Wearing Monochrome and Layering – Curvy Fashions and OOTD

In your wardrobe, no matter what size, shape or gender you are, there should be the staple black-and-white pieces of clothing that you can just pull together and not worry that you don’t match. Well, my whole wardrobe is virtually made up with black tights, leggings, dresses and trousers, but the introduction of white pieces is very much a new thing. Black to me is a safe thing. It’s slimming, it goes with everything and if it get grubby it doesn’t show up that much. But white is quite the opposite. I’m naturally very clumsy, so wearing white when I’m just performing day-to-day tasks will probably end up with something spilled down it, or it just getting dirty. Also, I, like many other women, prefer owning brightly coloured pieces of underwear. I have a few neutral pieces, but none that I really like and would wear out of choice.

However, it’s always good to step out of your comfort zones with clothes. And for the last few days I’ve been pairing together some pieces that I think looks good.

Black sleeveless belted blazer – New Look

Cosette t-shirt – Queens Theatre giftshop

Black and white flower-print skort – Asda

Tights – Peacocks

Black leather boots – Clarks.

Polka dot faux-silk shirt – Heart and Soul.

Black sleeveless blazer – New Look

Black jersey pencil skirt – New Look

Black tights – Calvin Klein

Black leather Oxfords – New Look

Black and white print dress – Greek holiday purchase

Black cardigan – Primark

Tights – Zac Posen

Black boots – Clarks

So, as you can see I’ve rework some staple pieces of clothes, like my blazer, boots and tights, and paired them up to entirely separate outfits to make entirely different looks. With these staples you can rarely go wrong. Having something like this New Look blazer, it has the ability of tying the majority of any fashion pieces together, and it’s good in both cold and warm weather. The belted waist also draws attention to my best feature, and also adds an air of professionalism.

The monochrome look is always going to be a fashion classic, and despite a mixing of prints that some of my outfits do, it can rarely go wrong when you have black and white together.

Also, the light denier of the tights is good even in the summer, as well as the winter, and it can make your legs look slimmer. Plus, if you’re a girl, and you haven’t had time to shave your legs, tights is a good alternative to that.

Also, another focus of this post is about layering clothes. Now, I am pretty new to layering. I usually wear layers in the winter, just to keep warm. But in the summer, I barely want to wear anything under my arms or restricting air from getting to my skin. But with the additions of these sleeveless blazers, thin-knit cardigans and kimonos, layering has been a cool alternative to jazz up any outfit. Also, with the thin material of my kimonos and cardigans, you can always tuck them away in a small bag during the day, but it can provide a good little shrug for the cooler evening air. Plus, if you wear the right sort of layer – like the sleeveless blazer or a printed kimono – it is the perfect transition piece for day to night. And for the transitional months of September and October, layering can be that bit of warmth that you may need as the days get longer, and the nights get cooler.

Now, for curvy girls like myself, who may have problem areas but also good areas to emphasis, like my waist or hips, layering can disguise this. A kimono skims the body and covers the upper arms, whilst the belted blazer nips you in at the waist, but if you pair it with a light long-sleeve top, it also makes sure your upper arms are covered as well as artfully disguising your cleavage – if that’s what you want to hide.

For this summer, I’m finding the monochrome look to be one of sophistication, good for work as well as leisure and being able to mix-and-match with virtually everything in your wardrobe. And for layering, the high summer months are drawing to a close, so with the autumn setting in, layering can be a fun way to stay warm, look gorgeous and highlight your best bits.

-Alice x

My Body Experiences – School, Being Bullied and the Bully and Overcoming All This to Embrace my Curves!

As a request, I’ve been asked to write about my experiences with being big at school and how I overcame it to be the confident-ish girl that I am today.

I say confident-ish, because truthfully, I still have my low days. Days when I honestly wish I could slip out of my skin and emerge to be this size 8 gym bunny. And I know that through dieting, a change in lifestyle and a consistent weight-loss, this is an option that if I wish to do, I could achieve in a few years time. But the majority of the time I quite love being the happy size 14 that I am, and that I do have curves that can sometimes look almost comical.

But at school I was never this confident. I wasn’t curvy at school as such, but just… big. Big, round and dare I say it, fat. I had a moon face with spots, my eyes seemed to disappear into my fat, my stomach was massive and my legs were like elephants. And this isn’t just me being cruel and self-reflective. There are photos of me back then that I look back at now and think ‘god I was big’. And it didn’t help that my school was pretty late in embracing healthy eating, or that I had no clue about doing such a thing. I also had the other bit of growing up in a pub, so cheap and filling gastro food was my meals most days. But, I don’t like putting blame of other people. I could have not got a whole box of cookies everyday after school and eaten them on the short walk home. I didn’t have to get McDonalds every weekend, and I didn’t have to devour countless chocolate bars and crisps and just other fattening things.

I am entirely guilty for my weight back then.

But I am also responsible for my weightloss too. 

At school, I had my share of bullying. Some about my size, when I would be called a ‘whale’, or ‘disgusting’ or just ‘fat’. But some about silly little things like the shape of my mouth the fact I wore glasses, (four eyes, nerd, geek etc), and the fact that I had, and still do, crooked teeth. And from this, in my own unhappiness, and want for power and acceptance, I started to become a bully. And, now I’m so ashamed to say it, I began to bully people in my friendship group, just because I could and I felt that they would forgive me. So it was a vicious cycle of the bullied-becoming-the-bully.

So, how did I change? How did I change my eating, weight and life to become healthier and happier?

Well, it started after a family funeral. One that came as a shock to all of us. And whilst at this funeral, when I was surrounded by my much smaller cousins, something clicked. And I thought ‘I can’t go on this way’. Now, I was never at risk with my health. But I was going towards that if I kept my eating patterns the same way as I did.

So, I began exercising – a story which I will go into more detail in a later post – and began eating salad, good proteins and less processed fat. And I was so surprised. I began sleeping better, felt happier and had more energy. And my mental health rapidly improved, so I was overall a better and happier person.

So that’s what I say to you, reader. If you want to lose weight, then do it. But it has to be to make you happy. I am well aware that there are some people who are perfectly happy being bigger, and being plussize. And I completely respect them, and am a keen supporter in body confidence of any size. But making sure you’re healthy, happy and above all, content with yourself is the only thing that is important in your life.

