Fashion: The 2016 Favourites (+Best Beauty Bits)

Throughout December, in an attempt to stop Christmas taking over entirely, I’m putting together a few posts to review my 2016. The best one (favourite eats – obviously!) will be going live on Thursday but today it’s time to talk all about my fashion and beauty favourites from the year.

This was kind of a difficult post to write, really, as I can’t actually remember much about the first few months at all. Then we hit exam season and I was lucky if I found time to moisturise my face, let alone put on makeup. My final-year of university saw me wear jeans more times than I think I had done in my entire life. Then I started work. My makeup is in a bit of a rut and I alternate between suits and pyjamas. All that said, this has been the year I’ve really experimented with foundation. I’ve found two of my all-time favourite lipsticks. I bought a graduation dress I love. My workwear wardrobe is perfect for both my corporate profession and my style. And I’m slowly, slowly updating my hairstyle.
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New Hair

Trying to grow out shorter, choppier layers is a slow process. So is going from a side parting to a centre one. It’s leaving me with some horrific hair days, but slowly they are becoming less frequent. When I have a REALLY good hair day it’s obvious. Take last Friday for instance. Randomly my third day hair looked pretty much perfect. Curls, volume, falling just right. I had so many compliments and it made my day. Saturday evening, on the other hand, it was horrific. Though to be fair I had walked in the wind and rain around the park (twice) waiting for the dog to do his business…

Next step is to figure out what I’m doing with the colour. I love coppery tones, but trying to keep it that colour is so difficult. Especially as L’Oreal seems intent on discontinuing any shades I grow to love.

Best Beauty Bits

I’ve picked up quite a few favourite bits and pieces this year. I’ve found a range of haircare that my hair seems to love and which doesn’t upset my bank balance (Dove, FYI, full review to come at some point). I picked up my go-to foundation, though I’m still on the hunt for one which may make the cut for my wedding day makeup. I’ve found my perfect bold lip in the form of MAC Diva. I’ve finally found a concealer that will hide my under-eye circles.
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The Christmas Dresses

For the past five years (and I say that a little red-faced) I’ve worn the exact same dress at Christmas; a plum jumper dress. Warm and cosy and forgiving on the tummy department, it was my safe option. And I’d never found the perfect Christmas dress. Something festive yet comfortable, smart enough to feel special but casual enough to roll about on the floor with the dog.

This year, I’ve found two.

The first I came across back in October, spying it on the rack in Next. In all sizes but the one I needed. I stalked their website for weeks, made trips on a twice-weekly basis to the five stores within walking distance from work. And it finally appeared one day. It fits perfectly, is SO comfy and makes me feel super slim (even after Bill’s Mac’n’Cheese on Sunday!). It’s the perfect length, feeling sassy yet demure enough for Christmas morning church.

The second is my work-party dress* – and I’m not sneak peak on here as I’d sooner keep the whole outfit under wraps until then! For the price I think it’s excellent quality, and it looks smart enough for the office under a black jacket. It’s quite different to what I would usually go for (bodycon is not my thing!) but the lace means it doesn’t look too clingy. I’m looking forward to pairing it with my new KoKo Couture Clutch* (another bargain, though deceptively small), a red lip and heels. Quiz have some lovely things in right now – and so much is in the sale too!
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Graduation

I actually felt really stressed about finding a dress to wear for my graduation ceremony. I wanted it to fit (seeing as most of my clothes at the time were pre-weight loss). I wanted it to reflect my personality (i.e. it needed to be floral). I wanted something classic, something I’d be happy to wear again, but equally something special and not “every-day.” I was lucky; I decided on the first dress I tried. And I loved it.

Love my new cord pinafore! #weekendfashion #cord #pinafore #cordpinafore #ootd #fotd #redlip #macdiva #whatastudentwears

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

Cord Pinafores

One thing I’ve discovered and LOVED this year is cord pinafores. Practical (because who doesn’t love pockets?!), warm and cosy and so easy to wear, my favourite are the Topshop ones. Pricey but I’ve found they wash extremely well, and the halter-neck style of straps is more flattery than some of the other styles. I’ve got one in burgundy and one in black – worn with either a jumper or a stripy t-shirt I could probably live in them!

