My year in pictures ...


A Curvy Girl Stands in a doorway in her wedding dress

This year has been a roller coaster - the exhilarating ride of my life!  

So I thought I'd share my year in pictures, to relive some amazing memories and look forward to forging some new! 

Winter Sales: The Clothing Edit

A very good (and very impatient) friend pointed out that I had promised to continue my sale picks and, 48hours later, had not posted them.  This is because I was waiting for the orders to arrive which was troublesome with ASOS being delayed and Yodel being yodel. 
But here they are, my sale picks modelled inexpertly by yours truly!


#Silent Sunday


Silent Sunday

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Winter Sales: The Lingerie Edit



It's that time of year again.  

You're horrendously bloated from an excess of cheese, sausages, and port and your skin is dreadful from over indulgence and lack of sleep - who didn't stay up late watching Lord of the Rings for the seven hundredth time?

Well, never fear, the sales are here which means you can fill yourself with the smug gratification of having found that £200 coat you like for a measly £75.  

Christmas Joy's


Did you all have a very Merry Christmas?  I know I did! 

My beautiful mother (see the resemblance?) came to stay with Iain and I.  We rose late and took our time opening our presents whilst drinking tea from Santa mugs.  

I had some wonderful presents this year including the most amazing watch I could wish for ...

#SilentSunday

SilentSunday Photo


Silent Sunday



A country life ...

People often think I live a rather glamorous life, with my penchant for high heels, flippy skirts and pretty dresses.  The reality couldn't be further from this image.

I live in a sleepy, picture post-card kind of village in Oxfordshire in a 600 year old cottage with doors so low I need to duck to get through them (even without heels).  I have an over excited working cocker spaniel who bounces like a pogo-stick on speed, sheds his hair EVERYWHERE and likes to leave muddy foot prints over most of what I wear.

Because of this, my off-duty style is a lot more relaxed than most people expect.

Country Casual


A curvy girl's Christmas wish list ...

Are you starting to feel festive yet?

I was late to the festive game this year, something to do with a busy work schedule interrupted by a fortnight in a tropical location has meant that I've found it difficult to over indulge in mince pies without any feelings of guilt!

However, on Sunday, the husband and I hit Winchester for the farmers market and Christmas fayre.  We bought a slab of venison ready for christmas day and I drank the most delicious mulled cider - the husband was driving so had to settle with watching me get squiggly.   I swooned over handcrafted wooden boxes (The Hobbit box now sits proudly on my mantle piece), ate the most delicious Water Buffalo steak roll, and bought vintage jewellery for much loved friends and family.


 

Masquerade! The Grand Reveal ...

A few weeks ago I shared my magical experience of dress shopping for my works do - a spectacular masquerade!

I spent hours searching for a dress worthy of the occasion and ordered what I thought would be a wonderful dress, made-to-measure from Etsy.  It was a full-length, black extravaganza with a low back, a v-neck and a golden chain as straps - I was in love the moment I saw the picture.  Then it came and I could have cried.  Despite being made-to-measure it was too short in the body, some seams weren't hemmed and when they were they were done badly with thread sprouting everywhere and holes in many of them.  I was devastated - especially as the Etsy shop are now saying I caused the damage myself and they will not refund it (because I would really ruin a dress for jollies!).

Luckily, I stumbled across the perfect replacement when shopping last week.  It isn't what I originally had in mind; it is short -not long and full-skirted - not figure hugging.  But I loved it the moment I put it on - especially as it shows off my tanned legs!


Tis the season for amazing boots ...

Boots are amazing!  They can be leather or suede, clumpy or sleek, patent or matt, embellished or simple but they are all amazing.  I should also add that they are all high - at least in my wardrobe where you'll be hard-pushed to find a flat shoe, let alone a flat boot.

Now that autumn is here and winter is just around the corner, we're all pulling out the boot boxes and donning our favourite numbers.  

