Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Monochrome & Midi | Fashion

When I saw this shirt hit the plus size blogosphere a few months back, I knew I had to have it. I'm a massive fan of any shirt with a crisp high collar. There's just something about them that makes me feel really empowered! The only thing missing from this outfit, that I myself forgot to add, was a pair of collar clips. I have some amazing black cat ones that would have looked super! 

Both items are from Simply Be, and are absolutely fabulous. You may have seen the skirt featured in my #StyleYourPartner blog post a while back, but I still love it as much as the day the husband chose it for me. It's so universal, easy to wear, and has been such a fantastic wardrobe staple for me; I can easily say it's my favourite skirt and I've been after a midi skater for quite some time! Anyway, the shirt is part of the Look Magazine collection, and I just love the black paint-splatter effect against the crisp white chiffon. Even though it's chiffon, it's still thick enough to be worn without a camisole underneath, I'm a little funny at times for showing my bra off. I do however, feel ever so sassy in this outfit! 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

All the metallics | Fashion

I couldn't think of anything creative to title this blog post, so lets go with 'all the metallics' because quite frankly these are two of the most beautiful metallic products I have ever seen. Evans have such a brilliant A/W collection in this year, and I had to treat myself with a fair few of their items. This outfit has been seen on other bloggers plenty of times, and also matched on the website too, but I think it goes together so well. 

The midi tube skirt is ideal for wearing both high waisted and on the hips depending on the fit. I'm quite tall and it still comes down to the knee on me whilst being worn on the waist, this makes me extremely happy! The midi tube skirt is black and textured, with bronze flecks in the material, creating a stunning pattern. Plus it's stretchy so extra comfort over the festive period! The shell top is a gorgeous shade of bronze too. The material is quick thick so it keeps it's shape really well, but again is stretchy so offers you lots of comfort. The top would look equally as good tucked into the skirt too. 

I'll definitely be teaming the skirt with a crisp white shirt, and the shell top would look fantastic teamed with a pair of ripped black jeans, boots and a chunky cardigan for a casual look. 

Both of these are currently on sale for £20 each! Such a bargain. 
*This product was paid for with a compensated voucher, opinions are my own. 

Friday, 26 December 2014

CUT for Evans | Fashion

You may remember a few moons ago I blogged about the new CUT A/W collection for Evans, and a few of my favourite picks. I was super excited for the mix of texture and print, something which is synonymous with my style. When the collection first came out, I was asked to pick an item of clothing from the collection, and I can finally reveal it to you.  

I adore this bright multicoloured digital print top, and it's one of the most universal pieces you could have in your wardrobe. I teamed it with a high waisted midi skirt, tights and boots. The top is actually hip length so would look fantastic teamed with a pair of ripped jeans for a grungey style or over a pair of leggings. The sleeves are just the right length to cover up, and it's made from a scuba/stretchy material which is so comfortable. The colours are simply divine, matching monochrome with turquoise and purple. This top couldn't get more yummy!
CUT for Evans bright multicoloured digital print top - was £42 now on sale at £30. 

*Product sent for review, opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Perfect Satchel | Fashion

After searching for the best part of two years for a perfect satchel, I've finally found one. I had lost faith in finding a decent satchel after all the problems I've had with a couple of satchel companies. One who we shall not name, but you can pretty much work that out in the paragraph later. 

I bought this black leather satchel from ASOS in their sale, for £75 which I think is a bargain. It's the perfect size at 14" and I can fit all my important bits and pieces in. I intend to use this as my general day to day grab bag as it's simply perfect. 

It's from the Leather Satchel Company who I have bought from before and did have a bit of a problem with previously. I bought one of their stunning gold metallic satchels a while back, and as soon as I bought it the paint started peeling off, and I rubbed my finger over it and it flaked off. Not cool. I sent it back to ASOS but the Leather Satchel Company themselves offered to send me a new one. Their old leather supplier who just painted their silver metallic leather with gold paint. However, they have redeemed themselves by selling through ASOS and I must admit I would buy from them again. I already have my eye on their shabby chic range. 

