Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas Gift guide for women 2012

I posted my Chrismas gift guide for men last week but this instalment is all about gifts for the lovely ladies in your life. I always have trouble getting gifts for older members of my family, they aren't really into music or film so I can't go down that route and expensive clothes are wasted on my mum who wears a uniform of leggings and tunics. Hopefully these ideas will help you find a fun or unusual gift, routing around the Internet compiling this has definitely helped me, all my shopping is done and ready to be wrapped!

Click here for 2012’s top Christmas gift ideas.

christmas gift guide 2012, gifts for women, scrapbook, john lewis christmas hamper,

1.The hamper is from John Lewis and I know my nan would love to open this on Christmas day. My nan is quite thrifty and doesn't treat herself often so this indulgent hamper full of delicious food would be a real treat. This would also be a great gift if you spend Christmas with the in-laws and want to contribute to all the food they lay on.

2.I love this Punky Pins necklace and it would make a great present for a friend or stocking filler for a younger sister. It's festive, affordable and quirky.

3. Why not give a scrapbook as a present? This blank one is from Paperchase but you could buy a really inexpensive pad and design your own cover. I once gave my friend a scrapbook for her 18th birthday and filled in the first few pages, she loved the unique gift and it didn't cost much at all.
4. Got an avid reader in the family? this book journal  contains sections on 'books to read' and 'favourite extracts' as well as a section devoted to keeping track of books you lend to others.

lacome gift, vivienne westwood brooch, iphone case, afternoon tea, gift guide for women

5. This Lancome gift set is sold in all the big department stores and it's great value. You get the set for the same price as a mascara on its own. I receive this every year from my mum and my mini eyeliner is still going strong 11 months on. Lancome mascara really is the best out there in my opinion and this set makes an impressive gift for under £30.

6. Live away at uni or moved away for a job? If you don't get to see your mum/sister/friends from home very often you could buy a gift voucher for afternoon tea which ensures you spend some quality time together and can have a good catch up. If you live in South Wales or the West I recommend this place.
7. This lovely Vivienne Westwood brooch from Van Mildert is a (relatively) inexpensive way to give a designer gift. It's £44, I normally spend a little more than that on all my mums gifts but this would make a great 'main present'. I know all my friends would love this too, you could suggest that a few friends chip in together to splash out on a fancy gift like this. If you're feeling flush you could get the earrings too.

8. I love this phone cover and if I had a fancy phone I would be getting one. You can make a phone cover with all your favourite instagram photos printed on it.Would be great to make a collage of all the nights out you have been on with your mates or put some festival photos on there.

Just realised, all this gifts are very 'me', hope my mum or brother read this post ;)

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Panache - dressed for success

Best British Bloggers contacted me a while back to see if I'd like to review a bra from Panache. I jumped at the chance because I always invest a lot of time and money when it comes to getting a new bra and I consider myself quite the bra connoisseur. I spent the majority of my teens buying cheap bras in pretty colours which inevitable gave me back ache and sore shoulders. I finally got measured in Leia one day and discovered I was about 4 cup sizes bigger than I thought and much smaller around the back. I've not looked back since and consider bras something that you shouldn't scrimp on just like good quality shoes and foundation. Why buy something that isn't quite right when you have to wear it everyday?

I think a bra can make a huge difference to how you feel. I work in a library which can be a pretty manual so I like a nice full cup (don't want to be spilling out) and lots of support. I like to be confident that I'm secure and my clothes look good on top of my underwear and that my bra gives me a nice shape. I normally wear a nude Fantasie t-shirt bra but I find them a little dull and un-sexy but they do the job.

I chose the Panache Tango in Violet because it has a full cup but the colour is far more exciting than what I normally go for.


I wanted to post a photo of me in this set on here and I don't have much shame at all but I do worry about who can see this and maybe semi naked me on the Internet isn't the best idea. I went to Bravissimo who stock this brand a week before getting this set so I knew I was a 36FF, the fit is perfect. I try to get measured once every two months especially as I'm currently losing weight as my size is constantly changing. The wire doesn't dig in, there is plenty of room in the cup and the colour and embroidery detail is very pretty.
I'm really impressed with this bra and have been worn it a few times since getting it to make sure I can give it an accurate review.

I think I would prefer and extra hook on the back and slightly thicker straps because I need a lot of support but I've not found the support a problem so far, I'm just being fussy.

panache superbra underwear

Have you tried Panache underwear before?

