Sunday, 29 November 2015

A Personalised Christmas Gift Guide

I've written a few posts about Christmas, including how to get organised, why you should shop independent, and a cheeky Christmas list for myself too. Now I want to share with you some of my favourite types of gifts, those that can be personalised! A gift that can be personalised is something truly unique and special, and something that shows extra care and attention for whomever you buy it for. So here are some of the personalised gifts I've seen this Christmas.

Jewellery is always a good idea, and these bangles are available in silver, gold or rose gold, with about 6 words on each. A memorial, a declaration of love, these could be a truly touching gift.

Who doesn't love a hint of nostalgia at Christmas? Get your favourite couple's name printed on it and you have a really sweet gift. Geddit...sweet....

If I didn't have stretched ears, I would be all over these! I'd want 'Alabama' and 'Clarence' on mine, a nod to my favourite film. So cute!

Who doesn't love fun stationary? A customised notebook is the perfect gift for that not-so-secret poet, or dedicated blogger you might know.

There is always someone that insists on sprouts at Christmas, despite the effect they have on their body. Make Christmas a bit safer and get them personalised chocolate sprouts instea!

I love that this looks kind of like an ID bracelet. The mix of chain and flat bar really works for me. You can get the front and back of this stamped, so it's like 2 bracelets in one!

Did you or someone you love get married recently? A print of their first dance soundwaves would just be the most wonderful gift. I would totally love this!

What fun personalised gifts have you seen about? I'm always looking for ideas!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Thursday, 26 November 2015

A Scarlett & Jo Surprise

Recently the wonderful Scarlett & Jo launched their own website! I have been really excited to see this, S&J really care about what they do, and really love what they are doing. Their website is a wonderful thing, the range of models is so diverse, there truly is every body shape and size wearing their clothes and looking amazing. So many brands claim to care about all sizes of customers, but so few then actually use models who don't conform to the 'acceptable' side of plus size. Hour glass figures, big boobs, small waists, tall, white. So to see what Gifi has done with S&J fills me with joy!

I've been ordering a lot of Christmas presents lately, so when a box turned up for me I assumed it was one of those. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up to discover a Scarlett & Jo box inside! I hadn't ordered anything, and had no idea anything was being sent to me, it was such a treasured marvel!

My beautiful surprise inside came wrapped up in tissue paper in this box, it's so well presented! I couldn't wait to open it.

And inside was this gorgeous fit and flare dress with lace shoulders! It is so very 'me'. The neckline is incredible. I don't have much of a bust, but it really played up what I have! It is very short on me, I'm 5ft 11 after all, but I paired it with some mesh leggings from ASOS, an old ASOS belt, and my favourite stompy boots, and I was well away. The dress hangs slightly longer at the back, so while it is short, my butt was well covered! I went out for dinner in this dress with my family and got compliments all round.

I couldn't resist an extra cheeky selfie in the bathroom at the Kingsway. It had a freaking chaise lounge in it! I added accessories in the form of a Rosa Pietsch necklace and a Crown & Glory flower crown. S&J were also kind enough to send me some truly lush midnight blue velvet leggings that I will post as soon as I have a good outfit photo of them. I often find velvet leggings to really slide when you wear them, but the stretch and fit of these doesn't feel like they will.

I also thought I'd share some of my favourite Scarlett & Jo dresses from their new website, just in case Santa is reading ;)

Mesh is so pretty and adds something extra to a dress.

You know I love me some animal print!

This is a perfect Wednesday Addams dress, adore it!

I love a circle skirt, throw some lace in and I'm in heaven!

What are your faves from the new Scarlett & Jo website? Let me know!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

ps. Don't forget to check out my new YouTube channel!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Photoshoot with Indie Fox

I hardly ever put out casting calls on PurplePort, but I did recently and was totally thrilled when the gorgeous Indie Fox responded to it. I love shooting plus size models, and I really try hard to have as much diversity in my portfolio as I can. I think it is so important to showcase all the different kinds of beauty, and believe it is one of my responsibilities as a photographer. We worked together to produce a bunch of different sets for Zivity, a paysite I shoot for. I love Zivity because it is body positive and so inclusive.

First up we shot a simple set with this fab Killstar tshirt. I love a mix of casual and sexy!

Next up we shot some classic black and white lingerie photos. Hasn't Indie got the most beautiful face?!

We had so much fun working together. I clicked with Indie really well and we nattered while we worked.

Just look at that face!

You know I couldn't not shoot this amazing leopard print ensemble! I think the blue of this location, combined with the leopard print and Indie's red hair look so good together.

I don't do much in photoshop, just some colour adjustments. Indie has great skin and posed her butt off.

