20 May 2017

Outside The Comfort Zone with Yours Clothing

I would say I’m a pretty self-loving, positive human being.

I believe that loving yourself for who you are at this very minute is possibly the most important thing that a person can do.

But I still hate my belly. 

Hate it in the most loving way possible, but there’s no denying my entire style is revolved around hiding my belly - petticoats and full skirts are ‘the best’ silhouettes for me because it emphasises my waist, but skims over the ol’ stomach. 

So when Yours Clothing offered a collaboration, I thought it was about time I break down my own barriers and try something a little different, since I spend so much time telling other people to embrace themselves and be comfortable no matter what.

So I chose this dress. It's not exactly a slinky pencil skirt, but considering the styles I've been wearing the last few years, it was so far out of my comfort zone! 

And you know what? I feel great.

The dress itself is really lovely, a faux-wrap bodice with short sleeves, and straight-cut skirt with slight gathering both back and front to accommodate a little junk in the tum 'n' trunk, which is pretty great for a fuller shape like mine. 

I was originally attracted to it since it has a hint of 40's styling (another style out of my comfort zone), and I think it could easily be used in similar vintage inspired looks for my vintage girls out there looking for everyday clothing - but since it's made from jersey with a bold print, it's still modern enough for you gals that aren't so interested in dressing in the style.

One thing I love about Yours Clothing is that it actually caters for larger sizing, focussing on fit and comfort first and foremost. This dress is from their own collection and comes in sizes 16-36, and at just £29 it's not just accessible for quite a range of sizes, but also just incredibly affordable.

I took the 22 in this, based off the sizing of the hips alone, because I wanted to make sure the dress wasn't stretched over my stomach. I definitely chose the right size for a comfortable fit for me without showing so much VBO (Visible Belly Outline if you weren't sure) - this does mean it's a little loose on the bust and a lot loose on the waist, but that was a calculated risk I took, even if I'm sure I could fit into the 18! 

Also! The shoes I'm wearing are from Yours Clothing as well, and other than being adorable, lightweight and literally THE MOST COMFORTABLE HEELS EVER - these Block Heel Sandals are in two colours and sizes 4E-9E. you read that right, darlings, wide fit sandals you can wear all day and night! For £15, you'd be stupid to not buy them!

Bolero; Collectif
Brooch; Luxulite
Necklace and Earrings; Vintage

So I'm not going to BS you darlings, I'm not suddenly going to be baring the VBO at all times, but a dress like this is perfect for the start of the second part of my own body acceptance journey. 

I really hope you all join me and challenge that comfort zone this weekend! 

13 May 2017

Dinner and A Drive In With Lindy Bop!

Every now and then two items come together and you realise they were clearly made for each other.

Today, those two things are the Drive-In print Audrey Dress from Lindy Bop and The Diner Box Bag from Vendula London.

See? Made. For. Each. Other.

Over the last few months, I've become somewhat obsessed with the border prints from Lindy Bop, and I was lucky to be asked to choose one to review for you guys!

The Audrey is their signature silhouette, a Breakfast-At-Tiffany's-style bodice with a gathered skirt that flares from the natural waist. Based on the size guide on their website and previously-ordered Audrey sizes, I got the 22 in this style.
I will say off the bat, this dress is actually on the tight side especially across the bust for me, so I would suggest sizing up unless you have a really small bust - maybe even two for you busty gals out there!

Pro-tip; don't try on a dress when drunk, overlook the tight bust and take the tags off straight away. Silly idea!

The base colour is a lovely midnight blue, with bright red, yellow and blue balloons flying throughout the night sky that makes up the top of the skirt and the bodice - and of course, the border print of brightly-coloured Chevrolet's driving on through the theatre!

I know the one question I always get asked about Lindy Bop items is because of their price point (This dress was originally £35 full price!) people are sceptical of the quality of the items - I'm going to put it out there that you're going to be so pleasantly surprised. The fabric is a nice medium-weight cotton with a little stretch and a hint of a sheen, making it soft against the skin and fall nicely. As this is a spring/summer dress it's not fully lined, but the bodice is lined in a soft cotton.

It also features my favourite thing ever - POCKETS in the side seam!

