29 August 2018

Top Tips For What To Wear To A Wedding

I have been invited to a wedding in October and I have already started looking at outfits and shoes, trying to decide what to wear.

For this wedding I have been invited to both the ceremony and subsequent wedding breakfast, going straight through to the evening celebration at another location.  Which poses a problem.  What do you wear that is going to work for both parts of the wedding, at different times of day?

Here are some tips that I think will get you through a wedding with style and without offending the bride!

1.  Stay Classy

If you have been invited to a wedding, chances are that it is going to be a formal event (unless it is on a beach, then you might get a little leeway!).  So this is not a time to bring out your jeans.  Have a really good shop around for something formal, but also ideally something that you can wear again or style up to give you different looks.  No white please!

For the summer months, why not go with a mid length fishtail dress in a bright colour?  This one from SimplyBe is an absolute steal at £25.00.


As the wedding that I am going to is in October so I am looking for something a little more covered, but still stylish.  I love the River Island dresses that are around at the moment and am in love with this one which is very reasonable £65.00 and could be worn to a variety of events, not just a wedding.



2.  Think With Your Feet

Chances are, if you have been invited to both the day and evening events of a wedding, you are going to be on your feet, a lot.  There are a few different things to think about here.  

  • You need a pair that are going to work for both day and evening wear.  Glitzy glitter covered heels look fab underneath a disco ball but not so much in a pew at a church.
  • You want a heel height that still looks elegant and stylish, whilst also not being too high.  They have to be comfortable enough to wear the shoes for hours on end without killing your feet and of course, you have to be able to dance in them (after you have negotiated uneven flooring outside churches, cobbled streets etc).
  • Try to go for neutral tones or black.  Matching that perfect colour of jade green from your dress may seem like a fab idea at the time, but you want to wear a shoe that you can wear again with other outfits (thereby justifying paying slightly more than usual for a gorgeous pair!).

I am loving these shoes at these black diamante shoes from River Island at the moment which have just a touch of sparkle and have a manageable, block heel which shouldn't prove hard to walk in.




Finally,

3.  Remember, it is someone's wedding day

When you are going to day and night event, probably surrounded by many people that you do not know; the urge to have a few more drinks than usual to "ease you up a bit" is an easy one to succumb to.  I know only five people at the wedding I am going to in October and that includes my plus one!

Everyone has a few too many drinks at weddings but make sure that you eat something at the wedding breakfast, have a nibble at the buffet later in the evening.   Tripping the light fantastic on the dance floor is one thing at a wedding, but there is always one that gets too inebriated and can potentially spoil a couple's wedding day.  Don't let that be you!


14 August 2018

The Finishing Touches


When it comes to designing your home, whether you are on a budget or have money to spend, it is the finishing touches that will make or break your room and are what makes it special and stand out.

There are a million ways that you can add the finishing touches to your home, whether it be a wall mural in an otherwise white room or a large painting, or how you use textures and accessories to pack a punch.

When I think of what I would like to do with my own home, I always think of the quirky touches that I would like to add.  In particular, pieces that you would not expect to be a feature, but really makes the room.  For example, how about a contemporary radiator in a room that doubles as a statement piece?

Is it art or a integral part of the home?  Those kind of interesting questions about how you can combine design and usefulness really interest me.



They say that the best things in life are free, and in your home, one way that you can utilise a free resource is through the way that you allow the light in.  A skyline in a previously dark room or using the windows as your focal point.  No curtains, simple design and just letting the light flood your interior, allowing the sunlight to create the light and shade in your room.


Making your home stand out and make your own personal statement and aesthetic does not have to cost the earth.  It can be about the little touches that you make or alternatively larger pieces that make a larger statement.

I love the idea of a wall mural from Paris in my bedroom, or using an element that is both functional and artistic to create a talking point.

The most important thing for me about designing your home is that you put your own stamp on it.  Expressing your personality through the pieces that you choose, the colour on the walls and the way in which you choose to have the room speak to the person that enters.

