and other stories, fashion, Joanie clothing, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, metallics, Monki, office wear, ootd, summer, tropical, Work outfit

Treat yo’self: April Pay Day edition

Let me get real for a moment here readers. April was a gold plated turd of a month. Work was rough, my Mum broke her hip quite badly before Easter, I got stranded (ish) in London after a fire at Euston station and – to top it all off – I was treated to some chronic insomnia. It felt like I spent most of the month crying from exhaustion, stress, or both. Part of me is blaming it on Mercury in retrograde, and another part is just blaming it on a year which seems to be far too bloody keen on seeing how far it can push me before I finally snap (to which I say, ‘do your worst, bitch.’)

So, allow me to indulge in some good old fashioned capitalism in the form of payday retail therapy. Fashion brands have embraced spring big time, which means lots of pastels, pleats, flounces and frills (arguably Spring/Summer is the only season where we’ll let them off for their obsession with cold shoulders.) You don’t have to look far at the moment to find some really unique, fun, plus sized items. I’m particularly smitten with the mules shown above in that perfect shade of parma violet. They’d look fantastic when paired with a super cute nautical themed t-shirt from Joanie (just one piece in a sailor themed collection which manages to be cute without veering into the costumey) and a metallic pleated skirt from Marks and Spencer – an item which I could see myself flouncing around in on both an office floor and a dance floor. Just add this great 80s-esque Laura Slater designed leather clutch bag from Kin at John Lewis and Bob’s your drag queen.

Then there’s this kimono from Monki which appears to be the Twitter-cool-girl uniform item of choice at the moment. I’ve seen a remarkable amount of babes wearing it (and looking amazing while doing so) which means I’ll be forced to pick my own up soon – after all, I do hate to be left out of trends. And besides, just look at that print! Imagine how many selfies you could take wearing it while posing on a sandy beach next to a palm tree. Or, just in your bedroom standing next to a cheese plant if you’re on a budget.

Suede Cross Strap Mules (£65.00) – And Other Stories

Frankie French Nautical Tee (£18.00) – Joanie

Laura Slater Leather Clutch Bag (£55.20) Kin by John Lewis

Metallic Pleated A-Line Skirt (£49.50) – Marks and Spencer

Long Caftan Dress (£30.00) – Monki

 

 

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Hey there, Joanie girl

There’s a certain irony in me posting this outfit during a week where we’re forecast to have snow (!!!) in the North West of England (come on weather, get it together), but sunny days are a rare occurrence where I live at the moment. Sun does interesting things to the residents of my part of Liverpool. Deckchairs are pulled out of dusty attics and thrown into front gardens. Bouncy castles suddenly appear where there were no bouncy castles before. Barbecues get fired up and remarkably pale fashion bloggers decide to use it as an excuse to get their perilously white legs out in public.

Sunglasses on

SUNGLASSES: ASOS (old)

EARRINGS: And Other Stories (old)

DRESS: Joanie Clothing

SHOES: Marks & Spencer

I’ll be honest, I’ve only worn this dress from Joanie Clothing once since I purchased it in a moment of potential-heatwave-frenzy earlier this month, although I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it as soon as the weather gets warmer. Despite becoming increasingly weary of vintage recreation brands, I’ve heard lots of good things about Joanie since their launch last year. I’ll admit, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on their website making wish lists of all the lovely items I’d like from there.

Smiling

I was super impressed by this Poesy Paris Print Dress from there. The materials are high quality and it’s lined which was a nice surprise (I’ve bought a number of vintage recreation dresses in the past for a similar price which look great on the website, but turn out to have the texture of paper when you put them on.) Two things to be aware of though – it does come up a bit short (I’m 5ft 6 and it reaches just above my knee) and if you’re blessed with large boobs, you’ll need to size up. I’m a fairly standard size 20, but sized up to a 22 here. From my own research, Joanie’s sizing can differ from person to person (e.g. another top that I bought from there in my usual size came up quite short), so I’m glad that I asked around prior to purchasing this dress as wearing my usual size would have made my tits looked like they were trapped in a vice.

