Friday, 21 November 2014

Bought & Thought

Happy Friday!  Today I have a bag I bought months ago, that I'd almost forgotten to show you.  I'm sure I've said this before but the Love Moschino 'Charming' girls range just keeps getting better.  I literally want every single design they release.  This seasons snow scene is absolutely adorable.  I love the chic wee lady in her fluffy red coat and hat, walking through the snow in her high heels.  Look, she even has a big ring on her finger and is carrying a little clutch!  "Love Moschino" is written in the snow and there's a church and some buildings in the night skyline with snowflakes falling all around.  This is the large tote*, definitely bigger than I'd usually go for (I tend to opt for their clutches or small shoulder bags) and too big for me to carry on a daily basis.  However if you require a bag roomy enough for a laptop and A4 folders and documents then this could be the one for you.  It's fully lined, has an internal zipped pocket and pouch, two chain shoulder straps and it closes with a zip.  I was very lucky that I had a voucher to spend, so the grand total was only a few £'s!  I've already bought one of the clutches in another print and there's a few other designs I have on my wishlist that I'm hoping to buy soon.  Do you like this?    
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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Bought & Thought

Hello my lovelies, how are you today?  I have the most wonderful lipstick to show you.  Isn't that just the prettiest thing you've ever seen?  Even my Mum was impressed and she doesn't wear makeup!  It's the Anna Sui V Lipstick in 300 Light Pink £23 (since sold-out but there are other colours).  It's a soft, pink with a touch of coral to it when swatched.  The lipstick itself is star shaped, which is just incredible.  My Mum really didn't expect me to use it, but hey I'm brave!  The black base has stars all over it and the lid is just so pretty.  All Anna Sui products are rose scented and man, it ain't subtle!  I'm not that keen on it if I'm truthful.  It's a little much and lingers, which isn't really what I want from a lippie.  However I might just put up with it for something so amazing.  What do you think?    
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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Update: La Roche Posay Effaclar - Anti Blemish System

You may recall I reviewed the new La Roche-Posay Effaclar Anti-Blemish System* back in September.  I'd been using the set for around 6 weeks at that point.  My results hadn't been overly good by then, but I felt at least 12 weeks were required before making final judgements.  I've now completed my trial and this is a little update as to how I got on.  Just to remind you, I was solely using these products, wearing no makeup and applying nothing else to my face other than lip-balm and eye cream/gel, for the fairest possible test conditions.  The box contains 'up to 6 weeks' supply and I did have to purchase another moisturiser around week 9.  I still have a little toner left and a little bit (less than the toner) of the cleanser, so for value for money I think it's great.    
I mentioned in that post, the drying effect of using these and that continued.  The skin under my eyebrows was and still is flaking badly and I began to suffer from dry, red patches on my eyelids.  I can't say I noticed it elsewhere, but had to start applying Vaseline to the affected areas.  Around week 7 or 8 I thought I'd had a little breakthrough and this was me on the road to clear skin (!) but alas it was short-lived.  Just when you thought things were looking up, another cluster of 5 or 6 spots would pop up.  This was to become the pattern for several weeks.  They weren't particularly big and seemed to have a short life, but left red marks (I still have red marks from 12 weeks ago when I began the trial).  My chin and lower cheeks were where the majority of the spots appeared.  I did get one on my forehead, one on my neck and one at the side of my eye (places I don't usually breakout) and by this point I was ready to give-in and use something else.  I've been lucky in that I've not had to leave the house much, however I did have physio twice and it's not pleasant to have to leave the house with bad skin and no makeup.  I hate it.  I was annoyed and disappointed.  I just couldn't understand how it apparently works for other people but not me.  Are my expectations too high?  The box does guarantee "clearer skin" and I didn't feel I achieved that. 
This was me a few days ago.  I know the picture quality isn't that great, I literally snapped it before going to bed (on the last day of the trial), but there's no editing or filter, other than to lighten them (because they were quite dark).  I had a massive crusty spot on my chin and little spots in clusters on both sides of my chin.  I would say the photo isn't as bad looking as it was in real life.  For me this isn't clearer skin and if I'm honest, I was glad to see the back of the trial.  I really dislike writing bad reviews, it's never a nice thing to do, but I hope you'll respect my honesty.  In view of all things fair, it's getting rave write-ups on Boots and I really do know people who swear by LRP and the Effaclar products.  I'm not sure what to take from skin is a nightmare and extremely fussy?  From a scientific point of view it should've worked and that's what I can't understand.  I usually lay blame elsewhere, but because these were the only products I applied, I couldn't do that.  

