MeandI Plus Size Summer Clothes & Evans Shoe Sales!

The last few days have been SO HOT you would think we were abroad!

I’ve had to get some clothes that suit this climate and managed to find some great, affordable bits and wanted to share them with you!

I came across MeandI, a Swedish clothing company that features women’s, baby and kids clothes. They’re all sustainably and ethically produced clothes and have some cool, unique designs which is what first caught my eye.

The company was created by two mums in 2004, as they wanted to produce clothes that would last for kids in particular, but that were also stylish. As well as being a great site to get clothes from, MeandI also offer mums the chance to make some money themselves (always a plus with me!).

For £100 you can start your own business with them by hosting parties and events to sell their clothes and you get 20% commission on everything you sell. You also get discounts on anything you want to buy which is always handy.

I like the quality of the fabrics and the finish of the garments. You can tell they are made well and should therefore last.

I got some boyfriend jeans in the sale which are a size smaller than usual as an incentive to shed the pounds. Thankfully I have started an exercise regime this week so it’s looking good!

I also got a lovely maxi dress which is keeping me cool during this humid weather. Considering I’m so tall it still goes down past my ankles so I’m very impressed! It fits well and the straps are adjustable which is really handy.

MeandI Clothing Review
My New Maxi Dress

Preparing for winter…

And guess who else has a sale?! House of Fraser have reduced lots of their boots and these include ones that can fit my big size 10’s!

I got these black Biker Ankle Boots which have a zip fastening and two buckles. They have a very low, wide heel which is perfect for me as I can find high heels difficult to walk in.

They are very comfortable, if a bit wide for my feet, but I will just have to double up on the socks which I’m sure I will want to do judging by our recent winters!

House of Fraser Boots by Evans
My New Biker Boots

I chose black because they will go with anything I wear and they hide the mud and dirt better, and trust me my feet always seem to find the dirtiest paths to step on.

They also have sandals on sale, so I may well be ordering some more from them as it’s so hard to find women’s shoes in my size!

I was sent these products to test for the purpose of this review. No payment was received and all opinions are honest and my own. 

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An Interview with Celebrity Stylist James Yardley

Freelance fashion, celebrity and commercial stylist James Yardley kindly agreed to be interviewed about his career. Based in London, he’s styled celebs including The Saturdays, JLS, Nicole Scherzinger, Kylie Minogue and The X Factor whilst working for Frank Strachan.

James now works independently with international and UK based-celebrities, including Rochelle Humes and Tess Daly, alongside commercial brands. He also works closely with suppliers such as fashion store Garment Quarter to achieve his on-point looks. We managed to squeeze in a chat with him amongst his hectic schedule…

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Fashion Stylist James Yardley

We’d love to know how your career path progressed to get you to this stage. Could you give us an overview?

I started interning at 21 at Attitude magazine under the then Fashion Director, Frank Strachan. I was supposed to only be there for two weeks and then after two months finally left.

On my first day working at my new job Frank called me and asked if I’d like to start work as his assistant. I took a massive leap of faith, quit my new job and joined Frank the very next day.

Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion stylists?

It’s so cliché but work hard and be kind. It shines like the brightest light in this industry. There are so many people who want to work in fashion and sit at a pretty desk writing emails, but in reality it’s long hours, hard work and determination that makes you into an actual Fashion Stylist. What I mean by ‘actual Fashion Stylist’ is being one of the few who can pay their bills with it as a job, not just write it in their Instagram bio.

We imagine your job’s pretty varied, but what does a typical ‘day in the life of James Yardley’ look like?

I actually couldn’t answer this. Every day is different. Some days are sitting in front of my computer for hours sending emails, others are spent out doing appointments and loaning/buying clothes and other days are spent on set at TV/photo studios. Every day is different, some amazingly fun and some not so much.

Which celebrities have you styled? Do you have any favourites? If so, why?

I’ve styled a varied amount of celebrity clients now but I’d have to say my favourite is Rochelle Humes. She’s just a laugh and she’s become my friend after all these years too.

How do you approach styling a client for an event? Do you get to know them first, research the event or TV slot, or have an overall objective?

