Hull Spotlight: The Tea Shop at Trinity Market

I'm a bit of a herbal tea fanatic (hence my love for Liquid Jade in this previous Hull Spotlight post) so when I discovered that there is a whole shop dedicated to loose leaf tea in the new phase of Trinity Market I was pretty excited. I was kindly sent some samples and after trying them had to have a wander down there to see the shop for myself. Along with a lot of Hull this year, Trinity Market is having a makeover and the first phase of the refurbishment is open. There have always been some gems in Trinity Market and I think it's a part of the city centre that isn't shouted about often enough and it looks fresher and more modern now it's been refurbished too. The Tea Shop is part of the first phase - a cute little unit tucked away in the newly revamped market. As well as tea (obviously) they sell crockery like mugs and teapots, including some rather Hull-centric themed pieces!

For an indecisive soul like me a trip to The Tea Shop is a mammoth task as there is so much choice. There are jars upon jars of flavours ranging from those you'd expect like earl grey and berry to the weird and wonderful like gin and tonic or peanut butter and jam (both of which I've tried and can highly recommend). What more could you want from life than a gin and tonic flavoured tea?! Having tried them I can confirm that although the flavours sound a bit wild and out there, they are quite subtle so definitely worth a try!

There are different categories of flavoured tea - I was sent the gin and tonic flavour from the green tea range, peanut butter and jam and also rhubarb and custard from the fruity range and very berry from the black tea range. I'm a sucker for flavoured green teas in particular and also a huge gin and tonic fan so that one was obviously the biggest winner for me. The flavours of lemon and juniper compliment green tea perfectly so however odd it may sound, it really does work. My other favourite was the very berry black tea. It's not that often you come across flavoured black teas and I think they're so tasty so I'll definitely be popping back to The Tea Shop to try some more of their black tea range.

I love getting use out of my loose leaf teapot because sooo pretty and I've got plans for making iced tea using some of these flavours when the weather gets warmer again (typical that just as I receive the samples the sun disappears). I think particularly the fruity flavours would taste great brewed in my teapot and then poured over ice, maybe with a little dash of honey too. Tastyyyy.

Are you a loose leaf tea fan? Have you ever been to The Tea Shop?

Amy x

5 Places You Should Visit on the French Riviera

I'm sitting here writing this post in a very messy office with the knowledge that I've got a half unpacked suitcase in the bedroom and a tonne of washing to do. It's safe to say I've well and truly got the holiday blues. So what better way to make them even worse than look through all the photos of what I was doing this time last week and write about what an amazing time I had?!

If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't, here's a shameless plug) or if you've simply read the title of this blog post then you'll know that I recently spent a week and a half exploring the French Riviera. One of my close friends was getting married out there and seeing as we hardly ever get a holiday we decided to make the most of it and stay on after the wedding. It was so nice - it made me realise how long it's been since I've really relaxed and felt like I had nothing to do but explore, eat and enjoy myself (and yanno, get a load of blog content obviously). I'll be writing more in depth posts about my favourite places that we visited, but I wanted to do a little round up of the places I'd really really recommend visiting if you're in that area

Antibes | Antibes was our base for the whole trip mainly because my friend got married there at the beginning of the holiday so it made sense for us to be close by, but we couldn't have wished for a better place to base ourselves. Antibes is everything you'd want all in one place and it's the perfect mix of relaxing seaside and lively bars. We stayed in the old town, which is a maze of bars, cafes and cute little boulangeries plus a huge covered market selling fresh fruit, olives and spices among other things. It's easy to feel like you live there after a couple of days of wandering down to the boulangerie for breakfast before going out for the day then pottering around the harbour or going to the beach in the evening. A small pebbly beach surrounded by the town walls quickly became our favourite and there was nothing more relaxing at the end of the day than nipping down there for a swim and a book reading session. I'll write more about Antibes in a future post, but one of my absolute favourite things we did there was walk the cap of the island, which reminded me a little of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones for some reason and was just so picturesque (plus helped justify the large amount of carbs that were consumed everyday).

