The year I decided I can...

As we get to the end of 2015 (I can't believe it has gone so quickly!) it is interesting to look back across the year. There is always a lot of talk around what women can't do and I'm pleased to note that this was the year of saying that I can for me. I have changed quite a lot this year and I'm ending the year happier than I started it. I always think that confidence is very visible and I was really chuffed with how this outfit turned out. This would be perfect for a festive drink with friends, you don't want anything too fancy but still like you have made an effort and the addition of pleather trousers allows you to do just that, especially when you add heels!

H&M cream oversized slouchy jumper, ASDA faux pleather trouser leggings, ASDA black suede wedge heels, cosy, winter, Nars Audacious lipstick in Grace on pale skin (1)
Jumper: H&M, camisole: Tesco, trousers: c/o George at ASDA, shoes: c/o George at ASDA
This jumper is super cosy and goes with pretty much everything in my wardrobe because of how plain it is. I love the stepped hem and it helps to skim nicely over my (ever-growing) food baby too!

H&M cream oversized slouchy jumper, ASDA faux pleather trouser leggings, ASDA black suede wedge heels, cosy, winter, Nars Audacious lipstick in Grace on pale skin

Lipstick is one of those things that always makes me feel pulled together and Nars Audacious lipstick in Grace is my newest addition. It adds a splash of colour to a very plain outfit and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, I mean, just look how pretty it is! I decided that I am going to grow my hair slightly longer and although it's already annoying me a little bit, I can already do so much more with it. I don't think I could ever go back to having it this long, it's nice to have a bit of a change...

H&M cream oversized slouchy jumper, ASDA faux pleather trouser leggings, ASDA black suede wedge heels, cosy, winter, Nars Audacious lipstick in Grace on pale skin

I am always worried that I end up looking a bit sausage-y when I wear a fitted bottom half but hopefully I manage to pull this off. These are supposedly leggings but as they have a fly and working pockets, I felt justified in calling them (very tight-fitting) trousers. You know how much I love ASDA shoes and this wedge pair are ideal for adding a bit of height without the fear of toppling over.

H&M cream oversized slouchy jumper, ASDA faux pleather trouser leggings, ASDA black suede wedge heels, cosy, winter, Nars Audacious lipstick in Grace on pale skin

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, see you in 2016!

Feeling like Kim Kardashian...

I have spent a lot of time recently watching Keeping up with the Kardashians (no shame for my trashy TV habit!) and I think my obsession with their polished lives is filtering into my wardrobe. This outfit felt very Kim K to me (only without her awesome make-up skills!) and although my outing to the the International Centre for Birds of Prey was decidedly less glamourous, this outfit was super cosy and I felt amazing in it. Thanks to my diabetes I am always really self-conscious about my tummy so would usually avoid anything quite so bodycon but this is such a soft dress that it was impossible to resist, Monki struck lucky again! This faux fur gilet is one of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe, it is just perfect for making even the most casual outfit look dressed up. Purple and faux fur seem to be a bit of a recurring theme in my wardrobe, although this version is distinctly less chilly looking ;)  I'm not 100% sure why, but I felt unstoppable in this outfit, I do love how transformative clothes can be!

Dress: Monki, gilet: from a charity shop, shoes: Office
Unfortunately my lipstick had rubbed off by the time we took these pictures (although you can see it better on Instagram) but just imagine a gorgeous dark purple-y berry lip! ;) The long sleeves on this dress would have been a complete no no for me in the past as I was always far too warm and got sweaty (TMI I know) but Driclor has opened up a whole new world of clothes for me and I can't recommend it enough! I think the reviews speak for themselves but honestly, if you get self-conscious about sweating, this is the product for you and it is so freeing to have that confidence..

Flat shoes are the only option when you are on your feet all day and this nude pair came to the rescue once again. I would have preferred a slight heel but until I manage to replace these ASDA shoes, I am stuck with this pair... 

Are you a Kardashians fan? How do you stay confident?

Our trip to the International Centre for Birds of Prey in Newent... (PICTURE HEAVY)

Living where we do, there are a lot of cool things on our doorstep and the International Centre for Birds of Prey is one such thing. Mark and I had been planning to go since my birthday last year but I was so overexcited about my birthday that I cried when he mentioned it and he thought it was best to postpone (yes I like my birthday!) We finally got round to visiting this year and it was such a great day out, even if you are not as crazy about owls as me. We arrived as a flying demonstration started and wowee, can those birds fly! They swoop down really low above the benches and apparently have been known to catch people's hair as they swoop around. Luckily my hairdo remained intact but it was breathtaking to see these beautiful birds up close...

My 2015 winter essentials...

