29 March 2013

Review - SimplyBe Flirty Floral Dress

In my attempt to move away from black and embrace more colourful clothing; I have actively been making more bold choices.  The current trends for Spring, especially the floral prints and pastel colours, are so far out of my old comfort zone that they are practically down the street and around the corner.

When SimplyBe kindly allowed me to review some dresses for them, this final dress was one that stood out as being completely on trend, and completely out of my comfort zone and so therefore had to be mine!

I don’t know if it's the print, but for some reason wearing this dress I feel like I have stepped into the 1950’s, waiting for my husband to come at 5.00 o’clock, with a cocktail at the ready (apparently in my 1950’s vision I’m married, Ryan Reynolds please!).

As I never knowingly under dress for anything one thing I really love about the 50’s is the way that people dressed.  There was no such thing as a track suit, not outside of a running track anyhow and the evil onesie (I’m sorry, I just don’t get them) was nowhere to be found.

The Joe Brown dress is delightfully feminine and I love the combination of colours. I didn’t have anything remotely like it in my wardrobe and for me; it stands out from the crowd.

I feel flirty and feminine in this dress and can’t wait to wear it when the freezing weather has finally abated.

I have added a brown belt from @ASOS, nude wedge shoes from @NextOfficial and in one of the photos I have on a nude shrug from @YoursClothing. 

The Joe Browns Flirty Floral dress is priced at £40.00  and can be found here.

What have you been buying that is out of your normal comfort zone?


I have not been paid to write this blog and the opinions in the same are honest and my own.

27 March 2013

Wishlist - Shoes for the Summer

There are a few words that you could say to me to bring an instant smile to my face.  Formula One, Bagpuss, Adam Levine, shoes.....

Every woman loves shoes, I think it may be part of our DNA.  When buying shoes for the summer I try to look for pairs that will go with multiple outfits and also can carry you through from day to evening for those Summer's days outs.

Here are my favourites:

1.  Sporty Black Wedges £36.00
Wedges and not too high, ideal to take you from shorts to a maxi dress
2.  Leopard Print Lace-Ups  £24.00
Comfortable and with a cool print to add a pop of colour to your day time outfit
3.  Tan Block Heels £40.00
Ideal shoe to go with most evening dresses from short to maxi
4.  Espadrille Sandals £25.00
If you have had a long day sightseeing, these lovelies will still look good with a dress at the end of the day
5. Sparkle Ballerinas £28.00
What girl doesn't need a pair of ballerinas?

So those are my favourite shoes for the Summer season, what are yours?

Part of the next blogger network

26 March 2013

Battle Royale - Me versus the Weather

Dear Weather,

We have had our differences you and I over the years.  Many battles have been fought and lost between us.
You produced snow and ice, I counteracted with ice cleats.  You blew gale force winds, I found hair styles that would stay in place, or hats to cover them.  You dropped the temperature to below freezing, I piled on the scarves, gloves and stylish, where possible, warm clothing.
Today though, I admit defeat.  I've had it.  The season turns to Summer next week and yet there is still snow on the ground, it's freezing cold and icy winds are all around. 
The game of fashion versus the weather has been playing now for so long that I can barely remember wearing sandals.  The thought of going outside without hat, scarf, gloves, warm coat and multiple layers is completely foreign to me.
You have beaten me down to the point I have reached today which is having straw like hair which looks like I did battle with a hedge, wearing ugly pants that look horrendous on my ass and dry skin on my face which no amount of foundation seems to be fixing.
You have RUINED me.
So here I am weather saying "Well done, you have won.  You are the more superior and you cannot be beaten."
Now please, pretty please, can you bring back us back warmth and sunshine?



25 March 2013

Polka Polka Polka Dot

Over the past few weeks I have been lusting over this dress.  A polka dot dress with a pussybow neckline and pleated skirt – there is nothing I don’t like about that sentence.

After waiting a few weeks till payday and allowing myself a little treat, I finally got my hands on it and here it is!

I’ve just had a quick try on for now but when styling it properly I will no doubt be playing around with accessories. I have a lovely pair of red shoes that will look fabulous and no doubt a little cardy will be coming in somewhere.

The very day that we have nice weather, this dress is coming out to play!


Have you had your eye on a must have dress lately?

