Friday, 31 January 2014

Review: Simply Be Velour Stud Dress

Hi folks! I'm incredibly behind with this blogging lark, so much so that I even forgot to schedule this post for this morning despite chatting about it this week. Anyway. I was chatting to Rachel (of A Dress is for Life) about my purchases from Simply Be and mentioned that I picked up the Velour Stud Dress (Sizes 12-32, £20.00) in the sale for £20.00 (reduced from £50.00). Rachel said that she had the dress too and was going to do a blog post on it, and asked if I'd like to join her. I wore this dress out last weekend and popped a photo on Instagram, at which point I found out that Leah (of Just Me, Leah) also had the dress and asked if she'd like to blog it with us.

So here we are; Triple Velvet! Yes you're right, that is the name of a toilet roll ;) I thought it was funny...

The photos aren't that great, sorry, and I don't think they do the dress justice. It has a slight skater-like look to it; Rachel and Leah have done a far better job with their photos! It's very comfortable and I love the gold and silver stud detail on the sleeves.

Personally I'm not overly bothered about visible bra straps (so long as they colour co-ordinate), but if you are you could wear a clear strap or strapless bra. I like this dress a lot and will wear it again but I don't think I would've bought it full price, it just hasn't got that 'wow' factor I'd expect from a £50.00 dress, although it's very good quality and definitely a bargain at the sale price of £20.00 (and it's still available).

I tried a statement necklace but there was just too much going on with the sleeve detail, so I opted instead for my custom necklace from Black Heart Creatives (a three-line custom necklace in glitter acrylic is £25.00 + P&P). My New Lew Wide Fit Black Suedette Low Wedges (Sizes 4-7, £14.99) were a perfect match due to the similar texture.

This dress would've looked great with a faux leather biker jacket (or denim if that's your style, I don't fancy it personally) but I didn't particularly fancy freezing to death! I'm looking forward to some velvet biker chic in the warmer months though.

Don't forget to check out Rachel and Leah's post to see how they styled this dress (and of course it's always useful to see dresses on different shapes and sizes).

Monday, 20 January 2014

Review: Accessories from Three Mobile

Some of you may know that I upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S4 on Three a few months ago. Okay, more than a few months ago, it was June 2013! I'd still been using my iPhone 4 up until recently; whilst occasionly making use of the Samsung's superior camera I just couldn't bring myself to switch my SIM over. So, when Three contacted me recently asking if I'd like to review some accessories I thought it'd be a great opportunity to bling up my Samsung and convince myself to start using it on a permanent basis. I was given a few options and chose this pink glittery case, which was gifted to me by Three, along with some photographic lenses (a fisheye lens and 2-in-1 macro and wide angle lens). Gotta be honest, I'm not great with new technology these days and I didn't even know what fisheye meant...

Image © Big Fat Betty ([Top] The Lenses and Case, [Bottom] The Lens Instructions) | The lenses are magnetic so they're pretty easy to use; if the area around your camera lens isn't metal they come with a small ring that you can stick on to the phone to attach the lenses to. That's literally all you have to do! There are instructions although they seem to have been translated quite poorly into English, but they're accurate enough to get the gist of what to do.

Image © Big Fat Betty ([Top] Original, [Bottom] Wide Angle) | Please excuse my messy desk/dressing table.This is not the greatest of examples but it hasn't really been the best weather for outside photographs, and you all know what I'm like with forward planning by now! These were taken with the Samsung using the corresponding lenses, no other editing has been done (asides from resizing). I think the wide angle and possibly the fisheye lens also will be great for attending events and really capturing the atmosphere; I often find myself having to squeeze people/things in and/or take multiple photos!


I'm looking forward to experimenting more with the lenses and hopefully getting some better photos for the blog whilst I'm at it. I've also recently bought a tripod for my compact camera; as much as I love 'selfies' they're not really great for outfit shots! ...oh, the case! The case is sturdy, fits really well and just clips on without feeling like it's going to fall off; I love that it's glittery but it's 'smooth' and protected so it won't wear off. Fab, basically!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Blogging and Brands

Hold on to your knickers before they get in a twist and brace yourselves for my honest opinion of the ongoing 'bloggers and brands' saga and some of the responses to it. There's been a lot of discussions, blog posts and other such things around this topic over the past few months; more recently over the approach of a certain brand asking plus-size bloggers to contribute to their blog (for free). I'm not going to discuss the ins-and-outs of said request as most of you are probably familiar with it; if you're not (or otherwise want to read more about it) I'd recommend checking out Big Fashionista's post here which addresses some of the issues.

Anyway, I digress. There have been many mentions about bloggers only being interested in brands, payment, freebies and whatever else; because 'someone out there' decided that we're not allowed to operate in even remotely similar means to any normal business these 'interests' are viewed by some as a negative. This narrow-minded opinion that all bloggers are part of some homogeneous collective irritates me somewhat. However, it doesn't irritate me nearly as much as comments I have read that have implied that bloggers are stupid and/or naive to accept certain terms (writing for free, for example). Okay so none of this is personal and I haven't received any remarks aimed directly at me, but you may as well replace 'bloggers are' with 'I am' in the majority of cases where such comments can relate.

