fashion · personal · plus size · review

Jumping on the trend. Featuring THE eBay dress.

Hi everybody!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged and honestly I’ve missed it. Long story short is I’ve had a few different bouts of illness, I’ve been super busy at home as well as stressed because – I’ve bought a house! We complete today and get our keys and I’m so excited. It’s going to be so cool to be in our own home and be able to do anything we like to it – you all know I LOVE to decorate. I’ll post lots of pictures on here because we have a few DIY’s we’re going to do and I’ll be posting before/after pics of how we decorate. We’re even going to be installing our bargain lino flooring ourselves!

Speaking of bargains, it’s no secret that when it comes to clothes I love a bargain. I generally buy everything either on sale or with a discount code. I hate paying full price and I will shop around for the cheapest version of something before I commit to a purchase. It’s something I’ve always done as I’ve grown up with not a lot of money, then I was a student with zero income and lately we’ve been saving for a house deposit so haven’t really been spending as much on ourselves that hasn’t been essential.

As it got to summer this year I looked at my wardrobe and realised there wasn’t much casual stuff I could wear day to day which wasn’t shorts. I started looking at options and loved the look of the strappy summer dresses with buttons down the middle. I saw loads of people getting them cheap from Primark but being plus size Primark cuts off at a size 20 and I figured I’d never get into one. I did find a few plus size versions in places like New Look but they were around £23 for a plain dress and I really wanted something with a print.

My friend Tina added me to a facebook group called Mrs Gloss & The Goss which is a group centred around hair/clothes/makeup and I saw these eBay dresses popping up on everybody. There was a ton of prints and people were saying they were generous sizing so I decided to see what size they actually went up to. When I looked they went up to a 3XL or a size 20 but the size chart was quite high and I’d read that there was a lot of stretch in them and so I decided that cause they were only £7.49 each I’d just go for it and order the two I was really lusting after.

  

  My first was this beautiful navy sunflower dress. I’m pretty obsessed with sunflowers and they’re my favourite flower so when I saw this print I just had to have it.

The second dress I bought was this pineapple print dress which is just the cutest thing ever. I love anything kitsch and pineapples are definitely one of my favourite prints.

I tried them on straight away expecting them not to fit at all and was pleasantly surprised when they not only fit but really looked nice. I’m a size 24 and the ones I’ve bought have been a size 3XL/size 20. I initially tried them on with no bra but have since worn then with a normal strap bra which does show the bra straps slightly and a strapless bra. I did also worry about the buttons gaping but they’re actually just for show!

I went on to purchase 3 more, white/black/pink stripes, blue/white stripes which I haven’t pictured and a plain khaki one. Now the khaki one never arrived and so I was refunded but I’m almost glad because I’ve read the plain ones are a completely different material and have no stretch. So be mindful if you do order one that plain ones have zero stretch.

These dresses have been a godsend this summer and each one has been well-worn. From family days, meals out and even nights out the dresses have been perfect for different occasions and have been easily dressed up or down.

 

I even wore the dress for a beer garden date with one of my good friends Claire. It was perfect for sitting in the sun drinking hooch.

I’m tempted to buy more of these dresses because there’s just SO many prints and I know I’ll wear them not only in summer but also autumn with boots and a cardigan and even winter with tights and a t-shirt under for a more 90’s look. Such a versatile dress and for the money they are SO worth it. I couldn’t recommend them enough and I know a few people on my instagram have since purchased them because I do bang on about them so much!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

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baby · fashion · food · parenting · plus size · review

Bears at Butlins! – Our family holiday. Part 3!

Hi all!

So finally here comes the final post about my time in Butlins which is part 3! (Part1 and Part 2 are also available to read.)

Day 4

On day 4 we decided the weather looked alright again and so decided to head out for the day to Fantasy Island which I was keen to go to as I loved it as a child.

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We got ready, threw on our shorts for a sunny day and headed for breakfast whilst we decided how we would get there. After the bus issues the day before – we decided to drive.

