Monday, 30 November 2015

Playful Promises Juliet Review

***Disclaimer: This lingerie set was sent to me free of charge. This in no way affects my opinions and/or views expressed in this blogpost.

A moment of silent reverence please, to the lingerie goddesses for bestowing this beauty among us. Or at least, to the team over at Playful Promises. Yes, it's here: from the second I heard whispers about their 28-36" DD-G collection I was on the edge of my seat. So I was jumping up and down shouting excited when Anna emailed and offered me a set to review. A quick perusal over what was on offer left me with only one real choice. I mean, they're all gorgeous but Juliet is just on another level in my opinion. This bra is the kind of design I would never have believed I could find in a fuller bust range. It is pure architectural, minimalist, sexy goodness.

That's right I said sexy. An important message I will happily argue with others over is that lingerie is not implicitly sexual. Society has needlessly fetishised it leading some to see it as having no function other than to turn men on *cough* patriarchy *cough*. But whatever, f*ck men! This makes me feel sexy. I feel powerful and confident while I'm wearing this set, and those are not emotions easy to come by for me nowadays.

I'm currently hovering between bra sizes but decided to risk it and go down to a 28G for this bra, while sticking to a size small (which is a UK 10) for the pants and girdle rather than my usual 8 because of their high waist. I'm really happy with the fit of the bra, although I could most likely comfortably have gone up a cup size (which would have involved going for a 30G because of the size range). Instead I get a nice level of compression and support. I would compare the shape it gives me to the Pour Moi 'Addicted' bra, if anyone happens to own that as well. My low density, bottom heavy breasts experience a little bit of cutting in which I suspect is unavoidable for my particular breast type in such shallow cups, but it's minimal and doesn't bother me.

In terms of the brief, it's made from such a soft, pliant mesh which means that I could probably have gone for it in an XS. I went up a size to avoid them being overly tight around my midsection but they're stretchy enough to be quite generous with the sizing. The roll on girdle, on the other hand, is made from a sturdier mesh like the bra. I assume this is to provide adequate support and a little bit of shaping in the case of the girdle. Because of its stronger material I'm definitely happy with my choice of a size S.

I actually wasn't expecting to be sent the girdle as well as the bra (with included harness) and the briefs, so I feel very grateful and spoilt by the lovely Playful Promises team. I really love how the girdle and briefs have been elevated from just basic black mesh pieces by that cut out design on the back. At the same time, I adore how easy it is to mix and match this set with other black pieces. I feel like this bra was made to be matched with Hopeless Lingerie pieces and I've really been enjoying experimenting with different combinations so far.

Although I feel the set can look a bit busy on me with the harness included (because of my short stature), I think it's so brilliant that Playful have included the harness with the bra while not attaching it. This allows it to be used with other sets or even as outerwear. The harness is fully adjustable around the waist and neck and has an almost plush underside so it is comfortable against the skin.

While the girdle suspender straps are not adjustable, they're not overly long so I didn't have much issue with them. The sturdy clips keep my stockings in place all day long, and the high waist ensures it doesn't slip down at all. I'm going to take this moment to comment on the fact that I have never owned a roll on girdle before and therefore hadn't discovered how much easier they are to go to the bathroom while wearing than regular girdles. It's so nice to just be able to yank it down without thinking twice! Then it's just a quick stocking readjust before heading back out into the big bad world.

This set is definitely worth the money for it's versatility and gorgeous design but if you're a bit more budget conscious then I think the bra is an excellent investment piece in itself. It'll match with any black lingerie while bringing an extra edge to any outfit. It may not be the most practical piece of lingerie in the world, but it sure is gorgeous. So if you're looking to treat yourself along with your friends and family this festive season, Juliet gets my vote.

