Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Irregular Choice: New 'Cherry Deer'

Hey ladies (I can't say that without adding "hey fellas, you know you're doing good 'cause they jealous", I used to love that song!), anyway, I have something you want to see...a new colourway of the 'Cherry Deer' fawn heels from Irregular Choice! I'm very excited because I haven't seen them in any of the previews, so was taken aback to find them today.  They are a muted, peachy beige with wine trim and just feel sooo perfectly autumnal.  The bow and cherries blend beautifully with these colours and the fawn heel fits in well, with it's earthy tones.  
They are available at Zalando, a little more expensive than they were in the other colours at £140, but you find that with them sometimes.  There's free shipping on all UK orders though and if you use the code ZAAUGSEP5 you can save £5 on orders over £50 (valid on the UK site, until the end of the month). Every little helps, as they say.  There's no more colours due of any of the deer styles (this season at least), so it's your chance to get your hands on a more rare colour now.  I was also looking at this version of the Fawn floral/glitter pair on AshburySkies today, which I much prefer to the colour that was released here.  I've mentioned on my FB before that they also have the black suede Fawn shoe-boot and red metallic and zebra colours of the Uh Huh heels that were never released in the UK.  I tend to avoid importing from US sites due to customs and high delivery charges.  I'm not affiliated with them and have no idea what the cost would be, but I've been stung in the past from other sites.  Thankfully there's no worries of that with Zalando and I suppose that's why their prices are sometimes higher, because that sort of thing is already included.      
Other new (UK) releases that haven't reached the IC site, so you may not have seen, include these styles at Office.  This red pair are called Late Night £99 and feature the new zig-zag sole introduced for A/W.  The uppers are reminiscent of the Can Can boots and shoes from years ago (I had the black boots).  I know it was quite a popular print at the time.  There's the addition of a chunky heel, large glitter heart on the front and suede frill.  I'm not sure what I make of these, whether they are so ugly they are good or just plain weird.  What do you think?      
They also come in black here, slightly toned down on the red.  
This glitter face pump is called Paulie £79.99 and I love those curled eyelashes!
Office also have the black Uh Huh £159 Elvis heels, black glitter Fawn shoe-boot £115 and black Cherry Deer £125 like mine.  Schuh also have both colours of Cherry Deer if you've still to get your hands on them, black here and blue here, with the option of free standard delivery or next/nominated day for only £1 currently.  Buying from my Schuh, Office or Zalando links can earn the blog a small commission, but I couldn't keep new shoes all to myself, so would've written this post regardless!  Do you fancy any of these new releases and what do you think of the brown Bambi heels?  

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Bought & Thought

Hola!  Bit of a funny story for you with Bought & Thought this week.  So you know how I'm a massive fan of the ASOS 'wiggle dresses'? Well I was uber excited by this new one.  It was selling fast and I did the usual, it sold out, but eventually managed to get my hands on it.  It's made from this weird textured fabric, can't say I'm thrilled with the feel of it, but it doesn't look too off-putting in the flesh.  The colour is gorgeous, the bold rose print is beautiful.  So now to the funny bit.  I tried it on when it arrived (nobody home) and managed to get stuck in it!  I do this thing where if I can't get a dress on with the zip closed, it's too small.  I always think if I get into it with the zip open then I'll be really scuppered if it's too tight, because I don't have a zip to open for extra room to get out (hmm, not so great thinking there).  Obviously the waist is the smallest bit, so it was getting that over my chest that was difficult.  I was convinced once it got beyond there, it would be fine.  I didn't quite make it (kinda semi-wedged boobs) and spent the next 20 minutes easing the centre-back zip down millimetre by millimetre to get it off!  All this is going on between my shoulder blades, almost unable to move my arms, not the comfiest way to spend an afternoon!  I eventually got it off, but I was seriously kidding myself it would fit.  Even with the zip undone, the skirt section wouldn't even look at my lower body, so it was a definite return for me.  Such a pity, but I've found that before with these dresses, some are roomy, some fit perfectly and others are tiny.  It's got the usual pockets (love) and tucks at the waist and this is one of the newer styles with V back rather than high neckline.  I've got my eye on the other two new colours and hopefully they'll fit better.  I'll let you know!    
I also wanted to talk about the ASOS 'Daily Edit', which has been run by in-house stylist, Megan during London Fashion Week this week.  It's a pretty cool feature which allows you to follow the particular stylist on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) for up to the minute updates from LFW on new trends, backstage stuff and who wore what.  Each day Megan picks a selection of her favourite products from ASOS, hence the 'daily edit' and I think it's a really good way to promote the brand, when you see a stylist you like or has similar taste to you rocking 'x' shoes or bag.  Plus it always helps seeing items in 'real life' situations rather than a studio set-up doesn't it?  It's certainly made me 'click' onto things I hadn't noticed before.  
What has made you laugh this week and please tell me I'm not the only one with a 'trying on' disaster?  I was seriously borderline cutting myself out of it!

