Wednesday, 30 December 2015

15 best bits of 2015

I know it's oh-so-cliched but I just can't quite believe that 2015 has left us to make way for a new and exciting 2016. Honestly...HOW. WHEN.
Last year, I looked back at all the things I learnt about me and my life in 2014 (take a trip down memory lane and have another read of it here - go on, you know you want to).

This time round, I'm getting all reflective on life all over again (no surprises there). And while I'm still learning in that big ol' school called life every single day still, I can honestly, whole-heartedly say that 2015 has been one of the best and my personal favourite years of my life so far, and here are 15 reasons why...

1.) I moved to London
I lived away from home for over 4 years now but with uni living meaning that I still came home for weeks and even months at a time every so often when term was finished, this is the first time I've properly felt like I've lived away from home and flown the nest if you will (although I'm sure my mum will tell you she feels otherwise). London has been an amazing, weird, hectic, mad, beautiful, cramped, massive and magical place to live in this past year, and continues to be as I enter my 2nd year calling it my home.

2.) I got a new London family
And with a new home, comes a new family. I spent the 1st half of the year staying with some pretty generous family who let me stay longer than niceties entail. Rent-free. In Zone 1, Angel. (No amount of boxes of biscuits I give them will ever say thank you enough) But there came a time when I had to give them their spare room and my own personal space back. Enter the era of 18B and my London mum and big sis; Katie & Bryony. These girls have only been in my life for 6 months but have already looked after me when I'm horrifically drunk, help me make sure the dickheads in my life stay out of my life, made me tea when I'm hungover, made me laugh until I cry and become some pretty special friends. Thanks for making London and 18B feel like home girls.

3.) I got a job
After months of interning, uncertainty, feeling knocked down and approaching 100 job applications, I finally got a job as a legit journalist! There was an immediate sense of stability, security, relief, pride and just sheer happiness. What I once thought of as a dream job was now a reality and I couldn't have been more grateful. The hard work and grief had paid off and everything was coming up Amy!

4.) I left my job
Sometimes life doesn't pan out how you thought it would and it's oh-so-easy to feel like a failure, knocked down and beat yourself up about it. But y'know what you should do instead? See it as a chance to take up other opportunities you might have overlooked. Leaving my first job made me really re-evaluate my work/life balance and what I really wanted to spent the majority of my everyday life doing. You can know something isn't entirely right for you and still be so grateful you had the opportunity. I've now got more freedom and flexibility. I get to try more things and find out what I like and not so much, know what I'm good at and what I need to improve at - and at this moment in time, the freelance life is keeping me pretty happy.

5.) I got on a plane (or 3)
I don't really do New Year resolutions, but after not going abroad for quite a few years, I wanted to spend less of my money on materialistic things and spend it more on creating memories and experiences - and that including seeing more of the world. I frolicked around in Prague, Milan and Budapest and weekend city getaways are now my new bestie.

6.) I wrecked my hair
As a kid with a dad who constantly cut my hair into a mushroom-shaped bob, as soon as I was given the freedom to let reign over my own hair, I vowed to grow it to Rapunzel-lengths to make up for lost time. And indeed, it got pretty long. And it kinda stayed that way since I was about 17 - apart from the 2 or 3 year stint where my fringe got all Zooey Deschanel. So it was time for a change. Liiike, dip-dying my hair once, twice, three times a bleach job. Add some grey toner and voila! My grandma-worthy hair goals were achieved and 3 months later I'm still head over heels in love with it (even if my dad isn't)

7.) I missed home
You take so much for granted when you're living at home: the cooking, the washing, the warm thermostat - basically not needing to look after yourself. But above all that, your family, parents, those who do the looking after. Every few months or so, a wave of feeling homesick hits me and all I want is a big hug off my mum and a drink with my dad - sadly, they're 180 miles away. So I resort to booking a train ticket and as soon as I see them on that train platform, I'm so happy and grateful to have them in my life and be reunited with them. (Don't ever let them know that though - promise?)

