Thursday, 26 March 2015

Sale bargains with White Stuff

Canal mac Plain Talkin knit Judy zip jegging all c/o White StuffMonki hat Whistles boots

Everyone knows I love a good sale bargain, and what I love most about sale time is that if you can bypass the 'sale blindness' that renders you senseless and with a load of 'what on earth have I bought?' items when you get home, you can start to really buy into key trends and timeless pieces at a fraction of the normal cost!

With this in mind, when I was contacted by White Stuff with the chance to choose some pieces from their fantastic sale selection, I jumped at the chance! I have often admired the clothing offered by the brand, especially their use of print and love of elegant and classic styles reinterpreted in a contemporary and premium way.

The first piece I picked out was this plain talkin' knit. This super cute, boxy jumper is such a versatile piece for everyday; everyone needs a grey jumper in their wardrobe and this one is super soft but also lightweight, so absolutely perfect for spring. It has two pockets on the front and the little White Stuff metal bird tag, as well as having contrasting coloured cuffs and hem! At just under £30 this is such a great price for a cashmere blend knit and I love it!

I couldn't help but notice the beautiful Canal mac, too, which is a really pretty soft grey colour and embroidered with tiny birds all over it. I don't have a really practical, useful mac such as this one, and something like this is great to pick up at a reduction as it's so functional, as well as being really feminine and playful with the allover print. I love the contrast lining and the fact that it also has a hood, which is an essential, I think, if you live in the UK!

Finally, I was also very kindly sent the Judy zip jegging, which are a lovely dark indigo jean with the stretch of a jegging but with a regular button fly, which I think makes them super smart. These jeggings also have ankle zips which makes them brilliant for tucking into boots, because they don't bunch up at the bottom! They'll also be brilliant to wear in the summer with sandals; I can see I will get a lot of wear from these! They are the perfect colour to wear year round and a great investment.

I had to add a hat to my look of course and I've done that with this new knitted one I got from Monki! I really like the colour of this and I think it looks great with the greys of the jacket and jumper. Of course my boots are from Whistles and they are one of my favourite pairs. This outfit is a great casual daytime look and each piece will also look great worn with other items in my wardrobe; for example the mac would look great with one of my jumpsuits, or I could dress up the jeans with loafers and a smart shirt. The jumper is just going to be a wear-with-everything piece I think, and will definitely become a favourite!

All the pieces I have featured are in the sale and available online at White Stuff.  Check out the website for the full sale selection!

XO Amie

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Esprit Spring Picks

Esprit Spring Picks
Top spring picks from Esprit
I haven't blogged a 'top picks' post for some time now, but I often find myself mentally collating outfits I'd like to wear, and none more so than over on Esprit, the US founded clothing company that prides itself on simple, chic and easy to wear pieces. Unfortunately there are no stores near me, however, the website offers free delivery and returns, which makes online shopping just about as hassle free as it can be! 

I have put together an outfit from the site that is so true of my own personal style, based as it is around neutral shades of cream, black and beige. I loved these skinny ankle grazing jeans, which are so perfect for the summertime to wear with sandals, like these cool metallic sliders I've included here! I think chic, elegant pieces like these really make dressing every day simple but still premium, and sometimes the simplest looks are the most interesting!

I always pair an oversized top with a skinnier bottom half so this linen blend jumper is perfect. I love the colour of this and the lightweight linen fabric makes it useful for springtime when thick woolies are just too heavy. You can tuck the jumper into the waistband of the jeans to streamline the look or just wear it loose and boxy for a really easygoing vibe.

Regular readers will attest that I don't wear much colour, but sometimes if an outfit is made up of neutrals it can be nice to add a dash of colour for a lift. I loved the zingy lemon tone of this scarf, which really stands out against the cream jumper. Brights like this always look great with metallics, and the accessories really bring that spring freshness to the ensemble.

I kept jewellery quite light here with just this stunning mixed media chain cuff. I think the mixture of stainless steel links against the tortoiseshell looks so effective, and this piece looks a lot more expensive than its price tag. I couldn't help but also include a bag, too; this bucket bag is such a great style for everyday use and the colour keeps it looking premium. I also really like the very simple and clean shape and minimal design.

