Sunday, May 20, 2018

Swimwear, self confidence and smog brain

The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Lookbook Italy Praiano Positano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast
Pretty much everything I'm wearing in the post is Figleaves but it's all linked in the below text!

Ok, so, today's post has two parts and please bear with me on the first part - I hadn't planned it and it just came tumbling out as I was typing (picture something very similar to thisso it might be a little convoluted in parts.

So, bodies. I definitely haven't always had a funny relationship with my body, I don't really remember being particularly aware of my figure or shape until the age of around 19 or 20. Throughout uni I lived on a diet of Irn Bru, Dominos, tuna pasta and not much else (no ragrets) and was quite... soft by the time I got to my third year. But I don't really remember ever feeling bad about my weight or the way I looked until a while after I graduated. There's so much focus every day on women's bodies and what they should look like - there always has been - but, for me, Instagram in particular played a huge part in how I viewed myself. My eyes were suddenly opened to a world full of beautiful, slender gazelles (not actual gazelles, although you can find them as well on a different hashtag) and, despite being about two foot taller than me and a completely different body shape, I convinced myself I wouldn't be happy with my body until it looked like that. I know, I know. It looks so silly written down but such is the way the mind words. My self worth became linked incredibly closely with my weight and my head was often so all-compassed with negative thoughts that I'd notice myself acting like a different person if I had a particularly bad day. I'd become quiet and withdrawn and felt like I had nothing to offer. I indulged in some crazy-lady behaviour, including - wait for it - crying in the middle of the gym because of how I looked (at this point I weighed 46kg), crying in the middle of taking blog photos when I saw them back because of how bad I thought I looked (my tear ducts have had a really hard run over the past few years, yes), ruining evenings out for myself because I didn't feel nice, and shying away from being spotted in the nudey (quite the passion killer, believe it or not). People could tell me I was kind, considerate, loving, friendly, funny (it's mainly my Mum that tells me I'm funny but it still counts) but as soon as I felt a bit self-conscious about the way I looked none of it mattered. I instantly became this person who was completely unworthy. Now, I'd like to point out that I'm not saying in any part of this post that I was or am an unhealthy weight and I don't want it to come across as  'woe is me' or that I'm digging for compliments, I just want to show how poisonous and warped your brain despite your shape or size.
The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast
Ok, so where am I going with this and why on earth did I choose this post to talk about it. I'm getting there, I promise. So, between the end of last year and the beginning of this year I had a few things going on personally that knocked me a bit and, when I get knocked, I comfort eat. Simples. I gained a bit of weight and although I'm not talking huge amounts, maybe around half a stone, to me it was huge. Normally where I'd fall down the slipperly negative slope, I instead took a long hard look at myself and realised, well, I was an arse. It's hardly an Aristotle-level realisation, I know, but I've wasted so much of my adult life worrying about something as trivial as weight and it had to stop. My poor body has seen me through 26 years of life being healthy and strong and all I've done to repay it is mentally beat it up. I started exercising with the view that I wanted to get strong and fit, not because I wanted to lose weight, and tried really hard to stop the bad smog from creeping into my head again. You know Hexxus in Ferngully? It's like he's wrapping himself round my brain. Anyway, I've uploaded a couple of bikini photos this year since gaining that little bit of weight (again I'd like to point out here that I'm aware I still have what is deemed a slimmer figure, just that I was a little softer to what I was last year, really) and had lots of lots of people saying they were happy to see a curvy figure on their feed, which of course is lovely. However, I did have a good handful of comments that were along the lines of people congratulating me or telling me I'm 'brave' or 'inspiring' for having the courage to post bikini photos with 'my kind of shape' which made me feel sad about how many people are sitting with the mindset that just because someone doesn't have that stereo typical supermodel-esque figure they should be deemed brave for uploading a bikini picture. If I'd used my bikini top as a lasso to escape from a burning building, that would be brave, but we need to move away from the whole 'bikini ready' concept where you should look a certain way to be uploading a photo of yourself in swimwear.

