Wednesday, 18 April 2018

5 Steps To Enjoy A Spring Morning

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

Finally, the clocks have gone forward and the lighter mornings are here to stay... for now!

There's something about the spring and summer AM that has me waking up with more energy and an even greater zest for life.

I am by no means a morning person but when the sun is in the sky and I'm not rushing around, I certainly have a far more relaxed, enjoyable morning before I have to head out the door to work and you can too with these 5 steps to enjoy a spring morning...

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden


All great mornings start the night before with an early night, after prepping your bag and clothes for the morning, doing your skincare and setting an alarm.

I like to use my Lumie Bodyclock because it gradually gets lighter half an hour before my alarm is due to go off which helps to wake me up much more naturally.

In the dead of winter, I'm rarely up early but in the warmer months, I love to seize the day and get up a good hour or two before I actually need to leave the house.  This means that I can get what I need to done and I'm not rushing around, especially if I'm going to work as I find that if I start my morning more relaxed then I'm more prepared for work by the time that I get there.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ SPF 30 and Unifant Tinted Moisturiser

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ SPF 30 and Unifant Tinted Moisturiser


I enjoy my mornings  most when I have time for a refreshing shower and a little pamper.  I tie my hair up, jump in and use a minty or citrus shower gel to start to pull me around into reality.  After using my mintiest toothpaste to really wake me up, I move onto my skincare.

Setting aside time to do my skincare is one of my favourite ways to start my day.  Pampering my skin is so enjoyable; I cleanse (currently using this Elemental Herbology cleanser), tone, apply my serum and then moisturise.

Right now, its a choice between two lightweight bases and they're both from La Roche-Posay.

First up, theres the daytime moisturiser that I go when I'm going to be wearing make up for the day and that's the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ SPF 30 which is great for correcting imperfections while giving you some sun protection too.  If you're wanting to correct skin imperfections then you need to be concerned about the sun too as daily UV exposure can lead to hyper pigmentation and premature skin ageing!

This moisturiser is ideal for oily skin like mine or for those who have blemish prone skin as it helps to clear blocked pores to reduce blackheads.  It feels really lightweight on the skin, doesn't clog the pores and it is free from parabens.  There's Niacinamide in the formula which purifies the skin, an LHA solution that exfoliates and Salicylic Acid which helps to draw out impurities and repair damaged cells on the surface of the skin.  I like to wear this moisturiser on days when I'm going to be wearing makeup because it leaves my skin looking and feeling soft, shine free and makeup sits really nicely on top of it.

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

On days when I'm not wanting to wear makeup, which is A LOT of the time, then I like to wear the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Unifant Tinted Moisturiser which is available in light and medium of which I use the latter when I've got a little bit of a tan.  I wish they'd bring out a dark shade for the darker skinned beauties out there as I'm sure so many girls would love it!

Essentially, its a tinted version of the other one that I use but without the SPF in it so I make sure to layer it up with a separate one.  Think of it as treatment for the skin with coverage.  Of course you can layer it up with foundation and the rest of your daily makeup but the beauty of using this one is that I don't need to.  It leaves my skin with a hint of tint and perfecting coverage which is all I need for no makeup days, especially when my brows are already tinted and shaped and I've got my Essential Beauty lash extensions on.

It makes the perfect lightweight base, leaves my skin looking perfected and hydrated and doesn't clog my pores.  I couldn't ask for more!

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden


The third step to enjoying a spring morning is without a doubt, found in the tummy.  Whether you go out for breakfast or dine in, enjoying a tasty meal washed down with a good ol' cup of coffee like Organo Gold is certainly a great way to start the day.

I have a balcony on my apartment so when the days are sunny and the weathers warm, I like to cook up a toasted bagel, bacon and smashed avocado and head out to sit on there in my dressing gown because no, I really don't care what other people think!  

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden


This might come as a bit of a surprise to you but my next step to enjoying a spring morning is with a spot of cleaning.  I'm not suggesting getting the marigolds out and bleaching the house from top to bottom but if you've been up early and have time before you need to leave the house, then pick up some of the things you've had lying around and tidy them away.

I pop on some music and tend to challenge myself to tidy up while one or two songs are on.  I always feel so much better about my space when its tidier and having done a little bit of speed cleaning, I feel as though I've already got my day off to a productive start.  This does wonders for my positivity and the productive approach tends to filter through my day too!