XO Amie

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Spring Accessory Edit

ASOS hat vintage sunglasses Marc Jacobs watch Kurt Geiger sandals Revlon lip butter Estee Lauder perfume

Despite today having been rather rainy, the bright sunshine earlier on this morning was streaming through the window and making me want to switch over my winter clothes for my summer ones. In reality, it's not quite warm enough to pack away the winter woolies yet but I have started looking at my favourite accessories for the new season.

Firstly, my watch. I wear my Marc Jacobs rose gold bracelet watch all year round; it was a Christmas gift a few years ago from Adrian and I love it. Marc Jacobs watches are so chic, and this update is perfect for more muted looks. I also adore black and gold as a colour combination, which is repeated in these gorgeous Kurt Geiger sandals. Again, not quite sandal weather yet, granted (there's a sliding scale for summer footwear and I'm still on level:brogue, next up will be ballet flats, and then finally sandals!) and although I have seen several people in flipflops (!) I'm way too cold to even comprehend that yet! However, these will be great for smartening up skinny jeans or even wearing in the evening with a midi skirt. I really like the simple style and the slight heel.

Regular readers will be so tired of seeing my usual hat of choice, my tan beret, which has been a staple of my winter wardrobe this year. I am still wearing that, but when the sun comes out, I'm swapping it over for this super cute peaked straw cap from ASOS. I have decided to gently phase out the straw fedora which I have had for at least the last 4 summers, as it is looking decidedly ropey now but this is the perfect replacement. 

Finally, makeup! I don't ever really deviate too far from my signature look, which is of course winged eyeliner and a statement lip, usually red. I'll keep on with the eyeliner, but for spring I'll be softening the lip with this Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti which is a sheer but punchy orange shade. The texture of this is just glorious and it has incredible longevity for a balm stain style lipstick. 
My mum bought me this Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess fragrance for my birthday in September and it literally smells like summer. I adore it, and have only used it sparingly since I got it as I think I will be rinsing it all through the warmer months. For winter I choose something a little heavier, such as the Lush Gorilla Perfume in Karma which is also gorgeous, but I'm happy to put that away now until AW15 and reach for this lighter and prettier fragrance!

XO Amie

Monday, 23 March 2015

Safari Styling with Warehouse

Wearing: Asos hat Gap trench, Vintage shoes & belt, tee and suede skirt c/o Warehouse

Last Tuesday, I was invited up to the Mall at Cribbs Causeway for a preview of the styles set to hit the catwalk over Bristol Fashion Week (you can buy tickets here if you'd like to attend!) I was supplied with a selection of different trends including monochrome, Seventies, safari styling, denim and bold florals, and challenged to create an outfit around one of these key themes.

I had been selected by the Warehouse store at Cribbs to use their incredible new season range and along with my friend and fellow blogger Lyzi, I set about picking some pieces. The lovely manager Chloe was on hand to advise us on the trends, bestsellers and store layout so that we didn't miss anything, and she was so helpful and friendly! It was so interesting to hear her chatting about the range and her passion for the brand and the product was just wonderful to see.

I was completely open minded about the trends and hadn't really settled for anything in particular when I went into the store, which I think helped me achieve the look I eventually decided on which is a cross between Safari Styling with a dash of Seventies thrown in. Lyzi and I both reached for this suede mini skirt; I chose the khaki suede whilst Lyzi chose the same shape in a gorgeous tan leather.I teamed the skirt with the softest cream tee shirt ever, and tucked it in to show off the beautiful cut of the skirt. Back home, I added a classic trench (well, it's not quite bare legs AND bare arms weather yet!) and donned my straw cap for a real touch of Safari chic!

I didn't think I would end up embracing a trend like this but I do love the colours and fabrics that are so resonant with these trends and the pieces are actually very timeless; I think great basic tees are actually quite hard to find, but I'll definitely be earmarking Warehouse for future buys! Additionally, the suede skirt is not only one of the pieces of the season, it will also look great in years to come, with the classic, slightly flared cut and the playful pocket detailing. It's also incredibly reasonably priced at £55! Shop it here and the tee here.

