REVIEW: D+K EMBRACE ACTIVEWEAR

Throughout my journey to discover the best activewear available in plus sizes, I stumbled across D+K, an Australian brand dedicated to sustainable and ethical production, and who have a dedicated curve range called Embrace. They have sizes 18-24, and a fairly limited range of staple pieces at the moment though new items will apparently be releasing soon!

I tried a number of outfits from the range over a two month period, so I could give you my full thoughts and feelings! If you like any of the items featured and want to snag some for yourself, you can get 15% off full-priced items (in their straight size and curve ranges) using code KATIEP15

(Disclaimed: D+K provided me with items to wear and review. I am not, however, under obligation to provide a positive review. All opinions contained within are my own.)

Remi Tee in White (Size 20)

As you can see, I tried two full outfits (Sports crop, top, and leggings) from the Embrace range, all in Size 20. I usually wear a 20 in activewear, and you can compare that to my measurements in the About Me section if you want to know how that might correspond for you.

Overall my experience wearing D+K Embrace activwear was a really positive one – I love that they’re providing an ethical, sustainable product at a similar price point to other (non-ethical/sustainable) plus size retailers, and at a similar price point as straight size retailers. While I didn’t love the shiny fabric in the Pace Tights, that’s just a personal preference towards matte-finish activewear. If you’re similar to me in that regard then I highly recommend the Wonder Tights and Unstoppable Crops. The cuts are definitely thoughtful with regards to plus size bodies, and I could have almost sized down to an 18 in the garments, which is great if you’re a size 24/26 and wondering if this line might work for you. I’ve worn them for a variety of exercise types, including high-intensity cardio, reformer pilates, and weights in a gym. They’re great all-round products, that I feel comfortable wearing around the house, to walk the dog, or in the gym.

For me personally, there are minimal cons to touch on with D+K. A downside to the Embrace range is that there are fewer products than their regular sized range, and doesn’t seem to have new products added as often. Additionally, the Embrace range is more of a ‘basics’ line, and I’ve noticed that many of the fun colours/prints/styles in the straight size range aren’t replicated in the plus garments. They’ve got great staple pieces, so this likely isn’t a problem for the regular consumer, but I am always on the look out for pieces that are in fun colours and prints and styles (as I already have a lot of those staple activewear pieces). In speaking to friends and followers, I know that a lot of people just want to be able to buy high quality activewear in black, navy and white – so maybe it’s just a ‘me’ problem, but I thought it was worth flagging!

Have you tried D+K activewear before? If so, what did you think of it? Comment below with your favourite size inclusive activewear!

~ Katie

WHAT I WORE IN EUROPE: AUTUMN(ish) 2019

Like many Australians who struggle to make it through winter (too cold for the beach! only one public holiday in 3 months! have to use the heat feature on the air con!) I went to Europe for an adventure! I wanted to avoid the gross busy-ness of the summer peak season so decided to go in September – kinda autumnal in the UK but got some very warm days in France and Italy.

I am terrible at packing so this is by no means a blog post with advice on how to pack for your Europe trip. However, I thought it would be nice to have one place where I can direct people who ask about what I wore in September in Europe – which is basically white sneakers, loose pants, lightweight tops, and travel-friendly dresses. Everything is linked (with affiliate links fyi) and I’ve stated what size I wear, plus you can reference my ‘About’ tab for more detailed sizing information.

At least one other post will be coming soon, detailing what I did, where I ate, and what my recommendations are for London, Paris, Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome! Now onto the clothes – I’ve ordered them roughly chronologically, though I obviously wore everything more than once I didn’t necessarily photograph myself in them more than once so I’ve noted where I am in each photo!


BirdsnestSerena Maxi Dress Painted Waratah – Size 22
Cinque Terre and London
Little Party DressFraser Polka Dot Pants – Size 18
London
Marks and SpencerDitsy Floral Waisted Midi Dress – Size 24
London and Rome
ASOS – Vero Moda Curve Raincoat – Size 22
London ( Warner Bros Studio Tour)
Monki (ASOS link for non-Europeans)Belted shirt dress in Artsey Eyes Print – Size M
Hannah is wearing the Monki Belted Shirt Dress in Green Polka Dot
Paris
Little Party DressFrances Blue Floral Shirt Dress – Size 18
In the right photo, I’m wearing the Frances Dress tied up as a shirt over my Black Jumpsuit (below)
Paris
BirdsnestThe Easy Day Jumpsuit – Size 22
Paris
Cotton OnCurve Paper Bag Culotte in Silver Sage – Size 22
Blouse on left is from Marks and Spencer and shirt on right is Cotton On Curve
London and Venice
Marks and SpencerPure Cotton Striped Straight Fit T-Shirt – Size 24
Marks and SpencerPeg Cropped Trousers – Size 24
Fun fact: this is the exact same outfit that all the Gondoliers wear so maybe avoid this lewk in Venice!!
Venice
Shein – Plus Random Tropical Criss Cross One Piece Swimsuit – Size 4XL
Cinque Terre
Monki (ASOS link for non-Europeans)Oversized button-up dress in Artsy Pink – Size XL
Rome
Monki (ASOS link for non-Europeans)Short-sleeved woven top in pure peach – SIze XL
Rome
BirdsnestPrinted Maxi Skirt – Size 22
Rome
Birkenstocks Arizona – Size 39
Saltwater Sandals – Size 6
Bared Footwear – Thorntail White Leather and Gold Stars – Size 39

ALLY FASHION: TESTING THE PLUS SIZE RANGE, YOU + ALL

I’m always really excited when I see brands expanding into plus size lines, especially when they’re an affordable retailer like Ally! A stalwart of the Australian fast-fashion scene over the last two decades (can you believe they’ve been around since 2001?!), in September 2018 they announced that they were releasing a new line ‘You + All’ to cater to sizes 16-22, where previously they only carried up to a size 16, and a pretty small 16 at that!

I’ve made two orders since the collection launched in late 2018, and have a made an effort to try most items they carry, including tops, dresses, jumpsuits, skirts, shorts and trousers! Let’s take a look at photos first, then I’ll run you through my pros and cons at the end of the post.

Outfit 1

Get Me Home Frill Sleeve Bandeau (Size 22)
Taurus Tortoiseshell Buckle Pants (Mustard) (Size 22)

I love how this outfit looks, I actually ended up buying both pieces because this is how they styled it on the model on the website. Both the top and pants are a loose and comfortable fit in a Size 22, but you can see in the first picture that the buckle part of the pants is a bit off. It ends up twisting as you wear it, so I think I’ll take off the buckle part and just tie the sash around my waist. (Unless I can think of a way to sew it flat!)

Outfit 2

Isabella Button-Front Cami (White) (Size 22)
Up All Night Double-Layer Shorts (Animal Print) (Size 22)

Again, I’d say the Size 22 fits me in a comfortably loose way, and with the shorts I probably would go down to a Size 20 as there is no way to tighten the waistband. The cami is loose through the body and is quite long (tucked in here), and I like that the straps are adjustable

Outfit 3

Sail Away Shirt Dress (Natural) (Size 22)

I didn’t realise that this was a ‘faux wrap’ style, so you have no control over how tightly it fits (beyond tightening the waist sash). I probably should have sized down to a 20 in this, as it was too large in the bust. That being said, the fabric is lovely and lightweight, and the style is simple and comfortable to wear, though would work in lots of different situations depending on how you styled it.