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tips: Low Energy Beauty Routine

I've been wanting to write this post for some time, considering how much my beauty regime has changed this year, but to be truthful I wasn't sure if it was of any interest to you. I've had to learn and deal with a lot of changes in my appearance over the past few months and of course that's had a knock-on effect to my confidence.  So I decided any pro-self-esteem post was worth writing if it helps anyone else out there. For a little background and to hopefully clear up those "the shoe girl diaries illness" or "what illness does pink haired princess have" searches that are leading to my blog, I have M.E. I know I still haven't finished my (When Life Sucks) posts about my illness and how it came about, but it's not forgotten I promise. I've been ill for over 12 years now and finally got to a point where I was able to get dressed up and 'look' ok, even when I wasn't feeling that great. This year though, my iron dipped to really low levels (i.e. pretty much non existent) and it took a while to diagnose and treat, during which my health nosedived and I've still not recovered. I've been unable to get dressed, do my hair, wear any makeup and have only left the house (since mid-January) for hospital/doctor appointments. Obviously that in itself is a massive blow mentally, socially and physically (and that's putting it lightly) and in comparison a "beauty routine" seems rather trivial, but self esteem and confidence can affect your mood and that in turn can lead to even more issues, so it's something that shouldn't be ignored.  
So what's changed? Well, I wear pyjamas every day! I'm pretty sure I've put on weight from no walking or activity and clothes feel tight and restrictive, so I'm comfier in my pj's (plus getting dressed is actually too physical for me).  I try and shower as little as possible because it's too tiring. My nails (toes too) have never gone unpainted for so long in the 20+ years I've been wearing polish. My hair has not been coloured since last November. I look like crap. I know I do and of course I do, I'm ill (which I often don't acknowledge or go easy on myself for). The things I've learnt beauty-wise these past few months are my natural hair colour is waaay darker than I remember (photo above left, where I held back the pinky bits) and looks most unnatural on me. It's almost black-I used to be 'mousy' or thought I was (clearly so many years as a blonde has clouded my memory)! I have a grey streak, like a big section of silver at the front. Sh!t! It behaves exactly like my normal hair (not wormy) but is pure silver, can I pass this off as natural platinum?! My nails are crap, discoloured, break a lot and actually nail polish strengthens them. Yes their condition is probably down to illness, but it sucks. My skin still suffers breakouts, even without makeup. So ha, in your face to that myth that wearing makeup all the time is 'bad' for your skin. Again it's probably not helped by poor health, hey ho.
It's really hard to feel good about yourself when you don't like what you see in the mirror. If I'm honest, I avoid looking in it most days. I mean if ever there were an advert for taking your iron, it's the photo above!  One of the last photos of me in a healthy-ish state in January, then the other taken yesterday before I got into the shower, with my hair straight out of a bun!  Ok so it's not a concise before/after because one is taken with my fancy camera and the other my mobile and the light wasn't as good (but trust me the photo on the right is actually one of the more flattering and glamorous angles right now), it could almost pass for two different people.  There's no "damn my eyeliner is looking fierce today" or "my hair is so perfect, I wish it looked like this every day", none of that, not even close. I've realised I'm my own worst critic and any self esteem or self confidence is exactly that, "self". I always thought some part of me dressed and looked the way I did, so that others would comment on it, but no, it's definitely all for myself and compliments every day for the rest of my life would mean nothing unless it came out of my own mouth (I was actually bordering on embarrassed when the nurses were fussing over my shoes the other month, because I'd rather they hadn't looked at me at all). It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just that much harder when you have to love your whole self, when you're far from looking or feeling your best. I'm kinda taking this off on a tangent here and please don't think I'm miserable and feeling ugly every day, because on the whole I don't give it a second thought, but my point is I miss that side of things.  The way I look plays a big part in making me feel good about myself, like most people.  Imagine if you had a bad hair day, bad skin day and all the rest every single day, it just never got better.  Well that's what it's like. So basically I need all the help I can in making myself feel 'pretty', but my routine has had to adapt to my limited capabilities and therefore I'm turning to reliable and easy to use products.  So starting with hair...
I've had this L'Oreal Ever Riche Oil Precieux* since last year and I apologise that it's taken me an age to review it, but legitimate excuses above! I've definitely missed my bright hair colour during this time, though it's been kinda nice to just leave it and not worry about root growth etc. Once you get over that initial 'eek terrible roots' stage, it looks like it's intentional two-tone hair.  It's given my hair a break from bleaching and I decided to take the time to have a restyle, so when I do come back, it's completely different from before.  I learnt pretty early on, it wasn't worth curling (pin curls) my hair any longer because nobody would see it and it just made my arms ache. So now I wear it straight. I decided to grow my fringe out (though slightly regretting it from the image above) and grow the rest of my hair. Growing your fringe out in public is never easy and rarely pretty, so I was thankful I got to do most of mine behind closed doors. I pretty much lived in braids during this time. I used to pleat a small section at the front on either side to scoop up all the straggly bits, then incorporate them into two bigger pleats and pin those up onto my head like Heidi. My hair is pretty short and I don't have much of it, so it wasn't easy at first. I'd do this when wet and it would last me all week, was comfortable to sleep in and kept it all off my face. It did it's job, but wasn't all that flattering on me (I like and need volume).  