Two years ago I was bought a beautiful pair of patent black, high heel boots from Dune (the elastic panel means they stretch out to fit my chunky calfs perfectly).  They are legendary as my FM boots and get worn with everything from skinny jeans to prim dresses to mini  skirts (although the later ensemble is edging on trashy - but can't a girl embrace a little bit of trash from time to time?).  


A jean day ...

I rarely wear jeans for anything other than walking the dog.

The truth is, I'm not a huge fan of them.  I don't find them the comfiest of trousers (especially since leggings made a come back), they don't seem to be that practical (they're continually wearing out between the thighs), and they rarely come long enough for me to wear with my trademark heels.

Due to this, I haven't bought jeans for years - this meant that they were all dropping off me.  I've shed a few pounds recently and realised that the only thing keeping my jeans around my waist was my belt (and then there was a gaping mass of flesh where the belt loops had pulled holes through the material).

A few weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and went jean shopping ... expecting angst and despondence, I reluctantly entered Next and dragged my feet all the way to the jean section.  I figured I'd try the Lift, Slim, and Shape range as who doesn't need a few lumps and bumps smoothing away. I bought the second pair I tried on - Next evidently vanity size as the size 18's were borderline big so I dropped to a 16 which fits like a glove.


Next - Lift, Slim and Shape Slim Jeans in Intense Blue

Island Adventures and the new found love of an ass ...

I learnt several things on honeymoon ... monkey's are scary ... and I can live without high heels!

The first revelation came whilst wandering around a sacred Hindu lake that was, quite breath taking.  Unfortunately, it was also rife with monkeys determined to steal the offerings made at the alters even if it meant hissing and leaping at tourists!


Honeymoon!


In a few short hours I'm heading off on my honeymoon for lots of sun, sea, sand, and masses of wine with seafood pasta!

I think my husband would no longer be my husband if I tried to bring my laptop and blog from the side of the pool so I'll be taking a break for a fortnight.    Don't worry, I'll be back with a fashion-tips-a-plenty (and maybe some sickening beach photos) come the first week in December.

In the meantime, satisfy yourself with shots of the beautiful clothes I packed yesterday ...  do you notice a colour theme?


Nude heels and gaggle of gold jewellery

 A flirty and playful bikini

My favourite party dresses for al fresco dining

Maxi dresses for easy day-to-night wearing

A multitude of camisole tops to pair with vibrant, full skirts 


50's style skirts

The wear-every-where gladiator sandals


Clarins Skin Care

Hair, face and nail care

Summer worthy make-up colours


Kaftans and a red bikini



See you in a fortnight!

C x x x




Masquerade!

Every year my work holds a Christmas party.  It normally involves lukewarm turkey, watery gravy, and abundance of cheap wine, a vaguely fancy party dress, and a whole lot of boogie!

Last year I wore an old favourite dress for such occasions - steel grey with heavily embellished shoulders and a sweeping neckline.  I thought I looked great until the pictures came out to reveal lank hair (it was terribly hot), dimply arms, and flushed skin - steely grey evidently isn't my colour!



The dress has since been sold on eBay and I'm sure has gone to a home that will love it far more than I do!

This year will be different - my new short hair doesn't allow for lank, I'll be tanned after a fortnight in the Indian Ocean, and my dress will be stellar (naturally)!

It helps that this year the theme will be MASQUERADE! Excuse the capitals but I'm terrible excited.

I set the style stakes high at work with my power dressing, body hugging dresses, sharp blazers and sky-high heels so upping the stakes for a work party is always hard work.  But this year I'll be able to go all out - a Masquerade screams out for lace, sequins, leather, red lipstick and unapologetic extravagance!

The moment I got the email I set about compiling my pinterest board of amazing looks - don't forget to check it out as its lustworthy (not to blow my own trumpet or anything).   And it wasn't long till I headed to Reading with a trusty pal and began trying on a plethora of full length gowns!


Clockwise from left:  Biba Embellished waist deep v maxis dress from House of Fraser; Myleen Klass Origami Maxi Dress from VeryNigella Lawson; ASOS Peplum Plunge Maxi dress.