And if you want to ask me any questions, then please do. I’m not a skinny of a fat shamer. I’m a body confidence lover. And that’s no matter what shape, size, height, whatever you are.


My before and after – Before was Halloween 2013 After is March 2015.

-Alice x

Girl Online by Zoella – Book Review

Title: Girl Online

Author: Zoe Sugg/Zoella

Rating: 3/5

Rating: Young Adult Literature, Children Literature, YouTuber Fiction

“Every time you post something online you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away.”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or perhaps just don’t know about the modern phenomena of the YouTuber, you would know who Zoella, or Zoe Sugg is. But for those who are unaware, I’ll give you a brief update.

Zoella is a beauty/lifestyle vlogger and online presence that is one of the most famous English YouTubers to date. With nearly 9 million subscribers, over 500 million video views, and nearly 4 million Twitter Followers, she has been crowned the ‘Queen of YouTube’, by a number of articles.

To get a fuller picture, I’ll link some articles below for your casual reading.

Zoella (The Independent October 2014)

Zoella (The DailyMail November 2014)

Zoella (DigitalSpy November 2014)

And, last year, this bubbly twenty-five year old released her debut novel, ‘Girl Online’. And in October, Girl Online: On Tour is to be released. So I thought I’d do my own review of the debut book, just to prepare readers for the sequel.

So meet Penny. Under the alias, Girl online, Penny blogs about her hidden feelings and personal experiences with friendship, boys, school drama, family issues and her recent panic attacks that are slowly beginning to take over her life. And when things go from bad to worse, her family decide to take her away to New York for a break away from normality. Whilst there she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. And suddenly, Penny is falling in love. And, of course, writing everything about it on her blog.

But she’s not the only one that has a secret. Noah has his own secret, and this one could be one to threaten to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever

So, as you can see, Girl Online fits in with the generalised, chick-lit-YA style of novel, as well as being an obvious tie in to Zoella’s own experiences – as starting off as a blogger, and moving onto a bigger audience on YouTube. This novel is a pretty heart-warming tale of young love, that does grip the reader at the end of each chapter, as well as having an ending that is both satisfactory as a stand-alone book, but could open up for possible sequels.

However, this novel features something that’s unique to the modern young adult market, as it deals with issues and pressures that teens nowadays would relate too – such as cyber-bullying, an online presence conflicting with the real self, issues with sexuality and then ‘coming-out’, the loss of friendships, mental illnesses and the first dizzy dabbles of love – and it does this with the sensitivity and knowledge that one would expect Zoella, as a significant idol for many young girls, would deal with. Now, it was revealed after publication that this novel was ghost-written, which did throw up some criticism from Suggs’ fans, but it is clear that despite not writing it, the ideas and plot idea is personal to Zoe.

I found the story arc of panic attacks and anxiety disorders to be something that I could seriously relate too. It wasn’t hidden under a guise of anything, but out there in the bleak daylight. The physical and mental effects of going through a panic attack was well-documented, and Penny does go through the same worry about having them as millions of people around the globe have, whilst dealing with them. And also, in a little side-note, Noah gives Penny a coping strategy to dealing with panic attacks that I would be interested to know if it works, as this could be a really important piece of knowledge that Zoe has shared out to her audience.

For the actual writing, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, as I said before, this is a ghost-written piece of text, but the writer has clearly written in a way that imitates the way that Zoe talks, writes her blogs and has just an overall Zoe-esque vibe. This is no great piece of literature, so don’t put it up there. It fits more into the realm of YA literature, as it’s easy to understand, and the writing doesn’t offer any surprises or plot spoilers. Like most YA novels, there are clichés and corny bits that did make me roll my eyes, and the whole episode where there was farting did make me a bit exasperated, but it was definitely a ‘safe’ story, so all ages could read it. Even a ten-year old could read it.

And for characterisation, I was equally as surprised to how developed they were. I did find myself wanting a boy like Noah in my life, and definitely wanting a friend like Elliot’s – who is Penny’s best friend and overall rock of support. I thought that Zoe did also bring the romance to life. She made the feelings very real, and made you, as the writer be immersed into the emotions that Penny was feel. You felt excited when Penny did, or sad or worried whenever she felt that. And that’s a good test of a good story.

Through my reading of the text, Zoe puts her whole heart-and-soul in this narrative, and she poignantly includes blog posts that do sound a lot like her own. But it was one line that made me think ‘ah, this is Zoe talking to us, not Penny’, and it was the line:

Everytime you post something online you have a choice.

For me, this is crucial tip that Zoe is sharing out to her readers and fans. Because there is that choice – that choice that you as the reader, or internet-browser, or blogger or whatever, need to keep in the back of your mind. You have a choice about what you think is right to share online, and you need to have limits. If you think that sharing personal information is what you want to do, just remember how it could affect you in the future.

You have that choice.

And nobody should ever pressure you into making up your mind about what you think is right and wrong.

This novel did surprise me in how much I would love it, and how much it made me want read on well into the night and not want to put it down. I’ve been a fan of Zoe for a few years now, and I do own some pieces from her cosmetics line which also did surprise me over the quality of the products. So, I’d happily recommend and pass this novel onto other readers. I’ll continue to support Zoella through whatever she does, and I am excited for the next installment to come out. But be aware. This isn’t a great piece of literature, but it never puts on a front saying it will.

So, if you want a novel that is heart-warming, addictive, romantic,

Image courtesy of Penguin.com

clichéd and a bit corny in the right places – then go to your local bookshop and pick up ‘Girl Online’.


Buy the book – Amazon/Waterstones

Zoella – Youtube/Twitter/Blog

Thank you!


My 9 Staple Beauty Products

Now, for both girls and guys alike, having good staple beauty pieces is pretty crucial in my opinion. Sure, testing out new makeup pieces, shower gels, shampoos and skin products is really fun, as you can discover new textures, fragrences and routines that you like. But to have ones that you can easily fallback on, and just go into any shop is buy is always a comfort, especially if you’re travelling away and just want a little taste of home.

So, I thought I’d list my ones. Just for all those who are curious about my opinions on beauty, makeup and skin products, and for those who want a good, honest review on some of the high-streets brands.

