Lockdown Life Lessons

If you're anything like me (god help you if you are) and you find a pathetic amount of pleasure in round numbers or even numbers or even better both, then 2020 sounds like it should be a pretty wonderful year doesn't it? Well it may not have been all wonderful, but it's certainly going to be a year that we all remember and one that will go down in literally every country's history. 

So far I've pretty much avoided talking about lockdown/coronavirus/blah on my blog because it was all rather depressing enough without me writing about it too, but what I do want to do is write positively about the life lessons I've learnt during lockdown, which I'll be carrying forward into the future with me.

Everyone is fighting their own battle // Some people struggled with staying at home during lockdown and would have loved to have some work to occupy their time, others found it difficult to carry on going to work and would have loved nothing better than to stay at home. People are different and nobody should feel like their own personal struggles are less than anyone else's, not just during lockdown but in life. People struggle with different things and it's worth remembering that just because you think someone is in a good position doesn't mean they agree.

Don't judge before you know the full story // There's nothing like a pandemic to spur people into getting on their high horse about anything they can is there? Of course everyone should be wearing a face mask, but if somebody isn't give them the benefit of the doubt that it's because they can't rather than because they won't. This is true in every walk of life; don't assume someone is a knobhead without solid proof (a good motto for life?) Saying that, if your neighbours were having a party mid lockdown you're definitely allowed to judge. 

People are what matters // Sure I've missed going out for meals, I've missed the pub, I've missed going shopping. But what I've missed most is people (although I'm all for maintaining social distancing with complete strangers for the rest of my life tbh). More time spent with my favourite people in the future is the priority for me (apologies in advance that I'm about to become a very huggy person once I'm allowed).

Always be kind // Kindness is an extremely underrated quality (in fact I wrote a whole post about that topic all the way back here), but it's one that certainly goes a very long way. It relies on giving people the benefit of the doubt and believing the best in everyone and it essentially sums up all the above points in one. 

Stick to your guns // Lockdown has definitely made me a bit bolder in sticking to what I believe is right and I have no guilt in saying no to things I'm not comfortable with doing as we emerge out of the other side. Do what makes you happy and take things at your own pace; something I'll be aiming to carry on doing post-lockdown too.

Amy x

Slow Fashion Season // Shopping Vintage

I made a promise to myself that during slow fashion season I'd do some actual research along with not buying anything new in an attempt to change my habits and mindset in the long term and the first point I've chosen to focus on is shopping vintage. 

I've always had mixed feelings about shopping vintage; on the one hand I adore vintage style and have found some absolute gems for my wardrobe over the years. On the other hand, there's always been a niggle in my mind that it's sort of just overpriced second hand.

However as I've gotten older and my mindset has shifted, I've realised that unless you're willing to scour every single charity shop in the land to find a decent vintage-style item in your size then spend some time professionally cleaning/mending and sprucing it up, shopping vintage is expensive for a reason; someone has already done all that for you.

On top of that I've read some posts surrounding the gentrification of charity shopping; essentially where second hand shopping has become more popular due to movements such as slow fashion season, it's having an impact on the people for whom charity shops are their only option, making clothing less available and more expensive for them.

I'm not really in a position to spend a lot of money on vintage clothing, but I have found some decent in-betweenly-priced (yep that's an expression) vintage stores to shop from, plus when I thought about the vintage clothing I already own (which was surprisingly more than I thought) I've always managed to find pretty good bargains (the dress in the above photo was £5 so that's just excellent really isn't it).

 I love a good rummage through a vintage shop as much as the next person (unless said person doesn't like rummaging through vintage shops then my point is invalid but I'm sure you get my drift okay then), but I still don't feel particularly comfortable with shopping for leisure in the current situation so I've done most of my hunting online, however as I want my better shopping habits to have a lasting effect I'm going to make suggestions based on life when it returns to normal too. 

So after a rather long winded introduction and ramble there, here are some options and tips for shopping vintage from an amateur vintage shopper:

LOOK LOCAL // Search out local vintage shops or local independent shops with vintage options. In Hull Chinese Laundry and Beasley's are have their own vintage sections so if you think there aren't any vintage shops local to you then check your independents to see if they do something similar. As well as being sustainable you're also supporting a local independent business, plus the vintage clothing tends to be affordable. 

VINTAGE FAIRS // Obviously these aren't really happening at the moment, but I know that in normal circumstances Hull has a huge vintage fair every few months. I've only been once, and that was back in the days when I was still a little sceptical of vintage so I'm itching to go back once they're allowed again. The good thing about fairs is that you can shop to your own budget and style as there is such a variety of stalls. There's usually an entry fee, but I've found it to be worth it!

ONLINE // The great thing about online is that there's such a huge variety of online vintage shops with a lot more choice than a physical shop is able to have. I recently trawled through The Vintage Scene for hours because there's so much choice. The one negative I've found to shopping vintage online is the sizing; vintage sizes differ so much that it really does help if you're able to try things on and despite ordering a dress that claimed to be a size 10 it would appear I actually ordered an oversized pair of curtains so definitely look out for places that offer returns!

How do you feel about shopping vintage? Throw any tips my way as I'm clearly still very much an amateur...

Amy x 

The Ongoing Battle With Body Image

I listen, completely dumbfounded, to some of my gorgeous, kind, amazing friends completely put themselves down and devalue themselves because of their insecurities. Insecurities that nobody else but them even see, but insecurities that they have been taught they should have by the media as they've grown up. 

I find it incredibly frustrating when someone can't see how amazing they are and genuinely heartbreaking that people don't place enough value on themselves. 

However, in this instance I'm being incredibly hypocritical. I've posted uplifting captions on Instagram, messaged friends words of reassurance when they've felt low in confidence; I've even written entire blog posts almost lecturing anyone happening to be reading that they should love themselves more.

