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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Capturing the Fever pitch...

It has got to be said that whilst I do have an already bulging wardrobe, I seem to be missing one type of clothing which I think can really make or break a wardrobe and that's dresses. Y'see I don't have enough of them and as a consequence I sure as hell don't wear enough. Since getting all my hair cut off there has been a massive part of me that is trying to look MORE feminine, I'm not saying I don't already look it, but there is something inside of me that wants to, well, make sure people don't mistake me for a teenage boy. Anyway, I digress. As a 30 year old woman, who is of a curvy nature the places to find dresses that not only fit (bye bye Topshop and your teeny tiny sizes) and also flatter, are few and far between. My inability to be able to wear anything 'bodycon' has pretty much been and gone and well, everything else seems a bit... err.. grandma-ish. And now with the Christmas Party season well and truly around the corner I'm starting to wonder what the hell does someone like me, wear?

Fever London is a brand that I somehow stumbled upon when trawling the same old clothing websites. I'd heard the brand name passed around a select few times and now realise what a doofus I was to not check them out sooner. Being of a particular age, I am acutely aware that my look must be classy. I have done the stints of flashing the flesh (when I was younger and skinnier) and I have done the rounds of wearing something a little 'different' but now I like to think I channel classic and classy (no belly buttons in sight here) and Fever London seem to do just this. Inspired by vintage prints and feminine silhouettes they get both a tick and tick from me and my body shape. Often afraid of rooting through vintage stores (I often cant fit into the sizes - I have a weird body shape), Fever London offer me the best of both worlds with old style designs in a new format - what's not to love!? Here are my top Fever London dress picks:

I love the difference in textures in this dress! Sometimes a black dress is all you need but they sometimes do have a habit of being a bit dull. The difference in textures with the embroidered mesh over layer on the skirt makes for a nice eye-catching change. The best thing with this dress is the versatility - either go full on vintage with some blood red heels, nails and lip, or update is with some neon shoes. 

My jaw done a little drop when I saw this - look at the back of this dress. Such a simple idea, again done in classic black, but with the addition of a belt the back of dress takes centre stage! I'm not normally one to go full-length but this dress calls for it! I love it! Team only with some metallic shoe and simple jewellery. The dress talks for itself.

This 1940's / 1950's inspired dress is just perfect for the holiday season. The metallic fabric is eye-catching, the colour is so different. The dress lets your legs do the talking and you can really go to town with your shoes and jewellery on this one. this one instantly caught my eye and said 'party' I love the fun feel of this dress!

In my humble opinion, you can never ever go wrong with a tea dress / shirt dress. Built for every figure known to man, this dress is a great versatile and dare I say it, wardrobe staple - it's a must. For both dressier occasions and working days, I love this classy navy blue choice with a dotty mesh overlay. I want this dress BAD!

If you're like me and a little afraid of wearing sequins then this is a great party dress. Trimmed with sequins and really rather cheeky slit up the leg this shift dress shows just the right amount of leg and sequin. I love this blue colour - not a colour I would normally go for, but this is a good staple party piece.

Have you shopped Fever London before?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Giving it up - #Stoptober

The prospect of giving something up is hard for most of us, For me, the thought of maybe, possibly giving up chocolate for any time long than say 24 hours is enough to have me cowering in the corner, however this October starts the annual Stoptober. 

This isn't about giving up chocolate or even that odd alcoholic drink, this is the time for all smokers out there to finally give up their habit. for good. As most of us will know, stopping habits is hard and smoking is probably the hardest of them all, this is why Boots UK are supporting and inviting people to take part in the 28-day stop smoking challenge. Offering support, advice and help every step of the way Boots UK is willing YOU to stop.

For me, I have never smoked. Before you all think 'why am I writing this post as a non-smoker' well the truth is, some of my loved ones have either smoked or are still smoking currently and yes, I don't smoke and don't have the addiction, but what I do know is all about the reasons as to WHY I never wanted to smoke. We all know that smoking is bad for your health, it's be wrong for me to sit here and type a load of rules for you to follow and to preach my non-smoking self on to you, but now is the time to rid yourself of this evil habit. I'm not going to lie, there is nothing more off putting than smelling stale smoke on someone: whether it bee their breath, or on their clothes - it's just not nice. Never before has there been more reason for you to quit: it's no longer socially acceptable to have a cigarette. With smoking banned in all public spaces, there is nothing worse than seeing your friends having to disappear during the night for a cheeky fag and not only that, surely you don't enjoy standing in the freezing cold do you? really? So what might happen if you do decide to take that leap and quit?