How To Enjoy A Spring Morning, Plus Size Fashion, WhatLauraLoves, Yours Clothing at The Alnwick Garden


The last step to enjoying a spring morning is to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine.  Whether its taking a stroll on the treehouse bridges at The Alnwick Garden like I am here wearing my Yours Clothing casual wear or power walking along the coast, get outside, get your heart pumping and enjoy the world around you.  Even if you're on your way to work, maybe take a different route, go a little earlier and walk around near to wear your office is or take a change of clothes with you and find one of those outdoor gyms.

Whatever you do, its all about getting your blood pumping, clearing your mind and enjoying the start to your day!


What are your steps to enjoy a spring morning?  What skincare do you like to use?  Whats your favourite brekkie?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Mental Health Matters: It's #TimeToInvest With The Prince's Trust

Have you ever felt pressured, stressed, lost or hopeless?

Throughout my life, I have struggled with my mental health.  For all I can put a brave face on it in on social media, the reality has, at times, been far from rosy.  I feel like I've battled with my emotions for a lot of my life, I've felt pressure coming at me from all angles and the stress and worry has been unbearable at times.  Whether its about school or my career, family, friendships, health or relationships, I've worried and stressed about it all.

As I've grown up, I've learnt techniques to help me to cope but its not been easy and it still isn't now.  I find that its often hard to access adequate support but it is even harder to decipher what support is needed in the first place.

One of the biggest worries in my life that I'm sure many of you can relate to has been my career.  From tests at school to choosing and studying for A Levels and my degree to going for interviews, getting a job and progressing in my career, the whole lot signals pressure, stress, unease and worry for me.  My confidence has often held me back as at times, I've known what I was doing and how to do something but I've not had the confidence to do it which has held me back from reaching for the next step and going for interviews to progress.

I found it especially hard in my adult life when I had an accident that really affected me physically and mentally which really knocked my confidence in my own ability.  Its taken me a long time to get to where I am today and I haven't felt adequately supported; at times, I've been so lost that I thought I'd never get through things that have happened to me.  Overcoming obstacles has built my self esteem and given me more confidence in my ability and I want to inspire others to feel that way too which is one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about being a Digital Ambassador for The Prince's Trust.

The Prince's Trust have launched the second phase of their Youth Index report which explores the views of 16 to 25 year olds in the UK.  It found that the happiness of young people was being affected because they weren't confident in what the future would hold for them.

The results paint a worrying picture of a pressured generation who feel their ability to shape their future is slipping away from them and I can certainly empathise with how they feel and have experienced many of the findings myself as I have grown up.

Over 2000 young people across the UK were surveyed and the results are worrying but as someone who isn't too far away from that age bracket, not entirely unpredictable.

  • 61% of young people regularly feel stressed
  • More than 25% of young people say they regularly feel hopeless
  • Young people’s happiness and confidence in their emotional health have dropped to the lowest levels ever recorded
  • 25% of working young people feel trapped in a cycle of jobs they don’t want
  • 59% of working young people feel they need opportunities to develop their skills before they can think about career options
  • 54% of all young people believe a lack of self-confidence holds them back

In light of the findings, The Prince's Trust are going to call on the government and employers to promote positive mental wellbeing and support young people into fulfilling, sustainable careers.

Not only that, but they have so many of their own programmes that support young people with their confidence, wellbeing, life and work skills to help give them a brighter future.

The programmes really are fantastic; I got to sit in on an Enterprise course at the new The Prince's Trust Cheryl's Trust Centre in Newcastle and I loved the straightforward, helpful and nurturing environment.  It really is a place where everyone can thrive no matter their ability.  I'm a firm believer that no matter the socio-economic background, everyone should have access to resources and support to help them to achieve their goals and succeed in life and that's exactly what The Prince's Trust are providing.

Do you know a young person aged between 11 and 30 years old in the UK who could benefit from one of the Princes Trust programmes?

Perhaps you're struggling with your own mental health, struggling to get back into work or education following a hard time or just generally in need of some assistance, then The Prince's Trust FREE programmes can support you.  Theres a range of online and in person courses that can help to build skills, confidence and self esteem so check them out on their website.

You can find out all about how The Prince's Trust are helping young people everyday on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages and if you use and search the hashtag #TimeToInvest you'll be able to join in the chat!

What do you think about the statistics?

Sunday, 8 April 2018

My Journey To Plus Size Bikini Body Confidence

Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

Since launching the #TakeThePledge campaign and posting plus size bikini photos from my trip to Costa Rica, I have been overwhelmed by the number of women who have contacted me to say that they've felt inspired to buy a bikini to wear on holiday for the first time.

I wanted to write this post to let you all know that I've been there too, girls!  My road to wearing a bikini and feeling body confident has been a long and rocky one but also realistic and I want to share it with you.  I'd love to say that I came singing and dancing out of the womb wearing a two piece but thats just not the case and while I'm so confident in a bikini now, I haven't always felt this way.