So in the interest of clarity, FYI-ness and generally getting things off my chest...

1) I am running a business. I may not write everything (like this post) from a business perspective but I am registered as self-employed. If I want to and I am able to earn money then I have every right to do so. Nobody has the right to dictate to anyone how they earn a living. I invest in my blog financially and I am sure that nobody would disagree with me at the very least recouping that investment through paid work (yeah, blog designs and hosting cost money y'know, they're not paid in internet fluff).

2) I am not stupid or naive. You have every right to have a different opinion or disagree with someone, but you do not have the right to imply that I am somehow wrong by doing it. I am a qualified administrator and by the end of this academic year will also be a graduate; I am by no means stupid. I have experience of working with national organisations and managing multi-agency events and meetings. Basically what I am trying to say is that if I choose to do something, I do so fully understanding what it is that I have committed to.

3) I am not 'all about the brands'. The sponsored posts and reviews of gifted items that I have done are few in comparison to my overall post count. I only undertake 'work' that is relevant to my blog and that I think my readers will find interesting/useful. Whilst my blog is a business, it is primarily a hobby and I do not rely on it as a source of income (although if I did, there's nothing wrong with that). At the end of the day if you don't like it, don't read it.

4) I am not responsible for maintaining the earnings of other bloggers. I've read on more than one occasion comments about people working for free meaning essentially that brands won't pay anyone for anything and that doing so is somehow 'undermining' the 'community'. Last time I checked I wasn't responsible for anyone's business strategy, pay check, blogging ethics or anything of the sort. If blogging isn't working out for you as a full-time means of income then I am genuinely sorry to hear that, but it isn't my fault.

5) I take the fact that anyone wants to work with me as a compliment, whether they're paying me in money or not. At the end of the day, if I couldn't write to some sort of reasonable standard I don't think it would be wrong to presume that brands wouldn't want to work with me.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that there's a whole load of opinions out there and people are entitled to have their own thoughts, but what is NOT okay is making mass presumptions about other people, their decisions and/or dismissing other people's opinions/decisions because they don't match yours. Period.

Outside My Comfort Zone #24

This challenge is 'Keeping it Casual' and was chosen by Natalie (of A Wheelbarrow Full of Style) who wrote: 'I always love seeing everyone looking lovely in their outfits but what do you wear when you are lounging around at home? Are you an all day PJ girl or do you still keep it glam?'

Image © Big Fat Betty |
If I don't have to leave the house at all, nobody's coming round and nothing's going on then yep, a lot of the time I will generally stay in my pyjamas or some sort of loungewear (leggings and a nightie or an old top, basically). I do love lounging about in a onesie but I only have one at the moment (and it needs to be washed at some stage!). If I will need to go out at some point, something's happening or I can generally be bothered, then I'll wear either jeggings and a t-shirt or leggings/jeggings and a long top/casual dress.

I mostly have my hair tied up at home and I don't wear make-up. I have three of these nighties (well, different patterns), they're from Primark in a size 22-24; as you can see there's ample room so they may fit bigger. I think they were about £4.50.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the OMCZ crew:

Stephanie - http://www.seeingsp0ts.blogspot.co.uk
Leah - http://www.justmeleah.blogspot.co.uk
Mary - http://www.marysbigcloset.blogspot.pt
Becky - http://www.doesmyblogmakemelookfat.com
Natalie - http://awheelbarrowfullofstyle.blogspot.co.uk
Nikki - http://www.nattynikki.blogspot.co.uk
Rebs - http://sullen-hearts.blogspot.co.uk
Verena - http://aplussizefashionobsession.blogspot.de
Hollie - http://www.prettybigbutterflies.com
Sabina - http://www.femmefatalexsabina.blogspot.de
Katt - http://acurvycupcake.blogspot.co.uk
Mookie - http://muki7x7.blogspot.co.uk
Erin - http://erinslittlebigcorner.blogspot.co.uk
Debz - http://www.wannabeprincess.co.uk

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Love EVERY Body #2

Hello lovelies! I've been looking forward to writing the next assignment for Love EVERY Body. Our second assignment focuses on our head, face, hair, etc: 'What do you like about your face and hair? Is there anything you wish you could change? What do people compliment you on? Have you got twinkly, mischief-filled eyes, a smile warm enough to melt an iceberg or a voice that'd make angels jealous? Maybe you have adorable dimples or freckles. Perhaps you have great teeth or a head of hair so glorious you turn heads wherever you go. If you're not happy with the physical aspects of this area, think about all the amazing things which go on above the neck - assuming you have all your senses you've got eyes to see with, ears to hear with, a nose to smell with and a mouth to speak/eat/kiss with. There's a lot to love there.Above all else (and to state the obvious) our heads contain our brains, the thing which make us wonderfully, individually US.'