Outfit 4

Blaire Button Down Dress (Khaki) (Size 22)

Such a sweet and simple linen dress, I really love this one for an easy summery look. Coming in a few different colours, I’m not sure I’d describe this pastel green/blue as ‘Khaki’ but either way I love it! There’s enough room in the dress that the buttons don’t pull, so I felt flirty but secure!

Outfit 5

Roxy Relaxed Fit Jumpsuit (Size 22)

The jumpsuit is the epitome of chuck-on-and-go outfits, and this one is no exception. I’ve worn it on chilly days with a black turtleneck layered underneath, and on warm days with sandals. I love that it can be dressed up or down, and the elastic waist gives me definition without clinging.

Outfit 6

Billie Button Up Dress (Stripe) (Size 22)

This is one of the more unusual offerings from the You + All range, but I really love it. Layered with a button front shirt (pictured) I felt very comfortable wearing it to work, but also think it would make a cute brunch outfit with sandals and a hat! The straps are buttoned in the back and are very long, so I’ve worn it with them crossed here to correct the length. However you could easily just shorten them.

Outfit 7

Faye Frill Hem Top (Dusty Blue) (Size 22)
Anja A-Line Skirt (Size 22)

Another instance where I was sucked into buying both pieces because of how they model styled them. I thought this skirt and top combo were so dang cute, and they translate really nicely into real-life wear. Another versatile outfit that can be worn for work or play, and each piece has slotted nicely into my wardrobe to be worn with other things I already own.

PROS

  • First and foremost, I think it’s fantastic to see traditionally straight-sized retailers expanding into the plus size world. Putting aside the size range for a moment (we’ll come back to that in the con section!), it is only in the last few years that we’ve really seen an acknowledgement from retailers that there is a plus market just waiting to be serviced, so props to Ally for making the effort.
  • They’re releasing new things every fortnight (I believe) so there are always new garments just waiting to tickle your fancy! And they have a variety of lengths, colours and cuts, so there really is something to suit everyone.
  • There is a real mix of products and materials being used for the line, it’s nice to see so many natural fibre fabrics in use, like linen and cotton. A lot of plus size offerings seem to be that slinky polyester, which isn’t always comfortable to wear.
  • I’m normally a size 20 to 22, and I’d say that everything I tried in a size 22 is loose to the point where with some things I could have sized down. So it’s a true-to-size range, in my opinion.

CONS

  • Without a doubt the biggest drawback to this line (in my opinion) is the size range – I’m wearing a size 22 in all the above garments, and that is their biggest size. In my opinion, that’s really not good enough for a plus size range, when you consider that boohoo go to a size 24 (sometimes 26) and Atmos&Here Curvy go to a size 26.
  • They have recently announced that the You + All range will be available in selected stores. However, given that according to their website they have over 130 stores, carrying the plus range in just 13 locations is somewhat underwhelming.
  • There is nowhere near the same product range in the plus section as there is in the straight section. Hopefully this is something that will change over time, but it’s hard to get past the numbers – at the time of writing, there was 108 curvy items on the website compared to 1548 straight sized items.
  • The curvy range is more expensive. When you look on the website, it seems pretty obvious to me that they’re charging more for plus size items than for straight sizes, generally speaking. I don’t know why that is, but I hope they can equalise the prices across their two ranges!

Final Thoughts

All things said and done, I think Ally have made a great start with their curvy line. There are cute pieces for a fairly affordable price, and I find the quality to be quite nice. If you see something you like on the website, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you buy it! However, they need to address the size range, product range, store availability and price ASAP!

Katie xx

[Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored, and all product were purchased by me. All expressed opinions are my own.]

THREE PINK VALENTINES DAY OUTFITS

Though I’m aware that Valentine’s Day isn’t a real holiday (and definitely has a low profile in Australia) it’s definitely the time of the year where people are talking about cutesy romantic things they have planned, and as always, I’m here to deliver you with some cute themed outfits for your cutesy romantic whatever. This is essentially a post to show you a bunch of ways to wear pink, and I’m ok with that. Plus Boohoo really came through with some adorable Valentine’s Day themed outfits and I’m nothing if not a sucker for a cute themed outfit.

I’ve organised my three outfits into arbitrary themes/locations, but honestly, I think these are all really versatile pieces that can be worn year-round and in lots of different scenarios – all of them can be work appropriate, casual or dressy depending on your styling. Even when buying cheaper clothes, I love it when they are versatile and can be worn with many other things I own.

I spent $112 on boohoo and bought five items, all of which can be styled together.

valentines day items

Plus Woven Stripe Midi Dress * – Size 24 – $28
Plus Tie Waist Blazer * – Size 22 – $29
Plus Tailored Trouser * – Size 24 – $22
Plus Rib High Neck Lettuce Hem Top * – Size 24 – $11
Plus Stripe Pleated Skirt * – Size 24 – $22

If you’ve seen my previous post about boohoo, you would know that I always err on the side of sizing up – since that post, I have almost exclusively bought Size 24 from boohoo despite being a size 20/22 everywhere else I shop! I’ve just found that things are more likely to fit comfortably if I size up to a 24, and honestly I don’t care what the number on the tag says as long as it fits well.

OUTFIT 1: OFFICE VALENTINE

Coloured suits are having such a trend moment, and no-one is happier about that than me. This blush pink jacket and pant combo, paired with a soft white turtleneck, could totally be worn to the office, but isn’t so corporate that it couldn’t be worn to dinner or broken down into separates (white top and blazer with cute jeans, pink pants and a patterned jumper or white button-down shirt – heaven!).

Pink Suit.jpg

Blush pink boots are from Marks and Spencer, earrings are from Lovisa.

OUTFIT 2: FROM BRUNCH TO DINNER VALENTINE

No outfit could be simpler than chucking on a cute patterned dress and some white sneakers. Pair it with a trend bamboo or straw bag, and a belt to cinch the waist and this is the perfect dress for a brunch date, whether it’s with your valentine or galentines! This dress has a bold stripe and a cute fluttery hem and sleeves, and the modest v-neck means it could be dressed down for the office with a black blazer, or up for a fancy dinner with some heels and statement earrings.

pink and red dress

OUTFIT 3: THE ALL-OCCASIONS VALENTINE

Midi-length pleated skirts are not only comfortable as heck, but are such a versatile item to have in your wardrobe. Paired with the simple white turtleneck, it’s truly an outfit that could take you anywhere – chill brunch, fancy dinner, or colourful work outfit. Change up the shoes and accessories for a completely different look! I love it paired with the tie-waist blazer from outfit 1 and this sweet merino wool hat from Epitome Hats, which gives it a totally different vibe.

pink and red skirt

 

Which is your favourite? Outfit 1, 2 or 3? Sound off in the comments below, and tell me what you’ll be up to for Valentine’s Day!

 

Katie xx

 

(Disclosure: Asterisk (*) indicates an affiliate link, meaning I earn a small commission if you choose to purchase these items. However this post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.)

