30 April 2015

Summer Nights with Curvissa

Summer Nights With Curvissa

Despite the current cold snap we are having, my thoughts at this time of the year always turn to Summer holidays.

Being a woman that likes to dress up, my favourite time of day whilst on holiday is when you have finished with a day of sunning yourself by the pool and you get ready for a perfect Summer night evening with a cocktail whilst the sun sets.

Curvissa challenged myself and four other bloggers to choose an evening maxi dress to style and I chose the Buckle Waist Maxi Dress *  which is available in a fantastic sizing range of  10 - 32.

When it comes to choosing a maxi dress for the holiday season I look for a bold print with breathable fabric and a nice length that will enable me to wear either heels or sandals depending on where I wish to wear it.  

The bold green print (also available in coral) is a real winner for me and the gold buckle detail adds an additional elegant touch to the dress.  Happily the dress also comes with pockets which is a particular favourite of mine, especially when you do not want to be laden down with a cumbersome bag.   

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I have worn the dress today as I would wear it for an evening out.  I have added a crochet shrug (perfect for when the sun sets and the nights can turn a little chilly), a red crystal necklace to give a contrast colour and some black peep toe heels.

Having worn Curvissa pieces before I knew to size up with this maxi dress.  The buckle waist maxi dress is available in split sizes and I would advise you to go with one size up. 

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I love the beautiful print of this dress and the length. I have given the dress a 4.5 rating as the sizing was a little bit off, but once you have the fit as you like it, this maxi dress will fit into your Summer wardrobe perfectly.

Check out the other bloggers who have been trying out Summer evening maxi dresses:

Just Me Leah
Sarah Is Smiley

Vicky x
Facebook / Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

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

28 April 2015

Are You PR Friendly?

I was recently speaking to Laura from Six Out of Ten when she offered to do a guest post for me about how to be PR friendly.

Here is a bit about her:

Laura works half in PR, half in marketing, and spends the rest of her free time writing about London and lifestyle in her online magazine. She has a cat, a boy, and loves Revels a little too much (don't we all!).

Here is what she had to say:

Although I think calling yourself PR Friendly is redundant (as most bloggers are lovely and wouldn't dream of being unfriendly) as well a waste of precious character space on your Twitter bio and blog, being PR friendly is another matter entirely.

You see, bloggers have seen a few people add it to their accounts, and everyone has followed suit. It's almost the same as adding clich├ęd phrases such as 'works well in a team' and 'hard-working' and 'works well under pressure' to your CV. They don't really mean anything until you see them in action.

To PRs, just saying you're PR Friendly isn't enough. So what can you do to demonstrate that you can be a PR's best friend? Here are four really easy ways to get PRs on side.

1. Remove PR Friendly from your blog and social channels 
As soon as you mention PR Friendly, you're immediately classified as a review blogger. As in, you only care about working with me and my client for what you can get out of it - a new lipstick here or a press trip there. 

I want to work with bloggers who love my brand and all that it stands for, regardless of whether I might be able to offer a comped meal or sample. I want them to be discerning and strict about who they feature, to not cheapen my client's name by lumping their brand in the middle of fifty others.

I'll avoid PR Friendly bloggers as the reputation behind the phrase, unfortunately, isn't a good one.

2. Have an up-to-date, well-written about page
The first think I look at when scoping out bloggers is their about page. I'll usually look at this before their posts. Why? Because this is where I find out about your story. Why you blog. How you started. Who you've worked with.

You should include the following:

a. Your name (use a blogger alias if you don't want to reveal your full name)

b. Where in the country you live

c. Why you started your blog and how it came about

d. Your perceived successes and a few brands you've worked with

e. Your future plans and targets
f. Your link to contact information and a media kit (if this isn't visible from the homepage)

3. Your contact information
It's amazing how many bloggers have a PR Friendly badge in their sidebar and then literally no contact information available. How can that be considered friendly? How am I mean to get in touch with you? Through an easily-missed public comment on one of your posts that'll head straight into your spam folder? 

No. Have a contact page set up, or be sure to include this in your about page, as above. If you want to include a number you can, but at the very least a text-based email address I can actually add to my address book. Include a contact form too, but your actual email address is the most valuable part.

4. Make your site easy to use

Nothing puts me off more than a cluttered site where I can't find anything. If you're not the best at HTML or CSS then hire a designer to install a clean, easy-to-use template. And make sure it's responsive and mobile-friendly. In case you don't know, Google will be penalising non-mobile-friendly sites from now on. There's no point spending time on SEO if there's no chance 40-50% of your mobile readers won't see it.

If your site is easy to use it means your readers will be able to find my client too. 

By following these really simple steps, you'll ensure you go from saying you're PR friendly, to being PR friendly. And I'll love you just a little bit too.