The thing I did like, was the scent.  I don't know if I big upped it enough in the original review, but it's really soft and lovely.  I think it's great value for three products and also good that they last as long as they do.  I love the no-fuss, simplicity of it all.  My skin did feel cleaner with no build-up (I usually get that around my nose).  I loved the lather on the cleanser and if it weren't so drying, I'd use it all the time, because it's otherwise fantastic.  The moisturiser feels completely weightless and non-greasy/sticky, but I didn't find it hydrating enough.  The toner really 'cleaned' my skin but I don't really have anything else to say about it.  As for blemishes, I didn't notice an improvement in how many and how often I got them.  If anything I suffered more breakouts than usual and I'm therefore glad to be back to using other products (that big crusty on my chin has all but gone in the last few days).  Tell me I'm not too fussy, am I?  Can someone say this really works for them to even things out? Let me know below.

You can find the set here in Boots for £32.50 and currently on a double points offer.

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Monday, 10 November 2014

David Emanuel: Teal Lace Dress

Growing up, I was obsessed with Sindy dolls, like proper 'all I ever wanted' obsessed.  Royal couturiers 'The Emanuels' (David and Elizabeth, famous for designing that wedding dress for Princess Diana) produced a collection of Sindy outfits. Beautiful full length, frilled, taffeta gowns with velvet capes and coats all shrunk down to miniature size for my favourite doll (don't worry this is leading somewhere). Even as a small child, I knew those outfits were epic. I even had a VHS (probably still do somewhere) of a Sindy documentary (featuring David and Elizabeth talking about their dolly creations) that I watched over and over, until it got a bit 'jumpy' in bits. Nowadays David is probably known outside of the fashion world for I'm A Celebrity (I didn't watch it) and he also has a clothing line at Bonmarche.
I want you to cast aside any preconceptions you may have about Bonmarche and I know most of us do. Yes, it's aimed or at least appeals to older ladies, but like I always say you should never discount any shop entirely as you just don't know what could be hiding in there. The David Emanuel collection actually has a lot to offer and good points are the vast size range and reasonable prices. You'll pay around £16 for a top, £22 for knitwear, dresses start at £30 and the most expensive items are coats from £45-60. Not bad! Sizing ranges from a 10-24, which I think is excellent and much needed on the high street. You'll find some exclusive 'online only' items in this range but the line is also available in select stores (I've seen it in my nearest).
I'm not kidding when I say I was spoilt for choice when I started looking at the collection.  A lot of the dresses were exactly the type of thing you'd normally see me in.  The one I chose to review is the teal lace and sequin dress* £40 in a size 20, which was just 'new in' for party season. I think if you're between sizes you could go for the smaller, as they (or at least this dress) is cut quite generously. I've been closer to a 20 lately than an 18 and I didn't feel the need to breathe in (seriously I canNOT suck my tummy in these days), so I was really comfortable in this. The dress also has quite a lot of stretch to it, which I wasn't expecting and just pulls-on without any zips or fastenings. There's a seam under the bust, which surprisingly did sit in the right place even with my ample bosom! The short sleeves are entirely sheer providing adequate coverage if you dislike showing your arms off, but the rest of the dress is fully lined.
The length is absolutely spot-on for me, with the lining just hitting my knee and the outer lace hanging a couple of centimetres below that. I can get really fussy about hemlines, but this one feels perfect. There's sporadic sequins throughout the dress, something I could do without (not that I hate it) and the lace feels really nice and weighty.
The only thing I dislike and hadn't noticed from the online images is the little tucks on one side of the waist.  Side gathers feature quite heavily in this collection, but I just don't feel this dress needs it.  I keep feeling like the lace has got caught on something and puckered up and try to straighten it!  It's a minor gripe and perhaps a design feature that others will like, but I just wanted to make you aware.  A winner for me is the gorgeous colour.  You can find the same dress in red (web exclusive), but I thought the teal was more 'me' and it's a stunning shade (in real life a little less blue and deeper looking than I'm seeing in these images).  I think the styling of garments on the website is definitely reaching to an older audience, but please don't let that put you off.  Take the time to look at the products and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. To coincide with this post and reiterate my point, I'm going to be styling Bonmarche items all week on The Shoe Girl Styles It (next post up in around half an hour), so look out for that.  What do you think, could you get past the 'Granny' prejudices and try something like this?  For £5 off when you spend £25 or £10 off wys £50, enter code AW11.