I hope that my words come across in the way that I intend them to, with no offence or upset intended; this is simply my journey, how I've felt along the way, what I've learned and how I feel now.

It took me until the age of 28 before I ever wore a bikini and while I don't like to live life with regrets, I wish I'd worn one sooner.  I've discovered that bikinis fit me far better than any swimwear ever has because I'm so long in the body, thanks to my low hanging tummy.  Plus, I'm far more cool around the pool when I wear one and I get the most awesome tan.  Its a win-win situation all round!

Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

I had my first experience of wearing a bikini last January when I was taking a much needed social media break in the Maldives.  I was staying in a water bungalow facing out to the Indian Ocean and I was determined to return uber relaxed and with the most incredible tan.

When holiday shopping around Christmas 2016, I decided to take the plunge and order a bikini.  Generally speaking, I buy the vast majority of my swimwear from Simply Be; they have the best range of plus size swimwear in a multitude of sizes, styles and designs and over the years, I've always been able to find something for myself on there.  When it came to ordering my first ever bikini, Simply Be was naturally my first point of call.

Trying on my first proper bikini was an exhilarating experience; I'd never worn one before, not even as a child, and I'd always thought that I wasn't the right shape for a bikini and that I would find more confidence wearing a swimsuit around the pool.  Feeling restricted to swimsuits didn't stop me from enjoying my holidays.  I'd just find one that I loved the pattern, colours or style of and that covered my tummy and then I'd head on out and have an awesome time.

I've never been someone who felt like they had to keep their clothes on around the pool because I've always been able to appear outwardly confident which has meant that I've always been quite happy to lie around in a swimming costume  catching the rays and loving life.  My size has never stopped me from enjoying a holiday in that way.  I liked how my swimming costumes looked and I was confident that they were the best fit that I was ever going to get from what was available to me online.

However now I know that there isn't a "right shape" for a bikini or any garment for that matter, its all about finding something that you love and feel great in, then that item is right for you.

When my bikinis arrived from Simply Be, I popped them on and stood looking at myself amazed in the mirror.  I'd chosen styles, colours and patterns that I felt would suit me and ordered several different sizes in each piece to give me the best chance of getting an accurate fit, in just the same way as I have done in the past with swimming costumes and tankinis and low and behold, they did suit me.  In fact, they were a better fit!  Not only that but I felt absolutely incredible  in them and I remember dancing around my bedroom feeling absolutely elated!

While away on holiday, I chose to wear my new bikinis over my swimming costumes around 80% of the time and I felt so fantastic for it.  I was able to chill out and relax in the sun, get an awesome tan (safely thanks to my favourite Clarins SPF) and keep cooler than I would in a swimming costume.  

Such a great experience gave me the confidence to try bikinis on future holidays and believe it or not, IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE.  I know, shock horror!

Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

When I ventured to Bali that summer to stay at the incredible Bliss Sanctuary For Women and then to Crete on a much needed girly holiday, I looked at the bikinis I had, what I loved and didn't like about each one and then I sought to improve my choices for those trips to enable me to feel even more bikini confident.

In Bali, I was at a retreat with a small number of women and I was wearing the most fabulous sarongs over the top of my bikini while I was walking around.  One day, I got up off the sun lounger, thought oh to hell with it, and walked to my room without putting the sarong on and do you know what happened? NOTHING.  Not a single bloody thing.

By the time I got to Crete with my friend I was strutting around the pool as happy as an orca released from Sea World without a care in the world and finally I thought, I'm living.

Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

I'd suddenly got over myself and realised that people were far too busy enjoying their own holidays around the pool to pay any attention to what I was wearing and if there was anyone out there that was bothered about what I looked like in anything I was wearing, around the pool or on social media for that matter, then they really needed to focus on improving their own happiness rather than trying to destroy mine.

It wasn't a realisation about wearing a bikini, it was about wearing anything be it a swimsuit, bikini, polo neck, jumpsuit, mini skirt or whatever.  I should wear whatever I choose to wear as long as I feel good in it and others should feel free to do the same.  There is no right or wrong way to look in your body or the clothes that you choose to dress it in.

By the time I went to Lanzarote last November and Costa Rica in January, I was hooked.  I placed an order online for more bikinis and low and behold, I felt fabulous in them, just like this black one from the Beach to Beach range at Simply Be.

Bikini Body Confidence Simply Be Plus Size Bikini WhatLauraLoves Blogger

Choosing the right swimwear is all about selecting pieces that you love the look of and love how they make you feel when you wear them. No one has the right to tell you what that should and shouldn’t be. There’s so many places to draw inspiration from and you can take that inspo and adapt it to work for you.

