A Sincere but Light-Hearted Mission To Make More of Myself!

Archive for the ‘The Fashion Challenge’ Category

At last!

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So lately I have been very inspired by various blog posts and fashion tidbits to update my wardrobe.

There seems to be so many pretty things out there. I have all these ideas of all these things I want to buy (remember my style board) so lately I have spent most days off in one shopping centre or another on a mission to gather some treasures to form a wardrobe which I can be proud of.


Except, normally I come home disheartened. You see, it all seems to go wrong once I hit the changing room and today seemed as if it would be no exception.

First of all, inspired by Zoella’s recent post, I hit Primark and actually I was surprised how tidy it was. Maybe early morning (not as early as Zoella’s though), mid week visits are the way to go. I actually found quite a few items to try, a couple of basic tee shirts in pink and grey with some feathery shoulder embellishments; a vest with sequins and the statue of liberty on the front and a gorgeous little black and white polka dotted coast but trying them on, each seemed too long or a little too clingy in certain places and baggy in others. I’m sure I must be such a strange shape. Nothing between a size 8 or 12 is ever one hundred percent too big or one hundred per cent too small. Just too big or small in this place or that and then the opposite in another. Argh. . !

Anyway despite the threat of rain, I bravely persevered and headed to TopShop. There, I fell in love with a white delicate cowl neck jumper but they only had a size 12 and the neck was just too big, it sort of fell past my stomach. I’m tempted to order online and try a smaller size but I can’t find it. Argh! However, such a delicate garment was unlikely to see Clumsy me through until Christmas. Still Boo!

I also tried the chain vest (as highlighted by Laura). I tried a black one and the mustard one but wasn’t sure how I would wear it. I tried on some leather effect leggings to do the rock thing. I was quite excited about this as my style is not normally so rock and roll but unfortunatly they were so, so long (I think it was these) and I took this disappointing length as an omen.

All in all, it looked liked my shopping mission was yet again destined to fail

Until. . . I casually popped in to my local department store who were having a twenty per cent off day and it was here in the Warehouse and Miss Selfridge concessions that I struck gold.

Oh yes, three cheers please!

Firstly, a basic black tee shirt from Warehouse with similar shoulder embellishments to those I tried earlier in Primark but this tee fitted so much better and was a smart and safe black so yes, purchase one was made. I have to say black tee shirts are my weakness, I just think they are such an investment and can be worn up or down. You can never have too many.

Then there was this gorgeous cream shirt with some ruffle detailing down the front. Again so wearable, my two favourite words!! I’m not brave enough to try that red, workman tarten shirt look that a lot of girls seem to be pulling off at the moment but I do tend to find that shirts and three quarter length cardigans are more flattering and swamp me less then most knitwear items I find.

And finally we have the ultimate buy of the day. I absolutely adore this brown frilly dress. It fits so well and really pulls and conceals in all of the right places. It makes me feel slender and very special. It has a very deep V neckline which could do the talking for more dressy occasions but the gorgeous number could also be layered for a more casual look.

The sleeves scared me at first as they looked huge on the hanger. Indeed, quite divaish but once I tried it on, I could see they hung in a way that actually worked and I was much more comfortable with these then I am when I’m wearing shoulder pads. I think that the length and the tapering of the sleaves helped tone down the drama to the right notch.

There is a beautiful tie at the back. I just think this dress represents the style of decades past well and is timeless. It is very girly but in a great shade of brown, soft and it is not skin tight or too much. It is also very verstatile. Normally as a short girl, I have to be very careful layering long tops or dresses over trousers etc and have to select a special pair but today in the changing room, this little number instantly looked at home over my very casual, worn Matalan jeans which I happened to be shopping in. A good omen surely!

Oh and I nearly forgot. I have also got myself a pair of the New Look wedges that have been mentioned by a couple of bloggers. For example here and here Many of you may remember the suede heels that I loved from Primark earlier this year. Well, these wedges are suede too and they are very, very high which is good ‘cos I need the extra height and I find the safest way to get such height is on the top of a wedge or platform heel so I’m hoping to get lots of wear from these.