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We drove to Fantasy Island which was around 5 minutes away from Butlins and I felt a huge wave of nostalgia hit me. Even though it had gotten so much bigger in size and had tons more shops and cafes, so much of it was the same and I instantly recognised some of the rides as ones from my childhood. They still had the log flume I loved, the spinning ride my brother one fell out of, the magic carpet ride I used to go on with my dad and the indoor flume which stained mine and my cousins matching white trousers. Some rides, such as the indoor  rollercoaster which seemed so big and fast when I was younger now seemed so tiny. It was at this moment that I realised I had now taken the place of my parents and was actually the adult – what a scary feeling!

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We weren’t that bothered about going on the actual rides, and I was quite sore from pushing the pram which I grew to hate over the holiday so we didn’t go around all the shops and stalls – there were thousands there! We did pick up some good items though, such as wax tarts for our candle burner and most importantly – we found Eleanor the perfect Christening gown. My mum had wanted to go shopping for it with me and I’m sad that we didn’t get to have that experience but the second I saw the dress in the window I knew it was everything I was looking for. My mum really wanted to buy her dress so I called her and explained and she was happy to still buy the dress.Thankfully she loved it as much as I do when she saw it.

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After a good look around, a few games in the amusements (I won a teddy on hook a duck!) and our dress purchase, it was time to feed Eleanor and so we popped into a diner where we decided to grab a dessert whilst we fed her. Adam settled on a jumbo ice cream (not realising the sheer size of it at the time) and as what I wanted was sold out I decided I’d just have a few spoons of his. Well I’m glad we shared because it was absolutely huge! It had numerous different flavours of ice cream, cream, sauce, wafers, flakes and even spiral wafers – Adam was sad he had to share.

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After a slow walk back to the car we headed back to the site and back to our room to pick up swimming costumes. We headed to splash which was pretty quiet and had our last go in the swimming pools. We went on our favourite lazy river and found the wave pool for the first time which was fun and which Eleanor really enjoyed.

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We went for dinner a little earlier than we were used to as we were hoping to head to the Aladdin Rocks show afterward which we heard would be busy. Busy was an understatement! We only JUST got in and there was no tables so I asked people for spare chairs so we could at least sit! The show was amazing and had just enough adventure and sparkle for the kids mixed with enough smutty jokes and puns for the parents. After the show we had our final few games in the arcades and headed back to make sure we were all set for the morning (Adam had already packed most of the clothes whilst me and Eleanor had an afternoon nap) so there wasn’t much to do. We’re the kinds of people who pack as we go so we don’t have loads to do at checking out time – that way we can be relaxed and we don’t leave stuff.

Day 5

On the Friday we woke at our usual time and got little bear sorted with her morning bottle whilst we pottered around. We got ourselves dressed and started filling the car so we could leave after breakfast so we would hit her naptime as we were driving. We had our last breakfast and walk around the complex and even looked at prices for next year – I think we’d stay in an apartment next time for more space and so we had place to have drinks/food in the room.

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Leaving Butlins was sad. That place holds so many precious childhood memories for me – it’s almost like a little piece of me is there. Butlins is where my family was happiest, and where me and cousins bonded and grew up together and where I started to hate UB40 (after dad continuously played it on a loop driving there/back. My parents have broken up now and so it was strange for me to go back to a place where we were such a “together” unit and such a typical family. I also have a grandad and another family member who I have so many fond memories of at Butlins.

As I walked around the park it was so bittersweet to remember the happy times, the people who we had loved and lost and the old memories following me around and mixing with the new memories I was making with my child. I was surreal to think of her taking it in for the first time as I had once taken in the excitement for the first time, but even more surreal that I wasn’t 5 years old anymore, I was 25 years old and the tiny child I had been pushing around all week was my own.

I definitely want to come back to Butlins and keep making memories with my family. For value for money, fun and entertainment I really rate Butlins. There’s always something going on for people of all ages and the staff are so kind and helpful and really make your trip worthwhile. I can’t wait to return.