INDIA 2018: INTREPID TRAVEL ‘CLASSIC RAJASTHAN’ TOUR

India is one of the most amazingly beautiful places in the world, full of ancient monuments, delicious food, and friendly people. If you follow me on instagram, you’d know that in September 2018, I spent just under three weeks travelling in Northern India, on a tour with Intrepid Travel to the province of Rajasthan! I booked my trip through a travel agent friend who works for Student Flights, who managed to get me the whole trip (tour + flights + insurance + airport transfer + extra night in a hotel) for AUD$2,700! Which is amazing for a 2.5 week international holiday. If you’re curious, I probably then spent another $1,000ish on food, activities, and (of course) shopping!

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It was an amazing experience, full of highs and definitely some lows, and I wanted to write out my experience here for you all – I’ve received a fair few messages regarding my trip, so thought it would be best to detail everything here. If you still have questions after reading this 3,500 word mega blog post, of course leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!

THE TOUR

I knew I would be travelling solo, so once I’d decided to go to India it was a pretty logical next step to do a tour. Even though travelling solo can be risky anywhere in the world, no matter your gender or age, I was conscious that as a young woman it would be challenging travelling through India. And honestly, once I got there I could see that it would be challenging to travel solo through India regardless of your gender – the language barrier alone makes things tricky!

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With that in mind, I started looking at different tour companies, and ended up on the Intrepid website – they’re an Australian company that focus on delivering “real life experiences” in all their trips, and have made a commitment to responsible, sustainable business. Plus, my mum recently did a trip to Russia with them and said it was great! In fact, everyone who I spoke to that had done an Intrepid said how good it was, and that’s Tip 1: trust word-of-mouth recommendations!

random me.jpg

Intrepid have a ton of different trips to India, broken up into different regions, levels of comfort, family or solo traveller, etc. I initially was planning to do a solo traveller only trip, since I’d heard horror stories about being the only solo traveller in a big group made up of couples, but there were none that suited my timeframe. It did, however, draw my attention to the ‘Classic Rajasthan‘ trip, which is a 15-day adventure through Rajasthan which hits many of the must-see spots in North India. I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to do but I felt like the Classic Rajasthan would let me see lots while also working well with the leave that I had available to take. As an ‘Original’ style trip, it also included in the cost of the trip entry and guide fees for many of the monuments, so you really only have to pay for food, tips, and any extra goodies you want to purchase while away (and trust me, you will definitely want to shop!). Intrepid offers three trip styles, which vary in comfort, inclusions, and obviously COST. I think the original trips are the best way to go as far as the cost vs. what you get – if you go comfort, you’re looking at almost double the cost but you don’t have to take any public transport and get many meals included, while the basix trips seem cheaper but you will have to pay for all entry fees to monuments.

Trip Styles

I’ve included the trip itinerary and map below, so you can see all the places we went in 15 days!

itinerary

MAP

THE TRIP

I can honestly say I had a really lovely time overall. Rajasthan is an incredibly beautiful place, full of history and amazing places. September was a great time to be travelling as the weather was sunny and mid-30°C almost everyday – but it was the end of the monsoon season so we did have some heavy rain towards the end of the trip in Udaipur and Pushkar. My tour group was small, only 5 people (all of us women!), but I know that the next few tours our guide was taking in October and November were going to be at full trip capacity (15 people).

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Getting used to being in India was definitely a learning curve, it’s a bustling and busy place even in more rural areas, and coming from Tasmania which is fairly quiet, I experienced major culture shock in Delhi particularly. The pace of the tour was perfect – we had a few days in a big city, and then got to take a break in a smaller town or at one of the heritage stays. The days in the cities were crazy, we were going to the major attractions (sometimes multiple stops in one day) and battling the heat and crowds of other tourists and sometimes dehydration when we hadn’t drunk enough water. Of course, you forget all of that when you go to truly spectacular places like the Taj Mahal or Red Fort in Agra, the Amber Fort in Jaipur, the City Palace in Udaipur, Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. Equally beautiful was the heritage locations we stayed at, such as Fort Madhogarh and Castle Bijaipur.

pretty places.jpg

The food was also amazing, I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed every meal and trying some new things. We ate only at places our tour guide recommended, and I’m glad we did as no-one in our tour group got seriously sick. While staying at the Pangarh Lake Retreat, we had some of the best food of the whole trip, including taro root and bhindi masala (made of my new favourite vegetable, okra). I ate vegetarian while in India and was really happy with my options everywhere we went – my favourites were bhinda masala, mutter paneer and paneer tikka masal, with garlic naan. SO GOOD. We also had some amazing roadside vegetable pakoras (eat at your own risk), and of course, seemingly endless Masala Chai.

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WHAT I WISH I’D KNOWN OR BROUGHT

Less makeup – this is something I probably could have figured out by myself but I brought WAY too much makeup even when people said I didn’t need to. I love wearing makeup so brought a pretty decent amount with me (basically the same as what I pack in my gym bag). Of course, it was so hot and we were moving around so much that it just wasn’t practical to wear a full face of makeup everyday. I used about six products on a daily basis – sunscreen (a must!!), foundation stick (used strategically on redness or discolouration, not worn all over), cream highlight, tinted brow gel, mascara, tinted lip balm. I could have brought just those products and been happy, but if you wanted to bring a few more, I’d recommend a cream shimmery eyeshadow to use all over the lid with a finger (Colourpop Super Shock Shadows were perfect for this, I love the shade ‘Sequin‘) and a bright lipstick (such as the Fenty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored or Mattemoiselle Lipstick in Candy Venom).

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Singlet or camisole top – I didn’t bring one of these and I wish I had. There were just a few times where it would have been perfect to wear with a dress which was slightly too low-cut for comfort, or underneath an unbuttoned shirt for a more breezy upper half. It just would have been convenient, and it takes up no space, so definitely recommend this!

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Notice the strategically draped scarves? This dress definitely needed a singlet underneath!

Spending money – do all your budgeting and planning and research, set your spending money amount… and then double it. Ok, so if you’re not someone who likes shopping, maybe you don’t have to double it, but you should plan on spending more than you think you will. While all the travel blogs and forums will tell you that India is dirt cheap, what I found was that there were lots of opportunities to buy really beautiful things at a great price, and to eat in really delicious restaurants, and to visit amazing places. And it would suck not to be able to do those things because a travel forum told you that you would only spend INR500 a day (AUD$10). My meals, in nice restaurants and cafes recommended by our guide to not get us sick, were generally between INR300-600. That depended on whether I bought a vegetable or paneer curry, whether I got roti or naan, and whether I got an alcoholic drink or non-alcoholic drink. That’s not super expensive ($6-12 for a curry+bread+beer would be SO cheap in Australia) but if you haven’t budgeted that much for each meal then it can start to seem like a lot. We went to ethical textile shops to buy scarves and bed linen, to an emporium-style jeweller to buy earrings (I bought moonstones and plain silver). In Udaipur we went to a local tailor and had clothes made (Two dresses and two pairs of pants for AUD$200!). In the markets of Pushkar I bought some amazing locally made crockery. Trust me, there is something for everyone in India, so if you want to shop there is GREAT shopping. If you’re planning on doing India on the cheap, you definitely can – haggle your heart out in the markets and stick to vegetable curries with roti bread. But if you want to really enjoy it and walk away with beautiful things from your trip, try to have access to a few hundred dollars more than you think you’ll need.