They also hide food babies extremely well. Win win!
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Wedding Dress

Oh, yep, just a little one here! Way back in May, before we’d set a date and a massive 2.5 years before our wedding, I put down a deposit on my dress. I’m lucky enough to be getting a bespoke design from a British designer and I’m SO excited to be part of the process. Eeek!

So yep, it’s been a pretty good (and hugely expensive!) year shopping-wise. Next on my list is to find a pair of work trousers I feel comfortable in, and the perfect pair of pointed ankle boots. Wish me luck!

What has been your favourite outfit of 2016?

 

Wedding Planning: Dress Shopping #1

The main bonus of a long engagement? Dragging out the dress shopping as long as possible!

 photo Wedding Dress Shopping_zpsdha3d656.pngAt least, that’s what I was thinking at the start of this year. Getting engaged just before Christmas and wanted to try on dresses almost immediately was a very frustrating combination; a lot of boutiques were closed until New Year, and then a lot were only open for their sample sale rather than relaxed appointments. As someone who loves a bargain, I wanted to avoid a sample sale for my first few visits so I wouldn’t be influenced by low prices. I’m in no way saying I wouldn’t buy a ‘sale-rack’ wedding dress, but I wanted to find my dress rather than a close contender that just happened to be reduced.

In the end I decided on my dress pretty quickly. I visited two boutiques, one designer and I put a deposit down at the end of May. Yep, five months after getting engaged and (eager readers may note) several months before setting a date and a massive 2.5 years before the wedding. Oops.

When thinking about my actual wedding, when I knew W was going to propose sometime the dress didn’t really feature too much, and it certainly wasn’t one of the first things I thought about. That said, it was (and still is!) really important to me. I adored how much my mum’s dress suited her and I knew I wanted to find the perfect one for me. Ever since I was little I’d always imagined different dresses. I remember when I was 9 or 10 I was deadset on getting married in a huge princess style dress, complete with glitter. Around the time of the royal wedding I adore Kate’s understated glamorous dress (who didn’t?!). I also knew I wouldn’t have a clue what to go for! I was definitely nervous ahead of my first appointment…

 photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 10_zpsw8jvxnzg.png photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 12_zps7u5wynxq.png photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 2_zpsoraxgbay.png photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 7_zpsedjyqmiv.pngThe first place I visited was Silver Sixpence Bridal near Weedon, Northamptonshire; not too far from my parents home, in a gorgeous little shopping village. We managed to enjoy tea and cake and then had a wonderfully relaxed appointment. We were asked to pick out any number of dresses I fancied trying on – so we went wild. As this was my first time I wanted to try on pretty much every type of dress. Big and princess, tight and slinky. Satin, shiny, sequined, lacy, flowery. Gold, white, ivory and even blush pink. I let both my mum and sister pick out a few bits for me to try on, however there were two dresses that caught my eye from the moment I walked in.

I’ll be honest here – one of them tempted me so, so much. I very nearly said “yes to the dress” there and then. I actually had a few months before my next appointment, so I spent hours searching for a second-hand version as I couldn’t justify the price. Funnily enough, my actual dress is costing £100 more so clearly it wasn’t the one. Charlotte Balbier, you nearly had me though!

 photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 4_zpslsar1hk3.png photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 5_zpsuct9bhfs.pngThe other was gorgeous, though I knew it wasn’t my dress. That dress has, however, led me to my dress and for that I couldn’t be more grateful to Silver Sixpence. Michelle was the perfect assistant, pulling out dresses she thought would suit me, but also respecting my opinions when I really didn’t want to try something. I felt comfortable with her getting me in and out of the dresses (SO much more intimate than I expected!) and she was just the most lovely person to spend a few hours with. Coupled with her absolutely gorgeous styling (all photos in this post are of the boutique, taken from her website with permission) it really was the perfect start to wedding dress shopping. I highly recommend a visit if you can. Oh, and Michelle made a damn good cup of tea too!