So, there we go, a little fashion haul! At last!!

What do you think? Have you brought anything exciting lately?


Written by essjay23x

October 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Style snipping!

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Style snipping!

Lately I have noticed that I’m starting to find fashion, clothes, accessories and pretty things a little more inspiring.

Going back a few years, my wardrobe was higher on my list of priorities. Obviously my hair was always at the top of my list. I have a theory that every girl is either mainly a make up fiend, a hair one, a potions/lotion manic or a clothes horse. There is no doubt that I’m the hair one. However when it comes to fashion and cosmetics, they have sort of changed places back and forth as my life and circumstances have changed.

For example, when I was at uni with a whole lot of free time and a student loan (!) then fashion was more of a priority. I have never ever pounded any card like that Top Shop one. My style was never particularly sophisticated (always high street) but I would be in there every other day to grab what was new. Students can wear whatever they like whenever they like. Consequently it felt as if I never had anything to wear. Of course, I did. Tens more then I have now but I was young and knew no better.

Then I graduated, uni finished and it was out in to the real world where I was swamped by a new reality ie. a whole lot of bills, no money, little free ( ahem, shopping) time and a job where I was no longer free to wear what I want. Consequently I stopped thinking so much about clothes and my interest/pride in my wardrobe fell.

Interestingly this was a time when I became obsessed with growing my own nails. I wasn’t too worried about painting them but I desperately wanted long talons. They seemed so ladylike. I might not have been able to afford the clothes of a grown up but at least, I could have the nails of one. Honestly I got so obsessed, I would wear a plaster over a nail if it broke and it would remain under the cover of plaster until it was long again. Nice!!

Anyway this year and blog has been all about making more of myself and I was kind of drawn to the beauty side of this resolution particularly make up.

Beauty shopping tends to be more tranquil. Unless a new MAC collection is being released then quite often there is space to shop and usually an assistant to hand (ok I concede, sometimes they are more in the way then to hand) but at least, you can normally find somebody to pay without queueing for half an hour when you’ve selected your purchases. I also got in to beauty because transformations (especially some of those showcased on blogs and in videos) can be amazing and well to be honest, it is nice not have to stress about sizing (Sidenote: this is just another reason why I absolutely adore perfume!).

However over the last few months, I have built quite a make up collection and now I’m starting to realise that although cosmetic items avoid the sizing issue, one product still does not fit all. For example as lovely as Gosh Darling might be for you, it doesn’t matter how I work it, it will never become a go to for me. On the other hand, as little as I hear about Creme de la Femme in the cyber beauty world, I still know that I am more then likely to reach for it at least once a week until I hit pan (Nooooo, not pan! Not this lippie!).

I guess what I am saying is that now I have learnt a little more about what suits me and what does not. I am making more sensible choices and spending a little less (just a tiny bit less time though as it still takes up a large percentage of my brain space) time thinking about eyeshadows and lipsticks and I can’t help thinking that this is why I have suddenly become more interested in my wardrobe again.

I now have the brain space and time for such curioisity and pretty daydreams.

However, unfortaunately my budget does not quite match my interest so I have had to reach a compromise and consequently have spent a little time this last week, shopping virtually through magazines and things. If I want to basket something then I cut it out and add it to this pile. I will soon be purchasing a corkboard and will pink all my little beauties up.

I am quite excited about my new super duper style board (super duper because obviously I can not abandon beauty completely and a few beauty items have been cut out too).

The idea is remniscent of a style folder, polyvore or collage but putting it on a noticeboard means I can update it or change bits easily as and when I want. I saw something similar in one of Carolyn Baxters recent videos and thought it was such a positive and inspiring idea.

I think I have already realised that a lot of the colours I choose are neutral. Khakis, blacks, Camel. I also seem to like items which only have one or two colours in. Oh and I seem to find long hair inspiring!