1: No.7 Stay Perfect in 5: Classic Rose

I found this little beauty after being sent down a Christmas package from my grandma. She had been given this as a gift, but it was unused and needed a good home. And before you get turned off, thinking it’s too ‘old’ because it was originally bought for an 80-year-old, No.7 is a highly-reputable brand, with millions of die-hard fans around the world. Also, it’s bridging that gap between the higher ends of makeup – Like MAC and Charlotte Tilbury, and equally as good brands, like Max Factor and Collection 2000.

To me, Classic Rose is what is says on the tin. It’s a perfect rosy pink lipstick. It doesn’t appear too brash, or standout from your natural lip colour. And just adds a fresh pop of pink to your lips without looking too overdone. And it also blends on well with my ‘Rose’ lip pencil. The colour isn’t necessarily moisturising, nor is it matte, but it has the best of both lipstick types. And for an everyday lipstick, it does last fairly well. However, be warned. It does have the ability to smudge. And when it does that, it does look like it cause a lot of mess. Also – apps the same caution for kissing, drinking and eating.

But I love this lipstick so much, I’ve bought a backup. As you can’t buy it in shops, but only online.

 2: No. 7 Extreme Length Mascara.

Finding the right mascara is probably like finding the right pair of shoes. There’s so many options, so many styles and so many brands that all equally as good reviews. And I’ve gone through Maybelline, Max Factor, Rimmel, Collection and even the stupid ones you get off the front of magazines. And so far, I’ve found a mascara that suits my particular eyelashes perfectly. No. 7’s Extreme Length isn’t a newest mascara going, but it consistently gives out good results. I am lucky that I am blessed with pretty long lashes anyway, but this mascara not only makes them fluttery fans of loveliness, but with the unique design of having flexible brush ends, the grip and open up your lashes to the maximum possible level. It also isn’t too expensive – £12.50 for a tube, and this seems to last a long while. Now, I know this is more than a normal high-street mascara, but it does bridge the gap between high street and high end, without really breaking the bank.

I have noticed a massive difference when I put it on, as even if I put it on without a full face of makeup, I look more awake and less like a exhausted zombie. And the good thing about this is that it’s a lovely quality one, without having that high price, and doesn’t leave you with panda eyes in the night. There is a waterproof version as well for all you frequent criers, swimmers or just people living in a rainy area.

My eyes – one on the left has two coats of mascara, and one on right has none.

 3: Denman D3 Classic Styling Brush

Known as one of the most ‘famous styling brushes in the world’, and with a history going back nearly forty years, Denman brushes have always been a classic staple in the hairdressing world, and have yet to be replaced by fancier and new tools. I have three Denman brushes – one which I bought myself, one which is a small pocket one, and one that is over thirty years old, and yet still is in fantastic condition. So, as you can see, I use Denman for every part of my hairstyling routine. The brush – which the classic one is sold at the fantastically cheap price at £6-7 – hasn’t changed in design in the past twenty years, and for good reason why. With smooth, rounded edge nylon pins, and a staggered design, it provides a fantastic styling tool for everyday and night styles, and the style of the brush makes it hygenic and comfortable in your hand to hold onto.

I have gone through loads of brushes, as my hair is not only long and thick, so it needs a really durable brush to tame it. And I have never been let down by my Classic Styling Brush. I actually panic when I lose it, because I don’t want to subject my locks to the pulling, and bad quality of my other backup brushes.

This brush really is a classic for a reason!

4: Dove Purely Pampering Cream Oil Body Wash.

Like my favourite lipstick, this product is a rarity. You cannot find it for love nor money in boots, and the only reliable places I’ve got it from is Asda and Poundstretcher. But when I find it, I stock up. I have used this body wash for about ten years now, and I go through bottle after bottle in a very short amount of time. With only the smallest amount, this body wash lathers up really well, and the scent is not overpowering but rather a subtle, vanilla, jasmine and honey essence that makes your body smell gorgeous afterwards. It is also very moisturising, and does make the harder skin of elbows and feel feel a lot softer after the bath, but also doesn’t leave any residue or stickiness on your skin after a bath or shower. This is also really good for doubling up as shaving cream, and you only need the smallest amount on a loofah or a sponge. Also, one thing that I struggle with is how sensitive my skin is, as a lot of shower creams make me come up in a rash or just generally feeling very uncomfortable. But I’ve never experienced this with Dove as a company. Like I said, this is very difficult to get hold of nowadays, but the rest of the Dove Body Washes are equally as good, and come in a range of scents and textures that you could pick from.

5: Rimmel’s Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent.

I love a lot of what Rimmel does. Their Kate Moss brand will also feature in this blog post, and I find their foundations to be pretty good for a makeup product under £10. But this is the pinnacle of my favourite Rimmel product. Their Stay Matte Pressed Powder minimises the appearance of pores, hides shine for the majority of the day, and even if you just apply it without foundation, it makes you look slightly more flawless and put together. I’m lucky to just have a combination skin type, which probably means that I don’t have to use a pressed powder if I didn’t want too, but I prefer the matte look of foundation above any other types, and I just find that this powder hides a multitude of sins, as well as covering up rosy cheeks (from which I suffer from) and red blemishes. It also doesn’t clog your pores in a way that some powders can do, and it sets foundation in a pretty flawless manner. And for the cheap price of £3.99, who could resist it?

6: Paul Smith’s Rose Eau de Parfum

Perfume is my addiction. I have so many perfumes, ranging from cheap Lacoste stuff to Chanel No. 5 to Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique. But you need a scent that will surpass any season, any time of the day and any occassion. And Paul Smith’s Rose is that one. The scent of wild roses is one of my favourite smells ever, as I grew up with getting rose talcum powder every birthday and Christmas from my grandma. But like many perfumes, having artificial flower scents can be overpowering and sometimes very sickly. But Paul Smith has somehow managed to bottle the fresh, real scent of a rose and harness it into a perfume that doesn’t fade during the day, and makes you smell delicious and fresh during the day. It has a fresh, modern yet classic scent that all ages will love, and due to the fact that it is a pretty high-end perfume, it doesn’t disappear the minute you put it on your skin. I have worn this perfume for days out, dinners and even work, and it just feels refreshing on your skin, and you don’t have to worry about topping it up, or whether it’s changing during the day.