Thanks for reading. x

Friday, 13 November 2015

Lollypop Nursing Bra Review

My 13th blog post going up on Friday 13th... oooooh! Sorry it's been a while, I underestimated how hard it would be to get pictures taken once British winter rolled in and the skies turned to a permanent grey. However it was getting to the point where I really needed to get something out there because I have a lot of reviews that I want to share with you lovely readers. So kicking it off I have my final nursing bra review. I weaned my son a few weeks ago (a story for another post, perhaps) so I am officially bidding adieu to nursing bras for now. And honestly, this bra was one of the only reasons I stuck it out for the last few weeks.

Because look at it, look at it. Is this not the most beautiful nursing bra you've ever seen?! I actually bought this many months ago from Cache Coeur, a French lingerie brand specialising in maternity and nursing styles. When I made it past the year mark with breastfeeding, something I had never previously expected to do, I decided to treat myself to a new bra. It was a hard decision to choose between the Lollypop design in bright pink, or the Magic bra in that gorgeous soft cloud colour. Lollypop ended up winning out because pink and also, its shape reminds me of some Chantal Thomass designs. Must be something about the French.

I struggled with deciding on a size to order because just before ordering I had a bad experience trying to figure out my European size for a Kris Line nursing bra. Also, for the life of me I could not find a size guide on the Cache Couer site. Eventually I ended up googling it which took me to this page on their site which includes a calculator. I inputed my size and it put me in a US 32D. Which 1) is not my size and 2) is completely useless when ordering from a site which uses EU bra sizes. I decided to risk it and order a 70H which should be the same as a UK 32G. I was then wearing my 30GG panache nursing bras and couldn't get a smaller back size than 70.

When it arrived it was far too big and the label actually stated that their 70H was equivalent to a UK 32H. So I emailed customer service and they told me to exchange it for a 70G. Long story short: I got the bra but not before weeks went by. I had to email them reminding them about the exchange after which they promptly sent the new bra out. Even then I could probably have sized down another cup size, and I definitely could now that I'm wearing between a 28G/30FF. But that is one of the wonders of wireless nursing bras! They are really flexible on sizing. Cache Coeur's in particular are made of material with a minimal of 15% elastin in the cups to allow it to stretch as you grow throughout pregnancy and nursing. There are also 4 rows of hooks in the back for extra adjusting. I wear mine on the tightest but would ideally have it a bit snugger as I prefer a super tight bra band.

One of the things which attracted me to Cache Coeur as a nursing lingerie brand was their incorporation of magnetic clips. Although these take a bit of getting used to, I found them much more secure compared to my other nursing bras which had a habit of occasionally un-hooking themselves throughout the day. Another innovation of this brand is a microfiber lining of the cup allowing the fabric to dry faster than normal if any leakages occur. This is something which I unexpectedly got to test out as I didn't realise you can start leaking again during weaning.

Which brings me to the main perk of this bra. Let's face it, it doesn't matter how pretty or scientifically enhanced a nursing bra is if it's not going to be comfortable. And this bra is so comfortable. I spent a good week being tender and engorged while weaning and this bra was so lovely to wear throughout that period. It's got just the right amount of stretch and the fabric is super breathable. Also, for a wireless bra it really does give excellent support which I think is in large part due to it's lightly molded cups incorporated with boning on either side.

And it's just. so. cute. The lace, the adorable little matching shorts (which I bought in a size S, by the way), the little bow on the gore which resembles a tiny frilly pom pom... I really just love it so much. So I'll be sad to put this away in my maternity stash, but I know that Cache Coeur will be my first stop for nursing bras if I ever get pregnant again.

Thanks for reading. x 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Transitioning Out of Nursing Bras: Part II

Hello again, and welcome to the second half of of my journey back to "normal" bras. If you remember correctly (and I know that's quite hard as it was written a few weeks ago, sorry! Life got the better of me for a bit there...) I left off Part I at the realisation that I would have to book myself in for a professional fitting in order to discover my current bra size. Now I'm a procrastinator so I put it off for a while longer until one weekend I had the most immense back pain by the end of the day. Changing out of my clothes I spotted my reflection in the mirror and realised that the band of my ever faithful Anita nursing bra was stretched up around my shoulder blades. Definitely not where it is supposed to be, and most likely the cause of my back ache.