5D3_8250 The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Lookbook Italy Praiano Positano The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast So this post is two pronged-really. A promise to myself to keep working on having a better mindset and for us, as women, to celebrate ourselves as we are, no matter what our shape or size. I understand that some women out there already have a really healthy, lovely mindset where there is no link at all between their appearance and their self-worth who might be thinking, 'what kind of balderdash is she speaking' but I also know that far too many of us are caught up in the same thought process as me. Our bodies are miraculous things; they hold us up, they let us walk, they let us write, they let us jump and skip, they let us dance, they let us grow and nurture an actual real life human being in them and yet we're incredibly unkind to them if they dare get a bit wobbly, if they're too slim, if they've given us small boobs, big feet, bad eyelashes, thin hair and so on and so forth. Our appearance isn't in any way related to our worth or who we are as people so why are we all so hard on ourselves? I'm not saying don't take care in your appearance, but just don't let it affect your view of yourself as a person. Instead of berating yourself for letting your stomach initiate rotund mode think, 'I make an excellent - eggcelent? - omelette', 'I'm always there for people if they need me', 'I have fantastic timekeeping' or 'my shower singing sounds just like Adele at the Brits' and shove that bad thought to the back of your brain. And if you're having a day where that's particularly difficult just try to remember and rest easy in the knowledge that your that your head has the capacity to exaggerate and make things seem much worse than they are. Take it from the arsehole who cried at the gym.


The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast 'Ok Amy, yes, thank you for that, but tell us where your bikini's from'. I know, I got waylaid and I will return now to what I'd originally written. So today's post comes to you from the Amalfi Coast and - hence my previous essay - features swimwear, lingerie and nightwear because the nicer weather has finally (finally) decided to grace us with its presence. Swimwear shopping is always a wee bit of a pain in the butt so I've started doing most of mine online where I can try them on in the comfort of my own home with nice non-fluorescent lighting. I'm very sure you all know of Figleaves but, just in case you don't, they're a website that stock a whole variety of brands (from Maison Lejaby to Seafolly to UGG) and have all your lingerie, swimwear and sleepwear needs covered. So today I'm going to show you my Figleaves x Amalfi wardrobe! 
The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast
I used to be strictly a bikini-only gal but I've been getting quite into my swimsuits as well recently,  which I think might be something to do with getting older but let's not focus on that. I packed two black swimsuits this time; this one and this one. They're both incredibly flattering, they hold you in and give you support without looking like those mad heavy duty swimsuits from the 50s and each have little details to them that make them stand out. I did, of course, take some bikinis with me as well. The first is this yellow bikini which is so much girlier than what I'd normally go for but I love it! It's high waisted, which I often find myself drifting towards, and has a very cute retro vibe to it. My bottoms are a little big as it was a sample one but you should be fine with your normal size if you go for it! I also brought these lovely striped retro bottoms with me too (which come with a matching top as well FYI!). As well as the lovely brands I've mentioned, Figleaves do also have their own swimwear line as well with some beautiful (and well priced!) pieces which you can find here.

The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast

Now that we've covered swimwear we have - dun dun dun - lingerie. I love a good bit of lingerie so I do; nothing beats your old, well worn and deeply comfortable pants, but there's something about a beautiful lingerie set that makes me feel very good about myself. Like I've got my shit together. Like I understand taxes and mortgages (I don't). The first set I wore is from Bluebella and is so utterly beautiful and delicate that it makes my heart hurt to look at it. It's got a real pin-up girl vibe to it, whilst the lace keeps it nice and soft. The second piece is a black lace body (which also comes in white and pink) and I loved it so much that I decided to style it two ways; the first just on it's own as lingerie and the second for an evening look. I LOVE a body worn as a top, I think there's something really chic and - dare I say - sexy about it. I paired it with some big wide-leg trousers and a hat as I was in Italian Coast mode but I think at home it would look beautiful in black skinny jeans with a leather jacket and a red lip. And a chignon bun. Oh yes. 

Loungewear. My favourite word. These pyjamas are one of the best things that I've ever owned; it was the colour I was drawn to at first and then they arrived and turned out to be the softest most easy to wear set in the land. They're the ideal pyjamas for prancing around in during the summer months too as they're so light and airy. I also picked this charcoal grey Calvin Klein bralet and matching pants set which is SO comfortable, a little bit different to your usual black or white sets, and is especially enjoyable to wear whilst travelling.
The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast

And there we have it! I really hope that it helps you on your own swimwear searching path and gets you excited for the warmer weather. And, in regards to the first part of my post, I really hope that it helped in some way or got you thinking (even if all you're thinking is 'I can't believe she cried in the middle of the gym').