Black is an obvious choice for a Masquerade - it's chic, elegant, regal, and bewitching!  In the picture above I'm wearing a wonderful dress from Biba at House of Fraser.   The material is silky feeling and falls in soft folds around you.  It feels elegant and sophisticated - its easy to wear and hides a multitude of sins.  In this photo I'm wearing the size 16 and it fits like a glove!   If you have the budget to blow then astoundingly beautiful Forever Unique Lorna Maxi Dress from Simply Be is perfect for any girl with ample curves ...

Forever Unique Lorna Maxi Dress from Simply Be

I've always been just  little bit infatuated with emerald ... maybe it's something to with my love of The Wizard of Oz?

Left to Right: Cath Maxi Dress from Monsoon;  Biba Wrap over maxi dress in Bottle Green from House of Fraser; Christina Hendricks.

The Cath Maxi dress from Monsoon is to die for ... the ruching at the waist would make my waist oh-so-small and the deep v-neck will elongate the figure!  Unfortunately, I couldn't find it to try on in my latest shopping excursion but another Biba dress, the wrap over maxi dress is a close second.  It requires some shaping wear (which I am definitely not wearing this picture) or perhaps I need to raise it to a size 18 to avoid the unsightly bulging at the hips but the waist and neckline are fantastic on this.  You can't see it in the picture but there are tiny little buttons sitting just left of my hand that are simply adorable!

Easily my favourite dress of the day (and I tried on every full length gown I could find) was the Twilight Sequin Full Length dress by Collection 8 by Phase Eight.   It didn't immediately grab my eye, was drawn instead a the Gatsby-esque dress in deep green with subtle sequin detailing.  

My friend tried the Twilight on first but quickly ruled it out for herself.  I made a comment that it was more me than her and seconds later I found myself zipping myself up and strutting out on the red carpet (the changing room red carpet that is).

Twilight Full Length Dress from Collection 8 by Phase Eight

I was in love - I am in love!  The lace, the subtle sheen of the overlay, the nude slip, the plunging neck and cap sleeves.  It was even long enough for me to wear with killer heels (a rarity in a maxi dress).  Do I need to sell this dress more?

Unfortunately, I can't afford this dress.  As much as I would love to blow my money on this dress, I simply don't have that much so instead I shall dream and lust over the photos.

In the meantime, which mask shall I wear?  



And yes, I have dress but you'll just have to wait until after the night to see it!

C x x

A not-so-LBD party piece (almost) ...

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my favourite LBDs for the party season.  You can read the post here.   I spoke about how I was shocked to find that not everyone loves the LBD and I set out to convert them.

Yet, despite my perpetual love affair with anything deep, dark, and moody,  I thought I may just listen to some of my closest friends and do a post about party dresses in all colours - after all, just because its winter does not mean colour should be shunned to the dusty back rails of the wardrobe.

Many of the dresses featured below are my own and are great for transitioning from summer to winter and back again.  Unfortunately, not all are still for sale but are meant purely as inspiration for all you lovely, curvy ladies.


The Mrs Claus Dress



Everyone should have a red dress for the Christmas season, the type that screams 'I'm the sexiest Mrs. Claus out there'!  This year, mine is demure and figure hugging at the front, and screams sexy when I turn around to reveal a bare back.

Made from crepe, the dress is oh-so-flattering with a cinched waist and soft pleats at the hips.  I love the open back and, despite many people telling me I shouldn't wear a bra with an open back dress (because, you know, GG boobs don't need any support when you hit the dance floor) I paired it with a deep purple bra with a cross strap at the back.  I love revealing a contrasting bra and feel it adds a little va-va-voom to any outfit!

The dress is from ASOS and can be found here - its currently on sale for a mere £30 so snap it whilst you can!  The bra featured is by Gossard and unfortunately isn't for sale any more. 


The Vibrant Colour Dress



This dress is an old go-to!  I wore it from my hen night, a summer wedding, and a winter cocktail party.  

