Safe Zone

Wednesday, 11 December 2013
So as some of you may know I run this blog but I also run the blog hellowonderful.net. From this blog I go to a few events, I do a lot of PR work, I run a Twitter account (hellowonderful_) and an Instagram but I also have a family life with my two daughters, two puppies, a boyfriend and a parrot. A lot of what I write and post concerns my personal life, from my family to where I'm going at what time and my Instagram especially is a little bit of a follow me around feed. Internet safety is something I feel has been rammed down our throats since we first set out online, for me in my pre-teens. Never disclose personal details, never meet anyone that you have met online, don't give out your address - well, that's what I do on a day to day basis. Some of my closest friends I have met online plus a few past boyfriends, my address is given out to PR's and online friends for things such as secret santa's and giveaways and personal details? My online life s littered with them.

A few weeks ago on Twitter I joked that the best way to murder a blogger would be to pose as a PR offering free NARS samples. You'd have access to their Twitter, Instagram, blog, address - seemingly so few accounts but they hold a wealth of personal information.

I try to keep safe. I use my surname as I am a writer and I want my work, blog, photographs etc to be linked back to me as a person especially for portfolio building. I don't mention which school my daughter goes to or what area in the city we live in but, it really wouldn't be too difficult to find out. Looking through my Instagram photos anyone with even a slight knowledge of the city I live in would be able to tell the street and house I'm in just from the view from my living room window. I'm not safe online, someone could easily find me if they wanted to and it'd be even easier to contact me to harass me and make my life hell. It would probably even be easy to stalk me. That's scary.

I don't think I'll ever stop doing what I do. I love doing it and I love the response I get from the people I meet and talk to online. However I do want to keep safe and I do need to look at some things and maybe have a re-jiggle of priorities. Simple things such as not showing the exact area in which I live, not telling people when I'm alone at home or there's nobody in the house, not sharing my address to anyone except the people I absolutely have to, checking photos for stray bills or bank cards in the background (any indication of very personal details) etc. I don't do this to excess but it's alarmed me that I have when I thought I was being responsible.

There's a lot that comes with being a blogger that may be a good thing but could also be used against you. Yes, you love your pedigree dog but what if someone wanted to use him for a dog fight in your area and your online identity lead them to your real life identity? It doesn't bear thinking about let alone if you replace your pedigree dog with yourself or children. We trust that there is no malicious intent behind the people who read and see what we do online and that's basic human nature but I truly think we should be slightly more careful even if we are not thoroughly vigilant about policing and censoring ourselves.

To find out more about keeping yourself safe online you can check out Norton's guide to protecting your privacy and hopefully it will help you just give a thought to the things you share even if, like me, it'll never cut it completely.

How do you protect yourself online?

Dreaming Of A White Christmas

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

So it's less than a month until Christmas and I've already got my tree up twinkling in the corner of the living room and gingerbread felt garland around the fireplace. I've always been an excruciatingly festive person - one of those people you definitely want to hide away until December 1st in fear of going slightly insane - and I love Christmas. I'm not religious but I am traditional in most senses. I always do a big family meal, decorate the house, buy presents, play games with the children like Elf on the Shelf and I am always dreaming of the white fluffy stuff closer to the time. Not that we've had a white Christmas in Wales for a very long time but Christmas is all about hope, right?

So this year I'm checking our Chances of Snow in the UK and playing around with this cute little checker that determines your chances of a white Christmas in your area that you can find here willigetawhitechristmas.com. I was told there was a 50% chance of snow in our area so, let's be fair, hope is still alive.

I can't wait for the chocolate truffle making, Baileys over ice, egg nog lattes a-plenty and Christmas wrapping to begin. Life always seems that little bit sparklier and happier during the festive season and no matter if you believe in the age old solstice, the birth of Jesus, something else or nothing in particular it's always a fantastic excuse for a get-together.

Brow Power - Urban Decay Brow Box

Friday, 18 October 2013

Urban Decay Brow Box in Brown Sugar - £17 c/o Debenhams

I have a confession to make. Two years ago I would never have filled in my brows. It wouldn't have crossed my mind, I wouldn't have picked up a brow pencil in Boots and I'd never heard of brow powder or wax. My brows are sparse from the arch outwards for no real reason and an ash blonde which doesn't work well with my pale skintone and hair colour but I just left them like that and until I started to fill in my eyebrows I didn't even think it made my face look unfinished. I've learned. Now I favour a strong defined brow that doesn't look too unnatural but that is very obviously 'done'.

