30 April 2013

52 Lists - Week Two

This is a series of weekly posts.  The idea does not belong to me and I have  borrowed from Moorea Seal  I have also seen that @boo_brown is also doing these lists and her blog inspires me too.

The idea is to post a different list each week to share with your readers and each other.

Week Two - List your great comforts

Being at peace with myself

Having a mum that is also a friend

Knowing that I have the kind of friends that I could trust with my life

A long soak in a bubble bath (when I can get one, no bath at my house!)

The #psbloggers community.

My bagpuss


Listening to Moonlight Serenade with my eyes closed

Sitting inside watching rain pound the pavements outside

Writing on my blog

Having go to music for every kind of mood

A cozy bed on a cold night

29 April 2013

Review: Scarlett & Jo Pink Floaty Dress

I was recently lucky enough to be asked by +Evans to review the Pink Floaty Dress from their new range from Scarlett & Jo.

The hot pink of the dress is gorgeous and the fit is true to size.  I would actually probably classify this dress as a tunic myself as at 5ft 4 I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing it without opaque tights or leggings.  It hits me at around two inches above the knee.

I've styled the dress today with black leggings and my new sandals which work well for a daytime look but equally the dress would be fantastic with a statement necklace, some opaque tights and skyscraper heels.  Unfortunately due to an injured foot I can't show you that look!

The dress can be found at Evans in sizes 14-26, priced at £35.00 which is a great price considering that it is a dress that can be styled up or down depending on where you are going.  I will probably use this dress as a go to for when I go out in the afternoon and want to style up in the evening, without having to go home to change.

What do you wear for the afternoon/evening look?

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

28 April 2013

Girls Night

The weather in the UK certainly challenges you in the wardrobe department.  Yesterday I had organised a meet up with my two best friends in the afternoon for a late lunch following by drinks through to the evening.

Now if I lived in sunnier climes that this transition from afternoon to evening would not have been a problem, but here is a different story.  What do you wear when it's late April, the weather is veering between very cold and very slightly warm depending on the time of day and you want to wear something pretty, preferably without a coat?

Well my answer yesterday was my new purchase of the absolutely gorgeous Enchanted Print Dress from +Simply Be with a long line teal cardigan, black leggings and my new black sandals, also from SimplyBe.

Out of every outfit I have worn in my quest for brighter, more fashion forward clothing, this outfits brings all the pieces together for me and I love it.  I feel confident and it makes me happy.  What more can you ask for?

What outfit puts an instant smile on your face?

26 April 2013

You Get What You Pay For!

I’m doing something on the blog today that I have never done before.  A bad review.  I hate giving a bad review of something, but in this case I was very unhappy with the product and felt that I should.

 I have been buying clothes from Very for some time and have always been happy with the quality and item that I have received.
Unfortunately the shoes appear to be a different story.  This is a second chance story with Very’s shoes as I had previously bought a pair of boots for the Winter from South that I was unhappy with;  namely with the soles coming away from the boots and the leather coming off at the front of both boots.  I had decided that it was a one off and having not paid over the odds, I left it there.
Approximately two months ago I bought a pair of black glitter ballet shoes from Very for £15.00.  I have worn them no more than five times.  Here is the result.  Given the state of the soles coming away from the shoes I have had to throw them away. 

I realise that I have paid less than £20.00 for the shoes and if I had been wearing the pair for a while, I would have been fine with the end result.  But for a pair of shoes I have barely worn?  Unacceptable I’m afraid. 

I will continue to buy clothing from Very as I think that they have a great selection and I have never had a problem with quality on that front.  But as for the shoes and boots, a little more quality please!
I hate doing bad reviews......

25 April 2013

Review of MUA £1 Lipstick!

I recently ran out of my favourite red lipstick and so headed over to Superdrug to find another.  Having had a good experience with their mascara and blusher, I decided to give their lipstick a go too.
Just like with the mascara and blusher, I’ll confess that my expectations of the lipstick weren’t that high.  What kind of quality can you expect from a £1.00 lipstick after all?  Turns out quite a bit!
I chose Shade 13 from the £1.00 range which is a lovely bright red lipstick. 
Upon applying it glides on easily and your lips feel immediately moisturised.  I’ll admit that I am always a bit careless when it comes to applying lipstick and rarely remember to blot to improve the staying power.
This is another area where the lipstick shows its excellence as it stayed put and in place for some hours without smearing and still looked great.

