SUGAR, DARLING?

BY NANCY WHITTINGTON-COATES


My name is Nancy and I have an addiction. To perfume. 

I have no doubt inherited this from my mum and I am very thankful for it, although my bank balance may be less so! Ever since I was young I have adored fragrance and it has always been tradition in our household for my sister and I to be given a bottle of perfume each Christmas - more often than not, it is by Guerlain.

We are definitely a Guerlain family and throughout the years all of our special occasions, parties and great moments have been punctuated with one of their scents - we even had the 'Baby Guerlain' scents when we were toddlers! La Petite Robe Noir will always be one of my favourites and I wore this on my wedding day as it was the first perfume my husband had ever given me as a gift. All of their scents just seem so timeless and unique, but that is no wonder as they have been creating perfumes, beauty products and make up since 1928 when they were founded in Paris. I highly encourage you to read a little more about the brand on their website because it's a fascinating and inspiring history.

On a recent trip to London with my sister, we had our usual stroll through Selfridges and stopped off at the Guerlain counter to check out any new scents. Naturally we got talking to one of their fabulous team and we spent a good half our sniffing away to our hearts content, but I didn't expect to fall so head over heels in love with a new perfume. I go two ways with perfume either wanting something sweet and candy-like or heading in the opposite direction and craving dramatic, leathery, warm and woody scents that have a real air of mystery about them. Upon hearing this I was introduced by the assistant to a scent called Santal Royal (£125.00 for 125ml) which is basically Guerlain's ode to 'the treasures of the East and one of the rarest and most precious ingredients in the perfume world' sandalwood.

I just cannot put into works how much I adore this fragrance, it's just so decadent and delicious and makes me feel uplifted, sexy and oh so special. Guerlain's description of the scent details the make up of this fabulous perfume - 'This mysterious, syrupy and enchanting scent fuses top notes of neroli and jasmine with middle notes of peach, rose and cinnamon finishing with base notes of sandalwood, leather, amber, oud and musk'. 

If you too enjoy dramatic, deep perfumes with an undoubted sensual side you simply must get yourself a bottle of this instantly classic fragrance.

'Shrouded in mystery, the bewitching sandalwood note is exalted in a new oriental fragrance, a study of subtle contrasts between the dark notes of leather and oud wood, and the luminous floral notes of jasmine and rose.'



Guys I have to say, this week has been a really frustrating one social media wise. If it's not a horrific meme mocking some poor unsuspecting individual it's a celebrity making some awful comment about how great being sick is because it can make you lose weight or random people leaving hateful negative comments on a brand's Facebook page when they share an image of a blogger wearing their clothes. 

One of the most frustrating and hurtful things that I see far too often is unfortunately posts by plus size brands. Hard to believe I know, but some of them just can't seem to help getting on the trending bandwagons like diet inspo for Summer/Christmas/New Year/any old day, 'make a movie fat' and all manner of insipid things that actually mock the people they profess to support and want to offer fashion equality to. Now I know that these things are usually posts by an individual social manager or agency, but either way it shows poor vetting and direction from the brand itself. But fear not guys, when we hit social fail overload I know just where we should head - navabi!

If there's one company that never fails to put out amazing campaigns, support both its customers and fat influencers whole heartedly and not be afraid to shout for what's right even if it's not the mainstream opinion it's navabi. Not only that but they also offer arguably one of the very best shopping experiences to fat women with an amazing selection of brands and even their own line of gorgeous pieces. One such brand that I've raved about several times before is Manon Baptiste and this outfit is a great example of what they do - beautifully made, grown up but super cute and unusual pieces in great quality fabrics that make you feel amazing.

As soon as I saw this A-Line Woven Fabric Dress (£129.99*) in its kaleidoscope of corals, blues, greens, pinks and yellows I fell in love with its Sixties vibe. This is some of the most gorgeous fabric I've ever seen, so unique and eye catching and it works just perfectly with this bell sleeved, knee length style. To make it even more perfect this dress just so happens to have a coordinating Short Embroidered Coat (£162.99*) in khaki with the same lovely fabric trimming the wide sleeves and I'm head over heels for the combination of the two together. 

Accessorising this outfit was a little harder than usual which can often be the base with busy fabrics like this. I decided to go for easily wearable shoes that coordinated with the jacket and these Sole Diva Zip Detail Ankle Boots EEE Fit (£35.00) were just ideal. The gold zip detail really catches the eye and the heel is a great height, comfortable but still stylish and the khaki green suede teamed perfectly with the jacket while also being really wearable with lots of other colours.

As for a handbag I decided to go a little different and bold and so I picked out the bright blue from the main dress fabric and searched for a cute bag in roughly the same shade. It didn't take long to spot this sweet Blue Lock Front Mini Satchel Cross Body Bag from River Island (£22.00*) and it was too adorable to pass up on. It's just the right size for a phone, purse, diary and a little make up bag so is ideal for a day out in the city or going for dinner. Don't you just love a cheeky pop of colour?









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*This post contains items that were gifted for review. For more information head to my disclaimer page.

