Monday, 31 July 2017

Gingham Dress with Yellow Shoes



It took me a while to jump on the gingham train. I think it may be because it reminds me of my early blogging days when i was majorly in to retro 60's styles and i was very 'twee' for a long time (if you want a laugh and see me literally growing up through my twenties on the internet check out my cringe worthy archives!.. shudder..πŸ˜‚). But there's still a place in my heart for the checked, gingham print, and it really can work and be a useful little number.
I hope this will represent a slightly more grown up take on gingham but still rather fun.

This dress was originally bought for a Social Brunch Meetup, which it would have worked perfect for, but sadly the ol' British weather decided it was not meant to be as it was rainy and chilly on the day (so i went for the red jumpsuit instead), but it turns out that the dress could be useful for a number of occasions. I wore it for an evening out last week to see Grease Live in Cardiff and drinks in the bay, it was lovely and light and comfy to be sat down all evening in too. 
I'm thinking paired with some tan sandals this would work great for even just a day at the shops, or add some red block heels and perfect for an evening out.

The neutral colour means its pretty much is a blank canvas when it comes to mixing in accessories, which is great as it will allow lots of remixing potential.


Also did i mention? Tremendously comfy. Light and floaty can do no wrong in my dress loving eyes.

Have you flirted with gingham this season? Are you a fan of the print?













 Outfit Details

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Friday, 28 July 2017

Bright Red Jumpsuit & A Hit of Gingham (& #Passion4Fashion)

 You know when you see an item and you just think "Yes! That item has my name written all over it!" Well that totally happened with this jumpsuit and i picked it up then put it back down.
Of course i couldn't stop thinking about it then and so when the weather forecast wasn't great for an event i had planned on wearing a summer dress to, well i decided to go back and buy it.
Lady luck was on my side as there was a very depleted rack of jumpsuits and just one size 10 left.
For a £22.99 jumpsuit the fabric falls beautifully, skimming and not clinging and doesn't crease too easily.
The colour is definitely siren red and i would say you won't exactly blend in to the crowd in it, but hey, you only live once eh? Why not be loud and proud is my motto.
I like that you could really dress this up with some heels and a statement necklace or like here, dressed down but smart with some little gingham sandals.
I love how the pattern breaks up the mass of red and adds a quirky bit of interest to the outfit.
I wore this last week to a fantastic meet up in Bristol where i was asked to give a small talk about my blogging career.
It was a huge privilege and i enjoyed every second of it and i would say red is most definitely a confidence booster. I felt comfy and great in this jumpsuit.
This will also work incredibly well come Christmas (sorry.. yes i did just go there), pair with some gold accessories, a fancy clutch and a black high heels and you are looking very merry and bright indeed.
For now i'm looking forward to wearing it again this summer with some tan sandals, a cream cardigan and a tan cross-body bag to make it more casual again.
But yes, needless to say I absolutely love it and i'm happy to have it in my arsenal of clothes and highly recommend this little red number to anyone after a versatile yet bold piece.

Jumpsuit Options

{The first Warehouse one is my favourite!}










Outfit Details:




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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Hobby Love: Allotment Life.. Give it a Go.



I'm not your typical veg grower some might say, with it being a stereo-typically older gentleman's past-time maybe. Although I guess that's how I got into it. You may remember we turned our back garden into a veg plot earlier this year after my lovely dad and sister got their first plot, which then turned in to two plots.
Their enthusiasm for it was infectious. 
Seeing the fresh veg they grew from what started as a patch of mud was inspiring.
Now i am not green fingered in the slightest, but with some time and patience i think anyone can grow veggies.


Despite getting the keys late October almost two years ago, they spent the long winter months double digging the plot and come January they started eagerly planning what they were going to plant.




What i love about allotment life is that its a great chance for us all to come together as a family, we get the kids out from watching TV or playing xbox and get them stuck in with some mini tools for them to dig and help. And let me tell you, they absolutely love it.
Picking strawberries fresh from the bush and eating them, digging up the potatoes and seeing what the seeds they planted develop in to. 
Its soul satisfying for all.

My Niece and Son getting stuck in
Keen to get involved with allotment life my sister soon became part of the allotment committee and was elected Secretary and became involved with a project to use part of their site as a communal area where plant sales could take place and barbeque for the plot holders at the end of the summer.  Equipment was hired from SGS to clear the area, strim the waste high weeds and the ground is now ready to have wood chipping laid and the benches to be delivered. All very exciting and will bring an added sense of community to the site I'm sure.
Which is another point of allotment life i never anticipated... Community.
People are genuinely helpful, its a place to come to while away the time, come in a bad mood and always leave feeling good.
There's something rewarding about messing around in the dirt, maybe its the back to nature feeling. 
Something raw and kind about it.
And being Vegan we grow our meal.. which in itself is extremely rewarding. Seeing a plate full of home grown goodness is both delicious and satisfying for the tummy and the mind.