Those taste buds that you have slowly been killing off? yeah they will decide to make an appearance again, and rather swiftly, research has shown. Imagine being able to taste every food again, knowing that you wont miss out on tasting your favourite food again, Onto your smell - smoking alters the way you smell things also - but this can all come back should you decide to take that step.
The way you look.... Oh boy, smoking has a field day with this one. Smoking reduces the nutrients in your hair, dulls your complexion  and eventually stains your teeth - all making you look alot older than what you are. After 4 weeks of non- smoking there is a dramatic improvement in this and all of the other effects of smoking, surely this sounds better? Ready to take the step?

Boots UK are here to help and are offering people to join their Smoke Less Plan. Available at selected stores, they really can help you on your journey to cut down or quit. As a free flexible programme it provides personalised advice and helps understanding of smoking patterns, triggers and cravings to help find the right stop smoking support.  Boots health care advisors have been specially trained to provide support both in-store and over the phone. The Smoke Less Plan includes

  • Initial consultation to help prepare for the quitting journey and agree personal goals
  • An information pack including a booklet, appointment card and a refer a friend flyer
  • An appointment to establish a quit date and create a personalised action plan which may include choosing smoking control products (charges may apply)
  • A follow-up appointment usually 7-10 days after the quit date to see how people are getting on
  • A unique Nicotine Exchange Service that allows you to switch to a different form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy during your smoke free journey, if you feel your current one is not right for you
Boots UK has a wide selection of smoking control products to chose from to help you find the right one. The NicAssist range includes patches, gum, lozenges, tablets and nasal spray. In line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines which state that a combination of treatments are proven to be effective, Boots UK is also offering 3 for 2 on all smoking control products  (cheapest item is free) during Stoptober (the offer starts on 17 September and ends on 11 November 2014).

Still unsure? Stoptober is the perfect opportunity to really do something about this habit - there is tons of support out there from Boots UK and even better, there are lots of other people who are out there doing the same as you, experiencing the same things and will need your support too - you CAN do this.

For more information click HERE and remember, keep your eyes peeled for a superb Twitter chat on the  16th October to hear straight from the experts - just following the #bootsukstoptober 

*this is a sponsored post*

Monday, 6 October 2014

Another one to add to the faves... Pia Jewellery

I'm not gonna lie, I'm one of those girls who never really changes her style. I know what I like, dislike, things I can and cant wear and my must-have buys and anyone who knows me, knows that I can't stay away from a statement necklace. 

I have oodles of necklaces - some big, some small, but all of them stand out in their own way. I've spoken before on the blog about how a statement necklace can make an outfit, if I'm struggling to find something to wear on a morning you can bet your bottom dollar that my go-to item will be a big necklace with any top I happen to be close too. 

Along with my already bulging collection, I decided to review a jewellery brand that I haven't once noticed or purchased from before, Pia I hate to admit it but I am one of these people who tends to keep to the High Street and only ends up buying from your Topshop's, Next, or H&M, but the reality is there is a whole lot more choice on the internet and with more British brands - something that I am guilty of taking no notice too. 

Pia is a company based in the UK and specialises in creating pieces which are based around timeless style rather than fast fashion fixes - something which, dare I say it, now I've got older I'm looking more into. I opted to trial the curved Torc necklace. It kinda fits in with pretty much what I would look to buy and really is something that I would definitely wear on an every day basis.I was pleased to see the necklace was not only really well made but was as pretty as I was hoping it would be. In terms of wearability? I would definitely rank this quite high. I have worn it a dozen times, all with different tops and dress and every time I've worn it I've been given the nicest comments. 