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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Topshop flippy dress

I know, I know... ANOTHER Topshop basic dress. I just can't help myself, I've got this in two colours too. I picked this up a while ago when Topshop had discount and free delivery so it only cost me £18. It's stretchy and holds it shape really well even after loads of washes and hasn't faded. I think these dresses are a bit of a bargain and are really versatile. I've worn this on a night out with heels, a clutch and a statement necklace but I usually wear it with my biker jacket to work. The only problem with this dress is that it is a tad short. I'm about 5 ft 6 and its a bit indecent. If you are 5 ft 5 and about I suggest you get it from the tall section.
hoody, biker jacket, tartan snood

Dress: Topshop
Biker jacket: Topshop
Hoody: Topshop
Snood: New Look
Necklace: New Look
Shoes: High top trainers by Converse
I've been wearing this outfit a lot recently, its so comfy and you can add as many layers as you like.

converse, tartan, uk blog, black skater dress, bikr jacket

I've had a lovely week with a surprise party for my friend Meg, confirmed my new full time all year round contract in work and had lots of other lovely opportunities come my way. Then I lost my purse on Thursday and I've been in a bad mood since. It seems silly to get upset about it because it is all replaceable but I really did like that purse :( Sorry for mentioning it on twitter about 50 times in the past two days.

The rain has put a stop to any plans of taking my dog for a long walk and getting out to take some photos so I'm stuck inside watching Dr Who and making rocky road chunks which isn't a bad way to spend a Saturday really.

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Thursday, 22 November 2012


I know we haven't even had Christmas yet but me and my friends have already planned our New Years Eve. It's always a huge let down for us involving being with family we don't really like or spending a fortune on taxi's home. Have you noticed that everything seems to triple in price on NYE? I'm going to be seeing in the new year with the group of friends I go to Torquay with every summer and we have some sophisticated Bond themed plans.

I was inspired by my recent love of Ben Whishaw and his appearances in the latest Bond film and The Hour to have a sophisticated games night in with the girls. We're thinking glamour, cocktails, fancy nibbles and playing card games like poker. I'm sure we will also play Jenga and Dreamphone while listening to N*Sync because we're pretty cool like that ;) Just because we are staying in it doesn't mean we wont be getting dolled up. Some of my friends have kids and don't get to dress up as much as they would like because practicality rules when you're doing the school run with two toddlers so we are on the hunt for super glam and fun outfits for the night,

All of the following items are available from ASOS and fit in with my games night/glam theme:

This Lady Luck jumper fits in perfectly with my theme, is comfy and not too expensive. I could jazz this up with some red heels and lippy for a more night time feel.

This sequin skater dress is gorgeous and I would never be able to wear this to the clubs I go to on a night out. (I'm not very sophisticated and prefer dingy rock clubs) so the party would be a perfect excuse to get something super pretty and not worry about people spilling drinks on it.

I love the colour if this sequin dress and the Vivienne Westwood style drape at the front. This could easily be worn again with some black tights and a cardi on a night out in town.

Again, this baroque dress is super glam which is perfect for the party but I'm sure I would wear it again and avoid spending a fortune on a dress I could only wear once.

Last up is this perfect dress for a poker diva from Sugarhill Boutique dress via ASOS. Not only is the print fun but the dress is in the sale for £22, bargain! This would be comfy, I could wear it again and fits in with the nights theme.

Even though I plan on getting dressed up I will be packing my pajamas and a hoody because I'm sure after a few drinks and loads of food we will be under a duvet on the sofa watching DVDs.

*collaborative post

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Christmas gift guide for men 2012

I really enjoy writing my gift guides every year, they give me a chance to sit down and think about what I'm getting for everyone other wise I just end up rushing into Boots and Topman and grabbing something. It can be hard to buy for male colleagues, brothers and dads. What do you buy for a younger brother? what do teenagers like, I don't know?! People always seem to find gifts for men tricky so I'm happy to help out with some ideas.

christmas gift guide for men 2012 1
I think the kindle cover is a great present for a dad and you can chose a classic book of your choice (mine would be Sherlock Holmes) You could probably make something like this yourself too if you are crafty and on a budget.

The table tennis set is a fun present for someone in your family, you just clip the net onto your own table and voila, lots of Christmas day fun. Some of my best memories of Christmas involve playing games together like Frustration and Swingball, remember Swingball?

The alphabet mug is perfect for Secret Santa at work when you get someone you don't really know. Steve from HR can have an S mug, under a tenner, sorted!

