Festival Inspired Beauty

Summer is here and so is festival season. We all know that means denim shorts, fringe vests and kimonos but what about hair and make up? Fear not because I’m here to take the worry out of beauty this festival season.

When you’re away from home, don’t let your skincare routine fall by the wayside. Camping at a festival is one of the only times I’d recommend the use of facial wipes, just make sure that the ones you choose are very moist so that they don’t tug at your skin. Each morning, sweep a wipe across your face and at night, use one to break down and remove the make-up you’re wearing and use a second to clean your skin. Follow up with a light moisturiser with a built in SPF as this will keep your skin feeling soft and protect it from the sun.

Make sure you wear an SPF on your body too as it is easy to forget when you’re excited to get out there in front of the main stage. The once-a-day application types are great, as you’ll not need to worry about reapplying it throughout the day, which will save space in your bag without compromising on your sun protection.

Laura Ferry (1)

For make up, I’d keep things super simple with a light base. My favourite is the Garnier Skin Perfector BB cream. I wear the oil free version and its fabulous because it evens out my skin tone, offers a light coverage and stays put throughout the day, plus you can apply it with your fingers. Squeeze a little extra onto the back of your hand, wait a minute for it to set, and then apply it to the areas where you need a little extra coverage. This method is great for reducing the number of products you take with you as you can use it to cover blemishes and to hide the signs of a late night under your eyes. Dust over a little powder to set everything in place.

To warm up your complexion, apply a sweep of bronzer to your face; this will also add a subtle contour to your face. To save space in your makeup bag, I’d suggest taking a palette like the Sleek Face Form with you as it has a bronzer, blush and highlight powder in one handy compact. Apply a little blush to the apples of your cheeks and sweep back towards your hairline, then take the highlighter down the centre of your nose, on your brow bone and on the high points of your cheeks.

For your eyes, feel free to go bold with colour, leave them bare with lashings of mascara or opt for a subtle two shadow smoky eye like me- anything goes with festival make up. To recreate my look, take a gold shadow, pack it all over the lid and up into the crease of your eye and then run a little along the inner half of your lower lash line. Take a brown shadow, work it onto the outer part of your lid and run it along your lower lash line. If you opt for a matte brown shadow, you may be able to double it up as a powder to lightly fill in your brows. Finish up with lashings of mascara and a slick of lipstick or balm for a pop of colour and moisture hit.

The one thing that I love about festival style is the effortless hairstyles that you can create that look like you’’ve spent ages on them when they’ve actually taken you a matter of minutes. My advice would be to heat style your hair either straight with a spritz of a dry texturising spray or curly with hair spray on day one as you head out of the house, then maintain your locks with some dry shampoo on the second and third days while you’re camping. My dry shampoo of choice has to be from Batiste. A travel sized can will keep your hair fresh, oil free and full of volume all weekend.

Laura Ferry (2)

Floral crowns, flower bun rings and hair bands are always a big hit when it comes to festival style and they’re super easy to use. Pop a floral hair band around your neck then pull up onto your head to keep your hair off your face or pull it down onto your head over your hair and tuck your hair into it to create a boho Disney princess hairstyle.

Laura Ferry (3)

Bun rings take seconds to put in yet create a really chic look. Simply tie your hair up, thread your hair through a bun ring that is a similar colour to your hair, fold your hair over it and pin it in place. Leave it there or and a flower bun ring garland in true festival fashion.

The easiest style of course is to wear your hair down and pop on a Panama hat with some feather earrings that’ll peep through your hair. Quick, easy and simple but it looks great and it’ll keep the sun off your face.

The most important thing about festival beauty is to have fun with it and the same goes for your wardrobe too. Head on over to the Festival collection on the Simply Be website where you’ll find lots of trend led pieces to wear this summer.

Lingerie Basics

Hi everyone, my name’s Cheryl and I blog over at Invest In Your Chest, a lingerie blog. My fashion sense is a little lacking, but my lingerie collection is second to none and I’m pretty much obsessed with ensnaring any willing (or unwilling) victims into bra fitting rooms.

We all need to revamp our lingerie collections from time to time and I’ve just had a complete revamp. But you don’t need to spend a fortune on your lingerie collection, you just need to learn to shop wisely.

