Sunday, 29 April 2012

First Domino Dollhouse purchase (preview)

I've been wanting to place an order with Domino Dollhouse from the very first moment I heard of them, but the Fashion Gods smiled down upon me a couple of days ago when a 25% discount code was offered on Facebook.

Here are the 2 skirts I went for. This one is a meringue petticoat and really plumps out skirts for that 50's effect (or it can be worn alone.)

The other skirt is in dark purple, but I can only 'borrow' a photo off the internet of it in black (the photo on the website is too small, and the zoom is too big for my laptop to capture more than a fraction at a time.)

Check the purple out here and here's the skirt in black for now.

I got a notification yesterday that my order had been shipped already. It's coming from the States so should be here in about a week, hopefully. I can't wait to wear these skirts on my honeymoon :)

Have you ever bought anything from Domino Dollhouse? Do you 'rate' 50s style?

All I hope for is for Royal Mail not to shaft me with import duty. As Domino Dollhouse kindly mark everything as gift I *should* hopefully not get robbed.

I will be posting photos of me wearing the skirts VERY SOON! (Can you tell I'm a tad excited?!)

Week up to 29th April Instagram photos

Hi all! Here's this week's round up of Instagram shots. All clickable for larger images.

Brothers yummy toffee apple cider

I have some new bras from Evans and by boobs have never been this high up and far out!

Rhubarb and custard nails

Nude lips and a cat eye

Cheesy chips!

My new dress came from New Look

Eyelash extensions

I had my make up done at the local college by my friend who's doing an NVQ in beauty

I paused Home and Away and caught Marilyn in this hilarious pose

Momoa posters up in the hallway

Coppery nails

Husband's arms

Wholemeal garlic pasta with tomatoes, peppers, rocket and parmesan

So that's me all Instagram-ed out. I hope you had a good weekend.

Any plans for next week? 

I'm meeting up with my lady friends tomorrow, we're having lunch and then I'm having my eyelash extensions removed as part of Rach's NVQ assessment. Then next weekend we're going to see a bunch of our friends from all over the country at our friends Mich and Tim's belated wedding party.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

My first Glossybox - April

I had a subscription with Carmine for a monthly beauty box for 2 months before Carmine merged with Glossybox earlier this year. They had a month off in March while they sorted everything out.

I hadn't been too enthralled with the prospect of having a Glossybox sub initially, as I'd heard many bloggers say the boxes were often topped up with perfume samples, and crap ones at that. At least the box was easy to open, unlike the infuriating vapour-locked Carmine boxes.

Say hello to the Natural Box
Apparently the box is fully biodegradable, but like my Carmine boxes, this one will be used to store something or another various junk in. Needless to say when this box arrived yesterday I tore the outer packaging open with indecent haste and boy, was I chuffed!


As soon as I saw Caudalie on the list I was as happy as Larry! I was fortunate enough to win 5 Caudalie products a few months ago and I really rate the products.

So, what's in my box? 

*Game show host voice* Other boxes are available and will vary in content *cheesy smile*

  1. Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum. 10ml. RRP £29.00 for 30ml, so I make that £9.66 worth of product.
  2. Inika Cosmetics fully organic eyeliner in Graphite. Full size. RRP £11.75.
  3. Monu Professional Skincare Moisture Rich Collagen Cream. Full size, 50ml. RRP £17.50.
  4. Figs & Rouge Rambling Rose Lip Balm. Full size, 8ml. RRP £3.29
  5. Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk And Honey Body Lotion. 70g. RRP £9.99 for 190g, so that's £3.68 worth of product if my maths are still any good.
That's £45.88 worth of product and the subscription is £10 a month plus £2.95 postage. I can only hope that the future boxes will be this good.

I will use every single product. I'm especially pleased that the creams are suitable for dry skin as I have skin as dry as the bleedin' Gobi desert thanks to old age and Fibromyalgia.

If you want to know more about the products (info lifted from respective websites) read on, otherwise zoom by.

