Sunday, 29 December 2013

Blush pink...

Picking a Christmas outfit is always tricky, you have to be able to eat insane amounts of food (I can't be the only one to have eaten 10 tons of cheese over the past few days, right?!) but still look (relatively) dressy. My family have always dressed up for Christmas and Boxing Day but Mark's family are always slightly less OTT so this year I had to tread the line between smart and casual which I always find really difficult. I had been planning on either wearing this dress or this dress but when Mark and I were in town on 23rd, I spotted this lacy beauty in one of the charity shops in Tewkesbury (yes I may have a bit of a thing for lace dresses!)

Dress: Debut at Debenhams via charity shop, tights: Tesco, shoes: Office
I was originally a little unsure of the colour as pastels can make me look really washed out but with the black belt and strong make-up, I think I managed to pull this blush pink/ lilac colour off. I really love the lace overlay and it was an outfit I felt really comfortable in, even after eating my own body weight in mince pies.
The dress was originally from the Debut range at Debenhams and I think it shows in the cut and fit of it, this was clearly designed for a special occasion and it made me feel really elegant when I was wearing it- a very strange feeling for someone as clumsy as me!

Oversized bows are always the way forward...
I imagine this would look really lovely with nude tights or bare legs come the warmer weather but the single digit temperatures convinced me to wear my trusty black opaques instead. These cosy tights were a Tesco bargain and I have been wearing them non-stop. 40 deniers just don't cut it in this weather but unless I am outside for a prolonged period of time, the Primark fleece lined tights are just too warm for a radiator like me so these 60 deniers are perfect!

How do you pick a party frock? What did you wear for Christmas?

Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas snapshots...

I have been slightly AWOL over the past week as I have been catching up on some sleep and spending Christmas with my family and friends. As usual, Mark and I had 3 (!) Christmases; one for us and our friends, one with Mark's family and one with mine. As you can imagine, it was very busy and filled with lots of amazing food, drink and fun and we had the most amazing time. I will be sharing my festive outfits (sneak peek here!) but here are a few of my Christmas highlights in the meantime...

Our Christmas tree went up very late this year (only 5 days ago in fact!) thanks to the leak in our ceiling but it did shake me out of my Grinch-like slump when I saw it twinkling away in the corner!

A sparkly jumper dress, leggings and my lovely new slippers from Mark were my outfit of choice on Christmas Eve, cosiness and stretchiness is key to a good Christmas outfit in my opinion...

Especially when you have to eat a roast dinner three days in a row! ;)

Mark and I have concluded that it is pretty much impossible to get a picture where we both look nice- I'm not sure what is happening with my face here! 

Me and my two sisters- can you tell that we are related?! 

We weren't sure what to get people this year for Christmas so we decided that Kilner jars filled with the ingredients for yummy oaty cookies are always a winning combination and  it was really fun choosing what extra ingredients to add to the jars- don't the layers look lovely! 

Of course we had to make a few for ourselves to do a quality test on the recipe and I can report that the cookies are lovely! 

We went out for a few drinks with our friends on Christmas Eve and so I swapped one sparkly dress for another! This gorgeous tinsel dress was from ASOS and I was so excited to wear it although I wish I had worn a slip underneath it, it was pretty itchy by the end of the evening! I just realised that this is an extremely 80s looking outfit with the leggings and pointy shoes (I'm pretty sure there's a photo of my Mum wearing something similar 25 years ago!) but I really loved it and itchiness excluded, it was a really comfy outfit and perfect for hiding my food baby ;)

Where did you spend Christmas? 

Friday, 20 December 2013

The perfect party dress...

When it comes to party dresses, I am pretty fussy, it has to be comfortable enough to wear all day (and night), not be too short or revealing, have some kind if interesting detail and it HAS to make me feel like a million dollars. If I can also dance in it, then that is just the icing on the cake! When Marks and Spencer got in touch recently about featuring a party look, I was ecstatic, "good old M&S" are one of my favourite brands and they certainly know how to make a fantastic party dress! I chose this beautiful lace dress but strangely I chose the black version rather than the red - definitely an unusual choice for me! Although I loved the red, I agreed with Mark that 4 (!) Little Red Dresses may be excessive and actually I thought that the black looked much more elegant (does this mean that I am growing up?!) I actually wore this dress to my work's Christmas do last week and not only did it manage to pull off the infamous work to bar switch, it got so many compliments- definitely a winner in my eyes!

