Saturday, 31 January 2015

Instagram Roundup: January 2015

Throwback // January Elle // Charity shop finds // Breakfast // Cat // Outfit post 1 // Outfit post 2 // Clarks shoes // Boots sale haul bargains

I can't believe January has been and gone already! I am quite glad though, as I always think January is one of the worst months; the weather is awful, Christmas and New Year are over and it's back to work with nothing to look forward to! This January hasn't been too bad; of course the post-Christmas slump is never nice and the weather has been as bad as predicted (with no snow to even lift the spirits! Although I'm sure not everyone would agree that snow is a good thing!) but I've had a pretty busy January really; blogging in full swing as well as working at my other job means I've been non-stop most of the month. 

I've worked with Clarks on this post about their amazing new SS15 range and I've also showcased some beaut brogues from Fashion Union. Beauty hasn't been forgotten, either, with posts about Nanshy's new makeup sponge and tips and tricks for lazy makeup wins. New to the blog this year are my 'Record of the Week' posts and I've also been delving into the archives to bring you some 'throwback' posts too, as well as my 'Bloggers Guide' series which continues into 2015! 

I've decided to switch out the weekly Instagram posts for a summary of the month instead, which I think will be a little more interesting and give me a greater wealth of imagery to talk about rather than the same old thing I've been snapping each week. I think this will also give the blog a bit more space for me to dedicate to other content, with copy dedicated to music, fitness and interiors as well as fashion and beauty, and of course, the 'charity shop find' posts (which are my favourite!) Enjoy!

XO Amie

Friday, 30 January 2015

Record of the Week #2

Record of the Week: Natalie Prass (Self Titled)

Following on from last weeks record review post, today I'm going to talk about the second of Adrian's picks: Natalie Prass.

I've heard of this artist before, I think there has been quite a bit of hype surrounding her album and I'm sure I've seen her mentioned as 'one to watch' in the culture section of Elle magazine. She's a rather gorgeous 28 year old American singer-songwriter (naturally) who has a touch of Lou Douillon about her, which makes me like her even more. 

According to music website Pitchfork she 'weathers heartbreak while backed by lush arrangements that recall the orchestrated, soulful pop of the 1970s' and I would have to say that this sentence is a very good surmise of the album (which is why I don't write music reviews.) Basically, she has a very lovely voice, which, on listening, reminded me somewhat of Disney, once intertwined with the twinkly orchestral surroundings, a fact I would probably not have mentioned apart from further investigation of her Pitchfork interview/review uncovering the same thing (read here.) It sounds like a rather more heartbroken version of Disney, though; and all the better for it; no listless princesses here, rather more a bootstrapping version who has hitched up her skirts and gone off to find her man. There is sadness, yes, but not weakness.

The album definitely smacks of times gone by; again referencing Pitchfork (until I can confidently comment on music without fear of reprisals due to my lack of knowledge) one of her songs is likened to the 'love triangle' of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene.' There is a sense of this, and also a touch of June Carter in the way her vocals range from delicate to forceful. The album is equally wistful and accepting, and I think this is a potent mixture. My favourite track is the swooping 'Violently' which is certainly not as agressive as the title would suggest.

The album artwork is less symbolic, in my opinion, than the Grouper effort of last week but I did appreciate the sentiment, of course she is incredibly striking and her sublime beauty is only enhanced by a floral overlay on the album sleeve. It has a slightly Seventies, sun-washed look to it and definitely (to me) highlights her aesthetic.

Word to best describe this album: Enchanting

Will I put it on my iPod? Yes

XO Amie

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Beauty Chat: What does 'Q10' really mean?

There's been a lot of talk in the beauty industry surrounding a key component found in many beauty creams: Q10. But what is this ingredient, and how can it help add value to your beauty routine?

So what is Q10? It's actually a coenzyme, of the type that is found in our bodies and skin. It is one of the components that helps produce biological energy inside the cells, and secondly, it is also an antioxidant which helps to neutralise free radicals, which are a key factor in skin aging. 

Just from this short scientific paragraph, you might be able to work out that Q10, when harnessed correctly, can therefore help skin to repair and also prevent against premature skin aging. It is sometimes difficult to establish what components of your skincare have what purpose, and even more so when they are spoken of in numbers and letters, but in terms of an added extra to your moisturiser, Q10 is a great element to look for.

There are several different products on the market which can cater for your specific needs. I have used and really like both Nivea and Eucerin. I like Nivea because they have lots of different creams that can target particular actions, such as pore refining for the face or shadow reducing for undereye. Q10 isn't limited to facial use either; you can get some high quality hand creams that contain the ingredient and it is great for keeping hands looking young and supple. Eucerin is another great brand to look in to  because a lot of its products contain glycerol, which helps to keep skin moisturised. Another brand worth considering is Pharma Nord, which sell Q10 day and night cream sets as well as other paraben free Q10 products.

Science behind skincare is ever changing and these scientific elements are just as important as the packaging and branding of the products themselves. I find it interesting to note the new releases that skincare companies make; and, of course, trying them out and reporting back on their claims!

XO Amie

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

New old favourites

Wearing: Jumper c/o OASAP  Trousers Monsoon c/o Blogger's Swap Shop ASOS hat Topshop monk shoes 

I've just had a really good clear out of my wardrobe and in so doing, discovered a couple of gems that I'd forgotten about (isn't that the best part of sorting out your wardrobe!) I now have a couple of clothes rails in the bedroom, with really, everything I own on them, apart from a suitcase of summer clothes and one small shelf in the wardrobe, which contains a few pieces of knitwear. I find it much easier to dress if I can see what I've got, and thusly, stuff that ends up stuffed in the depths of the wardrobe rarely sees the light of day.