Mum and dad loving allotment life

Reaping the crop rewards happily
So i guess what i'm trying to say is, give a new hobby a go, remove your self from the normal routine and stresses and pressures of modern life. I know for us as a family it has been thoroughly rewarding and if anything brought us all together more.


Do you have an hobbies that you love and that leave you feeling happy?
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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

#BodyPositivity Sharee's Journey

Meet Sharee
Body Positivtiy and realist advocate
Find her and her inspirational style at








It's my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the lovely Sharee, after my honest post of being small chested and learning to love it after years of self loathing, its great to have Sharee speaking from the opposite side of the spectrum.
Please welcome Sharee:

Ok I admit it….The following sentences fills me with dread! "bikini shopping”

 The fear of wearing a bikini…so much so that for my upcoming holiday I purchased swimming costumes and told myself under no circumstances am I to wear a bikini. You see I have what you call an ample bosom. Having been blessed/cursed (however way you want to look at it) with FF boobs since my teenage years and ever since then, trying to hide them away but hey I guess I’m stuck with them right? 
Im guessing you may be thinking well why not have a reduction if you hate them that much? 
Don’t get me wrong I have thought about it but then I thought why the hell should I? 
People pay for boobs like this! It’s that old chestnut isn’t it- 
We as Women as never happy with what we have body wise and always want the opposite to what we have and imagine life would be so much better with that but as I’ve got older I’ve learnt this is not the case and slowly come to realise at the end of the day, we get what we are given and you only have that 1 body and you should truly embrace it (even the bits you’re not that keen on).
I know I’m not the only 30 something female to feel self-conscious in a bikini but as women I feel the pressure we put on ourselves is immense and its enough to give you sleepless nights! But at the same time it’s something which is a total waste of worry, I openly admit though that I still do this and constantly judge myself and wonder what other people think of how I look. The pressure on young girls these days must be truly horrific, I think we have social media to “thank” for this one! 
How the media portrays what the ideal perfect body must be and make you feel that if you don’t conform to the said portrayal you are somehow less of a woman or not accepted?
 Really?? 
But here’s the thing 99% of those pictures aren’t even real! The girl in the photo doesn’t even look like the girl in the photo? Go figure! The joys of numerous filters and Photoshop! 
Which brings me to a post I did recently which was featured in Look Magazine to promote their #GetRealIssue, again about the pressures to look perfect and to upload a photo explaining how many attempts/filters etc you used before you were happy with it. I was thrilled to be featured as it’s something I feel very passionate about. 

So anyway back to the Boobs and the reason for this post……One morning on holiday whilst getting ready for a day at the beach I put on my black swimming costume, minimiser bra underneath, trying to flatten them down, hunched my back so it looks like I don’t have a chest, and I thought I can’t exactly walk round 24-7 with a hunched back as that will lead to other problems! I caught a glimpse in the mirror and thought why am I doing this to myself? I’m the only person judging me, no one else is and anyway 9 times out of 10 those said people you think are judging you are only wanting to do the same thing and have exactly the same hang ups. 
So I guess what I’m saying is just go for it Ladies and embrace your gorgeous selves! I know I don’t fit the ideal “perfect” (whatever that may be) but you know what I don’t want to be! I’m the best version of me and that’s all what matters. So here I am embracing the boobs on holiday & I’m happy to report the swimming costumes were banished to the suitcase 😁
Thank you for reading and don't forget to love who you are and how you look.

Sharee xx 

RTH: And doesn't she look amazing!!! I absolutely love bringing this series to you all and showing a true representation of diverse ladies.. this is what should be in the media, women of all shapes sizes and ages. 
Thank you Sharee and amazing well done on your bikini shots and journey to self love!

To read more of the #BodyPositivity series click here

Do you have a #BodyPositivity story you'd like to share? I'm looking for contributors..
 Email me at rachel(at)rachelthehat(dot)com


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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

New In :: Cruelty Free Beauty Products


This month i have been trying out lots of new beauty products. I always seem to dabble more with beauty potions and lotions in the summer month and less makeup and then vice versa come winter (i am ALL about eh makeup come winter!) I guess that speaks volumes about my mentality in each season. But enough about the psychologies of my beauty habits, lets get on to the good stuff shall we. The question is, have i found anything worth buying again/ will become part of my beauty favourites?
Yes and definitely yes.. in-fact, spoilers, i think its fair to say i pretty much loved all these products but more details shall commence!


