The Ultimate Little Summer Dress Guide For All Budgets

22 April 2017

Following on from my recent post about how I’m finally embracing wearing a dress after resisting the “feminine” for so long, I’ve gone slightly dress mad. You know when you say you hate a certain food even though you’ve never actually tried it (come on, we’ve all been there, and if you haven’t said you hate gherkins in your lifetime then you’re lying), and then one day you take a bite and it’s like GOOD LORD I have been transformed…? Well, I feel like this has happened to me, just with dresses (stay with me guys, I promise I’m not losing my mind *panicked laugh*).

When it comes to comfort dressing, a little flippy number is probably the last thing that comes to mind. And we all have the same concerns - yes, the dress looks great on the 5’10 ASOS model, but how is it actually going to look on me? Will my old friend, the belly pouch come to visit? Will I leave the house feeling sassy AF before I realise that the dress is 100% see through and my black and white granny pants are now on show for the world to see (obviously this hasn’t happened to me IRL *cough*).

However, with summer well on the way and I’m sure, many a BBQ, Garden Party and Wedding about to pop up in your diary, there couldn’t be a better time to bite the bullet. With so many swishy numbers taking up residence on my clothes rail, the last-minute panic of “WHAT DOES ONE EVEN WEAR FOR A SMART CASUAL SUMMER EVENT” has been - at least for now - put to bed.

Coming out of my comfort zone for these legless lovelies has also meant that I’ve been experimenting with colour more. If I dabbled in the realm of prints last year the primary colour was still always black, whereas now you’re hard pushed to find my not wearing red. Yellow has also become a surprise contender, along with midi and maxi lengths that I felt previously would have drowned me. This is a beautiful dress renaissance in all its glory, and you know what? I’m taking you with me.

To give you a helping hand I’ve pulled together a tonne of little summer dresses for three different budgets - under £20, under £30 and under £50, so if you do a little bit of shopping, it won’t break the bank!

Dress Pictured - SilkFred*
Shoes - ASOS
Sunglasses - RayBan*

Under £20

Under £30

Under £50

Perfect Partner Accessories 

Decorating our not-yet home with Scandinavian posters from Desenio

18 April 2017

I know what you’re thinking - what in God’s name is a not-yet home? Well, we don't get the keys to our new place until the 28th but of course, I’ve been picking up pieces in the meantime. So far Keiran and I have managed to acquire most of the main furniture bits like sofas, a bed, a mattress, a coffee table etc. etc., but until all of the big ticket items have been ticked off the list, decorative pieces have taken a backseat.

Welllll, mostly. I haven’t been able to help myself from bagging a few baskets here and there, and you all know I’m partial to a mug or two (or three, or four…). When it comes to wall art, I’m also really picky. As much as I love my friends and family I’m definitely not one for having personal pictures on display, but then I also love the aesthetic of lots of mismatching frames in different colours and sizes, filling up a wall with images and ideas.

That’s where Desenio come in. If, like me, you do a fair bit of blog and Google searching for unique homeward pieces, then you’ve probably already heard of these guys. If not, then let me fill you in. Desenio are your one stop shop for all things wall art. Rather than picking up expensive prints from Etsy and then having to source a frame to fit yourself, Desenio stock a huge range of super affordable prints in all shapes and sizes, with all of the corresponding picture frames to boot. Whether you’re looking for something abstract, inspirational or something to simply fill a gap and set the mood, then these guys have got you covered. As they say themselves on their website: “much of our art is design by Swedish illustrators and designers. Our business concept is to help our customers create beautiful and inspiring homes in a simple and affordable way.” Now that’s definitely something I can get on board with.

Rather unintentionally, I opted for a series of mismatched prints that all seem to relate to geography. A few of them hold personal meaning, and a few just look lovely. The Highland Cow Poster, for example, reminds me of my grandparents. They visit Scotland every year and have done for as long as I can remember, and some of my fondest childhood memories are of my Grandad parking up somewhere picturesque and my Nan pulling out a stash of homemade sandwiches. That’s why as soon as I saw the cow poster, it went straight into my basket.

Next up was the large London Poster. I travel to London most weeks for work and it’s always been a place of wonder to me. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, it’s my favourite city in the world. Paris, Budapest, Berlin - they all hold their charm, but they’re not quite London.

The smaller Lotus Flower Print was another sentimental choice for me - or rather, I chose it more for Keiran. Himself and his best friend are in the process of launching their own denim house, designing and creating jeans and fusing this with their love for anime and Japanese culture. The lotus flower has popped up time and time again throughout their journey so far, so I thought it would be nice to have something personal alluding to that up on the walls of our first home.

