Sunday, 29 May 2016

OOTD: Simply Be Striped Top & Bomber Jacket

Velveteen Femm Simply Be Blue Bomber Jacket Stripe Top

The entire Athleisure section of the Simply Be website is a dream come true so I couldn't resist picking up a few pieces to add a relaxed, sporty vibe to my collection & I'm so glad I did. In the past few weeks this cobalt blue jersey bomber jacket (£35) & knitted stripe top (£25) have become go-to items - so much so that they've barely made in back into my wardrobe in between washes.

Velveteen Femm Simply Be Blue Bomber Jacket Stripe Top

I paired both items with my trusty ASOS Curve Ridley Ankle Grazer Jeans (currently on sale for just £19.50 in selected sizes), a pair of strappy heels from New Look, & this boxy black rucksack for a super laid back look which is comfortable while still feeling put together.

Velveteen Femm Simply Be Blue Bomber Jacket Stripe Top
Apart from the colour - obviously - my favourite thing about this bomber is the length - it's cropped (more so than it appears on the website) meaning it sits right on my waist & despite the jersey fabric doesn't look overly slouchy. The stripe top is also slightly cropped & although it's 100% synthetic, the ribbed texture makes it feel really cosy while still being lightweight enough for Summer.

Velveteen Femm Simply Be Stripe Top

Finally, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to Hot Head Hair Studio who expertly cut my shapeless mop into this super sharp asymetrical bob, which I'm absolutely loving. Would definitely recommend them if you're looking for a stylist in Edinburgh.

What trends are you loving at the moment & what pieces are you wearing non-stop?

Friday, 27 May 2016

Review: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Jeanne

Velveteen Femme NARS Audacious Lipstick Jeanne

It's no secret that I love a red lip but finding the right shade can be challenging with each new purchase being too dark, too light, too cool, too warm, too pink, too purple... But I think I might have finally cracked it; enter NARS' Audacious Lipstick in the shade Jeanne (£24).

Velveteen Femme NARS Audacious Lipstick Jeanne

Normally I'd run a mile at the idea of paying £24 for a lipstick but this was a birthday treat & honestly I was curious as to whether the quality of the NARS Audacious lipsticks justified the price tag. 

The packaging certainly feels high-end with matte black bullet, glossy black NARS logo & a super satisfying magnetic closure which guarantees your lipstick won't get ruined, even if it ends up at the bottom of your bag.

The lipstick itself is debossed with the NARS logo & has the classic pointed tip which I find way easier to use than the rounded tip of lipsticks like the Urban Decay Revolution line.

Velveteen Femme NARS Audacious Lipstick Jeanne
Velveteen Femme NARS Audacious Lipstick Jeanne

As you can see, Jeanne is a super pigmented deep red with a satin finish. Obviously it's a traditional lipstick rather than a liquid lipstick so it's not bulletproof but it's definitely one of the longest lasting products I've come across. It also wears in a way which isn't super noticeable, even with such a dark shade, & the creamy formula means it's easy to reapply throughout the day if it does start to fade.

There's no denying I'm smitten & while my bank account screams no, my heart is crying out for more shades, so feel free to leave your favourites in the comments below.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Day Trip: Anstruther Fish Bar

Callum & I have been talking about heading up to Anstruther on Scotland's East coast for at least a year but we always struggled to find time, so this weekend we decided to just go ahead & commit. Come rain or shine, we were making that drive & I'm so glad we did.

Anstruther is around an hour & a half's drive from the South of Edinburgh but it feels like a totally different world. As someone who grew up as far from the coast as you can get in the UK, being able to step out of the car on to sand & see boats bobbing in the harbour felt pretty magical.

No trip to Anstruther would be complete without a visit to the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar. This place regularly has a queue out the door & is pretty pricey at around £10 for bread & butter, fish & chips, plus a hot drink, but it's so worth it. The food was decent (my breaded lemon sole was beautifully cooked, my chips less good) but the atmosphere is the real selling point - tourists & locals all snuggled up on picnic benches surrounded by some super kitsch decor. 

Predictably, I was tempted by the icecream counter as we left & got a scoop of mint chocolate chip & a scoop of razzle (vanilla with smarties) which I then promptly dribbled down my dress as we walked back along to the beach.

Overall, if you're looking for a sweet day trip away from Edinburgh I don't think you can go far wrong with Anstruther. Not only does it have all the charm of a traditional Scottish seaside town but the drive along Fife's coast also provides some banging views, & who doesn't want fresh seafood followed by icecream on the beach?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

How to Make Sure your Foundation is Always a Perfect Match: The Body Shop's Shade Adjusting Drops

Regardless of your skin tone, at some point in your life you will have inevitably purchased a foundation which turned out to be nowhere near the right colour. 

If it's a high street brand it's generally not too bad - you can mourn your £10 & move on - but with high end foundations it's a much bigger deal. You've probably spent upwards of £30 & if you've had to import products from abroad returns aren't always possible even if you spot the error before cracking it open. 

