Sunday, 12 August 2018

THAT New Look Dress!

The year is 1977. The war in Vietnam is at long last, mercifully over. Women's rights movements swell with growing success. Bangs, bell-bottoms and polyester abounds. Fade into 'Disco Inferno':

Well not quite, but the essence of the '70s can certainly be emulated with the now seemingly infamous New Look dress that's become more ubiquitous than an avocado at a millennial's brunch date. From Rochelle Humes to countless bloggers, this dress has been a hit with many people and it's easy to see why. At only €30 this is not a gĂșna to break the bank and the A-Line cut is a fail safe flattering style on everyone. It's also really lightweight and comfortable and could be styled with converse, vans or dressed up with heeled boots for more of a glam vibe. Moving into Autumn, this is a great transitional piece too and could be cozy-ed up with tights and a little leather jacket or black knitwear. 

To play up the 70's vibe, I paired the dress with a pair of white River Island boots.....Disco Stu style! 

Apart from feeling like a little space cowboy every time I wear these bad boys, they are a really nice alternative to black boots and I have been reaching for them surprisingly often.

The dress has been like gold dust since it came into stock and has unfortunately sold out online, but definitely check in store and don't forget to check the plus, tall and petite ranges as it comes in all.

That's all for now folks, I'm off to Studio 54 in this rig-out, and don't la disco!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

'Politics is Life and Everything to do with it Affects You, Directly or Indirectly'.

In the early hours of a grey Wednesday morning strolling to work, I was suddenly struck by the power and resonance of the line, 'politics is life and everything to do with it affects you, directly or indirectly'. Delivered with the distinctive melodic cadence of the Welsh accent of one of the prominent women involved in the political awakening among women's support groups at the time of the South Wales miner's strike 1984-85, Public Service Broadcasting's track, 'They Gave Me a Lamp' served to further underscore that the result of the upcoming referendum on May 25th, will affect every Irish citizen in some way shape or form and only by voting 'yes' can we achieve the first positive milestone on the road to women's reproductive rights. Here are just three points you might want to consider before voting.

Consider What History Has Taught Us

During my research for my thesis last year which was entitled, 'A woman of rock, carved out of the rocks around her': Female Resilience and the Impact of Motherhood in Three Plays by Marina Carr', I became accurately aware of the problematic and deeply ingrained synonymy of womanhood and motherhood purported by the Irish State and the Catholic Church. My theoretical approach was to blend theories of gender and identity with perspectives on social and political contexts and in order to situate the plays within their historical milieus, I looked at the social climate in Ireland from the 1960s to the 1990s. Since the inception of the State in 1922, 'the Church's dominance over matters of sexuality and reproduction was formalized into law' (Pramaggiorre 114). Women experienced a gradual erosion of their bodily autonomy first with the Censorship of Publications Act which banned books addressing contraception and later, in 1935, with the Criminal Law Amendment, which prohibited the sale and importation of contraceptives. The 1937 constitution consolidated this conservatism by officially endorsing as 'a national goal the women's confinement in domestic sphere' (Pramaggiore 114). It was not until 1985 that the Health and Family Planning Bill permitted regional health boards to legally sell contraception to anyone over eighteen. The policing of reproductive rights in particular led to a trio of devastating cases during the period between 1983 and 1992, namely the so-called Kerry Babies case, the death of fourteen year old Ann Lovett and her baby, poignantly found at a statue of the Virgin Mary in Granard and the infamous 'X Case' of 1992. The 1980's was therefore rightly dubbed by Nell McCafferty, 'a lousy decade for Irish women' and with the harrowing case of Savita Halappanavar in 2012, who was denied a potentially lifesaving abortion  because the life of the fetus legally had equal rights to the life of the mother, millennial women continue to experience persecution. Beyond the known cases, countless Irish women with devastating stories too truncated to be threaded into narratives of remembrance have all suffered because the Eight Amendment has prohibited their access to safe and legal terminations in Ireland. With this historical backdrop in mind, I ask that you

