Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Kingston Takes Shape

 Taking shape very kindly offered me a styling session at my local store (I say local, it's in Kingston which is zone 6, but until central London gets one it's my closest option!) and as I was going to be nearby on Good Friday I arranged a session and turned up ready to try on some clothes IN REAL LIFE! The joy of try before you buy! I was greeted by Liz Heath who runs the Leicester Taking Shape store.... she had been given the rather tricky task of styling me, and was lovely and (thank goodness) happy to listen to my views on the clothes and didn't take offence when I didn't like things. She really was delightful, and it was a super fun experience for me!
Kingston is a small store but it's very nice, and tucked away at the back is my area; the Eplisse section! Taking shape have a slightly older clientele and so a lot of their pieces aren't my style, but I often love the dresses from the Eplisse range. This was my opportunity to try on some of the items I've been looking at online!
 I knew I'd like this 'Carnival Rose' dress, but when I tried it on I loved it!. It is a firm fabric with a hint of stretch (cotton & elastane) so it skims all the right bits and nips in at all the right bits too. I'm wearing the size 22 and the fit is perfect (no need to size up in taking shape, from my experience they're pretty reliable if not generous!). The black and white floral pattern is perfect and it's below the knee, so it's perfect for bare legs!
 The 'Chinoiserie' dress is one that I've had in my wish list for a while. It's so pretty! The fabric is super soft and stretchy and the colours are lovely. I think I tried size medium because they were sold out in the bigger sizes, so as you can see it doesn't quite fall right, and it's a bit small on my bust....
 .... I think if the bigger sizes had been available this would have come home with me! If you want a comfortable and lady-like dress then this is the one for you!
 If you want a sexy dress then try their super popular 'Rose Etching' Dress. This is a slinky number, made from a very strokable super stretchy fabric. I'm wearing the 22 here (with bulgy leggings and the wrong bra!) and the fit is great.
 The dress is knee length on me, and has a built in stretch lining. It's extremely comfortable for a fitted dress. I really like this one, and my boyfriend liked it too (always a good sign!)
 So those were the dresses I chose to try on, now it's time for the dresses that Liz selected for me! I wouldn't of picked this 'In Bloom' dress from looking at it on the hanger, but actually, it's rather lovely when it's on! I think I like it even more now I look at the pictures. The bias cut on this full dress with heavy stretch fabric is generous. I don't know why but I can't get this page to load properly on the taking shape website, so I'm not sure if this dress comes in 22 / 24 or medium / large etc. I do know that I had to size down though, so maybe bear that in mind!
 This dress falls below the knee and is very full at the bottom. I think this shape would be excellent at balancing out a large busted lady with a smaller lower body!
 I had looked at this 'Hibiscus' maxi dress on the website but I wasn't sure about the beaded neckline. I don't mind it so much in real life, but sadly it's too short for me. I found it difficult to get the empire line below my boobs (even though it's stretchy fabric) and it was a few inches too short over all. No good for me, but great news for you shorter ladies! This dress is cute and comfy, and when worn the beads just look like a chunky necklace! I'm not sure what sizes I tried the maxi dresses on in, I'm sorry lovely readers, I was a bit excited so I didn't check! I'd guess Large or extra large, but check the measurements provided on the website!
 I had the same issue again with the 'Starburst' maxi dress. Too short for me. I really like this one though... Liz made a good choice here with the colours and pattern. I would have snipped the thread holding it together on the bust (for a lower cut look!) but otherwise I would definitely wear this one if it came in 'long'! Again, this is nice and stretchy!
 I also tried on a pair of their wide foot sandals. They look like wedges but they're actually quite flat.
 As you can see my square feet fitted them without a problem!

Liz surprised me by giving me £100 to spend in the store which was so generous! Taking shape had a 20% off deal over Easter, so I managed to get 2 beautiful dresses but only spent about £7! I am such a lucky girl! Guess which ones I chose......
 Of course I chose this one! It's slinky and lovely! I opened up the cross over top so it is now nice and low-cut. I don't know what my cameras problem is but some of these are annoyingly fuzzy.... never mind, you get the picture right?! P's, this is without any shaping undies, just knickers and a decent bra!

 And the 2nd dress?!
 Of course I had to have this one, I felt like this one suited me best, and I felt wonderfully girly and pretty in it, so it had to come home with me!