Now, I've grown my hair long enough for a top bun. I'm ecstatic! Some bits still fall down at the back, so I pin them up, but my fringe is long enough now to go into it and again it's fuss free, keeps it all out of the way and actually suits me. So the only product (other than shampoo and conditioner) I've used over these months is this L'Oreal oil. I spritz it onto wet hair after washing and it smells so yummy!  It says it's 'oriental jasmine' but for some reason it reminds me of exotic, beachy holidays, it's just lovely. I'm usually wrecked after a shower, so spray this on and lie on my bed for a few minutes relaxing, breathing in that lovely aroma and building up the motivation to get dried!  I kinda wish the spray was more of a mist than a spurt, but other than that it's brill, it's not at all sticky and doesn't make my hair greasy (just don't make the mistake I did first time and get spritzy happy because you can apply too much.  I tend to stick to one up/one down, right, left and centre-so 6 sprays in all). My hair routine before was relatively low maintenance anyway (I've never been one for hairdryers, straighteners etc), but this spray is something that anyone can do.  My hair is definitely feeling healthier for it.  
The biggest change to my routine has been makeup. I wear none at all. A couple of times I've applied concealer or something similar when leaving the house, but otherwise have been naked. I'm not going to lie, it's scary going bare-faced when you usually put lipstick on just to answer the phone! Most people don't know me without makeup, but for the most part, I've been of the opinion that I don't care that I look ill because I am ill. I've got bigger problems than someone seeing me without eyeliner on! My lips have been terribly dry during this time, so I've come to depend on lip balm crayons. I can't believe it, but I actually finished my Clarins Lip Balm Crayon that I just bought recently (immensely satisfied at that). So now I'm using Clinique Chubby Stick in 09 Heaping Hazelnut (a slightly more beige version of my natural lip colour). It's actually not very moisturising and I even find it quite drying at times, so I don't think I'd buy it again, but the Clarins one is great. It doesn't excite me like lipstick does, but it'll do for the time being.
I've made an effort to wear perfume almost every day. Obviously it's low energy, you just need to spritz and it's unbelievable how much of a difference it can make. You just feel that bit perkier when you smell good. My favourites during this time have been Lancome La Vie est Belle, Vivienne Westwood Flirty Alice and Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto.
As I'm not wearing makeup, I've not had to bother removing it, which has been a big time and energy saver. I still can't let go of the cleanse, tone and moisturise routine though. I've drummed it into myself since I was a teenager and for me, it was important I still kept it up even when I was lacking energy. You just feel better once you've cleaned your face and it's moisturised. I have to say I've mostly stuck to doing it at night and often missed it out during the day, but I figure once is better than never. I'd been using Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil and Lancome Tonique Douceur with either Hydra Zen (daytime) or Genifique (night) both by Lancome.
Sometimes you need something more than a simple routine and like I said earlier, my skin hasn't exactly been behaving itself. So I've religiously used Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil at night after cleanser and toner/before moisturiser. It feels like a mini facial and takes very little effort. It smells like a spa too! Once a week I've been applying a mask too. I've been using Clarins Pure & Radiant Mask and applying it before I get into the shower. That way you don't have to wait around for it to dry and can easily wash it off in the shower and it saves a lot of faffing about. I've also included Clarins Beauty Flash Balm in this photo as it can be used as a mask or daily treatment so could work instead of the oil or mask or both. It revives dull and tired skin and puts a little bit of 'life' back into the complexion.
I have a love/hate relationship with showers. I hate the thought of having one, it tires me out during and after, I hate getting dried and I hate when it's cold and you have to take all your clothes off to get in (well you have to take your clothes off regardless but you know what I mean)! Once you're in there though, it's a bit like a cup of tea, it just makes you feel so much better doesn't it? I've got a pretty basic shower routine and when you don't leave the house, you don't have to bother shaving your legs, result! I use an exfoliator, current face one is Soap & Glory The Greatest Scrub Of All, I'm not mad about it but it's alright. My body one, I've not pictured because I'm not that keen on it, it's Clarins. I pretty much just concentrate on my dry elbows because anything else is hard work! Other than that, shower gel. A nice scent can invigorate and help that 'feel better' feeling, so I've been using Palmolive Thermal Spa*. The blue Mineral Massage one has dead sea salt in it to purify, so the little particles (pretty gentle) can double up as a scrub, which saves that separate step! I prefer the smell of the green Ocean Vitality one though, which is very fresh and wakens me up (falling asleep in the shower is almost another problem of mine).
Like I said earlier, my nails have been completely neglected.  Painting (and removing it) is far too taxing for me just now, so the only care they've seen is cream.  I apply Soap & Glory Hand Food every night without fail and rarely suffer from dry skin or other issues.  I'm not quite as regular with the Heel Genius foot lotion (probably because it requires a little more energy), but it's very soothing when I do take the time to apply it.  I desperately want pretty coloured nails again : (   
Finally, Clarins Energizing Emulsion.  I've always found body lotion a bit of a faff, though do apply it after every shower, but I can't say I enjoy doing it (hence why I didn't include it here).  However I make an exception for this leg lotion.  It's slightly tingly and soothes tired legs.  What I love is it's quick drying, so it's really easy to apply.  If I've skipped the foot lotion, I take this down onto my feet as well because it sinks in much quicker than the S&G one.  I'm on my third bottle in a year and wouldn't be without it.  So I hope you've picked something up from this, other than a fright looking at me without makeup (!), let me know in the comments below and what your low energy routine is.