Lets talk about another satchel company, one who are always having sales and never shut up on Twitter? Worked out who it is yet? I've ordered three, yes three, satchels from them and not one single bag showed up. Originally I bought their kaleidoscope multicolour leather satchel last year in their 50% off birthday say and their excuse for it not showing up three months later was they were still waiting for coloured leather. Ok. I suppose that's valid. I did have to put a PayPal claim in though to get my money back. So I used them a second time, to buy the same back, not in the sale. I waited months again and it was still a no show. I emailed them, tweeted them, phoned them; and guess what, no reply. I had to put a PayPal claim in to claim my money back, take two. Take three was another simple mistake of buying a bag in their sale. This time I bought a red saddle bag (small, wouldn't take up much leather right? Wrong.) hoping it would arrive, and no, it didn't. Same scenario, ignoring every piece of correspondence and every single tweet. In the end, yep, another PayPal claim. I could safely say I would never use them again. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Scarlett & Jo at Evans | Fashion

Scarlett & Jo are a brand that I've been familiar with for years, I remember owning one of their beautiful prom style dresses and absolutely adoring it. However, nowadays I don't have anywhere to wear that style of dress to so they fell off my radar a little bit. After seeing their new A/W collection over on the Evans website, I knew I had to have this gorgeous purple crochet collar dress. 

One of my absolute favourite features on dresses has to be a Peter Pan collar. Check. It's an ivory crochet neckline with stunning beaded detail that you can't really see on the website, and that's just such a shame! The images definitely don't do the dress justice so when it popped in my post box I was in awe of how stunning it is. The dress is simply perfect for me; it sits nicely at the knee and the sleeves are three quarter too. I ordered a size 20 which is a little too big around the bust for me, so I could have easily gotten away with a size 18. Plus it's super stretchy and really comfortable. 

You can pick this stunner up in the Evans sale right now for £30!
*This product was paid for with a compensated voucher, opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

M&Co Blogger Challenge: All I Want For Christmas | Fashion

After posting my M&Co advent calendar treat wish list on Tuesday, a little email popped up my inbox asking if I wanted to take part in their blogger challenge: All I Want For Christmas. This challenge is open to anyone with a blog or their own website, and you can find all the details on their blog here. Oh and the prize, £100 to spend on their site! 

I've picked these three items for under my tree because when Christmas is over, I want something I can wear in the new year. I've seen a lot of entries with festive based gifts, but really festive wear can only be worn once a year (i.e. jumpers). When the January blues hit and the festivities are over, at least I can look in my wardrobe with an array of beautiful new items. 

The brushed single breasted coat looks so comfortable, and it's longline, just what you need this time of year. I've matched this with a faux fur tippet collar in grey, perfect to match the coat. And of course I like to be a little playful with my prints, so I've chosen the rabbit print skater dress, perfect for my shape too. All in all, coming to a total of £90.50. Bargain. 

Sea Life Centre, Munich (Photo Diary) | Travel

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

'That Day' Mustard Dress | Fashion

I've been in love with the illusive mustard dress from That Day ever since I first saw popular plus size fashion bloggers tweeting and Instagramming it, I knew I had to have it in my collection. Unfortunately I wasn't able to locate it over on the Evans website and contacted the fabulous folk over at That Day to see if I could obtain it elsewhere. This beauty rocked up in the post last weekend and I had to show it to you all. This is the perfect Christmas day dress for my Shanghai dinner. I'm super excited to have it in my collection! 

This is by far the most flattering day dress I own, and the colour is perfect. Mustard happens to be my favourite A/W shade. Teamed perfectly with a tan belt and cut out boots. The sleeves on the dress are what make it very unique, splitting so they will fit any arm size. I do have a lot of problems finding a dress that's long enough for me too, and this sits perfectly just above my knee. It also comes with a matching underlap so you can't see through the chiffon. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, perfection. I'll definitely be adding their floral print dress to my collection. 
Since popping back over to the Evans site, the dress is available in the sale at £45. I would snap this up before it goes completely out of stock! 

*The dress was gifted to me but I had to share a review with you all! 

M&Co Advent Calendar Treat | Fashion

A little email popped up in my inbox a few minutes ago with M&Co's advent calendar treat; today you have the opportunity to win your Christmas wish list (up to the price of £100). There are so many gorgeous items (that are on sale too!) on their site, so I knew I had to participate in this little competition. This is open to everyone, and you can find details here. I would like to point out that I'm entering this completely on my own, and I haven't been contacted by their PR agency, etc. 