It’s a complete meeting of minds. Recently I styled Tess Daly for the BAFTAs and I had an overall objective in my head. I could see the dress in my head and had drawn the design, and with the help of the designer and Tess’ opinion we created the perfect gown for the event. Overall the dress made Tess feel confident, and also gained the best press of the night.

How do you approach different body types? Do you have any tips for dressing different shapes – hourglass, pear, apple, athletic?

Follow what you know, not the latest fashion trend. Respect your body and do it justice by wearing pieces you know suit you and overall give you confidence.

Do your clients ever come with preconceived ideas of what they want? How much input do they have?

The beauty of styling celebrities and not just models is they have a voice and I love that. I would never say I completely styled someone head to toe. As I previously mentioned it’s a meeting of minds and all my clients have opinions – and I work with that when I’m styling them.

You’ve picked the outfit, but what about the extras? ow impoAre accessories, shoes, hair and makeup your decision too?

In the case of working with celebrities I always voice my opinion on hair and makeup but it’s again more of a meeting of minds. We all like talking about an outfit, hair, makeup etc. and by discussing it all openly and brainstorming ideas, I believe that’s how you create a killer look!

We’ve had a peek at your Instagram and noticed you co-designed a dress for Rochelle Humes. Is that something you’re looking to do more of? What else have you designed? Any upcoming projects?

Yes, interesting you ask. I’ve done a few bespoke dress collaborations with designers for Rochelle and also Tess recently. I really enjoy the process and having an opinion so it’s definitely something I’m looking into doing. There are a few upcoming projects – stay tuned!

The industry has had a lot of media attention recently about the introduction of plus size models. We’d love to know your views on it as a stylist?

I really enjoy the fashion industry for pushing limits, and I’m all for plus-sized healthy models but I’m not for promoting obesity. There’s a limit, that’s not for me to call, obviously, but I would never support the fashion industry in promoting underweight models, so I don’t think we should be promoting over weight models either.

Tell us about your relationship with Garment Quarter – how do you work together? What do you like about working together?

I LOVE the team at Garment Quarter. I’ve had a long standing relationship with them since I was an assistant and I’ve always enjoyed the amazing selection across a varied amount of brands. There’s always something new and exciting, and something I’m dying to put one of my clients in.

Is there any reason you’d choose designer brands over high street when dressing your clients?

I personally love to mix up designer brands and high street pieces when styling my clients, however I do tend to lean towards designer brands when it comes to quality and unique cut and design. It’s something that only designer brands can offer and can’t be rivalled by the high street.

Quick-fire round – snap-decisions please!

Nickname? Yardley

Tea or coffee? Coffee

Instagram or Snapchat? Snapchat

Worst habit? Not replying on WhatsApp even when I’ve read the message…

Best habit? Saving money!

Mood right now? Excited. I finally get a holiday this week.

Last thing you ate? Protein bar

Last thing you texted? ‘Sounds magical!’ To my flatmate

Favourite saying? ‘At the end of the day…’ I love to summarise everyone’s conversations!

Giveaway: Pendeza Tights for Darker Skin Tones

Five of you lucky readers now have a chance to win a pair of Pendeza pantyhose in the size of your choice!

Pendeza are one of the first companies to have created hosiery for a range of darker skin tones and in a range of sizes including those for tall and/or plus size women. 10275413_10156395871055244_186784248555440848_o 12705597_10156508949990244_8396991835743335089_n

Their sizes range from S to XXL and Q (for taller women) and they have a selection of ranges including the Toned Collection and Black Secrets range which can help to enhance your curves.

There are five shades from Tone 10 (lightest) to Tone 50 (darkest). I tried a pair of the Tone 10 colour and was pleased with the result. My legs looked natural and the quality of the 15 denier tights is good for the low price, as my legs looked smoother.

And the most important thing it offers is comfort! They are nice and light unlike so many other tights I have had the misfortune to attempt to wear on nights out.

Pendeza tights can be bought online from companies such as Superdrug and their website can also give you addresses of shops you can purchase them in locally.

To win a pair of these fab tights simply complete the rafflecopter form here, good luck!

Sports Bra Review: Freya Active Bra

If you read my lifestyle blog Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist, you will know that lately I’ve been knuckling down and attempting to get fit.

Due to being a single parent of a little one I don’t have the babysitting facilities or the funds to go to a gym, so I’ve been doing workout dvd programmes at home; If you follow my instagram you will have seen quite a few sweaty selfies recently!