I expected this review to be an easy one to write, but in fact it was quite the opposite. How many different ways can you say 'this was the best x that I have ever eaten'? To be honest I expected KRIII to be fabulous, after all how could it not be when it has been opened by the team behind St Martins and Crafty - the only place I have featured twice on this website because it is just that good! Thankfully to the fine folks of Leicester and visitors to this great city, they have indeed expanded their repertoire and taken over the old King Richard III pub on Highcross Street and giving it a complete renovation. 

I can't recall ever visiting the pub before their takeover so I can't comment on how big a change it has been although I'm told it is vast; but I can say that it is very beautiful now both inside and out with gorgeous original tiled floors, delightful art on the walls and a lovely serene colour scheme of sage green and cream. Head through the gates into the sweet little light festooned garden area and you'll find the main entrance taking you into the front seating area, the bar and then through to the main dining room. It's light and airy but cosy and calm - the perfect space for a wonderful meal.





I actually booked our table a good few weeks ago after seeing the Sunday Lunch menu and it really was a perfect way to spend Easter. We were sat in the main dining room at a lovely corner table and started deciding what to drink.

I was very pleased to see that the house gin was Burleigh's and my husband went straight for the Anchor Steam Beer of which he has a real fondness as it was what he drank throughout our wedding trip to San Francisco, but also as it is mightily delicious. As expected the wine list was also very well crafted and the beer selection impressive, both looking at quality over quantity. But now, on to the food!


From the selection of starters I chose the salt baked and pickled beetroot, burrata and fresh herbs (£7.00). I was so pleased to see burrata on the menu as it is one of my favourite things and something I had only seen on menus in London until now. If you are unaware it is a fresh cheese with an outer shell of mozzarella filled with cream and stracciatella curd cheese and is an absolute dream. Served with tender roast beetroot and thin slices of pickled beets it was a wonderful start to the meal, with the fresh herbs and crunchy roasted hazelnuts contrasting perfectly with the rich cheese and beets. The only thing I can see that would have made it better is a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or more of the pickled beetroot to offset the creaminess, but it was still lovely without this.

My husband went for the smoked haddock, clam and leek chowder with wild garlic crumb (£6.00) and I (barely) managed to steal a taste from him before it was all gone. I'm not surprised he wanted to keep it all to himself as it was absolutely divine! Decadently creamy yet light, with the delicate smokiness of the fish and the finely chopped vegetables with a final zing of freshness from the garlic and herb crumb. Definitely one of the very best soups I have ever tasted.



Three of us went for the same main course of overnight roasted lamb shoulder (£13.00) and it was truly superb. The portion was incredibly generous and cooked to perfection, tender and delightful with caramelised fat and a beautiful rich gravy. It was served with duck fat roasted potatoes, an impeccable yorkshire pudding and a wedge of slightly charred cabbage that has been grilled on the robata which was a superb addition. 

My sister decided upon the roast pork loin (£13.00) which she assures me was also wonderful and I must say looked so tender and juicy and came with a sumptuous pile of crispy crackling! All KRIII's meat is sourced from March House Farm in Melton Mowbray, all of whom's meat is reared and butchered by them and is renowned as being some of the best in the country.

Alongside these already impressive plates came bowls of rich braised red cabbage, buttery root mash and jugs of extra gravy - always the tell tale sign of a well thought through roast dinner!

I would go as far as to say this this was the best roasted lamb I have ever eaten. Not only that but the best roast dinner I have ever eaten, even beating my own which I have been perfecting for the last 10 years!




We finished our meals with desserts and coffee despite already being full to bursting but we just couldn't resist the puddings. My sister's partner opted for the sticky toffee pudding with Madagascan vanilla ice cream (£5.00) which was just as rich as indulgent as it should be, warm and sticky with a scoop of perfectly cold and luscious ice cream. I chose the Yorkshire rhubarb and bramley apple crumble with vanilla custard (£4.50) and again this was a triumph with juicy chunks of apple, tangy yet sweet rhubarb and a generous topping of buttery sweet crumble. A lovely big jug of custard accompanied it which was smooth and unctuous and incredibly creamy yet not overly thick - the perfect custard!



As you can tell we had a truly superb meal at KRIII that surpassed even our already high expectations and I am positive that we will be visiting many many more times in the future. We paid £30 each for this outstanding meal including our drinks which I believe is incredibly good value for money considering the high high quality of the food. 

I highly urge you to visit yourself as soon as you can - I may just see you there!

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Sometimes I think back to the days when I hated my body; when I was so afraid of just the possibility of a nasty comment from a stranger that I would let it hold me back, let it stop me from doing or wearing or even saying a certain thing. Other than the heartbreaking memories of self loathing tears and a childhood and teenage years spent always on the edge awaiting an insult or a 'caring' comment the thing that upsets me the most is that I let bullying at school stop me from going to university and following my dream of working in fashion. 

Ask my family or lifelong friends and they will tell you that my whole life I have adored fashion. From the age or around 5 my answer to the ubiquitous 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' questions was FASHION DESIGNER! I still hold that dream and I still design, but back then I just never thought a fat girl would ever get a job in fashion. These several years on I know that not to be true and it still stings that I let myself be held back from working on my dream, but that is one of the main reasons I began this blog and posted my very first outfit over four years ago! Since then I have met many inspiring women, gone through many hair colours, grown my self confidence in leaps and bounds and the amount and diversity of clothes available to me has improved greatly - a great case in point being this pale pink outfit of my dreams!

Back in 2013 it was very unlikely that I would have found something as beautiful and on trend as this ASOS CURVE Embroidered Enchanted Midi Shift Dress (£60.00) in my size and a few years before that there was no way that I would have dared wear such a thing in public no matter how much I loved it. The cut is delightful and enjoyably unflattering and although I was expecting it to be shorter based on the images from the website I actually like its near ankle grazing length. The only downside is that it creases so so easily - I had carefully ironed this the evening before I shot it and packed it so carefully, definitely one to wear straight after ironing and not great for travelling with! But that's the price for beauty I suppose...

There was no doubt for me that this piece needed to be worn with all pale shades of pink and thankfully my hunt for accompaniments wasn't a tricky one! Originally I thought a pale duster jacket would be a great addition, but then I spotted this Longline Satin Bomber Jacket from Simply Be (£39.00) and knew it would work brilliantly. I wish it had banded cuffs rather than ruched ones but it's so pretty that I can forgive that.

Again bag hunting was a breeze - I knew Skinnydip would have something adorable to suit and I wasn't wrong. This Skinnydip Crushed Velvet Shell Cross Body Bag (£30.00) was an ASOS exclusive and is sadly sold out right now, but hopefully will come back into stock. If you love the scallop shell shape they have the same style in different colours here

The final touch was a pair of sweet pumps and I headed to my go to brand for cute wide fit shoes Sole Diva and wasn't disappointed. These Pointed Loafers in Pale Pink Snake Print (£15.00) were both perfectly adorable and an absolute bargain!

I know better than to let the opinions of others hold me back now and I so hope you do too!<3 p="">






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As most of us ladies that dye our hair know very well, a change of colour on your locks means much more than just that - it also requires a rethink of your wardrobe and makeup. For example when I was blonde I hardly ever wore yellow as it made my hair appear brassy and when I had black hair I didn't often wear solid white as that combination made my skin appear super pale. Now that I'm auburn I've found myself wearing heaps of blush pink and khaki and its made my skin appear more bronzed, so I'm also wearing warmer toned colours on my face. After a few weeks I had figured out my perfect everyday makeup routine and I thought I'd share it with you lovely lot in case you found it handy too. I know it looks like a lot, but I can be ready to throw on an outfit in 25 minutes if I'm pushed as I've had so much practice over the years!

BASE

I have oily skin that is prone to blemishes and I have some acne scarring, so I go for mattifying primer, high coverage foundation and set it with powder that help prevent shine. For my everyday face I tend to use high street products and save my high end foundations for weekends and nights out. I've found over the years that L'Oreal foundations suit my skin best and I mix two together to get my ideal shade and coverage.

L'Oréal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation (I use the shade Rose Vanilla)

EYES

I can't be bothered with a complicated shadow look for my normal day at the office, although its rare that I'll be seen without my signature cat eye flick of liner. I tend to flit between liners and mascaras depending how I'm feeling and if I've woken up a bit late or am feeling lazy I sometimes omit the shadow and just use liner. To be honest I don't do it often though as a bit of shadow makes such a difference and makes you look put together, as do neat defined brows which I never skip!

Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion
theBalm Meet Matt(e) Nude - Nude Matte Eyeshadow Palette (I use the shades Matt Singh on the crease and lower lash line and Matt Garcia on the outer corner for definition)
Kat Von D 'Tattoo Liner' in Trooper or Rimmel Glam Eyes Professional Liquid Liner
Rimmel Scandaleyes Reloaded Mascara in Extreme Black or Maybelline New York The Colossal Go Extreme! Mascara in Leather Black 
NYX Professional Makeup Eyebrow Gel (I use the shade Espresso as I have naturally dark brows)

BLUSH AND HIGHLIGHT

I always use blush as I feel like I look a bit sickly without it and most days I'll highlight, but honestly I don't contour every day. If I do I use either the shade Matt Abdul from the theBalm palette above or Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow when my skin is being good and blemish free. I actually use an eyeshadow to highlight right now, applied sparingly with light strokes of a fan brush to my cheekbones, tip of nose, cupids bow and inner corner of the eye

KORRES Colour Zea Mays Blush in Coral
theBalm Mineral Overshadow in Work Is Overrated

LIPS

Honestly I usually just go for lip balm if I have a day in the office but if I'm feeling sassy or I have an event or a date straight after work I like to throw on a slick of liquid lippy in a colour that is easily topped up after copious amounts of coffee and desk snacks! These are my two faves that are always in my bag :

Burt's Bees Coconut & Pear Lip Balm
Kat Von D 'Everlasting' Liquid Lipstick in shade Lolita





And below is the final look! I really hope you found this useful lovelies, if you have any questions or would like any advice on what colours will work best for your skin tone and hair colour just give me a shout, my background in fine art has provided me with a talent with this sort of thing!


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