I've been using brow powder for about a year now starting off with Benefit BrowZings, moving on to MUA's Brow Palette and then HD Brows but a few weeks ago I was contacted by Debenhams and asked if I'd like to review something they stock in their brow range. I was umming and ahhing over choosing a MAC pencil but through the thought of ease of use I decided to turn my eyes to the Urban Decay Brow Box and I'm so glad I did.

First of all it's a small box but quite deep so it's not the easiest for storage but it does fit into my little make up bag that pops into my handbag. The top is a mirrored and embossed pink plastic with the brand name which opens up to reveal two brow colours, a pair of mini tweezers and a little angled brush. Beneath that there's a little indentation that tells you to 'Push' and out comes a little pan of brow wax. Practical and adorable.

The tools themselves are very good. The mini tweezers are the best I've used in miniature version that really do grab every hair and the angled brush is firm yet flexible and it gives a precise finish which is great when I don't want to carry around my larger MAC 266 brush that I usually use for my eyebrows. The colours are lovely with little to no fall out and a great deep colour from one swish of the brush but I'd expect nothing less from the makers of the amazingly pigmented and beautiful quality of the Naked palettes. I use the lighter colour all over and use the darker brown to define the arch slightly favouring the dark all over at night only but if you have medium to dark hair or love a dark brow I'd say Brown Sugar will suit your needs. The wax is quite thin in consistency but does the job although I do favour using the Anastacia brow gel after using the powder, personally.

All in all, this is my new go-to and I'm carrying this around with me everywhere even though I've not yet needed to top up midday yet. It ticks all of my boxes and I'd love it even more if it came in a more flat packaging with a brow wax that slid out horizontally to take up less space. I also apologise for the photographs - I forgot to photograph it before use and it's a little mucky but I hope you'll forgive that!

Mailing List

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

I write a lot of letters. I love the idea of old fashioned post through the letterbox and landing on the mat with the wonder whether the dog will chew it up before I get to it. I love the feeling of putting pen to paper, adding little things into the package or envelopesand sending them off at the post office even if it is easier to just type up an e-mail nowdays.

Sometimes I'll include photographs or extra notes and occasionally I'll add in a load of glitter if it's a birthday just to annoy them a little more upon opening and make it extra jazzy. I'll use letter writing sets with pretty paper or just plain envelopes that I pick up from the post office the morning of sending if I'm really disorganised or ones that I already have since I've bulk ordered from places like eBay and Paperstone.co.uk.

The letters could be about anything at all but if it's for big news or asking questions I generally e-mail or phone just for ease of conversation. With everything moving s swiftly in our lives now it's very difficult to wait for appropriate responses yet sometimes I feel I need that time, maybe for nostalgia purposes and sometimes just for the element of excitement while waiting. It may be easier but receiving a letter in response is such a great feeling that I don't think I'll ever give up writing them by hand completely.

Do you still write letters?

Made Of Honor Material

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

So some of you might know that three years ago I was proposed to and I am still not married. I have so much of my future wedding planned but there are some details that are still a little hazy and one of those details are bridesmaids dresses. At first I wanted them in a nude pink, then a grey, then a mint or duck egg but one thing has never changed - I need them to be cheap dresses. I'm not rolling in money and it makes it even more difficult to find passable cheap dresses that look formal, are something they can wear again and that cater for both a size 8 frame and a size 24.

I first spotted these evening dresses on eBay and I just wasn't a fan of the gems beneath the bust but once I found this website it all changed because they have the dresses in the same colours and sizes for an even cheaper price (£29.99) without the detail and now, of course, I'm torn. I'm going to order the grey dress for myself to check it's length and fit and if all is well the only issue I'll have choosing will be the colour.

I imagine my bridesmaids walking down the aisle in this dress clutching their bouquets and looking every inch the stunning women that they are not because of the dress but because they fit the dress so well. The simple style, the colour, the length and the detail all fit in with their personal style aesthetic so well that it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for them to choose this as opposed to some bridesmaids dresses I've seen that don't seem like 'them' as I couldn't imagine them in layers of shiny taffeta or netting. If it's something they can wear again to another event or just to make them feel beautiful, all the better.

