Sunday, 24 April 2016

Plus Size Wedding Season Style with Evans

Little Mistress Prom Dress - Evans (currently in the sale for £37) // Stripe Bomber Jacket - Evans (currently in the sale for £30) // Green Glass Ring - Evans // Wide Fit Suedette Heels - New Look // Bag - ASOS

Note: This post is a collaboration with Evans who asked me to show my Wedding Season style. I selected the dress, jacket and ring featured in this post and was sent them free of charge. As always, all thoughts & words are my own.

When Evans approached me about this post I was a little nervous; I haven't been to a wedding since I was maybe 5 (when I threw up under my Aunt & Uncle's wedding cake, kids are the worst) & when I looked up "wedding guest style" there was a lot of chat about lace & florals & nude makeup which isn't really my vibe. 

So, I decided to ignore all the "rules" & I've ended up with a look I seriously love. It feels slightly edgy but still totally appropriate for a daytime or evening wedding - handy since just after the items arrived I got an invite to a friends wedding in early October. This was also my first time trying anything from Evans & I was really impressed with the quality & fit of all the items.

Evans asked me to select any dress from their Occasion section & while there were a couple of items which stood out to me (this black cape dress looks great) I went for the Little Mistress Prom Dress because I loved the slightly unusual cross-over neckline & the pleated details on the bodice. I also liked the fact that the back was subtly elasticated meaning I didn't need to worry about the fit being off. 

Overall I was really impressed; the dress is super comfy & feels well-made - I've yet to find a single sequin on the floor which is always a good sign. The length is also great, long enough that I don't feel like I need to wear tights but still youthful, with the added bonus that you might get a tan if you end up outdoors.

I'm constantly cold & even the best-planned wedding normally involves some time spent standing around so a jacket was a must for me & this striped bomber is PERFECT. Bomber jackets are obviously everywhere at the moment but normally in a jersey or satin fabric which makes them feel super casual - not great for a more formal occasion. In contrast, the sheer striped fabric of this Collection number feels classy whilst also being slightly edgy, & it gives you an extra layer to throw on if you're heading outside or just feel a bit chilly.

The fit on this jacket is really great. I often have issues as my upper arms are quite large in comparison to the rest of my body & I was a little worried that the jacket would be too tight - especially as it doesn't have any stretch - but there's plenty of room & I can comfortably move my arms, perfect for a night of dancing at a wedding reception.

I love a long or chunky necklace, but with the dress' unusual neckline I wanted to avoid anything which might distract from the details on the bodice so I picked out this green glass ring instead, designed to look like the birthstone of May, emerald. Obviously jewellery bought on the high street isn't designed to last forever, but I feel like this looks more expensive than it is & it's perfect for throwing on when you just want a little something extra.

As I said, I really love this look & was impressed by all the items from Evans. They've also got some great deals on the site now with a couple of items I saw reduced by around 50%, so well worth checking out if you're in the market for affordable wedding guest style

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator in Peach Nectar

You all know by now that I am ALL ABOUT HIGHLIGHTER, so when I heard that Anastasia Beverly Hills has released a collection of "Illuminators" (£28)  I had to check them out. I headed on over to BeautyBay (my go-to source of ABH products), checked out the shades they had on offer, picked the one that looked most suited to my skin tone - Peach Nectar - & clicked purchase.

ROOKIE ERROR. If I'd checked the ABH website, I would have quickly realised that BeautyBay are actually only stocking two of the four shades produced: Riviera (strong pink undertone) & Peach Nectar (strong peach undertone). The two missing shades are Starlight (pure white) & So Hollywood (golden undertone), both of which would have been much better suited to my pale with neutral undertones skin. Ugh.
Impulse purchasing aside, I figured I'd pull together a quick review with some swatches & hopefully help stop you from making the same mistakes I made.

The packaging is classic ABH: slightly glossy black with gold lettering, which is great except for the fact that it holds fingerprints like nothing else & quickly looks a little grubby. The compact feels sturdy though & the catch isn't too stiff - a pet peeve of mine as I always end up chipping my nail polish trying to get things open.

The highlighter itself is embossed with this beautiful fan pattern & the embossing is deep enough to ensure that you won't lose it the first time you sweep a brush over it. I feel like the product doesn't look particularly dark in the photo above but a lot of that is the reflection & as you can see in the swatches below it looks significantly darker & more pigmented on my skin.

As you can see, Peach Nectar is significantly warmer-toned & darker than both Becca's Moonstone & theBalm's Mary Lou Manizer. It's also far more shimmery & I personally found the high glitter content really difficult to work with as it made it hard to apply precisely & really emphasised my pores. I definitely prefer the natural glow of Moonstone & generally only wear Mary Lou Manizer in the evening when the high shine doesn't look so out of place, so the ABH Illuminator is a step too far.