But what do I tell myself?

Certainly nothing uplifting or reassuring. 

I tell myself I could be fitter, healthier, kinder, harder working, more toned, more understanding, prettier, a better friend/girlfriend/daughter; the list goes on. 

I am exactly the same as the friends who I wish would value themselves more highly and that's frustrating in itself because how can I preach something I don't practice myself?

From a young age we're taught the things we 'should' be; slim, toned, tanned, flawless, elegant. Our perception of beauty is completely warped by what we've seen and read in magazines, on TV and on the internet. The majority of people and bodies are completely under-represented; growing up it was rare I was exposed to plus-size, mid-size, black, disabled, people with cellulite, people with acne, the list obviously goes on.

We've been so used to seeing bodies put on a pedestal that are nothing like our own that there's no wonder we're all riddled with insecurity. Learning to love your body is difficult when you've spent so long essentially being told that you shouldn't.

Realistically I think that breaking away from that is probably impossible in this generation, BUT I'd like to hope that if we attempt to change our mindsets it can only get better for future generations. I hope with all my heart that any son or daughter I have is able to grow up in a world where all bodies are normalised and that they love themselves as much as they should.

The most ridiculous paradox is that I'm able to see past these stereotypical and unrealistic beauty standards when it comes to other people, yet not when it comes to myself and I think that's the case with a lot of people. I have plenty of friends who lift me up when I'm low in confidence, yet subsequently are extra hard on themselves. It's like there's something deep rooted within us that can't see past our own insecurity. 

So just remember when you're attempting to boost someone else's confidence and looking at them wondering why they don't love themselves when you think they're beautiful, they probably feel the exact same way about you. Look at yourself the way you look at your friends and most importantly, be kind to yourself. Please.

Amy x

Recent Reads I'd Recommend #4

It's been almost two whole years since I wrote Recent Reads I'd Recommend #3 and I don't really have an excuse as to why because it's not like I stopped reading. With the aid of lockdown I've certainly been reading a lot more recently though and fancied doing a lil' book post again. The following are the best of the best of what I've read recently:

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
// I powered through this in two days (I do love a book with short chapters) and despite the rather macabre subject the way it was written wasn't too heavy. It's about a woman (Korede) whose sister (Ayoola) keeps killing the men she's dating, in self defense according to her, although Korede has her suspicions. The plot thickens (have always wanted to use that expression to describe a book) when Ayoola starts dating a man Korede is in love with.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo // This was a very cleverly written book, telling the stories of twelve different women whose stories weave in and out of each other's as they're connected in some way or other. It explores topics such as race, sexuality, feminism, gender, wealth along with the intersectionality of those issues. The book ends on a twist, but I would have been hooked regardless. This may just be my favourite read of 2020 so far.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid // This was another book that I absolutely powered through. It's an account of a seventies rock band's rise to fame by the band members themselves, written interview style, which I really enjoyed. I did have to look up whether they were a real band or not more than once because it's written so convincingly (spoiler: they're not although I have read that they're loosely based on Fleetwood Mac). 

The Binding by Bridget Collins // This was a slow burner for me; it's written in three parts and I didn't start properly enjoying it until part two, but once I started enjoying it I really enjoyed it and whizzed through the rest so it's 100% worth sticking with. It's a magical story of forbidden love, betrayal and books that can bind memories people wish to forget, which sounds good on paper (nice unintentional pun there Amy), but there's obviously a lot more to it than that.

If you have any book recommendations please drop them below as I'm always on the lookout! 

Amy x

Slow Fashion Season // No More New Clothes

Let me paint you a picture of two Amys (there's a scary thought).

Amy number one has a whole folder full of clothes shopping apps on her phone, which are scoured daily for sales, new trends and offers, resulting in a fair few full shopping baskets sat waiting for the purchase button to be clicked. It isn't always, (Amy number one wasn't a) completely stupid or b) ridiculously rich), but at least one hefty clothes order a month is made usually without all that much thought aside from 'I want that.'

Amy number two has no shopping apps on her phone (unless you count Just Eat), she researches a brand's ethos before making a (rare) purchase and when she does part with her money it's for something she'll get a lot of wear out of and that will last a long time.

Amy number one only started evolving into Amy number two in the second half of last year. 

And there you have a rather long and pretentious way of me saying I'm getting better at shopping sustainably.

So as someone who has already drastically reduced and rethought her shopping habits, lasting the three months of slow fashion season (June 21st aka today until September 21st), should be easy enough. However the reason I've signed up to take part isn't just to not buy new clothes; I want to work on changing my mindset in order to carry on making more sustainable choices going forward. 

During the three months of slow fashion season you can only:

- Buy second hand, including vintage
- Upcycle clothes
- Take part in clothes swaps
- Buy from small, local and sustainable businesses

Although I've made steps towards reducing my fast fashion consumption I've not really implemented many of the above so over the next three months (hopefully documented on here if I get my bottom into gear) I'm hoping to focus on each one, discovering new vintage shops, local sustainable businesses and ways in which I can upcycle what I already have. 

Please all cross your fingers for me on that last point.

Amy x

An Attempt To Up My Photography At Home

I've always enjoyed taking pictures in my home, but I've never experimented with it all that much until recently, when we've all had no choice but to turn to our homes/gardens/yards for our backdrops. I'm definitely no photographer and I never will be, but I enjoy taking pictures so I thought I'd jot down some of the things I've been doing to try and up my game.