Want to splash some cash on a loved one? This Paul Smith - Barbour collaboration jacket would make a really impressive gift. Waxed jackets are classic and if you get them rewaxed they can last a lifetime. You can get this coat from Jonathan Trumbull along with lots of other designer gifts for men.
christmas gift guides men 2012 2
I normally get my brother gig tickets for Christmas or his birthday which means we get to spend some  quality time together on our own and bond a bit. It also means I get to do things that I wouldn't normally do like the time I took him to see Ke$ha and had the best time. Why not get some tickets to a play that your dad or partner would love and then you get a present/fun experience too ;)

The Origins Travel buddy set is a great way to get the men in your life to look after themselves this winter. All the rain, wind and cold weather can play havoc with your skin and even the most rugged manly man could benefit from a bit of face wash and moisturiser.

I was never a huge fan of converse on guys, I love a nice pair of smart shoes. But have you seen David Tennant and what he wore when he was The Doctor? Swoon, swoon for all eternity. (I think I've mentioned Dr Who in at least 75% of posts this month)

I know it isn't even December yet but are any of you close to finishing your shopping for the festive period? I would like Matt Smith for Christmas wrapped up with a big bow, can any of you sort that for me?

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Grew Up At Midnight- Topshop Jersey Dress

I've never been a huge fan of Topshop (despite working there for two years) because a lot of their dresses just don't pass the test of time. They are either covered in sequins that fall off or are a bit too fashion forward to wear for years after a trend had died. Recently Topshop have been stocking some great t-shirt and jersey dresses and I've picked up loads in a variety of colours. They are great for work with smart flats or on the weekend with some converse and a biker jacket.


It's super cold at the moment so I layered up my latest Topshop dress purchase with my shirt I picked up in Brighton from Beyond Retro for a bit of a change from a plain black cardigan.


Shirt: Beyond Retro
Necklace: Topshop
Ring: Topshop
Dress: Topshop
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington
Shoes:Clarks boots c/o Spartoo

skull ring

Picked this up in the Topshop sale for £2.50, bargain!
lace up wedge boots

Currently nursing the worlds worst hangover but had the best night out ever. You know it's a good night when it involves the police, a Morrissey look-alike and a heated argument about Britney Spears. Hope you are feeling better than me on this lovely sunny Sunday.

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Doctor's Wife

Tuesday was a very busy day off, I had a date (eek), went shopping, hung around the filming of Dr Who and went out delivering leaflets for the PCC election (find out more info about this and who your candidates are here) I needed a comfortable and warm outfit but one that showed my personality so this is what I wore:


Jacket: Topshop
Skirt: River Island
T-shirt: Asos
Shoes: flat shoes Clarks c/o Spartoo

I own loads of band t-shirts but they are never a good fit. Girls ones are too short and tight and mens ones are too big so I snapped up this ASOS Horrors t-shirt and haven't stopped wearing it. It's got rolled up sleeves and a nice open neckline. Perfect! I get a little annoyed when I see kids wearing Joy Division t-shirts from Urban Outfitters but I do actually love The Horrors so its allowed ;)

I've spoken about it on here before and I really do love Dr Who. When I found out they were filming opposite my house by following the #dwsr tag I let out a little squeal of joy. I saw some cybermen, Warwick Davis and MATT SMITH!! argh I didn't nearly pass out like the time I met Arthur Darvill but I did have a little swoon. Matt stopped to talk to everyone before heading back to Cardiff after a day of shooting and I can't wait to see the episode they filmed in my home town. They also filmed The Doctor's Daughter in my town along with Upstairs Downstairs and some of Sherlock.

matt smith

I also wanted to briefly show you my new make up brushes. I picked these up in Harvey Nicks when I was in Manchester last week and gave them a trial on my day off. They cost £20 for the set which is a great price for five brushes, these would make a great present as the packaging is very festive. I've only used the foundation brush and powder brush so far but I'm very impressed.

stila make up brushes

After an exciting week (with good work related news) I'm looking forward to a fairly quiet weekend with a few birthday celebrations and the annual constituency dinner. 

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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sienna Couture & John Lewis Event

I was at a loss for what to wear to the John Lewis press event in Cardiff last week, I never know what to wear to these kind of things so I went for classic black but with a bit of a twist. Sienna Couture kindly sent me this dress a few weeks ago and I've been dying to wear it and try out the peplum trend which has completely passed me until now. I wore a Sienna Couture dress to the Cosmo Blog Awards last year and they are always a brand I go to if I want something  for a night out or a special occasion.
I was a little scared about wearing a bodycon dress but I think it looked nice and the peplum nipped me in at the waist. For a night out I would maybe add a colourful belt or patterned  tights.