I have very mixed views on everything above my neckline, which have changed over time. As I mentioned in my letter to my body, as a child 'I was bullied for my turned-up nose (Miss Piggy, I was called), thick hair (Macy Gray) and weight (Kelly Osbourne, which I think was a weight/hair combo)'. Throughout my life I've also been affected by negative comments about my skin (acne and resulting scarring) and facial hair. Putting that all to one side for the moment, I generally like my face and hair and I'm a lot happier with it than I used to be.

Image © Big Fat Betty | Having thick hair can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare (thank you Tangle Teezer) but generally it's a blessing. It's been through Hell and back with bleach and dyes yet still remains strong and I can have fashionably 'big hair' with ease. I like having longer hair and it's grown a lot over the past couple of years.

I love my eyes and think they're my best feature; they're a beautiful shade of blue and I have long eyelashes. I also like my lips; no lip plumper required! I used to hate my nose (primarily because I was bullied about it) but now I don't mind it and people seem to think it's cute. I like my pale skin tone although I'm still learning to love my moles and scars.

Unfortunately I don't think it's possible to love my facial hair and it continues to make me feel incredibly self-conscious. I have to regularly shave my chin to get rid of the thick dark hairs, but doing so can give me spots and leaves me with stubble; catch 22. The 'sideburns' aren't as bad as they used to be and that lip hair is becoming increasingly noticeable (thanks to a Beautician pointing it out). Honestly, if cost wasn't an issue, I'd have laser treatment.

My acne has improved significantly over the years and I'm not as bothered about the scarring as I once was, though I admit I often wish my skin was as 'flawless' as it appears with a good layer of foundation. I'm gradually becoming more accepting of it, but there's room for improvement.

My teeth are disgusting, but I have myself to blame for that as I haven't looked after them very well. However, I am thankful to have a full set of teeth, a nice smile and dimples. Last but not least, I'm grateful to have all my senses and hope that I never lose them.

You can find links to the other bloggers taking part at the bottom of Leah's post here or check out the #LoveEVERYBody hashtag on Twitter.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Outside My Comfort Zone #23

Happy New Year everyone! I'm a bit late with posting this as it was meant to go live on 1 January...oops! Anyway. I was quite surprised when Steph told me it was my turn, following the previous order, to pick the challenge for this OMCZ. We've redrawn for the New Year and this opportunity has timed itself perfectly for me, as I've just bought an item of clothing that is OMCZ. So, this challenge is 'Pretty Pencils' and goes a little something like this: 'I absolutely love pencil skirts but I've never had the confidence to wear them, what with the VBO and all that jazz. However, I've just ordered a beauty and I could really do with that push in order to wear it...let me see all you lovely ladies rocking your pencil skirts, get those pins out and share your style tips (as I also have no idea what to wear with the damn thing)!' (I've also bought three polkadot pencil skirts from Everything £5 since).

I recently purchased the Anna Scholz for Simply Be Jewel Print Pencil Skirt (£24.00, Sizes 14-32) as I fell in love with the print as soon as I saw it. I absolutely love pencil skirts but don't wear them due to fear of the VBO and not knowing how to style them; normally this would put me off making a purchase, but at the time there was an offer on the Anna Scholz for Simply Be range to save £20.00 when you purchased two items...so Michaela (of Cardiffornia Gurl) and I teamed up, making the skirt an even more bargainous £14.00 each. I was a bit worried about the fit, but when it arrived I noticed the very discreet elasticated sections in the waistline which put my mind at ease; I think this is a very clever idea, as I'm not keen on waistlines that are fully or half elasticated and in this case it would've been really noticable.

Images © Big Fat Betty | So, here's me biting the bullet (or the jewel)! Overall I am a lot happier and impressed with the look than I thought I would be, although wearing the skirt high waisted did cause some problems; I had a very annoying (to me) bulge of fat which I attempted to conceal with a waistbelt and, as you may be able to notice in the photos, had some difficulty with getting the zip to lay flat (it does, but as I moved it raised again). The skirt is really comfortable and stretchy, which is great as I was expecting not to be able to move my legs! What do you think? Any styling tips? PS: I'd also like to thank Amz for dying my hair for me; the photos really don't do it justice (it's actually pink and purple)! Amz runs Black Sunshine Dreads.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the OMCZ crew:

Stephanie - http://www.seeingsp0ts.blogspot.co.uk
Leah - http://www.justmeleah.blogspot.co.uk
Mary - http://www.marysbigcloset.blogspot.pt
Becky* - http://www.doesmyblogmakemelookfat.com
Natalie - http://awheelbarrowfullofstyle.blogspot.co.uk
Nikki - http://www.nattynikki.blogspot.co.uk
Rebs* - http://sullen-hearts.blogspot.co.uk
Verena - http://aplussizefashionobsession.blogspot.de
Hollie - http://www.prettybigbutterflies.com
Sabina - http://www.femmefatalexsabina.blogspot.de
Katt* - http://acurvycupcake.blogspot.co.uk
Mookie - http://muki7x7.blogspot.co.uk
Erin - http://erinslittlebigcorner.blogspot.co.uk
Debz* - http://www.wannabeprincess.co.uk

*not participating in this challenge