Those of you who tan (naturally or out of a bottle) will probably have faced a similar dilemma: do you purchase multiple foundation shades or accept that some of the time you'll be using a product which doesn't quite match your skin tone? Neither option is ideal.

So, what can you do? Enter the Body Shop's Shade Adjusting Drops (£10).

The drops come in two shades: one created for lightening foundations (white with pink undertones) & one designed for darkening foundations (deep brown with warm undertones). Both come in 15ml glass bottles with a dropper making it easy to control & keep a track of how much you're adding so you can get consistent results. The drops are a thick liquid designed not to affect the consistency or coverage of your foundation, so long as you're only using a few drops.

I like to mix my foundation in batches, each lasting me a few days, so I don't have to worry about it if I happen to be in a rush one morning. I use a small plastic travel pot & spatula which are easy to clean, & keep the foundation fresh but you could also invest in a professional mixing palette if you'd rather do it on a day-to-day basis (probably best if you use multiple foundations).

On the left in the photo above you can see the shade of Laura Mercier's Silk Crème Foundation (check out my review here) I was matched to in my local Space NK store. It's clearly way too dark & super orange - basically unwearable - but add a few drops of the Shade Adjusting liquid & suddenly it's an almost perfect match & I haven't just wasted £35.

Overall, this isn't a particularly revolutionary product but it is a super versatile makeup bag staple that could save you a lot of money in the long run & who doesn't want that.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Spring Plus Size OOTD with New Look Curves #3 - Striped Slip Dress

New Look Curves Blue Stripe Tie Waist Slip Dress
Dress - New Look // Blazer - George at ASDA // Bag - ASOS // Shoes - New Look

This is the final post in my three part series based on pieces from the revamped New Look Curves range (formerly New Look Inspire) & this time I wanted to focus on this navy striped slip dress which was one of the first pieces to catch my eye when the range re-launched. 

You can read post one here & two here.

I've been after a slip/cami dress for a while because it's a style that's super easy to wear & really versatile. However, despite the slip dress being super popular at the moment it took me ages to find one in plus sizes, I think because there's still so much baggage around fat women wearing things which are "shapeless" or don't "flatter our curves". Ugh.

New Look Curves Blue Stripe Tie Waist Slip Dress

I paired the dress with an oversized navy blazer & my favourite lilac feather bag from ASOS for a preppy lunch-date kind of look, but you could easily dress it up more by losing the jacket & adding some statement jewellery or down by throwing it on over a bikini on holiday. It's also got a couple of features which I love like the low-cut back & the doubled up fabric around the neckline to give a bit more coverage.

My only slight complaint is about the fit & it's actually something I've noticed with a lot of New Look's pieces over the years, which is that the neckline is super lose & super low. I'm definitely not opposed to low-cut tops but with this dress is doesn't feel deliberate & there's a serious risk of more major exposure if you were to lean forwards. It's not enough to make me return the dress but it's worth considering, particularly if you were eyeing up this dress for work or a more formal occasion.

New Look Curves Blue Stripe Tie Waist Slip Dress

As I said in my first post, I'm really impressed by New Look's revamped Curves range & I think they have a real role to play in providing wearable & affordable plus size fashion. Let me know in the comments below which of the three looks has been your favourite & don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin & Twitter for updates.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Review: Dinner at Edinburgh's Oldest Pub, the Sheep Heid Inn

The Sheep Heid Inn is probably one of Edinburgh's better kept secrets. Tucked away at the bottom of Arthur's Seat, most tourists don't venture this far from the city centre so there's always a nice mix of locals & people who've really made the effort to seek it out.

There's supposedly been a pub on the site since 1360 making it Scotland's oldest licensed premises, & despite it now being a pretty conventional gastropub there are still lots of lovely features including the traditional skittle ally, built in around 1870. However, the attraction to Callum & I is its proximity to our flat which is just 5 minutes walk away, making it our local. We've been around five times now in total but I'll never forget the hours we spent there when we first moved in to our flat, sipping at pints & ordering IKEA furniture on the free wifi.

The pub consists of a ground floor with three main areas: the bar, and two restaurant areas, plus a huge dining space upstairs, although we've only ever been seated up there on Sundays when the reasonably priced (but not ground-breaking) carvery means the whole place is packed. 

On this occasion we were quickly seated at a two-person table in the area next to the bar which was nice as it was fairly quiet but on busier nights it's worth asking for a table through the back where there's more space & it feels less claustraphobic. 

The service at the Sheep Heid can be hit or miss with the waiting staff often looking a bit overwhelmed by the number of customers but I don't think we've ever had an awful experience - it's just worth noting if you're looking for somewhere where you'll be waited on hand & foot.

As this was a weekend date night (a rare luxury for two people who spend most weekends in our PJs) Callum & I decided to start by sharing the Sticky Platter (£16.92) which consists of spiced lamb koftas with chilli jam, chicken skewers, BBQ ribs, tzatziki and flatbread. I thought it was fantastic & really generous for two people - good news since it's not exactly cheap. With some olives & maybe garlic bread on the side, this could have easily been a main course & all the individual items were really delicious.