Dress: c/o Marks and Spencer, belt: Primark, tights: John Lewis, shoes: Clarks, excited face: model's own!

As soon as I saw the gorgeously detailed lace and slightly higher Victorian inspired collar, I was sold. Although the dress looked relatively short on both me and the model, the high neckline meant it didn't feel at all revealing. Not to sound too smug but I think I have pretty nice legs and this dress gave me a chance to show them off! It was really difficult to try and get a photo of this but my tights are actually a dark charcoal grey rather than black, much more interesting than my usual 40 deniers but not overpowering... I was originally going to wear heels with this but actually I think it looks better with flats, another plus for me! 

A slightly blurry picture but I also really loved the sleeves on this dress, I know that sleeves can be a deal-breaker for some people and these do not disappoint. Isn't the lace gorgeous?!

I wanted to show off the sleeves and collar so I kept my hairdo simple and fuss-free; a messy bun only looks better as the day wears on! I decided to attempt liquid eyeliner which was a total success despite it being about 5.30 in the morning and paired it with a glossy red lip, simple but still suitably festive! 

I kept the rest of the accessories simple and as I didn't have a chunky collar necklace to wear with this (any recommendations?) I added this skinny gold belt to break it up a bit which matched perfectly with my nails (Angel's Fire by Max Factor FYI)

What do you look for in a party dress? Any ideas where I can get a good collar necklace from?

P.S. Marks and Spencer sent me this outfit for review

Monday, 16 December 2013

Little black dress...

Despite my well-documented love of colour, I do have a soft spot for that perennial style classic: the little black dress. My LBD of choice is this one from Tesco- I love the fit of it and I can imagine it looking good on anyone and everyone. This has seen me through many a business meeting, meals out with friends and family and even my Grandad's funeral earlier this year- not bad for a mere £7! What I like most about this dress is how simple it is, there is a time and place for embellishment and fancy details but this makes the perfect blank canvas. Luckily, it even works without me having to wear heels, there's nothing worse than having to wear heels when you have a day's worth of meetings! These photos were another bunch that were taken earlier in the year but I wore the exact same outfit the other day and forgot to take photos, so thought I would use these instead! This outfit is never going to set the fashion world alight but it is made up of some of my favourite items of clothing and it tends to be the kind of thing I wear to work on a day to day basis- basics can be fun too! ;) 

Coat: Dannimac via Mum, dress: Tesco, cardigan: BHS from Mark's mum, belt: New Look, shoes: French Sole c/o Spartoo
This cardigan is another one of the hardest working pieces in my wardrobe, it was originally hip length but I somehow managed to shrink the body of it in the wash (weirdly the rest of the fit stayed the same!) It is 100% wool so massively warm but with temperature being so variable in the office, it is a really good layer to have around, especially as it scrumples folds down into nothing in my bag! 

The dress has a knot detail at the waist (which actually  sits at waist height on me- rejoice!) which normally offers enough decoration but you know how much I like to match things and so out came my trusty leopard print belt! I really like the draping on this dress, it doesn't look too much like it is trying to disguise my lumps and bumps which some ruching can. Ruching is supposed to skim elegantly over my love handles, not cling to them unforgivingly! 

I have just noticed the rogue hair attached to my arm here, how annoying!
These French Sole shoes are so comfy and the red trimmed leopard print is just tacky fun enough to put a spring in your step. What's the use of a blank canvas if you don't jazz it up a little?! 

Where is your favourite little black dress from? How do you jazz up work outfits? 


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Marisota Style Challenge: horizontal stripes...

When Marisota got in touch with me a couple of weeks ago and asked me to take part in their 'Style Barriers' challenge, I couldn't resist. Anyone who has had the misfortune to play board games with me knows how ridiculously competitive I am (I have a lifetime ban on playing Scene It with Mark's family!) and a clothing challenge is my favourite type! I am also quite contrary so being told that I shouldn't wear something makes it all the more likely that I will ;) Although I regularly wear stripes I have never worn a striped jacket so I chose this Simply Be striped peplum jacket as the focus of my outfits. It is made of a fairly thick jersey and is warm without being too jacket-like, perfect for leaving on when you are in an air-conditioned meeting room!