Winter seems to have taken quite a while to kick in so far this year but the chill is definitely here now and since we have put the tree up, I am feeling really Christmassy! For once I have been really organised (don't hate me but yes, I had bought and wrapped my presents before the end of November! ;) I'm not a fan of the dark evenings but Mira Showers challenged me to share my wintry essentials and actually there's a lot to be said for these cheery items!

 I have a bit of a thing for scented candles (blogger clichĂ© alert!) and have had
This Yankee Simply Home candle in 'Savour the Season' smells so Christmas-sy. I love anything cinnamon scented so between that candle and these tealights, our flat smells like a bakery at the moment!

Scarf: Accessorize
You know how much I love the colour red and this cosy scarf is a recent addition to my wardrobe. I got some Accessorize vouchers for my birthday and decided to treat myself. It is so cosy and the perfect splash of colour.
Hats: River Island, Accessorize, Topshop and Accessorize
I am lucky enough to own a lot of cute hats and I have been wearing a lot of berets recently as they look pretty darned cute with my short hair. I have had this embellished black beret for years (just look at my little baby face!), the leopard print and the red bow one for a few years and this cute chunky beret was a birthday present from my lovely friend Naomi this year. I think most people suit a beret and there's nothing better for keeping you warm in winter!

The Internet has brought me some wonderful things and friendships are top of that list. I absolutely love owls so this hot water bottle is a fun way to keep cosy (yes I also have owl pyjamas!)

I got this cute cup for my birthday from my friend Becky and I really love it. I can't resist a pun and it is the perfect size for a hot chocolate with some marshmallows!

Cold weather always makes my skin really dry so I have been combating it with this La Roche Posay set and the Elemis Hydra-Boost day cream I got free with a magazine a few months ago. It gives me a really nice glow and my skin is just drinking it up at the moment.
Top: Ellesse via TK Maxx, leggings: Puma
I rejoined the gym recently and have really been enjoying it. Half of the battle is finding a routine that works and I think I have finally managed it.I have been going a couple of times a week before work and despite aching all over, it does start my day off right! You know that clothes are a great motivator for me and this crop top and these Puma tights are a fun addition to my workout wardrobe. I feel so cool in them and that's half the battle, right?!

I have been reaching for multi-purpose products recently and this Dainty Doll cream blusher in Paper Roses is great for whacking on after the gym and works well as a lipstick too. I wish it was still available to buy but I guess I can track it down online somewhere when this one runs out...

I'm usually a shower kind of gal but there's nothing nicer than a hot bath to keep you cosy. I must be the worst blogger ever as this Magic Christmas bubble bar was my first ever Lush purchase! I always love the look of individual products but the store always smells far too overwhelming for me. I had seen this one online and in the window and went in when I had a cold to buy it. It makes the bath a gorgeous orange colour and my skin feels so soft afterwards. Now that I have dipped my toe in, I will definitely be back, I just need to decide what to try next!

 Nars make some pretty lovely make-up and I am a little bit addicted (I may have got Mark to order this set ready for Christmas!) Nars Audacious lipstick in Grace is a gorgeous bright creamy pink with a coral undertone and you only need one swipe for full coverage. Mark balked at the cost of this but the payoff is well worth the price and you can't beat an embossed lipstick for a bit of luxury ;)

What are your winter essentials? Which Lush products would you recommend?

The Lulu Kennedy printed mini skirt...

Over the years I have learnt that certain clothes just don't work on me. Not from following any 'rules' but from the fact that the reality is always a disappointment. Pencil skirts are one such item on me, I love the idea of them but the reality is less than ideal. Mini skirts however are something that make up a huge part of my wardrobe and I think they look pretty darn good doing it! You can see from these leaves that these pictures were taken a little while ago, but with a few extra layers (I'm thinking this jumper and coat combo with these boots would look ace) it could still work now. Obviously it depends on how casual your office is but with some opaque tights and a sharp blazer, I imagine this would make a pretty fun work outfit...

Top: Vila via ASOS, skirt: Lulu Kennedy x Marks & Spencer, shoes: Office
It took me so long to track down a plain navy top to go with this skirt, you have no idea! Everything I foud was either too fussy or far too short. Luckily the ASOS sale came to my rescue and this Vila blouse is absolutely perfect. I am really self-conscious about my tummy so any top that is long enough to skim over it is ideal in my book. I have raved about the Bourjois velvet lipsticks more often than I care to remember on the blog and this gorgeous Grand Cru berry shade is my new favourite. It is still quite pink-y in colour but adds a vampier edge, perfect for this time of year. 

The fact this skirt has pockets is a MAJOR plus point for me!
I must admit, I had no idea that Lulu Kennedy had done a collection for M&S but it seemed to go down a storm with the fashion press. Most of the designs are a bit too bohemian for me but I spotted this skirt in my size in the sale and snapped it up. I really love the assymetric hem and the contrast waistband and the thick woven cotton is surprisingly cosy. With nude tights and a hemline this short, I wasn't sure what shoes to go for but these trusty nude flats saved the day once again. 