Put it this way, I’m definitely booking myself in for an appointment to try on the accessories stocked…

 photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 1_zps1rlbpm1x.png photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 11_zpsejcz4yef.png photo Silver Sixpence Bridal 9_zpsrscrvwm5.pngAnd that was it, my first dress shopping experience. It was terrifying, yet so exciting at the same time. I have to admit I’m a little gutted I’ve found my dress so I can’t go and try more on! I found that I actually suited quite a few of the dress shapes, so it was pretty much up to me to decide what shape to go for – a little scary as I’m not great at making decisions. Obviously you’ll have to wait until 2018 to find out more about my dress, but I’ll be chatting more about wedding dress shopping soon!

Did you ever fantasize about your wedding dress as a child? If you’ve picked yours already, how did your wedding dress shopping go?

Fashion: Transitioning To Autumn

This time of year is definitely my favourite. I love how the trees start to turn, how hedes are bright red with berries. I love that the sun takes on a golden tinge, that mornings are cool enough to make a scarf needed, but the afternoon sun is still warm. I love that we can take advantage of the slightly darker evenings to curl up with a good book and a hot chocolate. I look forward to comforting food, to pies and stews, to berry crumbles with custard.

 photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 9_zpsrt3zvdx0.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 10_zpsrhrxuva9.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 6_zpsn7oqfozn.jpgThe one downside? It’s spider season. How do they get into my house? How do they appear in the middle of the floor? Why do they run so fast? How can I make them go away?! Eurgh…

One of my favourite things about going into Autumn is pulling out all my favourite bits and pieces from the back of my wardrobe. All my most-loved clothes are made for this time of year, and the first day I put black tights on again is definitely one I enjoy – no more leg shaving for a few months! I love the autumnal shades, in fact our wedding is scheduled for early October purely because of the gorgeous colours around at this time of year. And it’s the same weekend we original got together, I guess!

 photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 3_zpskyrjljhb.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 1_zpsw4t0gmao.jpgThis skirt has been a staple in my wardrobe for an embarrassingly long time. Like, my pre-university days. Which felt fine when I was actually at university, but now I’ve graduated feels a bit excessive. That said, I can’t bring myself to chuck it just yet. It’s one of the few skirts I paid to have taken in when I lost weight (though still needs a belt to stay at the waist), the material is thick and good quality (that’s M&S for you!) and it has pockets.

The best thing though?It’s perfect for sunnier, warmer days that still hint at an Indian summer, whilst being ideal for cooler days where a jumper is needed. I’ve taken to carrying around a pair of woolly black knee-highs around with me, as they’re perfect for slipping on when things are a little colder than expected. Far too often in the past few weeks have I pulled on a dress, only to get rained on! Throwing on a jumper is effortless with a skirt like this, as it goes with so many. I’d originally planned to pair it with a blush pink jumper, but I’ll be damned if I can find it…

 photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 4_zpsuxw0x1lw.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 8_zpsm839hooi.jpgAnd the boots*. Oh, how I love these boots! Usually I spend months and months trying to find decent boots (though I hit the jackpot last year with some bargains from LIDL & ASDA). Having wide feet, narrow ankles, chunky calves and a whole size difference between each foot makes things rather difficult. These somehow work. I don’t need to wear three pairs of ankle socks on my small foot to keep it on, I don’t need to shove insoles in. The elasticated ankle means mine are supported, yet I can see there is enough give for those blessed with a bit of padding on their ankle bones. If you have dodgy-shaped feet, I can highly recommend a browse on JD Williams, I’m rather enamored by these too… The pointed toe is surprisingly comfy, the heel height just right. I can see these getting a lot of wear through to Spring time!

 photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 2_zpswd6yu6j5.jpg photo Transitioning to Autumn Fashion 7_zpsb7yfdn8c.jpg(Typically, the day I shot these photos was very warm, with sun so bright I could barely see. Hence the squinting and horrendous shadows. Sod’s law and all that…).

*Boots received from JD Williams in exchange for a post. All opinions are my own, if I didn’t love them the post wouldn’t be going live!

What’s your favourite time of year? Do you have a wardrobe staple you refuse to get rid of?