For me, black is a classic colour and therefore a fail safe swimwear option as it looks so stylish whether I'm tanned or pale.  This particular range from Simply Be has plenty of options so you can try it whether you're a bikini, tankini or swimsuit gal!

I'm a bikini girl now and the bottoms I'm wearing here are the Beach to Beach Bikini Short in Black.  They're comfortable, fit nicely and I can mix and match them with so many different tops.  Plus the sizing is spot on which makes shopping online so much easier.

I love high waisted styles for bikini bottoms simply because I feel as though they look the best on my body and that gives me an added confidence boost.  I'm really long in the body and my tummy tends to pull everything down so if I opt for more of a brief style, the chances are they'll either sit under my tummy or roll down which tends to make me feel more self conscious so high waisted is the best way forward for me.

However it is the Beach to Beach Bikini Top that I love the most from this pairing.  It is cut beautifully; I find that it enhances my chest which I love as I’m actually quite small busted for my body size, and it sits high under the arms so it keeps me in place!  While I'm not adverse to showing the flabby bit underneath my arms (hey, its a part of me and I love it just as much as the rest!), if I can smooth it over then that's my preference and this bikini does that perfectly.  Its all about what makes you feel confident and beautiful on the inside and out!

Its hard to believe that in the space of a year, I went from feeling restricted in my swimwear to feeling body confident and able to wear whatever I want (and rightly so!).

I'm living proof that EVERYONE has a bikini body.  I love my body in a bikini and its ok for you to love your body in yours too.


How confident do you feel in your swimwear?  What do you love to wear around the pool?

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

When you're jetting off on holiday, the last thing you want is to land looking and feeling like you've been dragged through a hedge backwards and in serious need of a good nights sleep and a strong Starbucks.  We spend so much of our lives working that our opportunities to travel should be fully enjoyed, lived to the full and appreciated.

Fear not, for if you are jumping on a plane for sunnier climes this summer, then theres the perfect travel kit all ready to pop in your hand luggage.

The Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique set is your first step to ensuring you'll disembark your flight looking as fresh as an A Lister!

Let's see whats inside...

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

Feel Unique have got you covered with plenty of the essentials that you'd need for a thorough but not excessive, in-flight beauty routine.

First up is the blue nail file.  Compact but with plenty of space for filing away uneven nails to leave your nails looking perfected by the time you land.  A nail file is an essential for me when I travel as I always find myself snagging a nail be it in flight or while I'm away and in times when I've forgotten to take mine, I've been left seriously frustrated until I've managed to smooth over that edge. Its so annoying when the catch on everything!!

For your locks, theres the mini hair brush.  Great for smoothing over your hair, getting rid of little knots and helping you to smooth it up into a high pony for a slicked back look.  The Popband hair ties in the kit are awesome too as they enable you to tie your hair back mid flight without leaving a kink in it should you wish to take your hair out when you arrive at your destination.

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

I've been using bobbles like this for years and they're so handy, especially as I like to tie my hair up when working at the computer but take it down before going out.  That'll sound crazy to some people but I'm sure some of you may know where I'm coming from here!

I remember watching Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events on DVD a couple of years ago and Violet Baudelaire would always tie her hair up when she was thinking hard; tell me I'm not the only one who could totally relate to that?!

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

Once you've tied your hair up and sorted out those talons, its time for skincare before settling down to watch a movie, at least if you're flying long haul.

This kit contains two awesome essentials for hydrating your skin during the flight and they're great for combining with your existing skincare routine as they're perfect for all skin types.

There's the one product does it all saviour in this kit in the form of the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream.  Apply it to chapped lips, burns, cuts, sores, and cuticles to soothe and intensely hydrate.  The tube may only be small but a tiny bit of this beauty goes A LONG way!

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

Air conditioning is a nightmare for drying out the skin when on an aeroplane so having a spritz like the First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist to refresh your complexion and bring your skin back to life is essential.

Spritz the light mist over your face throughout the flight for added hydration, even if you've still got your makeup on on a short haul trip as it'll freshen it up and keep it from looking dry or cakey.

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

While this kit doesn't have ALL the essentials one could ever need, it has the basics that would be suitable for most people, then you can add in a few extras that you feel you might need for your particular skin and lifestyle.  For me, I always take a hand sanitiser, a pack of face wipes and sample sachets of premium skincare such as a multipurpose oil, face moisturiser and eye cream, sometimes even a clear face mask.  Then I can complete my skincare routine thoroughly alongside using the other essentials in the kit.