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Bag size/shape and packing cubes – Intrepid tell you that you must be able to carry and lift your own bag, and recommend that it not weigh more than 15kg. Certainly for the trip I did, we had to carry our bags between transport and our accomodation, and lift it overhead into storage compartments on the train. So be aware of how much you can comfortably lift, and choose your bag accordingly. My bag was about 18kg, and closer to 21kg by the time I left (with a carry on bag packed with purchased goodies!!). I’m pretty strong, so had no real issues with lifting my bag, except that I was too short for getting it into the overhead compartments! But if you’re worried, err on the side of a smaller bag.  I should note that even though people said I wouldn’t, I actually wore everything I brought with me, so I was happy with my packing efforts in the end! Speaking of packing and bags, if you’re doing a trip where you’ll be moving around a lot, I cannot recommend more highly the use of packing cubes. I bought two sets of these, which gave me six ‘cubes’ in total, and it was such a great way to travel. I separated out my clothes by type (dresses, tops, pants, underwear, bras, and pyjamas) so that when I wanted to get dressed I knew exactly where everything was, and then I could just stack the cubes back in and zip everything up. Towards the end of the trip, I started putting all my dirty clothes into one of the bigger cubes, so that I knew what was and wasn’t clean, and it made it super easy to wash stuff when I got home! See my packing efforts below!

PACKING 1.jpg

Hand Sanitiser – if you’re thinking of going to India, hand sanitiser is a must (which you probably already knew if you’ve gone to a travel doctor or done a cursory google). What I found was that I probably should have brought more, and that it was better to bring multiple small bottles rather than one large bottle. Some people on my trip had brought just one larger bottle with them, and they found that they would leave it in the room or have it in their backpack and forget to put it in their day bag, etc. As it happened, the teeny travel bottles of hand sanitiser were on sale the day I was doing my travel shopping, so (by luck not design) I brought about 4 little bottles with me – and this worked out for the best when I got there! It meant I could chuck one bottle in my day bag, another in my backpack, a third in my pocket – I was never without! And I didn’t get sick while I was there, so I must have been doing something right!

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Travel clothesline and stain remover stick – given how hot, sticky, and dirty you can get travelling in a place like India, trust me when I say you’re going to want to wash your clothes. Some hotels have a laundry service but it’s not always cheap, so it can be easier to just handwash things in your room when you’re staying a few nights in the same place. I made do without a travel clothesline and a stain remover stick, but they were two things I wish I’d had – curry stains don’t come out easily, and not all hotel rooms have space to hang things out to dry! You can get Sards Wonder Soap for $5 from Woolworths  and travel clotheslines are around $10-$15.

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BYO Snacks – this tip might not be as practical for you if you’re travelling for a long period of time, but if you’re doing it like I did (just a few weeks) then this is one I wish I’d known. Breakfast… isn’t always great in India. Depending on where you are and what you’re doing it can be unfamiliar or just not the most appetising. Similarly, it can be difficult/impossible to find places that sell snacks that are familiar. In the airport, I happened to buy a number of ‘Bounce’ protein balls (because they were on sale and I was curious about them), and I wish I had bought more! They’re super tasty, packed with protein, but small enough to tuck away in your day bag. They were great for days where I didn’t want to eat heavy local food for breakfast, or when we had long days and I got hungry between meals. I definitely recommend buying packaged protein balls or museli bars, you won’t regret having something familar and accessible to snack on during long days. Some travel blogs will recommend that you bring chocolate, but don’t forget that India is freaking HOT, so that choccie will melt fast!

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Make sure you try a Lassi while you’re in Jaipur!

Buy the Lonely Planet – call me a millennial, but I figured that since I had paid all this money for a tour, purchasing the Lonely Planet guide would be superfluous. And to an extent, it was… but I was the only one on my trip not to bring a guide book (specifically, everyone on my trip had the ‘Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra‘ version) and there were definitely moments where we had no wifi and it would have been nice to be able to read up about where we were and things to do. Obviously, I was able to borrow a copy and read up while there, but even if it seems old fashioned, consider buying and bringing the travel guide – especially if you’re going somewhere that may have patchy (or no) wifi, or where you will have a few days to explore and you want to make sure you don’t miss anything.

udaipur

Don’t Pre-Book Urban Adventures – this might be something specific to my trip, but if you’re doing an Intrepid tour you’ll notice on the first and last day of the trip they’ll provide a number of recommended ‘optional activities’. For Delhi, I did most of these and they were really good (especially Humayan’s Tomb, see below), and they also list a number of ‘Urban Adventure’ day tours, which are run by Intrepid. Now don’t get me wrong, these are really good day trips, and if you don’t have any time spent in Delhi as part of your tour then they’re a great way to see the city. However, we had a full day in Delhi at the beginning of our tour where we, as a tour group, did the Delhi Food Walk and Gandhi’s Delhi as a combined tour. Our guide Ajay organised this for us, and from memory I think it ended up costing around INR3000 (AUD$56) each (on the Intrepid tour page, they’re listed as costing INR3500 and INR2700 respectively, so we got a good deal). Even if you paid the cost listed on the Intrepid page to do both tours, that’s around AUD$110 – BUT, if you book in advance on the Urban Adventures page you’ll be paying AUD$90 for the Food Walk and AUD$88 for Gandhi’s Delhi, AUD$178 total!! When you compare that to the AUD$56 we paid directly to our tour leader, or even the AUD$110 listed on the Intrepid website, it’s pretty clear which would be the most expensive option. So don’t pre-book!! When optional activities are listed on the trip itinerary, you don’t have to book in advance, everything is taken care of by your tour leader when you get there. Use the approximate cost information to help you budget, but save yourself some dollars and don’t book in advance.

Humayun 1

Get the Airport-Hotel Transfer – In direct contrast to the previous tip, I really REALLY recommend you take advantage of booking in advance the airport transfer that Intrepid offer. I booked my trip through a travel agent, and so the cost of the transfer was just added onto my total (so that insurance + transfers + extra night in hotel + tour + flights were all bundled together). I think it was about $50, and trust me when I say that is a small price to pay for knowing that when you turn up at (the highly confusing to navigate) Delhi airport, all you have to do is look for the Intrepid sign at the place they told you it would be, and you’ll be put in a safe and reliable car, with a lovely driver. Some people on my trip didn’t get the transfer to save money, and they had an awful time getting from the airport to the hotel with the taxi they got out the front of the airport. Spend the extra $$ on the pre-booked transfer, you won’t regret it!

Transport.jpg
Not what will pick you up from the airport if you book the Intrepid transfer, but riding tuk-tuks is super fun

HIGHLIGHTS

Hot Air Balloon – this was a pretty expensive part of the trip, costing about AUD$350, but it was totally worth it. We got a sunrise hot air balloon over Jaipur, able to see for hundreds of kilometres over the Rajasthan countryside. We waved at villagers tending to goats, saw paddocks of cows, amazing mountain ranges, and of course the sunrise. It was utterly spectacular and I would pay the money to do it again in a heartbeat.