Lifestyle: Saying Goodbye to Summer at Castle Ashby Gardens

Whilst the weather is still rather scorching, the sun is still shining, and it’s the Bank Holiday weekend, I’m slowly coming to the realisation that my summer is coming to an end. In just over a week I’ll be trading lie-ins for tube journeys, lazy days with office days, PJs with suits, bare feet with heels.

 photo Castle Ashby Gardens 16_zps0kuqj756.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 18_zpshrcd954v.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 19_zpsxk3imgkl.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 21_zpskifczuqu.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 20_zpsvrrsx5yj.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 26_zpsk1mnd7ed.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 24_zpstaqobzew.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 27_zps5jjhqmfi.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 12_zps2cfwoynh.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 22_zpsquvhfvpy.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 10_zpshhsjgk4t.jpgI mean, I’m excited to start work. If I’m honest waking up knowing I have nothing to do fills me with dread, and I’ve begun to feel like my brain is melting through lack of activity. I’ll be glad to get some kind of daily routine going, I’ll be challenging myself, learning new things and keeping busy. But it will be hard to let go of the laziness. I’ve had longer off this summer than I have since the summer of 2009. I’ve always, always worked through summers, and this one has been the exception.

To make the most of the gorgeous sunshine Northamptonshire has been basking in lately, and to make the most of the countryside whilst we still can, we headed out to Castle Ashby a few weeks ago. A teeny-tiny village, it features a rural shopping yard of galleries and delicatessens, gorgeous houses, and a stately-home with it’s gardens open to the public. The gardens were the reason for our visit, despite costing £5.50 to enter they really are an oasis of calm. Plenty of dappled shade on a hot day, lots of lawn to lay a picnic blanket down and laze about, plenty of flowers to practice setting up my camera manually.

 photo Castle Ashby Gardens 1_zpsvmyd57d1.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 5_zps4ck8jq7o.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 3_zpsw9aa5dqz.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 2_zps0aawyabo.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 4_zpso84oiqxh.jpgAnd the best bit? The meerkats! If I’m completely honest they were my main reason for suggesting a visit to Castle Ashby. I love them! So comical and mischievous, I could (and did) watch them for hours. Our visit was even more special as, wandering around the sides of their enclosure, we noticed a mummy-meerkat bring her babies out of the den for what was apparently the first time. If there’s anything cuter than a meerkat, it’s a meerkat baby!

We found a shaded bench to sit and chat, down by a small lily-pond with a view of their gorgeous terracotta bridge to our right. We watched as fish jumped out of the pond to catch flies, as swallows dived in for a drink. It was the perfect spot for a bit of peace and quiet ahead of our busy week moving our bits and bobs to London.

 photo Castle Ashby Gardens 6_zpspy7b5bnm.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 7_zpskfbiys6p.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 11_zps74ggug2h.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 14_zpsp282azp3.jpg photo Castle Ashby Gardens 15_zpsxnzianew.jpgI tried using the opportunity of the gorgeous backgrounds to take a couple of outfit photos. This failed on several accounts. Firstly, the sun was so bright that looking towards the camera without squinting was difficult – especially in front of the very fashion-blogger-esque distressed brick walls. Secondly, I realised I was wearing a rather old dress. And by old, I mean I bought it five years ago. So some very nice photos of me, wearing a Dorothy Perkins dress you’d be lucky to find anywhere. Oops…

Fashion blogger failure aside, it was lovely to wander through the gardens, stroll through the greenhouses (including one filled with chillis – I was more apprehensive about the tomato filled one!) and learn more about the estate. I loved how well maintained the gardens were, without seeing teams of gardeners around every corner, and agree the funds raised from entry charges was clearly being well used. If only we’d had time to stop in the tea rooms!

Thank you summer’16 – it’s been glorious, but I’m glad it’s coming to an end. Until next year, though I’d welcome the warmth and sunshine for a little longer.

How has your summer been? 