  • Caudalie - Get ultra-concentrated moisture for your skin with the Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum, an intensely hydrating and soothing formulation made up of 97% natural ingredients. The Vinosource serum is ideal for all skin types, even the most dehydrated, and provides a surge of lasting moisture. The high potency of the serum captures and continually diffuses water deep within the skin to restore its balance. The Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thrist-Quenching Serum treatment is made up of soothing Organic Grape Water extract which is rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin C and polysaccharides to the keep skin supple and soft. Hyaluronic acid plumps the skin and locks moisture in, while grape polyphenols provide antioxidant protection. This versatile Caudalie serum can be used as an emergency treatment for dehydrated skin, as a daily hydrator for skin that is regularly dry, or underneath your usual treatment to ensure that your skin never lacks moisture. It can also be mixed with a touch of foundation to give a dewy and natural look to the skin. 0% parabens, phenoxyethanol, artificial colorings, mineral oils, anti-hyaluronidase and no animal testing.
  • Inika - A striking charcoal grey, with a hint of silver. INIKA Certified Organic eyeliners have a rich and creamy  consistency unparalleled in the world of natural liners. Formulated to glide on easily, they deliver even depth of colour and real stay-ability. The colour pigments work in harmony with INIKA eyeshadows to create dramatic and iridescent effects. This organic formula is perfect for the most sensitive eyes. Each INIKA Eye Liner comes with a complimentary sharpener lid.
  • Monu - A rich, luxurious cream to relieve dryness and smooth fine lines. Comforting Rose and Geranium essential oils. Evening Primrose and Blackcurrant Seed oils with essential fatty acids to repair skin lipids. Shea butter and Sodium Hyaluronate to improve the skin’s barrier function. Natural betaines to stimulate the skin’s hydration process. Marine Collagen to help smooth fine lines. Plant flavonoids with antioxidant action to help prevent premature ageing. Paraben free formulation.
  • Figs & Rouge Rambling Rose Balm - 100% organic and Soil Association certified. Made from natural botanical ingredients and packaged in a beautifully decorative Art Nouveau tin, this vintage inspired balm can be used on lips, face and body for an intensive moisture boost.
  • Burt's Bees - For normal to dry skin, this non-greasy, lightweight lotion goes to work the minute you apply it, and it’s scientifically proven to moisturise for up to 24 hours. Milk nourishes while honey helps to soften skin; plus, coconut and grape seed oils and vitamin E deliver beneficial nutrients to the skin. Our dermatologist-tested formula absorbs quickly but stays with you all day and night.
 I haven't tried anything except the eyeliner, which is INCREDIBLY smooth and not at ALL draggy. It's also a really flattering colour that should suit just about everyone.

Have you got a subscription to a monthly beauty box? Does Glossybox take your fancy? If so go here.

I've decided to keep my subscription up for the meantime, so stay tuned for next month's Glossybox review, as well as reviews of the items in this box. I can't wait to see what's in the next box!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

9 things I've learned from my 9 year relationship

Disclaimer: I'm a newlywed, but I don't think our relationship is perfect. Sometimes I could happily ring J's neck. When he mixes his drinks he throws up, and guess who gets to clear it up? Moi! I spend all his money, so he could quite happily punch me in the uterus, I'm sure. And the Relationship Gods proved this yesterday when we had our first marital row, over A Game of Thrones of all things! But whatever happens, we love each other.

These are some things which strike me as being important in a long and happy relationship.

1. Trust someone worth trusting

Some of my previous partners deliberately cultivated a state of distrust between us. I can't stand game-players. I like someone who does what they say they're going to, when they say they're going to and no pissing about. J goes out with his mates occasionally, but he always texts me while he's out to let me know he's thinking of me. He's a real homebody though - he'd rather stay in with me - that's just the way he is.

If you start dating someone and they're deliberately messing you about to boost their own ego, boot 'em into touch - unless of course you like the mental stimulation and challenge of dating a player! There will always be people out there who don't need to induce jealousy in others to feel secure in themselves. Don't feel you have to settle for someone who plays with your emotions. There are good people out there, you just have to dig them out!

2. Vive la différence!

J loves drumming, I love a CSI marathon. J loves science, I love celebrity gossip. We give each other time to follow our own interests (although tv and gossip are hardly interests, haha) as we can't be in each other's pockets all the time. It's good to have different interests. Time apart gives you time to miss each other, even if you're only in different rooms.

