Nasty Gal Try-On

I’ve never shopped with Nasty Gal before. Mainly because they don’t carry a tall line and that’s my go-to when it comes to finding the perfect fit for me. That being said, I’ve had lots of pleasant surprises from non-tall sections of other retailers over the years, and if you don’t try, you’ll never know. So I tried a lot of their clothes for you!

The Nasty Gal sizing was a bit hit and miss for me. (For reference I am a UK size 10 on my torso but a UK size 12 at my hips.) I used the sizing guide on the Nasty Gal website to select my sizes. However, I found that everything offered in a UK Size 10 came up too small and for other items I should have got a small instead of a medium. At least now I know what to order in the future and hopefully this will prove useful for you too!

Up first are these thigh-high boots. I’ve wanted a pair of over-the-knee boots for ages but haven’t been able to find a flat pair that hit the right height. Of all the items in my order, I thought for sure I would be sending these back but the height was spot-on. If you have narrow feet, I would recommend sizing up as the pointed toe makes for a snug fit. Not suitable for those with a wide fit but perfect for those with long legs!

This square neck top features split sides below the waist – which I guess are there to make it easier to tuck in but that’s not the real issue. The wide neck might be sexy but it leaves no room for bra straps to remain hidden. That wouldn’t necessarily be an issue but (although you can’t see it in the picture above) the top has an open weave to the knit across the chest – so a bra really isn’t optional here. You could go strapless – but either way your bra will be on show. I bought the size 10 and found it a snug fit.

It struck me recently that “girl in the pretty dress” hasn’t featured any girly dresses for a while, this dress was my attempt to rectify that and it wasn’t too bad on. Sleeve length was good and so was the hem length – it’s described as a midi and fit that way. It’s definitely more of a summer dress though as the material is very light and floaty. For me the waist sat too high and the consequence was that the wrap-over was also a little higher than felt safe. Fits true to size.

I ordered a size 10 of this polka dot top but it definitely runs small. The neckline is lovely but the sleeves were 3/4 length on me and the whole thing just felt much too snug and almost corset like. Perfect for petite sizes, but if you’re regular I would size up and tall ladies – avoid!

It turns out this fluffy cardigan isn’t Nasty Gal brand but is actually by Brave Soul – one of my all time favourite brands. They do also have a tall line (available on ASOS). So no wonder I loved it! The material (also available in black) is so soft and snuggly. I ordered a medium which felt really comfy on, but I think I could probably get away with a small. The button detail is lovely and it’s super cosy – the perfect winter cardigan!

I’m usually someone who likes a close-fit when it comes to tops, but I figured that since I was trying a new brand, I should also try some new styles. It turns out the saying “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” goes for personal style too. This statement-sleeve jumper was a disaster on me. Firstly, it runs big, so you’ll want to size down if you’re tempted to try this. Secondly, the colour is a little different in person (the cream is a little more mustard toned). And lastly it’s not tall-friendly. The sleeves just looked baggy on me, rather than stylishly oversized.

Ok, I loved this knitted hoodie. It runs quite big so again I would need to size down but as chic and cosy loungewear goes – it’s pretty great. I’m tempted to buy the set in fact. Again, the colour is a little different in person – it has a slightly more oatmeal tone – but that’s not really an issue. 10/10 would recommend for lockdown.

This ruffle detail jumper was just not for me. The sleeves were ok, but the body was so short it looked cropped and the ruffles did me no favours. I don’t know how this model is pulling them off so well – all credit to her because it’s not easy to make such an oddly proportioned piece look that good! Runs big – size down.

I got this button-down midi dress in a Size 10, which would have been ok, were it not for the gaps in between the buttons. Moving in this dress was a risky business and would be for anyone with curves. It was also knee-length on me rather than midi – but in spite of the sizing flaws I did find it very comfortable.

Lastly I tried this bodycon dress on and I was loving it right up until I noticed the seam across the chest – which sits neither above nor below the breasts and which I just couldn’t get used to. It’s a real shame as it fits true to size and was both comfy and sexy on.

1 Mini-skirt, 4 Ways

This bottle-green F&F corduroy mini-skirt is a keeper. It’s long enough to be worn without tights, smart enough for an evening out and dressy enough for the holidays.

When I first tried this skirt on in my instagram stories, I loved the fit on me but wasn’t sure how it would fit into my closet. I’ve been trying to be more mindful of the clothes I choose and following the rule of 3 (in order for me to keep an item, I have to be able to make at least 3 different outfits with it from existing items in my closet).

It just goes to show why you should experiment with the items in your wardrobe more often. I made 4 outfits for this post, but I could have made even more.

LOOK 1

Breton Stripe Top by George (similar here)
White Lacoste Trainers (similar here)

LOOK 2

Chunky Jumper by Monsoon (similar here)
Shearling Boots from M&S (similar here)

LOOK 3

Cream Top from Ralph Lauren (similar here)
Next Boots (similar here)

Look 4

Black Roll Neck F&F
Black Knee High Boots F&F

Hello, again.