Still there two hours later, not a smudge in sight!
I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase this lipstick again and on saying that, I am heading out for more colour options in my lunch hour!

24 April 2013

Schooled for Confidence

I was watching a film over the weekend.  I was in the mood for something silly and when I saw a film entitled “School for Seduction” with Kelly Brook I thought why not.  It’s not my usual kind of film, no zombies, no action, no sci-fi but I was game for a laugh.
I was expecting a silly plot, bad acting and a lot of Kelly Brooks in various poses and to the large extent, I got what I expected.  But, I admit, there was a little substance there too.
Behind the title and the usual kind of story where you know from the start what is going to happen, there was a message.  If you looked through all the twaddle, the main premis of the film was that women don’t need to change their appearance or pander to someone else’s will to be loved, all they need is confidence in themselves.
If you take away the excesses of the film, the characters in the School for Seduction could be based on so many women out there.  The woman whose husband thought that her life should revolve around him, the girl who didn’t think she was good enough, the woman with aspirations but no confidence to achieve them, the girl who didn’t feel pretty enough.
I may have been looking too hard for some depth in this film; in fact I know I was.  In the end though, it gave a little nudge to my confidence, a reminder that confidence is sexy and we don’t need to change what we look like or who we are.
So there you go.  I found a positive in a Kelly Brook film.  Stranger things have happened.

23 April 2013

52 Lists - Week One

This is the start of a series of weekly posts that I intend to start.  The idea does not belong to me and I have borrowed from Moorea Seal  I have also seen that @boo_brown is also doing these lists and her blog inspires me too.

The idea is to post a different list each week to share with your readers and each other.

This first week is: Words that Touch your Soul:


In truth if I went through the alphabet for my favourite words we would be here forever.  But those are some of my favourites that resonate (another favourite word) with me.

A Belated Birthday

I've just realised that I have missed my blog's 200th post, so I have to wish it a belated happy birthday.
I'm not the same person who started writing this blog and in a lot of ways, that is as a direct result of creating the blog, putting myself out in the world and the people I have met and interacted with.
Along the way I have written about issues that I care about, had a good old rant when the mood has taken me and in the past six months have started posting about plus size fashion and shock horror, have even posted photographs of myself.  Me, the girl who untagged every photo on Facebook with the merest excuse.
They say that they get out of something what you put into it.  Well, I'll admit that there is a fair chunk of me in this blog but I have received so much more back.  I've grown in confidence, I am a happier person and all my old issues are falling away.
Co-incidentally I have just been contacted by my first high street brand to review a dress and I have also had my first guest post published!! I have never been happier in my life than I am right now.
Happy birthday blog!

22 April 2013

Helping to Make Children's Parties Easier

One of the things I remember about my birthday parties as a child is the little touches that went into the party. The special invitations, the decorations, the party bags.  I always remember that it was like a bit of a competition, between both the children and also the parents, as to who could hold the best party.

These days children’s parties are becoming even more competitive and elaborate.  When you are working full time creating a full scale children’s party can be a daunting experience, not to mention costly but there are solutions if you know how to find them. 

A friend of mine holds the kind of birthday parties for her son that you would dream about when you were a child. Last year was a safari theme, complete with cut out animals and trees, party boxes and banners, and a themed invitation. I remember at the time all the parents asking where she had got everything from.

It turns out that my friend Wendy had quite a creative streak and had designed and made everything herself.

Wendy has now gone one step further and has created her own shop on Etsy, with printable designs for parties, with everything from full party packs including banners, party boxes, invitations etc to separate pieces. Everything is customisable to your specifications.

As everything is sent as a pdf design, you can buy these designs from anywhere in the world and no postage is involved.  You can simply print them out and put together at your leisure.