Eze | Eze was the place I was most excited to visit and was probably my absolute favourite. It's a little medieval village sat atop a mountain with the most stunning views across the Mediterranean. The winding streets are so pretty to walk around and there's an exotic botanical garden at the top, which if you're a plant lady like me will have you in your absolute element. We sat and had lunch and some wine with the most amazing view and I'd highly recommend paying a little more to eat at Le Chèvre D'or because it's so worth it for the view alone and it's only about €5 more expensive than eating further inside the village.

Monaco | Monaco really surprised me. We went there just for the experience and because we thought it might be interesting and possibly even a little bit funny to see all the flash cars and yachts, but we both absolutely loved it. The whole place looked a little like a Disney set, there were some stunning views and some interesting things to see and do as well. The palace is worth seeing and as it's on top of a hill you get some good views from up there too. We also went in the Monte Carlo casino, which was fascinating. You can just go into the entrance hallway, which in itself is impressive, but we chose to pay to go into the main casino out of curiosity. We sat with glasses of wine feeling like we were in a James Bond movie and watched rich people gamble all their money away. Monaco is definitely an experience I'd recommend.

Menton | Menton was a funny one because when we got off the train there it looked and felt like a run down British seaside resort in the 1980s. Give it a chance and walk five minutes round the corner though and you're faced with the most stunning beach front with lots of colourful houses going all up the side of the mountain. There's plenty to see as you're wandering around the old town and apparently there's a very picturesque cemetery at the very top of the hill, but it was so hot on the day we went that we decided to forgo that walk!

Saint-Paul-De-Vence | St Paul was a little like Eze, in that it was a walled medieval village on top of a hill, only it was a little inland. The views weren't quite as stunning, but the actual streets were so pretty - window shutters galore, which are now my new favourite thing and it was the perfect place to just wander around, take some pictures and enjoy some lunch. There were also lots of little cute art shops that we treated a little like galleries, probably to the annoyance of the owners who would have taken one look at us and decided we weren't buying anything...

So that's my top five of the places we visited - well done if you've made it this far through the post. I thought I'd add a few tips on the end for if you're visiting yourself that you might find useful.

Public transport is incredibly cheap. We bought a hop on/off weekly train ticket for pretty much everywhere along the coast for €25. How amazing is that?! The bus is a flat rate of €1.50 and we used that to get to the top of Eze (you can climb up the mountain if you want though) and also to St Paul because the train didn't go there.

The best thing you can do is wander. I think this with any holiday really. I love just wandering around and discovering pretty places and the French Riviera is perfect for just that.

If you're going in summer, stay somewhere with air conditioning. This was our only regret of the holiday. Our Air BnB wasn't air conditioned. After a long day of wandering round in the sweltering heat, the last thing you want is to arrive back to an equally sweltering and stuffy bedroom.

Have you ever been to the French Riviera? Where would you recommend?

Amy x

Ibiza In Leeds

A couple of weeks ago I attended #BlogAtTheBeach hosted by Ice Lolly, which was an Ibiza themed event in Leeds. As I was going on holiday that same week the event came at the perfect time to help me get into the holiday spirit and also inspire me with lots of travel content. I always leave blogging events full of motivation and ideas (and also with the regret of not having spoken to everyone I wanted to #shygirlproblems) so I can't wait to create some holiday posts now I'm back.

 Luckily the sun was shining in Leeds which meant I could get into the Ibiza spirit with my new playsuit from Next. I actually bought this playsuit for my holiday because it's so summery and cute, but also the perfect comfortable piece for walking around all day in. They also do it in blue and white, which I was very tempted by, but I decided to break the habit of a lifetime and go for pink. I'm not a very pink person at all, but I slowly seem to be adding more of it to my wardrobe so maybe I'm going all girly in my old age. The thing I love the most about this playsuit is the tie details - there's one round the waist that ties either at the front or back and one that ties at the back where your bra strap would rest, which luckily means that you can *just about* get away with wearing a bra with it because the tie covers it. Obviously if you're comfortable rocking it without one then that's not a problem. I can't explain why, but this playsuit really reminds me of the seaside, to the point where I feel like I should have had a big ball of candy floss as a prop in these photos (funnily enough candy floss isn't rife in Leeds.)