What do you think? I love the simplicity and I feel they'd look beautiful with my chosen bouquet of peonies and hydrangeas.

Out with the old

Sunday, 15 September 2013

So as you may well know Autumn is my favourite season and when September rolls around it's like my January. New Years Resolutions? Good but secondary to Autumn resolutions, for sure. Spring clean? Make that a September clean and I can get on board. You see, I may be a little bit of a freak but Autumn signifies a fresh start for me and so every September I start to trawl through my possessions looking for things I can give away, sell and really purge to make room for big cosy knits and lots of opaque tights.

Often I find lots of clothes that not of good enough quality to be able to sell on or give to charity and this is where I look for other options. I'll bag up the summer clothes that I bought on a whim and will never ever wear again or old clothes for dossing around the house and I'll get them out of my hair which, to me, is insanely cathartic.

This season I've sold, given away or recycled three black bags of clothes between four people which is pretty good (or bad) going but in the spirit of cleansing and feeling even slightly renewed, I'm not even slightly ashamed.

Recycled Fashion

Friday, 13 September 2013

So we all know fashion trends are recycled and will be recycled in the future but what about eco-friendly fashion? Would you wear a recycled material dress? What about a festival banner bag?

Bright Colours are a brand who specialise in just those kind of bags. Each bag is scrubbed clean and cut from the most interesting part of the banner fabric to make the bag with the straps made from seatbelts. These items could only be used once and so what else is there to do with them but make something new and I'm surprised at how much I like the tote and messenger bags.

The messenger bags and backpacks are designed with cyclists in mind and while I don't cycle I could definitely see the messenger and tote bags being incorporated into my own style with a plain outfit to make the bag pop. I don't think they'd made me give up my Zara bags entirely but for the gym or lugging lots of things to work on a day where a suit wasn't required I think these would be perfect plus you can rest assured that you're helping the environment while you're at it which is a big plus for me.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not entirely eco-friendly and I don't think I will ever be but when it comes to a choice of evironmentally friendly or not with an equal product - it's a no brainer for me.

If you'd like to find out more about how these bags came to be you can click here which gives much more detailed information on the manufacturing.

How Green Is Your Office?

Friday, 23 August 2013
Mine? Not at all in colour but I try to be as eco friendly as I can with the things in it. Whether you have your own office, an office at home or work in an office, chances are you've thought about being a little more environmentally friendly. With more and more businesses looking to reduce their footprint on the earth with kinder to the environment alternatives from printer ink and paper to reclaimed wood office furniture it's big business to be kinder and one of the companies helping you get a head start on making a bit of a difference are The Green Office who specialise in sustainable office supplies.

With my little home office I don't tend to have a need for the furniture the company sells but I do have a need for the ink, paper, labels (God, how I love labels) and even things like their technology (I need a laminator. I would laminate everything all the time). The best thing is to make up or the delivery of these supplies in vans, for every delivery over £49.99 the company will plant a tree. Simple things but such a great idea for an environmentally friendly company that many of its competitors don't offer.

Me? I'm trying to be more eco-friendly. I recycle, I try not to waste and I re-purpose items or buy second hand where I can but in the office I am so accustomed to picking up a random pack of paper or stationary items without even giving it a second thought and I definitely feel like I should be more conscientious about the things I buy and what I do with it. With the internet right here I can find what I'm looking for with minimal effort and little expense so I really should utilise it a bit more. I think I'll start with buying a laminator and this dry erase board because as some of you may have seen on Instagram, the command central cork board is getting a little messy these days.

Are you eco-friendly? Care to share some of your tips?

Brown Paper Packaging Tied Up With String

Thursday, 22 August 2013

I send a lot of post be they official forms, letters, packages or prizes - I seem to be forevermore wrapping up a parcel of some kind and shipping it off to it's destination. I often send care packages to friends in university or friends abroad which contain home comforts such as photos, little sweets, things that have made me think of them that I've bought and popped in, favourite films etc and while it's a little twee it's always fun to receive them back and connects to me personally more than an email or Skype conversation could. For friends abroad I add in silly things like postcards along with a little message, Cadbury's (they ALWAYS want British chocolate) and products from British companies like MUA which you just can't pick up in Australia or America.