 Wearing Peach Nectar on my cheeks & eyes, & resting bitchface all over

I'm really trying to make Peach Nectar work as I don't want to waste £28 & maybe come Summer when I've tanned the shade will be more flattering & the glitter won't feel as OTT, but right now it's just not happening. Unless your skintone is naturally very dark & warm, I'd really recommend investing in either Becca's Skin Perfector in Moonstone or theBalm's Mary Lou Manizer, both of which are far more universally flattering products.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Plus Size Style Wishlist: April 2016 ft. ASOS, Boohoo, New Look & Dorothy Perkins

My partner & I are currently in the process of buying our first home together which is obviously super exciting but also means that finances are tight, so when I do go clothes shopping I have to prioritise essentials like workwear & everyday items like jeans, rather than splashing out on new season items.

That hasn't stopped me from looking though & a couple of brands - looking at you, New Look and Boohoo - have noticeably improved their plus size ranges (in style if not in sizing) so I thought I'd pick out some of my favourite pieces to share with you.

Spring Dress/Skirt Wishlist

1// New Look Curve Black Cross-Back Slip Dress (£19.99) - I've been moaning about the lack of plus size slip dresses for a while now & although this New Look offering doesn't have the silky finish of more luxe items it's definitely a good start. It's also a really versatile item, equally great at work & on the beach.

2// ASOS Curve Pencil Skirt in Abstract Print (£20) - I normally avoid prints as I think they can date quite quickly but I really like this abstract print skirt. The white base also keeps light & bright, perfect for spring.
3// Boohoo Tie-Waist Midi Wrap Dress (£25) - I spotted this midi shirt dress on Becky & fell in love with it. It's so versatile & perfect for transitioning from Winter to Spring to Summer.

Spring Shirt Wishlist

1// Boohoo Split Side Top (£12) - Boohoo's basics are some of my favourites & the side split on this three-quarter length sleeve top gives it a little something extra.

2// Dorothy Perkins Pinstripe Shirt (£23) - I'm always a fan of pieces which borrow details from men's tailoring & this pinstripe shirt is no exception. Obviously it would be great for work but I'm also imagining it worn open over a bikini top with white jeans come the Summer.

3// Dorothy Perkins Geo Print Shirt (£21) - Shirt are my go-to workwear item at the moment because I can throw them on over a pair of black jeans with a pair of boots & not have to worry about tights, cardigans etc. They also feel professional without ever being over-dressed, which is a plus. The print on this one gives it a soft 80s vibe which I'm really into.

3// Boohoo Swing Cami (£10) - I already own two of Boohoo's swing camis (one in black, another in a dark red) & I wear them constantly so it definitely makes sense to pick out a few more - the khaki colour is really on-trend for Spring.

Spring Jacket Wishlist

1// Boohoo Suedette Jacket (£40) - This is another item I first saw on Becky & loved. The price is a little steep considering the quality isn't always there with Boohoo but there's something about that light grey colour that whispers Spring.

2// Boohoo Split Side Tunic Jumper (£15) - Spring in Edinburgh is basically just Winter but with more rain so knitwear is still a must & the split sides on this jumper give it a really relaxed look while also ensuring you don't overheat every time the sun comes out.
3// Boohoo Bomber Jacket (£15) - Bomber jackets are everywhere this season, but this Boohoo one is not only super affordable but I also love the black contrast trim which gives it more of a retro Pink Ladies vibe.

Which items have you got your eyes on this season? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Review: Papergang Stationery Subscription Box from Ohh Deer

Do you love stationery? Do you love subscription boxes? Then Papergang is GOING TO BE YOUR JAM. I've put together a quick review of the overall service & the first box's contents to help you get an idea if it's for you, & if you do decide to go for it then it would be great if you could click through my referral link here - if three of you sign up I get a free box!
"Each month you will receive a box filled with brilliant stationery. The product selection will vary but will include the likes of: greeting cards, notebooks, desk accessories and art prints." - Papergang 

I love a good subscription box but a really solid box is hard to come by. I've subscribed to both Glossybox & Birchbox in the past but so many of the products weren't to my taste that I was better off saving my money & spending it on things I actually wanted. I then subscribed to A Beautiful Mess' Messy Box & Happy Mail boxes which I loved but I just wasn't making use of either the scrapbooking supplies or the cards (I have a huge collection stored under my desk). The shipping on the A Beautiful Mess boxes was a nightmare too - they came from the US which meant they often took weeks to arrive & were battered from the journey.

Enter Papergang. For £9.95 a month, plus £1.95 UK shipping you get a box stuffed full of goodies from Ohh Deer - the home of "quirky illustrated gifts". I actually heard about Papergang via their Twitter which I followed months ago for a daily dose of cute stationery, so I had a good sense of what kinds of items would be included but I was still really impressed by the selection I received.

There's only been one box so far so I can't really comment on the consistency of products but it feels like a really balanced product, with a variety of items which have a broad appeal. I find it hard to talk about the value of subscription boxes because I think so much of it depends on whether you personally will get use out of them, but the contents of box number one feel fair for the price & the quality is definitely there.