Are you going for cool and classic?  Comfortable and snug?  Anything is possible whatever your budget if you put your mind to it; above all keeping your design to what you will love.  You have to live with it after all?

What design elements do you love in your home?

9 August 2018

Romantic Destinations


When you think of romantic destinations to visit with your partner, where do you think of?  A romantic weekend in Paris or Florence perhaps?  A week in New York might encourage a dozen romantic moments; a walk in Central Park, a jazz club with cocktails and dimmed nights at 1am...

For a longer stay, perhaps a honeymoon or anniversary visit, I always think of an island, a beach, turquoise waters and just you and your partner.   For me, that place is Mauritius. 

Mauritius is the perfect destination for a long haul getaway with your love and Destination2 has some amazing places that you can stay on the island.  You can visit the website here.  


Whether you want to do nothing but lie on an idyllic beach and have a dip in the crystal clear waters or whether you want an excursion or two, Mauritius has everything that you could want.

Perhaps a romantic horse ride on the beach at sunset or maybe a diving experience in a submarine underwater trip?

You can also visit Des Deux Cocos which is a private island only a five minute boat ride away from Mauritius where you can experience the feeling of perfectly alone together, in a setting that is nothing short of paradise.

Don't think however that Mauritius is only beautiful beaches, there is a life and a beat to Mauritius that you have to experience.  How about a visit to Le Caudan waterfront in St Louis where you can find shops, craft markets, bars and casinos as well as the famous umbrellas on the waterfront.



Romance does not have to be a holiday or a trip.  It doesn't have to be a romantic meal out or a boat ride on a lake.  Romance can be as simple as running your loved one a bath surrounded by candles, a snuggle together at 5am, a note left on the fridge saying "I love you".

When it comes down to it, romance is a personal thing and revolves around the pair of you, together.  Whether it is waking up to a kiss in the morning, or lying on a beach, holding hands in paradise.

What is your kind of romance? 

3 Good Reasons to Collect Jewellery

Image via Pixabay


People collect all kinds of things, from stamps, to old coins, knives, pocket watches, and beer mats. Oh, and, of course, also jewellery.


Society tends to frown a bit on people who are constantly buying jewellery — it’s often seen as a sign of an obsessive-compulsive shopping disorder of one variety or another.

A bit disheartening, no? But what if there were actually some good and compelling reasons for collecting jewellery, and not even feeling ashamed to admit it?

Well, here are a few such reasons.



Its value increases as time goes on

As a general rule of thumb, anything that improves in value the longer you’ve held onto it, is a winner, or is at least worth feeling somewhat positive about.

It’s unlikely that your collection of old beer bottle caps is likely to become significantly valuable over the years, perhaps unless they’re about 50 years old, and a whole subculture of beer bottle cap collectors has grown up around this particular brand and their quirky, discontinued, bottle cap designs.

Jewellery, however, typically increases in value predictably, kind of like property, with the market for retro and vintage jewellery being rich and dynamic, and with quirky pieces from even a few years ago often being very popular with the right groups of people, who would often pay good money for the sake of getting a hold of them.

And, of course, if you wanted to take a long-term view of things and consider what your jewellery could be worth decades down the line, maybe as a family heirloom, well — just do a quick Google search to see the cost of high-quality jewellery from the ‘60’s.

Jewellery allows you to easily express different aspects of your personality

Jewellery may not be “practical” in the immediate kind of way that a computer, or a screwdriver, is “practical”, but jewellery can nonetheless fulfil various important roles in your life and give you an ongoing sense of joy and satisfaction over time.

Specifically, jewellery allows you to easily express different aspects of your personality, via your appearance, and makes it easy for you to accessorise any outfit in order to blend together different motifs.

Belly bars gold, for example, can be great for when you’re in a more sexy mood. A pair of pearl earrings may be just the thing for that formal ball you’re planning to attend, and plain metal studs may send a no-nonsense signal in the workplace.

You can easily pass it on or sell it if you ever get bored

The thing about jewellery is that pretty much everyone wants it, and it’s rarely too hard to get rid of. If, after a few years of collecting, you decide that you’re bored of all your assorted accessories and want to get rid of them… well, you can.

