a word from Amanda about Hats

Welcome to February. We are racing through 2023 and before we know it, springtime will be here. In other words, time to rapidly get a new wardrobe together for the warmer months ahead.

Springtime will see the return of noughties hats, which will be the number one accessory. Including the Bucket Hat, which everyone seems to be producing on the high street right now. Including Ikea.

There’s no denying Ikea is a star mainstream player when it comes to homeware brands, but now the Swedish retailer is dipping its toe into the fashion world. Well, streetwear, to be more precise.

Ikea has taken its iconic blue Frakta bag (you know, the ones you get at the check-out) and turned it into a bucket hat. It’s even got the yellow Ikea-branded carrying handle as a trim, above the brim.

Naturally, the product comes with a signature semi-pronounceable Swedish name – which is Knorva,in this instance.

The product description reads: ‘This hat is made of the same hardwearing and durable materials as one of the world’s most used bags.’ The brand claims that the garment provides protection from all the elements and is easy to keep clean – simply rinse and dry it. Its waterproof nature also makes it ideal for festivals. Will we see them all over Glastonbury this June?

As well as the bucket hat, other Y2k hats have been revived, as seen on the beautiful Anne Hathaway at PFW.

The actress was spotted channelling her beloved character Andy from The Devil Wears Prada, during Haute Couture week in Paris.

She paired a sleek, black pageboy cap with black sunglasses, a navy overcoat and wide leg jeans – for a simple and sophisticated off-duty look.

For those not clued-up, a pageboy cap is pretty much the same thing as a baker boy hat – except for a few minor details. If you were to get technical, often the baker boy cap can be seen as smarter with slightly more height.

Men aren’t exempt from the revival either: Cruz Beckham was spotted wearing a very similar baker boy cap in October last year.

All you need to know is that the Y2K classics are really making a comeback this season – becoming increasingly popular both on and off the catwalks.

Want to get in on the trend? These are my faves.

ASOS DESIGN high crown baker boy hat with size adjuster in black – £15

New Look camel suedette baker boy cap – £7.79

Dune London falcan-black branded baker boy hat – £40

Free People Phoebe Slouchy Lieutenant Cap – £32

Accessorize twill baker boy hat in blue – £16

Nike x Tiffany Sneakers

Nike simply ‘gets’ sneaker collaborations. In fact, it owns them. Yes, Nike just knows what the people want – Louis Vuitton, Supreme. Carhartt. Off-White, Comme des Garçons to name just a few. It’s partnered with all the big players. 

Now, Nike has come up with what may well be the collab of the year. This weekend saw the announcement of a link up with legendary jewellery label Tiffany and Co, for a brand-new Air Force 1 Low. The news broke following leaked imagery of black Nike Air Force Ones with Tiffany blue Swooshes.

Nike’s team was quick to respond to the unprecedented leaks by sharing an image of an expensive-looking Tiffany blue box and the wording “A Legendary Pair” to its own social media accounts. 

The collaboration marks the first time that Tiffany and Co has joined the footwear game, but it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to long-standing fans. Tiffany has engaged in an increased number of collabs since its 2021 take over by LVMH.

The brand has attempted (and succeeded) to forge itself as a key player in the business of modern luxury. Collaborations with Beyonce and Jay Z (their first joint project outside music together, Supreme, Fendi and Patek Philippe have given Tiffany an increased level of clout. A Nike collab, whatever it may look like, will only increase Tiffany and Co’s new cool image.

BA’s New Uniform By Ozwald Boateng

First new uniform for BA aircrew in 20 years designed by Ozwald Boateng

British Airways have revealed their first uniform revamp in 20 years. And Twitter has some strong (and negative) opinions, whereas I personally love it. 

There’s a jumpsuit for female check-in employees which will be available for cabin crew later in the year too, a three-piece suit for men and a dress, skirt and trouser option for women. The uniform also includes outerwear which has been tested at cold temperatures of up to -18C, as well as a tunic and hijab.

However, the fit of the uniforms doesn’t appear to be wholly satisfactory and the typical punchy colours of BA’s attire have been forgone in favour of dark blue. While the airline doesn’t have gender neutral uniforms, anyone who identifies as a man or woman can wear that gender’s assigned uniform.