Take a look for your own children's parties. She is adding more designs every week and you can email with specifics requests.  Here are some examples of her work, with photographs sent in from people who have purchased for their child’s party.



21 April 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

I've had two trips to the park this weekend.  I love having a roam around, strolling around the lake or watching the squirrels play.

Yesterday was gorgeous sunshine with a light breeze which was perfect weather for my @So_Fab_Clothing dress and new @SimplyBeUK sandals.


I have been looking for the perfect sandals for the Summer for ages and I love these so much that I've ordered them in back too.

Today however is a different story.  Although not freezing cold, the weather certainly isn't lending itself to a dress so here’s what I wore today.

I’ve also snapped a few pictures at the park too, it’s a lovely one to walk around, especially when it’s sunny.

Oh and here is a recent lovely dress I've bought from SimplyBe too, but it's so pretty it deserves it's own blog post at a later date!

What have you been wearing this weekend?


18 April 2013

Off With His Head!

Hello!  I'm happy to tell you that I am now involved in a fashion challenge!  I have been looking for one for a while now and after speaking to @BethTinkerbell on Twitter I am now a part of the Magnificent 7th.

We will be posting on the 7th of each month, and the aim of the challenge is to create an outfit to fit the theme, using clothes from our wardrobes, and yes that does mean digging deep into the depths and finding those long lost clothes! Hopefully one of us won’t end up in Narnia, but you never know with a bloggers wardrobe!

As you can tell, I'm more than a little late with this month's challenge but as I only joined this week, I hope I'm forgiven!  This month's theme is monochrome.

After doing a little shopping in my wardrobe I came across this heart print dress from @verynetwork in the @So_Fab_Clothing range.  I have put it together with a little red shrug that I bought from Next Inspire and also a red belt from @Asos.

Given the inclement weather we are experiencing I also added black opaque tights, my gorgeous black Hush Puppies shoes with heart cut outs and a heart necklace that I bought from a jewellery stall in a market.  

All in all, I felt that the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and given the day I've had at work today, I was sorely tempted to chop off some heads.

Check out below what the other lovely ladies wore for this month's theme.

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16 April 2013

Oh Yes, I Can!

I’m not very fond of the use of the word “can't” when it is being directed to someone else.  If I were to use it myself for example saying that “I can't ride a bike” (true!) what it generally implies that the person has tried something but is unable to do it for one reason or another. 

When you apply the word to someone else however, it is with the purpose, however well hidden, of restricting and controlling what they do.  You can’t do that, you’re female,  you can’t go there, this may happen, you can’t wear that, you’re fat.

That last one is something that I have been thinking about lately.  All the clothing do’s and don’ts that are inferred that somebody who is plus size should comply with; you can’t wear stripes, you can’t wear print, you can’t wear bright colours etc etc.   The never ending jibe of “black is very slimming you know”.  Well you know what, I love colour, I love print, I love everything about fashion and if I want to, I will damn well wear it!

Here are some of my favourite dresses that are around at the moment, all of which break “the rules” of what a fat girl should wear.  I never was one for rules anyway.  Which puts all these dresses on the top of my wishlist.

Cartoon Print Skater Dress
Busy pattern, bright colours, look at me dress, why not?

Another busy print, up to the neck (an apparent no no for the larger chest) and pleating!

Floral, feminine and visible.  Yes please!

This dress took my breath away.  I adore this dress.  
Convention would say I can't wear it, I say.... I've just ordered it

So there you have it.  Four dresses that society says I "can't" wear.  One of which I have ordered already (post to follow) and the rest will stay on my wishlist.

What do you wear that convention says you shouldn't?

15 April 2013

Waiting for the Cast to Set

I think that it was Joan Didion that said “I write to find out what I think”.  That is something that applies to me.  I have learnt so much of what I really think by just typing away, letting my fingers do the talking and seeing what comes out.

I’ve just realised that sentence could be completely misconstrued as something dirty.  But you know what I meant.  Carrying on!

What I learned today is that whilst you find out what you think when you write, when you read you are sometimes forced to face up to things that you already know.  I read the fabulous @archedeyebrow post today On the Flipside and I have to admit that it broke me a little bit.