In the past, instead of ensuring that I’ve got a bra for every occasion or wardrobe challenge, I would often just pick up the same old sets or bras that I fall in love with – neglecting the bras I really need. Nowadays I’m a bit more sensible and think about what my assortment of bras is missing, when I’m in the market for some new frillies.

Keep on top of your lingerie collection by ensuring you’ve got at least one of each of these lingerie essentials and you’ll never have a bra ‘mare ever again.

The Bread-and-Butter T-shirt Bra

No lingerie collection is complete without a t-shirt bra. They’re generally seamless and built to be completely undetectable under tight clothing, but the most important thing to look for is a sculpted, rounded shape. Simply Be have a great selection of styles which is perfect to tick this one off the list. The Sculptresse Pure Lace moulded bra is the perfect choice to keep your boobs looking pert and perky under the most clingy of jersey fabrics.

T-Shirt bra

Everyday Essentials

When you’re stocking up your top drawer with bras to wear on a daily basis, you are probably looking for two main attributes; comfort and affordability. If you’re anything like me, you’re not a fan of breaking the bank, splurging on lingerie which is going to be used primarily as super-functional equipment for holding up your mammaries whilst you’re slaving away at work, looking after the kids or running errands.

Simply Be’s multipack sets are brilliant options, with packs of two from as little as £18 and packs of four, for as little as £24.

Take The Plunge

We all have those occasions which call for a deep V or a low cut neckline and it’s those times when only one type of bra will do; the plunge.

For many women it’s difficult to find a plunge bra which fits beautifully and it’s one of the most difficult styles to fit. Always be sure to check your bra with the Simply Be Bra Fitting Guide to ensure you get the best fit for your plunge bra.

Bra fitting guide

Remember; plunge bras are not a torture device designed for creating a double-boob cleavage, but about creating a sexy shape, having bra cups which are invisible under low cut tops, all whilst supporting you effortlessly!

Colour Me Pretty

Bring a little more of your personality to your undergarments with some bright, bold and patterned sets. Now’s your chance to be anything but sensible with your lingerie choices. Add something to your basket which you’d be proud to show off, either as a flash of colour with a bra strap on display or a fun, bright pop of colour under a semi-sheer top. Neon is the new nude, don’t you know!

Be on trend and get attention with Simply Be’s incredible ‘brights’ collection. Do you dare to rock a colour clash style? You know you want to!

Boudoir Beauty

Whether you’re a loved-up lass or a sexy singleton, we all need lingerie which is designed to be seen. That’s where sexy lingerie comes into play. You don’t always need to go for the obvious choices with timeless reds or blacks. Orange, white, green and purple can be fabulous alternatives.

Never underestimate the power of vintage, pin-up shapes to make you feel fabulous, it’s without doubt the most flattering boudoir bra style for curvy ladies. Basques and chemises are perfect for anyone who would rather cover up a little and balconette styles look sensational whilst offering the support and shape needed by bigger boobs.

Oh, and don’t be scared of big pants – they’re officially back. No, not Bridget Jones-style bloomers, I mean figure-hugging high-waisted knickers which show off and flatter every curve.

Strapless Solutions

So, you’ve got the perfect LBD with a glorious off the shoulder shape which shows off your décolletage to a tee. This is not the times for bra straps.

Simply Be’s strapless collection is unrivalled – with the world’s largest strapless bra from Naturally Close (with a size range of a B to a K cup no less!) and bust-boosting moulded styles to choose from.

Don’t overlook how useful a multiway bra can be; something which can be converted from a standard strapped bra to a halter or racer-back can really open up a plethora of different clothing solutions. Elomi’s gorgeous Rita multiway can be converted into a racer-back with a genius use of a J hook fastening, plus the latest ‘Royal Blue’ fashion colour is breathtaking.

Blue strapless bra lingerie set

Strapless styles don’t need to be dull. With bright red satin styles and this season’s bluebell tones to select from, you can still set hearts racing with your strapless solutions.

What do you make of my lingerie essentials? Have I missed anything? If you had to pick just one bra for each section which would you go for?

Watch this space for more lingerie-focussed articles from me on the Simply Be blog, to help you with your fitting issues and to show you how you can extend your fashion sense into your lingerie drawer.