I was lucky that I bought my bottle during the New Years Sales, so be prepared to pay at least £60 for a good sized bottle.

7: Max Factor’s Face Finity All Day 3-in-1 Foundation in Light Ivory.

Finding foundations is a minefield for me. I’m naturally very pale, so many high-street foundations make me look orange (even at their palest shades) and I don’t have the money to afford really good stuff. So for years, I had to battle with putting on the lightest foundation, it being too orange, and then toning it down with white loose powder. But recently, I’ve discovered Max Factor’s 3-in-1 and found the perfect shade for myself. This foundation only needs a little to go a long way. And with a fairly good scent, not too tacky to the touch, and when applied properly, it gives a very good coverage, this foundation is the whole package. And for makeup novices, it also combines primer and concealer, so it could be a gentle introduction into adding other things onto your face during your makeup routine. It does give you a matte finish, which could be easily matte enough not to require powder, and from a whole day of touching my face, eating and just being outside, it doesn’t rub off or diminish it’s coverage. However, if you do have some prominant dark circles, red areas and obvious blemishes, you may need a good concealer, just to give that complete coverage. But for me, I find this to be a perfect foundation for any season, and everyday.

8: Rimmel’s Salon Pro by Kate Moss Nail Varnish – In Soul Session.

My hands and nails are my pride and joy. Not too boast, but I have pretty long and slender fingers, and a good nail shape that can make any nail varnish look pretty good when done right. And yes, like most people, I went through the period of wearing black nail varnish, and then blues and greens. But recently, I’ve wanted a staple, pale and classic colour that just added something subtle to my hands, and enhance their qualities, rather than appear too obvious. And also, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pale pink/nude mixture that wouldn’t appear too obvious, but blend well into my skin colour. And on a whim, i bought Kate Moss’ Soul Session colour from Rimmel, and I don’t think I’m ever going to turn back. A beautiful beige rose colour, which comes with a very wide brush that can easily coat your whole nail in one go. As it is so pale, you need a few coats to really bring the colour up, but that’s not too bad. It is also fairly chip resistant, and I’ve had my current coat on for about a week, and it’s only slightly chipping at the chips. A good, thick feel when apply, that doesn’t smudge too much, and the colour does go very well with my silver and pink Pandora rings, and my skin colour. And as the colour is fairly neutral, this goes with every piece of clothing, and for every season.

Bottle on the left isn’t mine – my own has gone missing.

9: Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Palette

From Kim Kardashian to Angelina Jolie, contouring has become the new fashion crave to get the cheekbones and shadows that you want on your face. Contouring can make your nose look different, you cheeks fuller and you face more streamlined. But the contour kits that the celebrities use can be ridiculous prices, and having a makeup artist work their wizardry on your face can be an expensive treat. So, when I was persuaded at the tills in Superdrug to buy Barry M’s Chisel Cheeks Contour Palette, I thought it could either be a good little experiment for me. And how I was surprised. The contour palette is made up of three, decent sized powders – a highlighter, a bronzer and a deeper colour to go under your cheekbones. And with handy little instructions on the lid, which shows you exactly where to place them, and exactly how to apply – this palette is a nifty little investment. The darker colour is incredibly pigmented, and when blended in, it does give the required shadows, and with the combination of the dark and light together, your face does appear to be a different shape. And as being pale, I was worried how the medium bronzer would look against my skin, but the difference wasn’t noticeable but it did give the effect that was desired. And once again, you can’t beat the price – £6.49. Now, it would be as good as the heavy-duty contour palettes of Smashbox, MAC or Urban Decay, but for a high street brand, it certainly gives you a good pigment, a good blend and good shadows.

So yes, these are my nine beauty favourites. If you have any questions about them, don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you!

-Alice x

Colouring Books for Grown-Ups? A Review. 

Firstly an author’s note here.

I must state that I am, in no shape or form and in any lifetime, an artistic person. Creative, yes. Artistic, no. As a youngster, I would be rather found reading or writing my own stories rather than painting, drawing or colouring. And as a 21 year old student, my skills have barely progressed past stick figures and doodles of roses. But, when I heard about the new craze of adult colouring books, I found myself drawn to them.

And was immensely pleased of what it unlocked in me.

Now, not only are the books themselves beautiful, but they have mental health benefits that I could not believe. Psychologists say that because the act of colouring is such a absorbing task, it calms the mind and takes the focus away from worries and stress, alongside stimulating motor skills, senses and creativity!  And, as omebody who deals with depression, OCD and paranoia day-to-day, I thought that owning one of these books surely couldn’t hurt.

IMG_0964And now, I’m a proud owner of two equally stunning books, and a sore hand from colouring for hours at a time.

The two chosen books – The Art Therapy Colouring Book by Richard Merritt, Hannah Davis and Cindy Wilde, and The Time Garden by Daria Song, are both significantly different.

Song’s book brings both a
story of a young girl, and illustrations that you can colour in. The story is sweet and innocent, and with the addition of the brief words on every couple pages, the text does not overcrowd the pictures, but gives the illustrations chance for you to read the story through them. Song’s illustrations are also highly detailed, and for first time colourers, this can be slightly overwhelming. But, the finished product is completely worth it.

The Art Therapy Colouring Book is larger and doesn’t have a story attached to it, but has hundreds of different pictures that are all completely indepedent of each other, but each one is as detailed and beautiful as the last. This book also features a doodling section in the back of it, with half-completed pictures that you can fill up with your own pictures, or words if you want to. The Art Therapy Colouring Book also draws from nature, buildings, cultures and patterns from all around the world. And they are such beautiful pictures that you could even take them out of the book and frame.

I work on these books as often I can, but with a full-time job and a bustling social life, I do find it difficult. But the best thing about these books is that you can leave them, and with a spare five minutes you can pick up your pencils and just do a tiny section. These tiny sections eventually add together to make something beautiful. And with the market just teeming with different styles of books – from nature ones, tattoo inspiration and stories like The Time Garden – there is also a host of pens, pencils and watercolour pencils that you can chose and select from. There is no limit to your imagination either. You can do a girl with blue skin, or a owl with purple feathers or whatever you decide.IMG_0965

As I said before, having OCD and paranoia can be overwhelming at times, and despite counselling and CBT sessions, there are periods in my day when I feel at a loss. But the instant I pick up one of these books, go back to my current picture I’m working on, I feel a lot more relaxed. And instead of sitting around, moping and not doing anything, I’m keeping my mind active and I always feel productive after just half an hour of doing it.