Whilst doing a lot of high intensity workouts I’ve noticed a real need for good bra support, so have been given the chance to try out the Freya Active Bra.

I chose a size 36DD in black and naturally the best way to test it was to do a good workout!

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Review: Elena Miro Top

Until recently I was completely unaware that House of Fraser have a huge plus size department on their website!

They feature many top plus-size brands including Evans, Studio 8 and Elena Miro and they even have a small selection of footwear that are UK size 10 so I shall now be browsing this section regularly.

I was sent a lovely top from Elena Miro to try as this is a brand I have never come across. It is a size 14 which I was already nervous about trying as I haven’t been that size for about five years now, but IT FITTED!

Elena Miro

I have been working out a fair bit for that last three months so this possibly helped (a lot) as the top is a silky material so there isn’t any stretching that can done to expand it.

I love the colours, the mixture of mint green, black and white work well and I really like how there are different designs on the sleeves, back and front of the top.

The cut is quite flattering with a rounded edge on the bottom of the top and it’s definitely a well-made, good quality product that compliments the plus size shape in my opinion.

This top could be combined with some leggings for a casual look or some black jeans and heels for a night out. The light, silky material felt lovely on my skin and I would wear it for nights out because it would hopefully stop me overheating!

The top was sent to me to test for the purpose of this review. No payment was made and all opinions are honest and my own. 

Review: Wingz by FatPhRocks

I don’t know about you, but I’ve struggled with the way my upper arms have looked my entire life.

Even when I lost five stone a few years ago and slimmed right down I still had big arms and never felt able to show them off.

This summer for the first ever time I’ve actually had the confidence to wear vest tops without cardigans because I no longer care what other people think of me, and would prefer to feel cooler and more comfortable instead!

Don’t get me wrong I do still get my bad days when I find it harder to have them exposed, so I’m thankful I’ve now found a new item of clothing that helps me cover my arms without a big old cardigan that covers up any pretty dresses I choose to wear like my latest, gorgeous maxi dress.

They’re called Wingz and basically are like a shrug but they go underneath your clothes rather than over the top. It is held by a strap that goes under your bra and come in a range of colours and styles as well as full length arms or 3/4 length.

 

I tried the black chiffon flare 3/4 sleeves and overall was very impressed! I chose black because a lot of my vest tops and dresses are that colour, and I wanted flared because it is a light, airy material that would suit the summer.

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I tried them with a maxi dress and liked how only the sleeves were on show, because I don’t like how shrugs and cardigans cover up some of the dress as they have to be tied up, or they’re left open and baggy which ruins how my overall shape looks.

It sits nicely under my bra and is stretchy so can be worn all day without any problems.

I would love to try the lace wingz next as I think they would make a plain vest top look totally different and more dressy!

What would you pair them with?

Fatphrocks Review: Fleurs Purple and Black Maxi Dress

I’ve been lucky enough to have been sent a gorgeous maxi dress by Fatphrocks, who specialise in clothes for Tall, plus size women.

I was sent this Fleurs Purple and Black maxidress which is perfect for the summer days that we are getting here and there this month!

I wore it yesterday for a date (yes an actual first date lol) and I got a very good reaction! I love that I finally have a maxi dress that goes down to my feet, as all the ones I own are slightly short due to my 5’11 height.

It is made for a lovely, lightweight material that doesn’t crease and is perfect when you need to stay cool on the really hot days of summer.

It has adjustable straps which was also helpful, as I tend to have a small cleavage in some plus size clothes so they can be baggy. There’s also a smocked back section with some tie which means I can tighten it up or loosen depending on the day I’ve had!

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I love the bright, bold colours on this dress as I love wearing stand out clothes during the summer. It has a detailed embroidery section just under the bust which helps accentuate the hips and it sparkles in the sun which is always a plus for me.

Overall this dress is very good quality, feels comfortable to wear and kept me cool during my date so it’s definitely going to be a permanent part of my wardrobe!

I teamed it up with a bright yellow satchel and some gladiator sandals, along with some bright gold eyeshadow. What would you team it with?

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I was sent this dress by Fatphrocks to test for the purpose of this review. No payment was received and all opinions are honest and my own.