Here is a peek at some of the items that have made the cut so far!

A Military Style Jacket.

Some sixties style dresses and tops.

Some winter jackets.

Some perfumes I want to try.

Some celebrity inspired ponytails.

Some bangles.

A new Rachel Stevens hair pic for my very own long (when it gets to that stage) hair style
Some sparkly diamond nail art in the style of Katy Perry 

Who knows?

Just maybe, one day, some of these things will make it in to my life for real. In the meantime, not only can I see what I’m drawn to and what my own personal style might actually encompass, but I also have inspiration to seek similar items and even if I fail at all this and realise I have no conducive or attainable style then at the very least, I will have lots of pretty pictures to look at.

Are you a make up fiend, a hair one, a potions/lotions maniac or a clothes horse?

Do you scrap your style? How do you do it?


Written by essjay23x

September 13, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Shop and shred!

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Shop and shred!

So the clothes shopping did not end with the TopShop haul the other day, there is one more item (just one though, not so bad, is it?) that I picked up.

This simple one shouldered, red top from Republic.
There was no question when I saw it on the hanger that it was coming home with me. This is quite a simple top with a ruffle along the shoulder and round the neck line. With another one down the shoulderless side seam. There are probably lots of similar tops out there but not this one, in this exact shade of red. There are many shades of red that I can not pull off but this top is in the one very precise and maybe only hue that flatters me (tanned or natural) and in fact, seems to give me the “glow”.

Just looking at this bright colour makes me smile and feel more alive.

However sadly, this top is not 100% perfect. It clings (in whatever size I try). In fact, a lot of tops seem to be clinging around my tummy area lately. I’m hoping that all the good fruit and veg I’m eating is just causing a little bloating but I fear otherwise.

Nevertheless, I wanted this top!

After all, it is red (that red), one shouldered and very flattering (as long as I cross my arms or keep my gaze up). I doubt I will find a top as near to perfect for a long time and in the meantime, I know that if I walked away then I would regret it.

So I brought the gorgeous red top!

And promised myself that I would just have to use some control underwear or some layering or a big belt to wear it or some very high waisted trousers. That is, if I haven’t toned up a little more by then.

Which brings me to, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.

I have started shredding. So far I have done it three days straight and I WILL be doing it for another 27. At the moment, I’m shamelessly clinging to level 1 but I will push myself up to level 2 and then level 3 soon. I will, I’ve promised myself!

Jillian is tough with all her ‘pain is fear leaving the body’ talk and suchlike. Yet in twenty minutes, I do get a sweat and aches start, which last the day, so surely it is doing some good.

The twenty minute regime is made up of three circuits. Each circuit has three minutes of strength training (you need weights), two minutes of cardio and one minute of abs. Then of course, the workout includes a warm up and a cool down.

The two things I like about this fitness regime is that you don’t need any coordination and it only lasts twenty minutes. I’ve been doing it first thing in the morning before my Green Monster.

I think if I left it any later in the day then I might not find the motivation and also, I’m finding once the workout is done then I feel good. So the last couple of days, I have felt pretty good all day and I’m sure it is because I dragged myself out of bed and in to some jumping jacks!

Has anybody else done the shred? Did you keep it up? What can I realistically expect to achieve in 30 days? Do you find yourself making some compromises in order to add another gorgeous addition to your wardrobe?



Written by essjay23x

August 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm

TopShop shoppitdy shop!

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TopShop shoppitdy shop!

So yesterday I shopped (or should I say hauled?!) big time. What can I say? I had some good news and I have not shopped so much lately so when I finally got out there, I couldn’t really control myself!


When I was a student, I was the TopShop girl. Head to toe. I spent far too much in there.

Evantually with the store card paid off, I realised I should probably cut my TopShop spending down and somehow I actually more or less cut it out completely. I had moved away from student towns and cities with big TopShops. Consequently my local TopShop seemed pretty poor in comparison. Occasionally I will buy an item in there but not like I used to and the card, that has gone!