A few other things to keep in mind when purchasing from Joanie is that they don’t do exchanges. As a new, small business, I’m sure that they have good reasons for this, but it would be nice to know what they are as it does make the purchasing process slightly more frustrating than it needs to be. If you’re in between sizes, or you’re not sure how an item might hang on you if you’re larger in some areas than others, I’d strongly recommend asking around or sizing up to be on the safe side. While the returns process is free and relatively simple, they take a long time to process –  approximately 14 days from receipt of the item for the money to appear in your bank account. So don’t splurge on lots of different sizes if you think you’ll be strapped for cash later in the month.

Joanie’s items did initially go up to a size 26, but since their launch, they’ve reduced their range of sizes to stop at 22. It’s slightly disappointing that a brand that really seemed to want to support its plus sized customers has stopped doing such a broad range of sizes (although this may change in the future) and I really hope they reconsider this as their business continues to grow. Particularly as there are so many cute items on their website which I know would look banging on a number of chub babes that I know.

Hey there, Joanie girl

I paired this dress with two of my current favourite accessories – Beauty Bakerie’s lip whip in Cranberry Stilletto and a pair of amazing gold mules from Marks & Spencer. I received an email from M&S earlier this month which showed Danielle Vanier rocking a very similar pair and I knew they had to be mine (thank you for being such a fashionable enabler, Danie!) At only £19.99, they’re an absolute bargain and I can definitely see myself buying a pair of these in various different colours to go with my summer wardrobe. Now all I need is some sunshine…

 

 

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Springtime for McMc

It’s a cliche, I know but I am so so so happy that spring has arrived. Earlier this week, I walked through a sunny Kings Cross wearing stupid sunglasses and clutching my first (overpriced) iced coffee of 2017 and nearly burst into song (well, I was listening to this.) After a fairly rancid winter, I’ve been dying to flounce around in frills and bright colours and – as always – Monki have delivered in grand style.

Voluminous

SHIRT: Monki

SKIRT: Monki

EARRINGS: And Other Stories (old)

RING: Bloody Mary Metal

BOOTS: H&M

I’m sure that there’s some unwritten fashion rule about how larger boobed women shouldn’t wear obnoxiously bright, frilled blouses, because God knows mainstream fashion loves to penalise women/nb folks for being of a larger shape and size. But – if any of my mega titted brethren are reading this and wondering if they should invest in this shirt, allow me to reassure you that you a) totally should and b) do it now. I’m wearing a L in this picture and it more than covers my GG-size-20 chest with only the slightest bit of gaping. And even that’s alleviated if you just pull it down and fasten it securely with the waistband of a very silly printed pleated skirt.

Springtime for McMc

It’s hard to see in these pictures, but the cartoon print of this skirt is an utter delight. I never knew I could be so charmed by having the word ‘LOL’ positioned directly on my crotch. Shout out to these gold H&M boots too, an utter bargain which was I was alerted to by my exceptionally fashionable friend Fong. I saw these on her shoe rack when I visited her flat recently, she informed me that she’d bought them for £10 and before you could say ‘what a bobby bargain,‘ I was the proud owner of a new pair of gold boots. Fashion enabling never looked so shiny.

Springtime for McMc selfie 2)

I’ve been favouring heavier, darker eye make-up over the past few months and strolled into Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar (aka ‘my happy place’) on payday looking for something which wouldn’t clash with the pink streak in my hair. NARS came to the rescue, as they so often do. Their ‘Sugarland’ eye duo is a winning combination of apricot and orchid pink. I can see this replacing my stalwart MAC Corduroy as my everyday eyeshadow as we move into the warmer weather, although I might add a dash of glitter if I’m feeling fancy. When paired with my Tom Ford lipstick in ‘Cary’, it makes for a warm sun kissed look which makes me long for picnics in the park and lazy beer garden nights. Hiya spring. I’ve missed you.

 

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Gold, Frankenstein and Grrr

‘That’s a lovely dress,’ said the woman at the till. ‘Off to the office Christmas party?’

‘Nope!’ I replied. ‘I’m a freelancer. We tend not to get invited to office Christmas parties.’

‘Oh. Well, that’s a shame love. Going to wear it to any other Christmas parties?’

‘To be honest, I’m probably just going to wear it around the house while watching The Sure Thing for the 100th time and drinking pints of Baileys’

‘Are you taking the mick?’

