Call Me Monthly | September

I'm gonna do that blogger cliche thing by firstly apologising for being such a cliche, then proceeding to marvel at how quickly the time is going. I suppose that must just be life eh? September does seem to have flown by; it was the month I thought I had my mojo back, yet a month in which I still managed to feel like I had a zillion things whirring in my brain and no time in which to address any of them. There's always October right? 

R E A D I N G  |  I'm pretty chuffed that I managed to read a whole other book this month especially as it was such a long one, but I had another fortunate train journey which allowed me to switch off and just read. I think I should probably take the train more often because I hardly ever allow myself time to read at home. I read The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley. It's the first in a series about six adopted sisters (yes six, that wasn't a typo) and follows each of their back stories. I was a bit unsure at first, but got totally hooked about halfway through and sped through the rest so now can't wait to read the others.

W A T C H I N G  |  Thank goodness that Love Island Australia has finished because I can now once again have my life back. Apart from that, we watched Bodyguard and realised how frustrating it is to have to watch something in real TV time rather than being able to binge watch it whenever we want, but it was excellent. I've also just started (I say just started, but I'm already five episodes in) Killing Eve, which I think I'm enjoying even more than Bodyguard so would v much recommend.

L I S T E N I N G  |  I've had Arctic Monkeys on repeat all month and on Friday I went to see them in Newcastle. They were absolutely incredible, I'm still on an absolute high, but also incredibly sad that it's all over (I was sad about it being over before it had even started to be fair).

E A T I N G  |  I'm slowly getting used to life as a veggie and I've experimented a bit more this month with things like sweet potato chilli and different kinds of vegetarian curry. I definitely still have much more to learn in terms of making sure I'm getting all the right foods, but I'd say I'm doing OK for a beginner!

D O I N G  |  I had the opportunity to do something a little bit different at work this month (I made a lil' stop motion for social media) and it made me realise that despite enjoying my day job, there's so much more that I'd love to still do. I just need to work out how it's physically and mentally possible to fit anything else in...

What did you get up to in September?

Amy x

Thoughts Of An Uneasy Narcissist

I don't have a particularly interesting story about why I started blogging. I was bored, wanted a new hobby to keep me busy and thought I'd have a bash at it. When I first started, I didn't tell anyone about it for over a year. I enjoyed just writing and not worrying what anyone would think (because hardly anyone was reading lols) and I enjoyed taking some absolutely appalling photos to go along with it. 

Almost four years later and I'm still here, still blogging, but a lot has changed. I absolutely love where I am now and I'm insanely grateful to everyone who reads this blog and to the brands that have worked with me. Yet recently I've been feeling a little uneasy. I love writing, but I feel like I've possibly fallen a little bit out of love with blogging. Part of me misses how it was when I first started, when I didn't write for anyone but myself and didn't even know what self-promotion was.

These feelings of uneasiness come at a time when I'm also doing a lot of self-evaluation, which has led me to wonder whether all this writing about myself/my thoughts/my feelings and sharing it with the world just makes me plain narcissistic (a rhetorical wondering so please don't answer that...) But maybe we're all narcissists and I don't need to worry, or maybe narcissist is just a nasty way of describing someone seeking validation from others. At the end of that day, we all do that don't we?

Blogging is still a hobby for me, it's not my full-time job and I don't want it to be. Yet every week I pile on the pressure to write, photograph, Instagram, schedule tweets etc etc. They say remember why you started and well, I started because I was bored and now I'm not. 

This isn't me saying I'm stopping because I'm definitely not, but what I am going to do is go back to basics a little. Yes I want people to read my content, but I don't want to spend my time scheduling five self-promo tweets a day. Yes I want my writing and photography to be the absolute best it can be, but I don't want to stress myself out when I just don't always have the time to produce enough content.

Basically, I'm going to chill out a little bit. I'm going to be a bit more 'me' on my social media rather than a robot churning out scheduled promo stuff. I'm going to treat my blog as what it is; a hobby. And hopefully you'll still read it.