Here’s to making memories.

Hannah, Adam
& Eleanor x

baby · fashion · parenting · plus size

Bears at Butlins! – Our family holiday. Part 2!

Hi All!

This post is a follow on post from Part 1 of our holiday adventure!

Day Two!

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This was our first morning at Butlins and we woke early and made our plans for the day. We decided we were going to walk down to breakfast and then from there head to baby friendly messy play. The day was super warm and so I dressed for the occasion in some old ASOS Curve shorts and a cream tank top from Taking Shape which I bought in their closing down sale.

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 Breakfast wasn’t too busy and we had plenty of choices of where to sit again.

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Again it was a mix of being served and self serve. We grabbed juice, hot breakfasts and some pastries which were all great. The only downside is there wasn’t really any breakfast selections for Eleanor. We were told Ella’s kitchen pouches were included but they didn’t do anything suitable for breakfast such as porridge so she had her bottle accompanied by a fruit pouch. We actually found it really hard to feed Eleanor as there was so much going on and people constantly interacting with her which is normally lovely but when you’re trying to feed a very distracted baby it gets VERY frustrating. There’s no way to politely say “please stop talking to my child” so we just smiled and waited patiently for people to kinda leave us be.

The Ella’s kitchen pouches were great but really the meal times we had didn’t really go with the times she actually eats. We originally thought we’d just get the pouches and take them out but they were behind a glass cabinet and then they would remove the lids. I got lucky when I asked for some after Adam had and managed to keep the lids on so we would put the lids on the pouches we were given and pocket them for later when Eleanor was somewhere distraction free and it was in her routine time to eat. We only ever took enough for the next meal so that we could actually get something into her (and in the end we asked the manager if it was okay and he said it was fine to take them at the end of service) – but I get the idea that people have probably abused the free pouches in the past and took tons home to live off.

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After breakfast we headed over to messy play in a little building which was extremely hard to find and quite a trek away. It seemed like most of the activities were for older children which was to be expected but Eleanor really enjoyed this activity centre – especially that fish which she chewed on for a good twenty minutes.

After messy play we headed back to our room so Eleanor could have a nap and we just hung out and played cards and enjoyed each others companies. The only problem was that they were doing maintenance work around the park which was quite loud and so I rang customer services and they sent a message round to ask workmen to try and take their lunch around 12ish when Eleanor usually naps. I know you can’t expect workmen to completely stop for you, but I also didn’t expect so much work to be going on right next to my room whilst I was on holiday and whilst it didn’t particularly bother me, I was thinking of Eleanor who was napping and would be in a horrible mood if she didn’t manage to nap.

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After a nap and some lunch we decided to take Eleanor out again to explore the swimming baths. I don’t remember much about the swimming baths when I used to go as a child apart from I really loved it and used to beg to go. I remember a “space bowl” being built there but I was always too small to go on it. We walked through the pavilion to reach it and as soon as I saw the floating tap I had the biggest wave of nostalgia wash over me! The swimming baths has great facilities with a convenient pram park, plenty of  lockers, big family change stalls with flip down baby change tables and tons of showers.

Inside the actual swimming area was incredible. It has tons of slides, a baby pool, outside pool, wave pool, lazy river, cave, another large pool with jets and a huge jacuzzi. We had loads of fun, in particular in the lazy river. We went round with Eleanor in her swim ring and me and Adam floating along with her. The swimming was always super busy but we went 3 days in a row and really enjoyed it every time.

After swimming we went back to our room so Eleanor could have her afternoon nap and we got ourselves ready for the evening. Dinner was another random put it together dinner but again it was enough for us and I particularly enjoyed the jacket potatoes.

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We decided to go check our one of the bars with entertainment on after we’d eaten and that’s when the nostalgia well and truly hit me! The different levels of seating, the kids bar with toys and slushes, the little shop with hundreds of different light up items and tiaras etc! It was only missing the cheap tinsel wigs I adored so much as a child and I’d of been back in the nineties.

