Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Lovedrobe dress review*

Hiya lovelies!

I don't know about you but I have a couple of big engagements coming up this summer - one of my oldest friends is getting married in July and we also have a christening to go to in 2 weeks. When Lovedrobe got in touch to ask me if I wanted to review an item, I had occasion wear in mind, and I found a lovely dress which is smart enough to wear to chic events, and also versatile enough to pop on over some skinny jeans for a more casual vibe. There's something about summer events that calls for a bit more oomph in my outfits. Maybe it's because I'm so much happier and full of life when the sun shines, but I always want to look summery as well as feel it.

The dress I picked is perfect with shades of cream, navy, pink and a vibrant green - and it has an exposed functional zip at the back (see photo at end of post.) It's made of polyester chiffon and feels light and floaty on. It's lined in a cream fabric underneath.


Also check out the end of the post for a discount code for 20% off for my readers. NOW EXPIRED.


Blossom in my hair.



It has a semi elasticated waist - it's elasticated at the sides.


It has a really cute ruffled sleeve detail as well.


For reference I'm wearing a size 26 and am 5 ft 5 tall. The dress fits well in the waist and below but is tight over my boobs. I normally take a 28 in more fitted clothes so it's expected and it's not so tight I can't move in it. I can move around in it well enough so I'm happy! The length is good on me both at the front and the back and it makes me feel pretty and feminine.

Here are some other lovely things on the Lovedrobe site currently.

I'm wearing:
 

Dress Lovedrobe
Cover up, Asda
Leggings, Very
Shoes, old Evans
Necklace, eBay
Bag, Primark
Bracelets, old/gift

Do you have a big occasion coming up in the next few months? Have you got an outfit planned?

Thanks for reading!

*Dress c/o Lovedrobe. Opinions my own. 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Cheap eBay statement necklace bling

Hiya lovelies,

Like most women, I enjoy a bit of bling, but I'm a bargain hunter so I like to trawl eBay into the small hours looking for cut price goodies from China.

I love statement necklaces as they can help change up a fairly 'safe' outfit, and in these times we need to save money wherever possible so accessorising is key.


(My name descriptions below, as most of the necklaces have numbers rather than names.)

1. Watermelon necklace £3.23
2. Neon gem necklace £3.99
3. Daisy necklace £3.06
4. Neon knot necklace £2.99 



These 4 necklaces cost me the not-so-grand total of £13.27 and took about 2 weeks to arrive from halfway around the world.

All you have to do is search for 'statement necklace' or 'gem necklace' and you'll find a zillion listings. Many of them are multiple choice with anything up to 60 different designs per listing, so you have to look through the photos to see which ones you fancy. They make great presents - all you have to do is find a nice gift box (also on eBay, ha!) and instantly the necklace will look much more expensive than it cost.

These necklaces aren't likely to last forever, but for this price does it really matter?

Do you like the look of any of these?

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Big Bloomers Company anti-chafe knickers*

Hello lovelies!

Happy Monday. I hope your week has got off to a good start!

A couple of weeks ago Laura from the Big Bloomers Company asked if I'd like to review some of their anti-chafing long leg knickers. Intrigued, I said yes, as like many a larger person before me, I get chafing when my legs rub together, especially when it's hot. I know Big Bloomers worked hard to perfect these knickers - they've been developing them for over a year with the Italian manufacturers - so I was keen to try them for myself.


I had chafing even at lower weights - I've always had plump inner thighs - so it's worth noting that these knickers are available from a size 12 for slim folks with juicy thighs, as well as for us larger people.

The knickers come in two lengths - short and long legged, and I plumped for the long legged version.

Just a couple of days later they arrived, and I set them aside for a day when I knew I'd be walking to put them to the test. Hubs and I went to Rye a week ago on a hot sunny day, and Rye is a very hilly place. We ended up rushed for time and this meant walking uphill (on cobbles, in new boots) in the heat quickly, all a good test for the knickers. Not only was I hot and bothered from the walking and rushing, but we had to take a short cut down an overgrown set of steps at a scarily steep incline on the way back and I was cacking it. I got that horrible stress sweat because I was convinced I was going to fall and crack my head open because my new boots are so slippy.