Did you pick anything up from the Lulu Kennedy collection? Which clothes don't work for you?

My Christmas jumper...

This post contains clothes that were sent for review by ASDA
know it's early but I'm going to mention the C word. I'm usually a bit of a humbug until mid-December but this year I have been feeling particularly festive. Perhaps it's because we have some really fun stuff planned for Christmas and New Year but I cannot wait to put on the BublĂ© Christmas album and start eating my body weight in mince pies. Christmas jumpers have become a bit of a thing in the past few years and I can never resist a bit of sparkle! This jumper may be snazzy but even with the sequins I will be happy wearing it all year round as it is just so soft and cosy. The perfect test for this was standing outside whilst Mark took these photos and despite the 'brisk' wind, I was snug as a bug! I went very out of character with the rest of this outfit, opting for pleather legging/trousers rather than my usual mini skirts but I actually love them. They are super cosy and the fit balances out the volume of the jumper, even if I did feel a bit like a sausage when I first put them on!

Jumper, camisole, trousers and shoes all c/o ASDA
I really need to work on my make-up skills, I tend to wear bright lipstick but thought this called for something different. I had done a soft smoky eye here but as my eyes are so small, you can't actually see it :( In real life the neutral lip (Topshop lip bullet in Tamed) balanced it out but it didn't photograph so well. Ah well, I guess you live and learn! With thick jumpers like this, I tend to just throw on a camisole, I am always too warm to wear much more!

This glittery bag is possibly the most festive thing I own; long-time readers will know that I am a sucker for anything sparkly so I fell in love with this when it arrived. It is much smaller than I thought but I can still fit my phone, diabetes stuff and a (small) purse in, I just won't be able to use it day to day. So far, I haven't noticed much glitter shedding from it but it will scag your tights if you aren't careful so consider this a warning!

Although they have a bit of stretch in them, I am definitely classing these as trousers as they not only have a fly but pockets too! They remind me of these waxed jeans, just slightly tighter ;)

ASDA shoes are always ridiculously good value and this wedge pair are just as comfy as my beloved block heels, I think I am going to have to buy another pair before they (inevitably) sell out.

Are you a Christmas jumper fan?
P.S. I was sent these clothes to review but if I didn't love them, I wouldn't feature them!

Florals in a field...

It seems like Mark and I have had plans every weekend recently and although I love doing stuff and seeing people, there's nothing better than having nothing planned. At the end of October (some of!) my family and I went to see the Vulcan's last flight at Staverton airport  and although it's not the kind of thing I would usually go for, it was actually really fun. I wore this floral Gap dress and it was ideal for both the huge roast dinner I ate beforehand and standing in a field at the airport ;) I am a massive fan of Gap dresses and this one is another firm favourite, especially as it it has pockets, I mean, what more could you ask for?! It's not fancy, but it sure is fun...

Dress: Gap, shoes: c/o George at ASDA
I have been wearing my hair a little longer recently (it looks weird in hats otherwise!) and am able to do a little more styling-wise, like curling it with my GHDs. The best part is that the wave holds, even in the wind and rain! I have had my Fitbit for nearly 2 months now and and I really love it, it has definitely inspired me to move more

I love a swooshy skirt and this one is lovely, especially as all of that extra material helps to make your waist look smaller, just what you need after a big dinner ;) 

It is so nice to spend time with family and although I don't get to see them as much as I would like, they are pretty darned special. Now can you guess which of us are related?! 

My Grandad, me and Mark, my sister Catriona and her boyfriend Rory, Mark doing his best fashion blogger pose, me and my Dad, the Vulcan swooping overhead and my Mum.

Monochrome tweed...

I am jumping all over the place with my outfit posts at the moment. This one was from 2 months ago and I swear it felt more like winter then than it does now! Whilst the colour scheme is fairly muted for me, playing with textures and proportions makes it much more interesting.  I wore a pretty similar outfit a couple of years ago but I can't believe how different I look. I was in dire need of a haircut here but I love the outfit so much that I guess you will just have to ignore whatever is happening with my head in these pictures haha!

Blazer: ASDA c/o Matilda, top: Monki, jeans: ASOS, boots: Primark
The silhouette of this tunic looks completely different without the blazer and I think I look pretty tall here which makes a nice change! I wish I had broken the line of the top up a little bit as it is a little bit difficult to see where the top ends and my pasty skin begins here. This lipstick is a firm favourite of mine and makes this monochrome look a bit more me

I really love this Radley bag (FYI it's the Berkeley bag in blue) and it is the perfect size for everyday use. I can even fit a book in there! I just wish the strap on it was a little bit thicker, it can feel a bit precarious when I have it jammed full of stuff but I guess I just need to learn how to streamline the junk essentials I carry around with me.