In my box I received:
  • A4 lined notepad with brown cover & gold "notes" on the front
  • Smaller plain notepad with patterned cover
  • "Dognut" card 
  • Gemma Correll pug design card
  • Birthday card with fox & floral design in rose gold
  • One sheet of patterned wrapping paper
  • Two pencils with gold lettering
  • Iron-on patch of Drew, the Papergang mascot

The overall service from Oh Deer has been great, with regular but not overwhelming email updates on my delivery & quick responses from their customer service team.

I'm beyond impressed with Papergang. I feel like it really fills a gap in the subscription box market by providing something that's a bit more quirky than the traditional beauty boxes, at an affordable price, & in a way that appeals to a really broad range of people - everyone, from my colleagues at work to my Mum, has wanted to know more about it!

Like I said at the beginning, if you do decide to subscribe then I'd be super grateful if you did so using my link & please do let me know in the comments below or on Twitter - I'm always keen for more Papergang pals.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Review: Plus Size Lingerie with Simply Be

It's no secret that finding plus size underwear that is comfortable, supportive & stylish is TOUGH so I wanted to take some time today to review a few sets which I bought recently from Simply Be (my go-to store for all types of lingerie).  
First up are these two great every day bras from Simply Be's own range which come in a set for just £24 - £12 for a good quality plus size bra is basically unheard of, so these are definitely worth checking out. In the set you get one bra in white with  black contrast trim, & one in black with white trim, both in the same diamond mesh. The mesh is great as it means the bra feels supportive yet lighweight, something that's really important as we move into Spring/Summer.

What I love about these bras is the fact they're plain enough to wear on a regular basis & under lightweight tops, without being dull - I actually think the contrast trim gives them a little sporty/retro vibe which I really like. Both bras also have a nice thick band with three clips making them really comfortable to wear, something that isn't necessarily a given with under-wired bras. These bras are honestly some of my favourites I've ever worn, so shout out to Simply Be for providing great quality styles at a really reasonable price.

Next up is the Scupltress Chi Chi Tropical set with bra (£35) & briefs (£18).

I tend to stick with neutral shades when it comes to underwear, purely for practicality, but I couldn't resist the print & colour combination of this set. It's not exactly subtle so most of the time I'll probably wear it under thicker layers but I also think it would look great paired with a sheer white shirt during the Summer or on holiday.

I'm also a big fan of the fabric/lace combo because it gives a more full coverage than a completely mesh or lace bra, without feeling overbearing or constricting. The band on this one is a little thinner than on the Simply Be bras but it's still comfortable & the padded shoulder straps make it perfect for supporting larger busts.

Last but not least is this stunning set from Pretty Secrets - again with a bra (£18) & matching briefs (£8).

I love the dark navy colour & the mix of floral lace with printed silk make it feel a little bit more special. The construction feels strong & supportive despite the more delicate fabrics. Unfortunately this is probably the least comfortable of the sets I purchased but I think a lot of that is down to the balcony style bra & hipster briefs which just doesn't really work for my body shape. That being said, it's still definitely wearable & is a great set if you want a little confidence boost.

Hopefully you found this review helpful & please do let me know in the comments below or on Twitter if you end up purchasing any of the sets.

Reveiw: Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel in Granite

Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel

Having reviewed every other Anastastia Beverly Hills brow product on the market (you can read my Dipbrow vs. Brow Wiz post here, & my review of the Brow Definer here) it seemed only logical that I'd write up my thoughts on the ABH Tinted Brow Gel (£16.50).

I ran out of the Brow Definer around a month ago & money was tight, so repurchasing wasn't an option (I was also quite disappointed with how quickly I'd gone through the Definer). Personally, I just don't have the patience to fully apply Dipbrow every day, especially when I'm running late for work, so I came up with a compromise where I would quickly brush the Dipbrow through my brows with a spoolie, using it almost like a tinted brow wax.

I loved the natural effect it gave me & how quickly it could be applied but found it to be quite clumpy & getting it out the pot was a nightmare, so when I was looking at beauty products to pick up for my birthday the Tinted Brow Gel seemed like an obvious choice.

The Brow Gel comes in a clear plastic tube with a medium-sized spoolie applicator, making it really convenient & quick to apply. The gel itself is really lightweight, meaning you can really build up the colour for a bolder look without it getting lumpy or uneven, & it's super easy to apply, even to tricky areas like the centre of the brows.

I picked up the shade Granite, as the Blonde shade looked a little light & warm-toned for my brows, & while it's definitely darker than my natural brow colour because the gel coats the hairs rather than filling in the skin behind, it still looks really natural. 

Obviously the Brow Gel doesn't give you as clean a look as the Dip Brow or even the brow pencils, but it's great for everyday wear when you don't have time to spend precisely filling in your brows & want a more relaxed look.
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