Jacket: Simply Be c/o Marisota, top: Matalan, trousers: ASOS, shoes: Clarks
I am lucky enough to not have to dress particularly smartly for work but I leave the office fairly regularly, so I need something smarter but still comfortable when I do. Monochrome is a fail safe back up for many people but for me this would be a pretty dull outfit without the jacket and shoes to jazz it up. I know some people are scared of wearing patterns but stripes are definitely the easiest to pull off and hopefully this outfit just goes to show how easy stripes are to wear in a more formal environment. 

Peplums are another potentially difficult 'trend' to wear so I stuck to my usual method of slim trousers and heels and I actually really like how this turned out (even if I do slightly resemble a humbug!)

Dress: Simply Be c/o Marisota
Originally I wanted this dress to wear with the jacket but when it was out of stock, Marisota sent this one to me instead. I have to say, I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the package as it was very long on me, even with my highest heels! I liked how the jacket skimmed over my problem areas (my tummy!) but I think the length is pretty stumpifying on me! I may only be 5' 5" but I think the majority of people would struggle with this midi length...

I think you can tell from my face that I'm just not convinced by this! I get the idea of the illusion dress but the white jersey clings to every lump and bump (even with shapewear!) and it just isn't flattering. If the colours had been reversed or the white was replaced with a darker colour then this might have just worked but it's a no from me, which is a shame as I would have loved to have done a Kate Winslet

Polo neck: ASDA, shorts: Boutique by Jaeger, tights: c/o Marisota, shoes: Clarks
These tights were the final things that I decided to style up, I used to wear a lot of jazzy tights before I started this blog but burgundy tights are about as exciting as I get nowadays! These came in a two pack with a slightly more subtle diamond pattern but for me it was all about the super flattering illusion stripes! This outfit is a typical example of what I wear at the weekend, it is really cosy and comfy but still smart enough to leave the house in when you have to do your shopping. These shoes have barely left my feet over the past couple of weeks as they are just so darned comfy and I like the way they added to the slight 1960s vibe of this outfit...

Long-term readers may remember this infamous polo neck top/jumper (a lot of you hated it!) and although it probably isn't all that flattering (oh to have a long willowy neck!) it provided the perfect blank canvas for the jazzy tights and kept me super warm too... 

How do you wear stripes? What is your biggest sartorial challenge?
P.S. This post was done in collaboration with Marisota as part of their Style Challenge

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Goodies from the Clothes Show- what did I buy?

The Clothes Show can be more than a little overwhelming and the urge to buy as many things as you can possibly get your hands on can be difficult to resist! Luckily, I have been before and so I had an idea of the kind of things I wanted to pick up. Beauty stuff is always much cheaper there and luckily I had my wing-woman Selina with me to help hunt down the bargains! A lot of the magazines offer 'goody bags' but it is definitely worth looking around before you buy anything as some are much better than others and you have to be realistic about what you will actually use/read! I hadn't bought any magazines for a while so I was pleased when I saw this Cosmopolitan and Company goody bag. I paid a grand total of £3 for this, including two magazines, which definitely makes it worth it. Especially for the train journey home!

Models Own make some of the best nail varnishes around and I love the range of colours and finishes that they have - their stall was INSANE and even had a giant glittery nail varnish in the middle of it. Definitely my favourite stall! They usually have all kinds of good deals on and this year was no different - you could choose 3 polishes for £10 (usually £5 each) and then you got given a goody bag with £65 worth of products including the official Clothes Show nail varnish 'Show Stopper'. 

This gorgeous chunky bluey-green glitter polish was designed to match the dress worn by the CSL ambassador Jade Thompson and it is a really lovely shade, even if it is impossible to photograph! I can't wait to try this properly and I imagine it will breathe a new lease of life into my pastel coloured polishes...

Can you tell that I am a bit of a magpie?! As you can see, I honed in on ALL THE SHINY POLISHES and picked up some of the 'Velvet Goth' range to try too. I was really tempted by the navy and I would have loved the Absinthe green but I went for shades I knew I would get the most wear from (how boring!) The Hedkandki one is a lot less yellowy in the bottle but I just could not get it to photograph properly!