The next morning I immediately booked myself in for a fitting at none other than Bravissimo. I love that they don't use measuring tapes, something that I've already shown to be useless in deciphering my bra size, instead just going off of how the bra you're wearing fits or doesn't fit in my case. I walked in wearing my Lorna Drew Alexa with tightened cup adjusters which allow the wearer to decrease the cup volume a small amount.

I think this may have thrown the fitter off a bit as I tried to explain that the adjustment meant I was much smaller than the 30HH the bra was labelled as, but she decided to just try a 30H to begin with. So below you can see me in the Alana Bra by Bravissimo. As I'd imagined there would be, there was a lot of gaping and puckering along the top of the bra so it was immediately obvious that I would need to go down a couple more sizes. I would also like to take a minute to explain why I didn't manage to get pictures of all the bras I tried on. My fitter often brought in 3 or 4 bras at a time and I obviously didn't want to take pictures with her in the room! So you, my dear reader, will just have to cope with the pictures I managed to snap while she dipped out to the stockroom. 

It's a no go I'm afraid!

The next few bras were trialled and we gradually moved down cup sizes and back sizes before settling on 28GG/30G as the one which would work the most for me, depending on how tight the bra band is. My hero buy was the Panache Porcelain Bra which I'm wearing in the first picture of this blog post. I love this bra. Can you believe I've never owned a t-shirt bra before? No, I can't either. It's so wonderfully smooth, supportive and minimalistic. It's padded enough that I don't have to worry about nipples showing when I'm cold; but it doesn't feel bulky under clothes. Seriously,  I can't get enough of how wonderful it is to wear a bra which actually fits. And yeah, it also doesn't have a bow on it's centre gore. #winning

Looking like a munchkin in a robe clearly designed for the more average height and size bravissimo customers.

So at this point I'm kind of on a high and decide that maaaaybe I can treat myself. I spotted the Cleo Breeze as I was first walking into the store and may have let out an audible sigh. So now that I have my basic bra I timidly ask if I could try the longline on. My fitter smiles knowingly and ventures off to retrieve it for me.

 After she returned and we resumed the process of cinching and scooping me into the bra. At one point I felt like Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Carribean, being laced into her too tight corset. I said, laughing but in all seriousness, that I may need the 32 back because I've got some upper belly pudge left over from my baby bump. And it is at this point that she informs me that she actually went for the 28 back, not the 30, but insists that it is doing up! Sure enough, she squeezes me into it but I can barely breathe and ask if I can maybe try the 30.

That is my slightly panicked expression FYI.

The 30 ends up working great, but is actually a FF cup because according to my fitter this bra runs large in the cup. In actual fact I have initial gaping along the top of the cups whenever I put this bra on but, going back to adjusting to my new incredibly soft breasts, as I wear it throughout the day my breast tissue migrates into the gap and even over spills slightly near the gore. This is kind of frustrating but worth it because I feel so damn gorgeous whenever I wear this bra.

...And that is a genuine smile because PRETTY.

This trip was definitely a lesson in figuring out which shapes work for me as the Cleo longline was not the only splurge I went for. While walking to the checkout I spotted the Freya Eden Bra, which I have been lusting over for so long, and immediately snatched it up. Unfortunately I may have been a bit too hasty as it's actually a demi cup and my breats just will not stay put in it if I wear it for any length of time. When it first goes on, all is well. Two hour later, my nipples are poking out the top. Not really day time appropriate.

I've accepted at this point that I'm on a learning curve when it comes to figuring out what's going to work for my new body. I'm glad that I now have a basic bra size to work from thanks to the lovely ladies at the Liverpool branch of Bravissimo, but I've also been taught that different brands, shapes, and designs will all result in sizing discrepancies. Also, it's going to be a bit of trial and error over the next little while figuring out exactly which bra shapes are going to reign in my breast tissue. For now, I'm happy rotating round my little selection which still includes a couple of nursing bras. I'm not ready to give up that wireless comfort quite yet!