LIGHTING // I've been loving playing around with natural light; seeing as we've been having such gorgeous golden hours at the moment it'd be rude not to wouldn't it? Making use of light and shadows has added a dimension to my photos I've not had before and seems to take what may have been an average shot to something I'm a bit prouder of. When natural light has been lacking I've been making sure to actually use my ring light too, which is a huge help at lifting photos indoors (and is also super useful for sticking things to, but we'll get to that...)

red shoes stood on mirror with foliage in the foreground

ANGLES // There are only really so many places in our house I can take photos so to prevent everything from looking samey I've been trying to get creative with angles. As a result I've sat/laid on the floor, had my tripod balanced precariously on a windowsill, shot through doorways, the list goes on. I've also played around with making the same area look completely different by shooting at it from a different perspective.

PROPS // I haven't exactly been using anything groundbreaking for props; a coffee, a book, a cat, but they definitely help me feel less like a lemon when I'm shooting in my house. As well as stuff I can actually hold, I've been trying to get more creative with what I'm putting in frame; I've been using my ring light to stick flowers/leaves/hoop earrings (yes really) to so as to add a bit of depth to otherwise potentially bland images.

PINTEREST // After the first couple of weeks of taking photos solely at home I started to run out of inspiration, so I took to Pinterest with gusto to find new ideas to try. It's full of fab self-portrait inspiration, coffee shots and flatlays. I try to take the seed of an idea then make it my own (which usually means whacking a house plant somewhere and hoping for the best).

USING MY EQUIPMENT // As I said above, I've been making the effort to actually use my ring light to lift my photos, and I've also been making the effort to use my camera. It was almost in semi-retirement due to both myself and my boyfriend having fairly good phone cameras and us tending to just shoot off the cuff outfit photos out and about, but it really has made a difference to the quality of my photos and fingers crossed it doesn't go into retirement again once we're out of lockdown.

And that's about it really; I'll never be the best at taking photos but I sure enjoy trying.

Amy x

woman laid on sofa reading a book

A Note On Perspective

Life at the moment is, at the very least, bizarre. For everybody, everywhere.

Things we value have been taken away from us; family time, travel plans, shopping trips, nights out with our friends, day trips to different cities. We don't have the freedom that we're used to. 

With all those things taken away, the things we value have shifted. Weekly zoom calls with family and friends, the kindness of strangers, spending quality time doing little more than nothing with the people we live with.

As the things we value are changing, so is our perspective. 

This bizarre life we're living has, if nothing else, cast a sliver of light on what's really, truly important.

People, experiences, moments.

Never again will I take for granted a quick coffee with a friend, a hug from a family member, an evening meander to the local pub with my man.

These simple pleasures currently only exist as memories, and as hopeful glimpses of a future that seems far away. 

And when we get there I'll be cherishing every moment and only hoping that whatever else happens in my life, this change in perspective will stick.

Amy x

Sustainable Fashion // An Update On My Shopping Habits

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post debating whether I could become a sustainable fashion blogger (here). Since writing that post I've certainly become more sustainable in my shopping habits, but there's been a distinct lack of any fashion posts (in part, I suppose, because I've found it difficult to think of fashion content while I haven't really had anything to dress up for).

Whether the sustainable changes I've made are down to a conscious making of them on my part or simply due to the country being in lockdown, I couldn't say. A lack of desire to order anything and pile pressure on the postal and delivery services certainly has something to do with it, as does my love of visiting actual shops as opposed to trawling on the internet. Did I just immediately answer my own question? Possibly. Either way, I wanted to write a little update on the further changes I've made towards becoming fashionably sustainable (I am 100% sure that's not the expression at all, but I quite like it) and how I'm still getting my fashion fix regardless.

SHOPPING MY WARDROBE // Something I love about the changing of the seasons is that my wardrobe automatically feels fresher because I'm able to reintroduce season-specific items that have been unworn for around nine months, which is nearly as good as having something brand new isn't it? I recently went through my wardrobe and had a clear out (I say clear out, I think I got rid of two things, but it counts okay?) and in the process I discovered other items I haven't worn in possibly years. Restyling those in ways I haven't before is keeping me feeling like I have new outfits without actually having to buy anything.

BUYING SECOND HAND // I realise I ended my last sentence by saying 'without actually having to buy anything', but I have bought one thing okay? I often steer clear of cheap second hand clothes unless I'm looking for something specific, as I find I can get a little carried away and end up buying too much (which is defeating the object of it being sustainable really isn't it?) but I've started making a conscious effort to give second hand another chance while enforcing certain rules upon myself (i.e. would I buy it full price?). I recently bought the above Adidas top from @outgrownstore on Instagram, which is a fab lil Instagram shop selling second hand clothes.

UPCYCLING MY CLOTHES // Okay, so I will admit that no upcycling has actually occured yet, but I've put aside a few items from my wardrobe that I'm going to attempt to do something with (although as a girl with no sewing machine or sewing skills past fixing buttons we'll see how I fare with this one). I've seen so many people create almost completely different items using something they already have and it's something I'm itching to try and a pretty good lockdown project I'd say!

RESEARCHING SUSTAINABLE BRANDS // It's a bit of a minefield when you start researching brands, as well as making choices yourself about what you're happy with, so I'm taking my time with this part. I've also looked at how brands care for their staff as well as their clothes, particularly in the current climate. Luckily for me, my all time favourite brand Monki use sustainably sourced or recycled materials which I was proper bloody chuffed to find out quite frankly. They're also pretty affordable, especially when they have a sale, which I find is rare for a sustainable brand. Personally, I'm not completely anti-non-sustainable brands as long as I'm buying something with longevity such as shoes or a coat.

SLOW FASHION SEASON // This year I've decided to take part in slow fashion season, details of which can be found here. In short, for three months starting on June 21st, you commit to only buying second hand, vintage, or from local sustainable labels. You can also take part in clothes swaps and can upcycle your clothes, so seeing as that's pretty much everything I've just spoken about I thought I may as well sign up!

Do you try and shop sustainably? 