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Friday, 5 September 2014

Dickins & Jones: Portlethan Dress

It's always good to see more places catering for plus size ladies and House of Fraser are the latest, with a selection of popular plus size brands like Anna Scholz, Evans, Chesca, Lipstick Boutique, AX Paris Curve and Little Mistress Curvy. Alongside that, is in-house brand Dickins & Jones, which come in sizes 8-20 in their main range, with a selection of styles in sizes 22-26. I think it's brilliant to see HoF reaching more customers and understanding that plus size women are like everyone else; shopping on different budgets and looking for a variety of fashionable styles. It's always nice to know there's somewhere else on the high street that we can walk into and try things on (often very rare for plus-size customers) or of course shop online and try at home if we choose.
I tried out the Dickins & Jones 'Portlethan' dress* in a size 20 this week. If you're a fan of green, you'll love all the different colours in the quirky tree print. It's made from soft jersey, so I kinda anticipated it being a little roomy on me as I'm usually an 18-20. However the sizing was spot on. It wasn't clingy and I like the gathers in the centre waist which drape over the tummy area.  It's got a plunging neckline, which was a little too low-cut for me, but easily solved with a camisole underneath.  It's got 3/4 length sleeves, ties at the back and just reached knee length on me (5ft 5"), so didn't feel too short to wear without tights or leggings in the warmer months.  
It's one of those comfy but smart dresses, that will get a lot of wear. It also comes in a black floral print (up to size 26) and there's a lovely tartan shift, vintage style coat and floral tea dress I've got my eye on from the brand too! Have you tried anything Dickins & Jones before? Are you happy to see the expansion of sizes?