For my main I decided to avoid anything too big & went for an item off the Starters menu which turned out to be a good shout as I was pretty full from the platter. The crayfish & crab pot (£7.50) sounded great on paper - I always tend to go for seafood when we go out because Callum's not a fan so I rarely get to eat it at home - but I was really disappointed.

My best guess is that the crab pots are frozen & mine hadn't been properly thawed because it was ice-cold in the centre & the butter on top was solid. I did pluck up the courage to ask our waitress about it - literally hell on Earth for someone with anxiety - & her response to my tactful "Is it supposed to be cold?" was simply that they get asked that a lot but it is intended to be cold rather than warm. Maybe I should have been more honest but I hate complaining in restaurants so I nibbled on Callum's chips while I waited for it to defrost, & it wasn't too bad in the end. Obviously not a great experience though.

In contrast, Callum's battered halloumi & chips was incredible, & it's great to see a vegetarian option that's a bit more substantial. We didn't end up ordering dessert as we were both full but we've enjoyed the warm chocolate brownie & the strawberry & mango eton mess on previous trips.

Overall, it wasn't BAD & we've definitely had more positive experiences in the past but the unpredictability makes me really reluctant to recommend the Sheep Heid. It honestly feels like they've pushed themselves too hard & have stretched themselves beyond their current abilities. Our waitress mentioned they'd just hired a new chef so perhaps that will help with the consistency but who knows.

I'd be really interested to hear your experiences in the comments below.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Spring Plus Size OOTD with New Look Curves #2 - Black Culottes Jumpsuit

New Look Black Culottes Jumpsuit
Jacket - Dorothy Perkins // Jumpsuit - New Look // Belt & Clutch - Primark // Shoes - New Look

For the second outfit in my Spring with New Look Curves series (you can see the first post here) I wanted to show a more dressy look & this classic black jumpsuit seemed like a perfect place to start.
New Look Black Culottes Jumpsuit
New Look Black Culottes Jumpsuit

I feel like this jumpsuit has been kind of overshadowed by it's patterned twin which has been super popular in both mainstream media & online, but the black is way more my style - plus it's much more versatile. With the jacket this looks feels like contemporary power dressing & totally viable for a day at the office, but without it you could totally wear this for a night out to a bar or club - it feels fancy but not over-stated.

There are however a couple of fit issues which I wanted to flag up, just in case any of you were planning on purchasing it. This runs pretty small - I'm normally a 20, but sized up to a 22 in this for a loser fit. Despite this it's pretty form-fitting, particularly over my stomach & hips, plus I can't actually zip it up with it fully on - I have to zip it up & then slip the straps over my shoulders. It's not a huge issue but maybe worth thinking about if you're looking for a less bodycon style. I also feel like the legs are slightly too long on me, which is totally unsurprising since I'm under 5 foot, but I'm probably going to get them taken up at some point.

I finished the whole look off with this belt from Primark which I've had forever & these ghillie heels from New Look. They're already sold out online which is a total bummer but they do have a couple of similar styles & I swear by their Wide Fit range for heels which you can comfortably wear all day.

Let me know what you think of this outfit in the comments below & don't forget to subscribe to my blog on Bloglovin to be the first to know when I publish a new post.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Spring Plus Size OOTD with New Look Curves #1 - High Waist Trousers

New Look Curves Plus Size High Waist Trousers
Top: New Look // Cardigan: New Look // Trousers: New Look // Shoes: New Look // Bag: Cambridge Satchel Company

Back in March when New Look launched their revamped 'Curves' range I was hyped to get more affordable plus size options on the high street but none of the pieces were setting my world on fire. Fast forward to last week & I feel like the line has come on in leaps & bounds - there's now a wide range of styles & some really on-trend pieces which I haven't seen from other labels.

I picked out a few different items & rather than showing them all off in one huge post I thought I'd do a series talking about my Spring style, showing off the New Look pieces but also incorporating items from my existing wardrobe.

New Look Curves Plus Size High Waist Trousers

First up (as selected by my followers on Twitter) is this casual look featuring candy stripes & these perfect linen-mix high waist trousers. I feel like trousers are great for Spring because they're practical whatever the weather: enough to keep you toasty during April showers but cooler than jeans if the sun does come out. The relaxed fit on these also means they're super comfy, perfect for lazy weekends when you still want to feel put together.

During Autumn/Winter I basically live in black & grey, but the second the sun comes out I start making major heart eyes at pastels. I feel like this top is a nice balance because the black stripes stop it from feeling too cutesy, plus this material is a dream come true - it's 100% immune to wrinkling, so no ironing required.

I love how chilled this look is but my next couple of outfits are definitely dressier, so make sure you follow me on Bloglovin if you're looking for something fancier, & let me know in the comments below what your Spring style looks like.
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