I've chosen an oversized animal print jacket, ponte skater dress, this gorgeous pair of cut out ankle boots, and this stunning statement boutique beaded necklace. I'm so chuffed this outfit selection comes in priced at £97. What a bargain! 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Blogging Tips | Lifestyle

I am in no way an expert at blogging however, I have been blogging on several platforms for over 15 years and have had my own domain name since I was 12 (not this one obviously). I've picked up a few tips along the way that I would love to share with you guys. Especially new bloggers that are asking for tips over on Twitter. 

Is it important to have a brand for your blog, it helps the reader get a glimpse of who you are and what you like. This could be a specific blog design, illustrated header on your blog, or your blog name itself. Having your own domain makes you stand out more and gives you your own unique space on the internet. You can pick up a domain name for as little as a few quid. Check out 34SP for some of their packages available.  

It's easy to get hold of a simple template to install (or have someone install for you!) on Blogger. I tend to have a look on Etsy or search on Twitter for bloggers designing blog layouts; you can be really lucky and pick up a template for around £10 too. A bargain price to pay for something that helps add to your brand. Also, it's really important to have a clear layout, keep to white backgrounds and black text to make it easy for your readers. The same applies with fonts, keep to a simple font that will be easy to read and easy to load too. 

Don't worry too much about having the latest DSLR camera. All my blog photos are taken with my iPhone 5. It's much easier to carry around in my bag. Plus you can pick up extra lenses from places like eBay for a couple of quid too. Same applies with editing software, there's no need to shell out for software when you can find free websites that allow you edit your images. This brings me to apps...

There are numerous apps out there that allow you to edit your images straight from your phone, it's simple and great for folk who are on the go. Same applies with the Blogger app, you can easily blog from your iPad or any other tablet! This is one of my favourite ways to blog as I can open the app quickly and type up a quick blog post when Dexter has a nap; you can always edit this later from your laptop. 

So what do you think to a few of my tips? I would love to hear some of yours too! 
*Sponsored post / Images sourced from We Heart It, edited by me. 

Bread & Butter Pudding | Lifestyle

I've been doing a lot more homely baking and batch cooking lately, especially with the night's drawing in and it getting colder I seem to enjoy these little things a lot more. I'm not a massive fan of stews, in fact I despise the word, so I like to tend to make puddings a lot. Cheeky I know. One of the house favourite puddings is bread and butter pudding, and we've been making a variation of this recipe for years. It's simple, cheap to make, and would suit the whole family. Plus you're likely to have the ingredients in your pantry already. 

What you will need:
six slices of white bread
30g of butter
15g currants or sultanas
60ml of semi-skimmed milk
20ml double cream 
20g caster sugar
20g brown sugar
1/4 lemon (zested)
a pinch of ground nutmeg 
2 eggs
and ready made custard to serve (yes I am lazy). 

So here we go:
1. Preheat your oven to 180/fan 160/gas mark 4 and butter a baking dish.
2. Cut the crusts off the bread and butter all over. 
3. Lay half of the bread at the bottom of the baking dish, top with half of the currants/sultanas. 
4. Repeat step 3 until all the bread and currants/sultanas have been used. 
5. In a bowl cream together the eggs and sugar, add the milk, double cream and zest from the lemon.
6. Pour the mixture all over the bread ensuring every last inch is covered. 
7. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg and brown sugar. 
8. Bake for 30-40 minutes. 

Hey presto, you're done. Just serve with the ready made custard. You could make your own but I prefer the taste of ready made. Yum. 

I've taken this recipe from Sunrise Senior Living whose recipes are created by award winning chefs that have come up with a range of delicious, nutritious, healthy recipes suitable for all the family. You can check out their recipe range here, why not download a couple for your collection? Here is the bread and butter one I've taken my recipe from. Next on my list is the smoked chicken and orange salad. Yummy. 
*PR collaborative blog post. 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Relaxing at Christmas | Lifestyle & Beauty

I can't be the only one who gets stressed at Christmas? I used to be the last to do my Christmas shopping, either bounding round town on a Thursday evening for late Christmas shopping, and always heading to the shops on Christmas Eve. What was I thinking?! Christmas should be a time for enjoyment, relaxing, and spending time with family and loved ones. 