The collection was designed by British designer Ozwald Boateng, who has also been criticized on Twitter, alongside British Airways, for the designs.

One user tweeted: ‘BA has revealed that the new uniform includes an option of a jumpsuit which is perfectly okay if you’re flinging yourself from the plane if service goes wrong, but an utter pain in the arse if you have to keep getting undressed just for a poo.’. Yawn. Another tweeted: ‘@British_Airways maybe some of your outstanding management team could do with a little break; particularly those involved with the new overalls, I mean uniform launch.’

But it wasn’t just the jumpsuit that had Twitter going so mad. The lack of branding and dull colours were also disappointing to the online masses. The social media consensus was that the uniforms ‘couldn’t have been duller if they tried’ and reminiscent of a 1980s bank clerk.

Suffice to say, I love the new uniforms. They’re modern, smart and stylish, I hope these sad Twitter posters get a life.

Sorry, but jumpsuits for 2023 is bang on point. Well done BA  -and well done Ozwald.

Upside Down Fashion

Just when you thought you’d seen it all at Paris Fashion Week, we give you the ‘upside-down gown’ Having been given lion head dresses only last week.

Dutch avant-garde designers Viktor and Rolf pushed the boundaries of their silhouettes in their Paris Haute Couture Week 2023 show at the Hôtel Intercontinental.

Proceedings began with a model walking in a white floor-length gown with a stiff tulle skirt and a sequinned bodice. Just a couple of looks later, a similar dress that appeared to be completely detached from the model’s torso was walked down the runway in front of her.

After that, dresses were worn at all imaginable angles. One model had the bodice sticking up next to her head, with the skirt crossing her body, while another dress was worn horizontally, with the bodice in front and the skirt in back, and the model’s body inserted into a hole in the middle.

Then came the star of the show – a blue dress that was flipped completely upside down. The gravity-defying skirt was entirely covering the poor model’s face, who somehow managed to walk without falling or walking into the front row.

The collection represents impressive design feats to be sure, but it’s not exactly the kind of thing one can wear… anywhere really. But that’s really not the point of Haute Couture Week, is it?

After the show, the designers explained: ‘It’s an absurd take on the stereotype of a certain type of femininity – a classic silhouette from history, reinterpreted for today.’

Sitting front row, Doja Cat, wearing false eyelashes as brows, a moustache and a goatee, nodded thoughtfully as the looks were shown.

I love this crazy fashion departure from the norm. Long live couture! 

The 90s Tracksuit Returns

In 2023, the best suit is a 90s tracksuit

What do Justin Bieber, Tony Soprano and John McEnroe have in common? A big IDGAF tracksuit. The tracksuit is THE SUIT for men in 2023. You only have to flick through the pages of GQ and look at some of the collections at the recent Fashion weeks to know the tracksuit has moved away from being ‘chavvy’ and is now respectfully fashionable.

We could attribute the tracksuit’s success to the ongoing renaissance of 90s sports luxe, but it’s more than that.

 The lockdown was a huge factor in why the tracksuit has returned to the scene. Plus, after the pandemic there was a trend toward the retro side of sportswear. The track jacket became a good intersection between preppy and max comfort – a transitional item that’s perfect for this moment in time. 

Neo-preppy brands such as Drake’s Sporty ‘n’ Rich and Rowing Blazers have all got in on the tracksuit act in recent seasons. At the top end of fashion, even Louis Vuitton and Gucci have rewired the tracksuit for the luxury market. With bold monogramming, logos and traffic light colours, they’re not all that dissimilar.

But perhaps the biggest draw of the tracksuit over the years is how transgenerational it still feels, with several generations in its pocket. It has long been the kit of guys who project, of guys that are menacingly active, of guys who actually do give a **** about how they look. It’s officially stylish – but tongue in cheek stylish.  Think Harry Enfield’s “loadsamoney”s character meets Harry Styles.

a word from Amanda

Welcome to Amanda Zips It Up

We’ve almost made it through the worst month of the year, and I’ve been on a little health kick. After all, it’s nice to concentrate on a bit of self -improvement as we yearn for the spring and summer months ahead. 