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Bought & Thought

This is a true story, for anyone thinking I'm getting creative for 'review purposes'.  When I first opened Colgate Max White One Optic* toothpaste, I couldn't help but "ewww" at the silverish grey colour! It's not exactly standard for a toothpaste is it? Then my "ewww" turned to 'oooh' as I realised it looked kinda sparkly and rather cool (yes I may have slathered it on the back of my hand like a makeup swatch-beauty blogger problem!).  I showed my sister who was nearby at the time, that I had this new toothpaste to try (yes disclaimer, technically there was no 'Bought' in Bought & Thought this week).  I explained it would apparently instantly whiten my teeth, but other than the colour of the toothpaste, she was rather disinterested (not unusual for her, she is not the beauty addict I am-beauty blogger problem part 2)!  I tried it, showed her my teeth "do they look whiter, can you see a difference?" I asked, she literally grabbed the tube out my hand and proceeded to use it herself!  She was genuinely excited (usually reserved for boybands or toys), so I assumed, it had worked!    

So yes, the colour is odd, but the little bits of 'glitter' you see are actually blue pigments in the toothpaste or 'Optic Brighteners' and they form an invisible sheen on your teeth which reflect blue light and we all know blue makes yellow look whiter.  Be warned, you spit completely blue (like really bold) when brushing, but the blue/yellow thing makes sense to me, so I was confident I would see a difference, I just wasn't aware of how obvious it would be.  My sister was right, it's noticeable from the first application.  There's also stain removers in there to provide progressive whitening with long-term use, which is good to know.  Now, I've made no secret of the fact I hate my teeth, but a review wouldn't really be complete without something to illustrate, so I've been brave and photographed my pout!  I took a photo before using the toothpaste, then another after I'd used it a few times.  As you can see I did my best to reenact the exact same pose, in the same light, at the same time of day, in the same place and wearing the same lip balm, so there was none of this 'better lighting' or 'sad face/happy face' thing employed by the majority of makeovers and the like.  My only fear was that what I was seeing in the mirror, wouldn't come across on camera and I'd have to edit the photo, which I really didn't want to do.  However it did work (rather brilliantly) and I can assure you, other than cropping, I've made no edits to either photo to keep it fair (and am probably not tech skilled enough to know how to doctor them anyway).  My lips are more 'in focus' on the 'after' image but other than that, I think it was an experiment well done.  Suffice to say I'd definitely buy this again and will indeed have to because my sister keeps using it too!  You can find this in supermarkets and chemists priced £4.49, it's currently 'Buy 1, Get 2nd 1/2 price' at Boots or 'Better than 1/2 price' at Superdrug.  Another good and simple quote below, that I thought you'd appreciate.  Tell me what has made you smile this week?  

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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

ASOS Sunday Delivery

As is usually the way with my shopping habits, I really wanted something but didn't have money for it at the time.  Watched it slowly sell out, sad face, moan, moan, moan, stalked it until I eventually found one in my size and yay, bought it!  It happened a couple of weeks ago and it gave me the opportunity to try out the new Sunday service from ASOS.  I've always been a big advocate for the ASOS UK Premier service, which I've used for years (I promise I've not been asked/paid to say any of this).  If you don't know it's a yearly subscription and in return you receive free unlimited next/nominated day delivery, free returns (courier alongside the usual Collect+ or Royal Mail) along with every issue of the ASOS magazine, special sales, discounts and previews before regular customers.  Lately with free postal returns and free shipping (albeit by a slower method), I've been thinking they might see a reduction in those taking up the offer.  Personally I love the comfort of knowing if I need something in a rush, I have until 10pm to order and can get it the next day, plus for the price (£9.95), you would only need to use it twice for it to pay for itself.  This new Sunday service and later cut off times for ordering I think are a brilliant addition to the scheme.  There I was on a Saturday afternoon, clicking away and then got the surprise that I could have it in my hands the next day.  