Abroad Holiday Essentials

Hello my loves, so this is my first post here at Simply Be and I’ve got the fantastic task of talking to you about the holiday season. It seems a little alien to me because I haven’t been on holiday since 2009! Yep, I’m not even joking it’s been that long. However I do have a holiday booked for September and I’m so excited I’ve already started planning what I want to take with me and I’m constantly thinking about the outfits I want to wear. I will be spending my 30th birthday out in Turkey with three friends so there’s going to be lots of lounging by the poolside, day trips discovering new places and tropical evenings spent sipping a cocktail or 5. My suitcase essentials, therefore have to cover relaxed, comfortable and glam. I wholeheartedly believe that getting the staples right is key and then you can fill in the gaps later. So here are my top suitcase picks…

Crochet Maxi Dress £35

First up my holy grail of any holiday suitcase is a maxi dress. I personally swear by a plain black maxi; whether you’re dressing it down for daytime or glamming it up for the evening, this is an item every girl’s holiday luggage needs. Not only is it perfect holiday attire but when you’re back home you can still get plenty of wear out of it by layering it up for colder English climates.

Black Crochet Maxi Dress

Convertible Swimdress £48

Don’t forget your swimwear! I’m all about a nicely cut swimsuit or swim dress and this Magisculpt Convertible Swim dress ticks both boxes for me. Not only is this amazing, violet bright pop of colour going to make you stand out like a million dollars it can be worn in different ways to suit however you’re most comfortable. It’s a swimsuit, swim dress and sarong all in one – me likey!

Convertible sarong swimdress

White Kaftan £24

Not only is this fabulous for covering up on those cool summer evenings, but I’d definitely be dressing this up for evenings with loads of statement jewellery and maybe a little metallic skinny belt around the middle. And at £24? Bargain!

White Kaftan

High Waist Button Up Short £25

Who wears short shorts? Or slightly longer shorts? Well whichever you fancy, I love these denim beauties; the length means you can choose to wear them a little longer or roll them up a bit if you want to show off a bit more of your new tan. Wear them with your kaftan around the pool or team them up for daytime wandering with a gorgeous graphic or printed tee like the Aztec one below.

High waist button-up denim shorts

Aztec Print Short Sleeve Blouse £20

Aztec-print short-sleeve blouse

Straw Hat £20 & French Connection Cateye Sunglasses £39

Last but not least, top your look off with a fabulous statement hat and a chic pair of sunnies.

Floppy Straw Hat French Connection Cateye Sunglasses

The best thing with all of these items is that they’re all pretty much interchangeable. The kaftan with the shorts, the tee over the maxi and the swimsuit underneath the maxi – it all works!

Oh and don’t forget your suncream!

Naomi xoxox

Bra, boobs and busting cup size myths

Bra, boobs and busting cup size myths

When it comes to clothes, it seems that bras are the biggest mystery of all for us women. They never fit right, they never look right and all of those letters and numbers don’t seem to make sense. I often liken having boobs to owning a car – someone’s got to teach you how to look after them!

The worst thing you can do to your boobs is wear an ill-fitting bra. It can be uncomfortable, it can make you resent your assets and it can even change the shape of your bust. So hopefully my tips and pointers will help you on your way to becoming a fully licensed bust owner!

The first thing you should remember when it comes to bras is that the letters and numbers are NOT scary! If your boobs are over a D cup so what? It doesn’t make them any bigger than they were before they got that label. So you wear a 40+ band? At least you are comfortable. No one needs to know your lingerie label lyrics unless YOU choose to tell them, so there’s no need to get your bra in a twist.

Your bra band should take 80% of the weight of your bust. Now, fear not, you don’t need to mess about with scales, weights and measures, you just need to ensure that the bra band is snug around your torso, but loose enough that you can comfortable slip two fingers under the band. It should be at the same level all the way around and parallel to the floor. Remember if the band is arching up at the back it will be sagging down at the front and putting a lot of strain on your shoulders. If the bra is new, it needs to be fastened on the loosest hook, as the other hooks are there for when the bra starts to stretch out due to being worn. If you struggle to get the bra on the loosest hook then it might be wise to size up or use an extender.

The underwire in the cups of the bra should fully encase your breasts and sit around them, never on them. The central gore (the part where the wires meet in the middle of your chest) should sit flat between your breasts and if they or any other part of the wire does not, you should consider a size up to allow it to do so. Your breast tissue should be within the cups all the way around, from under your arms to the front of your chest. Double boobin’ ain’t a good look, so make sure you size up if that happens, or size down if you have a lot of space in your cups.

