Thankfully, although not 100% recovered, I'm feeling much more human now, and so I'm cracking on with a week filled with lots of work and deadlines.
Yesterday was my first time venturing out (apart from the school run) in a week, and as the sun was shining we decided to head to our local favourite park (Bedford Park) for a lovely autumnal walk, and visit the playground (naturally). It felt so good to blow out the cobwebs and escape the four walls that felt like they were closing in on me, I even managed to put some make up on and do my hair - its those little things that make you feel better isn't it?
It was such lovely weather that the kids even got an ice cream from the ice cream man!!
I love autumn, and one of my favourite parts of the season is walking through the beautiful coloured trees and kicking the leaves - simple pleasures and all that...! The other best part of the new season is also embracing the fashion it brings - coats, warm knits, boots, scarves etc - I think autumn is my favourite season for fashion, I love the rich colours, layers and textures that the autumn pieces bring.
This year I decided that I wanted to add a few staple items to my wardrobe in time for the colder weather.
On my 'To Get' list were:
- a chunky knit mustard cardigan
- a new winter coat (sensible mum coat)
- black skinny jeans (to go with EVERYTHING)
- a check shirt in an autumnal shade
- a warmer dress for winter parties and wedding receptions
Luckily, my birthday solved the new chunky cardigan - a gorgeous addition to my wardrobe from Holly Crow, and a visit to Primark a few weeks ago saw me find a lovely popper front red check shirt for just £9 - bargain!
Then the people at Simply Be got in touch and asked if I'd like to feature any of their fashion items on the blog - I wondered if I'd be able to use this opportunity to finish finding those Autumn/Winter staples, and I did! Wahoo! Right place, right time - I love it when that happens.
I used to buy regularly from Simply Be before my weight loss when I wore a size 18-20, at the time they were really one of the only fashion-focussed plus sized brands and I loved that I could be on-trend and feel confident despite not fitting into clothes on the High Street.
Recently, I guess I've been so carried away with the novelty of being able to fit into clothes on the High Street that I'd forgotten that Simply Be stock clothes from a UK size 12 (my size) so I was excited to rediscover the brand and what they had to offer this autumn.
First and foremost I needed to find a dress to wear to an evening wedding reception in early October - I wanted something sexy and flattering to wear so that I felt confident, but I don't like being too exposed, especially in the colder weather. This Spring and Summer I've been totally addicted to Bardot style dresses and tops - I find this cut really flattering on me as it hides my problem area (top of my arms) but exposes my shoulders and chest/collarbones which I actually quite like about myself. So, when I found the dress in question I was a little bit excited - not only is it Bardot style with gorgeous ruffle detailing, it also has the perfect shape for an hourglass figure like mine, it was in one of my favourite colours to wear (Navy), and it is made of a super warm scuba-style fabric in a maxi length, perfect for a cold evening.
What do you think?
Simply Be By Night Ruffle Bardot Maxi Dress and Choker £29.00...
Ready to celebrate Michael & Katie's Wedding
The dress also came with a choker, which I loved - this was a very different style to me, but I felt good in it, and it was such an easy look to put together...I teamed it with my Kurt Geiger patent nude heels and a navy clutch bag on the night, and I had loads of comments about the dress, which made me feel happy and confident - always a good thing when you want to let your hair down and celebrate with friends.
Best of all the dress/choker combo only cost £29 and is available up to a UK size 26. I think it is an absolute bargain, and a pretty timeless style - making it great for future dressy events - you could really jazz it up with some diamond/diamonte jewellery instead of the choker if you wanted to be extra dressy.
One thing I will point out is that the dress is super fitted so you need brilliant underwear if you want as seamless a silhouette as possible - you need to feel confident in your body shape and want to show off your curves rather than hide them to wear something this fitted - which scared me - as I'm not hugely confident in my figure just now, thanks to an extra 1.5 stone of "baby weight" I'm still trying to shift (can I call it baby weight when she's 16 months old? Ha!) But I decided to go for it, and I'm really glad I did. I wore a UK size 12 and found it to be a good fit for my shape/size.
