My Parisian Adventure – Day 4 (Palace of Versailles) + Final Day

When planning my trip, I knew I had to go and see The Palace of Versailles. There wasn’t any argument, so I decided I’d plan our holiday to centre around the day out.

I knew that Versailles was going to be an entire day out, and would require an early start and probably have a late finish, so we pre-packed our lunch and started out from the apartment early in the morning.10671454_896721550338024_1980962028170123782_n

From Jaures, we used Line 5 to take us to Paris Austerlitz, and from there we went on the Rer C to Versailles Rive-Gauche. From us, it was very easy. The Rer C is a separate system from the Metro, so you will have to buy a return ticket. Our Paris Visite Pass didn’t serve the Versailles or Disney lines. Currently it’s €3.55 for a one-way ticket. However, obviously purchasing a return journey will just be easier for when you leave. Be aware that the Rer C-Austerlitz line is currently partway closed due to maintenance, so alternative lines may be required. There are buses that also run from the city to the Palace.

Plan your trip here. – (There are a few stations that are situated around the Palace. I recommend the Versailles Chateau Rive-Gauche station, as it’s the closest to the palace)

It took around a hour from leaving the apartment to get to the Rive-Gauche station. From there, the Chateau is clearly signposted.

The Palace isn’t free to enter, and I found it better to book online before you arrive. It helps to cut down the queues. If you book online you don’t have to go to the ticket office (necessarily) and go straight to Entrance A.

We bought the €18 ‘Versailles Passeport’ which gives you access to the Palace, Gardens, Trianon and Marie-Antoniette’s Village. It also gives you access to exhibitions and the Fountains show. For the money, it was completely worth it.

For us, the queue wasn’t too long, but be aware there are quite strong security measures put it. Please visit the website to research and read up beforehand, so you aren’t caught out.

As this is the height of tourist season, it is very advisable to arrive early. We got to Palace at around 10am, and it was already very busy then. So, be prepared to experience some crowding, especially in the Hall of Mirrors. It isn’t advisable, or probably possible to stand around the rooms too long, as the amount of people makes it quite difficult.

Photography is allowed, but no flash, and not for commercial use unless authorisation is given. Selfie sticks are also banned, as are drones.

The entire palace is stunning. Gold leaf upon marble upon gold greets you in every room, and the Hall of Mirrors is ridiculously beautiful. When we went, there were so much to see it was quite overwhelming. You would definitely need more than a day to see the entire estate. My personal highlight was seeing Marie-Antoinettes Estate – a small hamlet built in a very typical F10351086_891388837537962_865758319822172331_nrench pastoral scene within the crowds, where the infamous queen used as a retreat from Palace life. It’s so quaint and beautiful, it’s definitely worth a walk around. 

When we went to the Palace, we were allowed to eat our picnic on the steps leading down to the palace gardens, which was a welcome highlight. There are clearly signposted refreshments around, and they offer a wide selection of food and drink for any palate. But remember, bring water to sustain you throughout the day, along with suncream on hot days. As a lot of the estate is stretched through the gardens, you spend a lot of time outside.

One tip that I have is that after spending the day walking around the estate, go back into the main palace at the end of the day. The crowds have thinned considerably, and you get to properly enjoy The Hall of Mirrors without being elbowed from all sides. The Palace closes at 6.30pm, so you have plenty of time to get back.

Be aware, the train back and into Versailles will always be crowded throughout the day. Be careful with belongings, and try and secure yourself a seat.

Versailles was definitely the highlight of the week. With the beauty and grandeur of the Palace mixing in with the fascinating history, it really is a day out that you won’t forget for a long time.

(Disclaimer – our fifth day of Paris was just seeing family, and despite a few hours spent walking up Champs-Élysées and a visit to Père Lachaise Cemetary, we didn’t take any images. So I’m going to end my Paris series here. Watch this space for my Rome adventure however!)

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Suicide Squad (2016) – Film Review.

Title: Suicide Squad

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara

Director: David Ayer

Genres: Superhero, Action, Comic Book, DC Extended Universe, Comic Book Adaptation

Rating: 3.5/5


It came on the coat tails of Batman Vs Superman, and gave audiences the taste of a film that was going to be manic, bright, ridiculous and villainous.

With excellent trailers, a cast that is not to sniggered at, and the first reincarnation of the Joker since Heath Ledger’s chilling performance, Suicide Squad was supposed to b1e DC’s resurrection from heavily panned movies and critical reviews.