Amy x

AD // The Art Of A Slow Morning

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

One thing I'm grateful for at the moment is the higher level of self-care I'm able to give myself due partly to having more time and also partly down to not feeling guilty about doing so. Usually I fill my to-do list with so many things that on top of work, a social life and keeping my house relatively clean, self-care ends up slipping right to the bottom of my priorities.

In the current climate that's obviously changed; weekends spent entirely at home, less hours in the office than usual and a bit of working from home mean I've been able to simply slow down. 

A part of my slower days I'm really enjoying at the moment is my mornings. The recent gorgeous weather (up until the past few days anyway!) has meant the sun comes streaming through the french doors in our dining room; the perfect setting for eating breakfast. So I thought I'd bring you along on one of my dreamy slow mornings...

Not setting an alarm is (quite literally) the dream so we wake up naturally and, fingers crossed, well rested. The curtains are always left slightly open (something my younger monster-fearing self would be appalled at), letting a golden sliver of morning light peek through, easing us gently into the day ahead.

Bleary-eyed conversations are had whilst stretching, yawning and blowing away the cobwebs of bad dreams. The curtains are eventually thrown open, the bed is made and we pad downstairs in our slippers.

The french doors are opened, encouraging two ginger cats to stretch, meow and patter outside for a roam in the garden. Fresh air breezes through into the kitchen as the morning sunshine dances on the table, the trees outside casting the loveliest of shadows.

As the glorious sound of the kettle boiling for a morning coffee fills the kitchen, food options are deliberated and settled on. A bit of pottering and (sometimes) cooking follows before the table is set and breakfast is served.

Breakfast provides the least slow part of my slow morning as it's always eaten relatively quickly (it is my favourite meal of the day after all), but a chapter of a book is often devoured then the table is cleared and the pots are washed alongside idle chatter or some post-breakfast dancing. We settle in the living room with the dregs of our coffees and an episode of something light on the telly.

Getting ready starts with a refreshing shower, or maybe even a cheeky morning bath if I'm feeling indulgent (although the desire for a bigger bath like one of these Waters baths is real), followed by the kind of treat yo self skincare routine I usually only have time for on weekends.

A slow potter about follows; choosing an outfit, taking time over my makeup, styling my hair, all of which is accompanied by an upbeat playlist to provide some motivation.

And finally, my slow morning is over (by which time it's most probably the afternoon); I'm refreshed, relaxed and ready to face the day.

What does your perfect slow morning look like?

Amy x

AD // I want to go to the hairdresser but I can't so here's what I'm doing instead...

This is a sponsored post, but all words, opinions and hair woes are my own.

Yes I know, a very catchy post title from me, but you've gotta say it how it is right?

It's funny how little thought I've previously given to how much my hair is a part of my identity. Just like clothes, it's a way I can express and style myself and I enjoy doing so. The thing is, I've long been due a trip to the hairdresser and I've reached the annoying in between stage of it being any kind of notable length at all. Very much first world problems I know, but it's been more of a struggle than usual to make myself feel like myself.

Along with quite possibly the majority of the UK, I've considered taking matters into my own hands, but despite being confident enough to shave my boyfriend's head, I'd rather wait to let the professionals work their magic on mine, having had many a bad fringe cutting experience in my time.

So while I bide my time I'm attempting to keep my hair in a vaguely good condition as well as finding hairstyles that suit my hair at a length I don't particularly like. Sounds fun eh? So yes, here's what I'm doing...

DITCHING HEAT // The condition of my hair already left a lot to be desired before lockdown; trips to the hairdresser are something I tend to put off for a while before going through with them (I don't actually think I enjoy the whole process of going to the hairdresser #callmeweird). In an attempt to stop it from getting any worse I've ditched using heat on it during lockdown (I don't exactly have anywhere nice to go to curl it for do I?). Instead I've been opting for styles that don't need heat; currently I'm enjoying french plaits one day followed by the waves it ever so kindly leaves my hair in the next.

HAIR MASKS // Hair masks have always been something I've wanted to use regularly, but just haven't had (or made) the time. Cue having plenty of time on my hands and it seemed like a good opportunity to seize. As I couldn't really bring myself to see how hair masks could be classed as an essential item I've just been using some coconut oil that I already had. Can confirm that it's done wonders for my scalp and my hair is v soft; just make sure you wash it out properly if you don't want to give the impression that something could be fried on your head.

EXPERIMENTING WITH STYLES // I may not have actually started wearing fresh flowers in my hair (that was for photo purposes only), but I have been experimenting more with how I can wear my hair. I've been wearing it up for work because it just seems the most hygienic thing to do while we're all trying to be strict on germs, but wearing it up every day has made me realise how often I rely on having it down. There's not been anything revolutionary so far, but I'm partial to a slicked back low bun and milkmaid braids.

RESEARCH & PINTEREST // By far the most exciting thing I've been doing hair-wise is researching what I'm eventually going to have done to it when I manage to get a (rather in demand I imagine) hairdressers appointment (I'm currently thinking a lil' blonde bob - thoughts?) So get pinning styles and colours on Pinterest, get googling 'top hairdressers Manchester'/Hull/wherever you live and get excited about your hair-to-be.

Amy x

35 Things To Do To Lift Your Mood

I mentioned in a previous post (here) that if there's one thing quarantine is doing, it's helping us appreciate and find joy in the simple things in life. It's also a difficult time for many (if not everyone) so I thought I'd put a post together of some simple, quarantine-friendly pick me ups (which also apply to life in general and I jolly well hope to continue taking the time to do when this is all over).

I was aiming for 40 because it's a nice round number, but made it to 35 and thought I'd end up repeating myself (there is only so much you can do in quarantine after all isn't there?) so add 5 of your own on the end to make my job easier, ta.

Start your morning by taking some time to stretch and wake up your body.

Open all your curtains and let the light stream in.

Always make your bed.