Now I know there might be alarm bells ringing for you when I say face wipes but I don't think they're all bad in certain circumstances like flights.  I always look out for ones that are ultra hydrating (very wet towels as opposed to dry sheets that drag the skin), have no or little alcohol in them and I use them to freshen over my skin before I apply my moisturiser.  I don't wear makeup when I fly so I don't need to worry about removing that but if I were to have it on, I'd take a little bottle of micellar water and cotton pads as I think they clean my skin more thoroughly than wipes do.

Another essential that I'll add into this kit in addition to its already awesome contents are a pair of ear plugs to block out the noise from the plane.  Then, once I've sorted my hair out, applied my skin care and checked myself in the handy blue mirror inside the kit, I pull down the Jetsetter Eye Mask and knock out some serious Z's.  The key to looking and feeling refreshed before you step off a plane is getting sleep and this eye mask certainly helps as it feels soft and comfortable against the skin and blocks out the light.  With some ear plugs in, I feel shut off from the world and I'm able to relax, chill out and rest!

Travel Essentials Powered By Feelunique Review

All of the essentials in this kit are packaged up in a gorgeous little blue pouch.  Its buttery soft and deceptively spacious.  Just remember to take a clear plastic bag with you for your liquids when going through security and make sure all of your liquids are under 100ml, just like the ones in this kit.

If you want to get your hands on the Travel Essentials Powered By Feel Unique kit then you can bag yours with 30% off online.  There's also the Everyday Essentials Powered By Feel Unique set too which comes in a pink bag and is filled with all of those handbag essentials that we tend to need throughout the week but often forget to pop in our bag!

I think that this kit in particular would be ideal for keeping in your uni or work bag or car door and you could always add extras to it such as a powder and lipstick for touch ups.  Now wouldn't that be the height of organised, girls?


What would your on the go essentials be for travelling?  What about day to day essentials?

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Love Liberty Review

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Love Liberty Review

There's something infinitely special about a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick, wouldn't you agree?

From the formulation to the packaging, Charlotte Tilbury lippies are some of the best around and I should know; I have plenty in my collection!  The Matte Revolution range in particular are my favourites not just within the CT Makeup line but across all brands because they're so comfortable to wear.  A lot of matte lipsticks are so drying on the lips but the Matte Revolution range is much more hydrating and smooth while remaining incredibly long lasting.

If you've tried a Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick before then you'll know that the colour pay off is incredible regardless of whether you're applying a nude colour like Very Victoria, a bright such as my fave Lost Cherry (review here) or a deeper shade such as Love Liberty, which I wore in my date night outfit post.

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Love Liberty Review

Opaque in one swipe, Love Liberty glides onto the lips, imparting a deep berry pink matte colour that looks beautiful exactly as it is.  The formula is buildable though and it layers really well for a more intense look.  Equally as pretty, is a far more sheer effect, achieved by lightly dabbing the colour on with the fingertip rather than straight from the bullet.

Love Liberty is a great shade for taking you from day to night in this way as it can be applied lightly for the daytime and then either a gloss added for an evening if you're wanting to go heavy on the eyes or if you're keeping your look more focused on the lips then take the lipstick and reapply straight from the bullet.

Love Liberty is my go-to berry shade, especially throughout the autumn and winter but applied lightly, it serves a great purpose throughout the warmer months too.  I love that the matte revolution formula ensures it sticks around for hours without unsightly bleeding and without making my lips feel dry and cracked.

The formula is enriched with an extract from the aptly named Lipstick Tree which helps to protect the lips and is a natural antioxidant, as well as Orchid Extract which soothes and hydrates the lips and helps to create the soft, buildable cashmere finish that Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks are known for.

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Love Liberty Review

The bullet is uniquely shaped to make application easy, especially if you love getting a crisp, defined cupids bow.  Together with the formulation, these lipsticks really make the lips look fuller and enhance what you have to work with, and beyond if you like to over line your lips a little with the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat lip liners which are, as you'd expect, incredible!

Without a doubt, this lipstick is a must try and I couldn't recommend the range in general more highly; I've been buying them since they first launched and will continue to do so until I have the full collection!

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Love Liberty Review

All of the lippies from the range are designed to suit ALL skin tones which is so unique and totally leaves the choice as to which one (or several!) you go for down to you rather than that choice being taken away by formulations and colour selections that are limited to only suiting certain skin tones!

You'll find Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks and the rest of the incredible range on her website alone or as a duo with Amazing Grace and at Feel Unique, Net-A-Porter, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, House of Fraser.


What Charlotte Tilbury products have you tried and whats on your lust list?  What shade of lipstick do you love to wear?
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