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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Bought & Thought

Hmmm, a bit of a mixed review for this one. I've been a fan of Soap & Glory skin and body products for years, but this was my first time trying the Glad Hair Day Shampoo £5.50. As with all S&G things, it smells lovely and feels really gentle. I found it hard to get a decent lather though, actually it works a lot better if you shampoo twice (though obviously that wastes product). I've just finished the tube today (it's lasted a long time) and it's definitely grown on me. I don't notice the lather issue now if I'm honest. I love that it doesn't leave my hair feeling dry and tangled when I wash the shampoo out, like most others do. I've noticed my hair is really knotted once I'm out of the shower, but I don't know if it's down to my hair being longer and backcombing when I'm wearing it in a bun or the shampoo. Usually my conditioner would fix the dry/tangled issue caused by shampoo. The other thing was my scalp was incredibly itchy in the beginning. I spent weeks wondering what it could be, because my head and hands (and in turn anywhere my hands touched) itched like crazy. I ended up putting it down to this shampoo and was going to stop using it when the itching stopped. It's hard to judge the appearance of my hair after using this, seeing as I don't style it (just throw it in a bun and let it dry naturally) or colour it now. It certainly lasts all week without looking at all greasy. So, in the end I quite liked using it, but it's not amazing and probably not something I'd buy again given the choice out there. Have you tried this before?
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Monday, 3 November 2014