24 March 2013

March Hair

Sorry, bad blog title but I couldn't resist.

So...... Moving swiftly on!! With all the feminine prints trending for Spring, I decided it was time to give my hair a rest from the usual straightening routine and let the natural curls have a go.  

It makes a nice change although I think I may be letting a little of the 80's in with all that hair.

Sometimes it is nice to have a change and also, saves spending so much times with the GHD's!

Do you have different styles to go with current clothing trends?

23 March 2013

March Lovelies

From time to time (read every other day) I like to look at the various clothing websites and pick out dresses that I love, regardless of price.  Although it is slightly like dress torture, as usually I am looking when I can't afford to buy, there is no harm in looking and I think it helps to keep on trend.

Here are my March ladies that I am lusting after, some in my price range, some not, all absolutely fabulous:

1.  Chesca Butterfly Print Dress £195.00 found here
2.  SimplyBe Enchanted Print Dress £35.00 found here
3.  AX Paris Laser Cut PU Scallop Skirt £30.00 found here
4.   New Look Ruby Rocks Monochrome Layered Dress £25.00 found here
5.  Asos Curve Skater Dress £28.00 found here
6.  Very - South Mono Floral Print Dress £49.00 found here

What are your favourites of the month?

22 March 2013

Making Choices

Life is always about choices.  The ones you make, the ones you allow yourself to make and also the ones that you convince yourself that you can't.

You can only be restricted in your choices if you allow in other factors.  Such as what other people think.  If you allow other people's influences and judgement into your choices, then it becomes more about what they want and think than you.

When I started a degree through the Open University last year, it was a snap decision.  I was still trying to figure things out within myself and I thought doing a degree might be interesting to do.  What I didn't think about was how much of a commitment I was making and the reasons behind it.  

I chose to work at a 25% rate given that I work full time and still wanted a life and other interests.  Adding that up to the honours degree I had chosen equated to the next fourteen years of my life.  Going into it I couldn't say if I wanted a change of career at the end of it.  I basically drifted into it.

This week, after being on the course six months, I sat myself down and asked myself some questions.  Questions that had been in my head for weeks, but I'd ignored.  Why had I ignored them?  Because I didn't want to be called a quitter.

Are you ready to commit yourself for 14 years on this?

Do you actually plan to change career?
Honestly, no.  I'm not career driven, never have been.  I chose it for interest.

Is there anything you want more than this?
Yes.  I want to give the blog more of a go.  I want to try and expand on the writing side, and not just on the blog.  I may not be any form of Shakespeare, but I truly love it and it makes me happy.

I asked myself those questions and there was my answer.  I've withdrawn from the degree.

Will some call me a quitter?  Probably.  Was it too hard?  No.  I was maintaining a First after all.  Will I regret my decision. No,  I don't think I will.  I would have regretted more if I was still having the same thoughts two years later and still hadn't done anything about it.

Some people are about education, some about fun, some are about their careers, some are about the life outside of what.  Further education isn't for me.  I've made my choice.

20 March 2013

Ranting Makes the Smile Get Bigger

There a lot of things that I like to support.  Movember is a great idea.  Mother’s Day I like, International Men/Women’s Day, why not?  What does irritate me are the “motivational days”.
No Smoking Day for example irritates me so much that it actually made me want to start smoking again.  If showing smokers diseased lungs doesn’t make them want to stop the other 364 days of the year, a motivation “Let’s Stop Smoking” day is going to do sweet F A. 

 Smokers are well aware of what smoking can do, all the well intended motivational speeches do is actually serve to make us want to smoke more.  Smokers quit when they are ready, and when they want to.  So back off smoking police.
See, I wrote “us” there classifying myself as a smoker.  I’ve actually given up, but when I wanted to, and I made damn sure it was a New Year’s resolution or because someone said I should.
Today is International Happiness Day.  Well, that just makes me grumpy as hell.  Enforced happiness.  No thanks.
 Happiness Day  makes me think of when I have had dark days previously, or just a generally crappy day.  You either get “Cheer up, it might never happen” which usually gets a glare from me.  How do they know that it hasn’t happened, and what is “it”?  

Then, sometimes, when a dark day strikes you get people saying “ Just look at all the good things in your life, you should be happy”.  Well fuck off Mrs Sunshine, I am having a dark day, I can’t help it, now back off.