As for millions of people around the world, Sunday is the last day off before you get back to the 9-5, Monday to Friday grind. So I’ve spent the day just relaxing. And you can bet that blogging, colouring and finishing off pictures was on the top of my list.

Also, for all you guys who are on the go constantly, yet want to experience this colouring revolution, there are postcard versions, with a variety of different designs. These ones can be easily slipped into a bag, along with a small selection of pencils. And, if you’re sending them out to friends and family, they add a little something personal and thoughtful that the recipient would love.

So yes, colouring is not just for children. And I know that I’ve been sitting in different cafes around town, and whip
ped out my Art Therapy Book with a few chosen colours, and just found time to unwind and get my mental health in check for a little bit.

-Alice x

Links –

The Art Therapy Book – Waterstones/Amazon

The Time Garden – Waterstones/Amazon

The Guardian on Adult Colouring-In Books – Click here.

I’ve been nominated for…The Blogger Recognition Award.

Huge huge thank you for the nomination Kelsey at Don’t Shush Me!

So, what is this?

This award was created by the lovely Edge of Night, to give bloggers a chance to be recognised and, in turn, to celebrate the bloggers of their choice.

And if you’re nominated, what do you do?

1: Nominate 15 other blogs you want to give the award to! And really dig around for these – you can’t nominate yourself or the person who nominated you.

2: Create a post to show off your award. And give a little backstory to your blog, and your personal blogging journey. Also, give some advice to other bloggers about blogging, and the blogosphere. Also, thank whoever nominated you, and include your award in the post – do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above.

3: Comment on the 15 blogs to let them know that you are nominating them.

4: And provide a link back to the original creator of the award, Edge of Night, so that we can all keep track of the award and who has been nominated!

My Blogging Story.

All in all, I’ve been blogging on different accounts for over ten years. My first blog was a mess of my love for the Simpsons, ridiculous posts about celebrities I loved and horribly bad grammar. And after that, I started getting into book reviews and wanting my voice to be heard. Now, as my blogging style has evolved, and from being bullied online and targeted, I’ve started to not really care what others think about me, or my writing. I’ve worked in two book shops, a library and actually have a degree in English and Creative Writing, so my love for the written word is virtually limitless. And, I never limit myself to a particular genre of books, or a particular age bracket. So I feel I don’t have to limit myself to reading and writing reviews about one stuck genre. And with this blog, I wanted to document my year-long weight loss, and exercise gain. After losing a stone and a half, and being able to fit properly into pretty clothes, my confidence in myself has grown, and I started to see and appreciate how beautiful being a curvy girl was. I started to follow and love online presences such a SprinkleOfGlitter and Tess Holliday, and wanted to put my own stamp on the world. And from this, I wanted to put all my experiences into one neat little blog that I look after and help grow.

My Advice.

Firstly, don’t apologise for being yourself. Your blog is your own little corner of the internet where you can write down all your thoughts, your opinions and show off your writing style and flair. One of my own blogs was targeted by ex-friends, and it made me highly self-conscious of getting my opinions out there. But I was actually earning money from that blog, and I thought ‘fine. The traffic that you show to me is actually giving me income. Go ahead, talk about it. Get it out there!’. So yes, write it all down. But keep the things you want private offline. You don’t want anything bad to come and bite you in a few years time.

Also, if you have a particular book you hated, and you have reasons why, then write it down. It will help other readers get a clear picture of the book, and make them more aware of what is out there. That’s the same with recommendations. If you have a book that you think people will love, then say so.

So write, write, write. Follow equally-minded blogs, comment and support them and they’ll do the same for you. Also, be patient. Be popular online doesn’t happen overnight. And if you want to get loads of followers, you’ve got to give to get. You can’t do nothing and expect to get everything. This is a fun little community, so why not support everyone?

My nominations.

The YA Reader

Take Her Lead


See Inner Beauty

Thoughts, Musings, and Storytelling

Shih Tzu Book Reviews

Books J’Adore

Reflections of a Book Addict

Curves on the Central Line

Beauty is being the best possible version of yourself

Dreaming Awake


The Plus Size Blogger

Bold, Curvy and Beautiful

A Bit of What you Fancy

— So yeah, Bloggers Unite! —

Outfits of the Day – Work Edition.

For the past few months, I’ve been working in an office doing marketing work. Now, this office is relatively relaxed with dress codes, and I thought I’d share my outfits that I have been wearing in the last week.

As I’ve said before, I am a curvy girl. And, in my opinion, being heavier and curvy in the summer is quite difficult, as things can get warmer,  thighs can rub and wearing tights and leggings can just be too hot. So, it’s key to remain cool, tidy and relatively smart. Now, as I said, my office’s rules are relaxed. If I wanted too, I could easily come in jeans and a t-shirt with some converses. But the ratio to me wearing jeans over skirts and dresses is nearly not even 1% of my time. I find dresses and skirts to be a lot more flattering on me, and a lot easier to wear and accessorize with.

As you can probably tell, I don’t wear makeup when I’m going to work, and I always wear my Pandora and gold rings. My hair isn’t anything usually to shout about either, just clean and away from my face.

So, my outfit for Monday: 

Dark red chiffon owl-printed dress – Peacocks

Black tights – Calvin Klein

Leather Boots – Clarks

The good think about this dress is that with the tie-waist, you can either wrap it around and it’s fairly loose, or you can double- wrap and make it more waist defining. Also, with the translucent chiffon sleeves, it can hide a multitude of upper-arm problems, yet not be too hot in the summer. The underneath is a satin slip, so it offers a degree of modesty, as well as it being knee-length and despite not really liking owls, the print isn’t too obvious. For me, this is a good office outfit as it’s clearly casual enough to wear outside, fairly airy, so it’s not restricting in a warm room but can appear modest enough for stricter dress codes. This is a really versatile outfit for all seasons too, as the colours are very autumnal/winter , yet the owl motif can be seen in spring and summer too.


