… from Amanda

September has always been a significant month in the fashion calendar, with fashion weeks taking place across the major style cities of New York, London, Milan and Paris. Sadly, September 2022 also marked the passing of our Queen Elizabeth 11, which rightfully shifted focus away from fashion.

As a mark of respect after the Queen’s passing, many fashion week parties were cancelled and all shows originally scheduled to take place on 19 September, were moved. The designer Raf Simons also took the decision to cancel his LFW show and so did the fashion house Burberry.

The Queen was a noted style icon, with an immediately recognisable look featuring bright colours and matching skirt suits. She even previously attended London Fashion Week, sitting next to Anna Wintour on the front row of a Richard Quinn show in 2018 and awarding the designer with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.

Those LFW shows that did take place showed due respect to the late monarch.

Daniel W Fletcher (who you may recognise from the Netflix series Next In Fashion) opened LFW last week with one minute’s silence, before sending with a male model down the runway in a black morning suit with black armband to pay homage to the national mood of mourning.

Other individuals to pay their respects include Harris Reed, whose show saw a model in bridal regalia walking the runway while holding a bouquet of Lily of the Valley flowers, the Queen’s favourite flower.

The final show before the Queen’s funeral on Monday, Christopher Kane’s evening catwalk show began with a one-minute silence dedicated to the Queen’s memory.

The end of an era.

The Fleece Wearable Blanket

With energy bills on stratospheric rise, more people than ever are relying on money expert Martin Lewis and his team to help save essential pennies as winter arrives.

One of Martin’s main tips when the cold weather hits is to layer up on clothing – and I’ve spotted one item in particular which is helping the population avoid putting on the heating, and it’ll set you back just £47. 

The fleece-lined wearable blanket from OODIE will become your new best friend this winter – and I have a feeling you’ll be pretty much living in it – especially if you work from home. I confess, in this blog I’ve consistently warned you off anything ‘fleece related’ as a fashion blogger, but we’re now in uncharted circumstances.

Although this isn’t the cheapest wearable blanket out there, seeing as you’ll be wanting to use the heating much less, it’s definitely worth an investment that could save you hundreds in the long run.

  • One size fits most (based on a 6XL hoodie)
  • Soft flannel fleece on the outside
  • Warm Sherpa fleece on the inside
  • 100% cruelty-free and machine washable
  • Available in kids’ sizes too
  • Great for saving money on heating
  • Makes for the perfect Christmas gift

£59

OODIE

Best of all? There’s a huge sale right now with prices starting from £47 for kids’, and £59 for an adult size – down from £84.

There’s a variety of colours and patterns to choose from but please be warned, these are strictly all about keeping warm – less about looking sexy or on trend.

There are plenty of five-star reviews online, with one fan saying: “BIG, fluffy, cuddly warm.. did I say BIG? I love that you can fit a hot water bottle in the pouch. Up yours, energy company! I’ll be in my Oodie if you need anything.”

You can get your own snuggly oversized jumper at:

https://theoodie.co.uk

But if you’re on a tighter budget I’ve spotted some similar wearable hoodies from John Lewis, Amazon and with prices starting from just £9.99.

Mindful Eating

Experts say that listening to music by the likes of Amy Winehouse and Eminem can stop you comfort eating.

It may feel natural to dip your hands into the biscuit tin after a stressful day at work, but researchers believe they’ve uncovered a simple trick to help banish your desire to comfort eat — listen to music.

Scientists analysed how many snacks women ate after listening to certain types of music. Participants were made to feel sad, as part of the study’s attempts to see how food and music can help to combat negative emotions.

Women who listened to music which released feelings of anger or sadness ate half the amount of crisps, chocolate and confectionary, compared to volunteers not given any headphones. Such tunes included Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, Eminem’s Mockingbird, and Linkin Park’s In The End.

Women also ate about a third less after listening to music that provided solace, such as Coldplay’s Fix You or Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down.