Fitting issues aside, as that was mostly my fault for not ordering a larger size before I ripped the tags off (thank you wine), I actually love this dress. Not only is the quality great, but the colours are so wonderful and it really makes the print and wearing a red cardigan and accessories really made the whole thing pop! It does come with a belt, but it was more coral-red than true-red so I swapped it for my own.

And of course, I had to add the Diner Box Bag to the outfit - the colours were so on point with the dress, it would have been a shame not to! 

Hair Flowers; Lady Luck's Boutique
Necklace; Vintage
Bangles; Splendette and Vintage
Brooch; Luxulite
Bolero; Collectif

Now since I mentioned the Diner Box Bag... It's time to announce the winner of the Vendula London Giveaway! 
Drum roll please...

Alieke Maaike! 

Congratulations Alieke! Please check your emails because I'll be sending you a cheeky little email soon!

And thank you all for participating, I wish you could of all won! 

6 May 2017

Celebrating One Year at Vendula London - And a GIVEAWAY!

Okay, okay.

I know I go on about Vendula London all the time. I know you've seen so many of their products on my blog posts and Instagram. But hey, last week I celebrated one whole year with the company, so I wanted to take a little moment to talk about the brand, show you where I work - and oh yeah, there's a GIVEAWAY!

vendula london giveaway

Now I'm sure you already know Vendula London is a handbag and accessory brand. Started in 2003, it's animal-friendly and only uses faux leathers - but are also some of the most interesting, and importantly, intricate items you'll probably ever see. Each bag and purse are printed, embossed and appliqu├ęd to be completely original and incredibly detailed, so much so that even the backs are printed!

My main job (other than running around China and Japan ;) ) is actually running our only retail store - settled in an adorable little place off London's Southbank called Gabriel's Wharf. The little shopping square is just up from the iconic OXO tower and features sole traders and designer/makers, creating a unique boutique experience which is just wonderful to be a part of.

vendula london giveaway

Our most popular designs are our Shop Front styles - handbags and purses in a range of sizes and prices with shop-front-themed detailing. You've seen a few of these styles on the blog before as they're my personal favourite styles we do, the ones featured in this photo are new for SS17 - The Biscuit Shop, The Diner (!) and the Sewing Shop (!!)

vendula london giveaway

But we're not limited to just the Shop Fronts! We also have our pastel dream of a Charm range all nicely organised at the back of the shop, where you can customise your plain bag with box sets of Charms - Or as I do, mix and match as jewellery too!

We've got other unique styles in store, too - this season we've got the Caravan, Butterfly Explorer and Parrot Paradise (and some good sale stuff, juuuuust saying!) in stock, and really, I'd love for you all to come and experience Vendula London in this little shop!

vendula london giveaway

vendula london giveaway

Now - the exciting part! You can now have a chance to win your own Vendula London bag!

We're giving away either a Sewing Shop or Diner Box Bag to one lucky winner - Entry is simple, go on Vendula London's website and tell me what your favourite item is in a comment and follow me and Vendula London on Instagram!

And for a whopping 6 extra entries, follow me on Bloglovin' and both of us on Facebook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, guys!

And in the mean time, if you fancy popping down and saying hi, here's our address;

Vendula London Shop
Gabriel's Wharf
Unit 15, 56 Upper Ground

29 April 2017

Tips on Spring Cleaning Your Wardrobe!

In thoery it's spring. In theory. But I live in Britain and sometimes we get a weekend of summer and then it starts snowing by midweek, because this country is ridiculous, basically.

Last weekend whilst it was beautifully sunny and warm, Dia&Co gave me a bit of inspiration to take the risk and decided to spring clean my wardrobe, swapping out all the winter items for spring ones!

spring cleaning your wardrobe

If you're anything like me, you'll be exchanging your tartans for your ginghams, your dark colours for your lights and those cotton sun dresses are ready to go!
Every spring I do a little purge of items I either don't or can't wear whilst I'm switching, and I wanted to share with you a few things I do to clear up some items ready for selling, donating or throwing away.

First up - everything you own comes out of the wardrobe and storage. EV.RY.THING. Dump it on the floor or on your bed - and you've got the biggest mess of clothing you've ever seen. You're going to need a day and a bottle of wine, but I promise you it's worth the work!

spring cleaning your wardrobe
spring cleaning your wardrobe
Once you're facing your mess (and maybe already drinking to deal with it, I'm not judging you here) you're going to pick up every. single. item. in that pile and you're going to ask yourself a few honest questions.