Vote From a Place of Compassion

Consider the issue rationally and try to understand that abortion for any woman under any circumstance is never an easy decision - of that I can be sure. Whilst I cannot begin to understand the anguish to be in a situation whereby the pregnancy is unwanted, or conversely very much wanted but that fatal fetal abnormality has been established, no woman enters into abortion lightly. The psychological, physical and financial toll of terminating a pregnancy surely negates the ludicrous argument from the anti-choice side that, if legalized, abortion will become commonplace and replace the use of contraception (*types this whilst vein angrily throbs in forehead). The United Nations has proclaimed the Eight Amendment a violation of human rights and with cases of women being kept alive on life support machines, against the will of their families because she is pregnant, or pregnant women who become diagnosed with cancer being denied chemotherapy, logically I don't know how someone could say that the Eight Amendment does not violate human rights. Then there are those people on the fringes that the Eight affects, healthcare workers who are put in compromising positions legally, people on lower incomes who may not be able to afford to travel abroad for a termination and non-nationals who cannot leave the country. On May 25th, all I would ask is that people vote from a place of sympathy if not empathy, of compassion and above all else remember that you are not being asked what you personally would do in any given situation, you are voting to potentially give the person in the opposite voting booth, the choice to decide what is right for them to do. So please 

Be Wary of Untrue and Sensationalist Anti-Choice Propaganda 

Note that I chose to say 'anti-choice' and not 'pro-life'. One of my biggest points of contention with the anti-choice side is the deceptive vernacular they chose to pedal their campaigns. Just because I am pro-choice, it does not mean I am in any way anti-life or even pro-abortion. It means that I try to be a liberal and compassionate person who has faith in Irish women to make the right decision for their own lives. Moreover, what another person decides to do with their body is none of anyone else's business. I have seen some highly misleading literature put out by the 'no' side, purporting that abortion on demand will become rife and that late stage terminations will be ubiquitous if the Eight is repealed. This is untrue. If a yes vote carries, terminations will be regulated and will only be permitted in certain circumstances, such as if the woman's life is under threat or in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities. Whilst the Oireachtas will ultimately compose the wording of the new law, our vote determines whether there will be a change or not. 

So please vote with a liberal, progressive and compassionate frame of mind on May 25th and Repeal the Eight Amendment. We could see a positive change for Irish women if a yes vote wins. To return to the final words in 'They Gave Me a Lamp', 'I've been in front, I have never give in...and I am very proud of it, and I'll be proud to look back on it.'

Work Cited:

Pramaggiore, Maria. '"Papa Don't Preach": Pregnancy and Performance in Contemporary Irish Cinema'. The Irish In Us: Irishness, Performativity, and Popular Culture, edited by Diana Negra. Duke UP, 2006, pp.110-130. 

'They Gave Me a Lamp', Public Service Broadcasting, 2017.

Monday, 16 October 2017

We Were On A Break!

It's Monday, October 16th and whilst Hurricane Ophelia is giving it shhtacks, I'm lucky enough to be tucked up inside, with the day off and the opportunity to pen the renaissance of 'A Little Amy'. It's been some time since I wrote my last blog post and I'm beginning to miss creating content for this space. I wanted to begin with a bit of preamble - 'the dog ate my homework' if you will, about my extended absence, including a mini rant about the vapid nature of 90% of fashion posts, before being a total hypocrite and probably doing just that! Let's hope this transpires to be somewhat mentally stimulating and/or vaguely amusing. We'll give it a lash, so grab yourself a hot beverage, put on some melancholy tunes (I'm currently listening to my favourite sad boy, Keaton Henson) and admiring the lovely weather ;)