Many items of jewellery will sell on eBay in a hurry, while others can be sold to various companies and shops who specialise in reselling jewellery.

If you can’t, or don’t want to, sell it, but still want it gone, it’d be an odd day indeed if none of your friends, relatives, or acquaintances was happy to take it off your hands.

3 August 2018

How Should You Style Your Prints?




Have you considered that prints can make or break your look? A floral blouse can brighten up plain office wear, but a patterned trouser and shirt combo could clash. So, how do you decide which prints you should be wearing and which you should stay clear of?

Top tips

A few of the main tips are to complement colours, sizes and not go too over the top.

Just starting out with prints in your wardrobe? You might want to ease them into your outfits by pairing them with solids. For something cool and stylish, match a pair of polka dot palazzo trousers with a plain white crew neck and barely-there sandals to channel summer vibes. Or, tuck a pastel ruffle shirt into a horizontal-striped A-line skirt for an on-trend look that’s suitable for work or play. 

Similarly, you can tone down a loud pattern by layering a monotone blazer or fitted jacket over the top. To add an edge of style and print to your wardrobe, consider patterned accessories such as bags, bandanas, and belts.

Bring pieces together that share similar colour schemes too. A floral print that has elements of pink in the pattern is enhanced by a solid coloured jacket that is the same colour of print. If you want to go for two printed garments, keep your fabrics in the same colour family or pick two stylish prints that share a single colour. This ensures that your outfit doesn’t clash and is a safe way of mixing and matching prints.

Don’t be afraid to bring two different prints together. Try breaking mixed prints up with a neutral garment — channel boho vibes with a paisley co-ord jacket and skirt and separate the patterns with a neutral cami top. Or separate polka dot pumps and a patterned jacket with plain trousers. Similarly, you can also split up clashing prints with a chunky belt and cross-body bag.

Go fully co-ordinated with two garments that share the same pattern. One good way to do this is to invert the colours if you’re using two of the same pattern. For example, if a white cami with navy checks would pair well with a navy cami with white checks. You can also wear the same pattern together with in a larger or smaller scale. Try pairing a high-waisted pair of slacks with a strappy top that’s a smaller version of the pattern. Consider your jewellery in the mix too — if you’re wearing a geometric printed top, opt for jewellery of the same pattern.

Things to avoid

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to prints.

Stick to one colour scheme. Use this throughout the full outfit — this helps your garments complement each other and prevents an outfit that looks like it’s been thrown together!

Animal print can be quite loud and may not match together in the way that other patterns would. For this reason, pair animal print with solid coloured pieces — try a leopard print cami dress with black t-shirt beneath and black heeled ankle boots — the top and boots will bring out the spots, whereas leopard print shoes would have been too much.

And that’s the top tips! The main thing to remember is to wear what you feel confident in, change the fashion rules if you want to!

This article was created by going out dresses retailer, QUIZ.

What To Wear To Every Kind of Hen Do


Hen parties have evolved in recent years, changing from an all-out clubbing and drinking session to focusing on the bride-to-be. It's a day for her and her closest friends and family to celebrate!

The parties are as varied as the brides, with some preferring spa days and others planning to dance the night away. Whatever the hen do plans, be ready with our guide of what to wear from plus size tops retailer, QUIZ. 

A touch of sophistication: afternoon tea

Is the bride-to-be wanting something a little quieter than is tradition? If so, make sure all the girls put the same amount of outfit-prep effort in as they would for a big night out by investing in chic occasion dresses. Think elegant and fun — bold floral prints, pastel colours, and stylish hem and necklines evoke the perfect air of old-time glamour.

A soft toned, frill-front dress would be perfect for an afternoon tea; try a soft lemon colour or powder blue. Wrap-round and Bardot styles will also ooze sophistication and offer figure-flattering outlines, or you can go for simple but effective chic in a midi or maxi dress with a shot chiffon jacket in a complementary shade. We recommend dressing up your look with simple jewellery, a clutch bag and low-heel court shoes — dressed to impress but comfortable enough for a few hours of food and drinks.