So you have until 5pm on Sat/Sun for next day and like I said 10pm during the week.  You get a dispatch email from DPD/ASOS letting you know that your item has been sent and that someone should be home to sign for it (above, bottom left).  You also have the option of changing times, asking that it be left with a neighbour etc but I've never had to use those myself.  On the day of delivery, mid morning usually, you receive an email with an hour slot (middle image), which I find extremely helpful given that DPD deliver between 7am and 9pm!  In this case it was between 12.15pm and 1.15pm, but don't be surprised to be given '2.26pm' and all kinds of random preciseness.  The delivery folks can't actually access your info on that electronic device you sign, until between those allotted times (I've known them to ask me to wait a minute or two until it comes up if they are early), hence why they are so exact and they clearly have to stick to quite a rigid delivery schedule.  Now if you've never stalked a DPD driver, you haven't lived! It's the most fun thing ever (or at least it is for me).  We're rather fond of the driver in our house, I'm quite literally on first name terms with him (embarrassing tale of when he was at my sisters work and got her to sign for something then said "oh are you Gemma's sister?" and described our house and location exactly-hmmm a sign of too many ASOS parcels methinks, though I was impressed he knew I was her sister and not her Mum)!  Anyway when you get that email in the morning, you can click 'follow my parcel' and up comes a map (shown above, bottom right) with where your driver is and your location and it'll say your delivery number and what delivery he's on right now (say you're 59 and he's on 23).  So you can then vaguely guess if he'll be earlier or later within that hour (i.e. if you can or can't rush to the toilet!).  All my deliveries have been on time or like I mentioned a minute early, so there's no waiting around all day and night, like other courier services.  

So you're wondering what I got? Only an Ariel/Little Mermaid sweatshirt (now sold out), whoop, whoop!  Look how pretty she is. Sorry, I can't guarantee the free crackers I got here!  So I'd definitely recommend this new service, though I do feel guilty that the poor delivery man works 7-9, without a day off (it's always the same guy no matter which day/time I order).  I'm sorry he works his fingers to the bone for my shopping addiction!  Have you used the Premier service before, is it something you would consider?

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Bought & Thought

I've been making a real effort to work my way through all the travel sized skincare products I own before buying anything new.  You sure can rack up the stock, especially when you buy into GWP's the way I do!  Before this one, I'd been using the purple (Renergie Multi Lift) and got on really well with it.  I'd describe the scent like a masculine marshmallow (randomly) and again the Renergie Lift Volumetry worked well for me (scent was more subtle on this one).  It felt smooth to apply and best of all was well tolerated by my skin (which has a tendency to throw hissy fits if I try something new).  This was a surprise to me because of the perfume and the fact the cream is so rich.  I felt my face actually looked clearer, smoother, lost the redness and just looked really healthy.  Most of all, it looked firmer and more plump.  I have very few lines anyway, but they seemed to disappear when I used this.  I had three jars of each, so I've been able to give them a thoroughly good test.  I'm not completely up to date with Lancome moisturisers, but it appears this particular version is discontinued.  The purple one (which worked just as well, though I preferred the silver) is and I'd buy it in a minute (if I could afford it).  I really could not justify £64 for a moisturiser.  So sadly it will be GWP sizes for me for now, but the Renergie range definitely gets the thumbs up from me.      
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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Bought & Thought

With reviews and hauls over the past couple of weeks, it's been a while since I've done a simple 'Bought & Thought' post.  I can't recall where I first spied this dress, in some magazine I think and I had to track it down, because it looked so gorgeous.  It's from Boden and I buy a lot for my youngest nephew from there but haven't paid much attention to the adults section if I'm honest.  I therefore didn't know anything about their sizing or if they even went up to my size.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the dress in stock, in sizes 6-22 and bonus, it was in the sale!  I'm usually an 18-20 though I'd say a 20 has been more accurate recently, so I thought I'd read the reviews to see if I should size up, down or what!  I was completely overwhelmed by them, there were just so many and all with conflicting opinions and points!  I did that internal thought process of trying to make myself hate it "it likely won't fit me anyway", I'd probably look like a sack of tatties in it, I don't have any money, I don't even wear clothes just now, so it's a waste of time!!  Then I saw Char rocking it on her blog and took that as a sign that I was supposed to buy it, afterall I did love it really.  So I took another look at the reviews and it had been further reduced in the sale (another sign!) and made my decision.

