Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Bloggers Book Club #2

Kim Gordon 'girl in a band'

I wrote in my last 'bloggers book club' post about how I was loving my Kindle, and taking nothing away from that, I am currently reading it daily on my lunch break at work and I find it so much easier to tote about than a weighty tome. Mind you, when I saw this book on the kitchen table the other day, my interest was piqued; Kim Gordon, the thinking woman's role model and liver of total rock star life, has written a memoir so of course I wanted to read it. Unfortch, Adrian had bought it for himself to have a squizz at first, but a quick tweet to KG (@kimletgordon) suggesting I pinch it off him to read first got the thumbs up (she retweeted me!) and so Adrian had to back down and let me read it!

Now, I have to preface this review by saying that I knew very little of Kim before I'd read this book about her. Growing up, I suppose I came of age in between decades of that stronger wave of feminism, because the only role models I had in terms of music were, I guess, the Spice Girls. Which were prepackaged to appeal to the mass market, by men. They weren't even the real coiners of the phrase 'Girl Power' as I soon found out in Kim's book. As the sole woman in the band Sonic Youth, I didn't really understand or relate to the music particularly well; I think this has become more obvious as I've grown up but the music that I feel defined my youth was more of the pop/punk variety (Spice Girls excluded). My formative years were a haze of Greenday, Nirvana, The Offspring, even Millencolin in the mix there, sitting uncomfortably next to my other favourites (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Johnny Cash) later on in the 6-CD changer of my Mondeo Estate. Interestingly, all these musicians/bands were male; after the early teen Spice hype had died away I really can't remember getting that excited about female bands or vocalists; Kenickie were pretty cool and I liked Alisha's Attic, but even they seemed more filler than anything else. All that remained was a bit weak; nothing I felt I could relate to or felt impassioned by.

Anyway, my potted musical history aside, I did feel that this book would give me more insight into women in music and also, women I may have potentially missed. Kim writes thoughtfully and lucidly, managing to manoeuvre her way around the quite clearly cataclysmic end of her marriage with complete dignity whilst omitting very few of the details, this is a personal and sometimes very difficult account of something that many women deal with, fewer, as she, in the very public eye. The book dips in and out of her interesting and eventful life, charting successes and failures with wit and empathy. She is likeable without trying to be. She has never tried to market herself as a sexy woman, part of her allure, to me, in Sonic Youth was that she maintained herself as first a musician, irrelevantly of her gender, which is something that men would do without thinking about it, but there is no overtness with Kim. These subtle differences set her apart from many of her peers and actually elevate her into that realm of subversive sexuality; and even more than this, she is attainable and she is a woman I would want to emulate. I respect her. I see her for who she is, as an artist honing a craft in a very male dominated genre, and I thank her for the resonance and the realness she brings to it.

Peppered with interesting anecdotes and wonderfully insightful (and often personal) photographs, this book is a delight and I read it over about three days (so Adrian didn't have to wait long to get it back!) but I could have easily read it in a sitting had I had sufficient time to do so. (As it was I stayed up into the small hours one night!) In today's world which too frequently sees the idea of 'Feminism' lost amongst mixed up ideals, it's a refreshing and grounding volume that every woman (and man!) should read. Kim doesn't promote herself as anyones inspiration or feminist touchstone, but I've certainly found her to be mine.

XO Amie

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

New Season Now

Betty London sandals LV backpack Vintage sunglasses

Whilst it's definitely too soon to even consider wearing sandals, I have been really wanting to post about these Betty London beauts since I got my hands on them a few weeks ago. I don't know if this is going to be Summer 2015's shoe thing, but everywhere I go I notice the heavily strapped, clunky and all round geriatric-like sandal seems to be the style du jour. Perhaps calling them 'geek' sandals is more on trend, but they definitely remind me of something an elderly person would wear, in the best possible way; maybe with socks, definitely with sass.

So far I have bought several pairs of sandals for the summer, none of which I can wear right now without freezing, which is a testament to the ridiculousness of fashion, really; why are they even in the shops yet? Granted, two pairs were online buys and one pair were from a chazza, but even so, the depths of winter still hasn't really been shrugged off and here I am making purchases I can't even utilise. Such is a blogger's prerogative, I suppose!

What I loved about these sandals was the colour. They also come in nude which I would have said would be the obvious choice for me, but since I wear a lot of black, navy, cream, beige, I figured to ring the changes with a splash of poppy red could only be a good thing. I say yearly (I'm sure) that I'm going to wear more colour, and never do, but on an accessory it seems less scary, somehow. With boyfriend jeans or my favourite slouchy summer peg trews, these are going to be great! A flat, leather summer sandal is such an easy investment, and actually I find it pays off to look at the beginning of the season, because by the time summer rolls around, the choicest picks have usually been snapped up!