3. Make sure to let your partner know they're loved and desired

We tell each other we love each other all the time, several times a day, in fact. Every day when J comes home from work I follow him to the bedroom where he gets changed and have a quick squeeze of his bum, or we'll have a quick snuggle on the bed. I'm VERY upfront about fancying J. I'm the man of this relationship, I think :D He's a lot more subtle than I am. Yesterday I had a short dress on and hadn't bothered to put any leggings on underneath since we were hanging around the house, and he said 'I like it when you have your legs out.' Or I'll be washing my hair over the bath and he'll grab me around the middle and comment on my hourglass shape......but then he'll spoil it by doing pelvic thrusts behind me and making me giggle so hard I get water everywhere ;) Let your lover know you fancy the pant(ie)s off them!

4. Communication is key

Because I'm usually so happy, when I'm upset, angry or perturbed about something it's pretty damn obvious. J is brilliant at getting me to talk when I don't want to. If something has really upset me I find it hard to make eye contact when I'm talking (or else I'll cry) so I'll mumble what's bothering me into his chest while giving him a hug so I don't blub like a baby when I look at him. Always try to find a way to open up a discussion, even if you have to do it in a roundabout way like me. Don't let the sun go down on an argument unless you're really, really pissed off and they deserve a night on the sofa! Ha.

5. Snuggles
When I asked my hubby what is important in relationships, he said snuggles, so here we are! Sex is great, and I'll come to that shortly. Non-sexual touch is also great and lovely. Sometimes we have a snuggle and it's nothing more than that, and other times it leads to something else. It'd be pretty crap for both of us if we felt every cuddle had to lead to sex. I love that we can go with the flow. When we're hugging I love to close my eyes and concentrate on how nice it feels, how warm J's body feels. Those 10 minutes of snuggles are my favourite minutes of every day. Don't be too busy that you can't enjoy the feel of your partner's body. Listening to someone's heartbeat is so relaxing, too.

6. Laughter

Having someone to laugh with when life bites you on the arse is so important. J makes me laugh so hard sometimes that I ruin my make up from crying. He's such a dork. He'll lurk around doorways waiting to scare the bejesus out of me, pull funny faces when I'm in need of a laugh and he dredges out his funky dance moves when I'm so down. He's usually just in his pants when he does this, so of course it's funny. I wish he'd let me video it, but he won't (damn it!) If your partner can make you laugh when all else has gone to shit, you've got something special!

7. Sexy time

Sex isn't the be-all-and-end-all of a relationship, but it can be the glue that holds it together. There have been times when we haven't had sex for a long time (after my operation, for instance) and as soon as we get back into it, the closeness it brings is magical. We are lucky to have a good and fulfilling sex life, but if we didn't, I'd have no hesitation at all in going to couples therapy to try to remedy the situation. Don't be afraid to use tools to enhance your experiences! We have a selection of buzzing friends, a selection of flavoured lubes and we aren't afraid to use them - there's no shame in it. Nothing is too weird between two consenting adults, well not unless you're involving small furry animals! Our sex life gets better with time and we're not afraid to try new things once in a while to jazz things up. It amazes me that people can raise kids together, share a whole life and yet not tell each other what they really want in bed. Hell, write it down on a piece of paper and swap if you're shy. Desiring someone and being desired is important, which leads me onto my next point.

8. Make an effort

We've been together a long time, and I always make an effort for J. I spend a good portion of his wages on clothes, make up, skin care and perfume so I look and smell nice for him. I'm especially keen as I'm 6 years older than he is. Perhaps I make more of an effort as I'm fat - I could be overcompensating. If people are thinking 'Jesus, that guy's wife is fat!' I want it to be countered with 'But she's bloody gorgeous!' (In an ideal world I'd love to be thought of as 'just' gorgeous, but I know most of the world doesn't think that way.) Just today J said he's so glad I still I make an effort for him, because he knows not everyone does in a long relationship, and he feels lucky I do. I keep myself looking nice as much for me as I do for him. It's a psychological thing for me - if I look good, I feel good, but I'm always happy to receive a compliment from my hubby. I think it's quite a lot easier for men to look nicer - all J has to do to please me is not cut his hair too short, keep some stubble on his face and keep on drumming so his legs and bum stay lovely and muscly. But still, he does those things to keep me happy. If it doesn't make you feel less than yourself, there's no harm in doing things to please your partner.

