31 December 2014

My Favourite Dresses of 2014

Whilst 2014 has been a bit of a roller coaster in my personal life, one thing that has not changed is my ever growing love for clothes.  Alongside that love for clothes, my body confidence has grown steadily too and that is in no small way due to the amazing blogs that I read.

Becky (Mrs BeBe) is one blog that I always take time to read.  She first inspired me to start my own blog and I love checking out what she is wearing.  Seeing her progress with her writing and how generously she shares her own story drives me on too.

The fabulous Betty Pamper always looks like she dresses exactly the way she wishes.  Betty wears the things that she wants, without worrying if things are "on trend" (I hate that phrase).  She wears the clothes that she loves, her personality shines through them and she always looks amazing.  This is the way I like to dress myself, not following the trends, just following my style; be it from Bon Marche or Asos.

Dani has the wardrobe that I wish that I could live in.  She is always perfectly styled in her photographs and her choices and combinations always inspire me to make bolder choices.  Love this girl.

Leah is a daily read for me.  Reading her blog is like receiving the most amazing hug of your life.  Her generosity, her willingness to share her life with you, both the ups and the downs and of course the great clothes she wears makes her a must read.  I always wish that I lived closer to Leah as she is just the type of person that I love to have in my life.

Em is just amazeballs.  Read her blog and love her.  That is all.

Mentions also have to be made for Nikki who has the best laugh of anyone I know, Becky whose love for dresses rivals my own (congratulations on your job lovely!) and the amazing Louise who inspires me greatly.

So, on to what I wore this year.  Here are my favourites:



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There are just a few of my favourite outfits that I have worn this year, hope you like them as much as I do.

I hope everyone has a happy New Year.  Roll on to 2015, I have a feeling it is going to be a good one!


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29 December 2014

How to make a Cheap Maxi Dress Look Like a Million Dollars

Everybody looks good in a maxi dress, and there’s a huge selection of maxis out there to choose from. Unfortunately, not all of them are priced within reach of the typical girl—which makes choosing a cheap plus-sized maxi dress (that won’t look cheap) quite a challenge. Here are three steps to taking a discount maxi and making it look couture:


Pay attention to fit
This is advice that comes out a lot in the fashion world, but it really does matter. Fitted dresses look substantially more chic and elegant than those that are a hint too light, too lose, too long, or too short. With cheap maxi dresses, the length is particularly important: no maxi dress should touch the floor without showing off at least your toes. Remember that dresses can be hemmed and that even a trip to the tailor costs a lot less than buying fitted designer pieces, while making you look just as good.



A sexy cut goes a long way.
One way to dress up a cheap maxi dress is simply to buy a sexier cut. As a general rule of thumb, sexy dresses look more expensive than casual dresses. Remember that this rule has many exceptions, however, and if you wearing something too revealing to a casual environment, it can look a little bit cheap. There are many ways to make a make dress look sexy without going over the top, however. Evening wear/cocktail style maxi dresses typically have straps and a close fit all the way down to the waist, in contrast to the baggier maxi dresses you see on the beach. If you want to go a step even sexier, look for those with slits, cutouts, or mesh to show off a hint of skin. 



Accessories say a lot.
No matter whether you got your maxi dress for $500 or $50, its look will be influenced heavily by how you accessorize. Consider elements from earrings and necklaces to belts, clutches, shawls and of course your choice of footwear. For best results, contrast against the dress somewhat: a bright pink maxi pairs elegantly with black pumps and a black clutch, whereas a more subued dress is really going to pop with small touches of bright color in the accessories.



How do you dress up a bargain dress?


* Guest Post - Collaborated

24 December 2014

A Break For Christmas



I cannot believe how quickly Christmas has crept up upon on us this year.  It does not seem two seconds since I was bemoaning the fact that I had just seen my first Christmas tree on the 1st November and yet suddenly here we are already on Christmas Eve.

This year has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me to say the least.

I am very happy that my blog has continued in the same path, forever moving forwards.  I am still constantly surprised when I receive a nice comment on something I have written and when someone tells me that they read my blog, I still get a little warm fuzz in my heart.

This year also saw the start of my writing for the Huffington Post.  After seeing a couple of other bloggers submitting pieces, I decided to work up the courage to submit my own piece and now I happily am able to write on my own little "Huff Post" blog whenever I feel the urge to discuss, ponder or rant (which is quite often).