8.) I missed my friends
Ditto - see above for explanation. You pick up friends along the way in your life, all at different stages and in different friend groups. But with everyone doing their own thing, it gets so much difficult to see people on a regular basis and before you know it, it's been 6 weeks and you still haven't gone for that drink you said you would. Make the effort - text back, make plans, call for a chat. When it all goes to shit, they're the ones who'll come to your house with a bottle of wine and a pizza and wipe away your tears.

9.) I loved love
I've dated here and there over the past couple of years since my last serious relationship, but after having my heart toyed with and my loyalty and feelings trampled on one too many times, I became a little bit more guarded and little less generous with my emotions (despite being an ol' hopeless romantic). But this year, I finally let down my guards a tiny bit and let some people into my life who made me happy, made me laugh and made me restore my faith in others. A few were fun for a little while, a couple I couldn't wait to get rid of, and some I hope will still in my life for a little while longer.

10.) I gave up the gym
Being a big fat child who grew up living above a take-away (pretty stereotypical I know, but man it was hard to resist those Singapore fried noodles), I always have a teeny voice at the back of my mind reminding me never to get back to that state. I became quite a gym bunny at one point but after I left uni at Sheffield, I swapped the gym for running to de-stress & get some fresh air. But honestly, this year, the last thing on my mind is how many miles I've done. In between work and just, life, all I want to do is put my feet up and rest. I walk pretty much everywhere on a daily basis and my 4-year relationship with yoga keeps me sane physically and mentally. My body's the most chuffed and confident I've ever felt about it, and granted I'm not a Victoria's Secret angel, but as long as I'm happy and healthy, then it's all gravy.

11.) My wardrobe got ridiculous
Last year, I learnt how to give zero fucks and embrace the eff out of my personal style, and it's one of the best things I've ever done. That does however mean that I've got some pretty mental additions to my wadrobe - including but not limited to multi-coloured pom-pom shoes, a lucky cat and seashell bag, Cher Horowitz worthy fluffy heels, a gold leather skirt and a 'Bugger Off' tee. I look forward to getting ready from my dressing up box every goddamn day.

12.) I got to know strangers
When you're a kid, making friends is as easy as ABC, and when you go to uni, you're all in the same boat and you bond and make friendships over it - along with the tequila shots and deadline dramas of course. But when you become an adult, making friends gets a bit trickier, especially when you move to a new city. I've met some people this year who I never would've thought would be in my life. People who are bonkers, people that I would've stayed away from in school, people who are the complete opposite to me - but they're all people I'm oh so glad I got to know and am now so happy to call a friend.

13.) I was hungover, exhausted & skint
I have never been so tired, busy or poor in my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. Before you go running to my mum, yes I have saved some £££ away fo ra rainy day and my future yada yada, but the rest of it? Well, it's been spent on tickets, gigs, nights out, rollerskating, dinner, drinks and everything else in between - my poor diary has never been so abused with plans. If I'm spending 70% of my everyday life working to earn money, you can bet your sweet ass that I'm spending the other 30% enjoying it and having a good time. You know, before the adult responsibilities REALLY kick in. As for the hangovers...that might be because I'm getting old and shit now - BOO.

14.) I gave less fucks
One of my biggest anxieties throughout life is wondering what people's opinion of me are. Last year, I got a lot better at not worrying about it, but it's hard for a tiger to change it's stripes - not impossible - but a bit tricky. Whether it's people at work, my friends, and of course, those pesky boys. I give my best not to worry about what people thought about my blog, my opinions, what I wore and how my life seemed. Instead if thinking, I just...did. And y'know what? It's been pretty damn liberating. Highly recommend it.