Thanks for reading. x

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Transitioning Out of Nursing Bras: Part I

If you follow me on twitter you may have caught some of my rants on recent bra woes as I find myself attempting to progress into "proper bras" after almost two years of wearing maternity and nursing bras. I've managed to wean my son down to only a nursing session first thing in the morning and last thing at night, a level I'm happy with and plan to keep at for as long as possible, and which means I can get back to wearing non-nursing bras during the day time. But this has proved rather problematic.

So let me take you on a little journey through my various attempts to figure out my own size, hopefully this may help any other mamas who are on the same journey as me.

Let's start at the beginning then shall we? A few months ago I figured out that I could actually fit into my 30GG nursing bras. This was exciting because "YEY! My uncomfortably large breasts are shrinking!" but also because I had a rather nice Bravado nursing bra alongside the Freya Deco Wireless Plunge that I hadn't been able to wear ever since my milk came in a postpartum. How great was my disappointment then, when they went on seamlessly at the beginning of the day, only to find myself spilling out of them within an hour or so of the usual mum-nastics and household upkeep.

The only thing I could imagine was that I wasn't actually a 30GG. So I ran the numbers... and they were confounding. When measured I found myself to have a snug 30" underbust and a 37" bust. Using the ol' reliable and ultra basic method for figuring out one's bra size (each inch subtracted between the two equals a cup size) that would have put me in a 30F. The A Bra That Fits calculator was slightly more helpful, suggesting I was a 30G/GG, but this didn't solve my conundrum of why I was then spilling out of 32G sized bras.

So this brings me to my main point of this post, being that online calculators don't work well at the best of times and definitely do not work when figuring out your bra size after over a year of breastfeeding. This I will demonstrate shortly, but beforehand let me just say that it was at this point that I read an absolutely brilliant article from the Secrets From Your Sister blog. I'd recommend anyone who's currently nursing, has in the past, or simply suspects that they have softer than the average breasts giving it a read. For any who don't know, you can loose a lot of breast density and skin elasticity due to changes in breast composition and size during pregnancy and then nursing. Now I've never had particularly firm breasts so this has now left me with very bottom heavy breasts which feel like they really don't have much to them. It was such a relief to finally find some guide lines on how I could go about buying a bra for my "new" breasts".

Which brings me back to the calculators. I thought it would be simple enough to just go back online, input my measurements and then buy a shape recommended by the SFYS post. It did not prove to be quite that easy... I didn't screen shot my original results but here are my current measurements (I've dropped another inch off my bust) inputed into a few of the top bra size calculators you will find while doing a google search.

First up is the 85b calculator. The first two calculators I'm showing here clearly use the +4 method in some way or another. This is the idea that 4" should be added to your underbust measurement and it is this number that should then be subtracted from your bust measurement to find your cup size. This originates from vintage fitting methods when a lack of elastic in the bra band required the extra inches to be added for comfort's sake. Contemporary bra design usually doesn't require this as the amount of stretch available can often lead to a lack of support, especially for larger busts, when the extra inches are added.

As you can see from the 85b calculator their use of this method led them to suggest a 34 band for me. Which would leave only 2" to be subtracted between my measurements, thus putting me in a B cup. 

Just, no.

Moving on to the bra size calculator found on (sounds promising, right?) we find that they have placed me in a UK 34F.  This one is actually the closest to my current bra size in that if I sister size down I reach it. However a 34 band is no where near tight enough to provide adequate support for my breasts.

Finally, we have the A Bra That Fits Calculator devised by the clever ladies who run the subreddit of the same name. This is usually the calculator that I would recommend for those who really refuse to have an instore bra fitting but this time it didn't quite work for me this time around. To be fair, it's only a cup size off the one I have now discovered to work best for me, but it's still got to be said that it didn't work out correctly.

So my little theory as to why my breasts do not obey the rules of typical methods is this: my loss of elasticity and density has led to breasts which sit lower on my body and slightly flatter against my chest. This results in a circumference measurement that's smaller than it "should" be, but once they're piled up high into a regular underwire bra the actual volume is still there so they would spill out of most of the sizes these calculators put me in.