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I think we managed to grab the last table in the place and we had a drink and listened to some music whilst the kids disco was still playing between shows. We left not long after this and played in the arcades, bought more drinks for the room and headed back as Eleanor was flat out.

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I thought the early nights would bother me being on holiday but really I enjoyed spending lots of time with Adam having a laugh in the room and drinking bottles of smirnoff ice. We planned that the next day we would get ourselves ready and head out into Skegness to check our the pier and seafront – we would later regret this!

Day Three!

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On day three we got up and dressed and this time we gave Eleanor her morning bottle in the room with no distractions which means she actually drank it down and was in a much better mood through breakfast. We dressed her for a sunny day at the beach but little did we know it absolutely poured down.

We had our breakfast, had a little play of bingo in the arcades whilst we waited for the bus and then we hopped onto a very packed bus to Skegness seafront. The bus was so quick and easy to use and it went from inside Butlins right to the seafront. Unfortunately we had only been there when it started raining – and it only got heavier and heavier. We wandered around the shops but they were mainly just full of tat and so we hit the arcades for a couple of hours and checked out the huge arcade on the pier which just kept going and going. With the rain, all the fish and chip stands which we’d planned to get lunch from were closed so we ended up in the only place open – one very packed McDonalds. We probably could of walked back into the shops end and find somewhere but it was throwing it down and Eleanor was shouting for food and we’d of gotten drenched. This was also the time we tried to use the raincover on the cheap stroller we bought and just couldn’t get it on/to stay on.

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After a bite to eat we ran over the road and tried to get a bus back. We soon found out the bus we got there wasn’t as frequent as we had been told and we waited a long time – so long that we ended up getting another bus which stopped a fair walk away from the park which we had to face in the rain whilst avoiding huge pot holes. It’s safe to say we were quite fed up – and wet – by this point.

We finally got back to the park and we popped into “The Front Room” to feed Eleanor again and to shelter from the heavy rain. There was a delicious looking range of cakes and they did reasonable deals with hot drinks and a cake but we just weren’t hungry. I wish I’d of popped back but I totally forgot – same with the ice cream shop! Adam went and collected our bits and pieces and we went for an afternoon swim to have fun after what had been such a bad day…we soon had a great time again!

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After a nice hot shower to warm us all up and some fresh clothes, we were out again.

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This night I decided to wear my Alice & You playsuit I bought from eBay for a bargain price. Although it’s shorts,the long sleeves and thick jersey fabric make it perfect for an evening. It’s so comfortable and soft that I felt happy in it all night.

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My hair wasn’t quite all dry so I popped it up in some cute buns and decided one again that I just couldn’t be bothered with makeup.IMG_1081

After another pic ‘n’ mix tea we decided to check out the skyline gang show which Eleanor loved and we actually really enjoyed.

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We even got to meet the members at the end and Eleanor and Adam had their picture taken with Bud. Eleanor fell asleep really early so instead of heading back right away we played in the arcades for an hour or so and went and bought yet more lemon flavoured alcoholic drinks – this time in the form of Hooch!

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The rain finally stopped and we had a nice stroll back to the room whilst Eleanor woke up ready for her night time bottle before sleep. We popped her to bed, relaxed with our drinks and decided where to head the next day. I thought that heading back early on a night was going to do my head in but it was nice keeping her in a routine and then having the alone time with Adam.

So that takes us to Wednesday night! I’ll be popping up one more post of the last of our Holiday so keep your eye out for that!

Hannah, Adam & Eleanor x

baby · fashion · parenting · plus size

Bears at Butlins! – Our family holiday. Part 1!

Hi all!

Me and Adam have been together almost 5 years now and up until a month ago had never really been on a holiday together. We’d been for weekends away and the odd night here and there, but not a full on holiday and certainly not a trip away with our baby.

