Five Faves to Follow in 2018

It's been a while since I did a post dedicated to my internet favourites and I thought it was about time I did an updated one because I've discovered some excellent new reads this year (and fallen even more in love with some older ones). As well as being my favourites, these ladies are also people I'm expecting big things from in 2018 so you should definitely give them a read or a follow if you don't already. For me, blogging is all about people so I'm drawn to blogs with a more personal touch, written by someone who is honest and relatable so if that's your thing too then read on!

No Space For MilkIf you were to force me to name my favourite blog (it would be very difficult because I love so many) but I would pick Rachel's. She writes about such a wide variety of topics from beauty to mental health and she's got the balance just right between tackling important issues and writing more lighthearted posts. She's an incredibly talented writer, she articulates her points so well and I always feel like her posts are the perfect length - I feel like that's a really odd thing to say, but I suppose what I mean is that I always feel like she puts across everything that needs to be said without it ever becoming unnecessarily long winded (something that definitely can't be said about me). I also have the pleasure of calling her a friend in real life and she's an absolute gem.
Posts to read: The Bride I Never Wanted To Be, Making It Count, The Paradox of Blogging.

Natalie LeanneEvery blog has a vibe to it in my opinion and Natalie's vibe is definitely a calming one. In terms of content she's similarly skilled to Rachel in that she can easily cover hard hitting topics in amongst lighthearted ones. She covers a wide range of topics, which seems to be a theme in the blogs I like, but my favourite from Natalie are her general 'life' posts, which are always so thought provoking and uplifting. Her Instagram is one of my favourites, not only for her pictures but also for her chatty and honest captions and I love her vlogs because she's so relatable. She's another gem I've met in real life and I definitely hope to see her again in 2018.
Posts to read: Not Doing It For The Numbers, Sometimes You Don't Have To Write About It, Getting Out Of A Funk.

Sophar So Good | It's crazy that Sophie only started blogging this year as her content has been top quality from the very beginning (something I'm pretty sure hardly anyone can say *cringes at every single blog post from 2014*). We have insanely similar personalities so I find myself nodding along in agreement to every post she writes and also wishing that we lived closer because I think we'd be pretty good friends. I've loved watching Sophie's blog grow this year and I'm so pleased she's had so much support from other bloggers who love her content as it's so well deserved. I definitely expect big things from Sophie in 2018.
Posts to read: The Ebb And Flow Of Creativity, Why Is It So Hard To Take Our Own Advice?, Shout Out To My Legs.

A Glass Of Ice | I've been reading Gabrielle's blog for a while now and she's always had absolutely stunning photography and a beautifully distinct aesthetic to her blog (read it and you'll immediately know what I mean) and this year I feel like she's really developed her aesthetic to the point where just looking at her blog is enjoyable (although don't just look, read too as her writing style is excellent). I don't know how she does this, but her writing matches her aesthetic too and I find reading her blog extremely calming - it helps that she usually writes about dreamy weekend breaks and hotels! Her Instagram is a dream too.
Posts to read: Is Hygge Still A 'Thing'?, 6 Of The Best Glasshouses To Visit In The UK, The Art Of A Gentle Morning.

Queen Beady | I'd be very surprised if you're reading this post and you've never read Bee's blog. I feel like I really get to know her through her posts, which I think is a sure sign of an excellent writer and one of my favourite characteristics of a blog. From reading her blog I'd guess that she only publishes posts she's 100% happy with, which is why the quality is always so high and every single one is well worth a read. Her photography is incredible too and her Instagram is just a dream, in fact I'd go as far as saying it's my absolute favourite account!
Posts to read: The Art Of Slow Living, I Am Enough, What Being A Feminist Means To Me As A Married Woman.

Who are your favourite bloggers? Please leave me some recommendations!

Amy x

Comfort and Style

I've spoken many times on this blog about how I like to dress comfortably and how that is my priority when it comes to my wardrobe. At some point I've probably referred to myself as a 'comfort over style' kinda gal, and I'm sure many of you would view yourselves that way too. I can't wear things that aren't comfortable, whether it's a waistband that digs in, an itchy sweater or something that forever needs hoiking up, I'm just not there for that. Because of that there are definitely certain things I would never wear that are incredibly fashionable and look amazing on people. I think that's why I've always thought of myself as a comfort over style person.