A night on the town: partying

There’s no better time to party than a hen do! No matter where you go, you’ll want to look sensational on a hen do night out. So, plan your outfit ahead of schedule.

Stay on trend with a retro ‘80s vibe to your outfit. Go for high-waisted shorts and a square-shoulder satin blouse or try a ruched velvet dress with huge hoops and a chunky necklace. Fusing different, bold shades in one look is also a top trend from recent global fashion shows, but don’t forget that asymmetric cuts, figure-hugging fabrics and bare shoulders are also ideal for the party look. Go for an off-the-shoulder bodycon that emphasise your curves and match with statement jewellery and killer heels to lengthen your legs.


It's 5 o’clock somewhere! Daytime-cocktails

Drinking during the day is totally fine for a hen do, but failing to dress for the occasion isn’t!
No doubt there’ll be a big event on the night too, so your outfit needs to carry you from your daytime cocktails session to the evening. Think skinny leather jeans with mid-heel boots and a shimmery, metallic-embellished cami with a subtle diamante head chain, or pull on a high-waisted print skirt and match with a crop top or bodysuit and strappy heels.

Alternatively, wear an outfit that can transform! Pull on a glamourous, bare-shoulder shift dress with cute pumps and a neutral kimono for cocktails, then simply switch to stilettos, throw on statement jewellery and roll-up your kimono so it fits in your envelope bag for the night! 


Everyone needs some me-tome: spa days

Comfy but stylish is needed for a spa day, because there’ll be selfies along with the pampering! When you pop out of the jacuzzi, you want to dry off quickly — so a bathrobe is essential. Why not order all the girls matching robes with ‘bride’ and ‘hen’ on the back — perfect for that Instagram post by the pool!

Of course, swimwear is a must. A full swimsuit is usually more acceptable in a spa rather than a bikini you’d wear to the beach — but put on what you feel most comfortable in. If you’re going to be lying by the pool all day, you want something that you feel comfy both in and out of the water. Don’t hesitate in wearing a swimsuit with a pop of colour or embellishment, like frills. You’re at a party after all! And make sure you pack your fluffy sliders and flip-flops for the perfect base to any spa pool outfit.

Keep in mind you'll need to plan for any lunch outings and drinks too. Luxury spas sometimes have a certain dress code you should bear in mind — so keep it classy and understated. Peplum tops and skinny-sit trousers look gorgeous for lunch dates and evening get-togethers or why not opt for a stripe, culotte jumpsuit with a belt and pair of suede, ankle-wrap sandals? Finish with a tote bag or quilted clutch and be prepared for all eventualities at your hen spa weekend.

Keeping it cosy: girly nights in

Girly nights in are arguably even better than big nights out. If you’re celebrating your hen do indoors with your best friends, then make sure comfort is your priority.

Athleisure is a hot trend this year, and perfect for a girls’ night. Pair a pair of skinny joggers with a casual crop top and over-sized jacket or go for leggings and high-top trainers with a slouch sweater and headscarf for a contemporary, urban look. 

Alternatively, opt for a skort or shorts with a bold coloured tee shirt for a trendy, yet comfy outfit. And if you’re wondering about footwear, we say go for sandals, flats or espadrilles.

Hen dos are all about the bride-to-be, so don’t stress too much about your outfit; focus on the fun! Keep these hen do style tips in mind and make sure you pack the right outfits ahead of your next hen experience!


2 August 2018

Exorcising The Ghosts Of Relationships Past

* Long read - you were warned!

Hello there!  It has been sooooooo long since I have written a personal post.  So long since the words have floated around in my head until I had no choice but to filter them down through my fingers on to the page.

As ever, I can articulate so much better when the words flow through my fingers as I type; but tonight is the first time in a long time that the words have danced, demanding to be set free.

So what am I talking about tonight?  The ghosts of past relationships as a fat, insecure woman.

Looking back at past experiences with men in my life is hard for me to remember.  The experience that I have had with relationships is little, the heartache, a lot.  I have been hidden, I have been put up with; I have been the dirty secret and the one that was so nearly "the one", had it not been for my body.