Hot Balloon 1.jpg

hot balloon 2.jpg

Heritage Locations – a definite highlight of going on a trip with Intrepid is that you get to stay in off the beaten track locations. I cannot recommend more highly selecting a tour that has heritage stays. Our visits to Fort Madhogarh, Lake Pangarh and Castle Bijaipur were genuinely the highlights of my trip. Having a break from the noise (the horns!!) and the bustle of the city was definitely something I needed, and it gave us the chance to see what rural life was like in Rajasthan. It was also the perfect rest stop between the busy visits to Delhi/Agra, Jaipur, and Udaipur – in those cities we were constantly doing things, going to monuments, walking around, etc, so it was super important for my personal mental health and wellbeing that we got some time to relax, nap, read books, enjoy the scenery and the countryside. There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset from the turret of an ancient fort while dringing a longneck of beer!

2018-09-14 18.18.00.jpg

Udaipur – I absolutely loved my time in Udaipur. It had the best shopping of the trip, some of the most scenic and beautiful moments, and overall the city felt the friendliest of everywhere we went (except maybe Pushkar, but that was definitely a tourist town rather than a city). We did a stunning scenic sunset boat ride on the lake, saw the city palace, got tailored clothes made (amazing!), and I did a cooking class so I had the know-how to make some of my favourite dishes once I got home. The people were friendly and the city itself was beautiful. Definitely a highlight and a place I recommend you visit.

cooking

Taj Mahal – of course the Taj Mahal is a highlight, it’s like THE thing that you come to India to see! I also really enjoyed seeing the Red Fort in Agra, so it’s definitely worth the day trip from Delhi to see the sights. We went to the Taj in the late afternoon, so the sun wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t super busy. By the time we were leaving a lot of the best photo spots were clear of visitors, so we could snap photos to our hearts content.

TAJ FULL.jpg

Humayun’s Tomb – a visit to Humanyun’s Tomb isn’t included in the Classic Rajasthan tour, but it was easily my favourite part of Delhi. Set on sprawling grounds with other beautiful monuments, the Tomb is amazing in scale and a nice break from the chaos of the city. Nice spot to relax and wander around, well worth the INR600 entry fee.

HUMAYUN 2

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you’ve been thinking about going to India, let this be your impetus to finally book that trip! I was so, so nervous about going alone, joining a tour, the heat and culture shock – but I had such an amazing time, I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. Doing the trip with Intrepid was a great choice, they really look after you and make sure that you get to see all the best things about the place you’re visiting. Not just the shiny tourist things, but the real character of the cities and towns that you go to. While there were moments where I found it very overwhelming, and I was pretty unwell when I got back to Australia (ironically, after being totally fine for the trip itself), these were minor blips in what was otherwise an holiday adventure that was totally unforgettable.

heritage stays

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to India, and if so what was your favourite part? Do you like doing tours or are you someone who likes to plan it all yourself? And of course the most important question – where should I travel to next??

Lots of Love,

Katie xx

 

TESTING: REVOLUTION MAKEUP

I’ve been curious about Revolution Makeup (Revolution Beauty? Makeup Revolution? I Heart Revolution? They have so many different names??) for a long time. Super affordable products, great shipping costs to Australia, and they’ve collab’d with some of my favourite beauty youtubers. Combine that with the fact they’re cruelty free and mostly vegan (not all products but there’s an option on their website to shop only their vegan items), AND that they’ve been getting crazy hype on youtube for their concealer that is supposedly a dupe for Tarte Shape Tape concealer.

For clarity, all prices mentioned in this post are in Australian dollars. I’m gonna run you through the ordering and delivery process, swatches and photos of the products, and a few looks I did with the items. At the time of writing (5 September 2018) I’ve used all the items, though I don’t have pictures of everything in use.

ORDERING & DELIVERY

I decided it was time to take the plunge and just order some goodies. They often have perks or freebies, ie. spend over $50 and get a free palette, or brushes. I was impatient and ordered during a time they didn’t have a freebie special, but generally I think you may as well wait until they are running a promo and get extra product. I spent $162 all up, and got 17 items, plus a free lipliner. Plus, because I spent over $50 shipping was free. If you’re spending less that $50, shipping is only $2.95! Which is crazy good, considering that shipping costs to Australia from international retailers can be incredibly pricey.

I ordered on 21 July 2018, and my parcel arrived on 6 August 2018, so it took 11 business days/just over two weeks to arrived. That’s pretty slow, but I think for the cost it’s not unreasonable. Just don’t order anything that you desperately need! Everything was wrapped securely in bubble wrap, and packaged tightly together, so no breakages.

PRODUCTS

Revolution Eyeshadow Palette Soph Eyeshadow Palette * – $18 – Collaboration with YouTuber SophDoesNails

Soph X Palette and Swatches
Revolution Eyeshadow Palette Re-Loaded Palette – Iconic Fever  – $7 – dupe for Urban Decay ‘Naked Heat’ palette

Iconic Fever Palette and Swatches
 *- $7

Newtrals 2 Palette and Swatches
Revolution Eyeshadow Palette Re-Loaded Palette Velvet Rose * – $7 – dupe for Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Soft Glam’ Palette

(I just wanted to make a note about this palette specifically – while the mattes are beautiful and blend really nicely on the eyes, I’m not very impressed with the shimmers/pressed glitters. Even with a wet brush or a finger, I feel like they don’t show up well, and require a lot of effort to look good. I still think it’s worth the $7 for the matte shades, as the shimmers can be made to work, or you can use a single eyeshadow or a shimmer from another palette.)

Velvet Rose Palette and Swatches
Obsession Eyeshadow Palette Love Every Shade Eyeshadow Palette * – $9

Love Every Shade Palette and Swatches
Revolution Eye Glitter Pressed Glitter Palette Midas Touch * – $18
Revolution Eye Glitter Glitter Glue * – $8

Midas Touch Palette and Swatches
With and without glitter glue

Revolution Eyeliner Renaissance Flick  – $9
Revolution Liquid Lipstick Nudes Collection Gloss – Boudoir  – $5
Revolution Lipstick Soph Nude Lipstick Cake  – $8
Revolution Lipstick Rose Gold Lipstick – Chauffeur  – $5

Eye and Lip Products
L-R: Chauffeur, Boudoir, Cake, Renaissance Flick, Red Lipliner (freebie)

Revolution Concealer Fast Base Concealer C2 * – $9
Revolution Concealer Conceal & Define Concealer – C3  * – $7
Revolution Foundation Fast Base Stick Foundation – F2  * – $9
Revolution Pro Foundation Foundation Drops – F3  * – $13

(For shade matching reference, I use Mont Blanc in NARS Sheer Glow, Fair in IT Cosmetic CC Cream, and Alabaster in Hourglass Vanish Stick Foundation)

Complexion Products

Revolution Blusher Blush Palette – Blush Goddess  * – $11
I Heart Revolution Bronzer Bronze and Glow *  – $11

(The highlighter in the Bronze and Glow duo is absolutely stunning, but it’s worth mentioning that the bronzer/contour shade is very pale and quite sheer. Even on my super fair skin tone, I could go in very heavy-handed and it still looked quite subtle. I like it, but if you have anything darker than a tan complexion I would give this one a pass.)

