Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Getting Ready For A Formal Wedding

Wedding season is in full swing isn't it ladies, and that means formal frocks at the ready.
The Italian wedding of a family member i'm attending is fast approaching (mid July) and I have pondered long and hard as to what to wear, (because this is me, and lets face it, when am i not thinking about clothes in some capacity), what accessories: to hat or fascinator and how I'm going to do my hair and what makeup.
I thought I'd share my thought process on getting ready for weddings as its something that i think we all put a lot of thought in to when they come around. We wanted to look our best and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming. So hopefully these simple steps and tidbits of advice will show the only things that you need to be doing to be immaculately wedding guest ready.
First up

The Dress

For me Coast Dresses are always perfect wedding attire.. you simply can't go wrong in a Coast dress. Whether you're mother, cousin, sister or friend a timeless classic cut and modern design will see you right. I have scoured the internet and whiled away many an hour looking for suitable wedding guest dresses, but i always, always come back to Coast. They just work and have a whole designated heading for Weddings on their website, they really are pro's at wedding guest dressing and if you're in need of a special little number, well you can pretty much guarantee you'll find one here.
  I mean..wow

Oh my word they have so many resplendent dresses i could barely choose just a few.
My favourite quite possibly being the first red patterned one, its just so different!
All available at Coast

With your dress finally sorted, its time to move on to


To hat or not to hat? Or to half hat with a fascinator?

Now I know a lot of ladies who really don't feel comfortable in a hat, deeming it too ostentatious, uncomfortable, and out of their comfort zone. My advice would be to try a few, Yes you will feel a bit silly to begin with but once you have found a style that fits your head and face shape well, you can really start to work the trend.
Also in regards to it being out of the comfort zone, are weddings ever really in a comfort zone? I mean comfy to me implies my pj's and a big old bag of popcorn with my ass safely on my sofa. Weddings are that one time where you get to go all out and enjoy, and be a part of the splendour, so why not try it? I love to wear a fascinator, it just instantly makes me feel wedding ready.
Another tip would be to start smaller, with a hair clip or a small fascinator (like on the left) that can be discreet and also easy to manage.
I often will wear mine for the ceremony and photos, sometimes even the wedding breakfast and then take it off for the evening, give my hair a quick shcujj and feel freshly made for the evening events... Which leads me perfectly on to...


Hair up, hair down, half and half,curly or straight or even a bit wavy... choices choices.
The thing with hair is to make sure you feel you. I would never leave it to the day to try a complicated fishtail braid as its really not something i usually do. Go with a tried and tested style that you know will last the day through and still look great by the time you kick your shoes off at midnight.
I love a low bun, which works brilliantly for a a hair clip or fascinator to be added, and as the day goes on and it gets slightly messier, it still will look great in an un-done sexy dishevelled way;)
My second is curly.. Always my go to.  By using the Babyliss wand i take small sections and  curl the whole head of hair. I then liberally spray it with setting spray (my absolute favourite is by The Bardou as it smells incredible, keeps fuzz away in humidity and holds all day without feeling crunchy) and leave to set for 10 minutes. After 10 i take bristle brush to it and brush through to stop it looking poodle and more soft siren waves.
The waves last me all day and even in to the next day. I like the look of softer hair with a smart dress too, it adds a bit of contrast and saves the look from appearing over polished (altough some people rock that too.. i could never as i'm too clumsy to be polished.. exhibit a: below.. on the dress is a lipstick stain from where i banged my glass of vino against myself in excitement... none of the grace, but at least my hair and fascinator look nice;)
And lastly