What I have come to realise over the past few months is that although I have been treated badly in the past, I have allowed this to happen to me.  When society and your peers tells you that as a fat woman, you are not good enough, eventually you believe it yourself. So you overcompensate.

When the #MeToo movement was starting to take shape, I shared some of my own experiences of what happened to me in the past.  I was a fat teenager, but I knew that the actions of those that touched and grabbed at me were wrong.  I knew that the words said to me were unacceptable.

I railed against them, but my words were ignored; my experiences were explained away,  when telling others as "wear a baggier school shirt" (I never wore a tight shirt by the by).  "You have large breasts, what can you expect" (erm basic respect?).  A look up and down at my body and a "you should be grateful for the attention" (fuck you).  A  particular teacher comes to mind.

Those last words shaped me and the experiences that I have had with men for a long time.  Not just from them, but people close to me.  That same message. Be grateful.   Take what you can get because you are fat.

So I allowed transgressions to happen to me because, maybe, I should be grateful.  I allowed myself to be hidden because who wants to have a fat girl as a girlfriend, right? Be happy that he likes you in private.

My love life up until this point has been a car crash, with me shaving off pieces of myself and handing them over on a plate trying to find that love, that attraction; so that someone, sometime will think that I am good enough for them.  That I deserve more than to be hidden or been embarrassed by.

The problem with shaving pieces off yourself is that eventually, you start to forget who you really are. When you give so much of yourself away each time with no return, you lose a piece of yourself.

Society and other elements made me feel like I was not good enough.  It is only now that I look back and realise that, as Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently put:

No one can make you feel inferior, without your consent

I have always avoided men that found the larger woman attractive.  I did not understand how they could think of me as more than a fetish.  I had no clue or realisation that someone could actually find me attractive, sexy.

As I type right now, I am dating someone.  We met through Tinder, on my first couple of days when I thought that I would give it a whirl.  We have been dating a few months now.  I will call him A.

With A for the first couple of months I found myself in the same familiar cycle.  The insecurities.  The wondering if he really did find me attractive.  The fear when he said that he liked larger women.  Was I just a fetish?

When you have spent the whole of your adult life with your body as the compromise, it is hard to believe that someone can be turned on by your body.
The thing is, he makes me feel sexy.  I no longer feel like that I need to give so much of myself to overcompensate for my body.  He is attracted to my body and, for the first time in my life; I believe it.

So as these new experiences wash over me, I realise that I am in no rush.  I don't feel the need to be his girlfriend.  I don't have the craving for commitment and am in no rush.  We may progress, we may not.  But I am enjoying dating someone and just, for once, having fun.  The pressure to hand myself, my heart over on a plate is no longer there.

I have no idea what will happen with myself and A.  We may date for a while and it may fizzle out.  It  may progress.  Who knows?  But what I do know is that I can be myself.  I can be goofy.  I can be silly.  Turns out, I am a bit of a tease too, which amuses me endlessly.  I can feel attractive and know that he is attracted to me.  I don't hold back on what I think or who I am.  I may even let him read something that I have written, maybe.

I feel good enough for someone now.  It is a lesson that I had to learn for myself.  If nothing else happens between A and I, that feeling will stay with me.   This thing we have is 50/50.  We are figuring each other out, having fun, enjoying each other without pressure.  I no longer feel, as I have done every other time, like I am on an audition.

We are on a dance and who knows whether it will end or whether we will continue to dance.  All I know is that the pieces of myself that I gave away are coming back to me and it feels amazing.  The parts of me I gave away, I am taking them back.  I have owned who I am for years now.  Now I own what I look like, imperfections, perceived or otherwise; and all.

He has given me the confidence in my body it is true and that won't go whatever happens, but my self worth, I finally took that back for myself.

The dating experience I am having now, I should have had so long ago.  It is only now that I realise that this is what I always deserved.  What has happened before I let happen.   That is on me.  What happens now?  Who knows.  But I sure am enjoying the experience.