or a sound desk and I don't like anything to get in the way so small and cute is essential (well the cute isn't essential, but yanno, preferable.)

I was recently sent some pieces from Jewellery Box which fit my criteria perfectly. Dainty, pretty and practical, they've become my new go to everyday jewellery items along with some long standing favourites. I've also started leaning towards silver over gold much more - silver just seems (dare I use this word yet again?) daintier (yep I said it). The one downside of dainty jewellery is how do you make it stand out? Sure it's small and cute, but that doesn't mean it has to go unnoticed or get lost in the rest of your outfit. So I've been trying to find ways to make sure my minimalist jewellery that I love so much stands out just as much as if I were wearing a statement piece.

This arrow necklace* is just so cute, goes with everything and because the chain is nice and short I tend to forget I'm actually wearing it until I spy it in a mirror, which is fine by me because I get the bonus of wearing something that looks cute, but most definitely doesn't get in the way. To make this stand out I've been layering it with a choker that sits a little higher up. I adore the look of layered necklaces and these two go perfectly together. Because the choker is black and stands out itself, it draws attention towards the arrow necklace too, meaning that people notice it more - mission accomplished! I've had so many compliments on this necklace and I'm not surprised because it really is too cute.

Rings are probably my favourite item of jewellery so I tend to wear quite a few at a time. I've been lucky enough to add these two beauties from Jewellery Box to my collection and have added them to my everyday hand wear, which also includes the cutest cactus ring from Tessie's and a couple that were gifts so I don't know where they were from! The opal ring* is actually the June birthstone, which couldn't be further away from my birthday, but I loved the simplicity and prettiness of it too much to not get it. The triangle ring* is just so cute and for some reason reminds me of the Deathly Hallows (and how cool would a Deathly Hallows ring be?). I love wearing these on the same finger as they stack perfectly and because I like wearing so many rings at once it's handy (haha geddit?) to have ones that I can wear on the same finger. Because all the rings I wear are (please can someone give me a synonym?!) dainty it'd be easy for them to blend in if I were wearing just one, but I find that because I stack them and tend to wear a lot at the same time it draws attention to my hands as a whole and therefore the rings individually.

Generally I've found that layering and stacking small and cute jewellery (small and cute is the best synonym I could think of) is a great way to make it stand out, although if that's not really your thang then another way I find helps is to keep the rest of my outfit quite simple. I find that wearing a plain v-neck top and a cute necklace draws attention to the necklace - equally bare arms with one dainty bracelet ensures that it stands out too. Now do I get a prize for the most used word ever (dainty) in a blog post?

How do you make sure your dainty jewellery stands out or are you a fan of more statement pieces?

Amy x

Some of the items in this post were gifted, but views and love of dainty jewellery my own.

A Love Letter to London

When I finished university in 2012 (which, erm, where'd you go five years between then and now?) I left London along with hundreds of other students who couldn't afford to stay there without a student loan or a job. I was gutted to leave London and although I didn't have a life plan as such, the one thing I was sure of was that I wanted to end up back there as soon as possible. But life happened and moving back to London became a long forgotten dream. And I don't mind that. I don't want to move back to London now, but every time I go back I fall more in love with it and it's just one of my happy places. I went back there a couple of weekends ago for BlogConLDN and being there again made me want to write a little post of thanks to London for being such a babe. 

The paragraph above was written the morning of the London terror attack and it feels a bit weird to not acknowledge it in this post. I am so so proud of London and its people for staying strong, not being afraid and supporting each other when it was needed the most. That's all I'm going to say about it because I want this post to remain a positive one about all the things I have to be thankful to London for.

woman with milkmaid braids surrounded by blossom trees

For helping to shape me as a person. Living in London was the first time I'd ever lived away from home and I learnt a lot both about living by myself (well, without my parents) and about myself as a person. By my third year I felt like I'd changed quite a bit, grown up a lot and was becoming the person I am now. If I'd stayed near home or moved somewhere smaller I think that would have taken me a lot longer because London throws you in at the deep end of situations and experiences. I became independent and more confident and now I'm not afraid to do anything on my own (apart from talk to anyone I don't know on the phone...)

For always entertaining me. There is always something to do in London, you'll never get bored and there are new things popping up everywhere. One of my favourite things to do is wander around the galleries and museums, which are mostly free, hence why I went so often as a student! When I was there a couple of weeks ago I went to the London Cat Village, which wasn't there when I lived there (probably a good thing otherwise I might have wasted a lot of money on going) so there really is something for everyone and I could spend weeks just entertaining myself in London.

For the memories. I have both happy, hilarious and downright crazy memories of living in London. There was the time I walked all the way back from Trafalgar Square to Lewisham because it was a nice day and I didn't want to waste it on the bus (two and a half hours later my feet definitely regretted that decision), there was the time I got asked out for dinner by the happiest bin man I've ever met (it made a nice change from the lewd comments you usually get thrown at you on the streets of New Cross) and there were the countless hours spent wandering aimlessly around streets, galleries and museums just soaking in all the London-ness.

And for what's to come. Although I'm not planning on living in London again, I'm definitely planning on visiting a lot and I still have lots of friends there so I know there are plenty more memories to be made there.

Do you love London?

Amy x