Sienna Couture

Shoes: Vivienne Westwood via Urban Outfitters
Necklace: eBay

You can get 20% off this dress and everything else on Sienna Couture by using the code 'SIENNA20'

sienna couture banner

After quickly changing before leaving work I headed to Soda Bar in Cardiff which has been completely transformed by the John Lewis team into a winter wonderland filled with all the 'must have' gifts for this year.


Me and Laura posing and drinking lots of cocktails.

John Lewis press event

Very chic 'old Hollywood glamour' type of dress.


I spend ages looking at the make up and chatting to the lovely people from Nars and YSL who kindly gave me some samples and talked me through all the key looks for the Christmas party season. I loved the Nars Edie box with everything in there to create her classic 60s look but I will resist because I need to stop buying presents for myself and start buying them for my family ready for Christmas.

John Lewis Dollhouse

John Lewis had brought all the latest gadgets and toys that kids would want for Christmas for us to try out but I know that I would have been far more impressed if Santa had brought me this pretty little dolls house. I never was one for games consoles.

John Lewis Festive

The event definitely got my in the Christmas spirit and got me thinking about gift ideas and decorations. I'm also pretty excited about watching The Muppet's Christmas Carol on Christmas eve which is a bit of a tradition in my house. "Light the lamp not the rat!"

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Sunday, 11 November 2012

I'm going missing for a while

If I could take my dog with me I think I would relocate to Manchester. It really has become my favourite place in the UK to visit. I envy anyone who lives there, such a great city.  I've been a few times now but this time I took my best friend Laura up with me for three days of cake eating and shopping.


After a delayed train and dragging my case to the hotel me and Laura headed towards the city centre for some food and shopping. I was supposed to be shopping for Christmas presents but bought myself a dress for an interview next week, a stila brush set and a few new jumpers. Oops. I hate only going to chain stores and restaurants when I go away so to balance out food at Wagamamas I headed to Trof in the Northern Quarter for an open mic night and unusual cocktails. It was great to meet some interesting locals including a guy called Krazy Horse who has his own fact sheet, very odd!



The next day I headed back to the Northern Quarter to meet the very lovely Danielle for tea and cake.
I always assumed I wouldn't be able to meet Danielle because she lived so far away and I'm so glad I suggested a little meet up on twitter. If you've ever wanted to meet an online chum but are apprehensive I would say just go for it. I think Danielle is the Northern me and I wish she lived closer so we could hang out more. I suppose I will just have to take more journeys up North and I hope Danielle will show me  the sights of Blackpool sometime.


Laura had this gorgeous lemon, poppy seed and white chocolate cake (I nicked one of her choccy straws) I opted for flourless chocolate cake which was also amazing.


This place was so good, I highly recommend it because not only was the cake was amazing the waiter was also pretty tasty too ;) (he was wasn't he Danielle?)


After too much cake I took Laura to my favourite museum in the UK, the People's History Museum. The People’s History Museum derives its origin from the Trade Union, Labour and Co-operative History Society and as a former history student and member of the Labour party I just can't get enough of this place. It charts people's struggle for rights and has some beautiful historic trade union and political banners.


Me outside the John Rylands library on Deansgate.


The main purpose of our visit was to see Maximo Park play at the Ritz so we headed back to the hotel for a disco nap (does anyone else say disco nap?) and got ready for our night out.



Maximo Park were the best I've ever seen them and played the perfect set with plenty of old songs and all my favourite new ones. Paul Smith has such an amazing stage presence and they seem like such a genuine band. I love how they play proper guitar music and Paul Smith is such a poet. How people can listen to dubstep is beyond me when bands like Maximo Park exist. Basically, I want it to ne 2003-8 again, I had the best time going to loads of gigs then. I also got to meet another blogger at the gig called Rosie and she is hilarious. She loves Ed Sheeran as much as I love Dr Who and never fails to make me laugh on twitter.


I headed on to a dodgy metal/biker pub after the gig and went on to a really cheap indie night and drank a few too many £1 drinks and chatted to some locals. Mancs are really friendly! I left Manchester the next day hungover but very happy. I'm already planning my next trip there in the new year.

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Friday, 9 November 2012

St David's Fashion Show - The evening

I have already posted about my experience at the St David's Fashion Show and everything that went on in the day but I have some lovely photos from the evening event to share. The lovely team at Grayling PR organised a blogger reception at Jamie's Italian which gave all us South Wales bloggers a chance to catch up. It's great to have an event in Cardiff as most things happen in London or the Midlands and if there is ever a meet up in Cardiff I usually organise it so it's nice to not have the stress and just turn up.