I think a great base that will last you the whole day and evening is important. Get your foundation right and the rest falls in to place. For me it is my Embryolisse BB Cream which has an amazing amount of coverage for a BB cream and finishes my complexion off well, making me still feel light and not claggy (if that makes sense?).
Tarte cosmetics are my favourite shades and for longevity in eyeshadow and blusher form, whilst my most favourite mascara ever ever is the W7 Lashtastic for full length and body lashes. But if tears may be on the cards for that particularly emosh day, try the Oh So WaterProof.
Finally of course a lipstick is the finishing touch, but so important that you wear one that lasts at least until the photos are all done and you can reapply ;)
I always opt for a matte when it comes to lasting wear as they cling to the lips much longer than a gloss or a silk. Colour preference is obviously personal as bright red won't be for everyone (always my favourite), but W7 have a great selection of mattes from nudes to berries and classic pillar box reds. My experience of wearing them (which is a lot as the Ruby red is my all time favourite lipstick) has always been great, they last as well as the high end brands (my Chanel lipsticks never lasted as long in fact!) And when they do fade its a done gradual leaving some colour remain, but not in a claggy way. Highly recommend.

Simple straight forward and not complicated, this is how i like to tackle weddings. To be yourself, but dressed as your very best self can be. I see no point in dressing in something you aren't comfy in or doing hair and makeup that is totally alien to you. That's why each of these tips are my tried and tested formulas that won't let me down come the day.

Do you have any wedding guest attire tips?
And are you off to any lovely weddings this year?


Monday, 26 June 2017

When Insta Meets Real Life

Yesterday (Sunday 25th) saw me attend the Lucky Things Meetup in Bristol.
The event was organised by the spectacular Sunita of Lucky Things Blog who managed to arrange a gorgeous venue, amazing goodiebags and for a 50 strong group of diverse ladies from the social media world to attend.

Now i have been around this block a long old time, I've been blogging for 6 years and been on Instagram for as long as its been on android, but i have never been to a blogger meet up.
Living in Wales there just aren't many meetup organised here, and i can never attend the London PR days i'm offered or even manage to organise to get to the meet ups as it's often just not possible for me with family commitments etc.

So when Sunita announced the Bristol event, and i saw some wonderful ladies i follow on Insta were going, well i took the bull by the horns and booked myself a ticket.
Bristol is just an hour from me and I've popped over the bridge a few times to watch shows in the Hippodrome so i was a little more comfortable going than i would be say, London or Birmingham, simply becasue i had a bit of a clue as to where to go. 

I'm honestly quite the recluse in real life, so majorly stepping out of my comfort zone was something that sent my anxiety and nerves into overload.
But i did it! And boy can i tell you, i am SO glad i did.
The majority of the group here after the inspiring talk.
Image thanks to Sunita Lucky Things
The thing with blogging and social media is that it can be such a wonderful supportive community, but it can also be a little bit lonely. I blog day in day out, on my own in my little home and sometimes it can be a little uninspiring. There's nobody to bounce ideas off, or have that chat by the copier or banter who's making the next cuppa, so as much as chatting on Insta and twitter and comments is great, there's nothing like talking to someone else the flesh, laughing and giggling and bouncing from one topic to the next barely coming up for air.

Sunita mentioned how important meeting up is for our mental health, that as ladies we should take time out and socialise with others, and i couldn't agree more as i left the meetup absolutely buzzing (and no i wasn't even drinking!)

Here's a few snaps from the day:

 Allie, me & Kim

I've pinched this pic from Kim because it was her splendid idea to get a big old shoefie pic and how right was she!!

 There was more fashionable outfits in the room than i've ever seen, beautiful dresses, amazing shoes, it was simply gorgeous to see how many ladies had gotten styled up for the occasion.
Its so lovely to have a reason to don those great shoes and rock up in that great outfit and feel like the whole room just gets it, that everyone here, to one degree or another, just loves to look good in what they wear and feel great.

Bean of Small Town Threads and I have much in common with how we often stand out from the small town dress sence that we both live in, it was great chatting to her about how we take charge of what we wear regardless of what others around us wear themselves or think of what we wear.
Sunita (in the gorgeous red dress) our kind and welcoming hostess. I could honestly not think of a warmer, more laid back lovely host than she. She brought a room of woman together united in a love of style and happiness.
 How most of the day went... giggles, banter. cuss words and more laughter.
 Allie is amazing.. i latched on to the poor girl a few weeks ago and she has had to listen to me every day since.. when insta throws two people together and they just instantly click, it truly is a wonderful thing.
 THESE PAIR!! Absolute blast!
MummasMojo & TheFashionablePan brininging a bit of London to Bristol.
We bonded over boobs and accents.. it was bloody great!