I went for black accessories for my day in Leeds because although I wanted to get in the holiday spirit, I didn't want to look like I was actually on my way to the airport so I thought the black would tone it down ever so slightly, plus I really like the contrast of the pale playsuit against the black. These shoes have been featured so many times on this blog, they're old faithfuls from Primark that have really stood the test of time and my price per wear is probably down to about 0.0000001p. My bag is relatively new and one that I haven't used all that much yet despite it being pretty darn gorgeous. It's great for days out where you don't need too much stuff like this little trip to Leeds, but on a day to day basis I tend to travel a little less lightly!

You may remember me banging on about how amazingly happy I was with the pictures that Ashton took for this post, well on this occasion I had the pleasure of shooting with her brother Robert, who even coordinated with me for the day and if that isn't commitment from your photographer then I don't know what is (jokes, we just coincidentally matched due to our impeccable fashion sense). With Ashton managing the impossible task of directing me to try to ensure I didn't look like the bumbling fool I really am, these pictures were the result and I'm so so happy with them so thanks guys!

Playsuit - Next (here) | Shoes - Primark (old) | Bag - New Look (out of stock) 

Are you going on holiday anytime soon?

Amy x

Wardrobe Staples | Trainers

When I was a child and in my early teens I was really quite a tomboy so trainers were about the only footwear I owned (apart from jelly shoes, because who didn't grow up in the 90s and own jelly shoes?!). There then seemed to be a phase when trainers weren't 'cool', which also coincided with my own phase where I actually cared about what was 'cool' and what wasn't so I went through a little trainer lull. For the past few years though, my collection has just grown and grown and I don't seem to be able to stop adding to it because when you wear trainers 99% of the time it's totally justifiable to have approximately 635 pairs right? Disclaimer - I don't have that many pairs at all, in fact I probably have less than 10, but there's nothing like a bit of exaggeration to spice up a blog post is there?

When it came to writing this post I had to really think about which pair of my beloved trainer collection I wanted to style, but in the end it had to be the pair that I've been wearing the most recently and that's these gorgeous rose gold beauties. I bought them back in autumn and have worn them so much. They're so comfortable it almost feels like I'm wearing moon boots and even though I've worn them loads they hardly look like they've been worn at all. They also make the dullest of outfits look amazing because they kinda stand out don't they? I love the colour and although it's bold, it still goes with everything.

That's one of my favourite things about trainers too - they go with everything. If you're a regular reader of my blog you might have noticed that I like things that 'go with everything' - basically I'm a lazy dresser and like to not have to think too much about whether pieces go together and just be able to throw things on knowing that they will do. I wear trainers almost everyday at the moment - they're perfect with jeans, culottes, dresses and pretty much anything else I'd wear day to day.

I'll talk a tiny bit about the rest of this outfit because it's new and I love it. I've been on the hunt for some jeans with a frayed hem for a while and I actually strayed from Topshop on this occasion, which I usually rely on for all my jean needs, and got these from Monki because I loved the fraying and the cut of them. I'd also been wanting a plain white t-shirt, but I spied this one with the peplum detail and snapped it up because I love a basic with a little twist. Also, I'm always up for anything that hides a food baby and this does that perfectly.

Top - Asos (here) | Jeans - Monki (here) | Trainers - Pimkie (here) | Sunglasses - Primark

Are you a trainer fan?

Amy x

Having Productive Hobbies

I'm one of those people who always has to be doing something. I think in general we're a generation who feel guilty if we're not doing something productive. I often tend to give all I've got to a million things at once, then burn out and end up watching ten episodes of Ex on the Beach in a row for a bit of light relief. I have a feeling I could probably strike a better and healthier balance. Something I've found really helps when, like me, you like to feel you're constantly doing something useful, is having productive hobbies. Things that you enjoy doing, but things that are also helping you create or achieve something in the process so you still feel busy. I thought I'd do a little round up of the creative hobbies I've found, plus some ideas for others too.

Blogging | What else would be the first point in my list? I started blogging, in all honesty, mainly because I was bored and it was something to do in my spare time, but something that I knew I would enjoy and felt more productive than sitting watching TV. I've always enjoyed writing and it felt like a good way to use and also improve the skills I have. I'm now at the point where it's becoming a bit more than just a hobby, but at the moment it still feels like one, which is great. The thing with blogging is, you can write about absolutely anything you want for whatever reason you want - whether you want a place to write down all your random thoughts just for your own eyes or if you want to write for other people, you can do whatever you like with it.