Big thanks to taking shape for their generosity and to the lovely Liz who totally accepted and supported my (stubborn) sense of my own style and was super lovely to me the whole session. The chance to actually visit a shop that sells my size has become so rare that I forget how nice it is. It's so exciting to think that the high street may be opening up to plus size women at last!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bags and shoes

I took a trip to Primark for two reasons. 1) those black flats I got are so damn cute and comfy that I had to get the electric blue version & 2) I needed a clutch bag for the wedding I'm going to in a couple of weeks.... I wanted a white one, but didn't want to spend loads of money.
 Oh boy did they come through for me!
 This is such a cute clutch. It's a good size, has a wrist loop and metal bars down each end. It'll go with pretty much anything and will fit a pair of flat shoes for the party!
 Did I mention that this was only £6?! Bargain!
 I had to have these. I will wear them until they either fall apart or get too smelly to keep! £8.... the most attractive and comfy wide fit shoes I've ever found (and I've had some mega expensive ones!).
 I simply had to have this little bag. It's coming with me on holiday.It's the perfect size for my camera, holiday money, suntan lotion & sunglasses. I think it will also be quite tricky for a pick pocket to get into without me noticing!
 Delicious pastel candy colours! £6.
I also got these for my boyfriend. He either loses or utterly destroys all sunglasses, so even spending £5 on a pair is a waste of money. £1.50, that's the limit! 

Oh by the way, I made £154 on ebay with my last sale (although thanks to a few annoying non-paying buyers I've actually received £120), so I'm well aware that I'm about to go over my £100 per month spending limit, but it's okay, I'm funding it through paypal!

£15.56-£21.50 = -£5.94!
£120 paypal earnings - £5.94 = £114.06 to spend or save! 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Beach worthy

I didn't want to spend a fortune on holiday clothes, so I had a browse of  the crazy clearance website.... it's crazy I tell you! I was on the hunt for some cheap trousers suitable for super hot weather and the beach / pool, so I didn't want to spend a fortune. I ordered 3 pairs, so lets start with the pair that didn't fit....
I ordered these blue chinos in a size 24, but I couldn't button them up. Shame, they were actually quite nice. I would consider sizing up to a 26 but I think they would then be too big on my legs.
 VERY sadly this swimsuit did not fit me. The width of the size 24 was fine, but it was too short in the body, so it tugged my boobs downwards and was hella uncomfortable. I think I need 'long' swimsuits!
 These crinkle trousers were exactly what I'd been looking for. They are lightweight, have lots of give and will be super easy to slip on and off on the beach! Oh yeah, and did I mention that they were only £9 (£7.20 with the code I used).
 They didn't have these in the 24 so I ordered the 26. If I'd had to guess I would have said these were size 22-24, but I don't really care! They're comfy and I love the colour. I'll definitely be lounging around in these!
Summer bunny!
 I really wanted some Plazzo trousers, and this 'milk chocolate' pair were only £12.50 (£10 with my discount) so I thought it was worth trying them!
 These are super thin flowing fabric (the camera flash kind of ruins them, they're rather lovely in real life!) they have a subtle sheen and almost look like silk. Pockets too, as it should be! The back of the waist is elasticated so they're easy to get on and off.
Look how far I can pull these up! Funnily I was worried these would be too small because they're a 22 and the fabric isn't stretchy at all, but they're actually very generous. In fact if I hadn't known what I'd ordered I'd have guessed these were the size 26 and the lilac pair were the 22!
The best thing about the generous sizing and almost high waisted cut, is that ladies with considerably larger bottoms than me will fit them well, and won't need to worry about getting a builders bum!
 So just a quick detour.... I got this Rodgers and rogers dress from Matalan. I'd seen it on Becky and Naomi and thought it was super cute. When it went down to £11 I couldn't resist!
This is a 24 and it's a great fir everywhere apart from the sleeves, which are a bit tight, but it's not uncomfortable. Every thing's always tight on my mega arms! This dress is thin and floaty non-stretch fabric, so get your normal size unless you have huge boobs or huge arms, in which case size up (it has a little tie to nip the waist in so it'll still look lovely!)
 Now back to crazy clearance. I HAD to have this belt. Let me explain....
I'm gonna get all geeky now. I rather enjoy Game of Thrones (TV & books), and when I saw season two I got OBSESSED with Daenerys costumes. The gold filigree belts and collar specifically. I tried really hard to find some jewellery like this, but to no avail...
 Then I saw these belts and it was like YEY! That's exactly the thing I've been looking for! I got the silver version in size 24-28 and it JUST fits. How they think a size 28 woman could do this up I don't know, but anyway....
I love this, the silver is quite dark (a bright pewter I'd say) and it's flexible so quite comfy. I have every intention of buying the gold one too, but I'll get the size 30-34! These belts are £6.50 (£5.20 with my discount) and I'm more than happy to spend that again so I have both colours. So pretty... will wear with a more appropriate dress next time!