XO Amie

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A Blogger's Guide #6

I thought it would be nice to post another instalment of my 'Blogger's Guide' series today and what I wanted to focus on this time was content. When I first started my blog, I was so interested in the written word; early posts feature essay-length diatribes on the latest fashion and trends and the way that I would style them within the boundaries of my own wardrobe. Later, I started including basic image content, snaps of purchases or mirror pictures of an outfit or two.

I remember, in those early days, sensing a disconnect between blogs that I liked and blogs that had amassed a huge following. The blogs with all of the followers didn't have much text, there wasn't much more to say in a lot of the posts than a quick rundown of the contents of a look, but the images were captivating. Other blogs that I loved to pore over, seemed to have the same level of written content as mine did; minimal imagery, and again, not as much of a following. Not that this matters, of course, and I'll be touching on ways to make your blog more impactful in another episode, but I did notice very early on that lots of quality pictures definitely seemed to make blogs more desirable.

I didn't have many photography skills then as now, and my pictures have always seemed to be secondary to the text I include in the post, although I've learnt over time that, like everything, a good balance is essential. Especially with the rise in popularity of other photo blogging and
sharing sites such as Pinterest and Tumblr, it's no longer enough just to share breathtaking imagery, you need to talk about them in depth, too. I try to make my copy as interesting and 'readable' as I can, because I need it to be as impactful as the pictures I am posting.

A common question I am asked is 'where do I get my ideas from?' and I have definitely found that coming up with new and interesting content daily (I try to post every day where possible) is a challenge. I work full time as well as maintaining the website so I find that keeping a notebook is essential for jotting down any ideas. Recurring post series - such as the 'Blogger's Guide', Archive posts, Instagram round ups and 'Charity shop find' give me a wealth of content to use across the month but I am aware that I don't want these segments to become stale, so variety is key. Of course I post outfits as frequently as I can but the logistics of shooting product to ensure items look their best and the styling is as I want it is difficult; sometimes (most of the time) outfit posts are fitted in around lunch breaks or before Adrian and I leave for work, (though as soon as the clocks change, after work outfit post shoots will be a 'thing' again!) and I try to mix in a dash of beauty as well as some lifestyle bits and pieces, be that charity shop finds or interior inspiration.

Of course I am lucky enough to work with different brands and companies more frequently these days which means I often have a plethora of content ideas on the backburner or posts that I know I can schedule in, and this helps but there are always days when the writer's block hits, or I have no useful imagery to share, and on those days, I tend to step away from posting at all. I used to be very obsessive about the importance of posting everyday; but I would rather miss a day occasionally if I have no great quality item to post about. Again, it's a balance, and it's an important one to find.

If you are starting out on a blogging journey and you are unsure about what to post next, I would advise sitting down and sketching out several useful post ideas that you can happily translate into content. It might be a wishlist, or a few shots of a favourite garment you can style in several ways, an outfit post or a post about something you are passionate about. This always comes through, if you enjoy the topic you are discussing, you'll make a brilliant post about it. 

XO Amie

Saturday, 21 March 2015

DIY Revival

There has been a real resurgence in the lost art of DIY and creativity over the past few years, not least amongst my own circle of friends, which is really inspiring to see. Adrian runs a record label with a friend and so much of that is based around a very DIY ethic; there's a self reliance there which diligently drives the label, Howling Owl, forward. My friend Steph recently coordinated the launch of Box, her selfmade zine which chronicled a who's who of female talent in Bristol, showcasing the written word, illustration, photography and audio.