However, despite it giving some kick-ass moments, it failed to live up to expectations.

Originally a storyline that few outside of the comic book readership would have heard of, Suicide Squad tells the story of a motely group of imprisoned super villains who have been forced to be part of a fighting task force and work to reduce their prison sentences. Starring Deadshot (Smith) as the world’s best gunslinger and assassin; Harley Quinn (Robbie) deranged ex-psychiatrist and girlfriend of The Joker; Diablo (Hernandez) pyrokinetic gangster; Killer Croc (Akinnuoye-Agbaje cannibalistic crocodile, and bank thief Captain Boomerang (Courtney), the team have to fight against otherworldly creatures for the government, whilst always actively trying to rebel against the authority that imprisons them.

Excitement rose throughout the release of the trailers and teasers, and there was thousands of questions that comic book fans had to ask. What was Leto’s Joker going to be like? How was Robbie going to portray Harley Quinn in her first full-length live action cinematic debut? Was it going to be light-hearted, dark, somber, violent? How many backstories would feature? Is this going to be a continuation of the Batman Vs Superman line, or be entirely different? So on and so on.

So what did I like about the movie/what was done well? The cast and the acting were very strong throughout. There was chemistry between the cast that was obvious to the audience, and I thought they gelled well together. Despite some of the Squad’s characters not being explored (Killer Croc, Boomarang etc), they still made a good addition and impact within the narrative. Will Smith’s Deadshot was strong, as he was shown to have arrogance and loathing towards the authority that imprisoned him, whilst showing his strong paternal love towards his daughter. Diablo was also a favourite, as he is shown initially to be remorseful over his actions, yet when he warms up to the Squad, he considers them to be the family that he lost. A very sympathetic character in my mind. But for me, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was a favourite.SUICIDE SQUAD

With her backstory glazed over, the audience wanted more, and when we saw the transformation from the straight-laced Dr Harleen Quinzel to the manic Harley Quinn, I was very impressed with Robbie’s acting ability. Harley Quinn was un-hinged yet still self-aware of who she was, and her love for the Joker and contempt for the mission in hand. This made her character feel multi-dimensional, as she is not just the film’s sex appeal and Joker’s sidekick, but significantly more. She is shown to be completely bad-ass with baseball bat, yet possesses an angel face and dressed as a crazy cheerlander mixing with a circus performer. Harley Quinn certainly made an impact. ,

I’m also very interested in Jared Leto’s Joker. With plenty of boastful interviews about never breaking character throughout filming, and employing method acting constantly, Leto dedicated a lot of time and energy to portraying his Joker, yet we didn’t really see that. The Joker was a minor character in this story, and with around 15 minutes of screen time during the entire film, he isn’t given enough time to
make a real impact. However, I found his gangster apparel and mafia vibe to be tiresome. To me, The Joker is a solitary and lone figure that largely works above the regular villains. Leto makes him far more ‘Mob Boss’ rather than ‘Crazed Clown’. However, I am excited to see if he is explored more in further films.

However, to me the film fell down the pit that Batman Vs Superman did. There was a lot happening, but not a lot of plot, and what plot was there felt very disjointed and full of holes. The way it has been edited together felt choppy and disjointed, and there were some odd flashbacks and films over the film that didn’t really make sense. There was an initial plot line that seemed completely pointless, and the main drama was largely brushed over, and only resolved in the last third.

However, DC has learned from the heavily-panned Batman Vs. Superman by incorporating some lighthearted and comedic moments, which did relieve the drama slightly.

Despite this being a film full of villains, the main antagonist was The Enchantress. However, I didn’t think Cara Delevingne could cope with the character. The Enchantress was supposed to be an all power ancient spirit of a witch and completely evil, yet the actress just couldn’t grasp the severity of the character. If you want chilling villainy, look at Ledger’s The Joker, or Anthony Hopkins Hannibal. She just didn’t make an impact as The Enchantress, or the witch’s vessel, June Moon. She just felt weak to me, which made the final fight scene a bit lacklustre.

If you watched the trailers and read all the hype about Suicide Squad, you may be slightly disappointed. Harley Quinn was a real highlight, but the film itself was confusing, convoluted and not as crazy as we wanted it to be. Unfortunately, DC promised something big, but it still fell beneath expectations. However, if you want a film about crazed psychopaths trying to work together, with weird situations and hilarity ensuing, go and see the film. I found it be enjoyable, but don’t look too much into it.