Irregular Choice: Gold Bunny & Unicorn Heels

Erm, ok, so I was kinda a lot naughty on Friday and ordered three pairs of the new gold heels from Irregular Choice. You know you've spent a lot when your order is put on hold until you confirm your details, muahaha! I've actually been saving money for once though; this never leaving the house malarkey has a gold silver lining. As usual they were released at 12pm and it doesn't happen every time, but I got myself into a right old panic. I just felt there was a lot of hype surrounding these, IC had only released images of two of the seven styles and I just had a feeling I was going to miss out on the ones I wanted.  I barely slept the night before and felt sick most of the morning.   
With the aid of my sister on her laptop and the notoriously slow to load pages at IC, I did eventually manage to secure the three pairs I wanted. I stared at them in my basket, not quite sure if I should go for all three or if I wanted other styles entirely. It took me until 10 past to put my order through, the slowest I've ever been of all these limited edition releases (usually I'm finished in 2 minutes). I spent a long time deliberating if I bought the right pairs and if they'd even fit, but by the end of the day I'd discounted the rest and was happy with my rather expensive decision. They arrived late this morning (Monday) and I have to admit to being somewhat happy that one pair were not as I expected. I rarely dislike a shoe when I see it in person, but this one just isn't what I thought, so I will be returning. However more about that later. Let's begin with the bunny heels I opted for, Fluffy Tail in pink. They also came in black, but the gold spots on them were too rich for my taste. The gold bunny heel is also available in a sequin shoe-boot, aptly named Disco Bunny, in either black or green/blue. I was really tempted with those mermaid ones, especially as the sequins can be flipped over to reveal another colour (bronze on those and silver on the black pair). Though I'm reminded of shooting a magazine cover, where we used this top with really large sequins on it. As the stylist, I spent the whole day running in and out of shot, flipping the sequins the correct way every time the model moved!  Not cool!  Anyway as much as I love me some sparkle, I love a bit of fluff more and Fluffy Tail come with a freaking fluffy tail!! Who doesn't want that on their shoes? I sure do, so that was the deciding factor for me.
The uppers are made from different coloured sequins (small, flat sequins as opposed to the more fish-scale like appearance of Disco Bunny) and the different colours create a large polka dot effect all across the shoe. They have a pink pleated frill trim, fasten with a buckle and remind me a little of old-fashioned school shoes. If you went to a really cool and crazy school obviously. The rounded toe and general shape are reminiscent of previous character heels, most recently Cherry Deer.
The white fluffy tail, dangles at the back top of the heel. There's a little movement, but it appears to be quite well stitched in (think I'll maybe panic the first few times I wear them that it'll fall off, though I suspect it's more secure than I realise). The black pair had a black tail which again was something I wasn't so keen on. Bunnies have light tails after all.
Then the heels are mirror gold, exactly the same shape as the original Flopsy. They have an almost wedge like shape, measuring around 4 1/2" (the shoe has a 3/4" concealed platform). The bunnies have gold metallic ribbons around their necks (my originals have spotty bows).
Size wise, I opted for the bigger size because almost all of my other character heels are a size larger (and I went into panic mode on the day worrying my usual size wouldn't fit). I'm glad I did in this case. They are naturally a little stiff when you first put them on, but I felt they were a good fit for me (not too big or too small). I know a 5/38 is usually 24.5cm and I think it increases by 5 or 6mm for a 6/39, so that would be around 25cm. I found these come in at just under 25cm, so are a good fit for someone like me who can be between sizes. So I think your usual size will be snug but possibly stretch enough to accommodate, if you are a half-size. If you have quite small feet, you'll probably be fine in your regular size. Next up, we have the unicorn heels. All three styles named Trixy were similar, just different colours. I'd initially set out to get the peach, then I fell for the black and afterwards that turned to envy for the turquoise! The turquoise are very much my type of colour, but I talked myself out of it afterwards as I felt the darker colour of the bow didn't fit in so well with the rest of the shoe and heel. The black shocked me on the day because I hadn't been expecting so much cream in the floral pattern. They seemed really cream in the promo shot.
In real life mine are quite cream too. I like it though. The black bow on the toe is made from glitter (that big ass, hard scratchy kind) and I love that little split with peaks at the front, it's really cute.
Again the heel is exactly like my original unicorns, but in gold. They measure around 4 3/4" and there's a small concealed platform of around 3/4".
Despite me thinking the bunnies looked quite large when I deboxed them and the unicorns quite small, they are the opposite on the feet. I find these a tad too large (again I sized up) and I'm wondering if with wear, they will stretch further and really be too big. They measure just over 25cm, so are true to size for a 6/39. I suppose they look most like the unicorn heeled Eternal Friend and I had a 5/38 in them as the 6/39 gaped (though the 5 are very snug). So I probably could've gotten away with my usual size. I'll have to try them on properly and see if it might become a problem and therefore exchange them if it is (I only quickly put one foot with the bunny on the other). Here's a heel comparison with the bunny.
My other Trixy pair are the peachy ones. From the promotional images I was expecting a soft peach and considering I don't have anything like this in my collection already, I was quite taken with them. They were the last pair I opened this morning and as soon as I saw a flash of them, I knew they weren't for me. I was shocked actually, the issue being the colour. They are neon. I'm not kidding, it's really bright. Not the soft colour I was expecting. When I began taking photos, I was getting rather peeved that on the screen and through the viewer, the colour wasn't coming across bright at all.  However once I uploaded them, I was pleased to see it did come across. They call them 'coral' and I find them to be a true coral. I think my images lean more orangey (missing that pink element) but if anything they are brighter in real life than in these photos.
They have the same floral pattern in cream and gold and exactly the same shape. The glitter bow is adorable. I really love it on this one, as it's multi-coloured up close but from afar comes across as a taupey-gold.
The heel is exactly the same and although I didn't try these on, I'd expect them to fit the same as the black pair. All of the shoes have the same griffin sole (which I forgot to photograph) and I've said before, I really love the inside (holographic snakeskin with 'quilted' velvet).
It's not that I completely dislike the colour, it's just nothing like I was expecting and I know I'd find it difficult to style with my wardrobe. I also thought the bow was a big sparkly brooch thing initially (the promo shot was a side view), which was funny when I realised it wasn't. The colour of this and the pink bunnies initially looked similar-ish (they were both pale, though one was definitely pink and one peach), so I've compared them here to hopefully illustrate again how bright the coral really is and how completely unlike they are.
If I'm truthful I'm relieved that I'm returning one pair because I probably don't need both and this helped me make my mind up. Plus it's a lot of money when you buy three pairs (all styles are £125 each) and I've already got my eye on a pair of boots instead!  I found it really hard to make decisions with this collection. Usually I know the colour/style I like most, but I was genuinely torn with all seven because the collection was that good.  That's coming from someone who didn't think a gold heel would appeal!  What do you think, do you like them did you get any?  