Beginning with why I stopped uploading posts to this platform mainly centers on the time commitment my masters programme required. In September 2017, I began an English MA in UCC entitled 'Irish Writers and Film' and whilst I gained a lot from the year, it was at times grueling, particularly with the requirement to write a 15-17 thousand word thesis. Additionally, we were also asked to set up an academic blog which would document the research journey. To my surprise, this was a greatly enjoyable endeavour and I put a lot of effort into my new bambino, 'Fiosrach' (meaning curious/inquisitive in Irish). On that platform, I wrote about research seminars I attended and enjoyed, readings I went to and even some original poetry I tentatively dipped my toe into. The wonderfully inspiring, Dr Donna Alexander, a lecturer on the course, frequently spoke about the value of blogging, particularly advantageous for people wishing to pursue a career in publishing. These words of wisdom have been in my mind of late, coupled with the desire to reignite my passion for blogging about all things lifestyle related and huzzah, here we are! The plan of action is to write about those kinds of things, fashion, food, travel, etc here and direct more traditionally academic posts to 'Fiosrach' when the inspiration strikes. 

Compounding time restraints with the reasons I stopped uploading posts to 'A Little Amy' is the ambivalence I began to feel particularly towards fashion content. Firstly, there was the reputation surrounding fashion posts/ bloggers that I strongly wanted to dissociate myself with. Whenever someone would (very kindly!) compliment me on my blog, I would internally cringe, thinking that what they were internally saying was God, she must love herself! or Christ, she's so pretentious!, which couldn't be further from the truth (except maybe when I've got my moleskin out making a to-do list and sipping on a delicious coffee...then maybe I feel a bit pretentious!), but 90% of the time a feeling of crippling insecurity is my default mode! Outside of the fashion content I would upload, I began to get fatigued by the contrived 'outfit of the days' that all seemed to blend into one when I would scroll through my instagram feed. It's certainly a conundrum, because it would be disingenuous of me to label all 'aspirational' content as trite; I'll be the first to admit I sometimes swoon over a chic picture of a coffee and a cactus, or a seemingly effortless outfit on a super slim, naturally beautiful girl, but the problem with this kind of imagery is the value we ascribe to it. I for one instantly think the person who uploads a picture if their fancy morning coffee is highly organised, has an amazing career whilst the pretty girl is always happy, has the perfect relationship and generally breezes through life.....all from one picture! Surely this is how we have been conditioned, coupled with that brilliantly detrimental human instinct of comparison, truly the thief of joy. Whilst I do think there is a place for this kind of aspirational content, I think like all things, it should probably be consumed in moderation. Whenever I uploaded a fashion post in the past, I would always feel the pressure to live up to this perfectionism and would always feel disheartened when I inevitably fell short. Over the past few months, I've tried to consider what is at the essence of what I love about other people's style, both in my personal life and other people's blogs or YouTube channels, namely people like Tar Marz, SunbeamsJess and Zoe Sugg - they all look unique, which brought me full circle to underscoring what I love most about fashion - it's potential for self-expression and generally to boost confidence. I think moving forward for me, it's time to forget about the contrived imagery when it comes to fashion posts and embrace a more natural approach. That's what I've tried to do below when talking about a few autumn clothing essentials. They are all pieces that are practical on a day-to-day basis and will keep you warm and comfy. The pictures were taken a few weeks ago on a lovely break to Courtmacsherry with a friend whilst we were out for a walk on a breezy day! I hope you enjoy.

First up, and very apt for the current weather, is an ASOS puffer jacket which I've gotten a lot of wear out of. It's super padded to keep you really toasty and cuffed at the sleeves to keep the breeze out. The only thing I will say about this is the size runs quite big so I'd recommend sizing down if you're in between. I got mine in my regular size and look like a hybrid between a dementor and the Michelin Man when I wear it! Nonetheless it's socially more acceptable to wear than my duvet so comfort trumps style on this one!