Alas, mail is slow and a lot of the time things go missing so I like to use a courier for the packages. I usually use Parcelforce as I find them to be the best I've found. Competitively priced, especially for international larger packages with great customer service and honestly, I've never lost a parcel in the three or four years I've been using them. Of course, if I can, I always try to hand deliver expensive items but that's not always possible so this is the next best thing for me.

Wrapping parcels for delivery is something I take pride in. I love using the classic brown paper with string and burlap to pretty them up and for smaller items tissue with ribbon and popped inside one of these pretty pink mailing bags. They're really durable and quite cheap for the amount you get and come in awfully handy for items that are small or difficult to parcel up.

So what about you? Do you send via courier for parcels? Do you send care packages? Let me know!

Halloween

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

All top costumes of 2013 can be found here at fancydressball.co.uk

I'm a huge fan of Halloween and dressing up so I'm the kind of girl that starts thinking about the very end of October in August. This year we're hosting a Halloween party at home complete with Pinterest recipes and DIY decor so after all the fuss I don't know if I can bring myself to make my own costume. This is where fancydressball.co.uk come in. Look at those costumes. I could be a Disney villain, a living dead doll, a zombie convict and a whole host of other creepily beautiful horrors.

I'm a huge fan of zombies. I watch The Walking Dead religiously and read the graphic novel previously. I've seen pretty much every undead film ever made and I'm a horror film guru which drives boyfriend mad. Since having children Halloween has been about the American traditions of sweet treats, trick or treating and preparing some cute yet nasty bits and pieces for them to enjoy. While the tradition of Halloween has nothing at all to do with any of these things, I do really enjoy the commercialism for what it is. So we have fun. Last year boyfriend and I pulled the old switch-a-roo and went as each other to a party. This year, I need my own identity to adopt for the evening.

So what do you think? What's your favourite costume from the website or do you prefer DIY? Have you started thinking about who or what you'll be for the night? Orders over £40 receive a free wine voucher worth £40 toward orders on the Naked Wines website to help towards that party you are/should be throwing too!

If you want to follow me on Pinterest you can here

Dress Up

Monday, 12 August 2013

Short and Sweet Versus The Long View

It’s been a while since I’ve sorted my wardrobe but this week I’ve decided to have a good clear out. Replacing a few tired outfits with updated and on-trend ensembles is a great way to prepare for the summer months, but there is plenty to consider. As a huge fan of dresses these are the main staples of my wardrobe and when it comes to dresses, there's definitely no shortage of beautiful garments on the Hobbs website.

Occasion dresses are a must-have in every girl’s wardrobe and at one time my wardrobe was a sea of short, cutesy dresses and super cute micro skirts. I’m now learning of a few new trends though – one of them being the glamour of a floor length frock. I always thought short, sweet numbers were dressier than longer styles – the 2013 catwalk trends have educated me otherwise. Being tall I can pull off the maxi but my wide waist often means that they don't hang well. For me the material and cut is everything so it flatters rather than clings.

Maxi dresses have undergone something of a resurrection with a range of available styles suited to a different body shapes. I was under the impression that you had to be on the tall side to pull off these styles but I’ve now learnt that killer heels paired with a maxi dress will create the illusion of a longer torso – just what I’ve always wanted to balance out the 35" inside leg!

I’ve had my eye on the Invitation Clariss Maxi Dress from Hobbs for quite some time now and after giving a large proportion of my wardrobe to charity a few months ago, I feel that I deserve a treat. This modest yet elegant number is slightly Grecian in style and the simple black hue makes it a very versatile piece. I think I’ll team it with silver sandals and a shawl for a daytime affair and strappy heels and chunky jewellery for an evening do. It could also double as a dress for corporate meetings for work with the right accessories.

I might also treat myself to some new work wear. After all, dressing to impress at work is just as important as staying on top of the fashion world in your social life and there are plenty of work dresses which have caught my eye now I’ve got room in my wardrobe for them. Look at this pink lace Maida Vale dress! Isn't it gorgeous? I know summer is coming to an end but with tights, killer heels and a blazer this could really work through A/W too!