From a brand that I hadn't actually looked into before, making a decision on just ONE thing to review was pretty hard - all their jewellery, and their bags (yes, they do bags) are pretty damn lush. This necklace has gone straight onto my statement necklace pile and I have a feeling this one will last and last.

The necklace is available from the Pia Jewellery website here and this was priced at £55

*I was gifted this necklace, howevr all views are my own and yes, I still am wearing this necklace - I love it!*

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Four weeks 'deactivated'

It has been 4 weeks since I pressed the button and deactivated my Facebook account. There were and still are many reasons as to WHY I pressed the button (I did mention it here) and partly alot of them are still valid. I have been asked over these 4 weeks as to how I'm feeling it, how people wish they could do the same and whether I feel like I'm missing our and well, the truth is? NO.

Since coming off Facebook I have taken real time to concentrate on my life - yeah, it's a small life: I have a very small circle of friends and family but it was a good push to concentrate on just that. No-more logging on to Facebook to be nosey at other peoples lives, no-more checking to see if someone/anyone had 'liked' my Facebook page, no-more impromptu anger over idiot statuses - it was a pretty good feeling.

In my first post about WHY I wanted to come off Facebook I tackled the subject of me being the one who posted boastful statuses, photo's and cryptic messages and also how I didn't want to be THAT person, when in fact I didn't like the people that done this also - go figure. For me, my main quest in life is to make amends in my life, to better myself and strive to be a better person and feel getting rid of Facebook does just this.

In all honestly, I feel better now I am not on it, sure it's hard when everyone is talking about a certain thing (ice bucket challenge anyone?) or arranging plans, but if anything it has been a real eye opener as to who might be my real friends - the ones that contact you AWAY from Facebook, and yes, I may have decreased my 'friends' by over 80% but the question I ask is "were my 'Facebook' friends, ever REAL friends in the first place"

Possibly not.

I totally get why people are on Facebook and its great if you like/enjoy it and use it in the right way but I think I can safely say I wont be going back. So, as I realise I will never be invited to anything again, and have a very very small number of 'real' friends, I will never be tagged in a photo or wait around waiting for another 'like' on my status, I will be off in my real-life world, with my real-life friends.

What are your Facebook rules and views?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

New Shoe-News......

It's Wednesday and well, despite it being the middle of the week you can never say no to a bit of exciting shoe-news!

This is all a bit hush,hush but let me let you into a little secret, my personal favourite shoe brand Upper Street, are having a complete relaunch - new shoes, new designs, new team and new look! YES, it's all new! If you haven't heard of the brand Upper Street then let me tell you, your feet need to know! Upper Street is the only shoe brand where you can design your very own hand-made pair of shoes. Ever had one of those fruit-less shopping trips where you just couldn't find EXACTLY what you were looking for? well, Upper Street is the place to resolve all of those shoe-related problems, and if that wasn't enough all the materials used are of the highest quality and the process of designing is easy and fun. In the words M & S, these aren't just shoes.... these are Upper Street shoes.

So, what has Upper Street got in store for us? well, I cant really divulge too much, but keep your eyes peeled for the end of this month when the secret will finally be out, but here are a few sneaky shots of what's to come and let me tell you, I am BEYOND excited...

The countdown is officially on!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

That green juice malarky...

And so you'd have to be on a desert island to of not caught a glimpse of these green juice smoothies they are pretty much everywhere: celebs are drinking them, everyone on instagram is either drinking them or photographing them and well, surely if THAT many people are getting involved, I've gotta be giving it a go right?

I have a smoothie maker, I can buy fruit and veg but I still never seem to have the time and willing to get up extra early to blend or smoothie make, I know I should, but yeah, I really am not that organised! and so, when The Protein Works contacted me and asked if I wanted to trial some of their products, this unhealthy girl was never gonna turn them down.

The Protein Works are a sports nutrition brand who pretty much make their own rules when it comes to providing top notch nutrition, amazing customer service and product quality. With 3 key qualities titled: Pure, Proven and Personal, I really was very eager to see whether they actually do, what it says on the tin.