Suicide Squad is in cinemas now.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK Tour at Plymouth Theatre Royal 2016) – Theatre Review

Title: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Cast: Lee Mead, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Michelle Collins, Shaun Williamson, Andy Hockley, Scott Paige, Sam Harrison, Ewen Cummins, Matt Gillet

Director: James Brining

Venue: Plymouth Theatre Royal/Touring Production.


Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen productions of West End shows being performed either in London or in local venues and, without fail,  I still get the jolt of excitement when I can come home with a glossy show programme. I love musical theatre, and enjoy spending my hard-earned money on tickets.'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' Tour

So when it was announced that the much-loved and highly-praised West End show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! was touring around the UK, I knew I had to get tickets. Lucky for me, Chitty landed in Plymouth’s Theatre Royal for a week, so I took the day off from work, and equipped with a vast love for the songs and story, I sat in the theatre and watched as the fantasmagorical musical transported back to my childhood.

Adapted from Ian Fleming’s original story, and with award-winning lyrics from the Sherman Brothers, this musical really hit a soft spot for me. Ever since obsessively watching the film as a child, and wishing to be Truly Scrumptious, I knew that this production would definitely tug on the heartstrings.

Starring Lee Mead (Joseph and the Technicolour Dream coat and Casualty) along with Carrie Hope Fletcher (Les Miserable and War of the Worlds) as Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious respectively, this power duo really had the voices and the on-stage chemistry to pull these characters off well. I particularly loved Carrie’s rendition of ‘Doll on a Music Box’, in which she had all the poise and voice of a real stage actress, and I must admit, I completely fell apart at Mead’s soulful version of ‘Hushabye Mountain’. The rest of the cast also took to their parts incredibly well. Slapstick duo of Sam Harrison and Scott Paige as the Vulgarian spies, Goran and Boris really had the best one-liners in the play, and provided a light and suitable relief, whilst Matt Gillet’s Childcatcher really sent chills up my spine. Ex-Eastenders stars Michelle Collins and Shaun Williamson also took the parts of Barone'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' Tourss and Baron Bomburst well, and did a rousing version of ‘Chu-Chi Face’.

The music and the choreography was also very diverse and fitting, with a particular highlight being Mead dancing in the ‘Me Ol’ Bamboo’, I felt the dancing never took any shine or attention from the actors, but only enhanced the viewing pleasure.

But one thing that really made me go ‘Wow’ was the spectacular use of special effects designed by Simon Wainwright. The use of an actual car, along with the use of video screens was a stroke of genius, as we watched Chitty ‘fly’, ‘swim’ and ‘dive’ over Beachy Head. The video projections were also used well to illustrate the car’s original Grand Prix glory days, and gives us a good backstory into the car’s history.

This production really took my breath away for how beautifully it was directed. It was exciting, whimsical, sad at points, hilarious at others, and with a cast that really delivered on those famous songs, it is a family favourite show that any person of any age would enjoy to see.

I’d definitely recommend it.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is still touring now. Links to available dates and venues are below.

Chitty The Musical.

 

Less FOMO, More GOMO! – Summer Plans and Enjoying Yourself!

With summer approaching at a frankly alarming pace, it’s definitely time for us to shack off our winter blues and coats, stuff them into a corner and pull on our dusty sunglasses and straw hats. So, with the help of Eventbrite and their wonderful summer campaign of putting our FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to bed, and embracing the GOMO (Going Out More Often), I’ve decided to share my own summer plans, and what to do when you’re on a tight budget, or just a little stuck for plans in this hot next couple of months.

1: Book a holiday!pirate-bay-staniel-cay-3

Now, I start on a high note, I realise this. People view holidays as expensive and tiring, but this doesn’t have to be the case. When I say holiday, I mean just time away from your normal life. If you want to have a holiday, but don’t fancy the exotic, book a stay-cation in your county or country. Stay-cations can be reasonably inexpensive, and can have all the feel of a new place, but with the familiarity of the language, currency and culture. Or just spend a night away from your house, and have a new view to wake up. Sometimes breaking the routine can really help you get in touch with yourself as a person, and not just a worker or whatever role you live your day to day life in.

This summer I’m flying over to Ireland and seeing extended family. I haven’t been to Ireland since I was quite young, so I’m excited to explore the country of my ancestors, and being able to reconnect with my roots.