As I mentioned in my socials, I tried some week-long research into Japenese Detox Foot Pads. Basically, they’re patches you stick on your feet before bed, which claim to draw all the toxins out of your system while you sleep. Sounds too good to be true right? That’s because it is too good to be true. They’re utter rubbish. Every morning when I woke, they were black. However, it’s simply the vinegar inside the patches reacting with one’s sweat – the same happens if you pour hot water over them.

a waste of money

Sadly, there is no evidence of any bodily response to detox pads. Claims about these products say that they remove heavy metals, toxins, and even fat from the body. Suffice to say, they do not. Other false advertisements include effectiveness for treating depression, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis. What a load of shite. Save your money.

Moving on, it is FREEZING as I write this. I’m layered up to the max, looking like I’m donning a Hollywood style ‘fat suit’, huddling next to the radiator with my laptop.

The key is to layer up, starting with thermal style underwear. Forget relying upon wooly socks and vests. It’s all about the base layer all-in-one. Brave the cold this winter by investing in this thermal base layer catsuit – it will keep you warm and snug from head to toe – just £33.90 at Amazon.

It’s available in four colours and made from a fleece-lined fabric, which helps retain heat by trapping air close to your body, providing a smooth base layer under hoodies, jeans, trousers, coats and jumpers. Or worn alone, as I have on occasion. 

Perfect for your capsule wardrobe, the set will help you stay warm and comfortable no matter the weather and available in sizes extra small through 3XL.

And for the guys, it’s all about the M&S 2pk Heatgen™ Light Thermal Long Sleeve Top in black at £25.00. Pair with Heatgen Medium Thermal Long Johns – just £18.00.

The only downside – you’ll need an extra five minutes to undress when you visit the bathroom. 

Stay warm. x

This Year’s Newest Cult Trend

OK – are you ready for the first insane Tik Tok, Insta and internet sensation/cult fashion accessory of 2023?

It’s the Stanley Cup.

Never heard of it (other than the Hockey League trophy of the same name)?

That’s because it’s mainly a US thing right now, but with the internet’s worldwide influencers and their billions of followers, it doesn’t take long for a small trend to become a global viral sensation.

All you have to do is google #stanley cup and you’ll witness its 4 BILLION views. American teens have been posting videos and photos of themselves carrying a Stanley cup to school. Plus, you’ll find photos of the cool IT crowd waking up, looking beautiful taking their full range of various sized and coloured Stanley cups out of designer fridges.

Get this, Stanley Cups were even handed out last week to the fash packs at New York Fashion Week.

Try to order one here in the UK, and prepare yourself, as they go for up to £200 – IF YOU CAN FIND ONE. They’re only $30 in the US, but add to that the plane fare for a trip over the Atlantic, if you’re serious about securing one.

It’s simply a camping flask with a handle in a cool colour. Or as they say in the US ‘The Quencher Travel Tumbler’. They’re huge (in size as well as popularity) and come with or without a handle, but if you get one without a handle then nobody will speak to you ever again. THE colour to get is cream with gold text, apparently. If you get pink or blue, then God help you, according to my research about this perplexing trend.

You have been warned.

Health Supplements

This month, I was sent some really interesting supplements to test, as part of a personal health improvement quest for 2023.

Starting with these beauty and balance capsules by ‘NOBLEBLU’, the wellness collection of Alesha Dixon. They are vegan and there’s a fortnight’s supply in each pack. Prices range from £35.

It’s a science-backed daily supplement, combining vitamins and minerals, friendly bacteria and digestive enzymes alongside formulated botanicals, to help restore balance and protect against stress. All ingredients have been selected to help keep one balanced throughout the day.

According to the blurb:

Helps reset your system

Feel more mindful and calm

Sleep much better

Makes you feel less bloated

Overall feelings of wellbeing and happiness

Helps you wind down after a busy day

Alesha also provides a handy checklist of “mental strengtheners” too:

Make some time for yourself⁠
Introduce mindfulness⁠
Create an anti-resolution list⁠
Establish a routine⁠
Don’t be too hard on yourself⁠

I’ll give Alesha’s supplements a try and see how they go.

If celebrity-endorsed supplements are just not affordable right now, I can’t recommend WELL WOMAN and WELL MAN capsules strongly enough as an alternative. Everything you need for your particular age group at an affordable price – all in one tablet.