You might have thought with all this going on I'd have been steaming from the crotch(!), feeling uncomfortable and in need of an industrial fan to cool off my nether regions. Nope! From the minute I put the knickers on until we were in the car on the way home I forgot about them. In fact it was only the absence of being hot, sweaty and uncomfortable 'down there' that jarred on me all of a sudden as we were on our way home. Only then did I realise I hadn't had to think about my undies AT ALL while we were rushing around. I'd got hot, I'd got sweaty - I'd mopped my brow with a tissue and felt a little sweat run down the small of my back, but I remained cool and comfortable below the waist. The ribbed cuffs on the legs stayed put the whole time, which meant no surreptitious rearranging of creeping knicker leg. This NEVER usually happens. Usually when wearing anything under a dress or skirt to stop chafing/chub rub I exude as much heat as a furnace! I normally have to reposition the legs at least a few times when I'm walking about to make sure I stay comfortable and/or waft a breeze up my legs with my dress or skirt to cool down my lady garden.

Photos c/o Big Bloomers Company. Short anti chafe knickers | back detail | thick cuffs at hem

I've tried many methods to stop chub rub - cut off leggings (far too hot in summer), Evans comfort shorts (which ride up constantly AND make my vag boil) and even my beloved Gok Wan shaper pants, which are great but can make me feel like an overstuffed sausage after eating as they're shapewear after all. Nothing I've tried has ever been as comfortable as these knickers. They're made of a lightweight tights material (93% polyamide and 7% Lycra) and I can't feel I'm wearing them at all. They're reinforced from inner leg to inner leg in a panel right as that's naturally where wear will occur. There are also two sculpted seamless back panels which mould to the shape of your bum to add support.

You can see if you look closely (apologies for the close up of my bum - I had to put knickers on underneath to protect my modesty!) the reinforced centre line in the back of the knickers. You can also see how the cuffs of the legs sit comfortably under the back of my knees.


I come in at a size 26/28 in most clothes, but sized up to a 30/34 in the knickers as I thought the extra breathability would be good. They're a good fit - neither too tight nor too loose - they just sit there perfectly like a second skin and don't move. The waistband and cuffs don't dig in at all and they don't budge an inch. I don't know what keeps them in place - it might be magic, but I don't care, it just works!

Sizes available: 12-16, 18-22, 24-28, 30-34, 36-40.
Lengths: Short £12.95, long £15.95.
Colours available: black, white and natural.
Buy here.

No horrible crotch sweat, no riding up, no twisting, just pure comfort. I've taken to wearing them around the house like shorts as they're so comfortable. They're an absolute RECOMMEND from me. I'm so used to the discomfort of measures against chafing that I never thought it would change. Thanks to Big Bloomers Company for listening to customer feedback to make the knickers in the first place, and for testing them so thoroughly to perfect them. They will get a lot of wear over the spring and summer and I think I might buy the shorter length ones myself.

Do you think you might try these out?

Thanks for reading!


*Item sent for review but opinions are honest and my own.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Aldi launches plus size range

Hello loves,

I'm a bit of an Aldi fan. I love a bargain - that much is a given - but apart from that I really admire their stance on animal testing. They don't test on bunnies, whee. Their Lacura face products are really good and such a good price.

Aldi also do deals called Specialbuys, which change twice weekly and tend to sell out quite quickly.

Aldi Specialbuys is launching a new Plus Size range for women on 8th May, from sizes 16+. The items are basics at a very affordable price. 

Unpadded bra twin pack with double layered seamless jersey cups, sizes 38-42D, 38-42DD, 38-42E. £8.99


Cotton rich leggings with elastane, sizes 18-26 in full length or cropped lengths. £4.99


Shorty pyjamas in cotton, sizes 18-28. £8.99. Available in 2 designs.


Top, sizes 18-26. £6.99 available in red, blue and mocha. 95% cotton and 5% Lycra.


Ladies' wide fitting loafers, sizes 4-7. £8.99


Padded bra 2 pack. EDIT - single bra. Sizes 36D, 38D, 38E, 40E, 42E. £5.99, available in black and white.



Aldi is also launching a nationwide search for the new face of its Specialbuys plus size range. The lucky winner will model the range in a professional photo shoot – complete with make-up artist and wardrobe – and will see their image feature on Aldi.co.uk, Facebook, twitter and Aldi’s in store leaflet! Head to the Aldi Facebook page from May 1st to enter!

There will also be a three pack of tights in sizes XL and XXL for £2.49 and a pack of 3 underwear for sale on the 8th, and there will be a further range coming in the autumn.

I will have some items from the range to review shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.

Would you pick up some leggings and a bra with your food shop? I really like the look of the unpadded bras, PJs and shoes.

I hope if this range takes off they might increase the size range.

Thanks for reading.

Reverse shampooing update

Hiya!

I wrote a post about 6 weeks ago about reverse shampooing - where you condition your hair first and shampoo after - and I wanted to do an update.