Go in your garden or open a window and take some long, deep breaths of fresh air.

Make your favourite breakfast and eat it in front of the telly.

Make a cup of tea or coffee and take some time to drink it without distraction rather than drinking it while getting ready/doing a million and one jobs.

If you live with someone put your phones down, turn the TV off and have a proper conversation about absolutely anything.

Do your favourite form of exercise (assuming it's lockdown friendly).

Indulge in some self care.

Video call a friend or family.

Sing along to some nostalgic music as loud as you possibly can (hi neighbours).

Make a picnic and eat it in your garden/living room. 

Make a list of things you'd like to do in the future.

Spend a few hours doing something purely for enjoyment; taking photos, reading a book, watching trashy TV.

Dress up in one of your favourite outfits.

Spend some time doing your hair and makeup.

De-clutter the spaces you like to chill out in.

Spend some time playing with your pets. 

Dance around like a wally to your favourite band.

Write your thoughts down in a journal.

Take time to appreciate the beauty in where you live while on your daily exercise.

Pick some flowers from your garden to display inside the house.

Talk about and research places you'd like to travel when you can.

Make something, draw something, paint something. Basically, get crafty.

Go through your camera roll and watch silly videos you've recorded.

Get lost in Pinterest.

Make a start on a project you've always wanted to; the book you've wanted to write, the side hustle you've wanted to plan, the music you've wanted to record - now's your chance.

Write a letter to send to a friend.

Cook a meal from scratch then eat and enjoy it without distractions.

Have a nice long bath, including wine.

Put on fresh pyjamas. 

Make a zen evening space; candles, lamps, blankets.

Get stuck into a gritty TV series, then follow it up with something funny and light.

Take your makeup off properly before bed and give yourself a mini facial.

Get into a bed made up with fresh bedding in plenty of time to make sure you get enough sleep.

Amy x

A Little Something On Love

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."

I have no idea why I decided to write this post; it's far from my usual kind of thing and it's partly made up of something I wrote on my laptop a while ago just for the joy of writing. I suppose it seemed as good a time as any to put something a little different out there; something positive and yet completely unrelated to anything happening in the world right now. 

The past few weekends of no plans have also given me a lot of time to reflect, realise what's important and for some reason that means I now fancy bashing out a rather personal post about my thoughts and feelings on love and what it means (to me, anyway).

For as long as I can remember I've seen love portrayed in books, in music and in films as something so powerful it has the ability to make you ecstatically high on emotion, yet also the ability to crumble you into tiny painful pieces within seconds. Many a time I've thought well that's not real life though is it or proper relationships aren't so intense. It was difficult to imagine that level of emotion without having experienced it for myself. But I've discovered that there's a reason love is portrayed that way; because it's REAL.

Real love is beautiful and raw, it leaves you vulnerable and open to both happiness and pain.

Real love is feeling someone else's pleasure, discomfort and emotion as vividly as if it were your own.

And above all, real love is just pretty bloody lovely isn't it?

Love is as much about you as it is about the person you love. Loving someone else requires hard work within yourself; it forces you to compromise and examine the parts of yourself that aren't as nice as you thought. It forces you to admit you're wrong and take it on the chin (which is actually quite difficult when you're as stubborn as I am).

Real love requires you to lose all pride and superiority. 

Real love requires you to both forgive and apologise with meaning.

I've often heard that to truly love someone else you have to love yourself first. I don't believe that's completely true; not loving yourself probably just makes loving someone else that little bit harder when you're in a constant battle with your own head (although in this day and age, who isn't?)

I do believe however, that loving someone else can actually help you start to love yourself. Placing that value on someone else to make them feel important, secure and best of all happy helps you achieve a certain level of love towards yourself simply for having the ability to make someone else feel that way.

Real love makes you feel good about yourself.

Real love is joy in making someone else happy.

Real love is allowing someone to bring the best out in you.

Real love is a journey, not just for two people but for yourself as well.

Finding Joy In The Little Things

If there's one thing a global pandemic teaches you, it's a renewed appreciation of all the things we previously took for granted, amiright? We're being forced to slow down, find joy wherever we can and appreciate the simplest of things. We're pausing to live in the moment a little more and I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, in fact I hope that mindset sticks around after this whole thing is eventually over.

Despite the current mess of a world we're living in, I wanted to find my own little bit of positivity and share it, so here is a non-exhaustive list of the little things I'm finding joy in at the moment (please feel free to add your own in the comments).

The morning sunshine casting the most beautiful shadows.

Having the most amazing friends and family there through the highs and lows.

Taking the time to make a proper breakfast and sitting down at our table to eat it.

Finding new and inventive ways to take photos of my outfit.

Making an impressive dent in my long abandoned TBR pile.

Video calling friends and family I haven't seen in a while.

Working out at home and not caring if I look a bit silly.

 Making lots of home cooked meals and feeling relatively healthy. 

Having a garden to sit in and get some fresh air.

Taking the time to indulge in lots of self care.

Spending weekends being creative in any way I can.

Spending lots of quality time with my lovely man.

Taking the time to talk about hopes for the future.

Coming to the realisation that I've put more importance on certain things than I'm supposed to.

Waking up refreshed from a full night's sleep in our cosy bed.

The anticipation of some sunnier weather ahead.

Watching telly in the morning and not feeling the slightest bit guilty about it.

Consuming as many biscuits as my belly will permit.

Waking up to letters from friends on the doormat.

Cat cuddles, taking photos of my cats and pretty much anything to do with my cats.

Amy x

A Big Beefy Recommendations Post // Books, Netflix, Tunes

Despite abandoning my monthly roundups of what I've been reading, watching and the like I thought a bigger and (hopefully) better post along similar lines would be pretty damn helpful in this unexpected age of staying in and, well, reading and watching things.

Before I get down to it I just want to say, I hope you're OK. If you're feeling a little lost and need someone to talk to please don't hesitate to email me or message me over social media. We're all in this together and all that jazz.

Okay, now I'll get down to it. The following are the very best books I've read, the very best telly I've watched and some feel good Spotify playlists thrown in for good measure (we all need a dance around our living rooms at the moment don't we?) I'll try and keep it shortish, although if I run away with myself we've probably got enough time for all of them anyway haven't we?

B O O K S 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult // This is possibly the best book I've ever read (although I could maybe say that about all of the books on the following list). It's loosely based on real events (and I bloody love a story based on real events). It's the story of a delivery nurse accused of murder after a baby boy dies on her watch, complicated by the fact that the parents had requested for her to have no contact with him because she's black. As well as having a completely gripping storyline, this book taught me a lot about unintentional everyday racism and stereotyping and made me realise how incredibly privileged I am in ways I didn't even know. Just read it OK?

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson // This is a very difficult one to describe, but in short it's a book about the infinite number of possibilities in life, how one small decision could change the whole course of it and how easily it could accidently slip away. The main character keeps dying, only for the story to resume with a different outcome resulting in her living instead. If you like a book that makes you question everything then this is one for you.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven // This is a young adult book, but one that anyone can get into (plus I'm a bit of a sucker for young adult fiction anyway). It's about the unlikely friendship between a teenage boy and girl who meet when they both find themselves at the top of the school bell tower ready to jump and the storyline explores some really important issues surrounding mental health and grief. The ending left me feeling rather emotionally drained, so make sure you're prepared for something heavy.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris // Most people have probably already read this, but if you haven't then you should. Again, it's based on real events at Auschwitz and it's absolutely heart-breaking. Lale Sokolov had the job of tattooing the numbers on the prisoners entering the camp and the book covers his time at Auschwitz plus a little after. I love a book that almost sobers me up and makes me realise how lucky I am (or at least think about it a bit more.)

The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle // This is about two old school friends who end up re-meeting when one becomes the carer for the other, who's been in a bad accident. It's a really lovely story about friendship, needing people and letting others in. It made me really happy to read, so if you're looking for something a little more light-hearted at the moment then I'd definitely recommend this.


After Life (Netflix) // This was hands down the best thing I watched last year, possibly even ever if that's not too bold a claim to make. Written by and starring Ricky Gervais, it follows his character dealing with life after the death of his wife. Obviously a pretty heavy topic, but it's dealt with in a light-hearted, humorous yet respectful way. Had me creased with laughter one moment then bawling my eyes out the next.

Black Mirror (Netflix) // I know it currently feels like we're living in an episode of Black Mirror, but we've been working our way through them whenever we're in the mood for something a bit mind boggling (they certainly act as a distraction anyway). As each episode has a completely different story line and cast there are excellent episodes and simply 'meh' episodes, but they're all interesting and certainly worth a watch.

Killing Eve (BBC iPlayer) // If the second series had been as good as the first then this would top After Life for me, but Killing Eve is still very high on my favourite TV series list. It follows an assassin (played by Jodie Comer my ultimate girl crush) and the spy who is searching for her and the interesting relationship they develop along the way. A must must must see (worthy of those three musts).

Friday Night Dinner (All 4, Netflix) // The ultimate in light relief, this is pretty much the only thing we're watching at the moment. Each episode is one Friday night at a Jewish family's home as they come together for dinner and it's always ridiculously over the top disastrous and therefore hilarious.

How I Met Your Mother (Netflix) // Another good one for light relief, we finally finished re-watching the whole nine series a couple of weeks ago. Easy watching, funny and totally binge-worthy.

The End of the F***ing World (Netflix) // Part light relief, part heavy, but the aesthetic of this programme is what I love the most. It's British, but has a very retro American vibe to it. It follows a teenage boy and girl who go on the run together and end up murdering someone (as you do). Also the episodes are only 20 minutes long so it's a good one for a little break if you're working from home (I imagine anyway).

Sex Education (Netflix) // The main reason I love Sex Education is because it has the same retro American vibes as The End of the F***ing World. This is one that I'm sure everyone has already seen, but if you haven't you should because it's just really good okay?

M U S I C 

Classic Acoustic (Spotify) // Chilled out golden oldies feat. the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles. I listened to it while writing this post with the sun streaming through the windows and those are the social distancing vibes I like.

Peaceful Piano (Spotify) // If, like most people I assume, you're feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed at the moment this is the perfect calming playlist. In my head I do yoga to it, but that's not actually happened yet.

Bougie Queen Chill (Spotify - Chloda) // The perfect mix of chill out and sassy vibes, I imagine this would be a good one for some work-at-home motivation.

And I suppose that may be the longest post I've ever written, but I hope you've found some recommendations among all that. Please drop me some of your own in the comments if you have any others!

Amy x

AD // An Ode To In-Between-Seasons Style

Some of the items in this post are gifted, however all views are my own. The Frankie x Oasis collection is available now, for free delivery use the code AMYDEL

Skirt* - Oasis (here) // Cardigan* - Oasis (here) // Boots* - Oasis (here)

"Despite the forecast, live like it's spring"

Four times a year we hit an odd time in between seasons where the British weather could do absolutely anything (although whether that makes a change from normal I'm not sure) and you need to be prepared with a winter coat, sunglasses and an umbrella at all times. Outfit-wise, it can be a confusing time; it's just a bit too hot for a big winter coat, but definitely too cold for a light jacket. The dilemmas we face eh?

Despite the oh-me-oh-my-what-shall-I-wear confusion, I must confess I love in between seasons style.