Dress: Pimkie via Asos
(No longer available but they do have a similar option in beige)

It’s been a minute. Ok… maybe more than a minute. Even by my standards, there has been quite a long gap in between posts. It’s literally been years.

Usually this would be the point where someone would write “and there’s a very good reason for that” before humbly bragging about their magnificent achievements… Their successful new business venture, their wonderful home or their beautiful children… I have no such reason for my absence. The fact is that the last couple of years have been some of the most difficult of my life. And that’s before we even get to the mess that is 2020.

In this Insta-splendid world, I probably shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true.

I’ve always thought of myself as somewhat of a professional story-teller. I’ve worked as a Script Editor helping to bring stories to life on screen, and for a long time I told my own story through social media and the pages of this blog. I feel like I misplaced that part of me for a while, but it’s gradually starting to come back.

I was tempted to bring my story up to date in this post, but I’m going to save that for another time, as I’m still undecided about how much I want to share. For now, I will just tell you that for the last few years, reality has been so much stranger, and horrible, than fiction. Especially where my former relationship was concerned. For those who are returning to these pages (and may remember this post) I will just say that no, I did not get married. I had a very lucky escape.

I really do count myself lucky though. Yes, I had some truly miserable lows, but I’m fortunate enough to have some very special people in my life who picked me back up, dusted me off and helped me to rise again.  

The past few years may have been challenging but alongside the lows there were also some high points. I’ve travelled to new places, experienced some magical things and made memories that I will treasure for a lifetime.

There are so many of these experiences I’d like to share and now seems like the perfect time to do it. The nights are getting longer and we’re all being told to spend more time indoors… so until we can all get out and about again, I hope you’ll enjoy exploring a little of my world from the comfort of yours.

Sara x

36 Hours in York

6 weeks ago I had the unexpected pleasure of some time off, with my other half. We decided to make sure it was quality time together and to get away from the humdrum of home for a bit.

We stayed at the rather lovely Principal York Hotel which, despite it’s elegant appearance, was not quite as smoothly run as I’d have hoped, but it all got sorted in the end!

After checking in, we headed out to explore.

I think I must have a Christmas-sensor embedded in me because I can sniff it out anywhere and was quickly drawn into this store.

Our next stop was to The York Museum.

By the time I’d been dragged out of Christmas-land, time was ticking on a bit… The very kind attendants at the museum reassured us that we would have time to do one wing and helpfully, gave us a pass so that we could return the next day for the other half of the museum.

The museum was formerly a Prison and we spent our first day in the Women’s Wing – which housed a number of historical exhibits and (most impressively) a full scale replica of a Victorian Street, complete with back alleys and stores for you to wander in and out of.

After all that time-travel we were feeling a bit peckish so headed to Betty’s (a Yorkshire institution!)

Dinner was a little disappointing so I’ll skip over that and move on to Day 2…

We returned to the Museum bright and early, ready to tackle the next wing. This holds an eclectic mix of modern day history (1960s – Present Day) and a centuries-old history of the prison.

Once back outside we headed for the Shambles. (Perhaps the most instagrammed street in York.)

A few people have assumed it influenced the Harry Potter stories or was used in the film (there’s actually very little to link the two) and as a consequence Potter-mania has invaded the street.

By far the best of these shops is The Shop That Must Not Be Named.
People quite literally queue up to shop here…

After all that horcrux-hunting I was hungry again.

York is famous for it’s history with Chocolate (and with fruit pastilles – but as I’m a chocaholic that’s of little interest to me.)

Monk Bar is just the sort of shop to fulfil any craving you might have. But I can particularly recommend the liquid chocolate shot in a chocolate cup!

Our visit to York was choc-a-block and I will be back again soon!

Scotland, Lochgoilhead & Dunoon

I look forward to going to Scotland every winter. Sadly this year I spent the entire holiday feeling very poorly indeed. Back home, whenever someone asked me how the holiday was I replied with “Well the medical centre was excellent, and the three pharmacies I visited were lovely.”

That being said, staying indoors wasn’t too bad, with these views to admire…

We rented the most charming and secluded cottage. If I won the lottery I would buy it (I liked it that much!)

When I was feeling up to it, I didn’t have to venture too far to see more of the scenery. The cottage is surrounded on all sides by secret pathways and spectacular views.

The most spectacular part was perhaps the three waterfalls, which you surrounded the house and could be heard everywhere you went.

The village of Lochgoilhead doesn’t offer much more than a medical centre and a post office, but the one benefit of having to make multiple trips to the pharmacy, is that you get to see more of surrounding areas.

Fortunately all of the pharmacies I needed could be found in one place: the charming town of Dunoon. My grandad came from Dunoon (which perhaps explains why I’ve always prefer the west coast of Scotland) but this was my first visit to his hometown.

Sadly I couldn’t linger for as long as I’d have liked, but I’ll be sure to return. When everywhere looks as pretty as this, how can you stay away? 