2: Do something that scares you… Even once!

This is both a big and a small point. Scary things don’t necessarily come in packages of spiders, heights or small spaces, but in trying something new, or something that you never thought you wocomfortzone1uld do. But this is the summer of reinvention. So even for one hour in a day, do something that will genuinely scare you. For some people this is travelling, or buying and wearing a bikini in public. For some it’s going out socially, or conquering old fears. But once you’ve done it, the feeling of accomplishment will outweigh the initial fear, and you will be able to look back at that time and go ‘Yep! Well done me!’

This summer, I’ll hopefully be starting a new chapter in my working life. This wouldn’t just be a filler job, but actual experience in my chosen career path, and I’m so excited, but terrified of the future coming at me. I don’t feel ready to be an adult, and start this chapter just yet, but if I won’t do it at 22, then when will I?

3: Go to a concert or live music event.

It was Victor Hugo who said ‘Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent’, and this is a sentiment I love living by. Listening to your iPod when you’re running day to day errands, or on the commute from work fills an-argument-for-live-music1up those empty hours, and gives you something to look forward to. So why not actually witness it live? There is nothing I love better than going to a gig that I’ve been looking forward to, and hearing my favourite songs being played loud and proud in a room full of equally excited fans. Live music gets you dancing, gets you excited and gets conversations going between like-minded people, and even if the concert wasn’t particularly memorable, I’m sure the experience would be.

And this summer will be a huge one for live music. And whether you want to pay a  lot, or just find something free and local, it’ll always been something to reminisce on.

This summer I’m going to see the Hoosiers perform with my best friend, and I cannot wait!

So, these are my little summery plans and experiences, and I hope I’ve prompted any readers to go out and just take this summer by the horns and live it! Because I’m sure you’ll be regretting it come the cold November nights.eventbrite_logo_gradient_v2

And if you need any more inspiration for this summer, visit Eventbrite. They are the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world, and they help people find and plan events.

 

 

Top 5 – Online Body Positive Presences. 

I’ve always said that this blog was going to be a mixture of body positivity reviews, and as somebody who has dealt with negativity due to my size or what I look like, all I want to do now is help people embrace who they are and what they look like. But sometimes we all need a helping hand in accepting ourselves. So I thought I’d compile a list of my favourite body positive online presences, so you can go and research them, watch them and take their advice.

1: Loey Lane – YouTuberloey-lane-01-435

This woman is my lifesaver. Still a rising star in the YouTube world, Loey is a plus-size beauty guru who talks about all things fashion and beauty, but also gives really empowering and well thought out speeches about body
love and acceptance, no matter what size. She also talks about her struggles with eating disorders, and how to start accepting yourself and your body as being beautiful. An over-all beautiful and bubbly soul!

 

Georgic71e8775dede61e3abf294a67715eaeena Horne/FullerFigureFullerBust – Blogger and Model.

After watching a documentary on Channel 4 called ‘Plus Sized Wars’ – click here to watch it in the UK – I found this blogger and just fell in love with her. Horne is a plus-sized model who chiefly p
romotes lingerie and shapewear which are properly catered for bigger busts. She is outspoken, tests out loads of different bras and gives regular updates on her blog. But she is also a keen fitness freak, which helps maintain her figure. Her blog is accessible, good to read, and I find Horne to be funny, straight up and really approachable.

Tess Munster/Holliday – Plus-Sized Model and Body Confidetess_article2_1b0orng-1b0orpjnce Advocate.

 

Standing a 5ft 5′, and being the largest plus-size model to be signed to a mainstream modelling agency, Tess Munster is a force of nature. Not only possessing
an incredibly beautiful face, and one hell of a unique look, Munster is a very outspoken feminist and body confidence advocate. Also, after starting the #effyourbeautystandards movement on Instagram, Munster is a body advocate to watch out for.

 

Allison Epstein – Blogger and Survivor

Now, as a survivor of an eating disorder, Epstein is very well-versed and knowlegable on the subject of body confidence or bodaaeaaqaaaaaaaaknaaaajgnlzgjlndayltkxnjgtnge5os1hn2i1lwe0ognhzta2nziynqy peace. Her blog – The Body Pacifist – is about learning to just make peace with yourself and your shape, even when it feels like the har
dest thing in the world. Her writing is intelligent, and she deals with topics in a very sensitive manner.She is also the Managing Editor of ‘Adios Barbie’ – a body positive organisation which works to redefine the boundaries of beauty. A very inspiring and beautiful woman.