9. Don't let temptation in

J and I both have the same feeling about temptation - that you'd be an idiot to let it run wild. As soon as there's a hint of something that might possibly harm your relationship, you need to remove yourself from the situation. Once, when J and I were newly dating, some girl in a pub pinched his arse and put her arm round him. He immediately came and stood behind me, put his arms around my waist and said loudly AND incredulously 'Can't she see I'm with you?!' Message sent. Messages sometimes need to be sent, or ignored, if someone is trying to send you a message you don't want to hear. Temptation spreads. It isn't like curiosity - it doesn't get satisfied - it grows. Egos are naturally hungry and sometimes the safest thing is to get outta dodge before you do something stupid. It isn't weak to admit that sometimes you need to err on the side of caution. Someone I know vaguely is still on my shitlist for the lusty way she looked at J the first time she met him. There's no harm in being watchful. I trust J, but I don't trust other people ;)

What do YOU think is important in a relationship? Have I missed anything important?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Week up to 22nd April Instagram photos

I finally put all the wedding cards up
Epic bed hair
I love playing Bejewled Blitz on Facebook
My new eBay ring which 'only' took 3 months to arrive ;)
Pastel nail polish - this might be as far as I go with the pastel trend!
I spent my birthday money on anti-wrinkle creams!
I bought this skin care with my birthday money as it was half price in Superdrug. I'm 38 but thought I'd go for the 40+ range as my skin is a bit sun-damaged and also very dry from Fibromyalgia. After ONE DAY of use there was a marked improvement in the moisture, smoothness and evenness of tone of my skin, even noticeable by the new Mr.

Pore reducing face mask
My husband is amazing! He printed this off for me at work
As an extra birthday present J printed off 2 A0 sized posters and 2 A1 sized posters of Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo from A Game of Thrones. To give you an idea, A0 is 16 times the size of A4. Now I have to find somewhere to put them. J has ruled out over the bed. Damn!

I took this out in the sticks yesterday after we met the photographer and picked up wedding photos
Me today when we went out for lunch
The hubster looking a bit pale (Instagram effect, he's not a vampire, honest)
I took this from the passenger window at about 40 mph on the way to lunch

I hope you all had a great week! What's new with you?

I'm great!

Ooooh, some new leopard print offerings from New Look

I was just trawling the New Look website (as I do every few days to make sure I don't miss a bargain) when I spotted this little belter:

All pics are clickable for larger images

Size 26 is already low stock so it it floats your boat, jump in with both feet, as I just did.

£22.99 for a maxi dress and a belt? Fantastic bargain!

I can see me styling this with a denim jacket and some patent flats, or maybe some loosely-laced boots with the tongue hanging out all nonchalantly like ;)

How would you style it?

There's also another leopard number new to the website this week.

This one is gold and black. The gold doesn't quite transfer over on screen so it might need a sneak peek in store to make your mind up.

Are you tempted by either of these dresses?

I'm the Bet Lynch of the plus size world. I love it!

9 things I learned from planning a wedding

1. I had 15 months to plan and there were still a few things that could've been structured a bit better.
You need more time than you think to plan. Start planning as early as possible and enlist trusted help if you can. Make sure your bridesmaids are going to be people who are excited for you, want to help you plan, and will be a calming presence on the day.

2. However much time you think you need to get ready on the morning of the wedding, add more. I got up 4 and a half hours before the wedding and I really could've done with another hour. When I arrived at the registry office I was sweaty, pretty much entirely make up free, dying of thirst, and LATE. I'd barely had a drink all morning and the only food I'd had had been hand-fed to me by the bridesmaids while I did something else.

Work out how long you need to get ready on the day and add 30-60 minutes for the unknown. The worst case scenario is you get more time to beautify yourself or be primped by your hairdresser/make up artist.

3. Although you might be tempted to have your family around you as you're getting ready, as I did, it's a massive distraction. 20 minutes before I was due at the registry office I was in my underwear. No dress, no make up on, no shoes on and a million thoughts dancing around my head because everyone was asking me questions simultaneously. I had literally 30 seconds to swipe some eye shadow and lipstick on before I ran out of the door.