Firstly, layers. I love layering up because it gives me the opportunity to wear more of my clothes (yes I really am that easily pleased), experiment with putting them together and then I can remove and add layers throughout the day depending on whatever the weather decides to do. I find that layering at this time of year helps me discover new ways of putting pieces together I wouldn't have thought to before, as well as reintroducing some of my spring/summer clothes into my wardrobe while remaining snug as a bug.

Secondly, mixing and clashing styles. I love a bit of juxtaposition in an outfit (seems like far too fancy a word to describe an outfit but I'm going with it). A chunky knit with a midi skirt is one of my absolute go-to outfits at this time of year and gimme a dress with boots any day. I love pairing things together that shouldn't necessarily work, but really really do. It's the little things eh?

Essentially, I feel like these pockets of in-between-seasons help me experiment with my style and fall in love with clothes I may have become bored of or forgotten about. It makes me feel vaguely Pinterest-worthy and it makes me feel cosy and comfortable yet still stylish and I can't really complain about that can I?

Are you an in-between-seasons style lover or hater?

Amy x

Confession // I'm Looking Forward To My Thirties


Yes you read the title right; I'm writing this as a twenty-nine and three month old woman who, unusually, is looking forward to the 'big' 3-0.

We live in a society where getting older is seen as something to be terrified of; our WhatsApp groups are full of friends lamenting 'how did we all get so old?', treatments and surgeries to attempt to stop our faces and bodies in their tracks are becoming the norm and the pressure to have achieved a million milestones by a certain age is intense.

I have less than a year left of my twenties, a decade which is seen as the one in which you 'find yourself', have endless amounts of fun and one to which you will always want to return. But you know what, I'm actually looking forward to waving my twenties goodbye and embracing a fresh decade.

I'm not sure about the whole 'finding myself' thing in the first place; in fact I don't really like the idea of having a set idea of myself for the rest of my life. I'm a big believer that we're always developing and growing as people, but if there were a decade in which I 'find myself' I assume it'll be my thirties rather than my twenties because my sense of self only improves as I get older.

Sure, my twenties have been fun; I've created new friendships as well as strengthening old ones, I've travelled to new places, I've danced until the wee hours, but the idea of my thirties seems more appealing because I feel like they'll matter more.

My thirties will be the decade in which I envision myself being truly settled and content.

My thirties will be the decade in which I'll have children, one way or the other.

My thirties will be the decade in which my friendships will be the strongest because they've stood the test of time (and distance).

My thirties will be the decade I see myself moving somewhere new, furthering my career and beginning a proper side hustle.

My thirties will be the decade in which I hope to finally start loving myself.

And going by that my thirties will be the decade in which I'm my happiest self so why would I not look forward to that?

Amy x

Eating Our Way Around Copenhagen

If you didn't already know from my last post or from the fact I've been incessantly talking about it over on my Instagram, I recently went to Copenhagen. One of the many things I loved about it, but haven't really touched on yet, was the food.

Let's be honest, on holiday the food is one of the most important things, but I hadn't actually done much research prior to visiting Copenhagen on where or what would be good to eat. Turns out I didn't need to though because absolutely everywhere was consistently good, whether we'd looked somewhere up, had it recommended or simply popped in because it was the nearest place to go amidst a hangry episode.

So in case you are looking for recommendations, I thought I'd do a little round up of where and what we ate. (Side note: I'm vegetarian, my boyfriend isn't so these are all places that cater to both. I'm sure there are probably places with more vegetarian/vegan options available, but I did find that there were only a few options on the menu for me in the places we did eat.) Also apologies for the lack of photos, actually eating is always my priority over getting an Instagrammable shot.

RAVNSBORG KITCHEN & BAR // This restaurant was chosen on our first night purely for the fact that it was close to our hotel and it looked nice inside (have a look at their website and you'll see what I mean). It was one of those modern yet rustic places lit mainly with candles and small lamps. I had a margherita pizza (standard) and it was bloody delicious. I was gutted I couldn't finish it and I remain gutted to this day that I didn't ask for a doggy bag.

GORM'S PIZZA (TORVEHALLERNE MARKET) // Also close to our hotel was Torvehallerne Market, which was full of different street food stalls. Despite having had pizza the night before, we ate at Gorm Pizza, which is a chain (we ate it again in the airport before our flight home). The pizzas are made fresh before your eyes which meant they tasted amazing. I went for the Denny Special, which had potatoes and rosemary on it, which sounds odd for a pizza but just worked. Learning from my past mistakes I did get a doggy bag and proceeded to guzzle the rest in the evening after a few glasses of vino. 

LA ROCCA // We weren't intending to eat in the hotel, but finding ourselves really rather hungry at a time we were there we decided to try the Italian, La Rocca. The following statement is not an exaggeration; we ate the most delicious ravioli in the world. We both had the spinach and ricotta ravioli in tomato, lemon and pesto sauce and I could honestly happily eat just that for the rest of my life. Oh and the menus were digital so that was fun too.

KITCHENETTE // We chose this place because we wanted somewhere close to a gig venue and after first choosing somewhere that was closed, then going somewhere that didn't serve food we found Kitchenette. It had the same kind of vibes as Ravnsborg, but was much busier and had lampshades so low a certain someone managed to knock a light out with his head. I had a veggie burger that was like no other veggie burger I'd had before because it was made from fresh root vegetables and it was bloody LOVELY. 

CARLTON // This was the most random find because we weren't actually planning on eating but both suddenly got horrendously hangry and stumbled into the first place we came across. We both ordered nachos and along came the biggest portion of nachos I've ever seen; put it this way, when I'd finished it looked like I'd hardly started. They had everything on them and the cheese was deliciously even throughout; none of this pathetic sprinkle of cheese on the top malarky.

That's everywhere we ate and I can't really fault anything about any of them (apart from being expensive, which food just is in Copenhagen), which is pretty good going for a random not-really-thought-out selection of places isn't it?