However a new, bigger TopShop has opened where I was haulling yesterday and when I went in for a little peek, well to be honest, I was quite impressed.

First because they are winking at me, let’s go to the bling.

A beautiful light gold leaf cuff. Now bling may be quite a new obsession but I’ve always been a fan of bracelets, bangles, cuffs and such wrist-like ornaments. So this is going to be one well-loved addition to my collection. I think that it will be especially nice in the autumn, add a little class as the leaves start to fall and the nights get darker.

Carrying on with my green fingers theme. I also got this long flowery ring. You will all remember my Tanya Burr big gold dancing ring ( Well I wanted big in the opposite way this time and when I saw it, I knew that this was what I had been looking for.

This ring may not be the showiest in the world but it is delicate, pretty and comfortable. My dancing ring can get a bit heavy for my poor fingers sometimes.

Oh and the TopShop ring was only £1 when I got to the till. Happy, happy, happy . . !

I’m very impressed with my TopShop jewellery. In fact, I picked up many more items before cutting it down to these two. Now I want to go to an even bigger TopShop and see the Gogo Jewellery that Holly  has gone Gaga about.

I also got this lovely leather purse. I thought that it was about time that I got myself a proper purse. I’ve never really being one for purses with lots of pockets and card holders before. My last few purses were just little coin-like ones and I would just ram whatever I could in there. They were also all black. Time to change it up and get a little colour. There were lots of colours to choose from and I nearly picked a classic brown but the little girl in me picked up the pale mint colour. It is really cute. Hopefully now, I will finally be able to find my slightly larger purse in my massive bag without emptying everything out at the tillpoint!

I also got one of these boyfriend type blazer things and a cream tunic dress. I spotted the dress and remembered seeing it in a post from Laura ( She suggests combining the very girly dress with a more masculine blazer to balance the look. I want to learn to think like that! At the moment, when I am trying to put an outfit together, all I normally do is throw a couple of things I don’t hate on and hope for the best. However, Laura’s explanation made sense. Balance sounds good so on spotting the dress, I decided to experiment a little.

Now I was only going to try the combination on but it really did look good and much better then a lot of the other things I’d picked out myself to try so yes, I have invested!

If you get a chance, try this dress on. Honestly it made me feel so light and there is something about the way it falls. I just want to skip around and I think it is just about long enough to twirl around and around in!

As for the blazer. . ! Well to be honest, these boyfriend blazers have never appealed to me. They look great on everybody else but on a hanger, they just look so masculine and mundane. And since I know that I can barely pull anything off from outside my comfort zone, I have never even tried one on (or even wanted to). However, it worked with the dress (I think it helped that it was from the Petite session. I had a quick look at some in the normal section and the arms looked way too long) and now I’m inspired to see what else I can pair it with. Rumour is, these blazers are quite versatile if you’re daring enough.

Funnily enough one of my favourite tops which I’m sure I’ve shown you on this blog before, is a TopShop one from about three years ago. It, too, is cream and conceals the tummy area well. This top is like an old friend but it is a chore to iron. Yep, it looks great creased but only in the right places. I do cherish this top though and it has had a lot of wear. I hope that I can say the same about my more recent TopShop purchases in three years.

So do you like TopShop? Brought anything interesting lately? Are you in to a certain look at the moment? How do you work the Boyfriend blazer?


Written by essjay23x

July 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

My Summer Top!

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My Summer Top!

I love this top! I am going to make the most of it this summer as I don’t think that it is going to make it to the next one.

How am I going to enjoy summer without it?!

I have had the top for years probably at least five and I adore it. If the sun is shining, it has always been there for me. We went around the world together.

I love the crumply silky material which gives it the relaxed summery feel. I like the hint of cheesecloth on the back, that makes me feel girly and at ease and I absolutly love the tassels at the front and the green beads on the end. They give it the beachy bohemium feel.