Its was purchased from Pepperberry last year and has bought a smile to my face every time I put it on.  In a vibrant aqua blue it turns heads wherever you go and looks great with bare legs and a tan, or par skin and dark tights.  

The waterfall detail is very flattering as is the sweeping neckline.  Every girl needs a dress like this in her wardrobe!


The Winter Blooms Dress




Florals are huge right now - especially when splattered across a figure hugging dress.  The low v and hip skimming shape does mean that I need some light support underwear for this ASOS Curve dress. I wear it with the Freya Deco range that provides light and comfortable support without any restriction.  

The large rose placed at the smallest point of my waist is a godsend!  It emphasises my best asset (in my eyes) and the pattern that falls across the hips gives me a taller, longer silhouette.  

I love this dress and can't wait to pull it out of the wardrobe when I next can!


So now you've seen that I do wear colour, but I'll soon be attempting to convert you back to the dark side when I review Monsoon's latest party collection ... don't to forget to check in for this on the weekend and if you have time, make sure to follow me on Bloglovin so you never miss a post!

C x x 




The Monsoon Party

I loved Monsoon as a teenager - it was a brand to aspire to.  Then I started earning money, could afford the clothes and promptly dismissed them as not very me!

Then, last weekend, I walked into the Monsoon store in Reading.  It was small with not the greatest selection but I walked out having fallen in love with 2 of their cocktail dresses and having a mild infatuation with a further 4.

The Lexi Lace Dress is to die for - I mean it.  With a dark, inky blue slip overlaid with luxurious lace and subtle beading, this dress makes me want to strut (and I don't strut for just any dress) into a smokey jazz bar and sip martinis for an evening of the moodiest blues imaginable.  Yes - this dress makes me want to become a bright young thing - hell, I have the hair (almost).



The allusion neckline and lacy sleeves are to die for and the cinched waist did 1001 things for my figure (including making me squeal with joy before prancing around the changing rooms for all to see).  

The other lust worthy dress (and I kid you not - I had dreams about this flirty number) is the Lorenna Lace Dress with heavy brocade that casts me in mind of the ceiling at the Ritz ballroom.  It is flirty, fun decadent, romantic, sheer, and prim all rolled into one. 




The Lorenna is one of the most versatile dresses in the store.  The size 16 fitted both me, a 5ft10 Amazonian, and my petite and curvy friend, Julia, perfectly!  I allowed her to buy the dress (purely cause I'm broke) but I plan on borrowing it at the first opportunity!

Another wonder that is amazing for a petite and curvy girl (unfortunately, it wasn't long enough in the body for my frame) is the Odabella Jacquard Dress that just screams Jackie O.  It cinched Julia's waist perfectly and made her dainty 5ft4 frame tall and elegant.  What's not to love about a dress like this?




Finally, I love the luxurious feel of the Vivienne Velvet Dress with the most adorable cut-out panel to the back.   Unfortunately, it didn't fit my frame very well.  I swim so have shoulders like a rugby player (or a line-backer for the American's that read this blog).  It was a little tight across my back and then not tight enough around my waist.  However, if you're pear-shaped, this dress is a must!



I was very impressed with Monsoon's collection and I can't wait to check out a larger store that stocks even more of these beauties ... and if anyone wants to buy me a cocktail dress for Christmas, the Lexi (first pictured) would be gratefully received. 

C x x 


The Hunt for a strapless wonder

I recently lost weight, purely through exercising like a loon after the doctor gave me the all clear to do so.   The best bit about dropping a bit of weight is the wealth of new lingerie that goes with it - my boobs actually got bigger, going from a standard G to a GG-H, and my back got smaller (a 36 from 38).

I had great fun filling my lingerie and shoe wardrobe (oh yes, I have this little slice of heaven located at the foot of my bed) with fantastically lacy, sheer, and frilly pieces.  I was safely in my element.