Liam loved this dress and kept complimenting me all night on how I looked, which was lovely - to me, its important the people I love like what I wear as well as myself, so I was chuffed that he loved the dress as much as I did. (He loved it even more when he found out it was only £29! Ha!).
You can find lots of beautiful dresses for autumn and winter in Simply Be's dresses and party wear range.
Next on the list to find was a 'sensible' winter coat. When I was bigger I absolutely abhorred coats - I was always hot, even in winter - and found most coats to be too stuffy and uncomfortable - so I rarely wore one. Fast forward a few years, and now at a UK size 12 I feel the cold so much more! And I currently only own a dressy coat for nights out, a padded jacket style coat with no hood, or a hip length rain jacket which although waterproof isn't very cosy. So, I was on the lookout for a warmer waterproof coat with a hood and plenty of pockets (us mums need plenty of pockets don't we?) so I can stay dry and cosy on the school run and when running errands (I don't drive so I walk everywhere - coats are essential these days!).
I was thrilled when perusing the site to find an amazing Navy Trespass coat for just £39.50 (WHAT A BARGAIN!). The coat is Sherpa fleece-lined with waxed-effect finish and comes with a hood, zip-and-popper fastening, a drawcord to the waist and hem plus LOADS of secure pockets. The sleeves have knitted inner cuffs which are super cozy and the it's finished off with antique brass trimmings to cuffs and pockets.
I love how the two front pockets are also sherpa fleece-lined making them uber cosy - no need for gloves with this bad boy!
Cosy! Hood up & ready for action...
Falling leaves... thanks to Bert chucking handfuls at me - endless fun for a 4 year old!
Sherpa fleece-lined for extra snuggle! And a peek at the check shirt from Primark for just £9.
Since the coat arrived last month I've worn it every single day, and I don't have any complaints at all. Its warm without being sweaty, it fits perfectly (I sized up to a UK Size 14 so I can wear it with plenty of room for layers/knits etc), the pockets are amazingly handy, the hood in generous which means it actually covers my head and doesn't fall down every ten seconds, it looks smart despite being casual and it is an absolute bargain! 10/10 from me.
Have a peek at the coats and jackets currently available for autumn/winter at Simply Be.
THE SKINNY JEANS/JEGGINGS
The final item on the autumn fashion Wishlist was a decent pair of high waisted black skinny jeans - these are my go-to bottoms of choice as I find they go with 99% of my wardrobe and on the whole flatter my figure and are practical for my busy life as a mum. My old pair had had-it and were no longer a good fit, so I had a search on Simply Be and was intrigued by the Curve Control High Waist Shaper Jeggings which retail at £28.
The leggings come in a super comfortable stretch denim fabric that is supposed to fit your shape perfectly. They contain stylish elastic inserts along the high waist band to add a chic and slightly sporty look. Simply Be describe them with the hashtag #YourNewFavouriteJeans - so I couldn't wait to give them a try!
I opted for these jeans in a size 12 and I've found the super-high waist & stretch inserts a tiny bit loose, which means I find myself hoiking them up a little. Maybe it would be worth sizing down if you're thinking of trying them as they are super-stretchy! Minus the slightly generous waist they're a great fit on the leg and uber-comfy, I like the twisted seam at the bottom for a slightly edgier look, and they're perfect with all those autumn layers! All in all a good find.
I was amazed at the vast array of fashion leggings and jeggings available on the Simply Be website, there's really something for every size and every budget.
These three staple pieces came in at under £100 combined - what a bargain! Perfect if you want to update your autumn/winter wardrobe without forking out too much money, plus there's no compromise on style and quality.
Have you updated your wardrobe this season?
I was sent the three clothing items in return for this honest review.