27 April 2015

What I Would Have Spent - Topshop

Debz from WannabePrincess came up with a great suggestion for a blog challenge, Here's What I Would Have Spent!

There have been so many times that I have been shopping online and have found the perfect item of clothing, only to find that it does not come in my size.  TopShop has always been a place where I have loved the clothes but not been able to shop in.

Having a fashionable clothing store that only sizes to select sizes seems more and more ludracrous these things.  They are literally turning away money by not selling the larger sizes.  Do you not want my money?

So this blog post is for Topshop, telling them what I would have spent my plus pound on!

What I Would Have Spent - Topshop

23 April 2015

Ugly Mugs

Whenever you see a fundraising campaign, the charity beneficiaries always seem to be the same.  Whilst charities such as Cancer Research and the Save the Children Fund are vital, many smaller charities are helping people and saving lives that most have never heard of. 
It is so important that these smaller charities receive exposure too as they need funding too.  With this in mind, today I want to highlight a charity called "National Ugly Mugs" which aims at protecting sex workers from violent offenders. 
The term Ugly Mugs was first developed in Australia in 1986, where the phrase ‘ugly mugs’ was used to describe punters who became violent.  They understood that distributing descriptions of ‘ugly mugs’ could warn other sex workers and help to keep them safe.  The first schemes in the UK were started in 1989 in two cities and are now run nationwide.

So why should you care about the lives of sex workers?
Since 1990, 149 sex workers have been murdered in the UK.   A study undertaken by the Home Office shows that more than half of women in prostitution have been raped and or seriously assaulted and at least 75% have been physically assaulted.  Those figures would pose a significant argument for crimes against sex workers being treated as hate crime.

A report by the Trussell Trust has showed an appalling rise of 163% in people having to utilise food banks, with nearly one million adults and children being forced to access them in the last year.  The austerity measures implemented by the Government has forced many people into looking for alternative ways to make ends meet and for some, this can lead to sex work. 

The atypical image of a sex worker is a scantily dressed woman on a street corner but the truth often is, especially in the current climes, that it could also easily be your next door neighbour; un-noticeable to a passer-by in the street.

The Home Office study shows that 74% of women in sex work identified paying household expenses and supporting their children as being the primary instigators in being drawn into sex work.

Everyone deserves help and everyone deserves support.  You cannot impose a moral line on safety.  It is only with schemes like the National Ugly Mugs that sex workers are feeling more confident about coming forward and reporting crime because of the stigma involved and the worry that they will not be taken seriously.

Alex Bryce, Director of Services at National Ugly Mugs has said:

"National Ugly Mugs is saving the lives of some of the most unfairly stigmatised people in our society and bringing to justice some of the most dangerous offenders."

The National Ugly Mug's reporting scheme is vital in bringing information about dangerous individuals to the attention of local constabularies and the National Crime Agency.  This has already led to nine convictions of serial repeat offenders.  In its first year of offering supporting, 480 incidents were reported, including 120 sexual assaults.
The cost of running the Ugly Mugs scheme for one year is around the same of investigating a rape and around the tenth of investigating a murder.  They are desperate for funding to allow this scheme to continue and this is where we come in.

My good friend Shona is a support worker for sex workers who works alongside Ugly Mugs in Lancashire.  As well as offering support and liaising with the police to report attacks on sex workers, she also is out at night twice a week providing condoms and panic alarms, along with a colleague who offers Hepatitis B and other vaccinations.

Shona is new to running but has set a goal of running the 10K Great Manchester run and has set up a JustGiving page with to a view to raising much needed funds for Ugly Mugs.  To date she has raised £885.00 in donations but the more that can be raised, the better.  You can donate to Shona and this very worthwhile cause at Just Giving

*Also posted on the Huffington Post

20 April 2015

Organza Check Skirt

I have been dying to show you this skirt.  I recently spotted it on +Simply Be and although it is right out of my comfort zone, I knew that it had to be mine.

So today I am working completely out of my usual floral dress box and into a black, transparent check skirt!

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I had originally bought a bardot top to go with this organza check skirt but it just was not working on me so I have improvised here.

The skirt I would say is a little bigger so I would advise you to try the size down from your usual.  

Also, although this may be just me, I found that the white underlining stuck at little to my legs and rode up in places.  I resolved this issue with what you can see in the photographs as I am actually wearing a black silk slip underneath the dress which is doubling up as my top.  A little risque this time!

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Given how much I love this skirt what I therefore need to find is a v neck vest type top, preferably with a higher back.  If anyone spots one, please let me know!

So, what do you think of my latest acquisition?

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16 April 2015

Spring Transitions

At this time of year, you never really know what the weather is going to be like.  In London yesterday it was 25 degrees I'm told but "up North" I'm afraid it was cold, wet and miserable.