If you’re feeling stressed, and you’re concerned it might lead to eating lots of unhealthy junk food, get your headphones on and listen to some lovely comforting music. It could actually even help with weight loss.

How music works in making people eat less is not fully known, but experts suggest it could be linked to the release of “happy” hormones like dopamine and serotonin. And unconsciously we might grab food at times of stress, because it also provides a positive dopamine, and serotonin boost.

This is not the first time that sound has been shown to affect what and how much we eat. Researchers at the University of Birmingham analysed the effects of distraction by noise and visual stimuli such as television. They found that we eat more food at a meal when we’re distracted. In fact, some experts say any music — or other disturbing noise such as the TV or conversation — should be avoided at meal times to control food consumption.

Meanwhile, ‘mindful eating’ (part of which is focusing on eating slowly, without interruption or noise) is listed in Germany’s national dietary guidelines as a way to approach all meals and snacks. But how does eating in silence help you?

Quite simply, it reduces distractions that can promote over-consumption. Plus, it potentially increases enjoyment of the meal. It also triggers a phenomenon, dubbed ‘the crunch effect’ by researchers, who believe that hearing yourself eat noisy foods encourages you to slow down your eating.

The sound of crunching creates natural ‘pause points’, a moment during eating when the consumer becomes more aware of their behaviour and may consider the amount of food they have consumed. As a result, they may then slow down or stop eating.

So, the moral is, eat silently or alternatively with the “right” type of tunes.

The Air Fryer

Air fryers: miraculous kitchen must-have, or just a load of hot air?

Everyone from Gordon Ramsay to pretty much all Instagrammers are singing the praise of these low-fat cookers. But do they live up to the hype?

I have never been catfished by a kitchen appliance before, but I was always going to be vulnerable to the air fryer’s promise of cooking without splashing oil on my Zara satin slip dresses. 

They’re a total gamechanger in many ways. Gordon Ramsay claimed the results are like food “cooked in oil, but the air fryer locks in the juice and the flavour is extraordinary”.

Air fryers are also becoming a kitchen must-have, after it emerged that they are more energy efficient and less costly to run than ovens.

The devices — counter-top machines that cook by rapidly circulating hot air — mimic the effect of deep-fried food, with far fewer calories and a fraction of the fat.

Latest machines reduce fat by as much as 80 per cent with the effect that calories are almost halved. Better still, research by energy firm Utilita found that ditching an electric cooker in favour of options such as air fryers and slow cookers could help families save money during the cost of living crisis.

Although the gadgets have been around for years, they’ve soared in popularity in the past 12 months. In their annual consumer report published last year, John Lewis revealed that sales of air fryers have increased by 400 per cent.

Air fryers have been touted as a good way to cut on energy costs this winter, as they use a fraction of the energy of a conventional oven — just 14p a day to run, compared to 87p.

This is because the fryer uses spiral heating element with a powerful fan, which means that it cooks food faster than a regular oven, and requires less electricity to do so.

Here are 3 of the most popular air fryers on the market.

Cheapest: Vortex’s Instant 4 in 1 air fryer, which costs £75.

This gadget can be used for frying, baking, roasting and reheating.

The fryer can be used to bake cakes and pastries, roast meats and veggies and reheat leftovers, cooked from fresh or frozen. It has space for 540g of chips or a 900g chicken and can cook 3 to 4 portions in one go, which makes it a good investment for families.

Costliest:  Ninja foodie max health grill and air fryer, which costs £199,99.

This option is popular with foodies because it looks sleek. But because it measures 42cm, you’re going to need a big kitchen for this one.

The fryer includes six cooking function, including air frying, baking, roasting, reheating, dehydrating food and grilling.

The Ninja air fryer is praised for its big capacity, as its grill can hold six burgers or six chicken breasts at the same time. It also enjoys a dual comportment for cooking two foods at once, which allows foodies to save on cooking time.