15.) I didn't know what the hell was going on with my life
AND I STILL DON'T. I don't think I ever will. I've taken some chances, kicked myself over missed chances and made a few mistakes in hindsight (damn that pesky hindsight). And that's just fine with me. Life: please keep throwing surprises and curveballs over my way - it's keeping me on my toes and I'm not gonna lie...I'm loving it.
Can't wait for what you've got stored away in 2016 you cheeky little rascal.

Until next time,

Monday, 21 December 2015

12 very real struggles of Christmas in your 20s

There'll be no prizes given out for guessing that this girl here flipping LOVES Christmas.
From trying to stay up all night and catch a glimpse of Santa, to falling asleep early on the sofa from all the Bailey and Bucks Fizz - as soon as midnight hits on December 1st, I just can't hide that festive spirit anymore. (And let's be honest, I've not done a very good job of disguising it ever since Halloween finished anyway).

But singing along to your Christmas playlist and glugging down the mulled wine ain't all that the festive period is all cracked up to be when you're in your 20s, oh no! 
There's oh so much more to that when you're stuck in between being a big kid and pretending to be an adult...

1.) The balance between twinkly and tacky
I'm all about the Christmas jumpers - sequins, glitter, vintage, and even ones with actual bells on - but as much as 5-year-old me could go all out practically dressed as Santa's little helper, that might be just a BIT too jazzy nearly 20 years later on my work commute. So, a slick of red lippy and my 'kissing guys for mince pies' jumper with do as I head to my meetings.

2.) The gift of giving
How about instead of gifts, we do gifs instead? I'll make you a personalised one with my expert Photoshop skills and everything. Tis' the season of giving, and I always see stuff I'm dying to get my loved ones - before I look at the price tag and remember than I've also got about 15 other people to buy for and I chose a career that pays a pittance... WHY MUST YOU COST SO MUCH YOU FESTIVE FIENDS.

3.) Winter bulking
Party season means the tiniest and tightest of dresses come out to play, but also, so do mince pies. And well, you can't go to a Christmas market without having a Bratwurst or 2 right? No other time of the year would it be acceptable to start your day with a teeny tiny chocolate every single day, but, y''s Christmas! It's cold - you need to add a few extra layers on your body to keep you warm right?

4.) All I want for Christmas
Once upon a time, you imagined your life to look like the front of a snuggly Christmas card, with a couple cozy in front of an open fire. But in reality, you've been seeing someone for a bit and you don't know whether or not to get them a present - cus if they've got you one and you have nothing in return, well, you just look like a dick don't ya? Or you're just inundated with family members asking you if you've got a partner and why you're the only single one at the dinner table...BECAUSE I'M JUST FINE AND DANDY AUNTY CAROL LEAVE ME AND MY PIGS IN BLANKETS ALONE THANKS.

5.) Voice of an angel
Speaking of Mariah Carey, who HASN'T has tried to sing along with her vocal acrobatics and highest of high notes. Every time, every year, i'm convinced I can sing just as well as her (especially when it's the last song played on the dancefloor), and every year, I'm sorely proved wrong. Also, how many times is too many times to listen to that song in one day? Just asking for a friend...

6.) He's making a list, he's checking it twice
Well, I'm old and independent enough now that if I want something I like, I kinda already just, well, get it for myself? Long gone are the days of folding down pages in the Argos catalogue for my wish-list to Santa, and instead, I've realized I've ran out of that swish moisturizer I really like or I need a new diary - but that's just not as exciting as being surprised with a Barbie dream house is it?

7.) Decoration goals
You envisage your home to look like a winter wonderland of millions of fairy lights and wreaths that even Pinterest would be well jel of. In reality, you're stringing up your own baubles, cutting out snowflakes to hang on your archway and you've got the tiniest christmas tree that you and your flatmate's loose change can afford. It may be small but dammit it's YOURS and it smells glorious.