 

collage

 

LOOK 1: Pinks

Base Products 1

Bronzer, Highlight, Eyeshadow 1

Complete Look 1

LOOK 2: Reds/Browns

Base Products 2

Eyeshadow 2

Eyeliner Pen 2

Lip Products 2

Complete Look 2

FINAL THOUGHTS

With the exception of the comments I made on the Velvet Rose and Bronze and Glow palettes, I was absolutely astounded with the quality of all the products I tried. I ended up not doing a detailed breakdown on my thoughts for each product because I feel like the swatches and photos basically speak for themselves. I was pleased to see that the shades C2/F2 and C3/F3 all worked for me, so there is a bit of flexibility in trying to choose a shade that will match you. I would 100% recommend Makeup Revolution to anyone who has been curious about trying their products – they are always coming out with new things, and there are plenty of reviews circulating the internet if you’re curious about what to get.

Lots of love

Katie xx

 

Disclosure: Asterisk (*) indicates an affiliate link, meaning I earn a small commission if you choose to purchase these items. However this post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: BOOHOO

The accessibility of trendy/fast fashion for plus size gals is improving all the time – think of Showpo extending to a Size 20, or the options available on Fashion Nova, Shein, or even ASOS. One brand I’d heard a lot about but never tried as boohoo. I always thought of them as a “skinny girl shop” but I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only is their stuff super cheap, but it also goes up to a size 28! They have sales pretty much constantly, so you should never pay full price, and the quality was pretty decent given how cheap everything was.

I will say that shipping probably took about two weeks, and returns can take up-to 28 days! So you’ve gotta have patience when it comes to receiving items or getting a refund.

I ordered a range of items in sizes 20 or 22 (I’d heard on the grapevine that their stuff runs small/is inconsistent, so I erred on the side of sizing up), and I’m normally a standard size 20 on the top and bottom. Check out my ‘About’ page for more detailed information on my size!

Plus Pastel Stripe Blazer & Tailored Trouser – Size 22

This was my favourite purchase! I wore this look to an interview and felt like an absolute boss. The pants fit great and have pockets (which not all of boohoo’s stuff does), and the blazer was a little tight through the arms but otherwise fit fine. I did end up having to reinforce the crotch seam in the pants after one wear, but given the price I didn’t mind that.

Plus Pastel Stripe Blazer Tailored Trouser (22) BLOG

Plus U Front Denim Jumpsuit – Size 22

I’m not sure this is the most flattering item of clothing I own, but I think it looks so cool, and the pop-stud front is sexy af! I was channeling some hardcore Rosie the Riveter vibes for these photos, and the main reason I decided to keep this one was just in case I ever had a dress up party to go to.

Plus U Front Denim Jumpsuit (22) BLOG

Plus Kimono Sleeve Tie Waist Wrap Dress – Size 20

This was one of the few items I ordered in my usual size (20) but I wish I’d sized up to a 22. It was just a bit too short and a bit too tight on my tummy. That being said, I think it’s a flattering cut and super cute style, just a bit too small for me.

Plus Kimono Sleeve Tie Waist Wrap Dress (20) BLOG

Plus Oversized Sleeve Trench Coat – Size 22 (Blush colour no longer available)

This coat is AMAZING! It’s lined, so is pretty warm for a trench, but is definitely not one for the middle of winter. It was also oversized enough that I could button it the whole way up to wear as a coat dress, but be warned, the pop studs can come open at any time, so I’d advise wearing a slip underneath if you want to try this style.

Plus Oversized Sleeve Trench Coat (22) BLOG

Plus Pastel Stripe Rib Crop – Size 20

The size 20 in this top fit really well, though that was probably due in part to the stretchy nature of the fabric. The pastel rainbow is so so pretty in real life, and I felt cute as a button in it! I will say that it’s pretty cropped, so if you’ve got a bigger chest like me, expect it to be quite short.

Plus Pastel Stripe Rib Crop (20) BLOG

Plus Contrast Stripe Sweater Dress – Size 22

I love the colours in this sweater, clashing pink and red is definitely on-trend at the moment. It’s a fairly thin fabric, so it’s not overly warm, and I probably could have sized up further to a Size 24 to get that oversized cozy jumper effect.

Plus Contrast Stripe Sweat Dress (22) - BLOG

Plus Check High Waisted Trouser – Size 22

These are my other favourite purchase!! I already owned the lilac blazer (from SimplyBe) and as soon as I saw the pants on the boohoo website, I knew they had to be mine! The fit is really comfy and loose (similar to the pants in the stripe coord set), and they also have pockets!

Plus Check High Waisted Trouser (22) BLOG

Plus Sports Stripe Co-ord Set – Size 22

I didn’t feel like the fit was as good on this set, probably would have liked it more if I sized up to a 24 (see what I mean about inconsistent sizing!). It’s a fun set, and would be great for a party, or to wear as separates (or together if you’re bold!).

Plus Keely Sports Stripe Co-ord Set (22) BLOG

 

There you have it! I would definitely order from boohoo again, there aren’t many places where plus size women can get affordable “trend” pieces, and I think boohoo really hit the nail on the head as far as the market that they’re targeting. There are so many cheap clothing options for slimmer people, so it’s great to see more retailers including plus sizes! You do get what you pay for, so don’t expect crazy high quality items, but everything was as I expected from looking on the website.

Love,

Katie xx

 

Disclaimer: I paid for these items with my own money, this review is not sponsored or influenced by boohoo.

ONE ITEM FIVE WAYS: NYATA, JUNE 2018

Hi all, long time no blog post!

Coming to you with the first in an exciting (well, exciting for me, and hopefully for you!) series of blog posts I’m going to be doing every month in collaboration with Nyata. For those who don’t know Nyata, it’s an amazing Australian-designed, ethically-manufactured line, catering to sizes 8-30! I highly encourage you to go on their website and read about the founder, Amber Gwynn, and their ethos of body positivity and ethical fashion.

I was approached by them to do an ongoing collaboration, where I would feature one of their items every month, styled in a number of different ways. For me, this sounded like such a fun challenge, as I think it can be easy to fall into complacency in reaching for the same items or styling things the same way! So I wanted to show you how versatile one piece can be in your wardrobe, taking you from work, to casual, to night, and everything in-between! So read on and let me know what you think.

The June Item

For June 2018, I was sent the Better Angle Bayi Top ($109) in size ‘Gorgeous’ – this is something I love about Nyata, rather than size with numbers, they size using statements about the kinds of women we all are!! (Handy conversion chart below). The item is definitely intended to be a tunic top, but as you can see in the featured image, if you’re on the shorter side (or just daring!) you could definitely rock it as a dress!

NYATA BAY TOP JUNE 2018

Screenshot 2018-07-01 17.25.04

Style 1: Casual Cool

Style 1

My first thought when I saw this top was that it would look AMAZING with my current obsession, these studded and ripped jeans from City Chic. The blousey style suits being tucked in, and the fabric is fine enough that it doesn’t bulge or bulk out the hip area where tucked. Continuing the studded theme with these white Spurr ankle boots finished the outfit off.

Rock Stud Skinny Jean – Size 18 – City Chic (seems to be unavailable on their website!)
Gorgina Ankle Boot – Size 8 – Spurr Shoes – $25.50 (on sale).

Style 2: Girls Night Out

Style 2

I think this is the perfect way to wear tunic length tops – black leggings, leather jacket, cool shoes. Can’t really go wrong! The silver sequins pick up on the silver hardware on the jacket, and the shiny, chelsea-style boot keep things fun and a bit unexpected. A classic and easy Friday night outfit.