Get ready with as few people as possible present on the big day. The more people you have around you the easier it will be for things will get out of control. There was so much unnecessary stress I caused myself by having too many people in the house.

4. It goes so quickly. Everyone told me this but it really does. The importance of the photographer really comes in because you'll use the photos as a memory aid. Don't be afraid to ask your guests for (digital) copies of their photos. It costs nothing, and on the day you're so busy being social and in love, you can't be everywhere at once.

Take the opportunity to get together with friends and family to talk about things from their perspective. It really enriches the experience for everyone and prolongs the joy. Send a 'round robin' email asking guests if they have any photos they wouldn't mind sending you, or even better, pay them a visit! 

We're going visiting next weekend to chat with everyone and to see if we can snag some photos. 

5. Make sure your dress is the best you can get for your budget. Do your research, ask around, visit bridal shops if that's your thing. As a plus size bride I knew bridal shops would be a soul-destroying experience for me, so I bought my dress online. My dress was very inexpensive, but the experience was rather stressful coming up towards the wedding as I only received it 4 or 5 days beforehand. Despite the worry I was lucky, because my dress was absolutely beautiful and most important of all, wonderfully flattering! When we thought my dress wasn't going to come, we immediately knew how miserable I'd be in the 'wrong' dress. If we'd had to, we would've searched the country for the right dress, money no object, even if it got us into debt.

Set a budget for your dream dress, then do your research to get the best you possibly can for that amount. A bride HAS to feel beautiful and confident and if the dress is wrong, it'd be just awful.

6. Make sure your venue is the best you can get for your budget. I had initially crossed our wedding venue off the list as I (wrongly) assumed it'd be ludicrously expensive. It turned out to be very reasonable and EVERYONE loved the food, the building and the service we got from the staff. Half of our budget went on the venue and the food and it was worth every single penny.

Check out all the venues on your list, even the ones you assume might be out of your league financially. You might get a pleasant surprise! Ultimately, there is no monetary amount you can put to seeing your loved ones enjoying the day just as much as you are. It's priceless.

7. Always go with your gut feeling. We cancelled our original venue as the owner was odious and clearly only interested in making a buck. I had an uneasy feeling about him from the start, and we were lucky that a change in circumstances meant we had to cancel. Even though we lost money we made the right decision. From the very first meeting with the final venue we went with I felt reassured and we fell in love with the venue.

Trust your gut. If something feels 'wrong' and if you can tell someone wants to screw you for every penny they can get, don't touch them with a barge pole! If you're paying someone thousands of pounds they need to be serving your interests first, not theirs.

8. Lean on your bridesmaids and best man on the day. Everything will go crazy on the day and you'll need them to look after some of the details. My BMs had my glasses, phone etc. The photographer had a calming effect on me. When me and my new HUSBAND (sorry, I couldn't resist!) went back to the hotel for a rest in the afternoon, we came back to find our bridesmaids had decorated the cake and laid out the table decorations for the evening buffet. It was a lovely surprise and a weight off my mind. 

Surround yourself with people you love and trust and your day will be infinitely less stressful.

9. Whatever stress you go through, it will ALL be worth it. At times I felt like cancelling the wedding when outside pressures got too much, but it was all forgotten on the day. I wish I could go back in time and say 'Leah, stop worrying. The day will go fine. Save yourself the grey hairs!'

As long as you have planned everything thoroughly, the day will go great. Just trust it will be OK. It'll be better than OK! It'll be the sum of all your highest hopes and dreams put together, amplified by a thousand. Relax, you've done the hard part. Smile, enjoy looking beautiful and bask in the love of your partner. See how much love there is in the room for you. Soak it all up, it's beautiful.

It really WILL be the best day of your life thus far.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Wedding photo dump! Part 3 - final part.

Lovely cupcakes made by my friend Elaine

First dance

Giggles as our first song was the wrong one!

J looks PHWOARRRRR here if I do say so myself ;)

Amazing light show

Flower girl C caught in the light

Wedding photo dump! Part 2

Nom your face!

Lovely Rachie

Me giving my dad a quizzical look

J's speech

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears ;)

Giggles in my speech

The best man doing his speech
Thanks for peeking!