Midprice:  Tower T17038 Xpress, which costs £110

Costing £90 less than the Ninja fryer, the Tower option enjoys 5-in-1 function, with a 360-degree rotating system, to ensure the ingredients are cooked evenly.

This fryer can cook a 1kg chicken in just 40 minutes.

Packed with extra power, the fryer can also cook 30 per cent faster than a traditional oven.

Popular for its 11ltr capacity, which makes it great for people with large family or who like to entertain.

… a word from Amanda & Menopause at Primark

What a week.

There was indeed an edition of this blog last week, but due to the death of Queen Elizabeth ll I didn’t make too much fuss about it. But it can now be found if you scroll back on www.amandazipsitup.com

In this week’s issue, we enter a new era, with a new King and a new Prime Minister. September seems to be the month for other new starts too, as we head back to school and work following the long hot summer.

On the subject of hot, some women of a certain age will have struggled with the heat this year due to the effects of the menopause.

Menopause was once a topic that few women felt they could discuss openly – but in recent times, we’re seeing more conversation and openness around the subject.

And now fast-fashion giant PRIMARK are helping to normalise the menopause, with a new range of clothing, available in-store.

The collection includes nightwear, underwear and base layers designed to help with some common symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flushes.

And as part of the campaign, the brand will share information with customers in-store and on social media about the menopause.

Prices range from £7 to £12, and products make use of anti-flush technology, cooling yarn, odour control, and temperature control which should help ease hot flushes and excess sweating.

With an estimated 13 million women in the UK going through the perimenopause or menopause at one time, this practical range has been made with this community in mind.

The signs of menopause can greatly interfere with a person’s day to day, and suitable clothing might help make the experience that bit less uncomfortable.

Products are lightweight and use soft-touch fabric and have an anti-bacterial coating. The 14-piece range can be layered under other clothes or worn alone, and includes items like anti-chafe shorts, slip dresses, tees and cami tops. There are also bralettes and briefs.

Items have been made using recycled nylon and recycled polyester.

Phew! Sounds like we really are entering a new enlightened era.

Which watches do The King, Prince William and Harry wear?

It’s a new and exciting era for us all, and I noticed King Charles’ watch whilst fulfilling his royal duties and attending to mourning crowds, in the wake of the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Charles’s long-time piece comes from a brand from outside the mainstream.

Frequently, royalty opt for the world’s rarest Patek Philippes.  In the case of King Charles III, the watch of choice lines up with everything we know about the man: he’s quietly stylish and has a fondness for artisan, hand- made, long-lasting objects.

King Charles wears a Parmigiani Fleurier automatic Toric Chronograph.

The King’s Parmigiani Fleurier

Parmigiani Fleurier isn’t a household name, unless you’re a watch geek. Plus, Parmigiani Fleurier was launched in 1996, which makes it a relative newcomer. However, given what we know about how Charles dresses, it’s not so surprising he sought the brand out.

“I’m lucky because I can find marvellous people who are brilliant makers of the things that I appreciate, and because of that, I try to keep them going for longer,” Charles told VOGUE magazine recently.

Parmigiani Fleurier founder Michel Parmigiani fits that bill exactly. Michel got his start working as a restorer, taking on high-profile jobs for the likes of the Patek Philippe Museum, until investors encouraged him to launch his own brand.

Michel launched with the Toric model. Like many prestigious watches, it’s all about the tiny details. Pay close attention to the moon counterweight on the seconds hand, the elegant numerals in the date window, and that uniquely textured bezel. The bezels are “knurled” by hand, a groove-creating process you’re most likely to see out in the world on the grippy handles of dumbbells.

Maybe what Michel and Charles have most in common, though, is philosophy. In his Vogue interview, Charles talked about his distaste for waste and his desire to “buy once, buy well.” In that case, he picked the right watch. Michel said that his hope for the Toric was for it it “become a timeless model with an aesthetic that would survive the test of time.”