Amy x
Copenhagen, Denmark

AD // Hotel Kong Arthur, Copenhagen

*We were kindly provided with a two night stay at Hotel Kong Arthur in exchange for this review, but all opinions are my own.

Copenhagen had been high on my to-visit list for a long time for no particular reason other than I really thought I'd like it. And I was right; I absolutely loved it. More on that at a later date though because in this post I'm starting with the aspect of our trip that gave me my first good impression of the city - the hotel.

Hotel Kong Arthur is a four star eco-friendly boutique hotel located down a cobbled street alongside the city's picturesque lakes. But I'm not here to tell you what you can read on the website, I'm here to tell you some of the things that set Hotel Kong Arthur aside from other hotels; the little touches that really made our stay special:

COSY HOUR // I had to put this first because we arrived at the hotel just in time for cosy hour on our first night (and caught it every night after that too). Between 5-6pm all the guests are welcome to gather in the (I've got to say it) cosy lobby for a free drink. The atmosphere is one of contentment and if you accidentally discover the board games cupboard like we did then you're onto a winner (unless, like me, you lose at chess every single time).

A SENSE OF HUMOUR // A lot of hotels are quite impersonal aren't they? Hotel Kong Arthur provided small gestures that made us smile every day; the 'do not disturb' sign in our room with a hilariously honest tick list, the card left under the bed letting us know the cleaners had checked for monsters and the 'ring for a hug' bell at breakfast (we did indeed both receive a hug from the waitress on our first morning).

ECO-FRIENDLY // I found Copenhagen in general to be a very eco-conscious city and the hotel prided itself on being so too. The absolutely delicious breakfast was all locally sourced organic produce; they served apple juice instead of orange juice so it didn't have to be imported. There are also electric cars available outside that you can use to travel in (even to and from the airport) so you can be more environmentally friendly than hopping in a taxi.

LOCATION // We honestly couldn't have asked for a better location, both in terms of getting around and it being beautifully scenic. We were within walking distance of everywhere we wanted to visit (this obviously depends on how far you're willing to walk) and on our last day we enjoyed a peaceful saunter along the lakes in the sunshine.

DECOR // Generally on holiday I'm happy to simply have somewhere clean to rest my head, but this trip showed me how a good hotel can really make a difference. Funnily enough, when it's a nice place to spend time in you spend more time in it, which meant we would happily potter back to rest our legs during the day as well as spend time there in the evenings rather than feel like we had to go somewhere further afield that may be nicer. The decor was pretty much exactly how I like my decor - modern but with hints of the old and plenty of character.

DINING // I've already mentioned the breakfast, but I'll mention it again because it was absolutely delicious and to say it was all locally sourced there was a huge variety. The breakfast room was also the most calming room in which to start your day; big windows letting in lots of light and creating beautiful shadows, cushioned window seats and plenty of room to breathe (or to push out your seat in a full of food haze). The hotel also has three restaurants attached to it; an Italian (La Rocca), Spanish (Pintxos) and Japanese (Sticks 'n' Sushi). We tried the Italian and ate the most delicious ravioli of our lives, both immediately declaring we could eat it all over again then within five minutes struggling to climb the stairs we were so full...

HYGGE // I'm sure everyone has heard of this Danish concept by now since it became really popular a few years back. I never really fully understood it, but I certainly felt it staying at Hotel Kong Arthur; relaxed, content and totally at ease.

Thank you very much to Hotel Kong Arthur for hosting us!

Amy X

Copenhagen, Denmark

On Living A Simpler Life

I was born an over thinker; I assume I entered this world worrying about whether I'd come too soon or too late (my mum would say too late based on how much of a heifer I was) and to this day I overthink absolutely everything from what I should eat for lunch to whether some huge life decision I've made is right or not.

My overthinking tendencies lead to my love of a good list; categorised to-do lists that may as well be called to-do trees by the time I'm done with them, the 'self-improvement' plans that list all the things I feel I should be doing to make myself a better, healthier and prettier person along with all the other self-imposed structure I apply to my life. And it turns out my overthinking tendencies are leading to my head becoming rather overcrowded.

Despite not really enjoying the idea of resolutions as such, I entered this year with a fresh perspective and a stripped back attitude to a lot of things, including how I approach my life in general. Whereas my overactive brain would usually be able to describe what I want from life using a vast amount of bullet points, in short I want to live simpler.

So what have I done to try to achieve a simpler life? Made a list of rules to abide by, obviously. 

DOES/WILL THIS MAKE ME HAPPY? // Sounds easy doesn't it, but asking myself whether something will make me happy before I do it or agree to it is something I want to start doing a lot more. I'm guilty of agreeing to things for the sake of other people, and while that's obviously something I'll keep doing because I'm not the most selfish person in the world (hopefully), I'd like to take my own happiness into consideration too. As always it's about balance isn't it?

FOCUSING ON THE BASICS // I've spent so long making complicated lists filled with all sorts of different things I think I should be doing, which means the simplest of things often get lost. Simple pleasures like walking round the block for a bit of fresh air and to just breathe, making the time to exercise which does wonders for my mind or sitting and enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning rather than haphazardly sipping at it in between doing everything else. More of that.

WRITE IT DOWN // And no, I don't mean in a to-do tree complicated kind of way. For Christmas my mum bought me the Michelle Obama Becoming journal and after spending five minutes every few days word vomiting into it with a pen my head felt a little lighter. I've also taken to splurging random thoughts into a notebook if I feel like I need to, even if they don't make any sense whatsoever. There's a reason I started writing a blog and that's because writing clears my head.

BE KIND // I like to think of myself as generally quite a kind person already, but I wanted to include this one because I think kindness is the most important, yet underrated quality someone can have. Kindness goes a long way and I'm going to try to keep it at the forefront of everything I do.