Anyway, the last time I wore this jumper was I think here, although my all time favourite way to wear it was here. And as soon as it is warm enough for silk trews, I'll be wearing this outfit over again. Since it isn't, I paired it with these Monsoon wool slacks that I picked up from the South West Blogger's swap shop event (I blogged it here.) So they were a freebie, well, exchanged for some of my own unwanted garb. 

My hat obsession continues and today's version is a 'matador hat' apparently, bought from ASOS. I haven't got a hat in this style, so obviously had to add it to the collection. I today almost parted with cash for a faux fur beret, madness. I can't help it; I love a good hat. Hats, coats and shoes: these are my three achillies heels! (and silk trousers maybe. And decent knitwear.)

I think the trousers will look better with ballet pumps but it is way too cold to consider those, and to be honest this was a error in judgement even with monk shoes as my ankles were freezing. However I am attempting to stop wearing my Whistles chelsea boots on the blog quite so much, though I fear they will be cracked out again soon! Bare ankles are not the one in this weather!

XO Amie

Monday, 26 January 2015

Lazy Makeup Wins

Max Factor Shadow Stick // Benefit It Stick // Maybelline Colour Drama // Seventeen Eye Eye Crayon

Makeup can be tricky. There's a lot to choose from, for a start, and once you've found the right product, then there's all sorts of rules and techniques about how to apply it. It wasn't until recently that I worked out what a 'fluffy blending brush' (a term so loved by those in the know) even was, and then working out how to correctly use it took a lot longer and copious amounts of Youtube tutorials.

Personally, I like to keep it simple. In terms of makeup, especially day to day, the easier the better, if you ask me. I don't want to faff about with a million brushes or tools of varying size to make my face look good, and I've encountered some products that have definitely aided my makeup slothfulness, so I thought I'd share them!

I love cream eyeshadows, I use a No.7 one consto that I've blogged about many a time, and when I'm not using that, I want something just as easy to master. I really rate these shadow pencils; the Max Factor one is in a taupe tone and the Seventeen is a coppery colour. They are the easiest things; swipe them over the lid and smudge the crease out with your finger. Done. They stay put all day too which is important!

The Benefit It Stick is a concealer working along the same principle. Scribble over where you need coverage, and blend out. I use this on my under eye circles and then pat the product in with my fingertips. It works really well and takes minimum effort!

Finally, lips. Who wants the effort of lining and filling in, when one product can do both? This Colour Drama for lips is an amazing, creamy pencil that applies neatly and precisely and has great longevity. I love this and it's such an easy handbag essential.

So, for lazy days, or for me, most days, I can't recommend these products enough!

XO Amie

Sunday, 25 January 2015

New Season from Clarks

Hotel Bustle fisherman shoes c/o Clarks

I've got some of my very favourite shoes from Clarks. I love how they have the ability to continually appeal to their huge customer base; they provide shoes to people of all ages and with completely different needs, and they still manage to make a shoe or two each season which wouldn't look out of place on the 'style edit' pages of Elle or Vogue magazine (and they are, simultaneously, often found there.)

The Spring season is always a bit of a challenge to dress for; it's usually not warm enough to get into flip flops, but it is too warm for a boot and in any case, I am completely over wearing boots by that point, after spending the entire winter in them. I always feel that it's a bit of an in-between, and how do you dress accordingly?

Clarks have really nailed this seasons' looks and I was particularly impressed with their range of flats. The brogues and chelsea boots are always a favourite of mine, but for spring they have introduced a whole range of flat sandals which have a beautifully tomboyish edge. I picked these fisherman sandals, an update of a classic style that Clarks have re-worked in their own, very British, way. The masculine style sandal is given a feminine twist with the multi strapped detail and the wooden block heel gives just enough of a lift. The deep, petroleum navy shade of these sandals sets them apart from anything else I own, or have seen on the high street this season, and I just love them.

Of course, Clarks are about so much more than fashion trends, despite being able to translate their shoes to fit to these. These sandals are beautifully made; the high quality leather used is apparent and the sandals are soft and comfortable to wear. This style will also be available in a pale, oyster-shell coloured leather later in the season, and I know that these are a pair I will be wearing daily. Clarks offer half sizes, too, which is great for me as I can ensure a perfect fit; so often I have to 'make do' with shoes slightly too big or too small, but being able to shop for my actual size is really quite refreshing!

If you don't have a Clarks store near to you I would suggest you check out the website, which has an amazing range to browse and buy. You can view the full womens collection here.

XO Amie

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Archive #5

Archive photos from 2011

These pictures are a throwback to Summer '11, actually not all that long ago really but looking back on these pictures, they feel like another lifetime. We had only recently moved to Bristol and I suppose we were still settling in and finding our way about. I remember being so afraid of everything! It was all so different to the small town we had come from, but we soon made it our home.

It is nostalgic looking at these pictures and I feel sad that I never did find a pair of trousers to replace these Zara ones, which were possibly my favourite trousers ever and were consigned to the bin not long after these pictures were taken. I'm actually wearing them again in this archive post. They were a favourite, that's for sure. Likewise, these shoes, which are basically amazing, are still in a bag waiting to be reheeled. STILL. I don't think I should admit to that, as it makes me sound terribly lazy, but seeing how nice they look with these trousers has inspired me to get them mended and then I can wear them again for Spring/Summer '15!

Once again, classic outfit post; blouse, trews and loafers and that natty satchel that I picked up in a chazza in Devon and still have hanging in the wardrobe. Those classics that never date; my favourite things which still make up my favourite looks. Maybe I'll do a 'year in favourite outfits' post where I could include pictures from the blog through the ages; I'd bet that they all feature a combination of trousers, blouses, satchels and loafers. Particularly heeled ones.

XO Amie