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

Friday, 23 January 2015

Review: The Nanshy Makeup Sponge

Beauty blending sponge c/o Nanshy

I have only recently begun to broaden my range of beauty tools and I've got to admit that I've never tried a beauty blending sponge before. I've only ever applied my foundation with wither my fingertips (especially if it is a BB cream) or, of course, a brush: either Estee Lauder or Lancome flat foundation brushes or the Real Techniques buffing brush. So my interest was piqued when I was sent this beauty blending sponge to try. Of course, I'd heard of a beauty blender sponge before, but having never used one, was unsure of what to expect.

What I liked about Nanshy firstly was their background: a UK based beauty company producing high quality tools that are 100% cruelty free. Also, they offer a huge range of tools, not limited to sponges but also brushes and other accessories. This sponge is the 4-in-1 Marvel Foundation Blender, and it features a fine tip for blending, a flat surface for stippling, a rounded bottom for easy foundation application and an ergonomic shape for ease of use.

The sponge is incredibly soft and squidgy when initially removed from the packaging. It has to be run under water to use, and doing so will see it expand to about an added third of its size. Once wrung out, you can use to apply foundation. I tried this in a couple of ways; adding the makeup product directly to the sponge, which I found a little difficult to control, or by putting the foundation onto the back of my hand, and then adding it to my face using the sponge which I found much easier. You can use the rounded part of the sponge to roll the product on, and I particularly liked the flat edge with the pointed feature which meant I could conceal under my eyes and around my nose with ease.

I use liquid foundation but this can also be used to apply cream and mineral based products and also applied cream blusher with ease. I loved the airbrushed finish it gave and I am so pleased with the ease of use; it doesn't streak your base as some brushes can do and it is also incredibly easy to clean.

Shop the range here.

XO Amie

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Interior Inspiration with Modani

All products available on Modani

The start of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate your home and think about any changes you might like to make. I am pretty happy with how the flat looks at the moment; the area that I need to sort out is our workspace, Adrian and I do a lot of work from home and we are going to try and re-organise that area of the flat and make it more of a home office this year. Last year, though, it was the living room area; I bought a new sofa and coffee table and also some other new fixtures to make the that space a little more contemporary. The furniture we had previously had been through several house moves and was definitely in need of an update, and I wish I had known about Modani this time last year, as they have some amazing sofas and home decor accessories on their site!

I've pulled together a small collage of some of my favourite items, with this Onyxia sofa bed being the focal point. If you have a small flat, sofa beds can be an invaluable way of space saving; and it's always useful if you have guests to stay. I like how this one doesn't look like a sofa bed, but is very modern, minimal and chic.

The colour palette I have chosen to reflect the sofa is very much something I would choose in my own home; I love the combination of the brown leather and wooden accents against the white and metal and I had added a bit of colour with a fluro cushion. Soft furnishings are a great way of easily and cheaply updating your look without having to completely redecorate, and a neutral base of chrome, white, and brown means you can add almost any colour to feature.

You can view the full range of sofas here. It's a great place to get some interior inspo!

XO Amie

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Casual Friday

Wearing: ASOS cardigan and trousers Gap shirt Superga trainers

Somedays, I love to just dress down and my go-to look for this involves a fashion sum: Slouchy trousers plus slouchy cardi plus sneakers plus some sort of shirt = my favourite outfit. I never really used to wear trainers but I love the look of a pair of smarter trousers and sneakers, it just seems an unusual combination but one that works. And is super comfortable too!

This ASOS cardigan is from the White range and was in my 'saved items' for years, it eventually went down to £15 from £95 so I'm glad I held out and snapped it up in the sales. It's the most gigantic cardigan, I didn't really realise how long it was until I am seeing it back in these pictures, but it is so super cosy and warm, and I love it.

As I mentioned, I hardly ever used to wear trainers, as early readers of my blog will attest, but as my style has adapted over the years and I think because I live in a city that is very walkable, I choose flat shoes for my daily commute. I picked up these Superga because I liked how simple they were (I don't dislike trainers as much as I once did but I'm still not that keen on ones that look like you could actually work out in them!) These Superga ones are a little more durable than converse and because they're black and white they go with everything!

I promise the beret is not stapled to my head but it seems to work with every look and it keeps my ears warm, so it continues its unbeaten run of appearances in outfit posts! Apologies, I am waiting for the weather to warm up so I can get the straw hats or bowlers out again!

XO Amie

PS I was featured on Verything's 2015 Trend Report which was really kind; you can read the article here.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Record of the Week #1

Record: Ruins by Grouper

This year I have decided to broaden my musical horizons and try and listen to some of the vast collection of records that Adrian has. Well, he is picking records and I am listening to them, and then I thought it would be good to write a little bit about them, what I thought of them, etc. This is in part because he has a seemingly unending collection and also because he won't let me forget about the time I likened something he was listening to as the sound of cats fighting in a bin. This also makes for great blog content because it's a little different from the fashion or beauty posts that usually define this site!

First in the series is this record called 'Ruins' by an artist called 'Grouper.' Adrian explained that it was just one woman and a quick Google search established that, rather than being a type of fish, Grouper is actually an American woman named Liz. Ruins is her tenth studio album, and therefore she must have a pretty big following. I actually prefer when music is a little more subversive; I suppose coming of age in the 90's and taping the top 40 off my ancient tape recorder in my bedroom to make my own 'Now!' compilation I find it difficult to appreciate chart music today. It seems very contrite and mass-marketed, which I guess it is; but there doesn't seem to be much soul to it at all, and I don't mean that in terms of genre, but rather, it's very empty and rather boring, or so it seems to me.

Potted history of my musical opinions aside, I really liked this album. It was very hazy and contained lots of interesting sounds, for example you could hear it raining, and swampy frog noises, interspersed with lots of lulling swooping melodies and shifting musical crescendos. I liked the way that one song seemed to merge into the next although there were clear definitions between the tracks. It was a fascinating listening experience which I have to admit I wasn't expecting. 

The record has a picture of piano keys on the front and on the back there is another black and white image which is very grainy and distilled. This sets the par for the album really, the cover art is a good reflection of the music inside, which is again something I never really considered. I suppose with more mainstream music you would tend to get an album bearing a wistful photograph of the artist staring off into the middle distance, which is all well and good but doesn't really set up the musical theme of the album. This was the first time I really thought about the correlation between the art and the music, which became more apparent as I listened to the album. I don't think there was a particular track that I liked the best; but there were also no tracks that I didn't like, and I would like to listen to it again.

Word to best describe this album: Interesting

Will I put it on my iPod? Yes

Have you listened to this album before and what did you think? Please let me know in the comments!

XO Amie