  Grey side split dress -New Look

Leggings – Primark

Nude and black pumps – New Look

Necklace – New Look

Now this is quite a risky outfit for work. Despite it being neutral colours, the maxi dress is split on both sides up to the waist, and does offer a lot of skin showing, and an awful lot of my fabulous curves. The dress is perfect for curvy girls like myself, because it shows off your small waist, and hourglass hips. Plus, in the summer, with the splits, it gives room for it to be airy, and the cotton fabric helps. And thanks to that, you could also wear it with the flaps tied together and make it into a tie-up crop top and leggings.

I love this look because it’s unusual to look at, and the neutral colour scheme makes it look quite chic. Plus, it’s so super quick to slip on and accessorise with.

Also – these shoes are a godsend, as they have elasticated sides, so you could store them in a bag for night out, and they are comfortable and look more expensive than they actually were.


White shirt – Primark

Elasticated blue maxi skirt – Peacocks.

Nude Bandelettes (Not pictured) – Bandelettes.com

White lace shoes (Not pictured) – Primark

Now this is probably one of my most conservative outfits. But it’s equally as comfortable for the summer. On a hot summer day, this white cotton shirt provides a ready office look, and the white fabric reflects light and isn’t necessarily too hot. However! Be warned to all my readers who may get sweaty during this sweltering weather. Fitted cotton shirts can be horrible under the arms for a particularly warm day, so perhaps, if you’re going out afterwards, pack a vest or just loads of deodorant. And for bigger-busted girls, it’s always better to get shirts from websites that cater to plussize ladies – as they can have them ready-tailored for your figure, or just go up a size so it may be loose everywhere else, but comfortable around your cleavage. You don’t want to be worrying about accidental flashing when you’re at work. Also, always wear a nude-coloured bra underneath – just for that extra touch of classiness. It’s not the best look to wear black under white, unless you really want to rock the monochrome look.

The dark blue skirt not only protects your legs against the sun’s rays (But always wear suncream too), but it’s heavy enough not to swing up in the wind, yet light enough to cool your legs down. I particularly liked the colour of this skirt, as blue compliments me, and the elasticated waist highlighted my better parts. The skirt also adds a pop of colour to my quite plain outfit, and the belt draws me in and just gives a break from the white to the blue.

Now, underneath this outfit I was wearing my trusty Bandelettes, which are basically anti-chafing lace bands, which are surrounded by non-slip silicone. For ladies with a bit of thigh-chub, I’d thoroughly recommend them. Summer + sweaty thighs + chafing = a lot of pain.

And despite my shoes not being featured, they are strappy white lace ballet pumps, that are not only extremely comfy, but also provide that extra bit of sweetness into my Heidi-from-the-mountains vibe.


Pale pink sleeveless blazer – New Look

Logo tshirt – Primark

Silk skirt – TK Maxx

Tights – Peacocks

Leather Oxfords – New Look

This is definitely one of my favourite outfits of the week. Despite it being mismatched, different colours and not necessarily summer-fit, it is incredibly cool. The sleeveless blazer is definitely my autumn-winter staple, as it’s not only fashionable at this moment. but it skims all the lumps and bumps, and adds to the professionalism of the outfit. And as it’s sleeveless, it doesn’t get hot in the summer, or weigh me down. My only problem with it is that it has faux-pockets, which are my biggest gripe in women’s clothing.

The pairing of the cotton logo tshirt, and more adult-looking skirt does give the outfit a smart-casual vibe, and as the skirt is 100% silk, it doesn’t feel heavy in the summer months. The tshirt is also lightweight, and not restrictive under my arms, therefore I have movement and free arms during the day. And with the tights, and leather Oxford shoes, they tie the outfit into together to appear professional, but also add to a casual air. And the tights prevent that awful chub-rub that I’ve mentioned before.


Oxblood lace skater dress – New Look

Oversized pale pink hair-bow – New Look

Tights – Zac Posen

Leather boots – Clarks.

My final outfit of the day was one that I wore for work, but also needed to go out for dinner later. The mixture of a lace dress overlaying a silk slip gives me movement, and the skater feel of the dress is perfect for curvy girls as once again, it shows off my best assets, yet skims the waist and the problem areas. And it is perfect for going between work and dinner, as it doesn’t appear too office-y but smart enough for a restaurant.

The oversized pink hair bow was an accessory that I attached to the back of my hair, and not only added a pale pop of colour to my hair, but also added a fun little detail that I appreciated. And having hair accessories also add the feel of a little effort being put in, without going too overboard.

The tights – a steal at £3 from TK Maxx – are high quality, so they are both cooling when the sun beats down, but warm in the winter, and the leather boots are my utter, utter staple as they are durable, go with everything and can be worn in both wet and dry weather.

So this is my week in outfits. I will be doing more of these if you like them, as I enjoy pairing my clothes together. And if you have any questions about anything in particular, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or send me a message.

-Alice x

Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher – Book Review

Title: Billy and Me

Author: Giovanna Fletcher

Rating: 3/5

Genres: Women’s Literature, Chick-Flick, Romance, Summer Reads, Girl-Meets-Boy

“I wish I could bottle the feelings of love inside me and save them for a rainy day – to remind myself of their magnitude in those moments of doubt.”

Summer’s always call for a nice, easy romantic novel to read by the beach or on a train. And after rereading Billy and Me, and keeping it in my bag for such trips, I fell back in love with this first novel by author, Giovanna Fletcher. Now, Fletcher has written other books in her short time of being an author, and each on follows a relatively easy, and similar style of the ups and downs of love, but Billy and Me has held a special place in my heart.

So, meet Sophie May, a down-to-earth and kind-hearted young woman who lives and works in the picturesque village of Rosefont, and has been working for years at the charmingly named cafe called ‘Tea-on-the-Hill’. However, for years Sophie has been hiding something. A secret that stopped her from going to university, travelling and gave her a reason to stay in this tiny village with her mother. But, when Sophie meets Billy, a gorgeously talented, up-and-coming movie star, she falls in love, finds a new way of life, and she gets swept up in the life of a Hollywood plus-one. But does Sophie really want to change her set in stone way of life, and go into the world of the celebrity which could force her secret to be revealed?

This book is easy to read.

That’s the first thing I must say.

And this is not entirely a positive thing, but neither is a negative. Fletcher writes in a very simplistic, exclamation-mark heavy way, which did put me off slightly, and for people who are used to reading descriptive, Pulitzer-prize winning writing, this may be just too simple for them. But for a romantic, silly summer read, it is perfect.