How do you like to chill out over the festive period? Here are a  couple of my tips:

- Don't leave all your Christmas shopping to the last minute, and try do most of it online. I've been know to have finished all my shopping in August, and I always buy my gifts online rather than trawling round the shops last minute. 
- Buy gifts in advance - I bought all of Dexter's birthday and Christmas presents in the January sales at the beginning of the year. Jobs a good one. 
- Organisation - you can really be drawn in by offers on near Christmas, so rather than overspend and panic about your bank account being overdrawn or a high credit card bill in January, why not make a list of what you need to buy and stick to it? The same applies if you're making dinner for everyone, keep a meal plan at hand then you can't get flustered. 
- Make sure you have a sleep pattern - I know this is important all year round but specifically in winter when your body clock can get all out of sync. I've found some fantastic tips over on Time4Sleep's Relaxation Zone such as have a milky drink before bed (cocoa, yes please!), and try listening to some music. I always have a sleep sound app on my iPad or iPhone going in the background which helps me sleep. Rain music is the best. I've even bought a remote controlled plug switch to make sure all my electrical items are turned off at night to increase the best sleeping pattern. 
- Sleep spray - I absolutely love sleep sprays. Since receiving one in a beauty box months ago I've become addicted. I even spray this in Dexter's cot and he's straight off to sleep. Lavender is such a beautiful and relaxing fragrance. 
- Take a long bath with a book - I haven't managed to do this in quite some time with Dexter however, lately his sleep pattern has been much better giving me plenty of hours in the evening for some 'me' time. Pop your favourite bath melt or bomb in the bath, give yourself half an hour, a face mask and a good book!
- Pamper yourself - much like the above. Why not give yourself a celebratory Christmas mani or pedi? 

*PR collaborative post. 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Daxon’s Ultimate Festive Style | Fashion

Daxon are currently running a competition to win your perfect festive outfit, so I had to pop a sneaky entry in! I found out this morning I've been invited to a prestigious formal Christmas dinner event whilst I'm in China and wanted something classy, stylish, comfortable and easy to pack to take with me. So here's my entry! I think dress would be perfect with a chunky statement necklace, and a classic pair of T-bar heels. All for less than £200 too. 

Anyone can enter the competition, and you can find details over on their blog. All you need to do is create a Pinterest board with your entry titled 'Daxon's Ultimate Festive Style' and pin your favourite items to it. They all need to come to less than £200; I see this as a style budget challenge myself! Then simply post your board to social media, either on Twitter with #DaxonStyle or on their Facebook page. 

Here is my entry, you can also find my Pinterest board here:
Total: £133.

Wassen Collagen | Beauty

I've seen a lot of blog posts and reviews on collagen supplements on the blogosphere lately, and they are something I've been wanting to try as some of my favourite Korean brands' products have plenty of collagen in them. We all know that the Far East is at the forefront of skincare!

Wassen Collagen are nutritional supplements that are slightly different than most of the collagen supplements on the market. Rather than these coming in drink form, they come in powder form that you mix with water yourself. Thus being a cheaper alternative, and eco-friendly with less packaging etc. 

What are the benefits of collagen?
It improves your skin condition giving the effect of younger looking skin, increases moisture levels, leaves the skin feeling smoother, prevents deep wrinkle formation, and improves suppleness. This is just to name a few of the benefits for skin, but what about benefits for the rest of your body? Collagen can also help with joint health and bone density. Wassen Collagen also contains vitamin C and E too. 

Collagen is probably best suited to 'maturing' skin. I'm 29 and have noticed the effects of maturing skin, even though I wouldn't say I'm mature in age however, I know I need to take better care of my skin now. 

I received a ten day trial of Wassen Collagen to see how I got on with it and here are my results: I really enjoyed the product, it was an orange flavoured powder that you mix with a small amount of water to drink. I liked to call this a collagen shot. I've seen a lot of blog posts commenting that another well known brand of collagen tasted awful, but this was really nice! I regret not taking before and after images as I totally forgot, but I really did notice a difference in my skin. It looked a lot smoother, and more radiant, with feeling a lot more plump too. I don't have many wrinkles (lucky!) so I didn't noticed much of an improvement in that area, but I'm sure as I get older I would. 