One thing that resonated with me completely was the line “If you’ve grown up fat, you’ve grown up knowing no one will ever want you”.

Whilst I have made leaps and bounds in my confidence in so many ways, when it comes to the opposite sex and relationships, I’m still the girl that wants to hide away.  The invisible “F off” that I wrote about in The Sign on Your Head is still a part of me. 

Because I’ve been working so hard on confidence in my personality and confidence in what I wear, that part I’ve allowed to just fester in the shadows. 

I think the thing that exasperates me the most is that at heart, I know the way I feel is my own fault.  The reason I have been single over the years, apart from the fact that I live in a small town, is that invisible “Get lost” on my forehead. 

My presumption that no one will be interested, or if they were, wouldn’t want to admit it in public has taken over years of my life and has stopped any potential relationships, except toxic ones.  It has to stop.  I don’t want to feel like that anymore.  But it’s me that has to make the change.  I’m just afraid.

Now the issue has been highlighted once again, I can try to start to change the way I think.  What helps is that by reading other people’s experiences I know that I am not on my own and it isn’t just me that thinks this way.

It is up to ourselves to mould and shape the person that we want to be and for some of us, it just takes a little longer for the cast to set.

Emerging from a Puff of Smoke!

The thing about achievements is that when I actually have an achievement to celebrate, I suddenly come over all British and self deprecating. 

One of unspoken rules of bring British is “don’t flaunt yourself, be modest”.  Well today, Britain, my modesty is being thrown to the winds and I’m flaunting like a showgirl at the Folies Bergere.  Take that British reserve!

Today is one year to the day that I decided to quit smoking.  It has been a long and sometimes onerous process, but the benefits make it worth it. 

I am, believe it or not, a cheerier person in the morning now.  I’ll never be a “morning person” but now at least I am safe for people to be around before 10.30am.  Also, the coughing my guts up in the morning isn’t something I miss.

There are also obviously the financial gains.  I don’t even want to think about how much I spent on cigarettes previously.  Around 18 years of 20 a day.  But I’m not a believer in looking at where you have been; I like to concentrate on the road ahead.

www.Cancer.org tells me that I am now at 50% less at risk of having heart disease after this first year and the benefits will only increase from here.

If you are reading this and want to quit smoking, I would highly recommend Allen Carr’s “The Easy Way to Quit Smoking”.  It is the method that I used and for me, it worked.

I am also happy to inform you that I haven’t turned into one of those evangelical ex smokers.  You know the kind.  The kind that when I was a smoker, I wanted to poke in the eye.  In fact, I still do.  I loved smoking and yes, I still miss it. 

All the diseased lungs photographs and health warnings and cost statistics in the world could not have convinced me to quit until I was ready.  The only way you will ever quit is if you truly want to.  I reached that point, and I have.

So today I have reached my one year anniversary and it’s something I am truly proud of.  The journey isn’t over, but I think I am can safely say that I can pin on an ex smoker badge. 

I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family.  You need a support system around you, and thankfully mine are absolutely fantastic.  To say thank you for the help I am taking my mum and step dad out for a lovely Italian meal and my best friends to a restaurant for lunch and wine.  Now that’s a better use of my money ;)

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13 April 2013

Quick! The Sun!

A strange thing happened today.  I went outside and it wasn't cold.  I didn't need to wear a scarf, my fingers were glove less,  what was this strange occurrence?  Could it actually be a turn in the weather?

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I immediately got to planning my outfit for tonight which is a celebration of my best friend's new business and also my one year of not smoking.  With the weather being that touch warmer, I went running for the nearest maxi dress that I bought on sale at @Dorothy_Perkins last year.

Here's what I am wearing:

Attempting the old "natural makeup look"
 The dress and the shoes are both from +Dorothy Perkins and the belt I bought yesterday from +Evans for the bargain price of £4.00!

At the day is getting on it's looking a little colder out now so I'm wearing a little black shrug for warmth and will be adding my @So_Fab_Clothing biker jacket later on.