 

Ashley Graham – Supermodel and Celebrity

How can we go this far and not mention Ashley Graham? A plus-sized supermodel, who not only preaches body confidence, but health and beauty for all shapashleygraham_plussizees. She was the first plus-sized model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and is shown that bigger girls can be sexy. As somebody who is so vocal and out in the celebrity world, Graham is definitely heading things up in a positive way. And with a massive online following, it’s easy to see Ashley spread her message far and wide.

 

So here is my list. By no means definitive, as there are countless of other body-confident activists out there. On The Body Pacifist, Epstein has listed a few so I’ll link that below to find the masterlist. But I hope this has been helpful. Changing your outlook on your body is a huge triumph, and makes you happier and healthier in the long run.

Seek out these beautiful women in the links below!

Loey’s YouTube

Georgina’s Blog

Tess’ Instagram

Allison’s Blog 

Ashley’s Website.

 

Romantic and Rustic Wedding Moodboard.

As I’ve stated before in my Winter Wedding Ideas, I absolutely adore wedding planning. Of course, my own wedding is far in the future, but I think there is no harm in starting mood boards and looking through magazines early, so you can get an overall feel into what vibe you want your wedding to look like.

Now, as winter has finally turned the corner, and Easter and Spring is fast approaching, I thought I’d do an updated Romantic and Rustic Wedding mood board and invitation blogpost.

So, in a very rough attempt of a moodboard, I’ve collected a few photos of some of my favourite ‘Romantic and Rustic’ wedding-esque vibes, that not only give me something to aspire towards, but are also very unique.

So yes, as you can see, I’ve gone for a very dusty pink wedding palette. Now, my favourite colour scheme ever is light blue-and-white, but I feel for a romantic and spring wedding, this dusty pink just compliments the time of the year. Roses are my favourite flower, as I think they just add sophistication and beauty to everything they accompany, and having them attached to a veil would make for such a beautiful and unique wedding touch.

Now, as an English graduate and book nerd, I think having literary touches as table centerpieces and confetti reflect me as a person, and would be great conversation starters. Also, who doesn’t want to be doused with confetti made from the world’s greatest love stories?

And the addition of a blackboard, gorgeous shoes, and candlelight, my spring wedding board bursts with love, beauty, floral overtones and magic. I think a spring wedding needs to have something that ties in with nature, and by giving seeds as a wedding gift to guests, this also shows that your from your wedding day, life has the ability to be created and cultivated.

So, what would my wedding invitation look like? Now, I was searching and searching, and found this website called PaperlessPost, so through this, I got to peruse through the thousands of designs. PaperlessPost offer both online and physical copies of invitations,  and you can either pick from the beautiful designs, or customise your own and add photos, to make the invitation entirely unique and personal. And it’s not just limited to weddings, but a whole smorgasbord of invitation-worthy events.

And the design I chose was the line created by renowned fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta, and it’s the Rose Floral Ikat in the Navy colour. 421f85398a8794d54b5db502a21aa49c6ae0c2f5_1457444862

Now, I know it doesn’t necessarily follow with the pale and dusty pastels of my wedding palette, but I found this to be the most classically stunning and elegant colour scheme. I love how PaperlessPost show the invitation off with reference to literary characters, and with wedding invitations and envelopes all showing this beautiful design, I just fell in love.

So here it is, my romantic and rustic wedding ideas blogpost. For my full moodboard and inspirations, I will link my Pinterest below, so you can see more if you so wish.

But please tell me, what’s your dream wedding? And would you stick with pastels, or go for something different?

My Romantic and Rustic Spring Wedding Inspirational Pieces.

Autumnal Fashion Favourites – Capes, Shoes and Handbags.

So, the nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the air, and the leaves have dropped and are brown underfoot. Autumn has officially arrived, and this season has given rise to a change in fashion, a change in taste, and a change in what I find enjoyable. Like spring, autumn is one of those transitional times of years where you can certainly feel a change in the air. Halloween is fast approaching, I’ve already seen the first Christmas advert, and I find myself steering away from the kimonos and maxi dresses of this past few months, and back into thick tights and warm outerwear. So I thought I’d give you a quick overview of my autumnal favourites.