Wishlist || Summer Loving

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

It's summer and I'm sure everyone is either sick of hearing about the glorious/terrible weather or too busy enjoying it to care. I fall in to the former category. I'm infatuated with summer and the way the golden light hits everything making it appear exponentially more beautiful than it truly is (much alike a good few inches of snow) but I just can't dress for fine weather. I find myself feeling too exposed and self-conscious about bearing my arms when a cardigan just will not do or I dress inappropriately and can feel the beads of sweat forming before they threaten to take a tumble straight through my just-perfected eyebrows. I am also severely lacking in summer clothes and the only maxi dresses I own are black so I thought I'd put together this little outfit for inspiration. With the weather set to last for another few weeks I'm going to hit the cheaper shops next week and attempt to find some size 9 sandals and even if I don't come home with a good lot of bang for my buck in clothes I will most certainly return home with some statement costume jewellery that can translate season to season.

So, the outfit. It's a little Carrie Bradshaw, a little on trend and a lot of rose gold. I used to think I really couldn't pull off a crop top if I tried but with this skirt pulled up to the waist and the crop top draping softly over the waist band I think even me with my tummy and a half could work it. I love a good statement necklace so I thought this would be perfect with the simple outfit and that's where the sandals, the watch and every other accessory ties in - rose gold with a splash of colour.

I've been wanting to try this NYX blush for a while now as it's a supposed dupe for NARS Orgasm which I can most definitely not afford to replace now I've hit pan big time. The MAC lipstick would bring a subtle hint of colour to the lips while letting the outfit make a statement and who can seriously go anywhere without a high factor sun cream beneath their increasingly sheerer make-up nowadays? Certainly not me. Add a spritz of Estee Lauder's Bronze Goddess (you like coconut? You'll go batshit crazy for this) and three coats of Essie's Fiji et voila! My perfect outfit for shopping, drinks, lunch, a bar in the evening, the beach, the...okay, I'm daydreaming now.

Guest Post || DIY Felt Heart Rings

Monday, 22 July 2013
Hello! I’m Laura, not the Laura, I’m another one. I blog over at Made Peachy.com!

I’m feeling pretty stoked that the lovely Laura (the Laura, not me!) has welcomed me over to her beautiful blog to come and say Hi! I am a huge fan of handmade - from fashion and style, to home and eats. For me, a little bit of handmade makes life a just peachy - I like to write about my crafty life - and share a few awesome techniques & skills along the way - on my little creative lifestyle blog, Made Peachy.

As a big time fan of Laura’s Blog, at first I wasn’t really sure what a stylish bunch of ladies like you would want to read, then it dawned on me, every girl wants needs accessories - am I right? So, let’s talk bling! Just lately I’ve been obsessing about over-sized statement rings - to the extent that I wake up in the morning, pick out one of my many colourful, super-sized cocktail rings and then compose my outfit for the day around it.

I’ve learnt two things from doing this. The first is that you can end up wearing a party frock to the supermarket, simply because you had your heart set on an all-time-fave disco glitterball ring (this garnered a heap of weird looks from the other supermarket go-ers). The second is that I need more statement accessories, that was always going to be the outcome of this line of thought, so I cut to the chase and got stuck into a spot of retail therapy over at etsy.com - my go-to for all that is unique and handmade. With so many beautiful pieces of jewellery to choose from, I thought I’d share my favourite statement ring finds - I hope you like them!

1 Anchor Cameo Ring • £13.60 • ZaraTaylor (Photo: Felicia Simion Photography http://ineedchemicalx.deviantart.com/) 2 Stag Head Ring • £14.29 • WildLifeDesignsUK 3 Coral Seed Bead & Wire Ring • £17.87 • LantanaSisters 4 Walnut Wood & Grass Ring • £25.85 • MrLentz 5 Blue Glitter Globe Ring • £15.65 • DearDelilahHandmade 6 Power Red Fused Glass Ring • £25.17 • Mariaela 7 Green Glass Recycled Ring • £14.29 • Wearabol 8 White Thread Ball Ring • £6.12 • BallClub

How about a speedy DIY?


Too impatient to wait for your new purchases to be shipped out to you? For a quick fix - and I mean a super-quick fix - whip up a fun felt ring, ready-to-wear in under five minutes!

Grab the supplies…
A hot glue gun
Flat-faced ring blanks
3D felt heart

Get your guns. No really, get your gun plugged in and heated up. When the glue is at the right temperature, apply a pea-sized blob onto the flat face of the ring blank.

Being careful not to touch the hot glue, carefully position the ring face down onto the centre back of the felt heart. Hold in position, for a few moments until the glue has set.