Allie & Hayley two absolute sweethearts,
travelled from Hertfordshire & Oxford to be there (and beyond lovely.. like i want them to move to wales so i can annoy them constantly)

So why was it such a wonderful day?
Well to be surrounded by like minded women was basically one of the best things ever.
To be able to unconsciously whip your phone out for a cheeky pic/instastories or to chat trade with others about how blogging is amazing but difficult, was sheer bliss for me. 
Networking wasn't a forced ... it was simply chatting with what felt like old friends. People who's snippets of life you've seen in photos or stories, who you recognise instantly and want to chat and hug.
I left feeling so inspired with new momentum, ideas and enthusiasm.. something i haven't felt for a while.
I've also made new friends who i cant imagine not having, and put down plans to meet up again soon.
And that in itself is worth its weight in gold. 
When two worlds collide, it appears fantastic things can happen.

 After we all got home with our glorious goodie bags filled with Weleda products (which i was so happy are Cruelty free and Vegan), Rude health foods,  Puka tea and the most gorgeous vase from Neptune Home, I felt on cloud nine.
What a splendid day.
A huge thank you to Sunita of Lucky Things!

I'm sure this is the first of what will hopefully be many meetups i will be attending.

Have you ever been to a blogger?Insta meet up?


Friday, 23 June 2017

Breezy Summer Dress (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

We have had the most glorious week of sunshine and a 30 degree heat-wave here in Wales and it has been divine. 
I have to say though, when this weather arrives my fashion senses go on strike. Its too hot to accessorise, and i totally go in for the 'as little clothing as possible without getting arrested for indecent exposure' look. So its simple light dresses all round for me and this 100% cotton dress from one of my favourite companies Seasalt Cornwall was just the ticket.
Light easy and breezy, the perfect warm weather companion. I'm looking forward to taking this on holiday with me in August as i feel it could be perfect family holiday attire, in the sense of it works for a number of holiday occasions, day-wear, cover up for a beach day, sight seeing and a casual evening meal. That is definitely a good all rounder of a dress don't you think? 
Catherine also very skillfully mixed this dress with jeans and a white tee layered underneath which looked divine, so I shall be taking inspiration from the fabulous Catherine and try dabbling with layers too (its just calling out for a denim jacket to be its buddy isn't it?!).

The espadrilles have to be at least 5 years old (but quite possibly 7 years... i cant remember!) and i found them in my attic when i was switching over my summer clothes, they had gotten lost along the bottom of some piles (of crap) and haven't seen the light of day for a couple of years, but i am so pleased to have found them as they've barely left my feet. 
It's fait to say espadrilles never ever go out of Summer fashion and are definitely a shoes style that you will pull out year upon year. These are sublimely comfy and the neutrality of the navy makes them go with pretty much everything.
Ive put a few Espadrille options down below for you to peruse as i really think its the shoe for every women!

Outfit Details
Navy Espadrilles, these are the closest
Seasalt Dress
Yellow Bag

Espadrille Options


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Body Positivity With Vicki Honest Mum

Today I have the absolute pleasure of bringing you Part 2 of the #BodyPositivity series with with one of my most favourite people in the blogasphere.
Vicki really needs no introduction as a Body Positivity influencer herself she isn't shy of taking to Instagram, talking openly and honestly and making every woman feel good about themselves.

Two years ago she almost broke the internet with her Bikini clad posts with a beautiful honesty of her post baby body which caused the most fabulous ripple effect where so many women posted bikini clad photos revealing glorious bodies all shapes and sizes, stretch marks and 6 packs, it was truly inspirational.
#ProudInMyBikini is still ongoing with women celebrating who they are and how they look!

Today Vicki talks to us about techniques in accepting our 'flaws'...