When no one else wants you to attend their party, the best thing you can do is throw your own. Which is what I did on Friday. In fine Christina McMc tradition, I donned my gay apparel, went for a slap up lunch, got my hair done and then sat around my house wearing this dress with a mud mask on and an Aperol Spritz. It was better than 90% of the office parties I’ve ever attended, plus I didn’t need a taxi to cart myself to bed.

gold-frankenstein-and-grrr

TOP: Marks and Spencer (old, but this is very similar)

DRESS: Primark

WATCH: Daisy Dixon (which was a very lovely gift from Yours)

EARRINGS: Accessorize

SHOES: Doc Martens

I didn’t mean to buy this dress. In fact, I’d only popped into Primark to pick up a pair of tights (‘I only meant to buy a pair of tights’ will probably be written on my grave.) But, then I caught it winking at me out of the corner of my eye, and it appealed to all my tackiest, most Magpie like instincts. I never could resist a good metallic item, particularly one with such a ridiculous split up the thigh.

As it is, this dress has turned out to be way more versatile than I initially envisaged. In the past two weeks, I’ve worn it for a wintry wander around Regent’s Park, to a friend’s birthday party and while undertaking a walk of shame through King’s Cross after the aforementioned birthday party. (NEVER drink absinthe readers. Learn from my fail.) Not bad for something which cost me a fiver.

gold-frankenstein-grrr-selfie

For my make-up, I kept it simple. Red lips, gold eyes, dab of highlighter. One of my greatest achievements of 2016 was finally overcoming my fear of eyeshadow. For years, I’d veered away from it as I could never make it look ‘elegant’. Turns out that all I needed was a decent palette, proper brushes (as opposed to my former technique of mushing it all onto my face with my little finger) and roughly 100 YouTube tutorials. Who knows? Maybe at this rate, 2017 will be the year I overcome my fear of false eyelashes. Merry Christmas everyone. 

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Luxury Witch

Recently, I attended a job interview where I found myself explaining the concept of a ‘Luxury Witch’ to a rather bemused interview panel. ‘Imagine a really well dressed Goth who takes Ubers everywhere,’ I exclaimed before informing them that crushed velvet and pleated skirts were really in this season. They’re yet to let me know if I’ve been offered the job.

Whatever happens with my employment prospects, I’m deeply happy to have introduced the concept of ‘Luxury Witch’ to a wider audience. And – if this term ever appears in the Oxford English Dictionary – you’d probably find a picture of this outfit underneath it.

luxury-witch-leopard-print-coat

COAT: Marks and Spencer

ROLL NECK: Marks and Spencer

PLEATED SKIRT: Marks and Spencer

BELT: Vintage

BOOTS: Topshop

EARRINGS: Monki

roll-neck

My love of Marks and Spencer’s clothing runs deep – I will go to my grave arguing that they make the comfiest underwear on the market – and they are really knocking it out of the park this season. Their stuff is chic, reasonably priced and doesn’t fall apart after a few rounds in the washing machine (handy when you spill as much down yourself as I do). They do great everyday basics and on trend pieces like this gloriously witchy metallic midi skirt and leopard print coat, both of which look far more luxurious than their price tags would lead you to believe. Plus, M&S remains the only shop I can pop into during my lunch hour where I can purchase moisturiser, a skirt and a sandwich at the same time. What a time to be alive.

luxury-witch

In the spirit of Halloween, I opted to experiment with my eye make-up and try out a more dramatic look. I used Make Up Revolution’s ‘Fortune Favours The Brave’ palette (an absolute bargain at £9.99) to recreate this gorgeous rose gold smokey eye look. I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to eyeshadow, but this is such a lovely (and easy!) tutorial to follow. While it’s not quite as elegant as Nancy’s,  I’m super pleased about how well it turned out.

I completed the look with MAC’s ‘Roxo‘, a limited edition blood red lipstick. While this particular shade is sold out on their website, I’m fairly sure that you could find lots of lovely dupes without searching too hard.

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Look What You Could Have Worn: Barcelona edition

 

 

I’m off to Barcelona tomorrow to celebrate my wedding anniversary (four whole years!) For the first time in my adult life, I am going to attempt to pack light which is no mean feat considering I am notorious for a) leaving my packing until the last minute and b) throwing my entire wardrobe into my suitcase ‘just in case.’ ‘Just in case what?’ you might ask. Well, not even I know the answer to that question, but I am slowly trying to convince myself that a four day trip does not require me to pack 50+ lipsticks. On a more practical note, Ryanair rinsed me of cash earlier this year when my suitcase weighed way more than their allotted allowance. Something has to give, and this time, it cannot be my credit card.