I sampled the 'Super Greens' powder purely in an effort to look impressive a la various celebrities, to see whether I could do anything to jump-start my incredibly slow body but mostly I was curious as to whether the quite frankly disgusting looking drink can give you any benefits at all. This particular concoction promises to be an extremely potent packed full of 23 of the worlds most nutrient dense food sources - bold statement. The formula includes:  wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina and chlorella, to name but a few. It is a superfood cocktail, naturally packed with goodness, recommended by nutritionists to pretty much everyone as it provides an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, enzymes, co-factors, adaptogens & trace elements. Now that is a mouthful and a half, but the truth is it really did taste nice.

I'm not even kidding you, and trust me when I say I never thought Id be saying this to you but I actually enjoyed drinking it. Don't get me wrong the sludgy green colour certainly made my eyes hurt a little but the taste was oh so much better than the look of it. I decided that my best effort to keep to a routine was to consume the drink in the morning before I went to work, hopefully set myself up for the day, so every morning I would prepare the drink in the handy blending flask and consumed whilst on the way to work. Over in a jiffy, I did feel a little bit of glee after drinking this - I was finally one of 'them'

So did it do anything? Well, I've gotta be honest after 3 weeks of drinking this concoction every morning, the reality was I did feel more energised I did feel more alert and awake and mostly, my body didn't feel the tiredness it used to feel every morning. Some of you might say it is all in the mind and well, it possibly could be, but after nearly a month of drinking this I can say I feel a convert, and to carry on feeling the way I do, this drink is now a staple in my diet - it is also so easy for someone like me!

The Protein Works do alot of other products which are along the lines of whey protein etc, and to be honest it wouldn't be fair for me to mention these as I am not 100% sure or clued up on these products to safely say they are good/bad but for those of you who are interested in sports nutrition I would most definitely give The Protein Works a big thumbs up and I for one will keep purchasing the Super Green powder. 
Are you a green smoothie addict? have you ever tried The Protein Works?

*I was gifted The Protein Works product to try, but rest assured my views are purely my own and even I am shocked as you to realise I like green juice!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Taking a leap of faith..

Some of you have seen various, annoyingly cryptic messages by twitter or Instagram from me, about a new adventure, so here it is, the full story. I'm not gonna bore you with the full, long winded story, but I will tell you about WHY I feel the need to tell you.

Y'see on Friday I handed my notice in at my current job. A job that I have been doing for 7 whole years, a job I went to, day in, day out, and even though it wasn't a bad job, I've gotta be honest, it really wasn't where I had envisioned myself to be at the age of 30. I had a whole lot of expectation in my head when I was in my twenties: goals to achieve, places to visit, and a career I could be proud of, however despite achieving alot of things in my life that I could be proud of, my career was something I had, without a doubt, had left to just sink away from me.

The job I was in, wasn't a career - I was up to the highest point in the job, my salary was pretty much the same as it was when I first started and there was no-where for me to go, so I settled. There was nothing wrong with the job at all and I feel lucky to of spent the years where I was but deep in my heart I knew I wanted more. With my lack of self-esteem issues, the truth of the matter was I never really believed I was good enough to do anything else and least of all, do the job I really wanted, and so with the fear inside of me, I spent 7 long years living a life in work that was half lived.

I went to see Liz Goodchild, life coach, a while ago as I knew I needed help. On my first and only meeting with her she made me face up to a few realisations, and it was then I realised just how unhappy I was being 'stuck' and not only BEING stuck, but feeling it too. After some amazing advice and being set some goals, the emphasis was on ME making the changes to succeed  but did I? NO. I was scared, I knew that if I put down on paper what it was I was good at I would be faced with an empty piece of paper. I was not trained in anything, I fell into a job that I was 'kinda' good at, but had been there long enough to know what I was doing but I had no other qualities that I felt I could offer any other employer. Facing up to this was a massive wake up call, so I buried my head in the sand. AGAIN.

Changing a life habit is a hard task to do, the longer you tell yourself something, the more you start to believe it and this was my case. I carried on in my job for another couple of years, until now. I caught wind of a job going where a  friend of mine worked. It sounded like my dream job and dare I say it, a real opportunity. I stopped and realised I needed to make this break, I needed to try, no matter what happened, to make this leap of faith, to step outside of the comfort zone and put myself out there. The job was in PR, something I had dreamed of doing for years, but knowing I had no training or experience to think of, I knew that every odd was stacked against me. So I applied. I sent in my CV knowing that I probably wasn't going to get anywhere, but knew that deep down I had to at least try.