The expression popped into my head the other day when I was trying on these culottes from Boohoo (which are, FYI, some of the comfiest trousers I have ever owned - we all know I'm a fan of an elasticated waistband) and I was excitedly swanning around in all their comfortableness (spell check says it's a word) while at the same time thinking about how darn good they looked. The thing is, we can have both - comfort and style - and I'm not sure why I've spent so long referring to myself as 'comfort over style' when they're actually on equal footing for me. What I haven't previously taken into account is that I do still like the comfortable things I wear to look good (in my opinion anyway, form your own, personal style and all that jazz). Call me greedy (new blog name? Ha I'm so witty) but I want both comfort and style.

Basically, to sum up the past two rambling paragraphs in one sentence (probably preferable for most people reading this), I love this outfit because it's insanely comfortable, but also looks good. It's pretty basic, but sometimes basic really is best and I think this will become such a go to outfit in my wardrobe because it's extremely versatile depending on what you pair it with.

I've been after a pair of black culottes for a while now, but for some reason never got round to getting any because the ones I'd seen were all a bit too pricey and although I knew they would be such a staple I couldn't bring myself to shell out on something so basic. Then during a little Asos binge I spied these Boohoo beauties for £12. Twelve whole pounds. I think the reason they're so affordable is because they're sort of like culotte leggings (which should definitely be more of a thing) in that they're a stretchy jersey material with an elasticated waist. Despite that they seem like such good quality (I can confirm that they're not see through for one thing) and they're also somehow tailored so that they're the most flattering cut ever. Lets just say I was one happy lady when I tried these on.

I also ordered this grey long line t-shirt thinking that they would make an excellent outfit paired together and they do. Ain't nothing better than basic black and grey is there? Obviously I don't really make the most of the long line aspect of this top when I'm wearing it with these, but I think it'd look great worn over jeans too. I didn't realise how matchy matchy my boots were with my outfit until I looked back at these pictures, but they're my old faithful embroidered ones. For good measure (and because it was bloody freezing) I threw on this old check scarf from H&M which I always forget I have.

So there you go, an outfit that's both comfortable and stylish (at least I think so). Are you comfort over style or both? 

Top - Asos | Culottes - Boohoo via Asos  | Boots - New Look (old) | Scarf - H&M (old)

Amy x

Fashion Blogging on a Budget

I think it's a common misconception that to blog about fashion/style you have to spend a lot of money on clothes. I mean, if you're not already into clothes and you suddenly decide you want to start a fashion blog then yes, you're probably going to end up spending more money, but I think it's a safe assumption that if you start a blog about clothes it's because you already like them so you're probably already buying them. I haven't kept a tally chart or anything (although I wouldn't put it past me), but I'm pretty sure the amount of money I spend on clothes hasn't increased since starting my blog. Believe it or not, I don't actually spend a huge amount on clothes. It's all relative obviously, but (very quickly worked out using my online banking statement) this year I've spent on average roughly £50 a month on clothes (which includes shoes, bags, anything wearable), which I really don't think is too bad. Maybe you do think that's bad or maybe you think it's very restrained - like I said, it's all relative. So, seeing as I blog about fashion without actually spending all that much money (in my opinion), I thought I'd throw some ideas out there on how I manage that. 

Re-use clothes in multiple outfits | Every item of clothing I'm wearing in this post has featured on this blog before, they just haven't been worn together. These jeans in particular are probably one of my most worn items on this blog because, well, jeans go with a lot don't they? I try not to feature the same items too close together, but I've worn this blazer on here once a month since I bought it because it's so versatile and can be styled in such different ways. It's surprising how many different looks can actually be created using the same items and it's something I take advantage of in everyday life so naturally I document that on here too. 

Don't be afraid to wear old clothes | The reason I prefer to call myself a 'style' blogger is because I don't always keep up with the latest fashions and I'm a bit of a hoarder of clothes so I'll often wear things from years ago (i.e. so last last last last season). There's this unwritten pressure when blogging about clothes that everything you're wearing should be current, but it really doesn't matter and I'd much prefer to see what people actually wear on a daily basis. For me, that includes a lot of older clothes, which gives me more options when I'm styling outfits and also saves money. I've found that people really don't mind when I wear older clothes for outfit photos (why I ever thought they might I don't know) and I've actually had positive comments when I've worn certain items a lot (hello embroidered jeans). 