And excuse the keyboard vomit in this post (that's not a nice analogy is it?), I felt like I wanted to just write and I possibly may even hit publish.

Amy x

Small Outfit Updates That Make Me Feel Cool

Call me shallow (new blog name lols), but what I'm wearing can massively affect how I feel about myself and I think that's something that applies to a lot of people. An outfit has the ability to lift my confidence and make me feel generally better about myself. I sometimes feel like I should be writing about something more worthy than just clothes, but when clothes affect your self-confidence so much, they're actually quite important yes?  

Apologies for the very unimaginative post title, but sometimes you've gotta say what you see and I really wanted to write a post about a few of the things I've been doing with my outfits recently that have instantly changed the way I feel about myself. Despite the fact that I probably don't actually look cool at all, these are the small things that make me feel as though I am.

Jacket - ASOS (sold out) | Top - ASOS (here *aff) | Jeans - Topshop (here *aff) | Boots - New Look via ASOS (here *aff) | Belt - ASOS (here *aff) Watch* - Henry London (here)

Rolling up my sleeves | Told you they were small things. Whenever I've been wearing a long sleeved top/jumper/shirt/jacket I've been rolling up my sleeves a little and it can transform what felt like something shapeless and baggy into something chic and oversized. I actually almost sent this jacket back when I first ordered it because I felt like a sack, but then I tried it with the sleeves rolled up and now I can't seem to take it off.

Wearing a belt | OK, so I'm not quite sure where I've been because I realise that everyone who isn't me has been wearing a belt forever, but I haven't worn one since those ginormous elasticated waist belts were a thing (thank god they no longer are cause they were hella uncomfortable amiright?). But recently (newsflash) I've started wearing a belt, like an actual functional one to hold up my jeans. This means that a) my jeans fit way better and b) I all of a sudden feel like a real grown up adult who wears a belt and has her life together. Revolutionary.

Tucking in my tops | I've been tucking tops into high waisted trousers on and off for ages, and although I'd always feel cooler with them tucked in, I'd often wear tops loose so that they'd cover up that low stomach area that I'm not quite sure what to call. Recently though, I'm trying not to care. That part of my stomach may not always look flat under my jeans, but tucking my top in makes me feel cool so I'm gonna do it. 

Rolling up my jeans | It would appear that I just like rolling things up. I've always been more of an ankle grazer kinda gal than full length, but I am blessed with disproportionately short legs (yes that is sarcasm) so jeans sold as ankle grazers are just normal length on me. Not only does rolling up my jeans make them my desired ankle grazing length, I also like how it looks. Simple as that.

Wearing a watch | Similarly to the belt thing, I'm obviously a bit behind on this one. I always saw watches as something functional rather than something that could also look good, but having been gifted a few in the past year (including the one in this post) I now rarely don't wear one because, guess what, they look good, they're actually pretty darn useful and they somehow make me feel like I have my life together.

Do you have any outfit tricks that make you feel good?

Amy x

*gifted items

Let's Talk About #peppergate

Rewind to last Tuesday evening. I was at work and one of my colleagues had takeaway, Thai green curry to be precise. Another colleague and I were eating the peppers out of said curry because takeaway colleague (Lucy) doesn't like them. That's when pepper eating colleague (Tom) told me the pepper fact, which I will not repeat because I'm sure you've all heard it by now. I was amazed both at the actual fact and at myself for never having twigged about something that makes rather a lot of sense. I tweeted said fact, because not only do I like to educate my audience (lolololol) but I do quite like poking fun at myself too.

Wednesday night, I'm at work again and the pepper tweet is 24 hours old. I quietly mumble to yet another colleague 'Joe, I think I might be going viral.' At that moment in time the tweet had 3000 likes. By the time it eventually calmed down (Monday) it had 266k likes and 53k retweets. Friday was its peak; it was a twitter moment, it was in online magazines/newspapers and talked about on the radio. That was also the day that I logged out of Twitter for the weekend.