I got the job. Someone was willing to take a risk on me.

I cant begin to describe the feeling I felt, to of gone out, taken the leap of faith and have it pay off. After my first interview I had already felt more together, more focused and more determined than ever to achieve what I wanted - this was my time. There will never be a right moment to take a leap, to take a chance, to believe in yourself but you have to do it - why live a life in regret. At the age of 30 I feel I done myself proud. I will work my ass off to prove my worth - to of been given this amazing opportunity at a really good company I couldn't ask for more.

I feel amazing, I feel new, I feel worthy and mostly I feel fulfilled. It may not seem a big deal to some but after 7 years of being stuck and feeling redundant, I finally feel my time has come.

Don't ever give up.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Summer to Autumn Transition...

I don't wanna tempt fate but judging by the look of the rain out of my window right now, I think it's safe to say Summer may well be on its way out, and with that comes the dreaded 'what to wear' thing. I have got a little too used to shoving on a plain summer dress and flipflops and away I go, but truth be known it is getting a little too unpredictable to be able to go it so simple. The key to mastering that awkward transition dressing, is to be prepared and get LAYERING!

Don't hide away the skirts and sleeveless tops just yet, there are ways and means to making sure you are just at the right stage of Summer/Autumn without looking like a mish-mash - trust me, I've done it! So, in an effort to make sure I am organised this year, here are some of the items I will be making sure are included in my wardrobe:

The midi skirt

We've all been getting the legs out this Summer, but when the wind picks up there is nothing worse than getting goosebumps - never a good look. The midi-skirt is almost the fab inbetweener. Making the most of any last minute tan you might have, but it is long enough to keep some warmth in. In order to make a midi-skirt work for you make sure you are teaming with heels, and try to balance any volume out, by making sure your top half is more slim-fitting. The great thing with a midi skirt is that when the temperatures really do drop its perfectly acceptable to team with tights! If midi-skirts aren't your thing, then a pencil skirt is a great alternative too - try one in leather.

The Ankle-skimming trouser

Just because the sun has gone in doesn't mean you still cant show a little flesh- ankle flesh - the ankle skimming trousers is one of my faves (it works really well for us short girls) Perfect for the more chillier days, the ankles still get a showing and get to show off some killer shoes (whether it be high heels or small ballet flats) but mostly, it can be dressed up or down - also great if you haven't shaved your legs! Team with any kind of top - I often opt for sheer shirts, a grey marl t-shirt or a denim shirt. And if you fancy still celebrating the summer, opt for a bright printed pair.

The light jacket

No-one wants to get trussed up just yet in their winter duffle coat, yet sometimes a jacket is needed to keep the chill out - this is where my next must-have for the transition period is a thin jacket. Nothing too thick, too long, or too padded - simple trench coats are the perfect choice here, but opting for a different colour can make a nice transitional change. Gilet's are also a nice alternative to sleeved jackets and can be easily removed if the temperature does rise.

The fine knit

Layers, layers layers, oh and more layers! This is what puts you miles ahead of everyone else. Sometimes a jumper might be a bit too much when the weather is just cloudy, but here enters the fine knit. Not quite a jumper, not quite a summer top, the fine knit is that great go between and even better when you want to get layering. I normally team mine with a vest top underneath which is even better should this UK weather decide to suddenly break out in sunshine, I can just take the knit off. Team with skinny fit cigarette pants, or a skirt - dress up with some leather trousers and sky high heels and just a bra underneath!

For other fail-safe tips to make sure you dress right for the occasion, why not try the Brights and Black: still opting for everyones favourite shade: black, but teaming with fluro pinks, yellow and orange you still hit the Summer brights trend. This is also a great option for those scared of wearing too much colour

Happy transitioning....