We’re on these at home and everyone is feeling better and less tired – so something must be working. 

Are You Aging Too Fast?

January is all about rejuvenation, mentally and physically. So I thought I’d list some ageing factors the might block your rejuvenation path… Yes, some of the following is hard to achieve, but youth and radiance sure to follow.

1. You’re in the sun too much.

That summer sun is hugely anticipated by the time it rolls around, but you can have too much of a good thing, and in the sun’s case, too much happens quickly. The sun causes the vast majority of skin changes that people associate with ageing. This includes fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, leathery skin and blackheads—not to mention that it causes skin cancer.

2. You’re Vitamin D deficient (especially in winter).

There are studies that show being deficient in vitamin D can increase your risk of skin cancer and inflammatory skin conditions.  But being vitamin D deficient isn’t itself a bad habit. It’s more of a bad situation—and what is a poor habit is knowing that this deficiency is occurring yet doing little about it. A simple vitamin D supplement could do more than boost your mood, it could also give you a brighter complexion, and benefit prevent those aforementioned skin maladies.

3. You’re sleep-deprived.

Sleep deprivation has some severe consequences on your entire body, and you certainly wear it on your face. This is because being poorly rested is a type of stress for the body, and as you’ll see later in this list, stress is best avoided if you want to look your best and brightest. But that’s not the only trickle-down effect that sleep loss has on your appearance: Sleep deprivation also leads to poor dietary habits which will also contribute to a more aged appearance

4. You’re not moisturising.

This is the most baseline, entry-level form of skincare, and you need to be doing it. Moisturiser traps moisture inside your skin, to keep it firm, supple, and soft all day.

5. You’re not active enough.

To keep all of your body functions sharp, you need to stay healthy. We already discussed getting ample rest, and one other part of being healthy is staying active. Regular exercise will boost circulation around your body, and in turn boost nutrient delivery to your cells. This improves hair health and retention, as well as ensures regular cellular turnover across the surface of your skin—giving you the brightest, smoothest, clearest complexion possible.

6. You’re too stressed.

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be a high-pressure job. It can be a quarrel with a loved one. It can be an ongoing illness or a one-off bout. And ongoing stress in any shape or form can have a lasting impact, and not just next-day puffy eyes. It can disappear your hairline at record speeds, or even your skin’s collagen production, which leads to stress lines across the brow, crow’s feet at the eyes, plus duller skin and rougher texture. It can also cause acne due to a flux in hormones, and as you age, hyperpigmentation increases—which means the aftermath of those pimples can stay on your face for half a year or more.

7. Your diet isn’t much of one.

Another important part of being healthy is having a healthy diet. You didn’t need me to tell you that, but add “aging faster” as one primary reason to cut back on processed junk food.

8. You drink too much.

A glass of wine or a cold pint are the perfect way to unwind after a stressful day. But know that alcohol can take a seriously bad toll on your entire body—from skin to hair to everything underneath. Moderation is key—and keep it to weekends only plus check out all the hype about antioxidants in red wine. It’s my drink of choice.

9. You smoke.

Smoke induces the same exact cellular changes that UV rays do to damage the skin, which is why smokers exhibit rapid aging. Your teeth become discoloured, the lines around your mouth deepen and you also look really outdated because who smokes these days?

10. You’re dehydrated.

You’ve got to stay hydrated in order to keep your entire body up to par, but on a superficial level, you’ve also got to stay hydrated in order to keep your skin clear, firm, bright, and smooth. Try and stick to two litres a day if you can.

January Detox

Ways To Detox Your Body—In a Safe, Healthy Way

You may not be thrilled about your eating habits.  Or perhaps you feel you’re in need of a general reboot to a healthier path. However, given time, detoxes and cleanses aren’t necessary because your body detoxifies itself.

Still, you can help your body along with its own natural processes by adjusting your diet, eliminating alcohol, and getting enough water, rest and exercise. Your body has its own ways of removing toxins with or without your help—no special pills, juicers, or cayenne needed.

But, there are some ways you can help your body boost its natural detox system. 