Angry, uncomfortable and just generally fed up I was left with only one thing to do: get fitted in store. And I will detail this experience in my next blog post!

Thanks for reading. x

Thursday, 10 September 2015

What Katie Did L3015 Glamour Waspie

What Katie Did are a British lingerie brand who specialise in vintage styled designs. They are very true to the style and structure of by-gone eras, more so than any similar brands I have mentioned on my blog, and so are perfect for pin-ups and vintage clothing aficionados. An example of their commitment to the designs of the past is my L3015 Glamour Waspie which was inspired by a Victorian riding corset.

I have never got on particularly well with regular shapewear. Corsets: I love. They make me feel supported and like I’m being given a firm hug all day long. Shapewear on the other hand makes me feel like my midsection is being compressed in the worst way while all my fat is squeezed up and out. Not pleasant.

So when I spotted the glamour waspie in WKD’s summer sale I was intrigued. While incorporating traditional shapewear elements such as power mesh and a waist band, it also has spiral steel boning throughout. I loved the idea that these would help in keeping it’s shape because one of the most common problems I find with big spanx style knickers is that they roll over at the top (probably because I’m too small) creating a bulge of flesh where they meet my bra.

WKD’s designs are cut to vintage patterns which means they run quite small. Therefore it’s really important to consult their size chart before purchasing. I ended up confusing myself greatly while measuring myself as the numbers I was getting put me into a size 16 according to my waist measurement but only a 10 according to my hip measurement. Now, I’m used to the two measuring differently as my upper half is out of proportion to my lower half and I always have to size up for my waist when buying pants that come up higher than my hips. However this seemed a bit extreme. Thankfully at this point a chatbox popped up asking if I wanted to speak to a sales associate. They immediately got to the route of the problem by asking if I had measured my waist firmly 2” above my belly button. It turned out I had been measuring too low on my body and too loose. With that help, I decided to go for a size 12.

The 12 fits me perfectly, smoothing my stomach out and really emphasising my curves. I actually couldn’t believe the difference it made to my silhouette when I first put it on. The waist band really cinches me in around my waist and gives me a more defined hourglass shape. Because I’m only 5’3” it probably gives me a bit more coverage than it would the average woman and as you can see from some of the photos, a bit of back fat bulge is unavoidable. But I don’t notice this at all when I have clothes on so it’s obviously not too extreme. I also think the fuller length version would have been too long for me, but would work really well on someone with a longer torso.

On my first day of test driving the waspie I went out to an Italian restaurant with my in-laws and ate a three course carb heavy meal. It was super easy to slip to the bathroom after the main course and swap to the looser hooks to accommodate my expanding stomach and make room for dessert. The waspie was surprisingly comfortable and I happily wore it the whole day through, as it made me feel secure and smoothed out under my outfit.

I love that it comes with detachable suspender straps which allows me to wear it with a dress and stockings or with jeans and a top. I would have maybe preferred if there had been 6 suspender straps rather than the 4 as I like to wear nylon stockings which really need a good grip. However the suspender clips are super sturdy and actually keep most of my stockings in place throughout the day. I think the inclusion of suspender straps helps transform the waspie from boring shapewear into a beautiful inclusion to many of my lingerie outfits.

Other factors of the design that help with this are the satin panel which covers the front and contrasts with the black mesh of the rest of the waspie, as well as a row of tiny ruffles around the bottom edge. I really love this little detail which adds a feminine touch to what would otherwise have been a rather block-y piece of lingerie. I did notice a few loose threads dangling from the ruffles after a few wears but they were easy enough to snip off and there haven’t been any more since.