I went for a size 20 (because the 22 had gone, so the fear of it not fitting and 'sizing up' option was taken away, which helped) and in the longer length/tall because I didn't want it too short.  I'm so glad the 22 wasn't available at that point, because the 20 is definitely roomy enough.  I probably could even have gone for an 18 (certainly last year, pre-illness it would've fitted).  It's one of the few dresses I own that isn't pulled tight across my chest and is neat at the armholes (usually they gape).  The waist is a little big, but it's comfy and at the moment that's all that matters.  The length is not quite mid-calf, but definitely below the knee (I'm 5ft 5") and is perfect as I wanted it a little longer for wearing in summer, bare legged.  It's got a V back (not too low) with a centre back zip (I can get it on without opening the zip) and is fully lined.  Both lining and outer fabric are cotton and the colours of the print were exactly as I expected (a lot of reviews mentioned the 'dull' colours).  I absolutely love it.  I wore it to the doctors last week and kept it on all day (usually I'm desperate to get out of 'restrictive' clothes).  I adore the retro shape and print (which was actually inspired by a laundry bag from the 40's) and it's made me more confident about buying from Boden, now that I know I actually fit their stuff!  The Nancy 'Riviera' dress is still available in all sizes (6-22) and is reduced to £35.60 (there's also two other prints available) or there's a skirt in exactly the same print, also in the sale for £20.70.  Have you bought anything from Boden before, do you like this?

As for the quote above, I'm not sure who originally said it, but it's one I've heard and lived a lot.
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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Review: Eucerin DermatoClean Micellar Cleansing Fluid*

Do you remember the 'blind micellar water trial' I took part in last year?  Well Escentual thought I'd be interested in trying the latest micellar water (MW) on the block , given that I'd enjoyed the blind trial so much.  That product is Eucerin DermatoClean Micellar Cleansing Fluid 3 in 1 £9 (currently reduced to £7.19 in their sale which ends tomorrow).  It comes in a 200ml bottle, the lid unscrews to reveal a small hole.  You simply apply to a cotton pad and onto the skin without rinsing.  I was a little concerned that the liquid would pour everywhere and I'd waste lots, thinking something like a pump applicator would have been more practical.  However the stopper in the neck of the bottle prevents over-pour (pretty sure I just made that word up).  Basically, I had no issues with it, in fact I felt in control of exactly how much or little I wanted for each application.    
Given that I haven't worn makeup this year with being ill, I didn't really get the opportunity to test it's abilities at removing face and eye makeup.  In my blind trial, I wasn't as keen on MW's for this purpose, preferring to use them for basic cleansing.  I found the effort and soaked pads required to do so (and in some cases giving up and going back to using a separate eye makeup remover and makeup cleanser) just wasn't worth it.  Like I say, it would be unfair to comment on how I think this one would work.  For basic cleansing though, I really loved it.  I've been using it at least once, if not twice a day.  I was amazed at how gentle and light it felt on my skin.  With previous MW's I found a tacky or sticky film was left on the skin, there was no such issue with this one.  My face felt thoroughly cleansed, refreshed and prepped for applying moisturiser, without the need for a toner.  It's fragrance free, alcohol free and paraben free, so it didn't dry out my skin either.  
Imagine my utter disappointment then, when roughly 3-4 weeks later my face reacted with a rather nasty breakout.  Blemishes in places that I'm not prone to breaking out.  Nothing is ever 100% certain in cases like these (and I do have acne prone skin), but I wasn't using anything else new and since ceasing use, my skin has started to slowly clear up.  Obviously I'm not keen to try it out again for fear of the same thing happening, but it's so frustrating as I was really enjoyed using it and compared to my previous experience with MW's, this one was up at the top.  I notice another similar review on the product page, so it's a pity.  So a bit of a mixed review for this one, without the suspected breakout it would've been a brilliant product that I couldn't fault.  Perhaps if your skin isn't as sensitive to change as mine, you'd fare better.    