To paraphrase one of my favourite memes, I intend to ‘get me some items which can do both.’ The both being outfits which will allow me to look cool and chic while exploring some of Spain’s most glorious architecture and are voluminous enough to allow me to consume my own bodyweight in cava and tapas. The ASOS minimal jumpsuit and New Look Shift Dress are both simple and chic, requiring nothing more than some simple silver jewellery, a slash of lipstick and a decent belt to make them both look exquisite. Robust, flat sandals are a must when going on holiday in a warm climate, and these ASOS Wide Fit leather sandals will go with pretty much everything.

While I realise that this is rapidly becoming a Charlotte Tilbury fan blog, her Beach Sticks deserve a mention here as they’re the perfect item to shove in your make-up bag if you’re looking for a cream blush which also works as a lipstick. Her Formentera shade is a beautifully dewy shade of rose which works really well if you have blue-green eyes like me. I’ve also been lucky enough to nab a few samples of Acqua di Parma’s new Rosa Nobile fragrance, a delicate grown-up rose fragrance which puts me in mind of warm summer nights rather than a Yardley counter.

If you’re going on holiday to celebrate the long weekend, which clothing and beauty essentials will you be taking with you? Let me know in the comments!

(From left to right)

  1. Acqua di Parma Rosa Nobile – £76.00

  2. Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in ‘Formentera’ – £30.00

  3. Mango Panel Tote Bag – £15.99

  4. ASOS Cat Eye Sunglasses With Built Up Highbrow – £8.00
  5. And Other Stories Toga Earrings – £17.00
  6. And Other Stories Medallion Pendant Necklace – £19.00
  7. ASOS JUGGLER Wide Fit Leather Summer Shoes – £20.00
  8. ASOS CURVE 2 Pack Cat Buckle Belt – £8.00
  9. ASOS CURVE Minimal Jumpsuit in Blocked Abstract Print – £45.00
  10. New Look Plus Cami Slip Dress – £19.99
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Peg Leg

I’m not a huge wearer of trousers. I think I have some residual trauma from years of wearing awful polyester school pants followed by trying to buy jeans which fit properly. But one of my 2016 fashion resolutions was to experiment more with my look, both with clothes and make-up . I loved how these peg leg trousers were styled on the ASOS Curve website and thought they would be great to wear for work and play.

Full length 2

TOP: ASOS Curve

TROUSERS: ASOS Curve

SHOES: ASOS

NECKLACE: Topshop

EARRINGS: Topshop

I didn’t expect much from these trousers to be honest. I worried that they’d go baggy after a few wears or slip down my hips and accidentally reveal my butt at inconvenient moments. But they are super comfy, super stretchy and have pleasingly deep pockets. My colleagues have nicknamed these my ‘Beetlejuice trousers’ because they do look like something you would wear for a Beetlejuice cosplay. Hey, he did know how to rock a stripe.

Full length 1

I’ve tended to wear these with heeled boots, but now the weather’s getting warmer, these super cool heeled silver ASOS loafers are getting more of an outing. They look so good that I will forgive them for giving me some ridiculously painful blisters the first time I wore them.

Kitchen selfie

I’ve been suffering terribly from eczema around my cheeks, chin, mouth and eyes recently. I’ll write more about my experiences with this soon, but it’s really dented my confidence. I consider myself to be a woman who is very comfortable with her looks, but it’s still hard when you look in the mirror and see huge, angry looking red blotches all over your face.

I’m slowly getting to grips with it thanks to a lovely dermatologist and spending an eye watering sum of money on topical steroids. But I thought I’d do a slightly more bronzed look (with some added eye make-up) to go with this outfit. I used MAC’s Charlotte Olympia collection cream color base in ‘Golden Age’, followed by MAC’s eyeshadow in Swiss Chocolate. I then went over this with a gold eye pencil I’d received in my Birchbox a few months ago. The lipstick is my beloved MAC Charlotte Olympia ‘Retro Rouge’ which is pretty much my go-to red at the moment. I love how well it complements my hair and eyes, plus it lasts for ages. Which is handy when you drink as much tea as I do.

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