1. Does it fit?
If it doesn't fit, it needs to go. Don't bullshit yourself that the size 16 dress you wore five years ago is going to fit you when you eventually slim down when you're a 22. Don't do that to yourself, no dress is worth you feeling bad about. Try it on if you're not sure, but if it makes you feel bad, it gets tossed aside.

2. Does it make you feel good?
This kinda fits in with the first one - if when you wear this item you feel like it doesn't fit right or it makes you uncomfortable in any way, get rid of it. Life is too short to wear things you hate.

spring cleaning your wardrobe
This dress split as soon as I bought it - but it WILL be fixed!

3. Is it broken? Are you actually going to fix it?
I'm a sewist, and a lot of you reading this probably sew as well. We've all got piles of UFOs and garments that need adjusting. If it's something you love, repair it. If it's something you can live without, you can get rid of it - we all know if it goes into that pile it'll never be worn again!
If you're not a sewist and it's an item you don't want to spend money to fix, it's time to say goodbye. But remember buttons are so easy to sew on, no matter how bad you are with a needle.

4. Do I actually wear it?
This is where I'm a big fan of the humble outfit photo. I can look at my own Instagram and see what I wore and when, and if I'm looking at a wardrobe of items that I've not worn at all, clearly I don't need it. I can list off at least five items in my winter wardrobe I never wore at all over winter. It takes up space, bye bye! 

spring cleaning your wardrobe
Wine may or may not have been consumed
Now whilst you're deciding what you are and aren't keeping (and if you're drinking wine, you've probably turned this into a drinking game and are currently wearing four dresses on your head...) is when I start putting things back in my wardrobe. Since we're going into spring, winter clothes go into vacuum bags, the real summery items have a small vacuum bag ready for when the hot weather comes in, and spring and interchangeable-season clothing goes back into that wardrobe.

So you're left with a pile of things with broken zips, stuff that hasn't fitted in a very, very long time, and that jumper you bought because it was cheap three years ago and it still has the tags on.
Since I'm in list mode, this is what you're going to organise your pile into;

If you've got some decent clothes in good condition which have a decent resell value - sell it and make a little bit of money. I sell a lot of my branded clothes and accessories on Facebook groups for ease, and this works well with vintage too. Don't bother sticking everything you own on eBay though, that takes far too long! 

spring cleaning your wardrobe
As cute as this skirt is, it's been worn a total of twice over the last three years; to Facebook sales with ye!
Did you know that charity shops are able to profit off 98% of donations? That's a good way of decluttering AND feeling good about yourself - every little bit helps! Whether you're deciding to just get rid of everything in one go, or you've got items that aren't either fit for sale or have no real resale value - fill a black bag full of your items and head down to the charity of your choice - Clutter Fairy has a great post about charity shops here. Alternatively - give to friends!

I'm calling this trash, but frankly - do not throw anything into landfill, guys! Most charity shops will accept unusable items in the form of 'ragging' - which the charity is paid for by the kilo, and is taken to be recycled and reused. Simply add it into your donation bag (I usually have a second bag of donations labelled 'ragging') and they'll go through it and pop it into their rag bags to be used all over the place.

This is where the clothes that have seen much better days go. You can't sell, give away or donate this stuff, but it has to go. I'm looking at you, overworn band t-shirt with holes and stains.

spring cleaning your wardrobe
It barely looks any different! 
So you're done. Congratulations, drink more wine!

It's a pretty good way to spend a day, right? Now you know exactly what is in your wardrobe, you know it fits and it makes you feel good. Anything you've taken out is either money in your pocket, a new item for a friend, or going to a charity, and all of those options are frankly great.

So now you have a streamlined wardrobe and a few extra pennies - time to drunk order some new clothes or patterns so you can work on what you now know is your style!

spring cleaning your wardrobe
I never want to do this again.
What are your tips and tricks for spring cleaning that wardrobe once you get to the new season? Let me know in the comments!


22 April 2017

My Long Haul Survival Kit!