Accepting My Flaws by Vicki of Honest Mum.

It's taken 36 LOONG years but I've finally accepted my flaws. Scrap that. I hate the term 'flaws'- I've finally accepted my nuances!
I think age and experience (overcoming adversity as we all do in some form or another, the older we get, and dealing with the general ups and downs life throws our way) makes us realise what really matters. Sounds cheesy but it's true. Having babies in particular forced me to reassess and refocus.
Dealing with a traumatic birth felt like existing in slow-mo. As if my life had hit pause, somehow. There was no choice but to rebuild from there. It didn't matter what came before it: a close family, an MA, my identity wrapped up in being a filmmaker...I had to seek help and start over. Setting up my blog, Honest Mum, along with the support of family, friends and a super therapist, helped me do just that. Slowly, I rediscovered myself and became strong again. Part of that journey has been accepting myself: body and mind.
Over the last year I've come across several experts stating that when you write down your flaws, the things people could fling at you to cause pain and you approach them head-on, you feel liberated and stronger than before.
It's rather like facing your fears in order to thrive.
So, I thought I'd do just that in this guest post for my friend, Rachel. Inspirational, kind, smart, a real go-getter, there's no where else I'd like to share a post on embracing my 'nuances' than right here.
Let's go!
  1. Mum tum. I've accepted that this tiger striped, jelly-like tum my kids like to knead as if it were dough (thanks kids) won't ever disappear. It's diminished a little due to recent weight loss, but in all honestly, could do with a tummy tuck to resemble its pre-kid state (which took 300 sit ups a day by the way so that's never going to happen now). I'm definitely not vain nor brave enough for an opp though, so self-acceptance and a bit of Spanx here and there on shoots is where it's at for me.#mumtumforevs.
  2. My arms. I've always had a thing about my arms. I was a naturally skinny child until puppy fat hit then I had two 'FULL' years we'll call them, until a growth spurt in height stretched me out. I've yoyo-ed in weight thanks to PCOS since my teens, and recently a stone after taking intolerance tests and upping my exercise. My arms though, will never be slim jims and whilst I cringe and crop them out of photos for the most part (close ups rock, right?), I've accepted these are my arms and they make me strong enabling me to write (my greatest love) so deserve a high five (you can totally high-five yourself by the way). 
  3. My boobs. I know lots of women complain of wanting bigger boobs but I'd love a smaller pair if I could. I dream of wearing backless tops or going bra-less as Rachael does, but that's just not a possibility for me. The jugs have truly taken some punches, literally and metaphorically (toddlers anyone?) and after breastfeeding both of my kids, it's safe to say they benefit from a supportive bra, but they're mine and they helped nourish my boys and deserve some respect. 
  4. Lips. I wish my lips were fuller and whilst my husband bangs on at me that, 'they're not thin and perfect' in his words, they're far from Angelina's plump pout. I used to spend years, literally years as a tween, pouting in a mirror, to try and boost them up. Who knows if it helped. I discovered lip liners and gloss which helped and now I do the best I can with what I've got. 
  5. Chubby thumbs. This is a funny one and even made two specialists laugh as they stated they probably didn't grow enough in the womb- and whilst you'd never notice they're any smaller than my other fingers, I've been conscious of them since I was a kid! They've never made a nail shot on Insta  for example but maybe now, they should. 
So there you have it, my top 5 flaws...there are many more of course but in the interest of following my own advice and choosing to be kind to myself, I'll leave that list right here.
Perfection doesn't exist but it can often feel it does, online. It's natural to want to share our 'best takes' and hide our short comings (and that includes short thumbs) on the world wide web, but it's vital to be honest, for ourselves and others too. I want my sons to grow up feeling positive about who they are and what they look like. The wonderful things that make them, them.
I'm teaching my boys not to place value on aesthetics but to put personality, good health, wisdom and generosity first.
To do that though I must lead by example.
And so must you.

Thanks Rachel for the space to share.
Vicki x

You can read Part 1 of the #BodyPositivity series here about my personal journey so far

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