However, with the buying of extravagant bras and barely-there panties also comes the practical.  And you can't get more practical than a solution bra.  They're normally ugly, not the most flattering, and certainly worthy of resentment after you hand over £40 on something that you will not be revealing to anyone (unless you feature it on your blog in which case you'll plaster pictures across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest).

Today, on a fantastically wonderful day of girly shopping that included a plethora of selfies, prancing about in shoes with no intention of buying, and twirling in ball gowns (a post yet to come), I finally bit the bullet and headed to ye olde faithful; Bravissimo.

My helpful shop assistant bought me 3 bras in a multitude of sizes.

First up was the Freya Deco.  The bra felt fairly lovely against my skin and the 36 back fitted me perfectly.  Unfortunately, the cup didn't fit my boobs nicely.  The G was too small and the GG too big and didn't create a shape that I'd be happy with - there certainly wasn't any kind of uplift.



Next to come was the Evie Bra by Panache.  The cup size in a GG was fantastic and it gave me a great shape. The back, however, was gianormous.  You could fit 2 of me in the 36 and the 34 wasn't much better (even on the tightest rung).  The 32 was getting there but still not supportive enough for me to bounce about in.    Unfortunately, they didn't have a 30 in stock but I feel that would have been a been a better fit.  The picture below is off me wearing the 34GG and you can see that the bra is slipping downward and not offering much in the way of support as the back isn't fitted enough. 




Finally, I was tried Bravissimo's own bra the Contour Strapless Bra with detachable straps.  I was amazed.  The 36GG fitted like a glove - and it was supportive enough for me to jump up and down in without any slippage! I also love the shape it gave me with a subtle vintage shape that will look wonderful with 50's style dresses. 



The bra was only £30 and I think its worth every penny.  It has an added support inside the cup to provide that extra bit of support and the grip inside doesn't stick or irritate like it does on many bras. 



And, to satisfy my need for pure indulgence - I bought this amazing slip and panty set from Wacoal at  John Lewis - and it was sheer heaven!




C x x 









The not-so covered one-piece

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It may be chilly outside causing you to spend the weekend dragging out those winter woolies from under the bed - but now is the time to be looking ahead to next year and stocking up on beautiful swimwear whilst its discounted in the end of season sales - especially if you plan to head off for some winter-sun come February.

Never one to miss out on a bargain, I frequently brave baring my pasty legs (even if it is only in the privacy of my chilly spare bedroom) and  buy my swimwear in October.  This year, its been even more important as I'm lucky enough to be going on a belated honeymoon in a little over two weeks time.

I like to swim - and I don't mean the kind of swimming that involves keeping your hair dry!  Because of my love of impersonating a blue whale, I always feel it wise to take a posing/practical swimsuit away with me.


Sophina by Figleaves, Britt Underwired Bandeau Belted Tummy Control Suit


I featured this little number a few weeks ago in me sale edits and now I have it!  

I ordered a 36G having read a review saying that it comes true to size.  Unfortunately, it barely went around me.  I normally vary between a 34GG/H and a 36G/GG - but the back wouldn't go around me, even with the husband attempting to clip me in.  The cups were generous and would have fitted beautifully if only the back would fit. 

I was sorely disappointed but not entirely put off.  The 38G came today and I'm glad to say, It FITS!!!  I may have a done a small leap of joy at this.  I love how this swimsuit makes me feel - my waist feels minuscule and my tummy flat.  The leg cuts a little higher than I normally like but I'm 5ft10 so most swimsuits sit higher.




With straps I'll be able to flip about the pool like a playful seal before discarding them for some serious tanning time (I refuse to have strap marks).  I love the keyhole back and the belt really does accentuate my curves.

Without straps, there isn't much support and the top of the cup gapes slightly.  It has adequate support for propping up the bar or lounging on a deck chair - but I certainly won't brave playing volleyball without the straps!




That said, I feel this swimsuit does everything you need for heading to more tropical climates.  I'll definitely be prancing about a poolside in Mauritius in this number (and flopping about like a seal in the pool).