Amy

All photos by the incredible Kirsty McLachlan | Post in collaboration with Figleaves

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Guide to Penzance

The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel cc-879The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel4 The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Artist Residence Penzance review The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel The Little Magpie Guide to Penzance, Cornwall, Artist Residence Hotel
Hallo friends! Today's blog post comes to you from the wonderful Cornwall, which is somewhere I've wanted to visit for a long time. I had a few people message me to say that Penzance was a curious choice for a first timer but I honestly loved it! We really wanted to stay at The Artist Residence Hotel after hearing so many wonderful things and I did find that there was a lot to see and do (and eat) in the area. Don't worry though, St Ives, I'm coming for you next. 

I'll start with the hotel. If you go to Penzance, you've absolutely got to get your little butt to The Artist Residence hotel. I've visited both the Brighton and London ones and loved this just as much! Myself and my little bruv had the lookout room right up on the third floor which was the perfect home from home. There's a big airy bathroom - which has a view of the sea, a bar cart for toiletries and, oh, only the best big copper bath in the land - your own very well equipped kitchen (should you choose to stay in one evening and cook), a chilled out living room space (complete with log burner and antique furniture), a balcony with a beautiful view across to Newlyn (perfect to sit on in the evenings and watch the sunset with a wee gin in hand) and a beautiful, beautiful bedroom that's tucked away behind a big wooden door and framed with exposed wooden beams. My favourite. Breakfast is included and I'm honestly still dreaming about the egg, avo & spinach toast now. If you're not staying there I'd still recommend a dinner at their Cornish Barn restaurant for some locally sourced meat and fish dishes (the calamari is incredible) and a truly lovely ambiance, or taking advantage of their happy hour where you'll find a particularly good espresso martini.

WHAT TO DO & WHERE TO EAT
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I'll start with where to eat. We had a few beautiful meals during our time there; I'd highly recommend The Tolcarne Inn which is - wait for it - a whopping 300 years old. It's got such a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere and is a real must for those of you who are seafood lovers; there's a chalkboard menu filled to the brim with seasonal catches that's updated every single day according to what's been freshly caught. Mackerel, cod, scallops, mussels, you name it. They also do a Sunday roast which I've heard is not to be missed! We had a beautiful lunch at Archie Browns, which is a health food cafe that does the best salads in the land and is your one-stop-shop if you're vegan or veggie or have any kind of intolerance. They also do an amazing matcha latte (and you know how much I love a matcha latte) so make sure to get yourself one of those. Penzance have also just been awarded the first plastic-free status for any coastal town in the UK which is a pretty big deal, so you'll see lots of shops and restaurants embracing it with Archie Browns being one of them! Also worth noting in both Penzance and Newlyn are The Cornish Hen (said to be the best pasty in Penzance, I can't vouch for that but I can tell you they do an incredible GF brownie), Jelbert's Ice Cream (said to be the best ice cream in the WORLD. That's right. I'm not even a fan of vanilla ice cream and they had me converted. You can have it with a flake in or with clotted cream on top), Mermaid Alley (we didn't have time to visit but a few people recommended it for their amazing milkshakes), The Honey Pot (for cake and tea), Mackeral Skye for seafood (again we didn't have time to go but this was the restaurant that was recommended to us most) and Polgoon Vineyard is a lovely little winery that make their own wine, cider and apple juices. There are also a good few fish and chip shops that do gluten free in Penzance, including Frasers and Pirates Rest, so you won't have to miss out on that if you're a fellow allergy kid!

And now, of course, what to do whilst you're there! My favourite, favourite thing we did was take a trip to Minack Theatre which is a stones throw away in Porthcurno. It's an entirely open air theatre, built by the badass Rowena Cade, which is built into the cliffs and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is truly a spectacular sight. My photo doesn't show it in all its glory - hot damn do I need me a drone - but have a wee peek at it here. Of course you have to visit the famous Porthcurno beach while you're there too, where the sea is so turquoise you'll start to question whether you've actually accidentally ended up in the South of France. In and around Penzance there are lots of little cafes and shops to explore (No. 56 is one to note, it's homeware heaven), there's Jubilee Pool (we were there too early in the season to go but I've heard it's incredible in summer) and I'd also recommended taking a trip down to Mousehole for an afternoon. It's a lovely little fishing village about two miles down the road from Penzance and is the perfect place to paddle in the sea, to grab a bite to eat (FYI, Hole Foods Deli do a gluten free scone) and to buy a bag of shells to take back as a seaside memento.