We were treated to some nibbles and bubbly at Jamie's, the olives on ice were my favourite mmm!

After the reception we headed outside onto the Hayes to watch the late night catwalk show. I loved the mix of dance, traditional catwalk and high street fashion. I think its safe to say the girls all loved the model in his pants from all the tweets about him that night ;)






All photos taken by Huw John

Here are the links to some of the ladies that attended:
Porcelinas World
Daisy Dayz
Lou Lou Muses

Hope I get to spend time with all of these lovely ladies more often!

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Daniel Wellington Watches

Daniel Wellington watch

Classic Sheffield Lady watch - Daniel Wellington
I've been wearing this Daniel Wellington watch since I recieved it a few weeks ago and getting a feel for wearing a watch again. I realised that I never really wear a watch any more, I suppose we all just check the time on our phones now. I really do hate getting my phone out on a night out or with friends, I think it's pretty rude and I can't do this in work so having a watch has been a bit of a revelation. I found it a little heavy on my wrist for the first day but now I don't notice that it is there until the rose gold coloured details catch my eye. I think the watch is more than smart enough for work but also fits in with a more casual weekend look.

I love the simple, thin, and perfectly round design of the face. I opted for a very classic black leather strap but Daniel Wellington also offer a more preppy design with Navy inspired Nato straps. I don't think my terrible photo taking skills do the watch justice, it really is a classy item. The brand was born when Filip Tysander, the founder of Daniel Wellington, met an intriguing gentleman from the UK who wore his Rolex watch with a Nato strap he got from his time serving in the forces. I love all the names of the watches which are industrial/historical/dock town or cities in the UK giving the watches a bit of heritage.

Daniel Wellington have kindly offered readers of Fat Frocks 15% off all watches on their website using the code 'fatfrocks'. This discount is available until the 15th of November. 

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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Russian Red

I saw this Primark dress on a blog ages ago (maybe Sarah's but I can't find the post now) and have been meaning to pop in to Primark and get it for a while. It's a really dark navy blue, isn't to short and has sleeves which makes it the perfect dress for work. It was only £13 which is great for a dress now, can't get a nice one for under £30 anywhere on the High Street anymore.


Dress: Primark
Shoes:Clarks boots c/o Spartoo
Necklace: Vivienne Westwood
Lipstick: MAC Russian Red

russian red mac lipstick

I've been reading Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters and I thought the dress, pearls and lipstick were very 40s era Mitford. Hopefully I'm more Nancy Mitford that Nazi supporting Diana and Unity though... I'm totally enthralled by the sisters lives and how they  were always on the edge of history and sometimes actively involved. They were related to everyone from Winston Churchill to Walter Mosley, with family friends including Hitler, Evelyn Waugh and Maya Angelou. I may start speaking in a clipped English accent...

I'm off to Manchester tomorrow with my best friend for three days to see Maximo Park, drink cocktails and take in the sights so see you all on Thursday!

P.S. If you're a fan of Dr Who watch this video, I've played it about 50 times this weekend

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Friday, 2 November 2012

Vivienne Westwood Cardiff Launch

The iconic British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has opened her first store in Welsh capital Cardiff. It's been open for a couple of weeks now but I was lucky enough to be invited to the official launch last night. The store is located in St David’s Centre opposite John Lewis. The shop hosts all Westwood’s collections and is the main destination for Viv fans in Wales and the South West.

I got to see all of Westwood’s avant-garde designs including the Gold, Red & Man Label collections, Anglomania, Anglomania and Lee Jeans and Red Carpet evening wear dresses, as well as all accessories, shoes and bags all in the flesh, in Wales for the first time. As a big Vivienne Westwood fan this was pretty exciting. I was also far too excited about the invitation which was heavy and embossed, love good stationery!



My shoes :) got my eye on the blue ones now though.



How gorgeous is this model and the dress she is in? perfection! she also gave me a cheeky little wink after I took this photo, I think this means she wants to marry me, she can even wear that dress to the wedding if she wants to... There were lots of models in the store who posed on little podiums showcasing the Vivienne Westwood designs. There were plenty of outfit changes but this dress really caught my eye.


Me and Chantele


Mia, Emily and Chantele

It was lovely to hang out with some fellow South Wales bloggers and drink too much bubbly, don't see these girls often enough. I love the store but I think it is going to lead to my eventual ruin, got some many things on a wishlist that are crazy prices.

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