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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ASOS, ASOS Curve, Elle, look what you could have worn, ootd, Outfit post, outfits, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, women's media

Look What You Could Have Worn: Elle magazine x ASOS

Look what you could have worn - ASOS x Elle

Every time an email lands in an inbox from a women’s media outlet, showing a ‘fresh and funky fashion edit!’ my heart drops a little bit. I know they mean well, but there’s something a bit galling about gazing longingly at items I’ll never be able to wear because they don’t come in my size (and probably never will.)  But the siren call of 20% off ASOS is strong – even more so when you’ve spent far too much time recently wondering if you’ll suit a denim jacket or if it will make you look like a chub member of a Bananarama tribute band (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

This is how I found myself picking up a copy of Elle last week. The discount card is burning a hole in my wallet and the magazine is languishing on my dining table. I seriously doubt that there will be any clothes featured in it that plus-sized girls can wear, so I thought I’d put together a quick post showing a spring outfit I’d feature in its pages if I could.

It’s still pretty cold and blustery here in the North West of England, so I’m thinking longingly of pastel colours and bare legs. The midi prom skirt (3.) is a great transitional item, the kind of thing which will look super cute worn with tights, but won’t cause your knees to freeze if you dare to bare. I’m drawn to silver shoes like a magpie is drawn to shiny objects, so I’m swooning over the silver brogues (4.). They’re femme enough to be worn with skirts, but would look equally as good paired with cigarette pants or a pair of slim leg jeans. I’m unsure about whether I’d look good in a denim jacket (1.), but 2016 may be the year I finally take the plunge and buy one – mostly so I can cover it in patches and pin badges. Wolf & Moon are one of my favourite independent jewellery brands and their  Little Sun necklace (5.) is beautifully simple. Regular readers will know that I love me some big earrings, so these bar hoops (6.) are just ostentatious enough. I love their hint of pink, it makes them girly without being too sugary. Perfect for work and play.

Which ASOS Curve items have caught your eye recently? Let me know in the comments!

  1. ASOS CURVE Denim Girlfriend Jacket in Midwash – £40.00
  2. New Look Inspire Tee  – £7.99
  3. ASOS CURVE Midi Prom Skirt with Box Pleats – £32.00
  4. ASOS ORIGINAL Loafer Tassle Heels – £40.00
  5. Wolf & Moon Little Sun Necklace – £16.00
  6. ASOS Precious Bar Hoop Earrings – £6.00
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asparagus, Food, lunch, Recipes, salad, spring

Steak and Asparagus Salad

Steak and Asparagus Salad

Some recipes haunt you. They lodge themselves inside your head and remind you of your existence every time you open the fridge and wonder what you’re going to make for dinner that evening. I’ve not stopped thinking about Heidi Swanson’s Asparagus Panzanella since it popped up on my RSS feed. It’s the perfect Spring recipe – one which is simple, elegant and can be thrown together in half an hour. (Plus, she recommends topping it with a chopped hard boiled egg and – as we all know – everything is better when you put an egg on it.)

But, me being me, I had to tinker with it a bit. My bunch of asparagus didn’t look substantial enough on its own, so I added the leftovers of a box of mixed leaves I got in my Abel and Cole delivery. I had a pack of white miso lying unloved at the back of my fridge, so I decided to add it to the dressing to round it out a bit and add an extra ping of sweetness. And (while I never really need much of an excuse to eat steak), I’d had a bit of a crappy day, so lets throw a bit of medium rare rump in there too.

While it may not look as refined as the original, sometimes there’s no shame in being a bit rough and ready. This is a spring salad which satisfies, and the perfect way to celebrate English asparagus season while you’re at it.

STEAK AND ASPARAGUS SALAD

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

You will need:

  • 1 medium sized piece of rump steak
  • 80 ml buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white miso (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch of (English) asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large handful of good quality sourdough, torn into chunks
  • 1 large handful of mixed salad leaves (I used these baby leaves I got from Abel and Cole)

Make it!

  1. Cook your steak (make sure you oil the meat, not the pan!) I find that two – three minutes on each side does the trick to get it medium rare, although this will depend on the thickness of your steak.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking together the buttermilk, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, white miso, and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if needed, before setting aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the cubes of sourdough bread and toss until every nook and cranny is smothered in melted butter. Continue to toss them gently on a medium heat until they turn crispy and golden. Transfer to a paper towel.
  4. Trim the asparagus and blanch in a saucepan of salted boiling water until just tender – around a minute or so. Add the blanched asparagus to the rinsed mixed leaves.
  5. Slice the steak against the grain into thin stripes. Add to the bowl, along with the toasted bread and a healthy drizzle of the buttermilk-miso dressing. Serve with a large glass of wine.
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