This year has had many highs, but unfortunately, with the high points, you also get the lows.  The first of these came when my step dad fractured his spine back in September.  Writing this today finds him still in hospital, having physiotherapy with a hope that he will walk again.  That journey has been a long and arduous one, not least for my mum who has made so many trips to the hospital that she jokes that she knows every blade of grass on the way.

I remain optimistic for his eventual recovery but am not making any predictions.  All you can do in these situations is take each day as it comes and hope.  To borrow a line from "A Knights Tale" which I find especially true:

Hope guides me. It is what gets me through the day and especially the night.

The second low came when my mum had a fall in the kitchen and split her head open.  Seeing her fall, seemingly in slow motion yet I was unable to get to her in time, hearing the loud crack as she hit her head on the corner of the wall and the masses of blood that followed is something that will not fade in my mind for a long time. 

I always look at my mum and think that she will live forever.  She is the youngest 74 year old I have ever met, but lying on that kitchen floor she looked so incredibly small and thinking that I might have lost her that night does nasty things to my insides.

This year has certainly been eventful in many ways and at this point, I am just wanting to see the end of it.  I have hope that the New Year will bring better things and as they say, onwards and upwards!

I finish work today and won't be back in until the 5th January.  In order to give myself a break I don't plan to be doing anything on the blog until after this time either.  I think I need a bit of time to myself for a while just to relax and have a stress free (crosses fingers) Christmas break.


I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.  See you on the flip side xx

22 December 2014

New Years Party Dress

When it comes to buying a new party dress,  I am not really one for wearing sparkle and glitz.  Every time I have bought a sparkly dress for Christmas it invariably ends up sitting in my wardrobe for a year until I get it out the next Christmas and decide I need something new.

This year for New Year's Eve I wanted to find a party dress that had a wow factor but that I would still be able to wear to other parties and functions throughout the year.  Enter the beautiful Briar Rose Dress from Taking Shape

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The dress is true to size and is 43" in length.  The attention to detail with the finishing of this dress for me what takes it over the edge into special.  The mesh cowl neck insert with beading into the v neck  and the way that the belt is stitched in order to create a perfect bow without having to try; I love it.

I am wearing the dress with some sparkly heels from +Simply Be  (I did give in to sparkle a little) and my gorgeous rose quartz necklace from +Joshua James Jewellery which I reviewed here

I cannot wait to wear this dress when I go out for New Years Eve.  I feel elegant and sophisticated in it and with the lovely swoosh this dress gives when you do a twirl, I may even take to the dancefloor!


* This item was gifted to me, but all opinions are my own.

15 December 2014

I Feel Good in December



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You know sometimes when you spend ages getting ready for a night out, an event or even just a blog post, and the reflection in mirror isn't what you hoped? This challenge is for those times when you look in the mirror, no pre planning involved, and think "I look good today". 

We all have our good days and our bad, but this challenge is to record those good days and to remember that confidence, at any size, is beautiful.

This is a photograph that I took last week when playing around with selfies last week.  I just discovered it and decided I liked it!


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12 December 2014

Playing with Purple

This week seems to have been the purple week.  When I have looked into my wardrobe each night to see what I want to wear the following day, my hand has increasing been drawn to the purple end  of the spectrum.

Today I have for you the Purple PU Trim Shift Dress from +Scarlett Jo This dress is shortly than I would ordinarily wear but for these photographs I decided to get my legs out and have a play.  You could also easily wear this dress with tights and boots or even with leggings.

I love the PU detailing on the dress which gives it an edgier feel.

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I have also decided to play around with an up do as the detailing on the dress practically demanded to be shown off.  Apologies about the lighting in some of these photographs, I am really struggling for good light conditions when I come home from work!

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Dress from Scarlett & Jo - found here
Shoes: +Simply Be

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Obligatory pout selfie

* This item was kindly gifted to me but all opinions are, as ever, my own.

9 December 2014

Christmas Party Outfit

Today I thought that I would show you what I wore for my work Christmas party.  For this night out I wasn't looking for sparkle and glitz, I wanted a stylish comfortable outfit with a bit of an edge.  My outfit is comprised from +Simply Be +Fashion World +M&S and +Clarks

My dress is the gorgeous Grazia Print Mesh Trim Dress and my jacket is the Tux Jacket with PU Trim from SimplyBe.