Betty London is a brand I look to frequently because I am a real believer in quality, but also great prices. BL delivers on both counts; the shoes from this brand share a mix of classic and contemporary elements but overarching the brand is an investment in excellent materials and entry level price points. I pretty much want the entire sandal range and I'm definitely going to have to hold back from buying several more pairs!

XO Amie

Monday, 2 March 2015

Favourite cardigan

Wearing: Topshop cardigan Whistles jeans and boots Vintage blouse

This cardigan really is a favourite of mine. In fact, I'd even go so far to say that it's even more favoured than the ratty old vintage one I wear all the time at home, and definitely less scratchy. I love the boxy cut and the front pockets, also the fact that it is slightly cropped, too. Hilariously in a couple of these pictures, I hadn't noticed but my hair has tucked into the pocket! Maybe it's time for a hair cut!

I'm sure these Whistles jeans are old news now as I've worn them so much on the blog, but they are the perfect fit and so soft. I have an identical pair in normal denim but they just aren't as nice, the fit doesn't seem to be the same and hence I don't wear them as often, but they are still pretty cool. I am having a thing with denim at the moment and these are now my only pair of jeans; both my pairs of black skinnies have pretty much given up and these are all I am left with!

This whole outfit is actually one of my favourite looks at the moment, it's still so cold and despite getting a pair of sandals a week or so ago I can't actually begin to consider wearing them. Will it ever be warm enough!? It doesn't feel like it!

XO Amie

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Products I've used up #11

Skincare Empties from Botanics // Superdrug // The Body Shop // Time Delay // No.7 // Olay // L'oreal // Trevarno // Daily Revive //

Starting the week off with beauty on the blog with a post dedicated to the things I've been loving (particularly skincare) and have consequentially used up! Empties posts are always so cathartic because It means I can chuck away all the bottles, pots and squashed up tubes I've been hanging on to for the last month or so in order that I can photograph and review them!

This month there is a particular skincare lean to the empties, I don't really use a great deal of cosmetic makeup, really, preferring to splash out on skincare buys instead. There have definitely been some repurchaseable items used up over the last few weeks, and I'm definitely going to reinvest in some of them.

One such item is this L'oreal Revitalift Face, Neck and Contour cream. I think I mentioned previously about how difficult I found it to buy a high street brand that supplied a neck-specific cream. Sure, I could invest £110 in one from Chantacaille (seriously!? Who does that?!) but outside of Space NK I found my options to be limited. Believe it or not, this one remains the only neck-specific cream that I can find at an entry price point, so please do share if you know of any others! At £14.99 it's more affordable, lasts ages and feels lightweight on the skin; often a heavy face cream is too much for the delicate neck area so this is much more appropriate.

Speaking of face creams, I've rattled through a few recently including this sample sized Olay total effects (ok, but wouldn't invest in the full size) Daily Revive from Organic beauty (really lovely, reviewed in full here) and No.7 Protect and Perfect Day Cream (not as delightful as the night cream, I felt it had the greasy, nonabsorbent qualities of suntan lotion). I have, however, finished the second purchase of this Superdrug naturally radiant serum moisturiser (will re-buy when I've run out of my current one!) and I've adored the Trevano Organic Overnight Replenishing Cream (reviewed here).

Another product that I had been raving about was a toning spritz. I seemed to recently discover the wonderful combination of a hot cloth cleanser followed by a toning spray, and it's a routine I've really embraced. I am currently using the hot cloth cleanser from this Botanics range, and I would definitely re-buy the rosewater toner; it feels so gentle and not at all astringent as some toners can do. The Botanics range is such a winner for me, I've used probably most of the collection over the time that I've been blogging and there are several go-to's for me amongst it. Not only that, they are also so well priced, with most of the range either just over or under £5. 

I've got a dedicated foundation post coming up soon, but I've recently switched over to the heavier coverage from this Time Delay BB cream, and I'm actually not sure it's as hard working. This would last all day with no fade, it didn't crease or collect on my face and it was a dream to apply. I had about three tubes to get through and this was the last one, so I didn't rebuy as I wanted to try something different, but I think I would pick this up again after I'm done with my foundations.

Finally, a product that is always in my handbag: the Hemp hand cream from The Body Shop. I've posted about this before, here and here, and I still can't fault it; I've started using a couple of different ones just for variation but this is one that I will always go back to, I'm even beginning to change my mind about the scent, which I used to really hate!

XO Amie

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Instagram Roundup: February 2015

Wanderlust Life // Pictures // Zuzka Beauty // Links of London Pendant // Chillin // Outfit // Alexa Hearts Nails Inc // Home // Saturday treats

February might be the shortest month, but I feel as if I've crammed a lot into the past few weeks and I'm definitely ready for a day off! I spent a lot of time looking at my blog content over the course of February and have enjoyed putting some new posts together and working with some amazing brands; Wanderlust Life, Zuzka and Links of London to name a few!