I'm still doing it. I still get 3 days in between washes (before reverse shampooing I was having to shampoo every 2 days) and still find my hair feels thicker. I think in the before (left) and after (right) photos below you can see a little more oomph in my hair.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

What do you think? Does it look thicker to you?

It feels thicker and washing my hair 2-3 times a week instead of 3-4 is a difference I like, so I'll keep at it. I know a few other people have given it a try and liked the results for themselves, so holler in the comments if it's working for you.

Have you tried reverse shampooing yet?

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Bluebells and the beach

Hiya honey buns!

Last Saturday my hubby and I went to a local woods and then to the beach. We had a picnic on a bench in the woods then drove to the beach to make the most of the fresh air and sunlight.



I adore bluebells and wish they'd been a bit more tightly packed. On Friday last week we passed a wilder looking woods in the car and it was thickly covered in bluebells but there was nowhere to park. I guess that's why it's so thickly strewn - no one walks through it!


Titty tree


Hubs carrying the food!





Totally accidental bokeh in the background

It was fiercely cold at the beach so we sat with our backs to one of the groynes and it was perfectly pleasant then. Hubs amused himself as usual with a game - trying to knock the rocks off a post (below) someone had left behind. I joined in and we ended up giggling because we had so many shots way off target that if anyone was in the vicinity they'd have been lobotomised via a large beach pebble.


Sunny enough for sunnies, yes!


These wooden things are groynes

I have one more day out post to share in the next few days, from when we went to Rye on Easter Sunday.

Thanks for looking! What's your favourite thing to do on a sunny Spring day?

Friday, 25 April 2014

Juicing - what I've learned so far

Hiya lovelies,

I wanted to talk about juicing and the things I've learned so far. I've only been using my juicer for 6 days but it's made such a huge difference to the way I feel and I'm addicted already.

But first, the boring disclaimer: I'm eating more fruit and veg because I want to. My weight will do what it will, and what matters is I feel better. I don't think I'm Mother effing Teresa because I have a belly full of fruit & veg juice, nor will I suddenly start making mung bean jam and collecting my menstrual blood and offering it to the patron saint of vaginas in weird ceremonies. I'm just a 40 year old woman with a load of (weight unrelated) health shiz going on, and the idea is to eat more nutrients, possibly feel better. So far it's working. I have no feelings about 'good' or 'bad' food, nor do I judge people by what they eat. Whether they eat 96 portions of fruit a day or have 11 pizzas daily (mmmm, pizza) it's got frig all to do with me. I'm not judging anyone, and I'm not going to turn into a effing great sanctimonious health bore, honest. I just want some more nutrients in my tum. End of.

I bought an Andrew James juicer from Amazon which cost me £39.99 but has now gone up to £44.99, which I still feel is a huge bargain as the nearest thing I could find to compare to this was an older model Philips juicer at £80.

Stock photo rather than one of mine as my counter is a mess

First - the difference between smoothies and juices is essentially that with smoothies you get all the pulp (the fibre) left in the drink, so it's more filling and takes longer to digest. With juices all the fibre is taken out, so you get the nutrients without the lengthy digestion, which can be helpful to people with IBS and other digestive issues. (This is what attracted me to juicing in the first place.) Another difference to note is that if you use a predominantly fruit mix in juices, you can have a spike in blood sugar, which will lead to a slump later on. If fruit is more your bag than veg, you'll probably be better off with a smoothie maker. Also, some fruit like bananas and avocados are a bit too stringy for a juicer, so if you have a blender you'll have to blend them separately and mix it in afterwards. With a smoothie maker you can add things like porridge and yoghurt as well so what you want to put in your machine will shape your choice. You can read more about the differences between smoothie makers and juicers here.

Things I've learned so far:

I feel GREAT after my daily juice. I feel more vital, more alive. I'm not bouncing off the walls, but there's definitely a feeling of having more oomph almost immediately after having a pint of juice.

You need a lot of fruit/veg to make a pint of juice. Some people might see it as a waste of money, but I see it as I'm getting the best bits from the fruit and veg.


This much food will give you maybe a pint, 1.25 pints of juice.

It doesn't have to be expensive. Fill up on relatively cheap apples, kale and carrots and add other things as you have them. I buy the carrots in kilo bags from Tesco at 80p each; the kale is £1 for a large bag which lasts me 3-4 days and I get 8 small apples for £1.30. My shopping bill hasn't gone up at all this week. 7 days juicing is 7 less other meals to make. If you have an Aldi or Lidl near you (or other cheap supermarket) even better, because you'll save even more money on your fresh produce. I haven't tried frozen fruit yet, but I imagine as long as I defrost it for about half an hour first it'll be fine.