When it comes to clothing, this time of year I always tend to struggle.  Do you dress for potential sunshine and end up cold?  Do you add an extra layer and be roasting hot all day?  You can never tell. 

What I tend to end up buying are dresses that I can style for both Spring and Winter.  Transitional pieces that you can either wear with tights, a cardigan and a chunky necklace or with bare legs and sandals.

On Sunday I was wearing this Dickins & Jones Floral Print Shirt Dress from the +House of Fraser  It is currently in the size, reduced from £65.00 to £26.00 and is available in sizes 22-26.  The jersey fabric lends itself well to this time of year and being a shirt dress, you can fasten/unfasten buttons at the neckline in order to change up your look and also suit  the weather.  I found the dress true to size.

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As it was right between cold and warm on Sunday I styled the dress to match both.  My black t-bar wedge shoes, a chunky gold necklace and a silk slip underneath, but with an extra button or two left undone at the neckline.
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This is my first foray into the plus size dresses section at the House of Fraser and I will definately be back.

*This dress was gifted to me but all opinions are my own

15 April 2015

I Feel Good

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.

I was looking through my photographs the other day and I came across this photograph from Plus North last year.  I am pretty sure that I didn't share it at the time, hence sharing it with now.  
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The dress, as the sign says, is from So Fabulous at +Very.co.uk 

I look so happy and I really did feel good that day.

13 April 2015

PS International Wishlist

International Wishlist

Bea Dot white floral dress, £89 / Bea Dot blue halter dress, £86 / Little black cocktail dress, £75 / Red sleeveless dress, £69 / Bodycon party dress, £48 / Dot dress, £48 / Chiffon cocktail dress, £45 / Sleeveless a line dress, £41 / Blue a line dress, £34

The lovely Debz came up with the idea of doing a plus size international wishlist challenge.

One brand that I absolutely adore but I am yet to purchase from is Modcloth  Their, unique, quirky and individual style is right up my street.  As dresses are my thing, above are my favourites!

Check out what the other ladies in the challenge chose!

7 April 2015

The Grand National

Hello all!

I am once again guest posting for the fabulous Leah today who has kindly allowed me to post me ramblings twice on her blog whilst she has been having a break away.

Can I take a quick moment to wish her a very happy birthday and also happy anniversary!

Today I am posting my yearly post on the Grand National.  You can find what I have to say on the subject on Leah's blog here

As with every year, many will not read this post and those who read it may not care/decide to bet anyway; but if I can change at least one person's mind about what is the most dangerous sport in the world, I will be a very happy camper.

Would love to hear your thoughts, either on Leah's post or here. xxx

5 April 2015

Lazy Girl Face Mask

Hello all!  I am doing something different on the blog today, something that I do not regularly do but when I find an amazing product, I want to share it!  So today, I am talking face masks.

When it comes to my skincare routine, I have to admit, I am horribly lazy.  I use *whispers* skin wipes.  I know you shouldn't, I know that they are not great for your skin but they are just so damn easy!

I have combination skin.  My nose and chin can get oily, whilst my cheeks and forehead sometimes would not look out of place in the Sahara desert for how dry they get sometimes.  Especially in Winter.  Before I discovered the magic, wonderous thing that is the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel I actually used to get dry flaky patches on my cheeks and forehead.  Irritating and not fun.

I have tried face masks in the past to give my skin a little oomph and a treat, but they have been few and far between.  The reason?  They are a pain!  You buy the leave on version and you practically have to submerge your head underwater to remove them or you apply the peel off, which as anyone knows does not come off in one go, or even five (if you are me).   

What I wanted was a face mask that I could quickly apply, leave on and practically do nothing with.  Then I found the Vitamin E Moisture Mask from +Superdrug which costs a frankly amazing £2.49 for 75ml.  

You apply like you would a moisturiser, but you do not need a huge amount, less is definately more.  Comparing it to my two pump use of Clinique I would say that around a 5-6 pump equivalent is more than adequate.  Here is how it looks when applied. 

So basically not a huge amount.  Just a medium coverage that you leave on for 15-20 minutes.  The mask sinks into your skin, leaving a very, very light residue that you simply dab with a tissue.  Here is how it looks after around 15 minutes.

The mask is meant to be applied 2-3 times per week and I have found that my skin feels wonderfully hydrated afterwards.  It is simple, quick and above all, easy.  It takes no time at all, no fuss, no messing about; no sink fulls of water and it something that I can do first thing in the morning when I am running on auto pilot with only basic brain function.

So my top tip?  Buy it!  Buy it now!  It is the lazy girl's perfect skin mask and does the job.

3 April 2015


Hello all!

Today I am guest posting for the lovely Leah.  I am talking about the crazy laws in the world, current ones in America and how they are affecting women's rights.

You can read it here