Thursday, 15 May 2014

Knobbly knee competition Pt 2 - River Island dress for exhibitionists...

I went to River Island. I bought this dress. Now the weather must change thanks.

I pretty much live by River Island now, they always have the most fabulous prints and gone are the days of excessive embellishment and cheap Lycra (unless that's what you want, in which case they still have some. Trust me) I honestly think they've moved forwards to being more in league with Topshop, only without the obscene Topshop pricing. (£60 for a basic dress No thank YOU Topshop) This dress comes in at £35, has a good quality zip and plenty of detailing. 

I'm wearing a size 16 here but think I could have gone for the 14 as there is plenty of space around the bust and waist (very unusual indeed on my big back). On this note, I must urge you to try River island, at any size. The jackets are always extremely roomy, as are the maxi dresses (which are also bloody gorgeous). The sleeves on this dress are brilliant; no digging in and just the right length.

The dress has a small gap under the bust so you can flash a bit IS this part?!? Under-cleavage?!? Mid-rib-age?!? Anyway, that bit's on show and it's nice because it's a fairly foolproof body part that even I can't ruin with fake tan/shaving rash/unidentified drinking bruises.
I have stupidly knobbly knees and also ankle cellulite, why is this? But this year I am going to go TIGHTLESS! I'm bored of overly warm "areas" (aren't we all?) so I am doing it. Watch. This. Space.

Shoes are some ancient ones from Next that I always think are stupidly comfortable and then my skin comes off and I curse the shoes every which way. Yet I insist on wearing them...
My face has the usual shizzle on it and this picture makes my hair look much nicer than it actually is. MAGIC PICTURE.

Em x

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Couch cafe - Lunchtime garlic time

I don't usually blog about eating out, this is for a number of reasons:
1 - I don't often eat out
2 - If I DO eat out, I'm usually drunk within 25 minutes
3 - I tend to eat everything in sight before I can photograph it..
So today is a bit of a treat for you (debatable, I know).

This morning, walking along Campo lane with my coat wrapped around my sad little face and my feet dragging behind me leaving a trail of sad in my wake, I spotted Couch.
Sheffield city centre has a veritable smorgasbord of eateries; pubs, bars, restaurants, caf├ęs, street food and takeaways. On the rare occasion that I eat out, it tends to be for lunch (I work in town and it's a good way of escape). Now, if I'm paying to eat out, I don't really just want a sandwich - I want ALL OF THE FOOD. 

The building that Couch has opened in has been various guises, none that have interested me like this one. I'll be honest, what initially grabbed my interest was the sign saying BREAKFAST (who wouldn't that interest?) so I smushed my nose against the window and was met by the sight of lovely warm couches (well duh), modern lighting and people who were not leaking sadness. 

"COUCH! I SHALL RETURN!" I promised there and then.
And return I did, a mere five hours later....

The interior of Couch is beautiful, it's modern but not cold. How they've achieved this I simply can't fathom but it really works. The seating is a combination of soft warm couches, low coffee tables, bar stools, and long high tables for groups (of which there were a couple of today)
The lighting is spot on, the full windows bring in a lot of natural light and the variety of naked bulbs and lamps mean that every corner is well lit (all the better for seeing the cakes!)
Now to the most important bit, THE FOOD. The menu at Couch is a fabulous combination of classy sarnies (no soggy ham sandwiches here), platters, tapas, flatbreads, soups and salads. It makes such a refreshing change from "Burger and chips".
I'd gone for lunch with my husband who is a total and utter nightmare when it comes to eating out. His list of lunchtime "Will eats" consists of the following:
Burger and chips
Lasagne and chips
Fancy eh?!? So I was over the moon to see tapas. He LOVES tapas (SO strange when he won't eat any of the things individually...) 
We went for five dishes to share:
Meatballs with chipotle sauce
"Couch potatoes" and chorizo
Chorizo with roasted peppers
Houmous and Garlic crostini
Moroccan couscous
This guy's face says it all. Everything was entirely delicious; the chorizo was extremely tasty and the couscous was spot on. The flavours were authentic and as usual, I ate a lot more than him which only demonstrates how good the portions are. I then spent aaaaaall day being more garlicky than an actual garlic and I'm pretty sure my colleagues will be cursing Couch until next month.... 

The bill came to around £15 including two soft drinks which I think is extremely reasonable indeed! (My husband would also like me to note that it was on the table within 14 minutes and 20 seconds of ordering which is fabulous if you have a quick lunch break. He clearly takes this food blogging lark a LOT more seriously that me....) 
The website assures me that the coffee here is also a bit posh (I don't drink coffee but they had those machine things and beans and everything) PLUS by the look of things, there's live music on the cards.

Just one final image to whet your appetites, Couch do takeaway sandwiches and CAKES, Uuggghhhnnn the cakes - the brownies made me weak just by looking at them....

I wholeheartedly recommend Couch if you're in Sheffield, I'll certainly be popping back in for a vino or two.

Em x

Couch can be found at: 
29 - 31 Campo Lane Sheffield, S1 2EG

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Made up with the Make a Up Kit Part 1 - Lea Michelle

This is the first in a collaboration between this blog and Katherine from The Makeup Kit. Katherine is a MUA who has guaranteed to me that any makeup look can be made simple. WELL I THINK SHE'S WRONG and if anyone can prove it, ITS ME. To prove her hypothesis, Katherine has offered to talk me through some celebrity looks step by step. My general makeup style is: Put it all on, what stays on stays, what slides off goes. So this could prrrrrretty interesting....

The first look we are going for is the fuschia lipped thing of beauty that is Lea Michelle.
Deep breath guys, here we go (The first two pictures scare me. I apologise if they also scare you, it will be over soon....)

1.  I started by following Katherine's instructions and priming my poor sad, tired face with a layer of Benefit Who's that Gal primer which I love and which lasts me FOREVER.
2. As always, I used my No7 Beautifully matte mousse in Cool Ivpry. I've mentioned this is previous posts and I'm still just as loyal to it. I then used Benefit boi-ing concealer 01 under my eyes, around my nose and on my chin to cover any redness and give a more even finish. Katherine used a powder here and I didn't want to be left out so I dusted some ELF HD powder on with my massive kabuki brush (not a bukaki brush as I once asked for in Boots. If you don't know what this is DONT Google it). LOOK - I HAVE NO EYES!!!
3. Now I let the whole thing down here. Katherine instructed to use an eye primer on my eyelids and I DON'T HAVE ONE. The one Katherine used was MAC Painterly paint pot which has been recommended to me by a fair few people in the know. To define my brows, I used a mid brown eyeshadow from my Smashbox photo op eyeshadow palette (I am aware that my right eyebrow is escaping, I don't know what's happening here)

I applied a the two neutral beige shades from the No7 Cappuccino eye trio on the lid up to the brow bone and then then applied Bella Pierre eye pigment in Bronze (which oddly looks more gold than the gold one) and blended it into the crease line. I then applied a thin line of the Rimmel Tattoo eyeliner in black and my new favourite mascara: Thick and Fast by Soap and Glory. I'd always used benefit "they're real" but found that my eyelids were feeling really heavy, Thick and fast is really light and causes me no issues.
4. I next contoured my cheekbones with my Sleek contouring kit, using the darker shade underneath my cheek bones, following Katherine's fabulous instructions. I them used a mid pink blush on the apples of my cheeks, this one the one from the contouring kit again (BEST BUY EVER)

5. As Katherine says, this look is all about the lips. I have couple of vibrant fuchsias, the one I wear the most is my Chanel in L'Exuberante but for this look I went full gaudy with my Kate moss for Rimmel in Shade 02.
6. I finished the look as I generally always do, by highlighting my cheekbones with Benefit High Beam.

I then put my fringe down, stopped having a full beam five head and basked in the glory of BEING Lea Michelle (only poorer and a foot taller/wider) 
I'd like to pause here and thank the makeup gods, some people look glorious makeup free. I ain't one of them....This is a look that I really like and am extremely pleased Katherine chose it to start off with. Also, I'm glad she kept it nice and simple so I didn't end up looking like Aunt Sally....

Don't forget to check out Katherine's tutorial on her blog


Em x

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Look for Simply Be Bardot Printed Prom Dress

As you will recall from my previous post here, I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of Simply Be's new range in collaboration with Look Magazine. And I have been fortunate YET AGAIN (I'm a jammy mare me!) because in the post last week was this beautiful little number.
  • The Bardot dress is described on the website  as "Forget your little black dress – for us, things are taking a bolder turn this spring. Our galaxy splatter print looks as though it could be straight off the catwalk. This is one of our stand-out favourites. Centre back-zip fastening detail."

At the launch I fell in love with the print of the dress and I think we can all agree that I was right to do so! 
I actually put a net skirt under the dress to add some extra fullness, however, the pleats give a lovely flare even without this. The waist nips in just at the right place (my favourite thing about Simply Be is that they really cater for my body shape), the sleeves have plenty of room and the neckline is just luuuurvely. The only thing I would change about the dress is the length. I wish it had been available in the tall range as ideally, I like a full skirt to fall mid calf. However, I am aware that I'm rather tall so this wouldn't be as much a problem for everyone. 
I've accessorised for a wedding seeing as I have so many coming up this year. For someone who's never liked red, I really have a thing for red accessories! 
Shoes: New Look (last year, similar here)
Fascinator: Debenhams (last year again! Similar here)

Thank you ever so much for the dress Look and a Simply Be, it's such a lovely piece and I can't wait to see it on some other ladies! The rest of the range is here - it really is fab.
Finally, I henna'd my hair again last night with a new recipe (I'm basically a hair chef nowadays) which included:
Lush caca rouge 
Boiling water
Three tablespoons honey
Two tablespoons cinnamon 

It gave it a lovely tone and my scalp feels mega (sexy right...?!?) I'd also tried to do my makeup like Christina Hendricks. I failed. Hence no facial vanity this time. Don't say I never give you a rest...

Em x

Thursday, 1 May 2014

What else should I be, all apologies

One of the things I dislike most about myself is the way that I perpetually apologise for my appearance.

For example, the other day I was in the bath and my husband walked in. I sat straight up and apologised for my state of undress - WHAT NONSENSE IS THIS?!? I know I may refer to myself as a "nevernude" but this was the bath (I would wear a swimming costume but they're exhausting getting in and out of) Where does this horrible habit come from?!??
I've always apologised for my height, but then it's always been an issue. Photographers at school had to shift everyone about to try and prevent me spoiling their aesthetic genius (straight lines all the way). As a bridesmaid, buying a dress went from what would have been a straightforward task to a military operation of epic proportions. Plus, uniforms were never adhered to due to ridiculously long limbs, this sounds great in theory but it meant I had some prrrretty grim (boys) trousers in an effort to match what everyone else was wearing.
Backrow middle. ALWAYS.
I'm less inclined now to apologise for my height, frankly I'm not that tall in comparison to other people, plus it bores me. Despite this, my first response when someone new jokes about how short I make then feel, is to laugh "hahaha I know, I'm sorry about that!" You know, because I have a choice in it...

I have now moved on to apologise about my weight/size/shape. This happens in the following two arenas:

Anywhere where someone will be in close proximity to me 
I am an extremely clumsy individual, the word ungainly was created for me. I've always put this down to the sheer amount of space I take up. If I want to sit down on a settee and someone else is on said settee I will say something along the lines of "whoops oooops excuse me, oh my big bum! Sorry" OR I just won't sit down because I can already hear myself saying these things and it makes me cringe until my face hurts.
My delicate touch 
This also happens when I'm having a massage/facial/someone is looking at any part of me for more than 30seconds. I can't help but say something like "I bet this is easier on someone with a smaller surface area" SIGH.

When discussing being a Plus sized blogger
My measurements put me at anything from a 14 to an 18 (I must stress here - THIS IS ON PAPER. PAPER IS NOT REAL LIFE). So this is a new apology from me; "Sorry I'm sometimes a size 14". 

From around the age of 7, I haven't been able to go into a shop, say "ooooh I like that I'LL TAKE IT". This is for various reasons, be it my loooong legs, my "powerful" thighs, high waist or simply because the clothes don't go up to my size. I basically shop wherever I can find something that fits and that I like. 

Despite all this, I appreciate that I am still fortunate enough to find gems on the high street or in vintage shops unlike many other PS bloggers. I know from speaking to friends how frustrating it is to consistently see plus size brands advertising with much smaller models and only a minority of plus size ranges going beyond a size 26. I do, however, have a real issue with the word "Privilege" in this sense. I'm extremely privileged in many ways, and I'm not ignorant to this. However, being an "inbetweenie" is not a "privilege" to me, it just means that in not being a straight sized blogger, and not being a size 18+ I'm in some kind of clothing no mans land.

This size issue is one of my most awkward apologies. It comes from not fitting in. I want everyone to fit in everywhere always but that is not the world we live in and this makes me sad. As I get older, I'm not as upset by personally not fitting in, which is lucky because it's not happened yet and I doubt it will happen anytime soon. And that's what makes us all who we are.

Many of the blogs I read have said at some point that as a youth, they desperately longed for someone in the public eye who they could associate with, more often than not in a physical sense. I'm intrigued to know; Do you feel more accepting of your body when in the company of physically similar people? Has there been one particular person in the public eye (a celebrity/blogger etc) who you've felt reflects something you see in yourself?
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