I am so happy with my purchase from WKD and am getting a lot of wear out of it because of its versatility as well as how comfortable it is. Unfortunately after taking the photos for this post I discovered it had actually been discontinued (my fault for thinking I could review something from a summer sale three months later…). However when I queried WKD on twitter they informed me that their L3018
Glamour Waist Cincher is the new and improved version. While I’m happy with the aesthetics of my own glamour waspie I will admit that the new design is indeed prettier! And if it is also similar or even better than my own then I would happily recommend them to anyone.

These designs are perfect if you’re like me and are too lazy for full time corset wearing but hate most modern shapewear. They also may be well suited if you’re postpartum and looking for something to encourage your stomach muscles to hold themselves back in again. I know that belly bands are very popular right now for new mama’s but I would imagine that structured designs like this with boning may actually be more comfortable than the more tubular designs. I myself considered waist training with a corset postpartum but then had to admit to myself that I was too lazy to commit to that.

So until I can work up the effort and funds to do that, I’ll stick to my glamour waspie. If anyone’s interested in this design rather than the newer ones, there are reduced listings of the longer versions in peach and black on Amazon. Otherwise it may require a bit of searching around online to locate one.

Thanks for reading. x

Bra by Peek & Beau, Pants by Made By Niki (the black is sold out but pink and yellow are available here), Stockings are Jonathan Aston, available here.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Sacha Kimmes Review

***Disclaimer: This lingerie set was sent to me free of charge. This in no way affects my opinions and/or views expressed in this blogpost.

Sacha Kimmes is an indie designer based in Belgium who creates soft, effeminate lingerie designs completely by herself. I've been a big fan of her aesthetic ever since I became submerged in the wonderful world of underwear, so when she offered to send me a set to review I was over the moon. We decided the Daphne crop top, with matching Camellia open back brief, would be best suited for my bust. I then sent Sacha my measurements and she deduced that a medium size crop top with a smaller band would be best along with my usual size small pants. One of my favourite things about indie designers is that they are often willing to customise the fit for you on their designs. If you have a body type like mine that often falls outside of the size chart then it's always worth enquiring whether they can do custom sizes.

When the pieces arrived I was overjoyed. Just taking them out of the package was exciting as I could feel the softness of the lace and the silky satin bows. Every edge is finished with a velvet soft elastic which is so nice against my skin and allows for a comfortable fit. The lace also has just the tiniest amount of stretch to it so the pieces hug my body and I don't feel like my curves are straining against the fabric. In the centre of the crop top and at the back of the pants are two satin bows. Each of them is stitched in place which is great news if, like me, you're terrible at tying bows and can never get them quite even.

The fit of the Camellia brief is just as I would expect from a size small. I will admit that I was a bit worried at first about taking pictures in these after looking at the pert bum of the model on Sacha Kimmes' site. While I love these type of pants (I think at least a third of mine are open back) they're often not the most complimenting on my rather lacking backside. However I was not to worry because something about the cut of the Camellia is so flattering. For once I don't hate looking at pictures of my behind, rather I actually had a hard time choosing between them all for this post!


The Daphne crop top is also an excellent fit but I would caution that I think this is a lot to do with my new breast type. A year of nursing my baby has led to a severe loss of density in my breasts, and they weren't all too firm to begin with. This means I can squish them into pretty much anything because they don't hold much of a shape by themselves any more. If you have firm and large breasts I would suggest checking if the crop top can be lengthened as I found it sits really high on my chest, unlike the usual positioning of my breasts. But because I am able to scoop mine up into the top it gives me some pretty impressive cleavage. Along with that, the full coverage aspect of it means that I am not constantly spilling out of it in the same way I am with so many of my bras nowadays. All in all Daphne has proven really supportive which is not something I often find in bralettes or designs like this. I usually opt for them in search of comfort and a bit more coverage, but with this I can have that plus a bit of lift.

So... I love these. There isn't really much more to be said. The delicate lace and bows make the set seem more pretty and innocent than you would expect from black lace lingerie with backless pants. I feel feminine while not being overtly sexual. Instead I feel like this is a set designed just for me to enjoy, which I do very much! Sacha has a number of designs in the same black lace in her store which you could mix and match with either of these; just in case you prefer your pants with a bit less exposure, or slightly less coverage on your upper half. For me it's the Adama collection that I have my sights set on next.