Capes/Blanket Wraps

(New Look Fur-Trimmed Blanket Wrap – £24.99 (Discontinued online but available within shop)

How excellent are capes?! With  the wind getting cooler, and a definite touch of frost nipping at my arms as I walk to work, I’ve found myself dragging my cape over my shoulders. And for me, capes or blanket wraps are the perfect fashion must-have for these colder months. Not only have they been the favourite autumn/winter staple for the last few years, they seem to be the perfect finishing touch to a variety of outfits and styles. You can dress them down with jeans, jumper and boots for the day, and then use it as a stylish cover-up over a dress and heels for the night. Also what I love about capes is that, as somebody who runs quite warm throughout the year, I sometimes find winter jackets and hoodies restricting. I usually find myself ripping them off throughout the day when I get too hot, but their bulkiness makes them difficult to carry. So the brilliance of capes are that they can be easily tucked away in some moderate-sized handbag. Also, if you add a belt, you can transform this sometimes, shapeless design into a gorgeous waist-flaunting piece of fashion. And for all us curvy girls, who sometimes find the coat-over-chest size an issue, the cape is comfortable and wide enough to cover these areas without appearing too shapeless.

And what I love about my particular cape is the fur collar. Because no matter when I wear it, I feel like a Russian princess!

Handbags

(Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 30 in Monogram Canvas – £790)


Now, this isn’t a typical young adult piece of fashion. This is high-end and with a matching high-price. But I have been blessed with this bag as a graduation present, and it definitely had to come in my Autumn Favourites. The Speedy 30, originally designed in the 1930s, has become a staple bag for wannabe handbag collectors, and usually one of the first pieces that they own. And I was no different. With the monogram canvas design, calfskin handles and beautiful design (honestly this bag can hold so much!) this bag can seamlessly move between day-to-night, and even as an overnight bag. Also, with the Bandouliere design, this comes with a strap that can be adjusted to be shoulder-carrying, or even cross-body, so for that added comfort and security. As well as being a fashion classic, this bag is perfect for autumn as it has a muted colour scheme that fits in well with the typical autumnal colours of browns, reds and purple, and it also is sturdy enough to survive being rained on, strong winds and probably even snow. I just love this bag. And there will be a proper blog post linked here.

Shoes

(Black Over-The-Knee Block Heel Boots – New Look £44.99)

and

(Cat face ballet shoes – George for Asda £8)

So, with winter coming, the shoes that I’m now veering towards are quite different from my summer flipflops and lacey flats. And recently, I’ve bought two pairs of shoes that have completely revolutionised my wardrobe.

The first are these over-the-knee block boots from New Look. Now, as a girl who has been blessed with significantly musclear calves and thighs, I find buying boots on the high street a very difficult and limited task. Either they have to be built for people with wider calves – and these completely swamp my thinner ankles and make my boots sag – or I have to just go for ankle-length ones, which is completely fine, but isn’t what I want in a winter boot. But recently, after a random trip into my local New Look and having a peruse around the shoe department, I stumbled upon these boots that miraculously fit snugly over my calves without any zippers or stretchy panels, and even went up to my knees.

These boots are faux-suede, and very cosy for these colder months. With the over-the-knee design, they offer that little more warmth and protection for your knees and lower thigh, as well as making you look a little like a super-hero. The block heel isn’t too high that it looks out of place for a regular boot, and they can easily be worn over jeans for a casual day look, or with tights for a dressier nighttime. And for £45, it isn’t too high a price. So I’d definitely recommend these boots! And for all those girls out there who don’t know whether they’ll fit, go in and try them on! I have worn mine to death, as they look and feel good, plus they fit over my calves and flatter my legs. So click here if you want to buy them.

And the second pair of shoes I bought are these adorable cat-face ballet shoes. Now, I have lusted over the Charlotte Olympia Kitty flats for a long time, but at nearly £400, I just couldn’t afford them. But when I was flicking through a fashion magazine and stumbled upon this £8 supermarket alternative, I just knew I had to have them. Despite being labelled as a ‘slipper’, these are perfect for the crisp autumnal weather, and with a subtle cat face design, and a gorgeous velvet exterior, these shoes may not be suitable for wet days, but are an adorable alternative to the staple black-ballet pumps that should be in every girl’s wardrobe. And for £8? Absolute bargain.

So, these are my go-to autumnal fashion favourites. Links to items will be listed below if they are available online, and if not, try in your local shops or through catalogues. But let me know in the comments if you have any autumnal fashion favourites!

-Alice x

Links to accessories!