What are you wearing this weekend?

10 April 2013

A Little Dignity

When it comes to Margaret Thatcher, people have very clear-cut views.  That much has always been evident.  People either like or loathe her, depending on what their outlook on her time as prime minister was.

I’m not writing this post to argue political issues and what she did or did not do.  I’m writing this post in relation to the frankly abhorrent comments and hateful things I have seen said over the past few days.

From people holding parties in the street, to others buying “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” to such a degree that it is now in the top ten on the Itunes Charts, I’ve never seen anything like it before.  Twitter is full of people celebrating her death, suggesting parties when “the witch burns” and hoping that she is “being tortured in hell”.

She made her mistakes, you cannot deny that, but whatever else you say about Margaret Thatcher you can’t deny that she had courage of conviction.  She had her victories too.  She played a part in the end of the Cold War and brought us to victory in the Falklands. 

She survived an IRA bombing attack and was still at the Conservative Party Conference the next day at 9.00am.  Can you imagine any of our current MPs doing the same?  I wholly doubt it.  They would have been up and out of there quicker than you could say “How much can I claim in expenses for this?”.

This woman didn’t commit genocide.  She isn’t Adolf Hitler.  In the grand scale of things does she really deserve all of this hate nearly 25 years after she left Downing Street?  

Will the same things be said of Tony Blair for the war in Iraq or of David Cameron for the privatisation of the NHS and cuts of benefits?

In the end, she died a frail 87 year old woman, reading in her bed.  Whatever your views on Margaret Thatcher may be, can we not show a little restraint in how they are expressed? 

Think of her family, of her children, of the people who loved her.  Would you like to be grieving at the loss of your mother, whilst in the background you hear chimes of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”?  Let’s show a little dignity.

“Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity.”  Samuel Ullman.

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9 April 2013

Send a Pigeon!!

In 2013 you never think about the days when having a mobile phone was a rarity, and having the internet on your home computer was only a twinkle in the eye.  We all have our smart phones and laptops, Ipads and home computers and everything we want is within a click.
The internet on my laptop died this weekend and when the Orange technician finally deduced that my sim card had died, his announcement that another would come in 4-5 working days was taken well, initially.
Day three of the wait though and I'm practically breaking out in cold sweats.  I have the internet on my phone of course but I already use all of my allowance so using that is a no go.  My work internet blocks most of the sites I want to use.
I get home and I'm staring at my laptop in longing.  Blogs posts are flowing through my head that I can't upload, sales are putting up everywhere online; there seem to be million different online articles I want to read and worst of the worst, I can only check Twitter through my phone.
It is KILLING me.
So Orange, you know I said that I was fine with 4-5 working days?  I'm not.  Send a carrier pigeon, stat.
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5 April 2013

Barry M Bold Black Waterproof Gel Eyeliner Review

Eyeliner and I have a bit of a turbulent relationship. I love it, but I can never seem to find one that works the way I want it to. Usually what happens is the pencil is too sharp, the felt pen is too narrow or the colour isn't intense enough.

I came across the Barry M Waterproof Gel Eyeliner in Superdrug the other day, priced at £3.99, linked here. I liked the fact that it was waterproof as I frequently end up with eyeliner everywhere by the end of the day, looking like a bleary eyed panda.

Unlike some of the other pencils and pens I have wrestled with, the Barry M eyeliner pencil is soft and pliable, making it easy to press into my lashes and maintain a steady line. Once applied, I use an eyeliner brush in order to move the line out to the corners of my eye for a more precise look.

I have tried the eyeliner out twice now, once for work and once for a night out and I can confirm that it has stayed put and not lost any intensity of colour. Even though it does say waterproof, I was expecting some smudging or fading after a few hours but that didn't happen at all.

I can heartily recommend the Barry M Eyeliner pencil to you. I have included some before and after photographs so you can see how it looks on.

That's as much of my naked face
as you're getting ;)

Oops!!  Shadow cam!
Edit: A couple of people have asked me what mascara I am using in the "after" pictures.  It's the Benefit They're Real Mascara.

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