 (Actual Dementor)

Underneath my jacket on our crisp autumnal walk, I wore an oversized (oversized being the operative word here!) Ellesse long sleeve tee. This is again an ASOS purchase and when it arrived I seriously considered returning it, because the fit is massive, especially the sleeves....I seemed to have overlooked the 'extreme sleeves' part in the description! Hoodwinked by the outrageously soft cotton material however and aspirations to pull off the 'I don't care/ 90's sportswear vibes', we kept the relationship goin'. Results of our toxic love below: 

Next up, are a super comfortable pair of shoes that have been thoroughly road tested over the past few months. They are my faithful Timberland Kiri Ups. Somewhat similar to the Balenciaga trainers that so many people have been raving about, the Kiri Ups are more affordable and more wearable in my opinion. They are part of Timberland's new collection and certainly a different direction for the brand. The Kiri Ups have a younger, cooler vibe and have been seen on people like SunBeamsJess, who styles them beautifully. They come in a variety of colours and feature some recyclable materials, such as in the laces, which is a plus if you're considering more sustainable fashion choices. 

Thanks ever so much for stopping by. I hope you'll join me again when I feel like posting.

Much love,

Amy. x

Friday, 1 July 2016

Summer Is Coming
Game of Thrones pun aside, with the change of season, I have added a few new pieces to my wardrobe of late (cheap and cheerful as per!) and I just wanted to share and maybe give you some inspiration to spruce up your threads for the sunnier months. It's amazing sometimes how a few new additions can make all the difference and help to create a host of different combinations with existing items in your wardrobe. On my summer wish list were 1) A light knit, 2) A Bardot top, 3) A pair of brogues and 4) A summer dress, all of which came in handy during my glamorous staycation in Courtmac last week!
I picked up this crotchet style cream knit in the Topshop sale lately and find it perfect for layering. It's lightweight enough for Summer, yet still substantial enough to keep you warm in the chilly evenings. A baggy fit and a slouchy neckline makes it all the more comfy too. I styled it with a pair of ripped jeans from Only (softest things ever, by the way!) and my faithful Stan Smiths.


Next up is a really pretty Bardot top I picked up in Zara recently. This has been a great little transitional piece for me as it looks great with flats and a simple pair of jeans, or dressed up with a pair of heels and a chocker. The pale blue shade looks really crisp and summery and even better with a bit of a faux glow ;) My exact one seems to be out of stock on the Zara website, but I have linked similar here. Plenty of stores doing lovely versions of a classic piece.

Finally is a dress I picked up from Penneys. It's a really pretty dusty pink shade with lace cut outs and a frill overlay at the bust (very Downton Abbey-esque!) The dress comes with a slip and flows really nicely, well worth the €17 I paid! I paired it with a gorgeous pair of brogues I picked up in Clarkes recently. The Mahon shop had only one pair of 4.5's left, so really it was fate! They make me feel like I should either be the most stylish granny on the block or like I should be in Made in Chelsea....let's hope for the latter!


That's all folks! Hope everyone is having a lovely summer and, as always, thanks for the read.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bums N' Roses
Following on from my last post all about denim, I've raised the bar a little this week with a slight twist on a classic pair of blue denims. There is nothing better sometimes than simplicity and a white tee paired with some skinny jeans is a winner on everyone. If you're thinking that this age old combo needs a bit of a style overall however, look no further than embroidered jeans. I recently spotted a pair on Zara's website and fell in love. From the front, they just look like your standard pair of light wash denims, but the back is where the magic happens! Not only do they have an embroidered rose patch on the back pocket (which I am completely diggin'), but on the ankles they have the embroidered slogan 'love always', a really playful little detail. What I love most about these jeans is that whilst they are really unique, they are not too much of a  statement as to make them unwearable. The Devil is in the detail with these bad boys ;)

 White V-Neck Tee- H&M / Jeans - Zara / Ring - The Great Frog 
To dress it up a little, I think the denims look lovely with a pair of heels and this Missguided faux suede jacket. I've had this little biker jacket for a few months now and I've gotten so much wear out of it as it is so versatile and the colour ties in beautifully with the stitching on denims. It is available in a multitude of shades as well as in tall or petite, if you're a shorty like moi ;)
So from me and my swan friend, bye for now :) Bottom line, you won't have a bum deal with these jeans! (Sorry, had to be done...)
Thanks for the cheese ;)
                                    Amy. x