Simply Be multipack bras

The bra straps should take 20% of the bust weight, really they are just there to keep the bra up. If your straps are digging into your shoulders you might need to loosen them and if they fall down a lot give them a tighten. If you, like most women, have asymmetrical breasts you might need to adjust them to different lengths. Just like the bra band the straps need to be at a two finger tension.

If you need to size up or down in the band or cup, you need to take sister sizes into account. As bra cups are worked out by volume, not all cups are created equal. A ‘G’ cup is going to be very different on a 28 band compared to a 40. Just think that if one measurement goes one way the other goes the other way. For example, I wear a 36H in certain brands, but in other brands where the bands are cut looser but the cups are cut the same I wear a 34HH.

I hope that this brief overview has explained the basic of boob and bra owning for you. In my next post I will cover some more of these topics in greater depth.

Because Rules Often Hold Back Progress

Marie Southard Ospina (1)

The first homecoming dance of my high school career wasn’t particularly memorable, but I remember it nonetheless. The Top-40 playlist bashing from cheap loudspeakers was standard, the chocolate fountain unfortunately underwhelming, the cliquishness and subtle discrimination amongst my fellow peers typical. What I remember most has nothing to do with the dancing or the popular vs. unpopular warzone, but rather the reactions I got through the night, both at home and in the school gym where the dance was held, for daring to wear a form-fitting dress. At the time, I must have been a UK size 14 (U.S. size 10). I wasn’t particularly fat, but I did have fat on my body. Those around me were subsequently offended by me, for not choosing to wear something that would erase the existence of my belly, thighs and even arms.

Before stepping out of the house, mi madre made a comment about the dress I had chosen for being too revealing. The simple truth is that it wasn’t. Though the straps were thin and the cut slightly above the knee, it was a dress that any teen girl’s mother should have given an instant ok to. Form-fitting whilst still being the antithesis of night-club-y. Respectable whilst preserving a certain fun (lime green sequins set on a black fabric – a win in my mind). It wasn’t that the dress was too revealing in the traditional sense of the word, it was that the dress revealed that my body was one with fat on it. With its almost-neon sequins and flattering cut, it didn’t make me invisible and at school the stares continued, even from “friends.” Comments about how I should lay off the McDonald’s weren’t far behind. A particularly hateful girl periodically whispered “eww” at my ear through the night and one gentleman like fellow complimented my small muffin top in deep sarcasm – seeming genuinely insulted that I should trouble his young eyes with the sight of my unconcealed pudge.

I consoled myself with the thought that eventually high school would end and adults would be more tolerant to my somewhat larger body. Through the years though, I gained more weight and the criticism did not diminish, whether I was at university or at a family gathering or even shopping in a store. Articles telling plus-size women what we should and shouldn’t wear permeated most of the women’s lifestyle sites and magazines I visited, even the supposedly “plus-size friendly” ones. If it wasn’t a human telling me that I had to be a certain way, dress a certain way, think a certain way to my face, it was a human at the other end of a computer screen doing so. The rules were and are, endless. Don’t wear bright colours, don’t think about horizontal stripes, avoid tight clothes at all costs, hide the belly, never leave the house without shapewear, patterns are NOT for you.

While I am aware that “do’s and don’t’s” of fashion exist for women of all sizes and body types, there is no denying that they have become an almost inherent part of writing, with fashion tips geared at larger women. The mentality that we are somehow inferior, somehow unattractive and in need of guidance to hide and deny our bodies, has become so customary that is has infected the minds, the self esteem, the confidence, the self-love of plus-size women everywhere. We are so constantly told that we have to diet and tone and hide until the “perfect body” is achieved, it’s no wonder we begin to believe it. I certainly did and for years I followed the rules as I was told, I crash dieted until I was dangerously ill and I remained veiled under layers of shapeless, baggy fabrics. There is nothing wrong with favouring loose-fitting clothing, if it’s a personal preference but to feel obligated to wear loose-fitting clothing because you have been shamed and made to feel an outcast is fundamentally wrong.