Thanks for reading, and thank you Sacha for sending me such wonderful pieces. x

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

One Year As A Mother

A lot of the posts you find on my blog will not strictly be related to the fact that I am a nursing mother. Lingerie is an outlet for me to express a side of me that doesn't feel "mumsy", something that I believe is important for any new mother; to retain a sense of yourself amidst the sea of parenthood. However, tomorrow my baby turns one and we celebrate a magical yet slightly nightmarish year of parenting our little munchkin. I've had a rather intense last few years between moving out, starting two different university courses, moving country and getting married. But none of these have changed me in any way near the amount that becoming a mother has and I've been thinking a lot about these changes recently and how they relate to my love of lingerie.

Probably the most obvious way pregnancy and the then aftermath has had an affect on me is physically. Writing about body image, whether positively or negatively, feels quite uncomfortable to me as I am fully aware of my own privilege. I am young, I have always been slender, and to top it all off I am also white. I have also been blessed with good genes (because, seriously, everyone underestimates how much they control) which meant that I didn't put on too much weight during pregnancy, I slimmed down very fast after giving birth, and one year later most of my stretch marks have faded a great deal. In fact, I actually lost weight during pregnancy due to extreme morning sickness during my first trimester which resulted in losing fat stores on my legs and behind (and this would be the year of the ass, thanks Nicki...). These instead migrated to my stomach to protect my ever expanding bump, which meant that 2 weeks after giving birth I was left staring at myself in the mirror, not recognising this body with its uncomfortably large breasts, protruding stomach, and gangly legs.

This complete disassociation lasted many months until I gradually began to get used to my new shape. Projects like Take Back Postpartum and 4th Trimester Bodies slowly helped me learn to love my body for what it had done in creating my son and nourishing him. Also, and I hate to say this I really do, exercise has helped a lot. I started doing Blogilates at home a few months ago and that has made such a huge difference. Not necessarily to my physical shape (though I swear my bum looks a little perkier, wishful thinking?) but to my strength and awareness of what this amazing body of mine is further capable of. On top of all of these aids, lingerie has been essential to me in reclaiming this flesh and these layers of fat as something of my own. I feel beautiful in lingerie and this wonderful community of fellow lingeristas constantly reaffirms that to me every time I post a new picture on instagram. So thank you ladies, you have no idea what you all mean to me.

Moving on to the less physical ways that motherhood has affected me and my lingerie drawer, I am so much more aware of the ethics behind my purchases now. Somewhere between the hormones making me constantly cry over the world's injustices and having far too much time to spend browsing the internet while nursing, I realised that I needed to try my best to not support companies who did not uphold ethical standards. I'm just taking baby steps (get it?) for now, doing things like unsubscribing from emails sent from the likes of Topshop and H&M, but I do aim to start buying from a lot more indie designers in the future.

Another thing which has contributed to my decision to "go indie" is this sudden awareness of how hard it is in the real world. Before pregnancy I was a university student who had only ever worked one part time job in her life and was living pretty comfortably off of a hefty loans package.* Now, as a full time student balancing studies with looking after my baby, I realise that real life is very difficult. For this reason I am left in awe at designers like Ally of Blue Reign, Sarah of Ohhh Lulu, Danielle of Ava Corsetry, and the many other women like them who balance their business alongside motherhood. Independent business owners like these amazing women need support and I for one plan to give it to them as much as possible.

Finally, one of the most important things that motherhood has taught me is that it's really important to treat yourself. Sometimes, that may mean leaving the baby with a family member for a couple of hours while I go out and get some me time. Other times, it involves spending a significant amount on some lingerie that I've been pining over. Recognising that what I do is hard and that it is therefore necessary for me to find ways to make myself happy has taken a while. But now that I'm here, I feel much less guilt about buying myself some luxury lingerie with the aforementioned loans package. I also am so much more appreciative of the level of detail and work that goes into those luxury pieces now that I can recognise just how significantly a beautiful creation can impact my life. Because at the end of the day if I'm happy, my baby's happy. And all I ever want and ever will want is for him to be happy.