And then there’s the Shadow Poster, the Winter Mountains Print and the Desert Print. None of these hold particular meaning to me, but I thought the tones mixed really well with the rest of my choices and I like the escapism made possible through the location shots. With all of the prints I’ve mixed and matched in sizes and frame colour, opting for a combination of black and gold that should work quite well throughout the house. I haven’t yet decided which pieces are going where, but I’m thinking the cow shot already has a home in the living room. I picked up a cow-print stool recently, so in a morbid way, it makes sense.

And the important stuff! Desenio are offering you lovely lot 25% off all posters (apart from the handpicked section, sorry!) from 18th April - 20th April using the code ‘chloeplumstead25’. Catchy, huh? Let me know what you think of my choices, and if you pick some prints up yourself, do let me know in the comments down below or come and find me over on Twitter or Instagram.

 Happy shopping loves x

P.S. Shout out to my bae Hannah Gale for letting me borrow her home for these shots. 

P.P.S. This post was sponsored by Desenio.

7 Things You’ll Only Understand If You’re a Short Person

17 April 2017

At the grand old age of 23, I stand at approximately 4’11. Basically, I’m one of those kids that people said “you just wait, she’ll shoot up”, and didn’t. I grew outwards, sure, but upwards? Forget about it. 

Being short as a kid is great. People think you’re innocent so you get away with murder, people think you’re weak so you never had to do any sports - heck, even at 17 you can get away with buying children’s tickets to everything and saving yourself a pretty penny. As you get older, however, you come to learn that there are certain annoyances saved for short people, and short people only. These are the 7 things you’ll only understand if too are a short person.

1. Everyone assuming you’re forever a teenager... A couple of weeks ago I jumped into a taxi back to mine from Keiran’s fairly early in the morning, setting off to get ready for work before heading into the office. As I sat, minding my own business in the back of the car, the taxi driver starts chatting to me about the usual: the weather, how busy he is, how bad the roads are. Then he turns to me and says, “so, you off to school then?”. OFF. TO. SCHOOL. I am 7 years too old to be a high school student, but he still thought I was about the right age. Le sigh. 

2. ...and as a consequence, everybody thinking it's okay to guess your age. If you’re short and your age is, in some people’s minds, obscure, then the exact number suddenly becomes the topic for open estimation. I stood at the IKEA checkout today, chatting to the girl about moving out and she says: “You look young to move out. Young in a good way though. What are you, 19, 20?” This happens all the time. I often get people - who know my age - saying things like “you don’t even look 23, you look like 18. Doesn’t she look 18? How old do you think Chloe looks?” If you’re short, suddenly people forget that it’s actually kinda rude to ask someone’s age, let alone guess it. 

3. Random guys picking you up on a night out. You know how on a night out, guys sometimes forget that personal boundaries exist? Well, step into the world of a short person. Not only is your arse up for a good grabbing, you’re also now a prime candidate to be picked up and carried off against your will, because, well, you’re small, right? What some boys think is a hilarious way of chatting you up is actually just the most annoying and invasive thing ever. Unless I know you - well - this is never going to go down well. 

Top - ASOS (sold out, similar here)
Hat - ASOS (sold out, similar here)

4. Never-ending height jokes. “Oh, you’re going to Thorpe Park? Better make sure you’re tall enough to ride the rides.” 

“Chloe, if you ever have children, how will anybody know who is the child and who is the mother?” 

“I guess you must struggle with storage space because you can never make use of a top shelf.” 

And the list goes on, and on, and on. Hey, I put my hands up, I love a good height joke every now and then - the more imaginative, the better. But honestly, I’ve heard every pun under the sun to do with reaching stuff, so if you’re going to come at me with some short person witty remarks, think up some original material. I’m going to be listening to these for the rest of my life, so at least make them good. 

5. The inevitability of always getting ID’d. Someone asking me if I have my ID on me is a better joke than any of the above. For a short person, not having your ID on you is a guarantee that you won’t get served alcohol - even if I tried to buy cigarettes now, I’d still get ID’d. I’ve got my proof of age out and ready to hand over before I’ve even stepped into the bloody doors of Tesco, and if I’m heading to a bar or club, I check, check and then check again before jumping in the cab. If you’re a long-limbed lovely or regular weighted gal and you forget your ID, you have height on your side: you know that there’s still a chance you'll get away with not having your licence. When you’re 4’11 and have the face of an adult baby, hell would freeze over before anyone thought I was of age. My ID is stuck to me like an extra appendage. And hey, at least if I die, the emergency services will know who I am pretty damn quickly. 

