Friday, 28 June 2013

I Like You

I was really inspired by Bee's recent post all about her university friends and wanted to dedicate something to all the lovely people in my life who tolerate me. I did ask my non blog mates for some little quotes and anecdotes but they are lazy and just shouted in jokes at me and profanities, see what I have to put up with?!

First up is Emma, she's the one I'm always talking to on twitter about Dr Who and Jon Snow. The one who shares my not so secret love for the Britney album Blackout. The one who enables my staking of people from Dr Who and Harry Potter and the one who has to deal with all my bloke troubles and day to day moaning. Emma, you're a rock and cat loving saint! *Edit - Emma did provide a quote which just said 'you are a massive dis-concordant igneous intrusion' charming. (she studies Geology)

Next up is not just an ode to Al and Lauren but anyone I met at uni. I didn't really make many friends for life at halls or on my course but I made loads of friends when I worked at Topshop and by going to gigs in Cardiff. I miss dancing with you guys in Barfly to indie tunes from 2005.
  
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I'm off to Torquay with these lovely ladies this weekend, my caravan club crew. We have our annual trip down south to act like a OAPs, play bingo and eat ice cream. I met Sarah in college and I'm so proud of what she has achieved. She's had a tough time and raised two beautiful children who are the only children I like. Katilea works with Sarah and has quickly become a good friend to me, definitely someone I can rely on.
 
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Laura is probably my oldest friends that I'm still in contact with, I don't get to see her often enough but I always know she's there for me. I shared my awkward teenage years with Laura and we danced to Backstreet Boys -Larger Than Life in front of the whole school, without being forced to and I suppose she's the one know knows all my traits, good and bad.

I reeeeally miss my old evening and weekend team from work. I love working full time and at more social hours but I used to have fun with my old team. We still get to hang out after work and I see them for handover at the end of my shift but I wish they could all come and work in the day with me. A lot of staff at the library are PhD students and leave when they get a teaching job, always so sad to see someone go.

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I met Emma, mentioned at the start and Harri next at college but there's a really big group of us from Crosskeys college that are all still friends. I went from a school in a small town to a big college at 16 and made loads of new friends and had the best time of my life. I suppose some of your school friends are only really your mates because you were forced together and live in the same area. I found Meg, Harri, Emma, Jack, Craig and Andrew at college and we are all like Friends but much more messed up and don't live in New York... I'm Monica.

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My brother provided me with quotes and anecdotes but they are all far too embarrassing to post on here. I'm really lucky, the small age gap between us meant that we grew up together and were the right age to be mates. The two things that spring to mind when think about my brother are playing The Little Mermaid with him and making him put a red towel on his head so he could be Ariel (such a bossy older sister) and we also planned a really sneaky attack. The kids who lived in the house behind us used to throw grass snakes and mud at me when I was playing in the garden so we told them we had cake in our shed, lured them in and threw hula hoops at them and poked them with sticks until they said sorry.

I also need to give a huge shout out to all the blogging friends I've made in the past three years. About 1/4 of my weekends are spent travelling all over the UK to hang out with bloggers. Two special mentions go to Sarah and Claire, love you guys.

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Harri actually took the time to think of some funny/nice things we have done and got back to me so she gets a big photo at the end and I should have drawn hearts all over it really.

Harri said:

'My first impressions of you were "What the hell is this girl saying?" Due to your fast welshy babble! But I love it so!
My favourite moment together is definitely Reading Festival, be-glittering half the crowd, hugging a lot of random strangers, giving said strangers names like 'Guernsey' and 'Essex', and hanging of the guide ropes of the tents in the arena like monkeys.'

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Sometime you just need Morrissey to sum it all up nicely for you:
"You're not right in the head,
and nor am I, and this is why,
This is why I like you, I like you, I like you"

Just a reminder that you can follow this blog/me on lots of different social networks and all the links are below, you wouldn't want to miss out on photos of my dog and me talking about boys in band would you?...

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Gemma
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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Weekend fun in windy Cardiff

I had the most WONDERFUL weekend! Two of my favourite ladies came to stay in Cardiff so I go to play host and show them around my city. Sophie and Emma both arrived on Saturday and we were far too busy eating, drinking and dancing to take photos so I've borrowed these ones from the girls instagram feed.

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We headed down to Cardiff bay and sat in the Roald Dahl Plass for a bit of shelter from the wind and ate our lovely picnic that M&S provided which included the most delicious butternut squash dip, tasty sliced meats and deli dishes. Yum! If you live in Cardiff and fancy winning a gourmet picnic for four people be sure to check out the M&S twitter account this weekend. You will need to follow the clues on twitter and the tag to figure out the mystery location and be in with a chance of winning. They have already been in Edinburgh and Newcastle so your city might be next.