Fashion: Floral Maxi OOTD

As I mentioned last week, I’ve finally got up the courage to buy and (more importantly) wear a few maxi-length pieces. I’ve bought a few before, and they’ve remained unworn and neglected in my wardrobe, before eventually making their way onto Ebay or to a charity shop. Oops. Now I’m wondering why I have waited so long.

 photo New Look Floral Maxi Dress 2_zpswowk3zyv.jpg photo New Look Floral Maxi Dress 3_zpsi0lr670g.jpgIn my defence, I still struggle to find items I would actually wear. I have an inbuilt opinion that they make me look a lot bigger than I am, and that translates to what I see in the mirror. Then there’s the height issue. I’m too tall for the petite range, with them ending just above my ankle bone. The standard range drag on the floor. But once I fell in love with this dress, once I didn’t feel like a blue blob, I popped along to a seamstress and for £10 got 3 inches chopped off the bottom.

From New Look, the size 8 fits well (if slightly snug around the top department, if you get what I mean!). Once chopped it’s the right length, sitting just right with flat sandals. The slit up the side stops the floral print from becoming too mumsy, the belt stops me from appearing too short. Styled up with a hot pink cardigan (which I couldn’t bear to wear in the heatwave in Brighton!), this is becoming my favourite date night outfit. It also made the perfect thing to wear at my engagement party a few weeks ago – just right for a traditional English garden party. Lets hope the weather remains warm enough to wear it for a bit longer!

 photo New Look Floral Maxi Dress 1_zps3vwqc2w9.jpgNow all I need to do is remember to let my hair dry before taking outfit photos in the future…

Are you a fan of maxi dresses? Do you have types of clothing you avoid?

Fashion: Graduation Dress

Oh, how I dreaded searching for a graduation dress! I hate looking at myself in mirrors, hate being photographed, my body confidence is pretty much rock-bottom currently. The thought of having to find an outfit which will be forever displayed on grandparents walls was terrifying.

 photo IMG_2066_zpslt1zobzc.jpg photo 2016-07-11 21.19.46_zpsqsfszhwq.jpgThen there was the constraint of finding something ‘appropriate.’ Graduating in the cathedral meant I didn’t want anything revealing, wanted a decent length. I wanted something that would blend in or complement my hood colour (a soft grey – quite nice as it happened!). Oh, and I desperately wanted something that fitted. Seeing as 90% of my wardrobe doesn’t right now.

Seemed like an impossible task, right?! Turns out I was on a roll back in April – I managed to find my wedding dress (!), summer ball dress and graduation dress all within the space of a few days!

 photo 2016-07-14 12.00.10_zpsdilekjdd.jpg photo 2016-07-14 12.00.17_zpsqvpvpwqs.jpg photo 2016-07-14 11.59.39_zpsg4vsvmnq.jpgMy graduation dress came from Next, one of their featured brands called Little Mistress (also available from House of Fraser and, I think, ASOS). Originally priced at £55, it’s now much cheaper (typical) but  personally felt the material and fit to be superior even for the higher price. A silky polyester blend, fitted even to my waist, with a flattering wrap skirt, the length was perfect for my height. The colour blended with my hood, and went perfectly with my favourite makeup look. Definitely a good buy!

I accessorized with a bright pink cardigan (Tesco) and some black court shoes (Peacocks, which crippled me with a horrific blister despite wearing them in). I was also lucky enough not to have to carry a bag, however regretted this halfway through the very long (and unfortunately very boring) ceremony – how I would have loved to have my phone with me!
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What did you wear to your graduation? Did you dread finding a dress too?

Fashion: Sun-Seeking in Floral Dresses

Would someone like to inform the sun that it is now June, and an appearance would be most appreciated?

 photo House of Fraser Dress5_zps1qkmykpz.jpgSince I came back from France, I’ve seen the sun for a total of two hours at the very most. I’ve gotten soaked in the pouring rain. Dug out my cosiest winter pyjamas. Even turned the heating on for a cheeky hour. Whilst it’s lovely to snuggle up with a warm drink and a good book (oh, how I’m loving reading for pleasure instead of studying!), I’m now positively aching for a bit of sunshine, a hint of warmth. I have new clothes to wear, and so far every time I’ve tried I’ve ended up scampering back upstairs to throw on something slightly warmer…

Despite the not-so-nice weather, I simply couldn’t resist sharing my newest dress*.

 photo House of Fraser Dress3_zpss3mmnnl7.jpgMade of the floatiest material (i.e. one that makes me feel rather feminine and pretty, but that shows my knickers with the slightest breeze), cut to gentle pleats, and with just enough dark to toughen up the soft pastel floral pattern, this is my new favourite summer dress. Or it would be, if it was warm enough to wear it!