Tah Dah! So, quick and easy you might as well go nuts and make a whole set of ombre felt heart rings…whether you wear them on their own, in pairs or even all at once, the choice is yours!

Ready-to-use felt hearts, from 35p, in a whole rainbow of amazing colours & these silver plated flat-faced ring blanks, £1.75 per set of five, are available from funky craft store www.bloomingfelt.co.uk

Fancy getting your little hands on one of these pretty felt heart rings? I have four to giveaway to four lucky What Laura Did readers. How do you nab one? It’s pretty easy, swing over to Made Peachy and leave a little comment mentioning What Laura Did blog in your message, the first four readers to leave a comment will get one of these super lush rings- sweet!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick jewellery project, I’d love it if you pop over to Made Peachy some time to say hello and see what else I’m up to! And finally, (because my mum brought me up proper) thank you for having me!

What Laura Did Is Moving!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

What Laura Did is now Hello Ella!

So. Big news.. I made a decision that would change my life quite a bit - I legally changed my name! I changed my first name as well as my surname to the name my friends have been calling me for half a decade because of a drunk slip. The only people who call me Laura are people who've known me forever and a day or people on official business. In my head I am not Laura. Laura made a lot of mistakes. Laura was one of four in her class in 1993. Laura is a lovely name but I have grown out of it and when looking from the past, who best to look to than the person you have become?

So What Laura Did became redundant and Hello Ella was born. Hello Ella will be doing a lot more than just blogging in the coming months and I'd love you to come and take a peek at what I'm up to, collaborate, share opinions and hold my hand because boy, it's quite scary making all of these changes. You can follow me on BlogLovin' by clicking here but if this is how you're reading this post, don't worry as the kind people behind BlogLovin' will transfer you all to the new blog.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that's supported me this past year, whether you've been with me since the first week or last week. I couldn't have done it without you all and without you and this platform there is no way I'd have plucked up the courage to be so bold. I'm so sorry if this is confusing for anyone but if it is and you want to know more, just email me at: ohhelloella@gmail.com and we can iron things out for sure!

I hope to see you on the other side.

Review || Panache Lingerie

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Tango Plunge lingerie set c/o Panache Lingerie and can be found here.

I thought quite a lot before posting these photos with the bra on but I decided it's in everyone's best interests to see how the bra fits rather than taking my word for it. I don't have a fabulous body or a great rack but I am all about honesty - here is my honesty.

So this is a little bit of a departure from my previous posts, the main reason being that I'm showing a part of my body that's never normally shown. I have cleavage on show in most of my every day outfits so this shouldn't be a big issue. And yet it is. I don't have an exceptionally large chest or a very well proportioned bust. After two pregnancies and breastfeeding my chest is not what it used to be and while I am not at the point where I'm seriously considering surgery I rely on good underwear to get the desired effect from my clothes. My usual choice is a simple padded t-shirt bra with no unsightly lines and padding to bulk up what I'm lacking in volume around the sides but this bra is a whole different beast.

It's a fuchsia non-padded, underwired plunge bra with a gorgeous leaf design that translates to the matching briefs. The bra itself has quite a high rise cup but not too high that you couldn't wear it beneath most necklines which I've found to be the case with similar designs for larger busts. It's uplifting and feels supportive but this isn't a bra for impact sports like running (they do have a selection of sports bras which I've heard are excellent). The briefs have the cutest keyhole design on the back and it's extremely comfortable to wear. I've not tried washing them yet but from friends who are fans of Panache they recommend hand washing just to protect the detail although a few have been machine washed and are fine.

Panache cater for larger chested women from a D cup to a H. I'm a D cup so at the lower end of the scale and I must say that even though I can usually find my cup size in high street shops it's pretty difficult to find a 38 band size which Panache cater for. The designs are classic and youthful which is a great bonus when I find that even though larger cup sizes are coming more and more into market, it's still flooded with a lot of matronly bras. The Tango set also comes in a light pink with the choice of a plunge or balconette bra and a full brief or a thong. Also, the briefs do come in larger sizes as I was sent a 20 and they're generously comfortable, even stretching to a 22, I'd say so don't be put off if you're plus sized on the bottom as often I find I can find the perfect bra but the matching knickers don't go past a 16-18.