Obviously huge amounts of nibbles wasn't enough for greedy ol' me so we headed to Cadwaladers ice cream parlour for a tradition ice cream sundae. Apparently the vanilla ice cream has a secret recipe, including the addition of 6 lbs of "shan't tell you" and "a great deal of love and care." Cute! I rolled back to the hotel after all this food.

After some drinks in our hotel room we headed into town and danced the night away in Clwb Ifor Bach to some cheesy pop on the ground floor and the indie disco upstairs. I like to think that people in Cardiff showed the girls some nice Welsh hospitality. We ended up in McDondals at 4am so it was obviously a good night.

After all the drink and food on Saturday we needed more to cure out hangover so went to Cosy Club for  breakfast on Sunday and had  juice and breakfast which restored me to full health. I was sad to see the girls go home but I've got a feeling they will be back soon :)



Gemma
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Monday, 24 June 2013

The Best Dress Styles for Summer


The summer season is quickly approaching (although the rain would suggest otherwise) with a fresh line of dresses for every shape and size. Whether you’re looking for petite midi dresses or plus size maxi dresses; evening cocktail gowns or a practical every-day looks, there’s a range of styles out there for you.

Read on for a quick guide to the top three dress styles of the summer and you’ll be looking and feeling more summery in no time.

The Skater
This is the ultimate girly staple for the summer season as its fun, feminine and designed to fit every shape. With a flattering full skirt and a straight waist, this look can be tailored to almost every occasion which makes it my favourite go-to style. For an evening out with friends you could go for a chic sleeveless black number with a cut-out back. This will be perfect for creating a womanly outline because the full skirt skirt contrasts with the nipped in waist. Alternatively, if you want something which is ready-to-wear for a lunch date with friends then go for a cute printed number. Polka dots, baroque swirls and floral prints all work well with the design of the dress to make it fun and cute. Pair with some ballet pumps and a simple cropped blazer for an oh-so-casual-yet-chic day look.

skater dress
Topshop | Closet


The Shift
The shift dress is demure and elegant with a vintage edge. This style is great for 60s-fashion lovers and fans of effortless eveningwear. Try in a range of shapes to find your perfect style: from high necks and short hemlines to a classic crew neck shape with sleeves, the shift is both versatile and fashion-forward. To truly stand out, why not go for a straight shift in a vibrant colour such as ruby red? For the day, finish the look with a chunky gold statement necklace and a cute pair of wedges and you’re good to go!

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River Island | F&F Tesco

The Shirt
The shirt dress is cool, casual and quirky as it makes a great statement piece for an every-day summer look. These beauties are perfect for a picnic at the beach as they’re easy to wear over a bikini or swimsuit. Go for a white linen material and a sleeveless style for a comfy, relaxed beach look. Alternatively, you could try a funky folk-style shirt dress with long sleeves for an easy festival look. Accessorise with sandals, sunnies and a satchel bag and you’ve got a gorgeous on-trend look for summer.

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Next | Boutique by Jaeger

Look fabulous this summer with three stunning dress styles for almost every occasion! Get experimenting to see which style is your favourite and be sure to master the look just in time for all that highly anticipated sun!


*This content was provided by Curvissa

Gemma
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Thursday, 20 June 2013

London School of Sorcery

I blame Caroline for my most recent purchase (and no will power) because ever since I saw an Orphan's Arms t-shirt on her blog I've become hooked and always pick up some of their items in the sales. I got this directly from their outlet shops which sells older designs. It was only £18 which I think is a steal for a hand printed jumper. I love all of their literary and historical designs and can't wait for their A/W collection which they have been giving us sneak peaks of over on instagram.

I also feel like the London School of Sorcery is where you go when you finish at Hogwarts and I'm studying Advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts or something... lame. HP is not real and I never got my letter to Howarts, sob. This is the perfect jumper for me because I'm always warm but this is made out of a thick t-shirt material so it's nice and light and doesn't make me have a hot flush.

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Jumper: Orphans Arms
Shoes - Low top trainers, Converse c/o Spartoo
Skirt: Oasis

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Obviously I had a lot of time on my hands because the next two photos are of me faffing around in the garden like an idiot. I need to get out more don't I?

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I ♥ Sookie

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Don't forget I've got a giveaway running to win a Curvy Kate underwear set here.


Gemma
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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Wild Abandon - Things I love right now

I'm certainly not buying as many clothes as I used to so why do all my wages still disappear each month? It's because I've replaced clothes with my other favourite things: books, music, make up and trinkets.


Things I love right now:

1. Books


I've made my way through the first four Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire books and needed a break because they are so depressing  (I'm still upset about the Red Wedding) and I have been reading lots of fantasy by people like Neil Gaiman. I bought a few new books that are a little more light and fun to read on my commute and I'm thoroughly enjoying the mad world of Jenny Lawson in her book 'Let's Pretend This Never Happened'. As you can see I've got quite the pile building up and this is only half of my 'to read' books as I'm always picking up cheap copies on eBay and in charity shops.
I love taking a few minutes before bed each night to unwind fill in my Listography book, I certainly don't want my Mum reading some of this so it may need to be moved from my bedside table. Don't fancy her browsing the list of men I've kissed, how embarrassing! I could have done with about three pages for listing my favourite bands and books though.

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2. Trinkets

My bedside table is getting a little crowded at the moment. The photo frame was a recent buy from Next and I've been thinking about Bestival 2013 in September so I've popped my favourite photo from Bestival 2012 in there for now. Do you recognise any of the other faces in the photo? 

When I saw that there was a librarian figure in Series 10 Lego I HAD to have it, she's even go her hair clipped back on the side like me. I might take her into work and stick her on my computer monitor.

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I am totally in love with my Baker Street sign from Out There Interiors I had a hard time pursuading my mum to put this up above the dining table because she would cover the house in floral pictures if she could. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it because I'm a huge Sherlock fan (who isn't) and I already have quite the collection of geeky fandom art including a Dr Who and Harry Potter print. I spend hours browsing  Home Decor websites because my house renovation is nearly complete and I'm looking for the finishing touches.
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3. Music

The new Suede album - Bloodsports is probably one if my favourite new releases of the past few years. I was worried that a new album would ruin what came before but I really didn't need to worry. Bloodsports is faithful to Suede's signature sound but it's not the 90s anymore and they have evolved. I can't wait to see Suede with Claire in October and I will be singing the songs off this album with just as much enthusiasm as their old material.

I'm not going to pretend that Miles Kane is amazing and that his album is really deep, he's good fun live and his songs are a bit cliche rock and roll. I love his attitude, he dresses well is is everything you want your musicians to be like. This is a great album for a Saturday night before you head out.

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4. Make Up

My all time favourite mascara brand is Lancome but it can be a little dramatic for a day time look so I've been trying out They're Real c/o Benefit as a more subtle mascara. It thickens my lashes but doesn't really add too much length and I find it to be a little clumpy so you need to make sure there isn't too much product on the applicator. I do like this product but it's hard to try something else once you're hooked on Lancome.

I have similar feelings about the Stila eyeliner, it stays on all day and is an intense black but it's just not as easy to apply as my Lancome Artliner. I will however be making a permanent switch to this product because it's around half the price of my normal liquid liner at around £13 which means I can get another lipstick because I made such a good saving right?

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What are you loving at the moment?

Don't forget I've got a giveaway running to win a Curvy Kate underwear set here.

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*This post contains products that were provided to me for review purposes

Gemma
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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Curvy Kate Review & Giveaway

I've been a big fan of the Curvy Kate Showgirl collection for a while which is pretty glamorous so I was on the look out for a more casual day/weekend style bra from Curvy Kate.Curvy Kate kindly provided me with a pretty set to review but before I get in to that I'm going to give you some background information on the brand. Launched in July 2009, Curvy Kate offers a collection of D – K cup lingerie designed specifically for the fuller bust. They are passionate about fit and every garment is tried and tested on naturally fuller busted women with only the best fitting designs go into their collections.

The Lottie lingerie set is lovely and spring like with the bright pink hues and floral print but you can also get it in black and white if you're feeling a little less adventurous. I normally get black sets so the Lottie is a colourful addition to my underwear selection.

a picture of curvy kate bra

I got my regular size in the bra and it fitted perfectly, other reviews online suggested sizing up if you are a very rounded/full shape so I recommend doing a little research before you try a new brand. I like the support that the thick straps give and they don't dig in it all. There are also three hooks on the back which I always find far more comfortable than two. I felt very secure in this set and it gives me a nice subtle shape under clothes.

a picture of curvy kate bra

The bow and embroidery on the bra and the small slits on the sides of the briefs are all very pretty details and add to the feminine feel. Both the top half of the bra and the briefs are super sheer so I didn't want to shock the people who read my blog with images of me in the set but I can confirm that the set is very nice on and flatters my shape.