Going viral is weird and it has its good and bad points. Yes I gained some twitter followers and the whole thing was generally pretty funny (something to tell the grandkids eh?); on the flip side I've learnt that people will be nasty about literally anything and anyone on twitter and it's oddly invasive to suddenly see your own words plastered everywhere, despite the fact that it was you who made them public in the first place.

I could write a whole post about how my eyes have been opened to the (frankly quite mean) twitter world that exists outside of my own bubble. I have a newfound respect for anyone who gets that much attention on a daily basis and copes with it. I don't really wish to get deep and dwell on the negatives, but because I think I'm hilarious (someone has to) and because twitter doesn't get my sense of humour at all, I'd like to share some of my favourite comebacks I gave to the meanies...

And now I never want to see a pepper ever again...

Have you ever had a tweet go viral?

Amy x

Confidence 101

Photography: Olivia Lennon

The Importance Of The Unimportant

I know that one of the very basic rules of blogging is to use a self-explanatory title for your post rather than something enigmatic that doesn't quite make sense, but if anyone can advise me on how to come up with a title that is a) self-explanatory, b) short enough to fit on one line and c) actually makes a post sound interesting, then please let me know.

So yes, sorry for the enigmatic title. Let's see if I can sum it up in a paragraph instead shall we? (Unlikely).

The idea for this post came to me last weekend, when I was really quite hungover in London and decided that I couldn't face the tube back to Kings Cross so decided to walk the 45 minutes from my friend's flat instead. It was a beautiful sunny day and the walk triggered a memory.

Back when I lived in London, on a different beautiful sunny day, I needed to make the trip from central London back to my house in Lewisham. I decided that seeing as it was such a nice day, I'd start walking the bus route and hop on it when I got tired. I ended up walking the whole way. It took me two and a half hours, most of which I spent getting lost in places I'd never been before, but there was something so perfect about just walking with no real worry or purpose other than to eventually arrive home.

In the grand scheme of things, this memory is unimportant. Nothing special happened that day, I didn't see or do anything spectacular, but it's one of my favourite memories of living in London. I did lots of great things in London; I started university, I saw the fireworks on New Year's Eve, I graduated, all of which should be important memories. Yet the memories that mean the most to me aren't conventionally important at all; that two and a half hour walk through the capital, getting lost near Seven Dials and spinning round to decide which direction we should take.

The things that seem unimportant can actually be the things that end up meaning the most. There's importance in the unimportant and extraordinary in the ordinary, if that's how we see it.

This got me thinking about the way we view our lives in the now; comparing ourselves to people on Instagram who always seem to be doing something exciting, always trying to plan our next adventure or work towards the next milestone in our lives. I'm not denying that the big things are important, of course they are, but when we feel like our lives may be mundane or that nothing exciting has happened to us for weeks, in years to come we might remember that 'mundane' time as special.

Let's live for the little things and cherish the unimportant moments.

Do you have an 'unimportant' memory that's important to you?

Amy x

Print Walls Are Hard

Having spent the past two and a half years renovating our house (and, ahem, still not finishing it), it's nice to finally be at the stage where we can do some of the nicer stuff, the stuff you can do without getting covered in dust/paint/plaster and that you can do at leisure without worrying that if you don't get it finished, you'll be left without a toilet for the night. (Renovating a house is SO much fun guys).

Despite the fact that we still have a completely blank canvas of a hallway, recently we seem to be turning our hands to the finishing touches in other rooms, which is much more enjoyable, although surprisingly difficult. Whereas I've had no problem at all with knocking entire walls down, it would seem I'm a little bit more apprehensive about putting nails in newly decorated walls because what if I put one in the wrong place and then you can see it and I can't cover it up and I've ruined our house forever?! (Dramatic, me?)