According to a rep for Parmigiani Fleurier, Charles purchased the watch sometime between the late ‘90s and early 2000s at the Klosters resort in Switzerland, which the Royal family frequents in the winter. It’s been on his wrist for many big occasions since: it’s the same piece he wore in 2018 for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

King Charles sticks mostly to this single watch. 

Prince William’s Omega Seamaster

Prince William wears an OMEGA Seamaster, while Harry seems to only own two watches: a Rolex Explorer II and a Breitling Aerospace

Prince Harry’s Rolex Explorer
Prince Harry’s Breitling Aerospace

Last September DRAKE took inspiration from our Queen rocking a pretty Patek Philippe Ellipse, which she wore in a portrait.

The Queen and Drake love Patek Phillipe

 Princess Diana wore a Cartier Tank, but there’s no telling the effect Charles’s choice might have on a smaller brand like Parmigiani Fleurier.

Princess Diana’s Cartier Tank

The Queen’s Handbags

Our Queen was rarely seen without one of her iconic handbags.

No matter what the occasion or how lavishly she was dressed, Her Majesty virtually always had a handbag on her arm to match.

Not only were her handbags practical fashion statements but, according to various royal experts, they also helped her communicate secret messages to her staff about when she wanted conversations to end.

After all, the Queen spent a lot of her time meeting people, so the idea of her finding tactful tactical ways to extract herself when she was ready to move on seems perfectly befitting of Her Majesty.

On top of that, there must have been a number of security measures in place that her staff would want to keep abreast of, thus making secret handbag signals not just polite, but practical too.

If the Queen swapped her purse from one arm to the other, she was signalling to her ladies-in-waiting that she wanted someone to come and interrupt the conversation.

And if she really wanted to get out of the situation with immediate effect then the Queen would place her bag all the way on the floor. According to royal historians, the Queen spinning a ring on her finger would send a similar message.

If there was a dinner that Her Majesty wanted to end within the next five minutes, she’d place her bag on the table.

If she happened to be taking callers at Buckingham Palace, there was also a handy secret buzzer the Queen could use to signal that it was time for her guests to leave.

The Queen isn’t the only one to have used her handbag as a handy tool for navigating social events – the Duchess of Cambridge is said to always carry a clutch bag in front of her in both hands to avoid awkward handshakes.

As for what these iconic handbags were thought to contain, it’s been said the Queen carried many of the things one might expect a lady to want on her person.

While she didn’t have much need for things like an iphone, wallet or keys, she was previously photographed pulling out her glasses and chosen shade of lipstick for the day. Clarins was known to be a favourite brand of hers, and she wasn’t shy about topping up in the open – a girl after our own hearts.

A royal biographer shared in 2012 that she’d also carry a mirror and a £5 or £10 note to give to charity collections. 

When it comes to the Queen’s style, she was often seen with an offering by luxury handbag manufacturer Launer London, of which the Queen is said to have first become a fan in the late 50s after the Queen Mother bought her one.

The brand has held the Royal Warrant since 1968, and the Queen was often seen sporting black patent and matte leather designs through the years, and was said to own over 200 in total.

Selfridges has a small selection in stock with prices starting at £1,700.

The Queen’s favourite Perfume

Scent can be a powerful force, evoking memories of people, places, and moments gone by.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II this week, her life and personality have been explored in great depth.

Although the 96-year-old was a hugely prominent figure, only a small percentage of the population ever got to meet her. As a result, questions have arisen regarding what the Queen was really like in person and what her habits were – including which perfume she wore.

Floris of London is reported to have been her favourite fragrance house, and in 1971 the brand was given the Royal Warrant as Her Majesty’s exclusive perfumers.

Her signature scent was White Rose, a floral yet musky blend of rose, iris, amber, carnation, and jasmine.

The Floris website describes its origin story, saying it was ‘originally created at the Jermyn Street shop by Mr John Floris in the early 1800s’.

According to the Mayfair-based retailer: ‘Devoted wearers of the fragrance have included Florence Nightingale, and Lord Admiral Nelson is reported to have bought Floris White Rose for his mistress, Lady Hamilton.’