The best thing about this product? The price. A lot cheaper than other collagen drinks on the market, with a pack of ten sachets costing £19.99. I'll definitely be buying these again in the future, they've made such an impact on my skin. 
*Product sample provided free of charge, opinions on my own. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

#StyleYourPartner with Simply Be | Fashion

Me and my hubby were recently contacted by Simply Be to see if we wanted to take part in a 'style my partner' challenge, I was a little dubious at first but then jumped at the chance, it was a great idea (or was it?!) to let Mr Pan take over my wardrobe, and style me for the festive period. With my birthday coming up shortly it was a great opportunity to dress me in something a little different than what I would normally wear. 

Here is what he came up with:
What do you think? Well I absolutely love it! I was pleasantly surprised with what he came up with! Everything is an item I would wear before I had Dexter. I think this is what he based the outfit on, and  each item was picked perfectly to build up my confidence of wearing something other than leggings and tunic tops. 

Here's what Mr Pan had to say on the items: "It's been a while since she's worn a skirt, I thought this midi would build her confidence again". This is true, I rarely wear skirts now, it seems that all my baby weight (even though I'm the same weight) has dropped down south! I used to love wearing tights and dresses but I rarely do anymore. "She loves adding a pop of colour to her outfits, I thought these [the purple block heel shoes] were perfect". How right was he?! I do love adding colour to my outfit, you may have seen from the majority of my outfit posts lately that this has come in the form of my gorgeous River Island pink blazer. I also never wear heels, I'm 5'9 almost and I can't really walk in them. These however, look so cute and really easy to walk in with the block heel. "She often wears shapely accessories in her outfits, so I thought the triangle necklace and bag fit". Yeah, I'm a massive fan of triangular jewellery, and I love how well he's matched the necklace and bag, they are so similar!
Jeffrey & Paula Midi Skirt - Simply Be £18* | PU Leather Trim Long Necklace - Simply Be £10*

I absolutely love this outfit and I think he's definitely done 10 out of 10 too. The pieces are wearable on their own, and are great staples in my wardrobe. I never wear heels, but these purple block heels are so comfortable! I could definitely go out in these and spend the whole evening in them; that's usually something I'm concerned about with heels. The clutch is the perfect size for me too, and comes with a shoulder strap as well.

I teamed my look with black eyeliner and purple lipstick just to set the purple shoes off perfectly.

You can see Wen's style board, and check out lots of other Style Your Partner boards here on Simply Be's Polyvore account.

A big thank you to the fabulous folks over at Simply Be, and my husband of course, for giving me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and try something new once in a while.

*Products sent as part of the #StyleYourPartner challenge, opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Work Space | Lifestyle

Is it important to have a work space? A defined area for your creative talents, to study, to write? I've always had a desk space but never really felt the importance of having one until it's either gone, or I have the ability and time to be on my own and utilise it properly.

I've spent the majority of the past few days moving my bedroom back round to how I like it, so I have  my space, so that everything is how I like it. Dexter has just moved into his own bedroom which has given me the ability to have a play around and see what really works and what doesn't for me. 

As I said above, I've had 'desk space' for several years, probably continually since I was in school and that's going back quite a long way. Have I ever used it properly? No. I like to try and keep things neat and tidy, have cute stationary, all with the initiative that I will use that space. And it's never worked. The only time I've had a work space that has worked is a few years ago when I lived on my own, when I used the space properly and this reflected in my University grades. Since having moving back home with my parents, and now having Dexter, I tend to 'study' in bed. It's not the best of ideas. And it goads my procrastination. Equally not good. 

So here we are again, with a defined work space that I know I will use. I'm coming to the end of my degree and with modules that actually count, I know I need to make the grades. I feel a lot more relaxed and creative when I have space to get creative, and this has reflected in my enthusiasm for designing and blogging. 

I've added few personal touches too such as quotes, my super cute stationary, and beautiful artwork from fellow bloggers. 

What do you think? Do you have a dedicated creative space?