Get crafty | This is something I wish I did more often - my mum is great at it and always has a little project on the go. Whether it's creating a photo collage for your wall, upcycling a piece of furniture or making a holiday scrapbook, getting crafty can be really fun and you get to see the results at the end of it (which, if you're anything like me can sometimes be a little bit ropey, but it's the effort that counts right?)

Get snap happy | Take pictures of anything and everything (unless photography isn't your thing, in which case, don't). I'm loving experimenting at the moment and discovering what I like taking pictures of (turns out I love taking pictures of shadows and windows). You don't have to limit yourself to still pictures either, why not make a little film? Anything that involves a camera always feels productive to me. Personally, I've just started a little project to make a stop motion film with a friend, which I hope you all look forward to seeing when it's finished in ten years time...

Learn a new skill | Free time is a great opportunity to teach yourself something new. I taught myself how to knit a few years ago - I haven't knitted since then, but at least I now know how if there's ever the urgent need to knit something in some kind of knitting emergency... There are two things I'd love to learn but haven't got round to yet - how to speak French properly and how to play the piano. There are so many different skills we can learn in our spare time that might come in handy at work, in life in general or which might just be a bit of fun.

Do something you've always wanted | I'm sure we all have something we've always wanted to achieve but don't feel like we have the time to do, but it's great to try and get the ball rolling in your free time. I say that, but I haven't done that yet so I'm spouting hypocrisy here. I've always wanted to write a book and one day I will dedicate my free time to making a start on it rather than wasting my time in front of Love Island (if that's wasting time, which I really don't think it is do you?)

Do you like keeping busy in your free time?

Amy x

Gingham Fever

You may have guessed from my recent outfit posts that I am well and truly caught up in the gingham trend. I've actually always loved gingham ever since my beloved red summer dress I wore to school (which had a zip instead of buttons because I was the coolest kid in town). I've always tended to have a bit of gingham in my wardrobe because it's a pattern that I love (the proof is in my 12-year-old pink gingham Converse I've just dug out yet again) and now that it's all over the high street I haven't been able to stop myself. I have a gingham problem. There was the gorgeous pair of embroidered mules featured in this post, then the sassiest top I've ever owned that I wore in this post and here I am with yet another outfit that features gingham rather heavily. If gingham isn't your thing, look away fact, it's probably best to just not read my blog...(although please do).

This skirt was one of those things I'd had in my Asos saved items for rather a while, always knowing that I'd buy it eventually and when pay day came around...well, the rest was history and here I am wearing the dreamiest skirt I now own. When I ordered it I didn't actually expect it to suit me at all. It should be the wrong length for my short legs and the wrong shape for my sizeable hips, but somehow it seems to work (or maybe it doesn't and I'm just blinded by how much I love it - please don't shatter my dreams). I adore the shape and fit of it - I think the reason it's not unflattering on my hips is because the way it flares out at the bottom detracts from any hippyness (yes I'm inventing words now) and the flare is the thing I love the most. I guess you'd call it a mermaid shape (I mean can you think of anything better than a GINGHAM MERMAID?!) and it's not a shape you often see in a skirt so it's just that little bit different. I seem to be gravitating towards black gingham, I think just because it's so wearable with anything else, but I do love the touch of yellow in this skirt and the embroidery itself is so pretty. Is anyone bored of me banging on about gingham and embroidery on my blog yet?

The yellow embroidery gave me the chance to dig out this old Topshop gem of a scalloped top - I'm sure most people reading this probably owned this in at least one colour am I right? I still have three and they make an appearance every summer because they're so handy and this yellow one just went so perfectly. I do love a bit of yellow, it's a very underrated colour isn't it? And lets take a moment to appreciate these pom pom shoes because how cute?! They're so comfortable and such a staple for me at the moment, plus they have pom poms on them so even if they weren't comfortable I'd probably smile through the pain.

Skirt - Asos (here) | Top - Topshop (old) | Shoes - Primark (current) | Blazer - New Look (old)

Are you a gingham fan?

Amy x