Chatsworth Christmas Markets

Christmas is possibly my favourite time of year. For me it all kicks off around mid-November with a visit to the Chatsworth Christmas Markets.

We all pile into a car (including the dogs) and take the scenic route into the Peak District. 

If you love period dramas as much as I do you’ll probably recognise the house… 

It’s perhaps most famous for playing ‘Pemberley’ in the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (starring Keira Knightley)

We always start our day out either touring the house or exploring the estate. The house is themed differently each Christmas and this year’s theme is Great Expectations

However, on the day we visited the weather was too glorious to spend the morning indoors so we ventured out onto the estate…

Where we attempted to tire this little rascal out…

We climbed up the hill through the ever changing Autumn colours until we reached the folly…

Where we stopped for a while to enjoy the view.

Jacket: New Look
Jeans: Marks and Spencer
Boots: Next (old) similar here
Gloves: North Face

Eventually though it was time for lunch, so we made the somewhat treacherous trip back downhill.

My top tip is to avoid the morning crush on the market. We always have a leisurely lunch in the restaurant, and wait until the sun is setting before setting before heading out to shop.

This year’s markets run until 5th December 2017 and you can find more information here.

Sullivan’s Island & Shem Creek

This is the last of the posts from my American Road Trip. I’m sad not to have an excuse to relive the memories but I’m excited to plan some fresh content!

For the final day of our trip we decided to unwind on Sullivan’s Island, and do one of my favourite activities: Brunch! (A much bigger deal in America – but thankfully it’s catching on over here.)

Charleston is a cyclists city and thankfully our hotel included bicycle hire in our resort fee (most places do this but it’s still a good idea to check). So we borrowed a couple and headed out to the coast. We passed by the picturesque Shem Creek en the way and were drawn back here for a last meal before heading for the airport.

Charleston’s Charm

I am just going to say it… I think Charleston is possibly the prettiest city I have ever visited. Not to mention the most warm and welcoming. It really showed us some amazing southern hospitality.

We only stayed a couple of nights, but I could easily live here. 

On our first evening we arrived starving after a long, long drive. I had heard wonderful things about Magnolias but sadly they couldn’t squeeze us in. So here is my hot tip: head next door to it’s sister restaurant Blossom. Which is every bit as good and much less crowded. 

For shopping; you can’t beat King Street, but the market hall was fun to wander through and we also found a fun farmers market on the square (held once a month).

Mostly though, I spent my time in Charleston drooling over dream houses and other pretty places.

Oh, and if you want to splash out on a fancy dinner – try this place. I celebrated my birthday with a Bison steak which I am still talking about now.

The Smoky Mountains Part 2

We hadn’t made any firm plans (except for horse riding) for our time in the Smokies so on the second day we headed out to explore with no real destination in mind. 

Taking the scenic (and somewhat slippy) route down the mountain. I’d have been a bit less nervous on this road with a driver who spent a bit less time admiring the view…

…but then again it was pretty spectacular so who can blame him?

When we reached the valley floor we were greeted by this handsome chap. 

Elk don’t usually appear during the daytime (we were very lucky!) but they can sometimes be seen on the meadows at sunset/sunrise.

After bidding adieu to the Elk we made our way to the Boogerman trail (thanks to the advice of a friendly mountain ranger we met en route). 

Walking the Boogerman trail is a pretty magical experience – with all the different coloured butterflies dancing on the breeze you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a Disney movie.

Our walk was cut short a few miles in (one of the log bridges was out due to recent flooding) but as we turned to head back we came across this little gang. I’ve never seen butterflies flocking together like this and would love to know what caused it!

We returned to the car just as the rain started to pour. So the afternoon was spent in the Museum of the Cherokee Indian (very interesting if you like learning about Native American history). 

Luckily, the sun came out again just in time for our last evening on the Ranch

The Smoky Mountains Part 1

I’ve been dreaming of visiting the Smoky Mountains ever since I first heard Dolly sing “In my Tennessee mountain home…” but none of the songs really do justice to their scale or beauty.

We picked up our rental car and wound our way into the mountains.

We headed to the highest point: Clingman’s Dome

It felt a little like standing on top of the world.

When I could finally tear myself away from that view, we headed back down the mountain and made our way to the edge of the Smokies – to Maggie Valley and Cataloochee Ranch.

When we arrived at the ranch, our lovely hosts fed us enough to put us into a food coma. We awoke the next day to this beautiful view.

After another feast for breakfast, we decide to spend the morning exploring Mingo Falls.

I have been lucky enough to visit some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world on my travels, and while these didn’t quite match the scale of others, they were by far the prettiest.

After soaking up the beauty of the falls we headed down to the valley floor to a visitor centre and lost ourselves in a little bit of the Mountain’s history.

Before racing back to the ranch for our afternoon activity…

I have been riding since before I could walk, but while I’ve practised western riding once or twice it isn’t quite the same to experience it in the English countryside.

Riding this beautiful girl through the mountain trails really is something I will never forget.

So that brings the bucket list tally to three…