TIP - try any fashion world discount codes you come across on the crazy clearance site, because they're all run by the same over arching company and they often work, hence my 20% off!

£49.05-£33.40 = £15.65 left to spend!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Revolution will be Blogevised

Yeah yeah, I'll name my posts what I want okay?!
Leah did a great post about a new make up brand called 'Revolution', and I knew I had to try it. Like Leah I love MUA makeup, so the thought that this sister brand (or however you'd describe it!) would be equally cheap but with a more diverse range of colours was very exciting!
The first things that caught my eye were the highlighting powders. I LOVE highlighters, not because I want to attempt any kind of shaping or (the new trend for painting your imaginary face on as if your a Madame Tussauds wax work) contouring, but because I don't like to have a matte face. I don't use normal powder, I use highlighters all over to set my foundation and give me a dewy look. Aren't these attractive?! What a lovely shape!
I use MUA 'undress your skin' as my everyday powder and I love it, but I have been wanting something a little less pink. I ordered the golden highlighter straight away, and then ummed and ahhhed about the peach one for a while.... It's very similar to the MUA highlighter, but I decided to try it anyway.... at £3 a pop I didn't have much to loose!
I like the colour and texture of both of these very much. The peach is still pink in tone, but I think it is a tiny bit more peachy and a little bit more subtle than the MUA version. It's my new daily powder! The gold is quite intense (It'll be good for eyeshadow) and the colour is delicious. I'll swap over to this powder when my skin starts to darken over summer and I want golden brown tones rather than pink. Over all I really like these powders, I highly recommend them!
The scandalous lipstick collection consists of 5 intense colours. I went for the orange one (called 'Vice') and at £1 a pop they're a decent lipstick. Unsurprisingly they're similar to the £1 MUA lipsticks - quite creamy with a medium/high coverage that isn't too shiny. This is actually a proper orange colour. If you've been searching for a true orange then this is worth a try, you need two layers for perfect coverage and the colour is lovely!

I was really excited about the #happy lips Amazing Care collection. I like intense colours, but I don't want my lips to dry out or feel like they are covered in sand! I love coloured balms, so I thought I'd be on safe ground with these. Firstly the boxes made my heat sing because they are rose gold. I won't tell you again how much I love anything that is rose gold, but they looked lovely, and the lipstick packaging is lovely too. They look impressive with the colour through the centre and the argon oil conditioning balm as an outer layer, and only £3 each.

Lets talk about the colours. Obviously I had to try the red.... that's my bread and butter, but I wanted to be able to show you some swatches so I also got love a hug (silly name!) and love pink. I knew electric love and nude would be too pale on my dark lips, so these seemed sensible to me. The red is a good old fashioned shade, the pink is a nice fuchsia pink, and 'a hug' (see doesn't work does it?!) is a sort of coral tinted rosy pink. They're all very nice, very wearable colours. You get a good pop of colour but obviously they're not particularly intense. As you can see they go on quite glossy. I'd say they are somewhere between creamy and greasy at first, then they start to feel like a balm over time, and my lips felt nice throughout the day.

There are a few problems with these though.... I don't like the taste for one thing. I guess it's the argan oil, it just tastes a bit gross, but it's only noticeable if you really lick your lips. The main issue I have though is that the colour in the core wears down much quicker than the outer layer, and within the space of a day I was already having to apply a lot of pressure to get the colour on my lips rather than just the argan oil balm. I think I will actually have to slice off the top layer after a few days wear. I'd say that this was quite a major design flaw. I think these would be a much better product if the core was much larger and the glossy balm was just a thin layer, otherwise in the long run you'd be better just getting one of the millions of moisturising coloured balms / tints available from other brands, because you get the same kind of coverage and gloss, but you don't have to apply the wand at strange angels to get the colour on your lips!

Over all I have to say that Revolution are off to a pretty good start and I feel sure that I'll shop with them again, particularly if I can actually test things out in Superdrug (the joy!). The highlighting powders really are lovely, and you'd pay a lot more for this kind of product from other make up brands, Mac charge £22 for theirs! I'd love to see how the purple toned powder (called 'pink' lights) looks when on the skin - I avoid purple at all costs, but I think it would look amazing on darker skin-tones! Being on a budget at the moment stopped me from going overboard, but I think the eye foils and bronzers look awesome, as does the Kajal. I'd really like to try out their 'the one foundation', but I've sworn never to buy foundation online again because the shades are never right, that's something I will certainly need to test out in store.... next month maybe!

£68-£18.95 = £49.05 left to spend!