The characters are a mixed bunch. I found Sophie to be one of those women who you either adore, or just be annoyed by. But what Fletcher did do well is giving Sophie a deep-seated and true set of morals, as she doesn’t just go whisking off to live the ‘easy’ life with Billy, but she has family and commitments that she cannot just abandon. Billy was written well, as his character was flawed, and it takes the reader the entire novel to really notice these flaws, and with Molly, and Sophie’s mum, these were the perfect side characters to dealing with the drama of Billy and Sophie’s relationship. However, other than that, the smaller characters don’t have much depth, and could have been developed more, and been more integral to the part.

In world-building, Fletcher’s Rosefont village is a good example of the dynamic of a small village, where everyone does know everything, and to keep a secret can be a struggle, and she writes it in a way that is true and personal to Sophie’s issues/

Overall, Fletcher’s writing is almost too simple, and sometimes fluffy, but it gets the plot through in a fast-paced and interesting way. There are some points that you do have to battle through the sheer amount of exclamation marks, and frustrating use of ‘Bloomin!’, but it is a lighthearted and sweet read to take with you, when you don’t want to tax your brain too much. And, in my opinion, Fletcher’s original debut into the literature world was one that shows a flair of talent that she hasn’t properly developed yet, and that she had a promising start to go on from that.

Also, what I find interesting, and what I took from the novel, is how Fletcher may have been influenced by her own life to write Billy and Me. If you, as the reader am unaware, Fletcher is married to long-time love Tom Fletcher, from the pop group, McFly. And the idea of a young girl who was pushed into the limelight could be very similar to how Giovanna felt in the early stages of Tom’s career. So, perhaps that is what makes this novel so touching. That the personal life of the author has seeped into this novel, and makes it slightly more believable.

So yes, for all those star-crossed love readers out there, and all those who just love the whole love-triumphing-or-does-it stories, I would recommend Billy and Me, without a second thought.

If you, as a reader, loved:

1: Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult.
2: Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding
3: The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris

I’m sure you’ll love this book!


Buy the book – Amazon/Waterstones

Author’s Website – Click Here

Author’s Twitter – Click Here

#IAmSizeSexy – First Blog Post and Introduction.

As I’ve said before, this is going to be a mix blog that is part reviews and part body confidence. And to me as a girl who was always called, ‘fat’, ‘disgusting’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘whale’, and the traditional, ‘ugly’, body confidence is such an important and necessary factor in my life, and not only that, but a very recent one.

In these blog posts, I want to explain my own journey into body confidence, give out fashion advice for curvy girls, cover questions about body weight and bullying, and just dispel some myths that come from the warped view that modernimage5 day society has put into beauty standards.

I am, in NO WAY, a fashion, trends, beauty, nutrition or fitness expert. I cannot speak for others, and I know that the tips and stories and opinions that I give out are personal to me, and have helped me in my journey of body confidence. In these blog posts,  I don’t want to offend people with anything I say, or anything that I assume. And if you, as the reader, have anything that you think is wrong, or offensive, please just send me a message, and I’ll either clarify, or rectify.

But, first of all let me explain my own story. Just so you can get an idea of who I am, and why I think a positive body image is so important for people nowadays.

At school age, and through adolescence and into my early adulthood, I was unhealthy. Unhealthy that my diet was poor, I did little to no exercise and I didn’t care much for my personal appearance or mental health. And I was going towards a weight problem that could had affected my actual health for the rest of my life. Now, in the last year or so, I’ve completely changed my life around. I’ve lost nearly two stone – and now sitting happily at a size 14 – I have upped my exercise to a regular amount, and I’ve taken control of my diet in a way that is healthier, yet I don’t cut anything out or limit myself.

And from this, I’ve got a body that is curvy, and still considered by society to be plussize, yet I feel and look much better. And at this point in my life, I am able to look into the mirror, and think ‘Yeah, you look nice today’. But, there’s always going to be negative days. Days, that I look in theimage4 mirror when I’ve got my comfiest and biggest pyjamas, and just think ‘oh god your thighs/face/arms/stomach’, and all I want to do is carve great slabs off myself.

And that’s what I think is the most warped thing of all. That I, as a twenty-one year old woman, who has a fantastic family, amazing friends, a fairly good brain and am in overall good health, has days that I think that I am the ugliest creature on earth. And it’s solely down to the body standards of the society that I grew up in.

Now, in this day and age, being my size is considered overweight, and practically obese. It is just is. There is no turning back from this. And from this, I have been told that I will never be loved, never be beautiful, and never look good in clothes. And this is incredibly damaging, especially to somebody who used to be so self-conscious about the fact that I had an ample bra size and wide hips etc.

But this is ridiculous. And I want this shaming to stop.

It’s ridiculous timage2hat I’m told these things by strangers. It’s ridiculous that my body, and the weight I carry, can make people want to verbally throw these cruel slurs at me. It’s ridiculous that, because of what is considered beautiful, instantly makes something different ugly. And how I, as not a curvaceous individual, cannot possibly be beautiful if we’re going by what society has deemed so.

I want to emphasis that I am not a skinny-shamer. I am not bashing different body shapes, or what makes us different body shapes. What I’m criticising is the limited view of beauty. I think beauty is much more than body type and size, and people, whatever shape, size, height and weight can be beautiful through their minds, and their actions. What they look like is a tiny percentage of what true beauty should be based in.

I am aware that there are people who are skinny-shamed, and told to fatten up, that they look sick, and that they would look better ‘with a bit more meat on their bones’, and I find this to be a truly saddening state of affairs too. Skinny and slender people do receive a barrage of abuse, and this needs to stop too. It doesn’t promote a healthy body or mental image, and can lead to eating disorders and body dysmorphia. So, if you, as a reader have been personally targeted like this please contact me and we’ll get a blog post together.

So, what I will be doing in this blogs is promoting my body. My size 14, curvy-as-hell, big-footed, messy hair, and short-sighted appearance.  My ideas of beauty standards, and what think is a healthier and more positive ideal of beauty. As I said before, I am all for body positivity, and I am a full supporter of Effyourbeautystandards, and because of my appearances, my posts will be directed towards women of a curvier appearance. Just because of who I am. But please, carry on reading. To have a positive outlook on your body is such a rare thing in young girls nowadays, and this needs to stop. Everyone should be accepting.