So over a period of six months, I'd been on four trips that have needed long haul flights.
That's eight times cooped up on a flying tin can with recycled air and horrible food (I'm sorry, BA, but it's not great.) for ten to twelve hours at a time. It's grim, but I'm learning how to make it as good as it possibly can be.

long haul survival kit

I'm not going to tell you what and how to pack when it comes to your checked luggage, but I am going to tell you what I have in my carry-on to make the hell of a long haul flight a little sweeter.

The first time I went on a trip I made this awful mistake of not having my bag in order, which made for awkward transitions from the airport through security and then onto the plane. My biggest tip would be to GET THAT BAG ORGANISED - personally, I use one of the large and one of the small wash bags from the Vendula London Skyline Range inside the matching Skyline Tote to keep the small bits and pieces organised. Everything I need is easily reachable and throwing it back into the carry-on is so simple.

long haul survival kit

The main thing that I have in the Large Wash Bag is my liquids bag - most airports require you to have a clear bag for all liquids which must be under 100ml. Since I have hold baggage with everything I need for my stay in whatever country I'm in, the only things I carry in here are an absolute necessity on the flight. A sandwich bag suffices to store them in, but they do have them to take at security for free - take a few.

This includes;
  • Toothpaste
  • Eye mist
  • Moisturiser
  • Deodorant
  • Lip Balm
  • Face Mist 
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Face Wipes (travel pack or zip lock a few from a larger pack)
  • Lighter (most countries allow one lighter in hand luggage if you are also a dirty smoker like myself)
The rest of my wash bag is filled with other essentials I couldn't live without;
  • Tea bags - Airplane tea is gross, plus a sleepy-time tea before trying to nap will help.
  • Pen - This is an absolute essential. No one has pens and it means your landing pass is sorted before you hit immigration. Black or blue only! 
  • Mints
  • Toothbrush
  • Earplugs
  • Travel sickness and herbs sleeping tablets if you need either
  • Tissues
  • Surgical mask - this will save you from the recycled air tearing your sinuses apart, I promise you. 
long haul survival kit

The Small Wash Bag is the 'Tech Bag'. Again, security like searching these things separately to the rest of your items, so having them in one place means you can dump them in the tray and throw them back in and it's still organised - speed is key! 
  • Headphones
  • Camera - with battery taken out and separate 
  • Phone charger
  • Apple Watch charger
  • Portable charger
  • Charger cable for camera/portable
  • Plug adapter
Although I don't live in constant fear of losing my luggage, having everything I need to keep my tech charged is important to me as someone who is married to their phone.
The thing I love the most about this bag is the internal pockets - I always take my Apple Watch off for flights, and it keeps me calm knowing I can zip it into a waterproof bag once it's turned off and not worry about it for my trip, which is worth that alone.

long haul survival kit

Now. The important things are sorted, but you're still going to need a few things to survive that flight.

No one wears their coat on a flight. The idea is ridiculous, so get yourself a zip-through hoodie. The hood gives you some privacy when you make the mistake of watching Toy Story 3 and need to have a cry, it has pockets if you're using your phone for music and the all-important lip balm, plus you can control your body temperature with a zip.

As a jeans-hater, I generally travel in a band t-shirt and skirt, and although it's comfortable for the most part, nothing beats the comfort of pajamas. Yes, my friends, around two hours in, after drinks/snacks and dinner - I'm right in those pajamas! 
I pack lightweight ones as someone who's legs get warm, and I always have a pair of fluffy socks in my bag to keep things snuggly. A scarf will help you too, either balled up as a pillow, a makeshift blanket or y'know, a scarf.

One thing that seems to amaze a lot of people is that there are no rules to say you can't take an empty bottle onto the plane with you, so grab one (mine is in the shape of Baymax from Big Hero 6 because I'm a perpetual child!) and fill up before and while you're on the plane - much easier than either waiting for water to be served, or having to ask an attendant all the time.

long haul survival kit

Then the most important - a damn travel pillow.
I bought a cheap bean-filled pillow first off, which did the job, but would never actually support my neck. So I caved and bought myself a memory-foam monstrosity that is the bee's knees - I'd definitely recommend!

Then it's time to plug in, cuddle up and try and make the best out of a bad situation!

So now you know what is in my flight bag - what's in yours? Do you have anything that you absolutely couldn't live without? Let me know, and happy travels!

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