Anyway, in this post I'd like to talk about print walls, specifically how bloomin' difficult they are to create. This is partly my own fault because when I say 'print wall' I actually mean 'everything you could possibly put up on a wall wall', but it doesn't quite have the same ring to it and would definitely have made the title of this post far too long. So I'm going to chat through how I did create the print wall in our living room along with a few tips that you can take or leave because I'm sure everyone does these things differently (I'm so helpful right?).

T H E  T H E M E  |  I decided a long time ago that I wanted a plant themed wall somewhere in our house (surprise surprise) and when we settled on a dark green for our living room walls, it seemed a no-brainer that it should be in there. I don't at all think you need a theme for a print wall, you can totally just put up a load of prints that you like, but it definitely helped me in terms of planning it, plus it gives the living room a bit more of an aesthetic.

T H E  P R I N T S  |  I use the term 'prints' loosely because you can put whatever you want up there; photographs, a mirror, a clock, but the next step is deciding what you want on the wall. Decide whether you just want prints or a mixture of things, then smaller details like whether you want all the frames to match or not. You might want all the prints to be the same size so you can do something a bit more uniform or you might want a complete jumble of everything (like me).

T H E  P L A C E M E N T  |  Now this is the difficult bit. I vaguely planned out where I maybe wanted things to be in relation to each other, but it's SO hard to picture what something will look like on the wall when it's actually on the floor. In the end, I chose what I wanted to be the focal point of the wall and worked outwards from there. The 'stay wild' print from Maggs London was chosen as my focal point, as it was the first print I bought with the intention of making a print wall and it's relatively big. I also knew that I wanted my little hanging plant on a shelf to be in the right hand corner so I popped that up, then I realised it would look nice if the mirror reflected the greenery from some angles so that went up too and in that vein I began building it up. I didn't want it to look too uniform or cluttered so it did take me a while to commit to each nail going in!

S T A R T  S M A L L  |  I don't think my print wall is necessarily finished, but I didn't want to put too much into it and then regret it. I love it how it is, but at the moment I've got the bare minimum on there so I can add to it in time if I want to. Much better that way round than decide I want to take something down in a couple of months!

Do you have a print wall?

Amy x

Life's Too Short For An Uncomfortable Trouser

Suffering for fashion is something I never thought I'd do, yet when I think back I realise that on many occasions, I most certainly have done. I've worn shoes that have made my feet bleed (although whether that's suffering for fashion or whether that's just women's shoes I'm not sure), I've worn bras that have left me with an underwire mark until the morning after I've taken them off and I've worn countless pairs of trousers that have dug into my waist and needed the button undoing as soon as I've eaten so much as a crumb.

So, if I'm supposedly not willing to suffer for fashion, why have I? The difficulty comes when you find something you absolutely adore so you keep it, comfortable or not and because you love it so much you'll also wear it, comfortable or not. 

So here I am taking a stand against uncomfortable clothing, in particular, trousers. I was discussing how much I love culottes/baggy trousers/elasticated waistbands with a friend the other day (side note: said friend has just started a blog and you should definitely go and check it out) and she came out with the line 'life's too short for an uncomfortable trouser' and aside from my immediate thought that it would be an excellent title for a blog post, I thought YES, life really is too short isn't it?

It's easy to get caught up in what's flattering or what's fashionable and despite all good intentions that you're always going to be comfort over fashion, you suddenly find yourself wearing what feels like some sort of contraption rather than an outfit that requires some careful getting in and out of. Nah, I am not here for that. I've spoken before about how I think you can have both comfort and style and I still stand by that, I just need to remind myself of it every so often.

Trousers - Asos | Top - Asos  | Sunglasses - Primark

These culottes are the perfect example of what I'm talking about. Elasticated waistband, tie that can be adjusted throughout the day (ie after meals) and just downright comfortable. I also bought some trousers recently that are essentially pyjama bottoms so I'm sure they'll make their way to a blog post near you sometime soon.

Here's to elasticated waistbands and all the happiness they bring.

Are you a comfort over style kinda person?

Amy x

Photography: Olivia Lennon