I've managed to get a few outfit posts up this month too and my favourite I think is this one above featuring the leopard print coat, such a classic! My nails have had a few treats too with this Alexa Chung Hearts Nails Inc set that I've posted more in depth about here.

I also paid a visit back to Devon to watch Adrian's band on the southwest leg of their tour, see my mum and dad and have lunch with my dearest friend. It was lovely to get back for a few days and I hit the charity shops hard, so there will be more 'chazza find' posts coming soon!

If you like what you see here and you don't yet follow me on Instagram, click the link below to do so!

XO Amie

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A Blogger's Guide #5

For this episode of my 'Bloggers Guide' series, I wanted to look at a side of blogging that isn't so frequently talked about as new clothes or the latest beauty products. I started blogging back in 2009, and it was Adrian who inspired me to do so. He knew that I loved fashion and that I also loved to write, and he was the person that recommended I start taking these hobbies and using them to start my own website. He helped me to find the platform I would use, and he also helped me with the design, editing and styling of my blog layout and provided the hand drawn font for my header and blog buttons. He was also on hand (and still is!) to take the copious amount of photographs I need to include with every post, and show me how to use Photoshop to (basically) resize and edit pictures. I have had to Google some of the techniques, mind you, if he is at work when I need to use them!

I've been really lucky to have Adrian to help support me and encourage me to maintain and update Credit Crunch Chic, even when I've wanted to completely delete the entire site because I've critically compared my blog to other, much bigger and better, ones. I can understand why bloggers quit; I've been very close to doing so on several occasions but Adrian has always managed to talk me out out doing that and help me to appreciate the great content that I do have and strive to achieve; one of my favourite quotes is 'comparison is the thief of joy' and it really rings true; my blog is not like anyone else's, but then again, no one else's is like Credit Crunch Chic, and I'm proud of that!

The crux of this 'Blogger's Guide' was to talk about the importance of maintaining a work/life balance whilst running a website. It's difficult; social media and the internet make it so that we never really switch off; I will write a blog post, spend time putting it together and editing the pictures, writing the copy and making sure I'm happy with it, then spend more time feeding it out over social media, responding to tweets, alongside sharing choice images over Instagram and Facebook, (running the blog's FB page concurrently) and responding to emails and building up a network of PR and agency contacts. It is my hobby, but more so than ever it is becoming a full time one. I already have a full time, 40 hour a week job; juggling this with running the website can mean that I feel like I am permanently working, be that at my day job or behind a desk with the blog. This can be overwhelming and actually quite lonely, spending all your time at work or at home can be demoralising and definitely means that social obligations take a backseat.

Until it pays my bills, my website remains a hobby, and I have made a conscientious effort to view it that way. I try to avoid spending too much time on social media; sometimes, the amount of effort it takes to keep up is draining and I feel anxious that I am missing out. There are so many hashtagged blogger chats to join in with on Twitter, so many pages to comment on Facebook, images to like on Instagram and that's before I've had the chance to even glance over other blogs on my reading list. I sometimes feel that there just isn't enough time to get through everything, and it's taken me a long time to appreciate that that's ok.

Credit Crunch Chic is a huge portfolio of work which has built up over the last 6 years and I am incredibly proud of it. I know I haven't won any awards or been to many fashion shows, and it's been a lesson in hard work. What I've learnt is not  to take it too seriously, to enjoy the content that I publish and spend time and effort thinking up exciting new material that I look forward to posting every day, but not to let it take over my life or try to do too much, just to have fun and enjoy it. I make time to take part in other hobbies, too, like my ballroom dancing classes, yoga and charity shopping, which is important because I enjoy those and it always helps me to refocus on my blog if I step away from it for a time, even if just a couple of hours now and again to do something completely different.

XO Amie

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Charity shop find of the week #13

Vintage bag £5.99

Last weekend I went back to Devon to visit my mum and dad and of course whilst I was there I took the opportunity to have a look around some of the charity shops I used to frequent when I lived there. Unfortch the one I really wanted to go to wasn't open on the day I visited, but I did have a good look around several others and managed to find some amazing things.

This first item is a cool structured handbag which I picked up in Banardos. I haven't bought a charity shop handbag in a little while but I really liked this one; the boxy shape and gold hardware is exactly what I like whilst the beige colourway is also a favourite. At £5.99 it was one of the weekends more expensive purchases but I liked it enough to invest in!

I actually came away with some really cool items which I will feature on the blog soon, I'm also writing a post about the best way to charity shop and some hints and tips which I hope to publish soon. I am often asked how I find my charity shop items; there's no real skill to it but I have learnt a few things over the years which have helped me to bag the bargs! If you are a serial charity shopper, as I am, you definitely should check out the wonderful Vintage Vixen and also Charity Shop Gold, who are two other charity shop obsessed bloggers you're sure to love!

XO Amie