You get a LOT of pulp left over.


This is just what stuck to the inside of the lid one day. You also have a bin on the side to collect the rest of the pulp (about the same amount of pulp again collects in the bin.) If you bake, you can use the pulp in your baking as it's quite moist, or if you have kiddies you can mix some of it in with their juice to make sure they get more fibre. (Dilute juices for kiddies with some water - too much juice might affect their digestion and/or affect their little teeth (particularly if you're using a lot of fruit and not a lot of veg.))

Just because the chute is big enough to accommodate whole apples, it doesn't mean the motor is quick enough to make light work of them (and other hard things like carrots/beets/sweet potatoes.) The smaller you chop things up, the quicker the juice will come together. I roughly chop apples into about 8 pieces and veg into about 2 inch chunks to make it faster. The first time I juiced I put whole fruit/veg in and it took about 10 minutes. Now it takes me about two minutes, plus a couple of minutes prep (washing and chopping) so all in all it's a great way to get nutrients in fast.

Experiment! So far I've used 2 kinds of apples, 2 kinds of tomatoes, celery, cucumber, sweet potato, mint, peppers, grapes, kale, beets and ginger. There are loads of different varieties of apples alone I will experiment with to see which gives the nicest juice. There are loads more things I'm going to try in the future - more herbs, exotic fruits, watermelon, broccoli, spinach, etc. I add a couple of things to the juice afterwards too.


A pint of juice fills me up for about 3 hours. After that time my stomach starts growling at me like it's never seen food before, but although I feel starving, I've found that when I do eat again, I eat less than I normally would. If you're finding you're hungry again too quickly for your liking you could mix some of the pulp in with your juice (make sure to keep stirring it, because it all settles.)

Flaxseed oil and chia seeds added

I've lost cravings. It sounds weird, but I don't really crave chocolate or crisps any more. It's like my body knows exactly what it should be getting now. I had 4 cookies the other day and felt sick as a dog afterwards. My body has quickly adjusted to liking great things.

Juice as it came out

Juice stirred

Another day's goodies

Make sure to drink your juice quickly, as it'll start to deteriorate within about 15 minutes in the light and air. I rinse all the washable parts of the juicer quickly before I drink it (with the exception of the mesh the produce is pushed through, as that takes a good scrub, so I leave that in soak to attack later.) It's always going to be better to wash the juicer parts while it's freshly done so it doesn't all stick, then nom that juice.

Prepare/juice apples last as they'll start to brown quickly.

Even though it's juice, it feels more like food than a drink, so I still need to drink lots of water. 

Any questions? Or maybe you've been juicing longer than me and have some tips?

I feel really happy to be getting extra fruit and veg in. They say people who eat their 7 a day or more are happier than those who don't. I know pizza can make me pretty damn happy too, but I have to say I feel a little bit more energetic on juices than I do other things, so I'll stick at it.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

New Look Inspire black crochet collar swing dress

Hello pickles!

On Saturday hubby and I visited a local wood to have a picnic, and then the beach. It was a cold but sunny day, and the woods was sprinkled with bluebells and snowdrops. I adore bluebells.


I'm wearing the dress I bought with my birthday money. It's from New Look and I bought it because it reminded me of Wednesday Addams. It has a lovely crochet collar.
I went for a size 28 but there is loads of room so a 26 would've been ample. It's a lovely soft stretch jersey material.




I'll share more photos from the woods and beach separately. Next time I wear this dress I might go full on Wednesday style, pigtails and all.

I'm wearing:
Jacket, New Look
Dress, New Look
Leggings, Very
Shoes old Very
Bag, eBay
Bracelets, birthday present

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A trip to Hawkhurst

Hello lovelies,

On Good Friday hubby was just starting to feel human again after his illness so we went out for a drive to Hawkhurst, in Kent and explored St Lawrence's cemetery. One of my favourite things to do is visit churches and cemeteries - they're so peaceful.
Bluebells and daffodils

We explored the cemetery then sat on a bench and had a picnic lunch. We only saw a few people while we were there, and all we could hear were birds, a bumblebee nearby and the whoosh of cars going past. It was a lovely sunny day, a little bit chilly at times, but the fresh air did us a world of good.

Whenever I go to a cemetery I always gravitate towards the oldest gravestones - the leaning ones, the ones covered in lichen, the ones you can no longer read. I love ancient things. I've enjoyed hanging out with the dead since I was old enough to go for walks on my own as a child. Whenever I was troubled I would walk through local cemeteries, at peace with my thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

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