Seascape Island Apothecary

 Seascape Island apothecary was probably my favourote find this month. A gorgeous cruelty free, responsible brand that offers divinity in a pot. Their products ooze luxury and smell and work extremely well.
The Unwind Body Lotion is possibly my favourite, the fragrance is strong, which i love, and has scented with jersey lavender and ylang ylang. I have this beside my bed and use some at night on my arms and legs as, not only does my skin drink it up and feel soft in the morning, but the scent is wonderful for relaxing and aiding sleep (something i've been very happy with of late after a number of sleepless nights!)
The Seasalt scrub & Soothe Body wash make an excellent shower duo and leave me feeling squeaky clean and extremely relaxed.
Lastly my other absolute favourite is the Peppermint Lip Balm, now to me this is both scrub and balm in one. Its gritty, which i didnt expect, however, i have been on the hunt for a good lip exfoliator as i wear a lot of bright lipstick and they often leave a residue or i need a good clear base to put them on. This provides an excellent scrub to the lips without feeling harsh. I wondered also if the peppermint would be tingly, which I'm not a fan of, but it isn't, its extremely long lasting balm and comfy to wear on the lips. Again i like to put this on at night time for my lips to really relish in the moisture. For £10 this is an absolute bargain also and something i will most definitely repurchase (however a little goes a long way and the pot is very deep and filled to the top so i don't think i'll have to repurchase anytime soon!)
The last thing i want to say about seascape is the packaging, oh my word the packaging.. its simply beautiful and honestly i know i would absolutely love to receive these as gifts and would definitely buy friends and family them too.

Weleda

 Another new brand to me but one i believe has been around a really long time is Weleda.
I received some gorgeous testers and this full size body wash in my lucky things meet up goodie bag. The Almond Skin Wash is the most delicate body wash i've ever used. This is absolutely perfect for those with extra sensitive skin, and for ahem.. delicate parts.. (tmi? Well y'know me well enough now, i'll only ever speak the truth 😁).
The Evening Primrose concentrate is for ageing skin and is full of goodness to help with elasticity and fullness of the skin. I haven't used this much yet but i am about to start as its never to early to help your skin out a bit!
I have to say i am super impressed with Weleda and will be purchasing products from their website for sure

Simply Scrub


100% organic and natural Simply Scrub  is basically whole goodness in a pot. You actually couldn't get more natural. The scrubs are amazing. I have the Rose Scrub which is the most delectable fragrance, and you are actually scrubbing your legs with petals and florals.. I'd actually never experienced anything like it and was blown away with the potency of the gorgeous scrub and how it left my legs feeling so soft afterwards. The Chocolate scrub is amazing for ridding fake tan. I had a build up of gradual tanner on my legs and i used this with a flannel and it banished all the tan residue wonderfully. The only thing i will say is that as it is natural and you are literally scrubbing with rose petals and such, then it can get a bit messy. I do mine in the bath but it did scatter through out. I didn't mind one iota though as it left my bathroom smelling so so pretty and washed away very easily.
I highly recommend this if you like natural products and like me love to exfoliate your legs, espeically after fake tan! It really works a treat and there are no nasty chemicals or damages to the environment... win win!!

Embryolisse Eye Cream

 I love the feel of this on my eyes, it feels thick and moisturising. I struggle with eye cream as my eyes are getting crinklier by the day but yet nothing seems to help. I'm not sure if this is actually doing anything or not just yet, but it does feel nice. Do you have any eye cream recommendations?

A little bit of Hair
 Biolage RAW Shampoo & Conditioner and Bardou Finishing Spray

The new Biolage RAW range is incredible hair food. My hair literally laps it up. Now these aren't particularly cheap (I caught my husband using it and i freaked out on him.. hes bald btw.. he says he likes how it makes his head feel πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I asked him to refrain from using my special shampoo as its reserved solely for me lol!), but if you like to treat your locks to a really nice shampoo that leaves your tresses feeling like you've just stepped out of the salon, well these products are definitely for you. I have the Nourish range, and nourish it most definitely does.

Also on the hair front, a product so good its worth mentioning again is the Bardou Finishing mist.
This is my most favourite setting spray... ever! Its fine enough to not leave your hair feeling like hard and sticky but also holds your style and banishes frizz, which with this mop of hair, is vital. I'm so sad that i've just run out, but will be repurchasing for sure. I think i suddenly realised again how good it is when i resorted to a store bought normal hairspray that left my hair looking frizzy and unclean straight after styling. So yes, return to Bardou i shall!