Sale shopping | When I do shop, I don't spend a lot of money. I know there are differing opinions on going for quality over quantity, but in all honesty we don't all have the money to spend on high quality items do we? The only things I really invest in are jeans and boots (although when I say invest I mean £40 jeans from Topshop, not Levi's or anything...) and I find that those investments are worth it because they tend to last years. I rarely buy something that's not in the sale unless it's from Primark or at the cheaper end of the scale already. I suppose the only downside of buying in the sale is that you might not be featuring the very latest trends as soon as they're available so if that bothers you then that could be an issue, but it's not something I really care about so I'm happy to wait.

Focus on style, not fashion | As I said, I like to class myself as a style blogger rather than a fashion blogger. I don't necessarily keep up with the latest trends and I definitely don't know anything about designers and upcoming seasons etc, I just like talking about what I wear and why I like it. It was never a conscious decision for me to focus on style rather than fashion, it was just the natural option because of how I am, but it's been very helpful for saving money because I don't feel like I need the latest trends and I've been able to carry on enjoying clothes as I did before my blog. 

Blazer - Bershka | Jumper - New Look (old) | Jeans - Topshop | Boots - Missguided 

Do you blog on a budget?

Amy x

Sugar Free Breakfast Favourites

If you know me, you'll know I love breakfast. If you don't know me then let me tell you, I LOVE BREAKFAST. It's always been my favourite meal of the day and I used to be the biggest cereal fiend to the extent that I'd happily count it as an evening meal while I was at uni. It's a well known fact that most cereal is packed full of added sugar so when I gave up refined sugar I was a little worried that I was going to lose out on my favourite thing ever, but it's just meant I've had to get a little creative and put a bit more effort into breakfast, which is no bad thing at all. I thought I'd share my favourite refined sugar free breakfasts on here (but don't worry, there's plenty of the natural kind).

Homemade Granola | Granola has long been my favourite kind of cereal and I actually used to make my own long before I gave up sugar unless I was feeling particularly indulgent (or lazy). It's so easy to make and it actually tastes SO much better than the shop bought stuff I promise. I used to follow this Deliciously Ella recipe, but now I mix it up, adding different things or whatever needs using up in my cupboard. Because of that, my recipe varies every time, but the base of it tends to always be oats, flaxseed and ground almonds plus whatever nuts and seeds I have in the cupboard. Once I've mixed all that together I heat some coconut oil in a pan, mix in some maple syrup and cinnamon and pour that into the dry mixture to bind it all together. I don't measure anything, just throw it all in! Sometimes I'll add different spices (for my latest batch I added ground cloves so it's like CHRISTMAS granola) or I'll add some cacao powder to make chocolate granola. Sometimes I'll add dried fruit or coconut flakes after it's cooked, but whatever I do it's always bloomin' tasty. My favourite way to eat it is with natural yogurt and berries on the top.

Peanut Butter and Banana Porridge | I love having porridge at this time of year and however much I try to mix it up, this is the one I always come back to - peanut butter and banana. Tell me, is there a dreamier combination? I make my porridge in the microwave because this girl ain't got time for the hob when she's hungry. I just pop my oats, almond milk and broken up banana (this girl also ain't got time for chopping) in for two and a half minutes then stir in a (large) spoonful of peanut butter (crunchy OFC). Quick, easy and bloomin' lovely cause the banana goes all warm and mushy. 

Gingerbread Latte | I'm not a massive fan of Christmas coffee/hot drinks (shocker I know) because I just like straight up coffee, but back in my sugarful days I was partial to a gingerbread latte because they're not quite as sweet or gross as the others. Obviously they're out of the question for me because they are extremely sugary, but I made my own version that isn't too shabby that I have as an occasional weekend breakfast treat. We have a Nespresso machine so I do the coffee shot using that as normal then as well as the milk I add a bit of ground ginger and cinnamon (more cinnamon than ginger even though its a gingerbread latte because ginger can be pretty overpowering) and a dash of maple syrup into the milk frother, whizz it all up and add it to the coffee. Nom. Again, I don't measure anything so I'm sorry I can't give exact measurements if you want to make your own, but I kinda thing people would like different amounts of everything anyway!

These might not be the most revolutionary breakfast ideas ever, but I'm not someone who can spend ages making breakfast because I'm always so ready for it in the morning I want it there and then so simple is best for me!

What are your favourite things to have for breakfast?

Amy x

Is Getting Older Really So Bad?