I fell in love with this velvet dress! It's like, something teenage Wednesday Addams would wear. Love it!

Sometimes I like to do a bit more of an unusual edit, and with the pleather corset I thought this red look would work so well. Fetish glam!

For our final set of the day I had a rather.... unusual concept in mind. I proposed it, and got a yes! I always love when models are up for something crazy. I went out in the garden to prepare the concept while Indie got ready.

How many models would get naked in a bath full of autumn leaves for you?

I absolutely LOVED shooting with Indie, and I really hope we get to work together again soon.

I also filmed a little behind the scenes vlog!

Much love,
Kitty xxxxx

navabi Curvy Blog Award 2015

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Dreaming of Winter Coats

This year I should really probably update my winter coat. It's about 4 years old now (eep) but I still love it. I don't wear a proper coat too often, I wear a raincoat whenever I walk the dog because we quick march and I hate being too warm, but with a really cold winter threatening the UK, I need a proper coat! I also can't wear wool as I'm allergic to it, so here are my top wool-free picks.

This coat is like, a total dream! The huge faux fur collar, and the lovely autumn colour are so great. And a midi length means you know your butt isn't about to get cold.

If you hadn't noticed by now, I'm a big fan of purple, so throw in some faux fur too and I'm most pleased! A swing style coat means whatever you wear underneath it, you don't have to worry about it crushing your outfit.

Camel and capes are two of this seasons biggest trends, and combined together like this they look amazing. I think capes look so high fashion and luxurious, they ooze glamour.

You know I love a good tartan! The zips and the print really appeal to teenage punk Kitty. Throw this over a LBD and it'll really add something special.

The parka is so in right now. This is available in green or navy, with a cute faux fur collar. If you want to really wrap up and have a proper winter coat, a parka is the way to go.

This is all faux materials! At first glance I figured it would be leather and wool, but it's not. While it is a gillet so doesn't provide as much coverage as a coat, I couldn't resist sharing this. It's gorgeous!

Faux leather sleeves, faux fur collar, I bloody love this! And it's available in up to a size 32 which is amazing. This is totally my favourite on this list.

What coats have you got your eye on? SO many have wool in them which makes it so tricky for me.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Shop Independent This Christmas

I've blogged before about the importance of shopping independent, but I wanted to share some of my favourite small businesses with you too!

Gorgeous rock and roll inspired jewellery. I own so much BMM and wear it constantly, the quality is truly gorgeous and the team is just full of the sweetest people.

Anyone who knows me knows I love Sugar & Vice, and own so much of their jewellery I am forever having to figure out new ways to store it! If you love striking statement pieces, this is the place to go.

If you know someone who loves to wear hair accessories, Crown & Glory are the place to go. Flower crowns, glitter, bows, beautiful!

Interrobang make their designs in sizes 6-36! She makes dresses and skirts in such fun designs and materials, and she makes them for everyone. Brilliant!

There are a lot of companies that sell mass produced crystal and stone jewellery, but The Serpent's Club are hand make in the UK, and make truly beautiful and unique pieces. I own several of their necklaces and always get complimented on them.

LMD sell adorable handmade jewellery, cushions, coasters, art print, hair bows and more! Most of their products have a cute foody theme, and LMD is a one woman show, amazing!

Janine Basil is another hair accessories company I adore. Quirky, spooky, and so much fun! I need many more of her designs.

Much imitated, never bettered! Malice specialise in harnesses and striking lingerie, and will custom make any of their designs in any size, for no extra cost. So wonderful!

Who are your favourite indy companies? Share! I love discovering new small businesses to support.

Check out my recent blog on how to get organised at Christmas for more tips!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

navabi Curvy Blog Award 2015

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

OOTD : Candy Strike

So before I get on with the actual blog post, I wanted to tell you guys I've been nominated for a Navabi blogger award! You can vote for me (or all your other faves) here.

navabi Curvy Blog Award 2015

It is so sad when a truly innovate and wonderful independent plus size brand closes it's doors. When Candy Strike announced that they were doing one final run of their dresses before closing, I was gutted and had to order myself the dress I had been lusting after. I hope one day they will be back, but in the mean time they have a small etsy store with some t-shirt designs here.

Dress - Candy Strike
Pleather jacket - Matalan
Leggings - ASOS
Boots - Demonia
Flower crown - Crown & Glory
Necklace - The Serpent's Club

You might have noticed by now that I have a bit of a thing for moths, so this dress was an easy choice for me. I went for the pink version of this dress, and I am so thrilled with it. It is so soft and comfy. Patches my old lady cat is obsessed with it and won't stop sitting on me! I'm 5ft 11 and the length is great on me.

