Dress of the month with boohoo

I’m always up for a challenge so when one of my favourite online brands boohoo got in touch asking if I would like to take part in their “Dress of the Month” campaign I didn’t waste much time in saying yes! The idea is quite simple, boohoo send out one of their dresses to a few selection bloggers with the idea that we all style it in our own way. All I knew before the dress arrived was that it was going to be grey- the rest was a complete surprise and one I eagerly anticipated.

Dress c/o boohoo (get it here) | Boots: Miista | Backpack: River Island (alternative)

With this kind of challenge it generally has one of two outcomes- you either love the product you’re sent to style and it becomes one of your staples OR you wear it for the blog post then it never sees the light of day again. Thankfully this dress falls in to the first category and I’ve been getting a lot of wear from this since it arrived. The dress itself is an absolute bargain at £12 and also comes in blush and black. I did opt for a size up from my usual and I am glad I did as it’s a little tight across the shoulders so if you do decide to purchase perhaps bear that in mind!

I had several ideas on how to style the dress- a sports luxe vibe with trainers and a bomber jacket, something girly with pastels galore or a toughened up look with killer boots and a statement bag. In the end the toughened up look won, I’ve been favouring that style a lot lately and really I just wanted an excuse to get this kick-ass Miista boots out in to the light of day again as I love them so much and they don’t get nearly enough wear (and yes, they still remain one of my best ever bargains at £6.50!).

So there we have it. My take on boohoo’s dress of the month. How would you have styled it?

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What’s New Pussycat?

The sales have been pretty kind to me this year- not only did I score some complete bargains but I also managed to snap up a couple of items I’d had on my wish list full price and resigned myself to not being able to afford.

The cat print dress in this post is one of those finds. First bought to my attention by the wonderful (and ever so stylish) Laura a couple of months ago I knew straight away that I wanted this but at £45.99(ish) it was way out of my price range. After a quick online browse of the Zara sale I was excited to see the dress had gone down to £26.99 but still assumed I wouldn’t get it but left it in the hands of the shopping gods and decided that if the Bristol store had it in stock in my size I would buy it- but because I didn’t technically NEED another dress I wouldn’t order online.

Someone was smiling down on me the day I ventured in to the sales (and the Zara sale is one I tend to avoid because it gets so chaotic and often vicious in store!) as there was one cat printed dress left hanging there all alone. A size up from my usual but I tried it on and decided I didn’t care, I like the sloppy look and so I happily trotted off to pay.

Dress: Zara | Boots: Office (similar)

These ankle boots are the third pair that have recently come in to my possession, but as my most worn flat black pair as starting to give up the ghost and I had a gift card from work I figured they were a worthy investment especially as they were reduced from £72 to £32. I’ve been after a pair of lace up ankle boots for a while and whilst the exact pair I got aren’t on the Office Shoes website any more I have linked to a very similar alternative for anyone else on the hunt.

This is probably one of my current favourite outfits. I’m a massive fan of longer length over-sized dresses at the moment and anything with a cat print on it is always going to be a winner in my eyes. I’ve already worn this dress several times so on a cost-per-wear basis it’s probably in the minus figures by now.

Thank you for all of the well wishes for my occupational health appointment, they were very much appreciated. It didn’t go exactly as I’d hoped- I suppose I thought that if I could get myself mentally a lot better I could somewhat overlook the physical side of things (and my first experience with occupational health seemed to confirm this). Alas this wasn’t the case so now I must face my biggest fear and hurdle in recovery and put on some weight before I can resume the job I love so much. I suppose I’m writing this down so I can’t back away from it. It’s so easy to get swept up in the disordered thinking of “well I already look healthy” but using my blog as a perspective I can see that I’m a way off looking like I did when I was last at a healthy weight (in this post for an example) and I’ve just got to man up and get on with it. I always struggle through the process of weight gain and seeing my body change but I know that when I get there I feel so much happier and more confident in myself- and the rest of my life becomes a lot more fun and fulfilling as a result. That has got to be worth toughing it out for. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m at a level where I can return to work, it’s so hard to know that the only thing holding you back from the one thing you really want to be able to do is yourself and yet you’re trapped by an illness that does it’s best to stop you achieving anything resembling a happy and healthy life.

Anyway, enough of that… tell me about your top sales purchases this year- or I suppose end of last year really!

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Rose(gold) Tinted

Over the last couple of months three new pairs of ankle boots have somehow made it in to my posession. I say somehow, I do actually know how- of course I do but I am pretending to plead ignorance because I really had no need of even one pair, let alone three!

The rose gold pair in this post were a Christmas present and I just couldn’t resist them when I first saw them in River Island. Much like with my pewter pair I was attracted to how shiny they were. That and being a typical blogger and loving all things rose gold of course! I gave them their first outing paired with a floral dress I picked up in the M&S sale. It was so nice to mainly have money for Christmas and then to be able to indulge in some guilt free sales shopping for once, especially as my income is severely lacking whilst I am still signed off from work.

Dress: Marks and Spencer (similar) | Boots: River Island (available on ASOS)

I’ve been trying to make a bit more of an effort with how I dress lately. I spent a large part of last year living in the same pinafore dresses and black ankle boots and generally not feeling like myself. Thanks to some saving up and some sales shopping I’ve managed to make some modest additions to my wardrobe that are much more “me” and as shallow as it might sound I am feeling better for it.

This is probably the first January in a long time where I haven’t felt resigned to “January blues”. Things might not currently be how I want them- I’m not yet back at work, I’m fighting a huge mental battle with myself each and every day and it’s sometimes overwhelming just how many changes I need to make in my life. But I have hope, for the first time in a long time I have hope that things are going to change for the positive. I have goals and direction, tangible goals at that- not huge big dreams that would be near impossible to achieve.