Cape – (Alternative Colour Online) 

Handbag – Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 30

Boots – Over the Knee Block Heel

Ballet Pump – Out of Stock 

Zoella Beauty – Cross-Section Product Review

As a modern-day blogger, it is clear that YouTube would have definitely seeped into my consciousness. And I am well aware that in the past couple of years, some of the higher-ranking YouTube stars have released merchandise that goes past their own websites and into the high-street shops. And yes, I have bought into them.

And what did excite me when they first come out was the Zoella Beauty products – a line that was designed, and has had every step on the way, input from hugely successfully YouTuber, Zoe Sugg or Zoella. This line features bath and body creams, candles, makeup lines and fragrences, and are priced between £3-£8, so not overly expensive. The line has become hugely successful in participating Superdrug shops, and has attracted fans from around the UK to be able to buy pieces that Zoella herself believes in. So, I took it upon myself to try and test a cross-section of these products.

Over the last year when they came out, I have bought.

From the Original Collection:

  • The ‘Soak Opera’ – Bath Cream and Body Wash
  • The ‘Blissful Mistful’ Body Spray
  • The ‘Zoella Eyes’ Makeup Bag

From the Tutti Fruitt Collection:

  • The ‘Scrubbing Me Softly’ Body Scrub
  • The ‘Lets Spritz’ Body Spray.

The collection features a range of beauty products, from body sprays, bath washes and makeup lines. The packaging of these products are in a very Zoella-esque colour scheme, such as pastel colours, polka-dots, bows, and pretty handwritten labels. The original collection is in a more neutral colour scheme, such as white, light cream and pink, whilst the newer Tutti Fruity is designed with summer in mind – and features more of a vibrant pink, blues and yellows. With the packaging, and the products names, this collection is very desirable for younger audience of Zoella, yet the fragrances and quality design do appeal to the age bracket of 18 and above.

So, let’s get into the reviews:

The ‘Soak Opera’ – Bath and Body Cream (Original Collection)

This bottle was one of the products that impressed me the most. Not only did the name draw me in, but the size of it – nearly 500ml – seemed to be a good deal for the £5 it was sold at. Now, I’m not an idiot in the sense that I know there are better, and less expensive shower gels and bath creams on the market. But for it being a piece of YouTube merchandise that is widely available, I thought it was a pretty good deal. I’ve seen lower quality YouTuber merchandise for higher prices.

The ‘Soak Opera’ doubles up as a shower gel to use, or a bath cream that you run under hot water to create the highly-desired bubble bath that most girls want to experience in their lives. The liquid is a light pink in colour, and only the smallest amount needs to be squeezed under the water to make an entire bath’s worth of bubbles. Which I thought showed it to be a good piece of high quality bubble bath.

Now, the original collection all comes in one scent, which is both floral – such as gardenia and jasmine but also with a strong overtone of vanilla. Now, fragrance is a really personal thing in a person’s life. And unless floral tones are done well, they can smell cheap and sometimes nauseating. But with this line, the scent is still sweet, and highly feminine, but it is quite subtle in a way.

And in the case of the ‘Soak Opera’, the scent has been transferred well. But unfortunately, in my opinion, neither the bubbles or the smell remains when bathing. The bubbles disappear fairly quickly, and the scent just goes. And despite it also being marketed as a shower gel, the fragrance doesn’t remain either when being used that way. I do use it fairly liberally, and apply it to a loofah before washing my body, and despite it foaming up well, it doesn’t leave any gorgeous smells behind, which my Dove body wash does. And for a product that has such promise, this is a really unfortunate touch.

But, for a gorgeously marketed bottle, and quite a generous size at that, I will keep adding it to my bath.

The ‘Blissful Mistful’ (Original Collection) and ‘Lets Spritz’ (Tutti Fruity) Body Mist.

Now, if there’s one thing you need to know about me, is that I love body sprays. Not because I smell uneccessarily bad, or have a serious sweating problem, but because they are cheaper versions of perfume that can easily be bought, re-bought and if you break them or lose them it’s not something that is too upsetting. And they just add a refreshing boost anytime during the day, and you can easily store them in your bag.

And I have used the ‘Blissful Mistful’ scent for nearly a year now. And by the level of my bottle, it is safe to say I’ve used it a generous amount.