DIY can be nostalgic, and I wanted to revisit the lost art of letter-writing within this post, thanks to the motivation provided by these lovely materials from World of Envelopes.  I used to be very keen on writing letters; I have a whole box full of letters from pen friends and even my best friend Casey, who spent the extra time at the end of her mock GCSE exams providing a social commentary on the teachers dubious fashions or what she would be doing at the weekend (she could have just told me after the exams, I suppose, but when you're 15 (in 1998) it was all about committing to paper)

Of course, this is a digital age, and with the advent of Myspace, Facebook and even prior with emails, and texts the letter became something that was more frequently used to communicate thankyou's to grandparents after Christmas and birthdays than finding out what friends were up to. There is a definite place for the humble letter, though; when I first moved away from home the letters from my mum, simple postcards or notes enclosed with forwarded mail were the things I looked forward to the most, that helped me ease that sense of homesickness. There's a definitely feeling of sentimentality that comes through with a letter; the handwriting, the envelope carefully addressed, the time that someone has invested in the writing, that is lost completely through digital media. That's why letters are kept, treasured, in a way that emails, despite their content, are not.

If you are lacking in inspiration, World of Envelopes has just about everything you could possibly hope for in terms of making a letter look as pretty as possible. From amazingly intricate pouchettes to the pretty lined 'fancy envelopes' in a multitude of colours and sizes, there's something for all types of letter. There are also themed envelopes for special occasions or suitable Wedding stationary if you are looking for something pretty to house your invites! Check out the full range on the website here.

XO Amie

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Notes on favourite handcreams

Hand creams by: Bliss // Aveeno // Elizabeth Arden

I've often included hand creams in 'Products I've used up' posts but it's rare that I would dedicate a blog post to talking about them in depth. I suppose it isn't really something that you would overly think about, in buying a hand cream; I've tried so many over the years and usually just pick up whichever one is on offer! However, I've definitely found some to be better than others and here's a selection of the ones I've been using most recently.

I should prefix this post by saying that I suffer from very dry hands, exacerbated by a skin complaint called pomphlox which makes my hands alternatively itchy and rashy and dry and cracked. Lovely. To combat this, I've found that there are only a few hand creams that can really help; and when it's at its worst, I usually have to reach for the E45 or a steroid cream. But in between bouts, I try to use products that aren't overly scented or that are particularly designed for dry skin.

I have often spoken about The Body Shop hemp hand cream, which is one that I really like, and alongside this one, there's another more naturally suited product in the form of this Aveeno hand cream with colloidal oatmeal. This lasts through hand washing, which is something that really affects my hands; not the washing per se but any antibacterial hand wash (of the sort you would get at work or in public toilets) really flares it up. Hence, this is a great cream to keep in my bag or coat pocket; obviously I want to be able to wash my hands and applying this afterwards stops them feeling cracked and sore. Like The Body Shop hemp version, I wasn't keen on the scent at all (it is very oatmealy!) but I've got used to it now and it really has helped my hands so I can put up with that! It is priced at £5.49 but is definitely a worthwhile purchase.

A lighter option comes from this Bliss High Intensity hand cream that I actually picked up as part of a set, with a lip balm. I didn't like the lip balm at all (it actually made my mouth more dry, if that is possible!) but this hand cream was just lovely. A lightweight, easily absorbed lotion, a little goes a long way and the smell is insane; it's been compared to Hawaiian Tropic suncream and it definitely has that summery, tropical vibe to it. I've since used this up and I would rebuy it but this one is slightly more expensive; for the largest size it's around the £20 mark and I did love the scent, but definitely didn't feel that it helped soothe my hands as much as the Aveeno cream did.

Finally, the key player. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream is such a classic; it's something I've had in my handbag for years since being introduced to it by a friend. This is a funny product; a tiny amount goes a long way, and it can be quite greasy, but I like to apply this in the evening and then put cotton gloves on overnight, to ensure soft paws in the morning. You can also use it on your feet to pamper them pre-pedicure or to ease dry, cracked heels. 50ml of this product is around £26 but this does last for years; it is definitely an investment but it is a multitasker that can also be used to soothe dry lips and treat any dry skin patches.

So, there you have it; three of my favourite hand creams, all at slightly different scales of the spectrum in terms of pricing but all great products, if I had to pick a favourite it would probably be the Elizabeth Arden cream in terms of it's multiuse ability but I would probably repurchase them all!

XO Amie