When I started blogging almost two years ago, a new reality formed before me. By this point, I had moved away from home, spent time living abroad in what I perceived to be a far more body-friendly environment and even begun to fall in love. I was in one of the happiest head-spaces I’d ever been in, and with that, my confidence and sense of worth began to increase. I immersed myself into the world of plus-size blogging. I followed women who were of similar sizes to myself, and seemed to relish in breaking the rules that the mainstream fashion had set for them and I yearned to do the same. I wanted to rock the sailor look in a cute little horizontal striped bodycon. I wanted to wear neon pink and not feel on display. I wanted to wear flower prints and psychedelic patterns and tartan everything. I wanted to exist as I wanted to exist – without rules marking my every outfit choice and ultimately one of the most basic representations of my personality.

Marie Southard Ospina (2)

I still gravitate toward brands that want to break the rules. If I click on a website and feel drowned in advertisements going on about how “tummy-tucking” or “thigh-minimizing” or even flattering something is, I’m quick to turn away, because I cannot fathom why our principal goal as fuller-figured women must always be to pretend we are not fuller-figured women.

With that in mind, I’ve fallen in love with brands like Simply Be, who bring together a plethora of designers who want to be unflinchingly bold and innovative and participate in the creation of something women can feel beautiful in. Anna Scholz, for instance, loves experimenting with audacious patterns and cuts. Her tropical print dress remains one of my favourites, for its body-hugging cut and charmingly obnoxious pattern. AX Paris Curve is all about showing off the body proudly, their jewel print piece being the ultimate emblem of that. The new LOOK Magazine collection is full of massive flowers and traditionally “straight-size” items (like jumpsuits), proving that plus-size women can look and feel just as amazing in a style as anybody else. And everything about Grazia says, “This is me and I will not be invisible” (their oriental style dress still has my heart). Simply Be is amongst the few brands I think are truly dedicated to trumping the rules and cultivating confidence and happiness because at the end of the day, all women and all people are deserving of such emotions. More often than not we will still be told to stick to the rules, to the antiquated doctrine; to the status quo – but that is what, makes breaking those rules all the more satisfying. They are born from intolerance; they are born from hatred, but breaking them will only breed self-acceptance and love.

AX Paris Jewel Print Bodycon Dress Look Floral Print Jumpsuit Grazia Floral Print Dress

Getting To Know…Simply Be Make-up Artist Lou Box.

Working full-time as a hair and make-up artist for almost 5 years, Lou Box works as a freelance make-up artist across a broad spectrum of commercial clients and fashion magazines. Most notably she’s worked for Italian Vogue and Vivienne Westwood. She said; “I absolutely love my job and I count myself incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love and make a living out of it. I’ve had a couple of ‘breaks’ over the years but I think the real turning point for me was signing with my agency Me&CoThey nurtured me from the very beginning and absolutely enabled me to become the artist I am today.”

Lou (pictured right) next to our fashion stylist Karen.

LouBox Make up artist May

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Wardrobe Hero: The Maxi Dress

With the ability to magically move from casual cool to effortlessly glam in the blink of an eye (and a swift switch of accessories), the versatile maxi dress has had us smitten for several  summer seasons. When it comes to this Wardrobe Hero, one thing’s for sure: the maxi dress is going nowhere.

Initially popular in the swinging ‘60s, the maxi dress represented a rebellion against the popular mini-skirt; a hemline revolution largely appropriated by those fantastically folksy, free-spirited hippies. While the modern maxi can take on a range of guises to suit every event in a girl’s summer calendar, this ankle-grazer hasn’t lost any of its easy-breezy appeal. In fact, it’s probably its laidback nature which makes the maxi such a must-have during the free and easy summer months. Great for beach, bar and just about everything in between, we take a look at three ways to wear one of our favourite maxis of the season, taken straight from our fabulous Look! Magazine collection.

Maximum cool

Go back to the maxi’s roots and channel your inner hippy chick by teaming your maxi with a throwback denim jacket and tan boho accessories.

Wardrobe Hero: The Maxi Dress

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Summer beauty hacks

With a whole weekend of lovely weather under our belt, we’re gonna put ourselves out there and say that summer is well and truly on its way (hoorah!). But with the arrival of sunshine comes a whole new set of makeup dilemmas to contend with…mascara-melting temperatures, moisture-sapping aircons, skin-scorching sunrays…they can all result in major makeup misery. Get through the sunny season looking fresh-faced and minus the makeup meltdown with our top four summer beauty hacks… Summertime

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