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Monday, 11 August 2014

Haul: Irregular Choice Fawn Heels

I had a rather disruptive sleep last night due to the remains of hurricane Bertha hitting Scotland! We've had winds and torrential rain from Sunday afternoon and it's only just stopped in the last hour or so (the rain, not the wind or cold). Anyway, I was so excited when I eventually got up, to find my parcel had arrived from Irregular Choice! Before I start, I'll apologise for the slightly intrusive tags on each photo, but despite my best efforts, it seems eBayers would rather spend their time trawling google images and stealing my photos then cropping my name out (yep, really!) than take a few snaps of their own. Sad.
Ok, so I couldn't choose between the two styles on offer last Friday (and still can't), so ended up buying both. Hey I left one colour behind, that's 'willpower' enough for me! I'll start with Angel Cakes. A grey court with paw prints in black all over and some different textured black trims around the shoe and at the heel. The front features this large gold metallic paw with soft black claws and is pretty eye-catching all on it's own.
Then you turn and see the wonderful fawn heel! I've got some comparison photos later in the post to see it with previous character heels, but I think the thing to note is, it's a little chunkier than the others. Maybe more like the bunny, although even it was slimmer. It's therefore quite heavy, but not in a 'can't lift my feet another step' way! Just more weight than say the gnome. Size wise, I'd decided beforehand I'd size up. I was a little worried as it was a slip-on shoe and the previous styles I had to base my decision on were the 'Eternal Friend' unicorns, which I tried in a 38 (my usual size) and a 39 and kept the 38 (albeit they are snug, but the 39 gaped). Plus the 'Dreamy' Santa courts which I bought in a 39 and found a little bit roomy. At first they were ok, but with wear they've loosened up a bit. I swear my feet are growing, so thought it best to size up and deal with insoles, heel grips or whatever than cry because I couldn't get my feet in them!
It turns out the size up was the perfect decision. I honestly don't think my feet would even look at a 38. My foot just slipped into these and felt secure. Brilliant. I also want to rave about the linings. I've moaned a-plenty recently about scratchy, rough or just downright annoying fabrics (complete hypocrite after slagging off the crushed velvet inners that popped up season after season I know), but they've got it just right with these ones. There is the wow, spangly metallic print, but there's quilted velvet in the sides, over the foot and under the ball of the foot. Comfort exactly where you need it and pretty stuff too. I love it, more like this please IC!
I was like geek-excited when I first saw Cherry Deer. Why? Well because the beautiful fabric they'd used in some items of clothing and accessories, including my Bertha scarf (wow, two Bertha mentions in one post), a couple of seasons back, provided the uppers of these shoes. That meant matchy heaven with shoes and scarf! So as much as I love the turquoise blue colour, there was no doubt that I'd be getting the black pair. I'm slightly kicking myself I didn't buy the skirt too when I had the chance, but I worried it wouldn't fit. Could you imagine the matchy bonus points on that combo?
There's something slightly Christmas feeling about these with the red and green, but subtly so. They feature a t-bar on a strap that fastens with Velcro and a huge cherry on the front dangling from a sparkly bow and leaves (yes it can swing freely). Kitsch at it's best and again, a glorious shoe in itself never mind the heel!
I'm not sure if it's intentional or that I just got a 'good pair' but I love that there's a full deer on the toe and back heel of each shoe. Often you find one with a print you like then the other shoe looks almost entirely different, purely because of the print placement. I appreciate the effort here regardless. The heel is identical to Angel Cakes and both soles and inners are also the same. The boxes, I forgot to say are a pastel version of the sole-you can just see glimpses in the background as I forgot to photograph them separately.
Again I opted for a size larger and these feel a bit roomier than AC. I think a 38 would've been tight, but they might have fitted. I'm not too concerned though because this style come with the strap. It means the Velcro fastens all the way across and feels very secure. I really couldn't be happier with both styles, I've just fallen in love with them immediately!  I love the shape of the toes and of both shoes and the fabrics used and the heels are just a bonus.  I haven't spoken much about the actual heel, but it reminds me of one of those painted, vintage deer ornaments.  I adore them, so obviously I like them in shoe form too!  Now here is what over £1000 of shoes look like (well with their other halves obviously).  I didn't realise I'd collected 9 pairs already.  
Here they are in order of launch date, starting with Flopsy on the left, Chuckles, Dreamy, One Who Charms (cream), Eternal Friend, Mouse Trap, One Who Charms (black), Angel Cakes and Cherry Deer.  I'm a bit sad that four pairs (plus my two new ones) have sat unworn for so long with me being ill.  I think it's all the fun I had in the Santa ones that caused it!  
Then I've got a pic of each character; bunny, gnome, Santa, unicorn, cat and deer.  I have to ask, which is your favourite?  Just the heel, not the shoe.  
In this one you can see what I mean regarding the size of Bambi.  A little more rounded and definitely a bigger head than Flopsy. Wee kitty needs some meat on 'dem bones, no?

If you've missed out on these, then keep an eye out because I believe we'll be seeing other variations.  The best way is through the IC Facebook and Twitter pages, my lips are sealed!  Tomorrow you'll get to see an 'on the foot' shot for Shoesday Tuesday, because believe me they look even more gorgeous than they do here (and they're majorly cute already) and I'll have more details on heel height etc.  A couple of weeks ago I posted the Mouse Trap kitties, if you haven't already seen them.  What do you think of these, your favourite yet?  Did your delivery come today if you ordered them?


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