Whilst the vast majority of my wardrobe is floral dresses and skirts, this is still very different to my usual style. It’s high-necked, with a collar and slightly ruffled detailed along the bust – both things I ordinarily avoid. It’s yellow, again something I’m not overly keen on. But for some reason, I fell in love with it. The length sits perfectly just a couple of inches above my knee, the waistline pulls me in.

 photo House of Fraser Dress2_zpsnb6rryen.jpgStill unable to buy myself the correct size after loosing several dress sizes last year, I took a chance and used the House of Fraser “how will this fit you personally” guide – and it worked! I popped in my favourite dress manufacturer and size, and a few other measurements, and out popped my size. Despite my sceptism, it really is the perfect fit. And surprisingly, so is the other dress I also bought using the guide – a tighter, figure-hugging showstopper for graduation.

Until the sun comes out, I’ve been pairing this with skin-coloured tights, navy flats and a navy cardigan, grabbing a brown or tan satchel for good measure. However I’m looking forward to wearing the dress bare-legged, with some delicate sandals, for a good ol’British picnic. Now I just need the weather to play along…

What have you been wearing lately? Are you struggling with the British weather at the moment?

Fashion: SS16 Wishlist

It’s getting to the time of year where I’m bored of my wardrobe, bored of heavy figure-hiding jumpers, bored of thick black tights, fed up of ankle boots. Yet this year I’m not exactly enamored with my summer wardrobe either. The majority of it is far too big for me, my style has grown up a bit since I bought most of it. And as a penniless final-year student (with as yet no job lined up) I’m not exactly in a position to rush out and buy a whole new wardrobe.

SS16 Wishlist

 

Being penniless hasn’t, however, stopped me obsessively browsing online for bits and pieces I’d love. These are just a few of the bits I’ve bookmarked recently…

The pinafore I’m absolutely in love with. I have the black version though, and I know just how short it is! I’m not exactly tall, but the regular version is reserved for wearing with thick black tights only! I have a feeling that the one in the ‘tall’ section will be too long in the body on me, but we shall see…

The dress (well, at $430 maybe not this exact one!) is something I’m looking for ready for Summer Ball. I ideally want something simple and black, which I can jazz up with gold accessories. And gold flat sandals, because “Summer Ball” is actually in the carpark, and we’re planning a boozy BBQ throughout the entire afternoon.

The satchel-style bag in the top-right is something I might actually be getting. The Leather Satchel Company recently ran a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a customisation tool – which was fully backed way past target. I pledged £60 in return for a mini-satchel, and this colour combination is my favourite so far. I only wish I could have pledged more, as I’m really lusting after a two-pocket satchel…

So much I want, so little pennies to spend! What are you lusting over at the moment?

Fashion: Clothes I Forgot I Had

I never meant to have two wardrobes, but it’s a luxury I’ve been taking advantage of for a good couple of years. I simply have far too many clothes to take to/from university, so I split my wardrobe in half. The massive upside of this is that I can go home and refresh my look without spending anything. The downside – I occasionally forget what I have any buy what are virtually duplicates.

But everyone needs 20 white shirts, right?!

When I went home for my Christmas holidays (which seem SO long ago now!) I was rather limited for suitcase space, having had to pack notes in one case and a small overnight bag of clothes for my weekend away. I ended up having to rely on my ‘second’ wardrobe over my four weeks at home, rediscovering some pieces I wish I hadn’t forgotten about, as well as some I wish I had!
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The Cheap Skirt & Expensive Boots

This was a look I relied on a lot over Christmas, whenever I had to go out for something remotely more than a nip to the shops. Casual coffee with friends? Yep. Will’s birthday meal? Outfit sorted! I’d completely forgetten that I owned this skirt, despite having owned it for a good five years. I picked it up in Primark for £2 (!) as something to wear on one of mine and W’s earliest dates, and it’s still going strong. Admittedly it’s far too big right now, but with a jumper tucked in and my pretttyyyyy (and hellishly uncomfortable) ankle boots on it looks a lot better than a Primark cheapie!
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The Classic LBD

Oh, my perfect LBD! How I wish I had received this lovely little black dress after I’d lost weight, as it is a bit bulky now. That said it was a key piece in my wardrobe over my holidays as it was so easy to throw on. I love it simply belted with a pair of patterned tights.