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Giving something up

I think we've all been in a position where we've said we wished done more of this, less of that and give so and so a go, but its amazing what a 'thought' is - it is exactly that, a thought. Ever heard of the expression 'actions speak louder than words'? Well I've always believed in this: when I was younger I took this literally with everything I was told, and even now with the promise of various things like 'the best cup of coffee' - we all know it HAS to proved right?! Well, the same goes for the statements we all make.

I regularly sit here type into twitter about how I should go veggie, gossip to a friend about losing weight and rant to anyone and everyone about out how I should run more- the truth of the matter is I'm a big, fat fraud. Yes,  you've guessed it, its ALL baloney, I'm all talk and no action. 

Why should this matter? Not only do people begin to roll their eyes at you whenever you so much as open your gob, but the reality is, it does nothing for the soul to realise you are queen of broken promises. About a month ago I read a really rather poignant blog post from the lovely Liz Goodchild - I have actually had the pleasure of meeting Liz and as well as being a runner who I aspire to be like, she has a really good knack of putting down on paper exactly it is you are thinking, without mincing her words. Her blog post (featured HERE) was all about 'How to make something happen' and let me tell you, it really is a whole piece of writing close to home - WHY say these things and not commit? Part of the problem is normally due to the sheer extent of these statements, to sometimes completely cut something out FOR GOOD is just too much of a big deal for us, and me included. Opting to change or start something for a particular period of time is the great 'in-between' so this is what I've decided to do.

First up on my list is giving up Facebook. I used to love Facebook - keeping in touch with old friends, on paper, seems like such a good idea, however lately for me, I just don't enjoy the idea of Facebook. When used in the right way, Facebook can be great, but when used in the wrong way it can be a whole load of crap sticks. Lately I have found the enjoyment of Facebook disappearing - attention seeking posts, cryptic messages and boasting, all of which I am quite possibly guilty of, and y'know what? I dont want to be that kind of person. I dont want to be that person who judges people on their photo's, their status's, and likewise for people to do that to me - so that's it - I am what you would call 'deactivated from Facebook. I'm not gonna lie, but after the first day it is hard not to just log on and get checking - I'm putting this down to boredom, but I'm hoping I start to feel refreshed after a week or so. So how long do I anticipate I am going to do this for? A whole month. No less, but maybe for more. We'll see. I just hope I can become a better person by doing this, grow to concentrate more on my own life and stop judging other people. Call this a self-experiment if you will...

Thank you to Liz for making me do something that I didn't think I'd eventually ever get round to doing.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The long and short of it

I have always been a hair girl - my bob was my pride and joy and I used to spend ridiculous money (and time) on the barnet on a regular basis - products to make it shiny, to keep it straight, to protect it and to keep the colour, so imagine my surprise when the other month I just decided to chop it all off.

Now before you all think I've gone for a buzz-cut a-la Britney, you'd be wrong. Just over a month ago I had the bob removed and a semi pixi crop cut in and it was pretty much the best decision I've made in a long time. Hair really does define you, so when I started to feel in a bit of rut, I knew that the first thing that had to go had to be the hair. Pre-wedding, I had often flitted around the idea of cutting it all off 'one day' but after the last time I cut all my hair off and then pain stakingly had to grow it all back it pretty soon put me off - so yet why did, every time I look in mirror, yearn to chop it.

I've gotta be honest, I've never been a 'long hair' girl, I simply cant get away with it: I have such a small head, too much hair really does drown my face and make me look reminiscent of cousin IT, but when my amazing hairdresser first gave me the 'bob' it was most definitely my signature look. That's not to say I don't love long hair on girls, man, I wish I could get away with growing my hair as long as I could (modern day Rapunzel) but there is something about having short hair that makes me feel a million times more feminine. To cut a very long story short, after going for my normal 'trim' appointment with my hair dresser, I decided right at the last minute for her to chop it all off. I had some ideas of a style that I wanted but I decided to let her 'do as she wanted' and saw the hair tumble down.

The end result was perfect - I loved it. It was short without being too short but still looked a little feminine. What do you think?

This haircut has totally given me a new lease of life - I feel a million more times like 'me', it is easy to manage and mostly I feel so much more confident. I never thought that having my cut off would make me feel quite like this but the difference is huge.

Do you think hair plays an important part in how you feel?

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