Is this my perfect bra? No and for only one reason - I'd like a bit of padding in the sides. This is just a personal preference due to my own insecurities and I feel that a more rounded out bust looks better under clothes but for those with an already full chest this won't be a problem. I'll be checking out the swimwear too while the weather is still warm and I'm in that almost-confident beach ideal (although I'll probably just wear it to the leisure centre with my children - glam!)

Introducing Dexter

Friday, 19 July 2013

I'd like to introduce to you the latest (and final) addition to our house, Dexter. He's 3/4 pug with a 1/4 Jack Russell in him (his mother is a Jug - pug and Jack Russell cross), he's 9 weeks old and he finds velcro hair rollers to be the best toys.

A little history for you - I've been obsessed with pugs since I was sixteen and always dreamt of having one when I grew up and moved out. For the last four years boyfriend hasn't even entertained the thought but gave in to a labrador as a family pet because it was a 'real dog'. Fast forward two years and he finally said yes and a week later my best friend Christina and I clambered in to her little silver Corsa and set off on an adventure to West Wales. Two hours and a McDonalds milkshake later the first little puppy to run up to us was Dexter. Full of hyperactivity and kisses it was decided before the breeder even mentioned the girls were gone. We were having a boy.

After passing him around to the mechanics in the gar garage on the way home and surprising the girls with him at the end of the road, he's blended into our family wonderfully. He's starting to house train and sleeps in a crate at night so he can't chew up the house or get everywhere. Sadie and him are best friends although right now they are establishing pack order which basically means Dex is digging his teeth into her and swinging. Nobody's hurt and it's all very much play time but the first time it happened I went a bit nuts and thought with Sadie's rather large mouth around his neck he was going to die. I knew about play fighting and establishing the pack order but nothing prepared me to see my darling lab who's at least five times as big as Dex with her teeth around his neck, I can tell you!

So he's a playful little buggar with a penchant for eating my hair. He plays for around 20 minutes and falls asleep within 5 seconds just lowering his head while he's standing and....gone so a lot of the time I have to be on hand to scoop him up and pop him back in his crate. I'm unsure if he'll be crated forever as Sadie isn't now but we'll see how easily he trains and how his personality is as he gets that much older. The crate is not only a quiet place for him to sleep in peace and safety but also a well deserved break for baby lab.

A lot of people have asked why another dog and the answer is simply because I've always grown up with dogs in pairs so they have company during my parents working hours and play time at home. It also helped with their socialisation with other dogs on walks and since dogs are hugely social creatures it just made sense to me. Yes, it's twice the cost and twice the mess but it's limited to downstairs as there's a big gate on the foot of our stairs after we had the carpet replaced a few weeks ago and while it's hard when they're young when they grow together they give you the best rewards.

Fantasy Wishlist || Elie Saab

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Every now and then there is a collection where I sit up and I take notice. Every season Elie Saab is that collection. To me, Elie Saab is the Lebanese God of evening and bridal wear, surpassing Marchesa and Vera Wang (although I love them also but not equally). Every collection is immaculate in colour, style, detail and embellishment. With luxurious fabrics, intricate beading, layers and layers of soft voluminous fabric and cuts that just show off a woman's body phenomenally and and....

His dresses have been worn by red carpet royalty and real royalty. His dresses dress slender frames and added curves exquisitely. If I had the money and I was a few sizes smaller I would wear these dresses everywhere. Nipping to Asda (yeah, I'm a down to earth millionare)? On the school run? Watching my maid wash the dishes? Dress. Dress. Dress.

So while a girl can only dream of a slim line frame to do these dresses justice and enough money to actually purchase one - even fame would do as I could borrow one in my new sample size - these photos will forever be lusted at purely online. Rest assured, if I ever become a millionaire and if I'm still a bit fat I'll still buy one as 'the' decorative accessory in my dressing room.

Bucket List

Tuesday, 16 July 2013
When Money Supermarket contacted me about writing a post, I was intrigued. I've taken part in these kinds of post competitions before but this resonated with me a lot because offline I've been working on a pen to paper bucket list. There are so many things I want to see, do, experience, taste, participate in and buy but money is usually a factor hindering these aspirations. I thought I'd write about some of the things I aim to do in my life and things I'd like to tick off this list before I die. Of course, I don't know if I'm going to be here another hour let alone another few decades so I've decided along with my plan of saying yes to make a start.