And there we have it! I'm desperate to go back to explore more of the Coastline but Penzance was the perfect place to start.

Amy

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Week in Oufits

The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh
First up, thank you so much for all your lovely feedback on my Antwerp post - it took me at least 20 cups of tea to write and is a place I'm really passionate about (Amy and Antwerp up a tree-eee) so I'm really happy that it went down so well. Secondly, I had some very exciting news this week that I've been nominated for a Blogosphere award for best fashion influencer! I did not in any way expect to be nominated so it's a bit cray-cray. If you're feeling ever so kind then you can send a wee vote my way here (I'll send you a smooch if so. Although that offer might actually discourage some people).

Today's post is called 'A Week in Outfits' although if it was an official representation of my week in outfits then there'd be at least one jammie day and a few more mismatched socks in there. It was more just excuse for me to group together a few outfits I've worn recently! I'll start with my favourite...

DAY 1

The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh
The Little Magpie Topshop blue suit
The suit to end all suits. I love it. It's such an unusual colour and it's made all the more badass with the contrast stitching. The trousers are also a little cropped so for once in my life I didn't need to worry about making a trip to the alterations shop. Rejoice! 

DAY 2
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The Little Magpie Topshop striped blazer
The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh
TOPSHOP striped blazer & metallic crop & flared trousers | FREE PEOPLE round rattan bag | LACK OF COLOR suede hat 

Second up is my accidental 70s outfit. I didn't mean for it to look quite so very retro but it happened and I'm ok with it. You'll know this hat very well by now - my Lack of Color baby - but the trousers are new to these parts. They're incredibly flattering, especially around the bottom area, and are also very leg lengthening too. I paired them with a striped blazer (which also comes with matching trousers and a matching jumpsuit) and a little metallic crop. And, of course, my Mulberry Amberley which you've seen almost as often as me on here. 

DAY 3
The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh
The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh
The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh
REFORMATION cord suit | UZMA BOZAI slogan tee

Another suit. I know. Who do I think I am, Anchorman? It's from Reformation, who are one of my all time favourite brands, and is, again, very 70s. I felt very like I was chanelling my inner Jim Morrison when I was wearing it, just with more make-up and less musical talent.

DAY 4
The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh


The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style EdinburghThe Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh
TOPSHOP embroidered blouse | & OTHER STORIES high waist jeans | CHUPA CHUPS lolly: model's own | VAGABOND shoes

I actually ended up whipping the beret off because I couldn't stand the forehead itch any longer and then realised I preferred the outfit with my hair down (photographic evidence here) but it was nice to be dressed like a match for a while.

DAY 5
The Little Magpie Week in Outfits Street Style Edinburgh
CATH KIDSTON slogan jumper | LACK OF COLOUR hat

This isn't really an outfit, is it? I just wanted to show you this Cath Kidston jumper because I love it so. It's part of their 25 years of collection which is, you guessed it, to celebrate their 25th birthday! You can have a wee browse of the full collection here if you like. 

DAY 6
The Little Magpie Barbados t shirt London
SANDRO blazer | TOPSHOP zebra shirt | ZOE KARSSON Barbados tee | URBAN OUTFITTERS jeans | TOPSHOP cat eye specs

I have a soft spot for this outfit as it made me feel a bit like Harry Styles. I have to say, a zebra shirt is not something I knew my wardrobe needed but now I have it I can't stop wearing it. It also comes with a matching zebra skirt which is pretty cool.

And that brings to a close a faux week in outfits! I've got a good few travel posts coming up - Penzance, Italy and New York so I'm just deciding which to put up next. I have 3000+ photos to go through for Italy (for once that is not an exaggeration, that's a genuine 100% fact) so I think I'll maybe go for Penzance first.

Ok byee,
Amy x

Photos by Kirsty McLachlan and last photo by Michaela Tornaritis