The first step will be a second occupational health appointment this week after the first one turned out to be well, a disaster for various reasons. I’m hoping this will set the wheels in motion for getting back to work and from that the rest is bound to follow, slowly but surely. I know what I need to do and it’s just a case of working out how best to get it done now.

It’s not all sweetness and light. A year ago today I was in the midst of moving to my flat and starting what I thought would be my new forever and of course that does get me down at times but I’ve found now that I can brush it off, remind myself of the bigger picture and muddle through the days with a smile on my face for the most part.

How are you finding January so far? And on a sartorial note how would you style up the rose gold boots?

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Keeping Cosy with Bows Boutiques*

I don’t do things by halves, it appears I’ve gone from posting pretty much no outfit posts in ages to bringing you one today that has three separate looks in it. I do love dressing for winter weather though, there’s something about layering up and keeping snug that is infinitely appealing and thanks to some new arrivals in my wardrobe from Bows Boutiques I’m keeping cosy in style.

Coat c/o Bows Boutiques | Skirt: New Look | Boots: Long Tall Sally

I think this might be the warmest coat I have ever owned (and that’s saying something as I currently own a lot of coats!) It’s taken me a while to embrace parka style coats but right now I can’t get enough and this one is just perfect. It’s super padded and has lots of faux fur details to make it extra snug and the quality is amazing. I’ve been wearing this non-stop since it arrived- my other coats are starting to feel quite neglected but my loyalty currently lies with this one.

Cardigan c/o Bows Boutiques | Jumper: New Look | Skirt: New Look | Boots: George at Asda

My friends and family call me the cardigan queen as it’s very rare I’m seen without one. I’ve been a little un-inspired by the high-street’s offerings this season though, especially when it came to finding a new black cardigan. This studded cardi from Bows Boutiques ticks all of the right boxes for me- decent length, super warm, pockets and something to make it stand out in the form of the silver stud detailing. This comes in one size suitable for sizes 8-16 and it hangs like a dream, it comes in three colours (grey and khaki) and I’m tempted to buy one of each come payday.

The skirt and jumper are both fairly new acquisitions from New Look- the skirt has become yet another wardrobe essential for me- a more subtle way to embrace the velvet trend with it’s quilted texture and I really like how it looked paired with these over the knee boots that I admit I forgot I owned, oops!

Jumper c/o Bows Boutiques | Jeans: New Look (old) | Boots: New Look (now half price)

I’m not usually one to share my more casual outfits on the blog, there isn’t often anything exciting to show when I’m slobbing around in jeans and a baggy jumper but I make exception for this jumper as it dresses up my one and only pair of jeans perfectly. I’m a big fan of oversized knitwear especially when I’m struggling with my body confidence and feel the need to hide. The embroidered detail is bang on trend and the jumper itself is so soft and snuggly that I just want to live in it. Again it’s a one size fits all (8-16) piece that just hangs like a dream. It comes seven different colours and I’m starting to think that one for every day of the week might not be a bad idea. I actually really like how this outfit turned out. The pewter boots finish it off wonderfully although I am slightly resentful that they are now half price at £14.99.
This post has been my introduction to the brand Bows Boutiques and I have to say I am seriously impressed. It’s hard to know what to expect when you’ve never experienced a company before but I can hand on heart say I’ll be shopping with them from here on out. The quality far exceeds that of many a high-street shop and the prices are very reasonable (£85 for the coat, £31.99 for the cardigan and £28.99 for the jumper). Watch this space for more pieces arriving in my wardrobe very soon- well, once I’m back at work and have had a chance to recover from the expense of Christmas that is!

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P.S. sorry the photos aren’t very exciting. The one and only opportunity I got to take them and the weather decided to chuck a sudden downpour at me!

The Velvet Dress of Dreams

I could barely contain my excitement when I heard that Monki was opening it’s doors in Bristol as it’s a brand I’ve been bordering on obsessed with for a few years now. I love their easy to wear, simple aesthetic and their ever so reasonable prices. Previously I’ve used ASOS or their own website to get my fix but when I found myself in Bristol city centre just after the store opened I decided it’d be highly rude not to pay a visit.

Bolstered by the news that I can return to work in the New Year I decided that I could afford to buy myself a little something and the second I walked in to the store (which is a must visit for any fashion lover, I want it all!) and clapped sight on this dress I knew I had found my item. I’m already planning my next visit in the not too distant future- there’s a jumper dress I just can’t get out of my mind- oh Monki, what have you started?

Dress: Monki (also on ASOS in red and black) | Boots: New Look (another treat to myself, oops) | Headband: Crown and Glory

If I didn’t already have a Christmas party outfit sorted then this is 100% what I would be wearing, Christmas pudding headband and all. I love everything about this dress, from the relaxed fit and way it hangs to the keyhole neck detail…oh and that glorious colour and modest £25 price tag. Perfect with my new pewter boots which I really, really did not need but were the perfect finishing touch to just about every outfit I have planned over the festive period and beyond.

Given how limited my social life is I’m now trying to think up some ways to style this dress for day time without appearing completely OTT- I’m thinking tights and flat boots, or even over a pair of skinny jeans with trainers…if you happen to have any ideas let me know, although I’m not adverse to wearing this just for a jaunt around Tesco.

Any other Monki lovers out there? I’m hoping to go again at the end of this week having quite literally emptied out my piggy bank for the occasion. Saving that small change adds up, I’d accrued £60 since April which more than covers my jumper dress and a few other treats too…

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