The Queen wore this iconic perfume on her wedding day, continuing to spritz it on throughout her life.

Meghan Markle also wore a bespoke Floris blend for her wedding to Prince Harry, continuing the tradition across generations of the Royal Family.

In fact, the perfumers hold their regal connection in such high esteem that earlier this year they released a special edition scent in honour of Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

Floris Platinum 22 comprises notes of orris, oat, lime, and black tea, and is said to be inspired by ‘Her Majesty’s beautiful gardens which surround Her UK residences.’

Kate Moss Wellness brand ‘Cosmoss’

Kate Moss has joined list of celebrities delving into the lucrative wellness business with products that ‘help find inner peace’

Once nicknamed “the tank” for her ability to guzzle champagne (and everything else), the original 90s “It” model has swapped all-night partying for dawn meditation and night-time tea. Kate has famously been sober now for the past couple of years and left those hard-drinking years behind her, saying “I have been on my own private journey of wellness and self-discovery to find inner harmony, balance and love.”

Moss has launched her own wellness brand, Cosmoss, featuring six products including vegan skincare and mood-boosting teas, ranging from £20 for a canister of Dawn Tea to £120 for a Sacred Mist fragrance

“A story of reconnection from soul to surface. There is a magic to Cosmoss and I can’t wait for you all to uncover it, just as I did,” reads a statement in a press release. 

Over the past decade there has been a shift in how consumers spend and flaunt their wealth. Nowadays you are more likely to see Instagrammers in luxury athleisure wear with a green juice after a boutique spinning class than posing with the latest Burberry handbag. Even Ibiza is more wellness and less Amnesia.

According to the Global Wellness Institute, the world’s wellness economy is expected to grow by 10% annually through to 2025, when it will stand at £5.24tn. In the UK, the luxury department group Selfridges reports that sales of supplements, superfoods and ingestibles are up almost 125% since 2021 and almost 700% compared with pre-pandemic levels. Its London store has launched a permanent wellbeing destination called the Feel Good Bar, “dedicated to the discovery of feeling good”, offering information on gut health, hangover cures and sleep hacking.

Moss joins a long list of celebrities who have delved into this lucrative world. Gwyneth Paltrow – the queen of wellness who turns 50 this month – launched Goop as a newsletter from her kitchen table in 2008. The business is now valued at more than $250m and encompasses everything from beauty to clothing, podcasts and a Netflix series. 

On the Cosmoss site, Moss frolics in a wildflower meadow, swims naked in a lake and shares how her personal daily rituals – including using the face cream with wild Icelandic plants – helps “find inner peace and self-fulfilment and open a door to balance, restoration and love”.

… a word from Amanda

Welcome to this week’s instalment of Amanda Zips It Up.

Question: How hot do you go with your Nando’s sauce?

Soon you’ll be able to wear your chosen flavour with pride, as Nando’s is launching a limited-edition range of clothing emblazoned with the chain’s heat levels. I’m all about the Hot Peri Peri…

But that’s not all. As one touches and interacts with the items, they change colour. Created using thermochromic tech, Nando is tapping into its PERi-ometer heat chart, merged with the 90s nostalgia of hypercolour fashion.

So, if you work up a sweat while you eat your extra hot chicken, your hat might give the game away.

Simply go to the Nando’s website and check out the merchandise, ranging from £15-50, featuring a mix of short sleeve and long sleeve T-shirts, sweaters, bucket hats and socks.

They are perfect for any late summer festivals and holidays – or just for your next Nando’s visit. If you have little or no shame.

The unisex range is available in five different heat levels (plainish, lemon and herb, medium, hot and extra hot) and five colourways.

Onto this week’s Zips It Up features, and we discuss Autumnal sofa season on Netflix, PH Levels in your water, plus what you  should be wearing on your feet whilst transitioning from summer to autumn.

Enjoy. x