Many popular detox plans can require some drastic lifestyle changes that aren’t exactly great for your body or overall health – they often involve restrictive eating patterns. The detoxes often focus on “short term detoxing” without reintroducing healthy foods or developing an eating pattern that helps you support overall health and well-being.

You can fare a lot better with your health by allowing your body to do the detoxing on its own. The body has various ways of detoxing itself. Including the liver, which works to break down various toxins and elements that you consume, allowing you to eliminate them; and the kidneys, which metabolize and excrete many things. Even your skin and lungs work to help your body get rid of toxins.

There are quite a few ways to aid your body in detoxifying itself without a depriving diet. Here are some ideas.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Whole foods packed with nutrients are your best bet to keep your body clean internally. Fibre-rich foods like fruit, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean protein, and probiotics can aid gut and liver function, so any waste gets out of your system as soon as possible.

Try to cut out fried, sugary processed foods and red meat to prevent chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Take It Easy With Alcohol

Alcohol jumps to the front of the metabolic pathway so that your body can process it quickly and get it out of your body. By the time your body gets to the other things you’ve eaten, it’s already been working hard and isn’t functioning at its peak performance.

Your body processes alcohol mainly through your liver and a little through your breath. That’s why you can smell alcohol on a person’s breath—it’s the ethanol leaving their lungs.

Your body must work hard to process alcohol, which directly impacts the organs that naturally detoxify your body. 

Limit Sugar and Processed Foods

Processed foods, which are often loaded with sugar, also take some extra effort for your body to break down. They tend not to be very high in nutrients that you need as well, making it a double whammy. They can mess with your body’s ability to stabilize your blood sugar. That makes it hard for your body to metabolize things and detoxify.

Furthermore, sugar and processed foods can lead to weight gain over time, and that has been linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. That makes it hard for your body to metabolize things and detoxify.

Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

These natural substances may prevent or delay some types of cell damage, and can do your whole body and overall health a favour. 

One of the biggest things that antioxidants do is offset free radical damage, caused by highly unstable molecules that are naturally formed when your body does a range of things.6

Free radicals can also cause what’s known as “oxidative stress,” a process that can trigger cell damage. Oxidative stress is linked to a range of diseases, including:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Eye diseases

I recommend loading up on antioxidant foods, which includes a number of fruits and vegetables.

Consider Taking Prebiotics

Prebiotics are naturally occurring, non-digestible food components that help promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut.

Good gut health is crucial to overall health. To keep things moving—and detoxing—in your gut, keep eating lots of  fiber, drinking plenty of fluids, keeping yourself moving, and loading up on prebiotics.

You can get them naturally by having more foods like:

  • bananas
  • onions
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • asparagus
  • artichokes
  • beans
  • whole-grain foods.

Drink More of the Right Stuff

Sip on water. Hydrating will help your kidneys flush out toxins, add lemon to your water for a hit of electrolytes. Lemon signals the liver to produce more enzymes, which keep digestion moving smoothly.

If you want something different than water, switch things up with tea. A small number of studies have indicated green tea may have some beneficial effects on heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Get Moving

Sweat is a way to purify other bodily substances, such as blood, through the excretion of toxins and other impurities. Sweating actually helps you detox by boosting circulation throughout the body.

What’s more, exercise also has mental health benefits. Engaging in exercise is known to help you feel less anxious and depressed and keeps you healthier overall.

Care for Your Skin

Practice smart skincare by DRY BRUSHING with a soft brush before your bath or shower. The gentle exfoliation can help your skin look and feel better if you do it correctly.

Add Epsom salts to your bath as this can also help you cleanse inside and out since your skin will absorb its minerals like magnesium. There’s little evidence for or against that claim. However, a hot Epsom salt bath can make you feel better and more relaxed.

Get Good Sleep

We need adequate snooze time as it is key for keeping your health on track and sufficient rest will help reduce stress and inflammation so your body can function at its best. Here’s how much sleep you need by age:

  • Ages 18-60: At least seven hours
  • Ages 61-64: seven to nine hours
  • Age 65 and older: seven to eight hours

You can create a sleep haven by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, quiet, and free of technology screens. Additionally, stick to a standard bedtime that allows you to get at least seven hours of sleep nightly.