4 Billion Pairs of Plain Black Tights

These were a complete Godsend of a find! I spent a week up in W’s uni flat and it was freezinggggg for the first couple of days. The very first day I sat studying in five pairs of socks and gloves and was still more than a little grumpy when I eventually got instructions on how to turn on the heaters from the boys. Tights saved my legs from frostbite – I love layering pairs to make them warmer, or throwing a pair under jeans to stay toasty. Can never have enough tights!
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The Jumper Dress

I love a good jumper dress, and when stressing about what to wear for NYE I’m so glad this (quite literally) fell on my head. A beautiful plum colour, flattering fit without being too flashy (I was catering a dinner party for 14 so needed something comfortable – and easy to change into ten minutes before guest arrived). I reckon this even make the cut into my suitcase back to university.

The Glittery Nail Polishes

With a second wardrobe comes a second (and third, and fourth…) makeup bag. Admittedly I have far too much makeup, but leaving my glittery nail polishes behind was a conscious decision on my return to university. I knew I wouldn’t wear them until the holidays so I definitely made the most of them. Especially as I was showing off my sparkly ring at every opportunity…
 photo Clothes I Forgot I Had 2_zps1zmyudpr.jpg

Do you forget about clothes you own? Tell me I’m not the only one!

Lifestyle: All The Black Things

I always thought Black Friday was a big thing in America, but it seems to have taken the UK by storm over the last couple of years. Not that I’m complaining – any excuse to save a few pennies on my shopping is fine by me! Having it just before Christmas makes it an ideal time to pick up presents too (though luckily I’m almost done with all of that – plus the six birthdays in the surrounding fortnight too!).

 photo Black Friday 3_zpsegjdikrw.jpg photo Black Friday 4_zpswgbrbwcz.jpgTNT Direct have put together a #LittleBlackBox in celebration of Black Friday – an imaginative and far more exciting alternative to the little black dress of the party season. The contents of the box was pretty exciting – some super-dark 100% chocolate, black lipstick and nail varnish (if only it had arrived in time for Halloween!), and some lovely vanilla scent candles. It got me thinking, though, about all the black things I love. I’m very much a colour person, I rarely wear black outfits (bar a pair of jeans), but it turns out I own a lot of black bits and pieces!

Technology

I always think black tech pieces look so much more ‘techy’ than other colours, even if white looks a lot more sophisticated. I’m torn between loving my white tablet, but preferring the sleekness of my black phone. And my laptop doesn’t help matters, being brown (not quite sure what I was thinking!).
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Candles

Not quite black, but still quite dark for a candle, this just happens to be one of my most favourite scents ever. I’ve had a couple of these candles and whilst the scent payoff isn’t the best, it gives change from just a handful of coins and a lovely jar after burning. Cheers Primark!
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Chocolate

I’m a huge fan of proper chocolate (post coming up soon, and it will explain that delicious brownie!), and do love a bit of dark chocolate. A square or two of dark chocolate satisfies any sweet craving without me raiding the biscuit tin – I’m determined to keep the weight I lost off so this is definitely helping!
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Photographs

I just adore black and white photographs! There’s just something so elegant and timeless about them – they look impossibly romantic. This photo was taken nearly four years ago and I love it, every time I catch a glimpse of it I smile. I’d love some more professional photos of the two of us in the next couple of months as we’ve both changed a LOT since we were sixteen/seventeen.
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Boots

I said I don’t wear a lot of black outfits, the exception being black jeans and shoes. I do love a chic pair of black boots, and probably have around five pairs lying between a few houses (is it only me who keeps a few options at her boyfriends – 150+ miles away?!). These boots from LIDL have been an absolute bargain, and I’ve recently picked up some black patent ankle wellies. I can see them becoming a staple if the last week’s weather is anything to go by!

So a surprising amount of love for black things things from me! Are you a fan of black, or are you a more colourful person?