8.) White Christmas
As a kid, waking up and seeing the outside of your window covered in a beautiful white blanket was one of the best and most exciting feelings in the world. School was off and you were all geared up for a day of sledging. Now though, yeah you still get just as pysched - before you make your commute into work and the train's delayed or you need to de-ice your car. You're inevitably half an hour later and your gloves are soaked through.

9.) So, when are you free? 
Look, there's only 4 weeks in December, so only 3 weekends before the big day, therefore, realistically, only about 6 whole free days where you haven't got that thing called a job or life getting in the way. That ain't a lot of time for having fun with your squad! And with everyone's schedules being different, trying to find a time everyone to get together is just an absolute mission, but there's a reason why they call it a Christmas miracle.

10.) Merry & mulled 
It's been a long day at work, you'll go to a Christmas market or a pub with some friends just for a quick drink you think to yourself - you deserve it! You've been working hard at that 9-5 life yo. But mulled wine has this tricky power of tasting just like hot Ribena and before you know it, you're 6 mugs in and it's about to turn midnight. Just like Cinderella herself, you're trying to get the last train home after you've essentially drank a bottle of wine to keep yourself warm.

11.) Chill or thrills?
You can't wait to get home, get in your comfy clothes, and put on Love Actually with the bae (be that your other half or a big ol' pizza). Buttttt, the girls from yoga are also at the bar down the road - you know the one who do two for one cocktails and always play your favourite songs? Yeah. That one. YOU WANT TO DO BOTH BUT THERE'S ONLY ONE YOU.

12.) Nearest & dearest
And that's the biggest struggle of them all - having to come to terms and accept the fact that you're just a big festive soppy git deep down (you don't fool me you Scrooge)

Hope you all have a magical, love-filled festive period with all those that you love! 

Until next time,

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Icy November

Oh winter - you can be such a cruel and icy mistress, but dya know what? It does mean that I get to wrap up in a long ol' camel shearling coat that makes me feel like I'm in a 90s pop music video. And just to complete the throwback look, a slogan t-shirt that has 'trouble' scribbled inside a heart should do the trick.
It's no suprise that the weather hasn't deterred me from my love of all things pastel, cus y'know, the cold never bothered me anyway (sorry, not sorry). And you know what the best thing is when you wear all the pale colours under the sun in the winter?
You feel like a sassy lil' ice princess with your grey hair, frosted lippy and kick-ass over knee boots. (Can I add sassy ice queen to my CV please?)

If taking inspiration from from Disney princess Elsa isn't enough, then what about Brigitte Bardot? 
A zipped-up little cord number with some slinky 70s boots will make you feel suitably old-school, in the best way possible.
Or a laced-up knit with a trusty golden chained belt will do a similar job - the choice is yours! (oh don't I spoil ya?)

And of course, it wouldn't be winter without some festive knitwear now would it? Am UBER-cozy jumper with gold stars should do the trick, especially when teamed with a leopard print fuzzy mini-skirt and a big ol' high pony tail that would give Ariana Grande a run for her money.
Bit jazzy? Well, if all those patterns and prints are just a bit too jazzy for you liking, then it's time to take things down a notch with an all black ensemble, complete with sheer stripes and a deep side-parting. 
 Don't worry though - the underwear may be black, but it's still sparkly as a Disney festive parade.

And if all else fails, take a leaf out of your girl Posh Spice's book and go for a trusty LBD - i've gone for a scalloped edge and cut out number - and some high black boots wouldn't go amiss either.
 And why stop at going out ensembles when it comes to going back to black. A pair of ripped jeans and a tile printed polo neck will do the trick for any lazy weekend - and with a pair of sassy snakeskin boots and a Tracey Emin book on hand too, your inner Alexa Chung can sleep easy tonight.
Until next time,

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Month by Numbers: brunch, birthdays & babes

You know when I decided to do weekly favourites? Yeah, well, who was I kidding - we all know that I was gonna fall behind on that so let's start afresh and turn this into a monthly thing yeah? Because, you know, life and shit like that tends to get in the way.