We had toyed with the idea of going away for a while and decided on a caravan holiday not too far from home. Initially people were coming with us but it ended up fizzling out and was just going to be the three of us. Unfortunately, the caravan fell through all together as the one we booked ended up getting sold and so after months of it being planned, we were left with no actual holiday for the time we had allowed for a holiday.

Thats where mum comes to the rescue! Seeing how upset I was about potentially not getting the family time I had hoped for, my mum offered to give us some money towards the holiday (Adam then went and painted her kitchen to say thank you) which meant we could look into still going away. We were actually at a spa reminiscing about our old family holidays to butlins when my mum suggested we tried there. I was unsure as I thought it would cost a fortune and would be too far for the baby, but I decided to call and price it up anyway.

In the end we were offered a 4 night stay in a standard room only with dining for £300 for all 3 of us which I thought was a pretty good deal. Later I found out they actually offered premium dining but had sold out and so I kept checking online to see if anybody had cancelled so I could book it. Whilst checking this the day before, I found out that to upgrade to a “premium” room which actually had 2 bedrooms rather than just one was only going to be £16 more and so I called to make amendments. When I spoke to Butlins however, they told me it was going to be an extra £100+ to upgrade and so I sent in the screen shots to their customer services team and they said they’d see what they could do. Finally, I ended up getting an extra room for a whole £7.50 – and I’m so glad we did!

Soon the big day came around and we were so excited. We packed up the night before with military precision so we knew we had everything as packing to go away with a baby isn’t easy or quick! We packed the car full and off we went.

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Hat & Romper from Asda!

Day One

We waited until after Eleanor’s breakfast and when she was due her morning nap to set off so that she would sleep in the car and not get bored or cranky. This worked well and she woke up on schedule for our stop at the humber bridge for some lunch.

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We were not sure where we would actually stop or even if there would be much at the stop so we packed some mini bottles of pop, sandwiches and snacks to have a little picnic. I’m so glad we did because the only thing at the humber bridge was a greasy burger van. We actually used the leftovers from a family meal the day before and had delicious roast pork and stuffing sandwiches whilst we sat in the sun. Eleanor had her dinner in her bumbo seat (which I’m so glad I packed) and we played for a while in the sunshine to tire her out again.

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Passing the humber bridge.

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Playing whilst we pass the humber bridge!

We made good time to Butlins considering we stopped and we arrived around 30 mins before our room was ready but we were still allowed on site. Check in was conveniently through a drive through which was speedy and easy and we were directed to our room a short drive away. We managed to get parked not too far from our room and took all our bags/bits to a little picnic table outside and played whilst we waited for our room.

Once we were allowed in our room we were so glad we had upgraded. The room was small, with barely any room after the double bed, dressing table and wardrobe. I have no idea how we’d of even got the travel cot in there too – thank god I’d upgraded to a second room! The second room had twin beds, a side table between them and a dressing table with chair and wardrobe like the other room. Adam decided to re-arrange the room and pushed the twin beds together, put the side table on the desk and put the chair on top of the wardrobe to create space to put the rather large travel cot. We used the beds to put our suitcase on so we could re-pack as we wore our clothes to save us rushing around packing.

We put the travel cot up and it took up most of the rooms space. It felt so flimsy and thin but also really too hard for baby to sleep on so we folded up one of the quilts into the fitted cot sheet we brought to make it soft and cosy for her. We then unpacked and it was time for dinner!

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Eleanor wore her beautiful new dress from Next purchased by Nannie Helen! She also wore a hand knitted cardigan and a custom made headpiece from the lovely Lot’of’Lace Bowtique.

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I went out of my comfort zone and wore a jumpsuit! After travelling all day I just wanted something comfortable, and this jumpsuit from Pink Clove was perfect.  The fabric is super soft, the neckline shows just enough and the cutout detailing at the back is super cute!

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Both of us dressed for dinner!