Etern'l Night Cream via Harmony Life
After being super impressed with Harmony Life and their hair growth products I decided to give their beauty products a go. I needed a new night cream and heard excellent things of the Etern'l range which has won numerous awards in France, and if its good enough for those french chicks, well then it sure as hell good enough for me. And actually, i really love it, like really love it. The viscosity is thick and i love that in a nuit creme (that's the extent of my french folks, and that's just from reading the labelπŸ˜‚), i lather a lot on just before bed and let it sink in slowly. I wake up and my skin feels refreshed and the texture feels renewed if that makes sense, like there's some elasticity back. I really like this product and have definitely seen some benefits to my skin since using.


 This is the perfect handbag lipbalm, i had this in my gorgeous Social Brunch Club meet up goodie bag and i'm so pleased to have this little beauty. Perfect lipbalm for on the go that delivers a real hit of moisture, and its perfect barrier balm too


So there we have it, quite the extensive amount of beauty goodies.

Have you tried any new products this month that you would recommend?




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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Take the Time To Date: Dating across the globe



When you've been together for 11 years and you have busy jobs and family, its so hard to take time to just to be a couple. 
But taking time to date your significant other is SO important. 
I'll confess and say its not something we do enough of, but we've started taking time when we can. An hour here and there, sometimes its just taking time out together and walking the dogs just the two of us. Sometimes it will be a full night with a movie and a meal. But giving each other your undivided attention can really do wonders for both parties.
All i know is whenever i've spent time with just my husband i feel happier.
Sometimes though, dates can be expensive and it can be hard to find a good location or venue on a budget.
Whether it’s Rome, London, Paris or New York, there’s a perfect date out there for everyone. Recently Angelic Diamonds, retailers of bespoke palladium engagement rings, conducted some fabulous research on dating across the globe, No matter where you are we advise you on making the most of your date no matter where you are in the world.

Rome


As the capital of Italy, Rome is brimming with 3,000 years of art, architecture and culture – making any date in this beautiful city one of romance and sophistication.

For the true fans

If your partner is looking for some excitement when you’re in the capital, and you’d really like to treat the pair of you, why not go to a A.S. Roma football match? At the grand Stadio Olimpico, you can buy a ticket for €100 (£88.02). Just make sure you’re both football fans before you go, as it’ll be slightly awkward if one of you is bored when surrounded by screaming fans…

The people watchers

If you’re on a budget, then why not try taking a walk to the picturesque Trevi Fountain and throwing a spare penny in for good luck? Once you’re done, you could take a stroll to one of the many cafes nearby so that you can sit and people watch to your heart’s content.

The classic date

If you’ve got a bit of money to spend but don’t want to break the bank, why not try the classic dinner and cinema date? In Rome, you can expect to pay €21 (£18.48) for your taxi and €57 (£50.17) for your meal for two in one of Rome’s fine restaurants. To top it all off, you can spend €17 (£14.96) on two cinema tickets.

London


London is a booming metropolis full of great shops, bars and restaurants that will keep you both entertained for more than just one date! If you want to enjoy this city properly, then you’ll need to know where to go. When it comes to dates in this city, the world really is your oyster.

Living the high-life

If you and your partner like to enjoy the finer things in life, then why not try afternoon tea at a prestigious London hotel? At £50 per person, you and your date could enjoy tea, scones and sandwiches at the prestigious Claridge’s Hotel, in Mayfair. If you are both enjoying the pleasures of luxury, then why not book a superior queen room at £690 a night?

For the inquisitive

London isn’t just about fine-dining and luxurious hotels, it’s also full of great musuems where you can learn more about the cultural history of London.
The Natural History Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Modern are all free to enter — they are perfect options for cultural visits that’ll get those brain cells exercised. Once you’re bored of the museums, head over to Westminster Bridge to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. This also isn’t too far from the Southbank, where you can pick up some delicious street food or take in the great views all around you.

The classic date

Leicester Square has hosted many film premieres over the years, with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood descending on its red carpet to see in the release of their new blockbuster. If you’re not on the guest-list, then why not take your date to the cinema for £23? If you get hungry, you can always get a meal including wine and dessert for £66. Don’t forget to hit the bars on your way out, where a pint will typically set you back £4.41, and a cocktail will cost £9 – not bad when you’re living it up in the capital!