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cut for Evans

The second Cut for Evans collection has just launched. Working with design students, who were asked to create a 6-piece collection for a plus size woman, the judging panel managed to whittle down the entries to two winners, whose collections are in select stores/online from today.  Eve Turley, a 2nd year BA (Hons) Fashion Design student from Kingston University created a stunning collection of knitwear, taking inspiration from vintage fabrics.  I love the illusion hourglass shapes created by contrast panels and prints.  
Ellie Northway, a BA (Hons) Fashion Design student from Nottingham Trent University used vibrant prints, inspired by inspirational women through history for her collection.  I think the bomber jacket and jumpsuit will be popular among plus-size bloggers and the prints are quite directional for Evans.  
I think a project like this is a win-win situation for all involved. It's a great opportunity for the students to be able to say they've designed something 'real' that's available to women across the country, but also to see what goes into the design process and making of each garment for a high street store.  From a concept in your head to the reality of costing, fabrics, sizing, merchandising, advertising etc It's something you get taught studying fashion (I know I did), but seeing and being a part of that process for real, I'd imagine would be pretty invaluable.  For Evans, I think it's probably stimulating to have fresh ideas and see how others outside your regular design and buying team work and what they see for your brand.  A similar story for customers, who get the chance to try something that may be a little different to the main collections at Evans and support new designers.  Prices range from £35-£55, but there's up to 30% off everything online, until 3rd November.  What do you think?    

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Bought & Thought

So I've bought dozens more 'wiggle dresses' from ASOS recently (well, maybe a slight exaggeration) and because they're experimenting a little with some of the details and more notably, the fabric, some have fitted and some have not.  One of the best ones for me is the animal print wiggle dress £50 (in a size 18, also available in Tall here).  It's probably most like the original design, as it's made from cotton/elastane which seems to be a more flattering fit on me.  Others cling to the tummy area, but this fabric just skims over, concealing everything and there is that tiny bit of stretch where I need it.  The main difference to the original pattern is the introduction of a front split (instead of a centre back one) and I like it.  It makes it feel more current.  There's the same underarm gussets, though the sleeves are missing their cuffs (instead just hemmed under), not something I was particularly sad to see go.  It's got the same tucks at the waist, centre back invisible zip and glorious pockets!  I don't often wear peach or orange, but the bold leopard print is a winner for me and I can see this dress being worn a lot in the future. Do you like this, have you tried any of the wiggle dresses?     
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Monday, 20 October 2014

Irregular Choice: 'Glissade' Ballerina Heels

Hello peeps, where do I even start with these shoes? Irregular Choice have been producing their 'statement heels' for a good few seasons now and aside from one, I've bought at least one pair from each release. Then came the news that they'd upped their game yet again with the ballerina heel. There's a tiny little ballet dancer (similar to those old cake toppers you used to get-I was ballet obsessed so had them on my birthday cake every single year), encased in a see-through wedge heel.
This would be pretty spectacular on it's own, but like I said, this is a level up on previous 'statement heels'. The dancer actually moves. She pirouettes (on the spot), inside the heel. If that still isn't enough, the shoes play music! There's a key inside the heel (you can pull the ring down to turn, then flip it back up inside the heel to keep it out of the way when using them).
The concept of a music-box heel has just blown me away completely. Shoes can often be a functional item of clothing, but this is more like art or a decorative object. Yet it's still fit for it's purpose, it's just mesmerising.
There were four options available, three named Glissade and a slightly different style Balletomane. That one was more of an ankle boot and covered in varying sizes of pearls. You know I'm a sucker for pearls and initially they were my first choice, but I was more keen on the softer shape of Glissade. The green metallic that I opted for, is such a cool fabric too.
It's got a duo-tone finish, so it flashes between green and purple in the light. You can see the shadowy, contoured sections in my photos are purple and the rest green (sometimes even with blue toned bits where the two colours meet). They lace up with green satin ribbons and have a 5 1/2" heel with 1 1/2" platform. Now for the sizing. I found these extremely small, which I think will catch some people out. I'm so so glad I sized up, because even then they just fit. I could tell whenever I took them out the box, because they look tiny. I didn't have my tape measure handy to measure the inside, but I'd definitely recommend taking the bigger size. I think there will be a lot of returns because of this, so hopefully if yours are too small, there will be a replacement that someone else didn't fit.  Thankfully the metallic fabric feels quite soft and I think it'll stretch out a bit with wear.
I've also popped a little video on my YouTube account, so you can see the dancer in action and hear Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  She moves quite slowly and by the time I was steady enough and ready to record she was nearing the end of her piece (where she slows down further), but you still get the idea.  The two fingers I needed for turning the key, happen to have quite long nails, so it would definitely be easier with shorter nails and/or smaller fingers.  There is a warning that the shoe is fragile and the dancer can break off with hard/heavy wear, so I'm quite anxious about wearing them outside just now.  Maybe once I've become more accustomed to them, I'll know how strong or weak they are.  For now I'm happy just to stare at them!  What do you think?  Can IC top this in the future?


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