Supplex Full Length Tight – Size 18 – Running Bare – $74.99
Frankie PU Biker Jacket – Size 20 – Atmos & Here Curvy – $99.95 (I recommend sizing up)
Erina Ankle Boots – Size 8 – Spurr Shoes – $25.50 (on sale)

Style 3: Weekend Vibes

Style 3

There is nothing that says ‘relaxed weekend’ as much as a denim pinafore, in my humble opinion. This one is an absolute staple in my wardrobe, looks good with so many different tops, and is really fun and trendy. It makes the top look casual and the sneakers keep the whole outfit relaxed and ready for anything!

Denim Bib Dress – Size L – City Chic (not available on the website)
Kmart Sneakers (unavailable, no tag)

Style 4: Office Chic

Style 4

I feel like grey is such a great alternative to black when you’re looking for an office neutral. There’s a lot of tonal and shade variety to be found in grey, and it looks great worn all-together as a monochromatic outfit. To balance the loose and flowy style of the tunic top, and let it really shine as the ‘hero’ of the outfit, a fitted grey jersey skirt (midi length!) and some patent heeled boots make this a fun but office-appropriate look.

CottonOn Skirt (unavailable, no tag)
Betts Shoes (unavailable)

Style 5: Boss Babe

Style 5

This final look may well be my favourite. Even though black isn’t a colour I reach for too often, there’s no denying that it works with everything. This tight, ruched knee-length skirt is professional yet sexy, and the relaxed blazer keeps it comfortable. Chuck on a pair of classic black pumps, and you’ve got yourself a bangin’ work outfit on days you really need to shine!

Final Thoughts

I really loved styling this top – it’s not an item I would have chosen for myself, but seeing all the different ways I can wear it makes me excited to pull it out of the wardrobe throughout the next few months. I think it’s going to make a great trans-seasonal piece in my wardrobe, and this styling challenge has got me thinking about how I can get more wear out of other things in my closet!

all-styles.jpg

Which was your favourite look? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Love,

Katie xx

 

Disclaimer: While this item was provided to me for the purpose of styling and review, all opinions are my own. I was not paid for this post.

BAXTER BLUE: TESTED

There are very few jobs these days that don’t require some level of screen-time, especially if you work in any kind of office environment, you’re probably like me and spend 8+ hours a day under fluorescent lighting staring at a computer screen. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finishes work at the end of the day and just feels totally wiped, with sore, tired eyes and headaches. While I know that some of this strain relates to my on-going neck and shoulder tension, which I get from carrying stress in those areas, I have wondered whether the bright and harsh lights at work and from staring at screens is partially to blame for my tired eyes and sore head. Enter Baxter Blue.

never click on Facebook and Instagram ads. Generally, they’re just rubbish products like SkinnyTea or Sugarbear Hair Vitamins, but when I saw the ad for Baxter Blue on Facebook I was really intrigued. Glasses that could help with my eye strain, designed for people who work with screens all day? Colour me interested! Taken directly from their website, Baxter Blue glasses are intended to be “a fashionable range of non-prescription eyewear for those who use computers and digital devices, importantly protecting their eyes from the dangers of blue violet light and alleviating the symptoms of digital eye strain”.

Now this all sounds awesome, but I was admittedly sceptical, so did a bit of internet research on blue light glasses and whether or not they work. For all my google sleuthing, I couldn’t find any definitive data either way about the impact of blue-light glasses (Popsugar, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Business Insider Australia all had different views), so proceed at you own caution is the take home message I guess.

Despite this, I wanted to see for myself if this would be something that could help with my headaches and strain, so I purchased a snazzy pair of clark / gloss black for $89 and decided to test them out. For the purpose of trialling them, I wore them for two consecutive days (Monday and Tuesday), didn’t wear them for the rest of the week, and then wore them again for a few days the next week, so I could see if there was a noticeable difference. I also knew I would have to wear my regular, prescription glasses a fair bit during the testing period, and would also be away from my desk at meetings, etc, so thought this would help account for that.

Test Day 1

Baxter Blue - Day 1

My first day wearing them was actually my first day back at work after a 10-day holiday over the Easter long weekend (nothing like using 3 leave days to get 10 days off!) so I figured it would be the perfect time to put my new Baxter Blue glasses to the test. While I’ve been a glasses wearer for almost 14 years, I’m short-sighted and normally only wear my glasses while driving, at the movies, etc. For this reason, getting used to having glasses on that a) didn’t improve my vision, and b) were meant to be worn for close-up work on computer screens, was a big adjustment. They’re also slightly too large for my head, so I found that they slipped down my nose constantly, so that was slightly annoying, although fixable if I went for a different style I guess. It’s too early to tell whether they’ve reduced eye strain, neck/shoulder tension, or were the reason why I didn’t have a headache at the end of the day, since I don’t experience these symptoms every day at work. However, I feel relatively accustomed to wearing them constantly, so I’m interested to see if I feel like they’ve made a difference as the week goes on.

Note: I did take them off for about an hour over lunch while in the lunchroom aka a screen-free environment.

Test Day 2

Baxter Blue - Day 2

I think I’m over the weirdness of wearing glasses for close-up/computer work today, since it felt totally normal to sit down at my desk this morning and pop my Baxter Blue glasses on. As the day wore on, I was still getting a bit frustrated that they were sliding down my face and needed to be continually pushed up, but as I said, I think that would be fixable with a different style. I also found today that I’m a bit over wearing glasses all day – normally with my prescription pair, I’m only wearing them for short-ish stints, and I take them off relatively frequently, so I’m not used to such consistent wear. However, I’m still getting fairly positive results, and have been headache and eye strain-free for the last two days.

Test Day 3 (the next week)

Baxter Blue - Day 3

I put my Baxter Blue’s on at lunchtime (ish) as I had been away from my desk and computer for most of the morning. It felt quite comfortable and natural to sit down and chuck my glasses on, and I do think that my eyes have adjusted to wearing them for close-up work. It potentially helps that they’re quite a bit more bulky and ‘noticeable’ on the face than my prescription glasses, which are wire-rimmed and very light – maybe my brain kinda goes, “thick black rim glasses for computers, thin wire-rims for prescription”. Either way, I happily wore my glasses for the rest of the day, headache free! I noticed that yesterday I wasn’t wearing the glasses and I did have a bit of a headache by the end of the day, which could have also been due to lack of sleep/an early morning wake-up, but either way, I wanted to chuck them back on today to see if they could help mitigate the eye strain.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Aside from the three days I’ve talked about in detail here, I’ve worn my Baxter Blue’s on and off for the last 3 or so weeks. I’m not an optometrist, doctor or scientist, so if you want an opinion from someone qualified in those fields then I’m not your gal. However, as a regular, computer-using layperson, here’s what I think – whether it’s the glasses or placebo affect, I didn’t get a headache or suffer from eye strain on any of the days I remembered to wear the Baxter Blue glasses. While I’m an irregular sufferer of headaches and eye strain, it happens often enough that if these glasses help mitigate or removed those symptoms, I’m happy! However, if you’re really concerned about persistent headaches and eye strain, rather than trying a pair of these glasses as the first step, I’d recommend you talk to your doctor and/or optometrist, as there may be underlying health issues causing that pain.