I have added a black bag with gold detailing from Marks & Spencers which can be found here and my ankle boots from Clarks which I have previously reviewed here



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8 December 2014

Here's What I Would Spent

The lovely Dez from WannaBePrincess recently posed a question:  If a brand stocked everything in your size, what would you have spent?

This poses an interesting question as there are always items of clothing that I want to buy but unfortunately the brand don't stock them in my size.

Debz suggested that we each do a post featuring a different brand each month and showing them what we would have spent if our size had been available.

This month we have Missguided


Here's What I Would Have Bought

Lace dress
$55 - missguided.co.uk


Long sleeve dress
$24 - missguided.co.uk


White tee
$55 - missguided.co.uk


Lapel blazer
$47 - missguided.co.uk


Gray coat
$3.12 - missguided.co.uk


Violette Blazer Dress Black
$55 - missguided.co.uk


Moxie Crepe Boyfriend Blazer Mustard
$94 - missguided.co.uk


1 December 2014

The Image in the Mirror

*  This post was written for and posted by me on the Huffington Post last week.  I am also posting the article here too as the subject matter is one that means a lot to me and is a waving flag that I can look back on to see the progress I have made in my body confidence journey.

One thing that we are often told is that we always should strive to be better and in many ways, I agree.  Working hard to progress your career, creating goals and attaining them; developing your personality and the way you treat others; all of these things are beneficial to you.

Sometimes however, that strive to be different is not a good thing.  Sometimes, you are enough, just as you are.

When you look into the mirror, what do you see?  Do you see yourself as a whole, or a sum of parts?  For many people when they look into the mirror, the only things they see in their reflection are the things that they think, or have been told, need changing. 

Whether it is your weight, the size of your nose; the freckles on your skin or even the way that you dress; for many people, these perceived imperfections are the only thing that they see.  The person is lost in the image and only the flaws remain.

I cannot count the amount of times that I have looked into the mirror and seen only the things that I wanted to change.  I would look at my face and only see the bright scarlet freckle flashing at me like a beacon from the end of my nose, my eyebrow which is far higher than its counterpart; my far from chiselled jawline; my smile that I thought made me look stupid.  I would move past my neck and see the breasts which are the feature that most use to describe me "You know, her with the big tits", my short waist, my weight. 

I used to see so much in that mirror but what I failed to see was the person looking back at me.

Even the most confident people in their day-to-day lives can lose themselves in their reflection in a mirror.  One of the most confident women I know told me the other day that she wasn't attending an event where she was due to speak because "I am looking awful right now.  I don't want people staring at me". 

When I joined Instagram, I also joined the ranks of people that love taking a selfie.  At first, I could not understand why people enjoyed taking pictures of themselves; particularly as I usually shied away from the camera, which records the mirror image that I so often tore apart.  Then one day, a strange thing happened.  Something that when the thought first crossed my mind; it was in the form of a whisper as it shocked me so much.  I realised that I liked my face, just as it was.

By taking so many pictures of my face, I had started to look at it as a whole, rather than a list of good features versus bad.  This carried on until finally today when I looked into a full-length mirror and realised that I liked what I saw.  I saw my whole self and thought, "You know what, I look good today".

Liking what you see when you look into a mirror is not vanity and should not be dismissed as such.  There is a vast difference between being narcissistic and simply accepting yourself for the way you are and what you look like. 

I look exactly the same now as I did when I would analyse each part.  My weight, my body shape, my messy hair, the innumerable amount of things that I thought wrong with my face, they are all still there.  The difference now is that I look at my face, not my freckle.  I see my personality coming through it.  I look at my whole body, not at what is large and what is not.  I see me.



If you can look into the mirror at yourself as a whole and not judge the reflection staring back at you, then you have won the battle against insecurity.  If you can look in the mirror and see not just a collection of parts that you rate on a sliding scale, but instead, your personality and spirit shining through then you have not just won the battle, you have won the whole bloody war.

The truth behind our war with the mirror is that we have as a society separated the people who we are with the way that we look.  You are judged on the way you look before people even know your personality.  Every day we see airbrushed versions of celebrities in magazines where every flaw and blemish is erased and these images are held up as an example of what we should strive for.

From now on, I intend to strive for happiness.  It is perhaps society itself that needs to take a long good look in the mirror.