Last week I turned 27. Twenty. Seven. I realise that is in no way old, but I do feel a little squirmy when I think about it too much. Have I achieved everything I wanted to by now? Am I on track to achieve everything I want to by the time I'm 30? Am I stocked up on anti-wrinkle cream? (The answer is no to all but the latter.) When I was 21, fresh out of uni with my whole life ahead of me, 27 seemed like a long way away. Then life just happened and where have those 6 years gone? What have I done with them? If I could take a snapshot of my life now and send it back to my 21-year-old self she would not be happy. My life now is not what 21-year-old Amy wanted for herself. But 27-year-old Amy is actually pretty darn happy. And although I'm the first one to join in with the 'OMG we're getting so OLD, isn't it AWFUL?!' conversations, I actually don't think it's all that bad.

We're conditioned from a young age that getting older is not a good thing. You should be upset when you no longer get ID'd and poke fun at your friends by buying them hilarious birthday cards pointing out how ancient they are. And there are some things about getting older that I don't like. I don't like the crow's feet that are there even when I'm not smiling. I don't like the feeling of pressure that comes with being a woman who wants a career and a family and feels like she's running out of time for both (which is probably a topic for a whole other blog post in itself). I don't like the fact that I seem to be getting older so quickly and I might just blink and miss my whole life.

But but BUT there are things that I do like very much. The older I get the more I accept myself for who I am, imperfections, character flaws and all. The older I get the more I also accept that said imperfections and character flaws are mainly my own insecurities and probably go unnoticed by everyone else. The older I get the more my self-confidence grows and the more I value my own worth. As someone who can look back at her early 20s and remember an insecure, awkward girl who was completely and utterly unsure of herself, I've come a long way and I think that's all to do with getting older and maturing. Make no mistake, I am still horrendously awkward, but aren't we all? For me, getting older has meant growing as a person and although I'll probably never like the physical changes that come with getting older, the mental ones are proving to be only positive so far.

So here's to being 27, which is hopefully going to be the best year of my life so far.

And on a completely different note, here's to my new winter coat. It's red and it's cosy and it was from Primark so it was cheap as. Happy Amy.

Coat - Primark (current) | Boots - Topshop (here) | Bobble hat - Primark (current)

How do you feel about getting older?

Amy x

Recent Reads I'd Recommend

Growing up I was rarely seen without a book in my hand. And when I say that I mean I used to get up, pick up my book, read it walking down the stairs, while eating my breakfast, only putting it down to go to school to pick it back up again as soon as I got in and keep it in my hand right up until I went to bed. Reading is actually quite a big part of my life so it seems kind of odd that I've never written a post on my blog about books. The longer I have this blog the less I'm trying to fit into some sort of niche (which I think is probably why I haven't written about them in the past) and I've read quite a few books recently so thought I'd do a round up of three I'd recommend (FYI I don't think any of these books are necessarily new, I've just read them for the first time recently!):

After I've Gone by Linda Green | I picked this one up as part of the 2 for £7 deal in Tesco that I get so easily drawn in by and I wasn't actually expecting much simply because I'd not heard of it, but I was gripped. It's a kind of social media thriller (I'm sure that's becoming a genre) that focuses on a girl who keeps seeing Facebook posts from her future and whether she's able to change that future. It's one of those books where you're almost screaming at the main character to not be such an idiot, but they're the best ones aren't they? It was very easy to read and equally as difficult to put down.  

Lyrebird by Cecilia Ahern | This was another one I couldn't put down (well, all three of these are, hence them making it into this post). It's a difficult one to try to describe and the story line is kind of odd, but in a magical way. It's about a young girl who has lived alone and away from any civilisation for years before being discovered by a film crew who are captivated by the way she can mimic the sounds of nature (like a Lyrebird). As they begin making a documentary about her and her exposure to the 'real world' they start to fear that they're destroying her innocence and her happiness. I've seen a lot of people describe this book as 'twee' and 'boring', but personally I thought it was beautiful and such a unique idea for a plot.  

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes | Shockingly I'm probably the only person who has never read (or seen) Me Before You but I'll definitely be seeking that out after enjoying this one so much. The Girl You Left Behind (which, just to clarify is not a sequel to Me Before You) is written across two different time periods - the First World War and the present day - and tells the stories of two separate women linked together by the fact that Liv (present day) possesses a painting of Sophie (1917), which becomes the subject of a legal battle resulting in Liv discovering details about Sophie's life. It's one of those books that feels so real, particularly the wartime part, which made me pretty emotional because I'm sure countless similar things actually happened. I empathised SO MUCH with Liv and I do love to get emotionally involved in a book. 

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Let me know if you have any recommendations! 

Amy x