I wanted to give the dress a more 'rocky' look, so paired it with my pleather jacket and favourite boots. I so love contrasting really girly looks with rock and roll twists, it's so perfectly me!

I think someone was thinking of me when they made this.

I had to share a close up of this gorgeous necklace from The Serpent's Club. I was lucky enough to win a voucher on their instagram and I knew immediately what I was going to get. Opal/opalite is one of my favourite stones, and this skull carved from it is lush. All rings, save for the two with black stones on my ring fingers are BloodyMary Metal. I wear all of these every day and even sleep in them. Love!

Who are your favourite independent plus size brands? I am always looking to support more!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Getting Organised for Christmas

I love Christmas. Like, a lot. My whole family do! We tend to go kind of over the top and spoil each other actually. My closest family spend the day at my Mum's house, and my youngest step-children join us in the evening. It's wonderful. A big Christmas means I like to get organised early, so I thought I'd share my tips on how I do it.

1. Make a spreadsheet.

This is probably the most important part of my whole system. I use an app on my iPhone for mine as it is portable and with me at all times, it is called Spreadsheet and is free.

I find it super nifty to use, but I also like having a more detailed and organised spreadsheet on my laptop.

If you've never used Excel before it can be a little scary, but it is easy to get to grips with I promise! I use a pretty simple layout, and a basic formula to help keep track of my spending. As you can see, I make columns for 'Name', 'Gift', 'Wrapped?' and 'Cost', and a row for each persons name I intend to buy for, with a total section at the bottom.

The red arrows on the screenshot show you how I made the formula for the total cost. I clicked the cell below all of the cost input, then pressed the 'AutoSum' button above the red arrow to the right. Excel is very intuitive, so it automatically realised I wanted a total of the above cells, and asked me if I wanted to use the formula =SUM(D2:D4). What this formula means is that I want to sum of the rows D2 to D4, so I hit enter and done! All formulas begin with = and you won't need anything more complicated than this for my Christmas spreadsheet haha!

I track the costs of each gift to help manage my finances. Paypal can take a few days to clear out of your bank account, and banks don't always show your spending right away. This just helps try to eliminate those nasty surprises!

I include whether or not a gift is wrapped, because I like to get wrapping early, often as soon as I buy a present. It means I don't end up spending hours doing it. Plus, I have 3 cats and a dog who all want to be helpful when I'm sat on the floor... hours of wrapping can be an interesting experience! Everyone gets the added gift of fur with me.

2. Start early.

It's already the middle of November, so by now I am well into my buying. Spreading the cost over a few months makes it much easier, and it helps eliminate the stress of last minute purchases, as well as the risk of a late delivery! Be sure to keep an eye on shipping times to avoid disappointment. An independent company who are making handmade goods to order will have a much earlier cut off point for Christmas orders than a large corporation who have a warehouse full of stock. Plus, the earlier you are done with your Christmas shopping, the sooner you can relax and properly enjoy your Christmas.

3. Shop independent.

When you buy from indy companies, you aren't putting more money into a company who force their employees onto zero hour contracts for their own gain, or who abuse the UK tax system to avoid paying any taxed on their millions. You are helping a family have their own Christmas, helping a single Mum pay their rent, helping someone take on their first employee, and helping someone creative survive. It's making a dream come true. And that's incredible.

Shopping small business and handmade also means you can give someone a gift that is truly unique, something you know no one else might give them.

4. Remember, money isn't everything.

Christmas can be a stressful time. There is a lot of pressure to buy the best and newest things, especially if you have children. Money problems and Christmas are the worst. But try to remember that it isn't about how much you spend. It's the love behind what you give. I've been given some amazing expensive presents, but I've also been given some incredibly thoughtful and touching presents that have been homemade that mean the world, and have stayed with me for years. For example, my Uncle made me a Star Trek insignia memory box to store my treasured tickets and memories in. He is skilled at wood work so is was totally handmade, and so amazing! I love Star Trek, it's a bond we share, and it is something no one else can ever have but me.

Maybe you are a talented artist and could make someone a unique piece, or you can put something together that is full of hints and reminders of them and the time you've spent together. I'd take that over something expensive but meaningless any day.

5. Use Quidco.

Quidco is a cashback website that you can use whilst online shopping. You can get anything from 1% upwards of a total spend, or even a set amount. You can also get access to special offers available to Quidco members only. If you use the link below, once you've earnt £5 cashback, you earn us both an extra £1.25 each!

What do you do to get organised for Christmas? I'm always looking for more hints and tips!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

navabi Curvy Blog Award 2015