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Overall I'm very pleased with the set. Curvy Kate cater for people with a young, fashion conscious outlook  which you don't normally find in underwear that caters for bigger cup sizes. It's also great that they start at a 28" back as I know many D+ brands start at 30-32.
It's well worth following Curvy Kate on Twitter as they run a #FridayFreebie competition every week where they give away a set. Curvy Kate have also kindly offered to provide a set for one lucky winner here on Fat Frocks to enter just fill in the rafflecopter form below, simple. (UK only sorry)

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Gemma
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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Sunny Day with Sookie

I miss my childhood town of Blackwood, it's where the Manics grew up, where I saw my first gig, it's where the South Wales Chartist leaders met and started their march on Newport and it's where I lived until about two years ago. I miss my university city of Cardiff, the parks, my friends and the convenience of shops not closing at 8pm. Despite all of this, Newbridge is starting to grow on me a little and a walk in the woods with Sookie on the weekend made me realise it's not such a bad place after all.

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Top: Monki
Shoes - Low top trainers, Converse c/o Spartoo
Shorts: Primark
Bag: c/o Zatchels

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The train line I travel down to get to Cardiff for work and a little row of miners cottages.

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The most practical pair of shoes that I own for dog walking even though they aren't really that practical because they are white...

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Sookie frolicking with a stick, she really loves a good stick.

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Sookie is normally really nervous when it comes to water but it was so hot on Saturday she leaped into the river and the proceeded to dry herself by shaking the water all over me and rubbing against my legs, thanks Sook. It was nice to get out of the house and spend some time with my brother and my dog. I never really explore my town and only walk through it to get to the train station in the morning which is a shame because the Sirhowy Valley is such a beautiful area. I'm going to make the effort to spend more time enjoying my town, how well do you know your home town?

P.S. I just signed up to Pinterest. It's going to drain hours of my life isn't it?


Gemma
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Monday, 10 June 2013

Happy As Can Be - She likes dress

I've had this dress in my wardrobe for nearly a month now and just not had the right occasion to wear it and didn't really know what to pair it with. I wanted to wear it with a t-shirt but it didn't look right with the mesh panel so I dug out my favourite smart blouse and come up with a slightly St Trinian's look. My old school uniform was black and white and the addition of a satchel definitely made me feel like a school girl. I have suffered through both new St Trinian's movies just because Paloma Faith and David Tennant are in them and I adore both of them.The dress is a bit of a bargain for £20 and would look great with a blazer and I might even try wearing a ribbon tied under my collar when I wear it next time.

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Dress: c/o She Likes
Blouse: ASOS
Necklace: Dorothy Perkins (old)
Bag: c/o Zatchels
Shoes: New Look via ASOS

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I've been on the hunt for these shoes for ages. They sold out in my size in New Look online and I couldn't find any in store but I discovered them on ASOS and snapped them up straight away. They are the perfect height, have a nice sturdy heel and will go with everything. They were also only about £17 with a discount code and I know they will get a lot of wear. I've got the bug for court shoes again now after years of flat shoes and fancy a pair of French Connection Juines.

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The post title is borrowed from this song which reminds me of my trip to New Zealand a few years ago. I've been listening to it in the sunshine in my back garden with the volume turned up really high.




Gemma
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Sunday, 9 June 2013

Oh We Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside

I'm going on my annual trip to Torquay with a group of my best friends at the end of the month (we are lame and will name it #caravanclub2013) I can't wait for a relaxing weekend away were I wont have to get a flight or worry about connections on a train, I don't need to worry about dressing up, deadlines or counting calories. We hang around on the beach, have fish and chips and play bingo. It really is a case of the simple things in life are the best things.
My friends Sarah and Katilea who I go with have children and relish the peace and quiet on the adult only caravan site and we indulge in plenty of wine, nibbles and gossipping. Pretty much the best way to spend a weekend ever. It's also a annual tradition to sing really badly at karaoke and play bingo in the caravan club house. I love that we have a holiday just like OAPs all across the UK but we're only twenty five...

Here are some of my favourite photos from my 2011 and 2012 trips to Torquay:

Torquay 2011 2012

In 2011 we went to Brixham for the day and last year we went quad biking. We loved the quad bikes last year and are looking for more activities to try this year. I'm thinking of hiring some skates or a bike and heading down the South West Coast path which stretches for 630 miles from Somerset to Dorset. Working up an appetite for a drink and meal in a lovely country pub. I'm also trying to persuade the girls to head to the ski slope and try sno-tubing for a bit of a unique experience. Heading to the beach, soaking up the rays (unlikely in the UK) and reading is always a must for our trip to Torquay as is going for a traditional afternoon tea in a quaint tea rooms. 

Have you been to Torquay before? What outdoor activities do you think I should try?