We headed down for dinner not really knowing what to expect. I’d saw online it was canteen grab yourself kind of food which I don’t mind and I’d seen mixed reviews. We headed down 5:30ish and it wasn’t too busy and had a choice of seats. There was machines for hot drinks, juice and squash and anything else you bought at the bar. The food wasn’t too bad actually – every day had soups, jackets, salads then a “dinner” option, fish option, kids options, veggie options and accompaniments. There was also always a hot dessert, custard, a selection of cold desserts and a whipped ice cream machine. There wasn’t one night we really went hungry or couldn’t find something to eat – even if we did have some weird mixed up teas. The food definitely needed more variety though and next time we go we will definitely opt for the premium dining which had lots more choice.

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After dinner we checked out the skyline pavillion which Eleanor absolutely loved. We watched a fireman sam show which was super packed with kids just running here there and everywhere whilst their parents sat drinking at the centre tables – 0h well, what are holidays for ey!

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After the show we checked out the rest of the pavilion and worked out where everything was etc. We checked out the arcades and then decided to have some drinks in the room as Eleanor was getting sleepy. There was a really good Spar on site and the prices were quite reasonable and so we grabbed some drinks from there and headed back to the room. We used one of the bins as a fridge filled with ice we grabbed from Spar, put the sleepy baby to bed and had a bit of hang out time playing cards and having a few drinks. It was really lovely and reminded me of when we’d all come together as kids with my nana and uncle etc and we used to sit out and play outside the chalet on a night whilst the parents all relaxed together with a drink.

So that’s enough for part one! I have lots more photos and stories to share so make sure you check back for the next part!

Hannah, Adam & Eleanor x

fashion · home · plus size

I wear black on the outside.. – FabFatMama Reviews Style908!

Hi All!

As much as I love the big established brands who are pioneering the plus sized fashion movement – I’ve always got a soft spot for much smaller indie companies. I found one of these companies via Instagram in the form of Style 908! They gave me a follow and when I checked them out, I found they had really fashion forwards plus size clothing at really good prices. A lot of small PS brands tend to bump the prices right up but Style 908’s pricing is really great.

What’s nice to see is that it’s a young couple behind the brand, who know the struggles of being plus size with the lady owner being plus size herself. Their instagram is really down to earth and you always get a really personal reply which is what really attracted me to them in the first place. I like a brand who is honest and connects with their target audience and they do that without body snarking any other body types like a lot of brands tend to do.

I got talking to the brand and we agreed that I would review a piece from them. It took me days to decide what to order as I was torn between two dresses, but I put it to an Instagram vote and went with the majority who chose the Zip Tunic in Black which if I’m honest, isn’t something I’d usually order!

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I’m so glad I did though! Expecting the fabric to be cotton, I went for a size 26 but I didn’t need it – a 24 would of been fine. The dress isn’t cotton but is a lovely soft thin jersey which is so breathable in this weather. I first wore this dress on holiday and it was so comfy and cool to wear all night – despite being in a packed and very warm venue. I have to admit, I usually don’t like zip necklines and would of been put off by the side slits, but as soon as I slipped this on it just worked for me. The dress has a thin belt tie with detailing on the ends to pull it in which is really handy.

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It was great for a recent family dinner for Adam’s birthday because I could loosen the belt off slightly after birthday cake! The dress really is so  light and wearable, I wish I’d had it last year when I was pregnant because it would of been such a good maternity summer dress as it can be pulled in over a bump. Oh and at £15.99 – it’s such a bargain!

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This dress will definitely be worn over this summer as it is so easy to throw on and look great in and I’m so glad that I took the plunge and went out of my comfort zone and tried something new. I’m definitely going to try more things that I wouldn’t normally and already have my eye on  beautiful shirt dress.

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I think it would be lovely for a summers evening at a barbecue or even for a few drinks in the beer garden.

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If there’s anything that’s caught your eye, you can get a further 15% off their bargain prices by using code STYLE90815 at the checkout. I might be brave and order that shirt dress!

Hannah x