How about “Make someone smile” day.  That’s manageable, that’s easy.  I did that this morning (just in case you were thinking I’d turned into evil incarnate reading this blog post).  I gave up my seat on the bus for an old lady and made her smile.  Job done. 

I think a new day should be created for “Have a Rant, Feel Better” day because you know what, I feel so much better now!

My (ok somewhat screwed up) rule of life:   Never trust a person who is happy first thing in the morning.  They are surely evil.  Trust the person who rants. The person who has evil in their eyes before they get to coffee. You know what you are getting with us.

19 March 2013

Why do you Blog?

"Why do you blog?" is a question that all bloggers face regularly.  

Many people who have never seen nor read a blog before cannot understand the need or want for people to put their thoughts, their images and their opinions on an open forum, for anyone to read.  The whole idea is foreign to them.  

I started my blog a couple of years ago.  It was borne out of a curiosity, a want to write somewhere but not in a diary, something in which I could be the real me, say what I wanted and voice any opinions I had.  Alongside personal posts I have written about everything from the death penalty to reintroduction of animal species.  

Over the past few years my blog has evolved along with me.  Although I still write about my thoughts and opinions of the day, a lot of the posts have started to flow along the same course as I began to find my self confidence and a happiness within myself.

Through reading other plus size fashion blogs and writing about my own journey coming out of a closet full of black, I have found a real love of fashion.  I love doing the outfits of the day posts; which terrified me previously.  I actively check out the new trends for each season and encompass the ideas into my own wardrobe.  

I don't write to a schedule nor do I worry if I haven't written anything for a while.  I write this blog because I love it, it isn't a duty or obligation.  I love to write and this scratches that itch for me.  If no one were to ever read the blog again I wouldn't mind.  I've poured a little part of myself into it and in return, it's given me a lot of happiness.

I have heard, as no doubt many have, of other's people's opinions on blogging, and bloggers.  We are losers, we are sad lonely people attached to our keyboards, we are idiots and dime a dozen.  Personally my blogging experience has been lovely people, shared interests and lots of fun, but then, people do love to hate what they don't know.

Blogging can be anything you want it to be, be it on a professional basis or just a hobby that you enjoy.  Everyone's blogging story is different.  

What's your story?

The "Go To" Outfit - Work

Considering my post yesterday of Planning - Outfit of the Day I managed last night to go to bed without planning anything.  My plan was to get up a little earlier to get an outfit together, which was disposed by the snooze button.
So I have put today's outfit on here because it is my "go to" work outfit when I have to get ready quickly.

The patterned wrap dress is from @Dorothy_Perkins the purple tights are from @Evans and the ballet pumps are from @VeryNetwork.  The hairdo is from the 90's ;)
Apologies for the bad lighting, the photos were taken in the last minutes before leaving the house, never the best time to take a photograph!
Do you have a go to outfit?

18 March 2013

Planning - Outfit of the Day

I'm not generally someone who can put an outfit together first thing in the morning.  I can barely get myself out of bed and organised for work, never mind have decision making capabilities.

As such, I always choose my next day work outfit the night before.  Here's what I wore today, together with the snap I took of the outfit that last.

The dress and the cardigan are from Dorothy Perkins, the belt is from Asos Curve.

How do you plan your outfits?

16 March 2013

Preparing for Summer

At this time of year the days are getting longer and we are waking up to light in the mornings, which makes everything a little easier.

It is also the time when the Spring/Summer clothing and shoes start to come out and you begin to choose things to wear for the upcoming season. My first point of call, as always, is the shoes.

Barratts have kindly allowed me to review a pair of their sandals.  I always try to choose my first pair of sandals as being ones that will go with everything, so with this in mind I chose the Ravel Leather Wide Strap Wedge Gladiator Sandals.

These sandals are great for wearing with either casual or evening looks which is particularly good for when you want a pair that will take you through the day and into the evening without compromising on style.  

The sandals are comfortable and don’t have a rigid sole which I something that I hate about a lot of sandals. The soles are flexible and didn't take any breaking in.  