Ha, how many times have I said I love in this post but I do, I adore this top and even though she is yellowing and has very thin feeble straps that will make me feel inadequate on fat days (and quite possibly break), I will be making the most of this top this summer. My top and I are going to have the most fantastic sunny summer ever!!

See my first OOTD video here

Why don’t you join me in a celebration of summer and write a post or do a OOTD video about your most fabulous summer thing? Don’t forget to send me a link!

Also check out this new summer fashion blog Fab idea!


Written by essjay23x

May 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

An Audrey of an apology!

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An Audrey of an apology!


So sorry that I have not posted much over the last week or so. Last week was just one of those weeks but that week has gone now and hopefully normal service can now resume.

Anyway amid all the strangeness, I also got a little bit lost. Lost, Scott Barnes and Audrey Hepburn style.

I mentioned Audrey Style (Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh) in my last post. Well, I am now halfway through and this book is brilliant, brilliant reading. Even in her own life, it seems Audrey really was the most extraordinary character. With amazing dress sense, obviously! And then of course, there was her make up sense and her grace. This lady seemed to carry herself in all the right ways and this magical quality (which I’m trying to trek down, can’t find it in Boots though. Funny, that) just seems to draw people to her. Even now. I think she is the only famous person that I have never heard anybody have a dig at or criticise in the slightest.

The designer that Audrey worked closest with was Hubert Givenchy (the designer who believed that a dress was not something you wore but something that you lived in) and it is in the beautiful dresses and creations that resulted from this partnership, where we really see The Hepburn Style blossomed. She said of him “There are few people I love more.” Not surprising when you see the beautiful outfits he designed, the cocktail dress in Sabrina et al. Although apparently Audrey was no pushover. She may have been a lady but she knew what she liked and what she didn’t, both on her own body and in fashion.

Anyway there are some amazing pics in the book with some very inspiring style ideas but here are a few that I found online (Google Image search. I do not own any of the copyright etc and if the owner of the copyright insists then I will delete their beautiful image obviously) in tribute to the oh so fabulous one. You may have seen some of them before but well, who could ever tire of the Audrey pics?! Enjoy!!!




Make up wise, it strikes me more that Audrey looks polished rather then ‘made up.’ She seems to have used make up to define, enhance and polish the features she already has. I’m hoping with the help of Viva Glam Cyndi, I may be able to pull off some sort of Audrey-inspired look. All I need to do is find some pearls and sunglasses. And I’m thinking hats or a headscarf. . !

What do you think? Do you like the Hepburn Style? How do you think she may have influenced you? What is your favourite Audrey film? What was that? Roman Holiday?! Yay, I’m with you.


PS If you have not done so already, check out Laura’s blog (Emerald Green, link in the sidebar). She is having a giveaway for a gorgeous Revlon Lilac nail varnish but I think, it ends tomorrow. Have a lookie, Laura’s blog is soo useful. Also Vex In The City has a post about a promotion that Boots have for some of the lucky advantage card holders. Extra points, yay, I hope I’m one of the chosen few!! 

Written by essjay23x

March 24, 2010 at 8:33 pm


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Hey Girlies!

This is so the wrong post for a lovely spring day but well, the site that I am going to talk about is fab.

Polyvore, do any of you have a Polyvore account?!

Basically Polyvore is a site which lets you make sets. You can pull together fashion from everywhere and make a set just for fun; to compete (there are plenty of online competitions), to release your creativity (or in my case, to try and get some) or for inspiration. My sister ( ) creates inspiration boards to use as a starting point for her jewellery and scrapbook designs.

You can also have a browse at the creation of others and dabble in a little online window shopping! Also you can ask or answer a question using the sets. For example, somebody might say how can I wear these shoes and then people create a set to show you. Fab. Fab site and everytime I hop on, it seems even better. There is also a blog with all the latest fashion trends etc. I would show you my sets but they seem too wintery for a sunny day like today and with the weather we have had lately, I’m not tempting fate. I will try and post a more seasonal (sunny) one soon!

Here are the links:


Written by essjay23x

March 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm