Circus Stripes

I was very excited when I scored this Topshop flippy tunic in the sale the other week, and if it isn't just about the most comfy thing I own! I love the stripes, breaking all the rules here today ;) including the jeans-and-dresses rule, as after Mrs. BeBe's post the other day I thought 'screw it, I'm only hanging around the house all day' and stuck some super-comfy jeans on instead of too-short tights or too-thin leggings. Comfort for the win! In a bizarre paradox though I feel like I should have sized down in this tunic; having small shoulders I've got the gaping-arm-holes thing going on, hence the cardi.

flippy tunic: topshop / cardi: ebay / jeans: next
flats: draven /necklace: primark 
nails: models own golden peach & ebay

(Maxi)mum Impact

Maxi dresses are something I've never really considered for myself, in particular because they're either jersey creations designed for someone with a flatter-than-flat stomach (e.g. half the topshop maxi's) or they compensate for their length by being very, very low cut. Eek. I have small shoulders so those ones normally end up displaying the whole of my bra as well as what they are supposed to show off.

Whilst perusing the ladies' fashion on bonmarchĂ© (a site I would never look at usually) I spotted a few gems in the dresses section. I think the styles and patterns would suit people of most ages without being age inapproriate or overly frumpy. It would also save a lot of sun-cream applying time for me in the summer; shoulders, arms and you're off! A lot less worry and a lot more comfort (can you tell I can't wait for summer?!)

The Swimwear Dilemma

By blogger and fashion standards, I'm what is considered 'plus sized'. By my standards, that doesn't mean much but I definitely know if I hit the beach this summer I wouldn't be comfortable in a teensy bikini (though to be honest I would have the same issue if I were a size 8 I think!). 'Large' swimwear is generally either unflattering or black. 

Why does being over a size 14 mean I can't wear pretty patterns and cute cuts? Why does it mean I have to have a weird ruche over my stomach that is meant to be slimming but really isn't? These swimming costumes challenge these constrictions though, how sweet are these? Vintage chic!

Review: Topshop 'Oopsy Daisy' Eyeshadow

I'm not a person who often wears makeup; I have bad eczema and I don't want to do anything to make it worse. However, I spotted this eyeshadow duo in Topshop for £1 all on it's own and I couldn't resist! I've always wanted to try Topshop brand makeup and I've heard really good things. So here's a couple swatches I did;

Without primer; I was a little disappointed with the pigmentation of the pink in particular, though the yellow also needed a fair bit of build-up to get it to that brightness. The pink could maybe be used as a nice blush though.

With primer; pigmentation is a bit better though I don't like how much darker the yellow has gotten! Pink is still a bit blah though a fair bit better in terms of brightness and I'd probably use the both colours, though maybe not in combination, at some point for sure. Overall, still a steal for £1!

Geek Chic: Princess Bubblegum

Who says I'm too old for cartoons?! I adore Adventure Time, and to be honest even though it's kid-friendly it is one of those shows that any age could enjoy. Plus the style and animation is just beautiful. Other than Science the Rat my favourite character is probably Princess Bubblegum. Maybe it's the pink hair influencing me? Anyway here's on outfit based on her and a little image of her as well just in case you don't watch AT;

dress - belt - flats - bag

Awesome Food: Hot Dog Spaghetti

Now, I wouldn't even come close to calling myself a cook (or any good at cooking), but I saw some pictures from other people that made this and I thought it looked simple enough that it might be possible for even me to not screw it up. Well, I did run across a few issues; namely using quick cook spaghetti which isn't really firm enough for what I wanted to do and the hot dogs I bought had entirely no flavour after being boiled for 5 minutes, ick. I do really want to try this again though and see the differing results now I know what went wrong.

Keep or Return? The Parka.

Somewhere between Stoke and Newport I managed to lose my khaki parka, also known as my favourite and bestest coat ever. I nabbed this one off of Dorothy Perkins in the sale and on the surface it sounded brilliant; fur hood, detachable shearling, etc. etc. But on receiving it I'm not so sure. It seems a little... voluminous all over and I'm afraid if I go down a size I will also end up with a lot shorter arms. So I'm putting it out to you readers; keep or return? Please excuse the awful pictures too; my room is dark so shutter speed is slow!

RAK Goodies

Recently I participated in Char's Random Acts of Kindness swap, and I was paired with the lovely Elise of Foof & Faff and I received the most wonderful parcel off of her! Check these goodies out (so lucky!); 

all the goodies together, can you believe how much there is?! there were also some sweets too but they didn't last the couple hours before I took these photos ;)

A rainbow of markers! These will inevitably be used in nail art at some point, as all my markers are.

Some lovely nail polishes. I'm such a child that I had to stick all three on the day I got them! Ha.

Panda Ring! These are just adorable.

I want to get back into paper-and-ink illustration so these are perfect for me, and the container they came in is sweet.

Apologies for the HK plaster (managed to stab myself in the thumb), but how sweet is this little heart charm?! It also has a pink twin.

Valentine, Be Mine.

I'm back from my week in Stoke! It was seriously wonderful, I love spending time with the boyfriend and his housemates. Unfortunately I didn't actually end up taking, er, any photos of what I got up to whilst I was up there since part of my Valentine's present from the boyfriend was Star Wars: The Old Republic. Sooo, you can guess what I spent the rest of my week doing :p Here's a few snaps of my gifts though (and his gift from me);

Mameshiba! they are adorable bean-dog plushies that impart knowledge. You can read more about them here.

SWTOR! I'm already level 20 :p

A single rose from the restaurant we went to.

The boyfriend's gift; a star wars moleskine.

Go Forth and Dye Fearlessly: Caring for Dyed Hair

'Go Forth and Dye Fearlessly' is a weekly feature on my blog for the next five weeks; as a hair-dye veteran I will be explaining what dyes and bleaches to go for, how to prepare your hair for dying, dying and bleaching your hair and appropriate aftercare. Of course, this is all stuff that has worked personally for me but as you're obviously not me don't take my word as gospel and please do as much research as your feel necessary to prepare yourself for transforming your hair.

So you're super happy with your new bright fancy hair, but how do you keep it nice? There's a few tips and tricks out there to keep it looking fresh and you looking your best. Putting a small amount of dye in your conditioner can be helpful; this means every time you wash your hair it's getting a little colour boost with far less effort on your part.
If you can manage it, wash your hair about once every three days. Use a shower cap when you have a shower unless washing your hair. Also try not to blow-dry or straighten your hair if possible as this also fades the colours far faster than otherwise.
Get it cut regularly. Bleaching and dying can make the ends of your hair very dry and aside from the roots this is where fading will show most. Lopping the ends off will make your hair look a far more uniform brightness all over.

I hope you enjoyed this little series, I'd love your feedback in the comments on whether or not you felt it 'worked'.

Geek Chic: Wonder Woman

For a while wonder woman became a big thing, on lunchboxes and mugs and all sorts. The craze seems to have died down a bit but you still can't forget her iconic american-flag style colours! She's the inspiration behind this outfit, which is sort of like what would wonder woman wear on a hot summer's day when she isn't fighting crime? I think this is about right;

top - skirt - belt - sandals - cuff - necklace

Go Forth and Dye Fearlessly: Dying Your Hair

'Go Forth and Dye Fearlessly' is a weekly feature on my blog for the next five weeks; as a hair-dye veteran I will be explaining what dyes and bleaches to go for, how to prepare your hair for dying, dying and bleaching your hair and appropriate aftercare. Of course, this is all stuff that has worked personally for me but as you're obviously not me don't take my word as gospel and please do as much research as your feel necessary to prepare yourself for transforming your hair.

So now your hair should be a lovely light colour suitable for dying. The first and one of the most important things I will say is use vaseline everywhere. I'm being seriously here when I say use it over your whole face, your whole ears, your neck, your check, and all the way up to your elbows from where your gloves end. This stuff stains. Badly. And especially if you are using a purple, pink or red. Trust me, you will end up with pink and purple splodges everywhere and only very hard scrubbing will get them off before you have to be in public again. As with the bleach cover all stain-able surfaces. Here's what you need to do;

1. Put your gloves on, to ensure your hands stay clean

2. Most dyes recommend using a tinting brush and pot but my usual technique is splodging a whole load onto one hand and massaging it in with the same hand, at my roots and upwards font-back. Only getting one hand messy is helpful if you need to pick something else up and you don't want to get dye everywhere.

3. When your hair is superficially coated in dye, as with the bleach before used your fingertips to work it in all the way through and ensure everything is covered.

4. Stick on a shower cap. This has a dual reason; it stops you spraying dye everywhere if you turn around and also speeds up processing.

5. Wait. Most companies recommend 15 minutes but I leave mine on 3 hours for really saturated colour

6. Rinse your hair. Do this as close to the plughole as possible, as grouting is very easily stained by dye. You should see my shower. It will take an absolute age for the water to run clear but keep at it otherwise your will be dripping dye everywhere.

7. Shampoo. Lots. I'm talking 4-5, maybe 6 times to ensure your hair comes out clean. Don't do this with less permanent dyes though as they could just wash out straight away. This is recommended for Elumen or SFX, for other dyes was 2-3 times.

8. Dry your hair and admire it's brightness!

next week: how to care for dyed hair

Geek Chic: Ramona Flowers

Ramona is one of my all-time favourite comic book characters, and I'm sure if you read Scott Pilgrim she would be one of yours too! I much prefer the comic version of her purely because there's a larger range in her hairstyles and colours (er... supposedly, it is in black and white!) and she does actually get far more 'stage time' than in the film  not to mention a huge wardrobe of super cute outfits. This outfit is inspired by the cover of book #5, one of my favourite-ever pictures of Ramona herself;

jacket - boots - shorts - belt - hoodie - tights - bag

Nail Experimentation

I created this effect using 3 different Barry M polishes and a clear topcoat when bored one evening. I'm not too sure on the finished piece (ignore the messiness, that'll clear off in the shower) but I'm quite impressed by how straight I managed to get the blue lines! What do you think of them?

Go Forth and Dye Fearlessly: Bleaching

'Go Forth and Dye Fearlessly' is a weekly feature on my blog for the next five weeks; as a hair-dye veteran I will be explaining what dyes and bleaches to go for, how to prepare your hair for dying, dying and bleaching your hair and appropriate aftercare. Of course, this is all stuff that has worked personally for me but as you're obviously not me don't take my word as gospel and please do as much research as your feel necessary to prepare yourself for transforming your hair.

Here comes the exciting part! How to dye and bleach your hair yourself! This is the daunting bit for most people and I have to admit even I get worried and end up calling my mum for help, haha. However once you're done it well once it's like riding a bicycle (not that I can ride a bike...) and you'll find it easier and easier each time.

This is the part that scares most people, myself included. I recommend following the instructions on the packet to a tee and also before even letting the stuff NEAR your hair you should do a strand test. Cut a small lock of hair out, sellotape it to some cardboard or similar, mix up a small amount of bleach (making sure the ratios are correct!) and leave it to see how long the bleaching takes. Note this time and this is what you should use on your hair. However, I would not recommend leaving it on more than an hour no matter what the results show after this time.

Prior to bleaching it's recommended but not necessary to put some vaseline around your hairline. It's also a very good idea to make sure that you are wearing old clothes and protecting any non-white surfaces as bleach does as it's name says! 

1. Begin by sectioning your hair. Using clips is a good idea especially for longer hair, but not needed.

2. Then using the tinting brush supplied smooth a good amount of mixed bleach from your roots to the tips of your hair, or wherever it is your want bleached; obviously if you want to create an ombre effect don't go from the roots.

3. Keep sectioning hair and making sure all parts of your roots are covered. Directions in particular is a nice thick substance so you can see where it is easily.

4. When you feel you've covered all the hair you can with this method, put your hands (with gloves on) on your head and scrub with your fingertips as though lathering shampoo. This will ensure you get any spots you've missed and works very well for me.

5. Put a shower cap or provided plastic cap on for the amount of time used in the strand test. If you feel like anything is wrong or it is particularly painful wash it off, but there will be some burning sensation and a chemical smell because it's very powerful stuff.

6. Wash it off and use the shampoo provided to make sure it's all out. If you plan to dye immediately, DO NOT USE CONDITIONER.

(old photo! uggh)
Your hair should be nice and yellow-white now, but if it's orange or yellow this is fine too; it will be bright enough once the colour is on. If your hair doesn't feel in great condition let it 'rest' for a couple days before applying any dye.

next week: dying your hair!

The Past Few Days...

I was reunited with Cedric (my DSLR camera), so experimented with pet portraits;

I tried out some new skincare products;

I suffered from the worst bout of tonsillitis I have ever had;

I played around with my new macro filters;

I started packing for friday (in my £2.50 charity shop suitcase!);

Geek Chic: Batman

DC is one of my favourite comics brands, and of their heroes Batman is by far my favourite (partly because of the amazing lady villains in the Batman universe). I don't know about anyone else but I would love to do subtle references to things I love in my outfits, so I dreamed up this outfit. The pleather skirt, sheer top and yellow accessories just scream modern batman! You could wear this for crime-fighting or to the cinema or even for an evening out with a cute yellow satchel. I like the way the bright yellow breaks up the black but not in an overly 'bumblebee' type way which can happen when you pair these two colours. Love!
skirt - top - belt - tights - necklace - boots

On the Matter of Underwear

Yes, underwear. Often talked about in fashion blogs but rarely on my blog! You see, I'm not one for fancy underwear. In fact, my preference is anything with wonder woman or batgirl (TMI?) but I do, however, love a bit of shapewear. I'm not one of those ladies who is entirely dependent on it on a daily basis but when I go out it's nice to have that little confidence boost and it can also keep you warm when it's cold!

Some of the easiest places to find shapewear is through plus size lingerie sites and I've got to admit I've fallen slightly in love with the idea of basques and corsets under dresses; so very modern victorian-meets-50s!   Doesn't it just make you think back to the 'goth' phase that I think most 90s teenagers had? I for one would have gone around in a corset and long flowing skirts half the time if I could, and then there was the time I was into steampunk a few years back... but I digress, these Gok Wan pieces are great and are neither too gothy nor too steampunk-y whilst looking very classic and comfortable in design;

Marisota: Not all Plus-Size is Frumpy.

I have to admit, when I think of women's clothing catalogues I think middle aged. And even more so when it comes to plus size bits and bobs. You can imagine then how happy I was to have a bit of a surf on the Marisota website and find more than one cute item of clothing that I would wear. There's some really lovely longer length dresses for summer and even adorable swimwear that isn't -gasp- black and ruched. Can you tell I'm thinking of summer holidays already? It's this miserable weather I swear.

When I think spring/summer I don't think beaches or holidays; I'm a skint student for one thing so holidays are out of the window, but not only that I burn like anything so I spend most of any holidays abroad in a giant tee-shirt and shorts. Not to mention I live by the seaside over the whole of summer and the only thing I get out of it is not being able to move in town due to all the tourists! No, when I think S/S I think car boots,  picnics, markets. Very quintessentially english! Here are my top picks for browsing and picnicking;