*thia post contains a paid link

Gemma
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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Nerth gwlad ei gwybodaeth - Zatchels, cake and libraries.

Yesterday was the annual Library Assistants Away Day at Cardiff University and I helped to organise it for the second year. We normally go off campus but we thought it would be wise to have a free venue and blow our budget on tea, cake and lunch. Sensible. So we chose to have our away day on campus (free) in the beautiful Main Building. We had a variety of talks on things like medical illustration, how the school of Social Science is using Twitter for research and how working with artists is different to working with academics. But mainly the day was about cake, chatting with people from different libraries and  rounding off the academic year with some fun.

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A few little facts for you about the Main Building at Cardiff University:
  • Main Building today houses a number of Schools and Departments, including the School of Chemistry, the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, part of the School of Biosciences, and the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.
  • Main Building is a Grade II listed building.
  • The message carved prominently in the Portland stone over the main entrance reads ‘Nerth gwlad ei gwybodaeth – A nation's strength is in its learning.’
  • The Science Library is today home to approximately 37,000 loanable books, more than 1.2km of book shelves, and more than 1.5km of journals shelving.
  • In February 1941 during the war, the long corridor above the library in Main Building caught fire from an incendiary device that had lodged in the roof. Off-duty students had to form chains of buckets to help put out the fire.

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I wanted to look a little more formal than usual for the big day so I put my favourite fancy shoes on, my official looking bag, a smart dress and a crazed look. The crazy look in my eyes in a mixture of stress and mania. It's hard work organising events, how the hell does Emily Eavis manage to organise Glasto?!

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Dress: ASOS
Bag: c/o Zatchels
Flat Shoes: Vivienne Westwood by Melissa

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Swoon, isn't she lovely? I like that I have a very traditional bag but I chose a bonkers colour. I can't wait for this to get worn in and have that battered look. I know that I'm going to enjoy using this for a very long time.

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Everyone seemed to enjoy the cake, marshmallow challenge and the presentations. It's all over for another year, phew! I really enjoyed being in such beautiful surroundings and need to find another excuse to spend the day in the council chambers.

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Gemma
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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Panache Sculptresse Review

Best British Bloggers recently contacted me on behalf of Panache to see if I would like to try out their new new lingerie brand, Sculptresse. Sculptresse is a collection of lingerie for full-figured women, offering everything from everyday basics to fashion-forward lingerie. The brand looks to promote a healthy attitude of feeling beautiful while enhancing confidence with lingerie that blends the best of support, comfort and superior fit with feminine, flattering styles.

Sculptresse bra sizes range from 36 – 46” bands and D – J cups with briefs ranging from 14-26. Each product within the line has a variety of  features to ensure that the wearer feels comfortable and supported without compromising style, such as specially-shaped wings, cushioned hook-and-eyes, padded and adjustable straps etc

I chose the Panache Sculptresse Willow to review because I liked the vintage style shape and the fun colour. Pananche describe the Willow as 'bold and beautiful in a rich berry colour with lace print feminine panelling in a deeper shade. A contemporary take on a retro style, Willow allows a great uplifted shape for maximum support for 36-46" D-HH cups'

Here is the set:

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I loved the colour and it makes a nice change for me as I pretty much exclusively wear black. The briefs are fairly high which is perfect for my tastes and they create a nice silhouette under my clothes and don't dig in at all.  I thought the black pattern would be lace but it's a print, I was a little disappointed at first but this means the set is smoother under clothes and more stretchy.

Warning, bra photos with minor boobage. I would have done photos in the set in the style of one of my favourite blogs fullerfigurefullerbust.com but some people I know personally read this and I don't want to leave them with any mental scarring.
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The underwire sits nice and flush to my body and doesn't dig in at all. I got my regular size of 36FF and the band fits perfectly across the back and I'm not spilling over near my underarms or at the sides. I like the lift that the cup gives me courtesy of the three panels.

The only part that doesn't fit like a glove it the top half of the bra which is left a little empty due to my natural shape. This happens to me with almost all of my bras, I either spill over the top if I get an F or have a little room at the top with FF.

The bra costs around £35 and the briefs come in at £16.50 which isn't cheap but it's the average price I have to pay for a bra because I'm 36" and DD+ I really like the range and I hope their next collection is a little more sexy and has a few plunge or half cup bras as full cup bras like this one aren't ideal for the summer when I wear strappy dresses. It's also nice for the briefs to go up to a size 26 but I hope they extend this more to around 30+ if the range takes off. A lot of ranges cater to bigger cup sizes but it's nice to have more choice on the market for 36"+ and size 14+ ladies.


Gemma
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