These glittery boots were in constant rotation in the winter of 2012 but I lost them in the back of my wardrobe for a while. Happily, they are now back and I have been reaching for them when I need a bit of cheering up, I never could resist such sparkly shoes!

The Seafolly rain coat from Seasalt...

Try saying that in a hurry! I have been a fan of Seasalt for years, their clothes are always so well made and fun too. I was lucky enough to be sent the Plant Hunter Rain coat when their Rain range first launched and I really love it. The only problem is that it can sometimes be a bit too cosy so I treated myself to this gorgeous tomato red Seafolly one a couple of months ago which is just as waterproof but less warm- perfect for the mild weather we have been having! I was umming and ahhing for ages about the colour for this but I'm glad I opted for the tomato shade, the redcurrant is much less fun in person and this  cute coral shade adds some (much needed) brightness to my winter wardrobe. I couldn't be happier with it and it has already proven its worth a million times over on my walk to work.

Coat: Seasalt, shirt: Gap c/o Matilda, jeans: Gap, shoes: Office
The detailing on this coat is fantastic and I love a cosy hood! Toggles on a coat always make me think of Paddington Bear and these never fail to put a smile on my face. The stripy lining on this is so fun too, you know how much I love stripes

This is hardly a ground-breaking outfit but sometimes you can't beat a bit of simplicity. This shirt is another Gap special and it is so soft. Gap may not be very trend led but you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere that does basics quite so well! I wish the shirt was a little bit slouchier on me but the fit always makes me feel a bit more pulled together which is no bad thing. These jeans were also a Gap bargain, they fit so well and (hopefully) you would never know that they are actually jeggings!

Shirt: Gap c/o Matilda, jeans: Gap. shoes: Office
Are you a fan of Seasalt? Where did you buy your winter coat?

A weekend escape to Cirencester

We have been spending a lot of time recently trying to explore our local area and I always forget how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country. Considering how close Cheltenham is to  the rest of the Cotswolds, it seemed too good an opportunity to waste. Cirencester is only half an hour away from home for us but shockingly I have never been, so it was top of the list of places to visit when Mark suggested a mini break. We managed to get a really good deal at The King's Head and it was the most relaxing weekend (and the perfect start to my birthday week of fun!) I was so relaxed and it was so nice to spend time together exploring somewhere new.

Our room was amazing and I really loved the soft grey tones and they made the room feel sleek but still welcoming. I also wanted to steal all of the soft furnishings, just look at how amazing that couch and blanket are!

Everything was super snazzy and I could happily have moved in permanently, if only I could be a lady of leisure all the time...

The bathroom was humongous and everything was very sleek...

We were originally planning to eat in the restaurant but as there weren't any reservations until half nine we went for room service instead. This burger was amazing although I was so full afterwards!

The hotel was right in the centre of town so we were able to start exploring straight away the next morning... 

It was absolutely pouring with rain though so we ended up sheltering in doorways and running between each stop. It really is a beautiful town though, even in the rain!

I was determined to visit the Corinium Museum and I was glad we did as it was super fun. Cirencester is best known for its Roman history but the museum covers from the Neolithic era, right up to the present day. Clearly a lot of the museum was focused at children (it would be a great family day out) but we definitely had more fun playing with all the exhibits than any of the children there!

A reconstruction of the south chamber of the Hazleton Long Barrow- all of the stones are original which is pretty cool!

I really liked the fact that everything felt quite spaced out, there's nothing worse than not being able to move around without fear of damaging a priceless artefact!

The 'Roman Garden' was beautiful, I just wish it had stopped raining long enough for us to go outside!
Mark dressed up as a Roman soldier whilst I serenaded him with a lute...
The Orpheus mosaic was laid in the 4th century AD and was so detailed. Mark and I had a lot of fun making up the puzzle too, who says it's just for kids?! ;)

I told you that there were a lot of mosaics! The Seasons Mosaic was discovered in Cirencester in 1849 and depicts the four seasons and scenes from Roman mythology. It is absolutely stunning and so huge!

A 'sator square'. These are such interesting artefacts and I advise that you read this fascinating article if you have a few minutes spare. 

We also tried writing our names using the Roman alphabet, I told we had you had a lot of fun!

There were so many cute cafes and restaurants to choose from but LB's at Swan Yard was our choice for a hot drink and some shelter from the rain ad we couldn't have picked a nicer spot. Very reasonable prices and such a friendly welcome too, I would definitely recommend it :)

We even got the chance to wander around the park. It was so beautiful, especially with all those gorgeous autumnal colours!

The best part though was coming back to the hotel, there's nothing better than thawing out in a hot bath!

Have you been to Cirencester? Where should we try for our next mini break?