If you’re like me, and work in an office or tech-industry, I think these are worth the $89 splurge to have a test and see what you think! Plus they have a 30-day return or exchange policy, which is plenty of time to wear and test them to see if they work for you.

What do you think, are you interested in trying blue-light reduction glasses? Have you tried them before or do you think they’re a gimmick?

Lots of Love

Katie xx

Disclaimer: I purchased these glasses with my own money, and this review is 100% my honest opinion. I was not sponsored or paid for this post.

BRAND FEATURE: LITTLE PARTY DRESS

One of my favourite Australian online stores that caters to a variety of shapes and sizes is Little Party Dress, run by the lovely Kelly Purvis. Full of gorgeous items (not just dresses!) in different prints and cuts, Little Party Dress carries sizes 6 to 18 and is currently restocking with new pieces every Monday night – though depending on when you’re reading this, best to check their instagram page for the most up-to-date information!

There are a few things that make LPD unique to me, the first being that Kelly is a “selfie model” for each and every item on the store, meaning that when you purchase anything, you can see it on a real person (she describes herself as “173cms tall & a size 12-14, top heavy. I wear a 12 in my standard fit/big make styles, and a 14 in the small make/small bust styles“).

Kelly.jpg

Under each item, she also links to instagram photos of customers wearing that style, so you can see how the different colours and sizes look on different people (can you spot someone familiar below?)

Screenshot 2018-04-01 21.15.31.png
Screenshot from the ‘Soul Mate Navy Floral Dress” – I’m featured 5th from the left!

Probably my favourite thing is the ‘length, fit, fabric’ section on each and every garment she sells. In this section, she provides information specific to each item on the exact length, and whether it is a ‘small, standard or generous’ fit. As someone who is more of a size 20, I’m always cautious about buying a size 18 from an online retailer, but I can consistently buy any size 18s that are listed as “generous fit”.

Screenshot 2018-04-01 21.26.52

Note: this is not a sponsored post, nor did I receive any of these items for free. I paid for everything listed here myself (with Afterpay, which LPD offers!), and all opinions are honest and my own. I just wanted to help other plus-sized women figure out what things might fit them!

WORK APPROPRIATE (or at least, appropriate at my work. See my ‘About’ page for more information)

Soul Mate Navy - Size 18

Soul Mate Navy Floral Dress – $64.95, polyester, generous fit

This is a newer release, and one of my favourites. I think it’s timeless and could be worn to a wedding or event, thought I felt perfectly comfortable wearing it to work as well.

Arlo Geo - Size 18

Arlo Geo Print Dress – $69.95, polyester, generous fit

This one is borderline too tight across my stomach, but the busy print helps distract from that (just something to note if your tummy area is particularly pronounced or something you’re self-conscious about). I got SO many compliments at work on this day, and I know this print comes in some of their other popular cuts, so if you love it, there are plenty of styles to choose from.

 

Frankie Pink Leopard - Size 18

Frankie Pink Leopard Dress – $69.96, polyester, generous fit

Easily one of LPDs most popular styles (this and the Gemma, which I don’t have) the Frankie dress is comfy, stylish, and appropriate for many different events and environments. I’ve work this to work and also casually a number of times, and I always feel fantastic in it. It’s a go-to dress, and always in rotation.

Green Floral - Size 18

Brave Green Floral Dress – (Sold Out) $45, polyester (semi-sheer), generous fit

Unfortunately this particular dress is sold out (I bought it on sale), but I thought I would feature it anyway since it is a different kind of cut to the others I own. The wrap/tie sections is quite unusual, and I love the retro wide lapel/collar area. Such a fun dress.

Mandy Wrap - Size 18

Mandy Pink Stripe Wrap Dress – $59.95, polyester, standard fit

The two wrap dresses I have (see below) are the two standard fit items I have and while they do both fit, as you can see in the photo, I did have to wear this one with a singlet underneath to avoid flashing a lil too much cleavage at work. However there is plenty of wrap in the skirt, so I felt pretty comfortable on the bottom half (and truthfully wear a singlet under most wrap items no matter how well they fit). Such a great colour combo too.

Frankie Abstract - Size 18

Frankie Abstract Print Dress – $69.95, cotton/polyester, generous fit

Another version of the popular Frankie – I did wear this to work as styled above, but honestly the print just felt too casual for me. I might wear it for a casual Friday again, but probably will keep it for non-work wear. Also, pro-tip, with dresses and tops that have buttons down the front, I tend to get boob-gape no matter how well it fits, so I recommend just hand-sewing a couple of stitches from the bottom button to your usual level of ‘unbuttoned’. Super simple and works a treat.

NOT WORK APPROPRIATE (in my personal opinion)

Fiesta Wrap Dress - Size 18.jpg

Fiesta Geometric Print Wrap Dress – $64.95, polyester, standard fit

As I said above about the Mandy dress, as a standard fit item, this did fit me, but when I tried it on as a dress I felt it was a little too revealing, so thus far I’ve only worn it as a kimono/cape with pants and a top underneath. I think I’d wear it as an actual dress with a slip underneath to an event or something though.

Monique Pink - Size 18

Monique Pink Dress – $69.95, polyester/cotton, generous fit

This is such a cute dress (and another very popular style) which comes in pink and black. It’s very soft and comfortable, and super on trend with the flared sleeves and embroidery. It is also quite short, just FYI (I’m only 165cm and it was short on me) and after I washed it, I found it shrunk somewhat. I think I could iron it back out to a better length, but just be cautious when washing it.

In Love Stripe - Size 18

In Love Stripe Shirt Dress – $64.95, polyester, generous fit

This is definitely a short shirt dress, so if you’re tall or not comfortable in shorter dresses, this might not be for you. I really like how it looks with leggings or tights, so it wasn’t a huge issue for me, but I probably wouldn’t brave it without something else covering my legs. This is probably the only item where I had an issue with the fabric, I just wish it was a cotton or similar, since the polyester just feels unexpected in a shirt-style dress.

 

 

Frankie Xmas Pets - Size 18

Frankie Xmas Pets Dress – (Sale) $40, cotton/polyester, generous fit

The frankie style in a Christmas print was a winner for me – I did actually wear this to my work Christmas function,  but wouldn’t have worn it on a regular December day to work. While obviously not the most versatile since it’s a festive print, I found it comfortable and cute for the season!

Eddie Lemon - Size 18

Eddie Lemon Print Dress – $69.96, cotton/polyester, generous fit

I probably could wear this to work on a summery day or casual Friday, but I personally don’t like spaghetti straps at work. This is another dress where I recommend sewing the buttons shut for more security, though as you can see I like wearing it with the top button undone and folded over. It’s such a cute print, and has ruching on the back to fit people with different bust sizes. It also looks cute with a thin brown belt around the waist.

 

 

So there you have it, a number of different Little Party Dresses that I own that fit a size 18-22. Even though LPD doesn’t go beyond a size 18 at this time, there are definitely plus-size friendly options at an affordable price. If you get anything, don’t forget to hashtag #LittlePartyDress on instagram so that Kelly can see you rocking your LPDs, and you can get 10% off your order by signing up for her email newletter.

Is there anything here you want to get? Let me know which style is your favourite!

Lots of Love,

Katie xx