So this is the big dream. New York. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of going to New York but back then it was to sing on broadway. After numerous films set in New York to the teenage years where I became a 30-something fictional Carrie Bradshaw trapped in a fifteen year old's body to dreaming of being Blair Waldorf strutting the streets of Manhattan in Elie Saab, I was hooked. I have a deep love for this city or at least the image that is portrayed of it and I desperately want to spend a week there not doing the tourist things as such but doing day to day things. I want to hail a yellow taxi. I want to eat a hot dog or a pretzel from the street. I want to walk into Barney's and browse. I want to drink coffee in an all night diner at 4am after emerging from a club where I will inevitably be asked for ID. Of course, New York is a dream right now with flights alone coming in at close to £1000 but a girl can dream.


Now for something a little more realistic and you'll probably raise your eyebrows at this but I want to go camping. The camping days of old resulted in no tents, a vat of alcohol and staying up until the sunrise with friends. I want the whole experience with a tent, a fire, some solar fairy lights in the trees (I don't expect them to be there - I'll bring them), an acoustic guitar, simple food and a bottle of wine. I'm outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios so this seems ridiculous even to me and while I know that I may have a romanticised version of a night in a tent with my fiance and the reality will be horrendously different, I want to try it. I want to get out of my comfort zone and not rely on my phone, wi-fi or the TV for entertainment. I'd like a night where I switch off and try something completely new. Boyfriend loves camping and for once, I want to say yes.

I have so many things I want to do with my life from seeing the aurora borealis, going to Harry Potter World, going to Disney Land as I've always desperately wanted to go, stand on a volcano, swim with sharks, hold a koala, buy a house, save over £5000, own a yellow VW Beetle, raise excellent children, get a pug, cuddle a monkey, eat Japanese food in Japan, know what it feels like to be a size 10 just to see if it's any different.....there's just so much but I've realised we have a limited amount of time in this world and it is nowhere near what we expect it to be so we make the most of it and we make our choices.

Some day these will be my choices.

Making A House A Home || The Living Room

Monday, 15 July 2013
Throws c/o Dunelm Mill

So, as promised, here is the updated living room in my house. If you're looking for a show home with everything perfectly placed and organised you can look away now as I wanted to show you real life. This is life with two messy adults, two messier children, a dog and a bird. This is where books are haphazardly placed as I don't have room for all of them. This is where my make-up usually lives strewn around as I just don't have a good storage space and not nearly enough clear containers.

So I'll start with the biggest update - the throws. The throws were sent to me for consideration by Dunelm Mill and they do such a great job at covering up most of my old worn sofas. Now, I like my sofas but they're in desperate need of a clean and when you have a dog and children it is much easier to have throws you can take off and wash rather than paying a company to do a thorough steam clean. I chose the duck egg blue colour to compliment the blues in the curtains and add a little colour to the neutrals in the room and I am so glad I did. The throws are soft but you can tell they're hard wearing (they've survived perfectly when my wet muddy dog turned them a lovely shade of brown and a consequent spin through the washing machine....twice) and the tassles that usually are too hard and bother me don't at all. I'd definitely pick up a few more to cover the chair in the girls' room and maybe for my bed in the winter too.

The rug was given to me by my sister who picked it up in a charity shop. It's worn and smells a bit musty (nothing that a bit of Febreeze and Shake & Vac can't sort) and missing a few tassles on the end but it breaks up the expanse of floor where the coffee table used to be. As you can see the coffee table is currently being used to hold my new TV (that I bought for a ridiculously low price last week and I mean RIDICULOUS) and that TV will soon be mounted to the wall where the mirror is now.

I love throw cushions, candles, flowers, trinkets and bunting so in various corners you'll find one of these or even all three. I didn't show the entire bookcase behind the two seater sofa as right now it's crammed with bills and odds and ends that I need to find a home for but this is essentially the view you have when you walk in from the hall. I think it feels much more like home now and I can't wait to spend my evenings in here working and watching shows in decent enough quality to see what's going on (current favourite is My Fair Wedding on Netflix - DO IT).

The house is now around 90% done save some storage and the girls' room which I'm not decorating until the bunk beds become bunks rather than two separate beds again which should be next year. I've added small updates and a lick of paint and suddenly it all seems to have come together in mine and boyfriend's tastes for under £350 for five rooms including carpet and a TV!

What do you think? What would you add? Give me some inspiration to spend more money to add extras