7 favourites..
1.) I've been counting down the hours until it was December 1st and I could whack out ALL the Christmas jumpers and put Mariah Carey on full blast, but that did mean that I had to say bye to a homely November that was filled with wintery frolics and old-school memories.

2.) One of the highlights of the whole month, was when I went to brunch. Yes. A meal was a highlight of mine and I'll tell you for why - it had been in the diary for about 3 months, it was with 3 of my dearest friends from Uni and it was at an absolute dreamy, tropical, palace. We went to Bourne & Hollingsworth near Farringdon and many a yummy treat were had: cripsy potato hash, bacon, maple syrup, french toast, salon, hollandaise sauce, and of course, bottomless bellinis. It was such a lovely day of chatting and wondering around the festive lights of London and it felt like no time had gone since we finished Uni together 3 years ago.

3.) And Uni friends aren't the only ones I've been catching up with as it was my 5-year school reunion and it was weird and wonderful all at the same time to walk back through those school days and share a glass of wine with the teachers that used to tell me to stop chatting so much in class. What it really made me realised is that everyone has taken so very different paths in their lives and you know what? Everyone's just happy for everyone and no-one's judging one another for what they have or haven't done - you do you babes, you're doing fab.
4.) Ok, so I know it's only just turned December BUT I've had the festive spirit bubbling under me for a while now, so it's hardly surprising that before the festive month had even arrived, I'd already indulged in twinkly lights, the Coca-Cola truck, and eggnog cocktails while roasting marshmallows in front of an open fire on a rooftop Wig Wam bar.

5.) And with friends, comes family, and this month saw the 3rd birthday of the youngest munchkin in the Lo family and as my nephew ran around with excitement ripping open presents, I fully indulged in some priceless Lo family time (as well as eating all the jelly and ice-cream on offer of course)

6.) But it's not just birthdays that means loads of Lo love. I spent a whole week fulfilling Aunty Amy duties. In case you don't know what that entails, it means drawing ice-cream shops, giving piggy-back rides, watching cartoons and playing hide-and-seek (which can prove to be rather difficult when you're a grown adult and the only places you can really hide is behind doors and the side of beds.)

7.) The soundtrack of my November has mainly consisted of 3 albums: Adele, Justin Bieber and Tame Impala. And lucky me is going to see one of them next year! (Can you guess which one?)

5 tweets...
1.) Honestly, one of my worst traits EVER is video snapchatting when I'm out and drunk...
2.) Oh GOD I've got a sore throat. This is it guys. This is the beginning of the end. Crack open the Lemsip and blankets.
3.) The past 2 weeks have been pretty indulgent in terms of calories, alcohol & my bank account. Oops.  #winterbulking
4.) Can't stop eating gherkins today. Gross but delicious (story of my life)
5.) Listening to #Adele25 and I keep staring meaningfully out of the window as I travel through London

3 outfits...
tshirt:Topshop, skirt:Topshop, boots:Daisy Street, coat:Missguided, sunglasses:RayBans
Even when you're a 23-year-old adult, you can put on a t-shirt that Lizzie McGuire would've worn and a long ol' shearling coat that looks like it came out of a S Club 7 Christmas music video to take on the day. Over the knee boots and wrap around icy blue skirt are perfect to make this into an ice princess outfit (grey dip-dye hair and fits of giggles optional)
LEFT- jumper:& Other Stories, skirt:Topshop RIGHT- dress:Topshop, boots:ASOS
Winter also means the time for jumpers, and what better knitwear to snuggle up in that a navy blue number with gold stars - I'd fit right in with a Christmas nativity don't you think? Paired with a furry leopard print mini skirt and a high ponytail and you've got yourself a pretty sassy ensemble.

Not quite as sassy as channeling your inner Posh Spice though in a cheeky cut-away LBD and black over the knee boots. Hi-Ce-Ya, hold tight!

Until next time,