So Fabulous dress, found here

I paired the sandals with my first summer dress purchase of the season which was the printed dress from So Fabulous at Very.  All I need now is some sunshine, a view of the sea and a Mojito in my hand!
The sandals can be found here at Barratts and are currently at the bargain price of £32.40.  At the moment there is also an additional discount of 20% if you enter the word FASHION at checkout. 

What is your first purchase for the summer months?

I have not been paid to write this blog and the opinions in the same are honest and my own.

15 March 2013

Oh Hell No!

I’ve been asked if by posting pictures of myself on the internet is asking for criticism.  My answer has to be no.  Am I aware of the possibility of criticism?  Of course.  People are people, and people love to criticise.
I believe that confidence is something that everyone should have and for some, including the old me, it can be the hardest thing of all to attain.  
I’m the girl that hated her picture taken and if I couldn’t avoid it then I would make damn sure to detag and distance myself from the photographs I didn’t like.
Posting photographs of yourself, putting yourself out there, especially when purposely showing and highlighting the clothing you are wearing is damn scary.  The first time I did it, I honestly was waiting for a flood of criticism and abuse.  But you know what?  None came.  
Now when a camera is pointed at me I smile.  I don’t hide.  I don’t run for the detag button.  
I’m a different girl to what I used to be.  I’ve even reviewed clothing for SimplyBe, something that I would never ever have dreamed possible before.  I still weigh the same, I still look the same, but I’m no longer ashamed of who and what I am.
Compare and contrast if you will.  The first photograph was taken a few weeks back.  Girl number one's smile is genuine.  She's happy, wearing colour, comfortable in front of the camera.  In the second photograph girl number two is terrified of the camera and ashamed to be in front of it.  Personally, I prefer girl number one.

Fat girls can't wear print, or bright colours.  Fat girls just wear black.
Well this one damn well doesn't!

I'm scared
So am I opening myself up to criticism?  Yes.  Do I care any more?  Oh HELL no.

Vroom Vroom

Dear Anyone who follows me on Twitter purely in relation to blogging, outfits post etc,

The Formula One season starts this weekend.

I'm sorry.

I can (do) get very shouty.  You'll hear "Vettel you bastard" quite a lot.  I'll understand if you leave me.



13 March 2013

Oh Holly!!

I recently wrote a post called What is a Real Woman?"

I feel obliged to mention it again as I have just seen the new Very campaign with Holly Willoughby.  Now I love Holly and I love the clothes that she is associated with on Very.  But this ad campaign leaves a sour taste in my mouth I’m afraid.

A competition has been launched to find “real women” to walk the catwalk and model her collection.  She has been quoted in their blog saying:
“I want to show the clothes as they should be seen, on real women with real figures walking down the catwalk. This is when the clothes will look their best.”
What does that even mean?   Holly, Holly, we are all real women, whatever our size.  A woman is just as real at size 6 as she is at size 30.    

We all have a body.  We all wear clothes.  We all wear our clothes in different ways, with different attitudes and with varying amounts of confidence.  A dress can look fabulous on a woman of any size.

Design a collection for specific sizes if you want Holly, but don’t say that it is for real women.  Size 6 or size 30, every woman is real and has a right to dress, feel and be how she wants.

10 March 2013

A Couple of Outfits of the Day

I love having red somewhere in my outfits, it inspires confidence and it is my favourite colour.  I bought a red cardigan from Primark a few months ago and it has become a key piece in my wardrobe, bringing together many an outfit.

I wore the cardigan with two different outfits today and thought I would share them with you.  The first is one photograph, an outfit I quickly put together for nipping out of the house in the afternoon.

Red cardigan - Primark £6.00
Glasses print top - Next
Jeans - Dorothy Perkins

My second outfit was put together for a Mother's Day meal out.  Never being one to turn down the opportunity to put on a dress, I raided my wardrobe and put together an outfit comprised mainly from the @So_Fab_Clothing.

Heart Print Tea Dress - So Fabulous from Very £32.00 from here
Biker Jacket - So Fabulous from Very £45.00 found here
Bow Detail Belt - Very

I loved wearing the red cardigan with the heart print dress.  I felt a little like the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland for some reason, although I promise, all heads remained where they were!

Did you have any good outfits for Mother's Day?

9 March 2013

The Notice Me Dress

I had my birthday this week and to mark the occasion I wanted to go with the family for a meal.  I also wanted to use the occasion to find a dress that showed how my confidence journey had progressed.