Velvet Goth Amethyst, Velvet Goth Sardonyx (which would be an amazing name for an Asterix character!) and Hedkandi Disco Heaven

This was the contents of the goody bag (along with a silvery eye shadow which I have already lost in the depths of my bag!) I haven't tried much of their make-up but I have high hopes for the chunky kohl! I was really pleased to see the 'shape it buffit' too, I got one about 18 months ago but I broke it recently and hadn't got round to buying a new one so this couldn't have come at a better time!

I have always had fairly problematic skin and although I don't tend to have as many flare ups any more (now I've done it!) my skin still needs a lot of TLC and I am always looking for the holy grail products that will give me glowing, spot free skin. Clarins are renowned for their skincare and I was super excited to try out their Multi Active Collection. I paid £15 for this which is amazing considering the amount of product you get! 

Inside you get a 50 ml pot of the Multi Active Day cream, 15 ml of the Multi Active Night cream and 10 ml of the Multi Active Skin Renewal serum, more than enough to try it all out properly!

I love the pot it comes in, the frosted glass feels very luxe and it is surprisingly heavy, definitely one to take care with! 

The cream is relatively thick but it absorbs quickly and even after just a couple of days, I swear my skin feels plumper! The smell initially reminded me of baby lotion but once applied it reminded me of the perfume/make -up that my mum used to use when I was younger. It's not unpleasant but it may not be to everyone's taste...

Did you pick up any bargains from the Clothes Show? Which beauty products can you not live without? 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Clothes Show 2013 with Echo Falls...

This weekend I spent a rather frantic Saturday in one of my favourite cities; Birmingham. Echo Falls very kindly invited me along to the Clothes Show Live in Birmingham along with a bunch of rather lovely bloggers and I had the best time! I really like the Clothes Show although it has been a while since I last went- Danni and I both went in 2009 and 2010 but I haven't managed it the past couple of years! After getting on a very busy train full of excitable tweenagers and getting completely lost at the NEC (one day I will learn to read signs!) I managed to make my way to the Echo Falls stand where I collapsed into a rather ungainly heap. Poppy Dinsey of WIWT was co-hosting with Echo Falls and I had a major fan-girl moment when I met Poppy! (didn't she look awesome?!) 

Luckily, despite running around like a headless chicken, I was still in time for the first fashion panel of the day with Poppy, Caryn Franklin, Karl Willett and Becca Dudley which was really interesting. I totally agree that you should only work with nice people- work makes up a huge proportion of your life and it is no fun if you are miserable! I did lug my SLR to the show and tried to take photos but I realised afterwards that it had been on manual focus for the whole time so please excuse my blurry pictures :( 

I'm not sure who the guy on the end was but 3/4 of the panel and their awesome outfits, I loved Becca's dress!

Caryn being interviewed- just check out those awesome hair-fringed sleeves! 

The best thing about going along to blogging events is meeting new people and despite us never meeting before Caroline was absolutely lovely! We had a really good natter on our way back to the train station and it just reminded me how awesome the blogging community is- there's not many places on the Internet where you will find people who agree with you about so many things! I just hope I am as cool as Caroline one day, just check out her amazing shoes!

Selina is a blogger who I have followed for a long time and it was so nice to see her again and catch up, I haven't seen her since we were big winners at the SWBloggers Xmas Quiz last year! 

Me looking much less glamourous! I knew that I would be on my feet all day so I paired my beloved teapot dress with some burgundy tights and my new Clarks loafers which I  absolutely love. I have actually been breaking these in recently which could have been a really bad idea but actually the shoes are massively comfy and I haven't had any blisters (yet)- WIN! 

Image from WIWT
I need to get me a bright pink vase!

The bar was absolutely HEAVING- just look how long the queue was!

Sassy posing on the stools on the stage. We definitely got some inquisitive looks when we were perched up there, you could tell people were trying to work out who we were! ;)

Many thanks to Echo Falls for taking me and the lovely Caroline and Selina for keeping me company! 

P.S. I was at the Clothes Show as a guest of Echo Falls


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