And if you’re slim, apple, pear, hourglass, boyish, tall, short, and other shapes, you should be considered beautiful, and worthy of the body you were born into. Because you only get one. And you know what, to everyone out there who thinks that I am disgusting, and whatever because I am a size 14? I am Size Sexy. And that is because I chose to be.

Thank you.

-Alice x


Below are some links to articles I found interesting about beauty standards:

Tess Holliday ‘Never seen a fat girl in her underwear before?’

My size zero life being skinny shamed

‘Sharp rise’ in number of school girls with emotional issues

YSL ad ban: Scarily thin models are indefensible to models like me

Eating disorder hospital admissions nearly double

‘Are you beach body ready?’ Feminists deface ‘body shaming’ ad

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick – Book Review.

Title: The Silver Linings Playbook

Author: Matthew Quick

Rating: 4/5

Genres: Adult Fiction, YA Fiction, Mental Health, Awareness Fiction, Teenage Fiction, Romance, Chick-Flick

“Life is not a PG feel-good movie. Real life often ends badly. Literature tries to document this reality, while showing us it is still possible for us to endure nobly.”

To this particular reviewer, mental health, and issues surrounding mental health have not been the easiest category to find novels written about. Novels such as Go Ask Alice, The Solitude of Prime Numbers and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are all well-know examples of this genre, yet if you compare them up to books that have been written about cancer, or abuse, the scales are heavily weighed towards these ones. And I am definitely not criticising these novels, as any survivor who is brave and feels confident enough to write about their experiences should all be praised. But to me, the world of mental health, and issues that surround mental health have not be entirely explored. As, as readers are probably aware, there is still a massive taboo that has been attached to mental health, and if there was plenty of literature about it, it may be understood more.

Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook is one of those novels that deals with mental health in a practical, straightforward and in-your-face sort of fashion. It deals with the everyday life of taking prescriptions, dealing with relapses and sessions with therapists and counsellors, as well as dealing with how the family and friends surrounding a person dealing with mental health get affected.

After suffering a breakdown, and spending time in a psychiatric unit, Pat Peoples becomes determined to get his life back on track. Moving between building relationship with estranged friends and family, getting fit, and most importantly, looking out for that silver lining to have positivity in his life, Pat’s ultimate goal is to get the reconciliation with his now-estranged wife, Nikki. However, through obstacles, such as his overly protective parents, mood swings that rage civil war with his own good intentions, and one particular smooth jazz song, Pat finds that he seems to be running into circles. But, when he meets the mysterious and beautiful Tiffany, who quickly befriends him and helps him understand that labyrinth that is his own thoughts, he seems to be running closer and closer towards his goal. But when Tiffany reveals secrets that Pat’s been kept in the dark about, and issues that haven’t been revealed to him, is all this running for nothing? Or could his find a new silver lining to reach for?

Now, it’s very hard to write a book summary without mentioning the 2012 film starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Because that is such a good film, and despite not following the book completely, it definitely holds its own and the trailer for the film will be linked below. However, after a reread of the book, there is something about the book-Pat that Cooper couldn’t quite get. Pat is such a brilliant individual. Because despite having his own issues, and struggles, he really tries to reach for that silver lining in every scenario. He is such a glass-half-full kind of guy, and he seems loyal towards his dreams. And his dream is his wife Nikki.

However, it is revealed that their love, and the idolised version that he paints in his head is completely different from the reality. And for the reader to experience that is a blow, because you discover it as the same time as Pat does.

Pat’s mind, and the way it works is also an example of excellent writing. A thought pattern can be very difficult to write down, as it’s never linear and like a train track. It twists and turns, but usually always comes back to one idea or solution. Pat’s mind is written that way, but his constant, underlying thought is ‘Nikki, Nikki, Nikki’. And not only does that reveal how well Quick can write a person, but also how his mental illness borders on obsession.

Now, as I said, the film in comparison to the book has differences. The relationship Pat has with his parents is one of those story arcs that the film doesn’t go properly into, especially in relation to his father. Pat’s father – aptly named Pat Sr is one of those characters who you wish had his own point-of-view chapters, just to see what he thinks of his family However, to me, the real star of the show is Tiffany. And despite Pat being an excellent protagonist, and really showing how mental illness can affect people’s lives, he is in a different league to the complexities of Tiffany.

Like Pat, Tiffany suffers from her own issues, which is only really explored in the later chapters, yet she is also one of those characters that you sometimes wish you were. She is incredibly confident about her own abilities in deciding what she wants, and makes herself very clear when she voices her opinions. However, she unfortunately has a tendency to, when she wants something, she will the hardest to make it difficult to gain it.

Her and Pat’s relationship are also one of those which seem to have been thrown together by destiny. They both argue, are both incredibly stubborn, and yet together, they have some of the most interesting conversations with each, and seem to be completely at ease with each when they’re alone.

One more thing I love about the book is the chapter names. They are named after lines from each chapter that are completely out of context, but make for some enjoyable reading. My personal favourite is ‘Sister Sailor-Mouth’.

I’m going to be completely honest here. This isn’t the best written book, and nor is going to be the best book I’ve ever read. But the story does seep out from the page, and makes you want to read it over and over again. However, the film version is definitely one of the best adaptations I’ve seen. And despite it not following the story completely, the acting ability of Cooper and Lawrence, as well as the documentation of the family relationships and fitting soundtrack, does add to the whole quality of it. So yes, read the book and then watch the film.

And I’m going to end this review with a quote from Lawrence in her Oscar-winners speech, which I think sums up the feeling of the book, and what she wanted to portray through Tiffany, – ‘I don’t think we’re going to stop until we get rid of this stigma for mental illness. I know David won’t. And I hope that this helps. It’s just so bizarre how in this world, if you have asthma you take asthma medicine, and diabetes you take diabetes medicine, but as soon as you take medication for your mind, it’s such a stigma behind it’.

If you, as a reader, loved:
1: ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky
2: ‘Girl, Interrupted’ by Susanna Kaysen
3: ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath

You’ll love this.


Buy the book – Amazon/Waterstones 

Author’s Website – Click Here

Trailer for the film