Paris


Paris is the true city of romance. Tourists come from far and wide to have a great time with their significant other, and this could be you too. Home to many of the world’s greatest writers and artists, Paris oozes chic everywhere you walk through its many streets.

Taking a date to new heights

Going on a date to the Eiffel Tower is an impressive feat any day of the year, but especially so on Valentine’s Day. On this day, why not try booking in at 58 Tour Eiffel? It’ll cost you around €120 (£105.63) for each person, however, if you’d like a seat in the window to witness the spectacular views, then you can pay the extra €30 (£26.41) to really take your romance to dizzying heights!

Paris on a budget

The city is host to some of the most beautiful bridges in the world, which makes dating on a budget in this city very easy. As a symbol of their love for one another, many Parisians use padlocks and lock them to the Pont des Arts Bridge, throwing away the key into the water.
The locks can be purchased for a couple of euros each, so it’s probably the cheapest date that you’ll go on. Be warned though, as Paris officials are urging couples to stop so that the bridges can be protected; instead, why not take the lock home as a reminder of that great date you had together.

The classic date

If the weather’s poor outside, or you’d rather take the tried and tested methods when it comes to your date, then why not head over to a quant restaurant in the city? There, a meal for two including wine and dessert will typically cost around €65 (£57.21). Afterwards, if you head over to the cinema, it’ll cost you €20 (£17.60).

New York


If you can make it on a date here, then you can really make it anywhere. The big apple offers something for everyone- - with the theatres of Broadway, the neon-lit Times Square and skyscrapers like the Empire State Building, the possibilities really are endless.

Flying sky-high

If you want to pull out all of the stops for your date, then why not take them on a ride they’ll never forget? A private helicopter tour of New York’s famous landmarks will set you back around $1,500 (£1,184.40), so you’ll need to get saving if this sounds like the perfect date for you! With unparalleled views of the Empire State Building, the Stature of Liberty and Central Park though, this is the perfect date to get your heart’s racing. Hold on tight!

Walk those famous streets

If you’d like to do something a bit more low-key, then take a twilight walk around Central Park like Audrey Hepburn did in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to really set the mood for the evening. Or, if you’re feeling peckish, you could go to the restaurant featured in Where Harry Met Sally; you’ll be quoting lines from the film in no time!
If that’s not enough, take a walk down to the financial district if you and your date want to feel part of the glamour and excitement of the Wolf of Wall Street. Just be careful, as it’s a jungle out there…

The classic date


Taking a trip to NYC wouldn’t be the same without going to the movies, so take your date at the typical cost of $28 (£22.11). Perhaps a meal would complement this date nicely? Including wine and dessert, you can expect a meal for two to cost you $111 (£87.66). After that, the two of you could paint the town red in some of Manhattan’s best rooftop bars. A cocktail will likely cost $14 (£11.06) and a pint of lager around $7 (£5.53). Enjoy!
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Friday, 21 July 2017

#Passion4Fashion Linkup! All welcome!

Hooooooooo, WHAT a week ladies! We attended a big family wedding, which was delightful and meant i got to don a pretty frock for the occasion.
Its also been a week of absolute killer insomnia leaving me feeling a bit like i'm drunk.. but without the fun bit. Sleep, why you so mean to me?? It seems an unrequited love, i love sleep, it does not love me however!
But the school holidays have just begun which means 6 whole weeks off from the school run and pack lunches and trying to find those darn shoes every morning.
I am so looking forward to a bit of down time with my loved ones.
So all i have for you is this pretty dress which i absolutely loved wearing (as i stood out in a crowd and meant my children could find me easily, Ha! oh the ways a mothers mind works,lol!)

So all that's left for me to say is.. Zzzzzz
No seriously, thank you all for linking up last week, there were so many amazing links!!!

I want to try something from now on.. 
If you link up a post and the photo is on Instagram would you 
hashtag #Passion4Fashion on your instagram post ..

Feel free to tag me in it also as id love to pop over and see you. Its a great way to spread the love and we can each have a browse on the hashtag too.
It would be fab to create the hashtag to represent all your linkups under #Passion4Fashion. 
Personally I'm on IG more than any other platform and i'd love to see your glorious faces there and I can come like and comment.

Most clicked

Memories of the Pacific
 in her gorgeous kimono



My fav:
 This stunning gingham top from Five Foot Nothing Shopping

I always like to finish the post with a parting question, so today i am asking for purely selfish reasons  this.. Sleep.. Any advice ladies?
Let me know in the comments if you know of any sleep inducing techniques or remedies as i am due a few looonng nice sleeps!!





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