The ‘Blissful Mistful’ scent is from the original line, and has the floral/vanilla signature fragrance from the first collection. It comes in a glass, square bottle, with a reddish bronze colour lid and a polka-dot back. Now, for a scent that is under £10, it has got quite a good, light and summery scent that appeals to all ages, but like I said, for a scent under £10, it lasts a good few hours. Apparently it has Vitamin E oil in the fragrance too, which is also super moisturising for the skin. But like I said before, fragrances are a really personal touch, so I thoroughly recommend that you try it out before you buy. But to me, the scent is quite classical, clean and floral. And for £8, it can’t be missed.

And the ‘Lets Spritz’ Body Mist. Now, the Tutti Fruity collection is the perfect accessory for summer, as it’s not florally, but has a zesty, citrus fragrance that is very reminiscent of actual Tooty Fruity sweets. And with the high water content, and lack of oil with these body mists, they don’t linger on the skin in a sticky manner, but need constant reapplication. Which can be either good for people who want that burst of scent, or bad for fans of long-lasting perfume. Now, out of my two body sprays, I prefer the packaging of this one. With white lace detailing being visible through the back, a purple tint on the fluid itself and contrasting blue-greeny font and lid, which also has white polka-dots, this looks adorable on every surface. However, despite this burst of scent being fresh and not an overwhelming, or headachey smell, it disappears very quickly. I’ve timed it wearing off in about an hour. But, I guess for £8, it could be forgiven.

So a round up – if you want floral, sweet scents that stay on your skin – try the ‘Blissful Misful’, but if you want citrus, fruity scents that need a bit more application, give the ‘Lets Spritz’ a try. I keep both of them in my handbag, for the days when I want to feel a bit refresher, and not care about reapplication.

‘Zoella Eyes’ Makeup Bag

This bag is probably one of my most used, and useFUL pieces in the collection. Decorated in a bright scheme of aqua and coral polka-dots, as well as having a print of Zoe’s own made-up eyes, the bag is not only 100% PVC on the outside, therefore making it wipe-clean, but also spacious and roomy. Now, before my cosmetics grew just a tad too big for a regular size makeup bag, I used this as a everyday bag, and it has now downgraded to my everyday bits-and-bobs case. With it, I can easily store:

  • Folded-up full case of baby wipes
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Toothpaste
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Deodrants – roll on and spray
  • Body spray
  • Hairclips
  • Hairbands
  • Mini hairbrush

So, as you can see, it does store a lot of the essentials. However, one criticism I do have for it is that the interior is fabric, so it can get very dirty, very easily. However, the print, fairly good price of £8, and design that doesn’t necessarily scream ‘Zoella Beauty’ so will appeal to people who want to own a piece of YouTube merchandise without necessarily shouting about it, is worth it all. It’s a good size, surprisingly roomy and can fit in most bags as a travel makeup bag, or an emergency kit.

The ‘Scrubbing Me Softly’ Body Scrub.

Another surprisingly good quality product. This scrub is to be applied on damp, tough skin and to just exfoliate the dead stuff away. What I was impressed by is the price against the quality and longevity of this product. For £6, this 280g tub is guaranteed to last a long time, as the texture of this product isn’t soft and can be easily used up quickly. It comes out as quite a hard, but malleable texture that feels thick and unwieldy at first application, but I guess due to body heat, it melts slightly and can be easily spread. Enriched with blueberry and acai, this product not only keeps its fragrance long after application – which was my issue with Zoella’s own bath products – but it really does do the job. It seems to get all the dead skin away to leave a smooth skin surface. Also, with conditioning cocoa butter, this not only exfoliates but conditions, so you don’t necessarily have to moisturise afterwards. 

With adorable packaging of a light lemon, and dark pink highlights, I am tempted to say this is my favourite product out of the whole Tutti Fruitti line.

So, what is my overall opinion on Zoella Beauty?

As, I’ve said before, this is only a cross-section of the products, so if you want a more overall and better reviewer of every single product, I’m sure there is others out there. But in my opinion, Zoella has created a substainable beauty line that smells gorgeous, is a fairly reasonable price for her target audience and has given us all good quality products that I won’t be afraid to re-buy when I run out. And with two lines, she shows that she can bring out different scents that smell equally as good, and that she can go into different areas of body creams with the write blend of good packaging, good ingredients and good marketing campaigns. Like I said before, my only gripe is that I wish the products would have a scent that remained on the skin for longer, and truthfully, that there were more options.

Overall Review – 3/5

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.

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

-Alice x