When the lovely people at SimplyBe let me review a few pieces for them, I immediately noticed this Anna Scholz dress as being one that stood out from the crowd.  With it’s bright, bold colours and colour block design it is a world away from anything I would have previously chosen (black, black and more black) so I decided that this was the one for me.

The dress is very well made and has those little details that you get with a quality dress, such as a weight on the inside of the cowl neckline to ensure that it hangs perfectly every time.  There are also pockets to the front of the dress which add a different dimension to the dress.

As you can see from the first photo, if you have a larger chest the expanse of colour at the top of the dress may be a little much, so I added a necklace and also a shrug which finished the look for me and also covered my arms.

I wore the dress for my birthday meal and I loved it.   With a lot of people wearing dark and muted colours in the restaurant, I felt like a peacock strutting my plumage with the bright colours and felt confident in it.

The dress can be found here, priced at £70.00.  I also wore t-bar shoes from Love Label and a shrug from Very.

7 March 2013

Facing Up to Facebook

I have been meaning to create a Facebook page for the blog for a while now.   I have been chickening out of doing it for ages but finally this week have bitten the bullet and given it a ago.

It is one thing doing a blog and posting it on Twitter etc, but Facebook can be and is a nasty machine at times and I knew that I would be opening myself up to a lot of potential criticism, particularly with regard to the plus size clothing and reviewing.

Most of the people I know on Facebook have never heard of a blog before and the thought of posting photographs of yourself on there is an alien concept to most.  Putting on my confidence shoes on however I created the page which can be found here!

I've done the page primarily for photo posts and also in relation to body confidence issues.  Now I have found confidence and self belief, I want to pass that confidence on to others, help other people find their confidence too.

I've had some great feedback from the Facebook page from friends, from others I am not too sure about but time will tell.

Maybe someone will see a post I write or something I wear and have confidence to think it or wear it themselves.  Maybe they will, maybe I'm just putting all this out in the cosmos not doing much at all.  But I'd rather try to do something then sit still, not moving forward.

6 March 2013

What is a Real Woman?

There is a phrase “One man's trash is another man's treasure”.  Whilst I don’t particularly like the wording used, the meaning behind it stands true.

Not everyone’s version of perfect is the same.  There is not one standard for how people should look, behave, be.  We are all different because we were meant to be.  Striving to be perfect is pointless but in fact, there is no such thing.

I have seen a lot of arguing and debating on Twitter and other forums lately, which has been spurred on a lot by the media.  The “real women” argument and what that statement means.  For me, there is no argument.  WE ARE ALL REAL WOMEN!!

Whether you are fat, skinny, tall or short we are all women.  We are all different and there is no perfect example of what we should be.  Creating camps of fat v skinny is just ridiculous.

Even in today’s world woman still face challenges.  In many countries of the world women are still second class citizens.  We still fight for the rights to our own bodies and the phrase “She was asking for it” is still bandied about.  We face enough challenges in life without fighting between ourselves over who is thin and who is fat.

As long as you are happy with yourself, no one has the right to judge you.  Happiness isn’t something that comes as standard and if you can attain it, then you are already winning.  I don’t care if someone I meet is fat or thin.  If they are happy in themselves, that is what shines through.

I’ll end my little mini rant with a quote from Dita Von Teese which is rather apt

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

5 March 2013

Wardrobe Staples

There are a few things that every girl should have in her wardrobe.  One of them is a biker jacket.

A biker jacket is one of those items that I have always meant to buy, but have never gotten around to purchasing.  They are just as perfect with jeans as they are with a pretty dress.

After reading MrsBeBe's post today which showed her styling of a biker jacket with a floaty dress, I have decided to have a look around and have picked out my favourites with a view to hopefully buying one soon.

Image from Asos Curve

I love the zip detailing to the wrists and the quilt trim to the this jacket.  It can be found here

Image from So Fabulous at Very
Currently £34.00
 I like the simple styling on this jacket.  It has a quilted look to the shoulders but generally it allows your clothing to make the statement whilst providing a stylish finish.

Image from Yours Clothing
This jacket is very on trend at the moment with the studding detail to the shoulders and the side buckles.
So those are my favourite biker jackets available at the moment.  Now I just need to decide which one is right for me and get saving!