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