Priced at £40 in the sale, this suit may not be a bargain - but to me it's worth every penny.

C x x

The LBD Edit

I hate to say it - but it's almost Christmas!

I got my first winter cold this week - which is always a sign that the season's festivities are quickly approaching.

Yes, it will soon be time for endless parties requiring a plethora of LBDs and make up thick enough to hide the bags bought on from too much champagne, the spots from bad food, and the sallow skin from trawling the internet late at night to find the perfect (and last-minute) present for the mother-in-law.

With Christmas comes the ugly, (Granny snoring after too much sherry), the bad (the itchy looking jumper that your secret santa sniggers when buying), and the good - the Little Black Dress!

Yet not every one feels this way about the LBD - which surprised me as in a recent wardrobe clear out I realised that over half my space is taken up by variations on an LBD.    I was even more shocked when a friend uttered the words 'black is boring' only to a round of agreeing nods and another friend claiming that 'once you've seen one you've seen them all - I mean, don't get me wrong, they're great for funerals!'

I was astounded!  And never one to let things lie, I set about finding the most amazing LBDs on the market fit for a Curvy Girl.

From Office to Cocktails


Clockwise from left: Lipstick Boutique Plus Fitted Dress with Mesh Details from ASOS; Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Colour in Heart; Finesse Rose Gold Swarovski Crystal Pom Pom Stud Earrings from John Lewis; ASOS PANDA Wide Fit High Heels.
   

This LBD is amazingly demure and sexy all at once.  With a black blazer is can be worn through the office with flat pumps through the day before throwing on a pair of red stilettos and matching lipstick to transform this dress into an evening wonder.  Who doesn't love an illusion neckline?

Keep jewellery to a minimum with sparkly studs and dare to go bare and reveal those pins (or at least wear nude tights to pretend at daring).


Dare to Bare?


Clockwise from top left: Chain in Mesh Bar Necklace from New Look; What Me? Strapless Peplum Dress from The Curve; Juliet Nude Patent from Office; Deco Shape Moulded Strapless Longline Bra from Figleaves.

If, like me, you have more than bouncing bosoms, then strapless is more than a bit problematic.  Think back to trying to dance in your strapless prom dress with cheap boning digging into you and the constant need to hitch the top up to prevent any unfortunate incidents.

Luckily, strapless bras are improving all time and Freya's latest Deco bra in longline is, quite frankly, a wonder!  Wearing this little bra means the amazing strapless dress from The Curve is more than feasible - after all, who doesn't love to bare a bit of shoulder?

Keep your look simple and let your skin do the talking (remember to polish the day before to ensure a dewy radiance and use a perfumed moisturiser to give a subtle sheen).  The flirty peplum means your curves will already be highlighted an a slim gold necklace will draw everyone's attention to those beautiful exposed collarbones - dream!


The Classic Cocktail Hour


Clockwise from left: Tiziana Tapestry Knee Length Dress from Monsoon;  Gold tone circle necklace from River Island;  Mixed Gold Glitter Clutch Bag from Dorothy Perkins; Carvela Kimberly Platform Peep Toe Court Shoes from House of Fraser.

You can't beat a classic black pencil dress - the gold leaf pattern makes this dress Monsoon dress all the more wow.  Pair with high black courts like these beautiful Carvela pumps - I love the gold heel and platform and Carvela shoes come with padded soles so you won't need to kick them off for dancing later in the evening! 

A long line necklace finishing in a small pendant if perfect for lengthening the neck and making you look oh-so-staturesque in this beautiful ensemble.


A Flirty Affair


Clockwise from left: Chi Chi Mia Dress; Pewter High Strappy Sandals from Dorothy Perkins;  Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Supreme Style from MAC.

This Chi Chi Mia dress says it all - cute, flirtatious, sexy, and whimsical!  Keep a ballerina skirt as the centrepiece and pair with simple sandals and a soft lipstick.  

Doesn't the keyhole back just cream 'Look at me'? Wow!

...

Now tell me, are LBDs still boring?

C x
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