6. People asking you if you can give birth naturally. The weirdest one of all, but it happens. When you’re of a “regular” height, people look at you and think, “yeah, she could carry a baby and pop it out, no problems”. When you’re short - especially if you’re very short - this suddenly gets thrown into question. Will the weight of a baby cause her to topple over due to the imbalance in weight? Won’t a baby just burst out? Can she even give birth naturally? My womb and it’s capabilities have been the topic of discussion one too many times, that’s for sure. 

7. People stating the fricken’ obvious. “Omg you’re so short!” “You’re so tiny!” “How little are you?!” And the award for the most obvious statements goes toooooo…

Photography by Hannah Gale

5 Small Things I’m Looking Forward To This Easter Weekend

14 April 2017

Bank holiday, bank holiday, how fabulous, how fine. Bank holiday, bank holiday, now bring me the wine!

Maybe not the greatest verse I’ve ever come up with, but the sentiment is there nonetheless. Happy Bank Holiday! Welcome to four days of carefree and fancy fun, or, if you’re self-employed, a normal working weekend just with a few more people knocking about. I love bank holidays - especially when both the Friday and the Monday are included - because everybody seems to lose their shit and over-indulge in every way possible. “A bank holiday, you say Sue? Right, day trip to the beach, fire up the BBQ and get a crate of beers in. Oh, and don’t forget the eggs!! The bloody chocolate eggs!” Aaaand repeat for every day possible.

My plans for this weekend are actually fairly mellow. I’m heading out furniture shopping with Keiran today, getting my nails done tomorrow morning for a BNO (big night out, duh) with the gals on Saturday, to of course be followed by a raging hangover on Sunday and fingers crossed a BBQ. Monday will be spent back at the desk, tackling admin and finances etc. BUT I will resist reality until then.

Aside from the above day plans, I’m actually looking forward to indulging in some of the little things that make me happy - you know, the everyday stuff that often gets pushed to the side when you’re working and caught up in the fuss of daily life. In the hopes that my lil’ list might inspire you somewhat, here are 5 small things I’m looking forward to this bank holiday...

Top - Brandy Melville
Jeans - Topshop (sold out, alternative here)
Jacket - Monki (sold out, ASOS alternative here)
Bag - Lanvin*
Sunglasses - Ray Ban*

1. Reading my new book. In a constant effort to not let my Lit degree go to waste, I’ve forced myself back into daily reading. I’m unabashedly a total book snob, so there’s no way you’ll find me reading the latest holiday bestseller - instead I’m attempting to plough through some classics so I don’t feel like a total fraud when I lie about important books that I actually haven't read. I just finished 'To Kill A Mockingbird' which was everything I expected and more, and I’m now digging into ‘We’ by Yevgeny Zamyatin, the novel that inspired George Orwell’s ‘1984’. Anything dystopian and I’m sold, so I’m looking forward to working my way through this with a fuck-off big Easter egg.

2. Watching cartoons. Here is a list of all of the famed TV Series I have never finished: The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Broadchurch, Better Call Saul, Homeland, House of Cards etc. etc. etc. The list goes on. Now, here’s a list of the TV Series I have finished: Rick and Morty, American Dad, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Bojack Horseman, F is for Family, Brooklyn Nine Nine, The US Office, Parks and Recreation - do you see what I’m getting at here? I don’t have the attention spam for serious, long-winded TV series. Instead, I’m through and through a cartoon girl (and slowly leaning towards Anime as Keiran is a long time fan). This weekend calls for a lot of South Park, and I’m excited.

Spring Stripes

3. Drinking a crap load of fussy coffee. My coffee orders differs depending on my venue of choice. Costa warrants a Skinny Vanilla Chai Latte, Starbucks a Skinny Salted Toffee Macadamia Latte, and any smaller independent coffee shops, a Skinny Caramel Latte. All of these orders are fussy as fuck and I love them. Any opportunity to indulge in a coffee this weekend will be seized with both hands.

4. Enjoying some retro pre-drinks and a night out with my gal pals. This Saturday, for the first Saturday in many, many Saturdays, I am going out. Yep, that’s right, aat aaat. I can’t wait to get dressed up in my glad rags, buy a bottle of cheap vodka and talk about boys with gals during pre-drinks, all of which is of course to be followed by throwing some serious shapes in my local Vodka Revs. The inevitable hangover I’m not looking forward to so much, but hey, I’ll deal with that when I get there.

5. Taking ten minutes to breath (outside, if possible). I’m praying for good weather this weekend, but having just glanced at the forecast for the next three days, it doesn’t seem likely. HOWEVER, what I would really love to do one morning is to wake up to natural sunlight, mosey on downstairs, brew myself a cuppa and then go and sit outside. And just sit, and enjoy my tea, and take lovely deep breaths. It’s so so simple but something that I get to do, well, never, so keep your fingers and toes crossed for at least a glimmer of sunshine ladies and gents.

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