Thanks for reading. x

*Here's a tip: get married while studying because they will then assess your income rather than your parents and you will get all the money. Kidding! Kind of...

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Amoralle Review

Hello again! Sorry that I haven't blogged in a little while, things can get pretty hectic in Mama-life. Especially when your little one is learning how to get around and very quickly at that. I've had this set for a month or so now, after buying it in the Amoralle flash summer sale. In a way I'm actually glad that it's taken me a while to write up this review however. Initially I was a quite disappointed in my purchase, more on that in a minute, but I've grown to love these items. The bodysuit in particular has become one of my favourites for summer evening lounging.

The bodysuit is called the Lace Panelling Bodysuit which I picked up for €36, as opposed to the €90 it would cost normally. The stockings, or "leg warmers" as Amoralle have called them, are called Night Secret on the site and I got them for half price at €16 euros reduced from €32. All in all, some excellent reductions! However, this was dampened slightly by the €20 shipping charge. I've ordered a pair of stockings from them before and had free shipping. On checking their site right now it's still advertising free worldwide shipping with no qualifier. So I don't know what went wrong with my order. I would maybe have queried this further at the time but the flash sale was coming to an end and I felt that I had to act quickly.

As I mentioned before, I was a little disappointed when the parcel first arrived. I don't feel like the products quite live up to the imagery used on the Amoralle site. I was expecting a more matte appearance to the stretch-jersey of the bodysuit. I feel like the sheen on it makes it look cheaper than I would ideally like, especially for something that should have cost €90. The lace panel is also a different colour from what I was expecting. The pictures used online make it look like it has a blue tinge (but maybe this is just my eyes playing up?). On top of this it has a stiffer texture than a lot of the laces that I'm used to from luxury lingerie.

However, even with all these negatives, I have really grown to love this piece. The stretch-jersey is silky soft and flexible enough to accommodate my bountiful bust in a size medium. All of the edges are hemmed with a strip of velvet which does add a touch of luxury to a rather basic design. The gusset actually features a row of hook and eye closures similar to the back of a bra. I was initially a bit nervous about the placement of tiny hooks near delicate areas but there have been no accidents thus far, and I promise to amend this review if there is. The inclusion of an adjustable gusset is actually really useful for me because I often find that bodysuits can gape around this area due to me having to size up for my breasts.

As for the stockings, I haven't got quite so much wear out of them yet. It's actually quite hot here (for England anyway) and I found myself getting really sweaty while wearing these. I guess Amoralle call them leg warmers with good reason! I do feel like a dancer while wearing them as well, I think it's something about the cut-out toe design. I suspect these will be a bit more suitable in winter when I want a some more coverage. Ideally, I would love to be able to incorporate them into outerwear but unfortunately they don't do a good job of staying up. I have this problem with my other pair of stockings from them which have lace ruffles all along the top, preventing me from using suspenders with them.

Sadly I have the same issue with the bodysuit in that it requires rather a lot of pulling up while wearing it for any length of time. But perhaps this is just to be expected with my bust stretching it outwards. If I am to ever incorporate this into outerwear I think some lingerie tape would be necessary. An easy adjustment to make for such a versatile piece.

The verdict's still out for me on Amoralle. Now that I know better what to expect I think I will be a bit happier with any future purchases. I'll certainly have to try a couple more basic or sale designs before I'm willing to make a commitment to their pricier designs. But I can definitely see myself investing in some of their velvet pieces in the future, a fabric I've always had a soft spot for.

For any British readers whose interest has been piqued, Kiss Me Deadly are stocking some of their designs for a short time. So if you want to avoid the hassle of converting prices and waiting for international postage then that's always an option.

Thanks for reading. x 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Dottie's Delights, The Bow Bodysuit Review

Something I will always dream of being is a burlesque dancer. I love the whole art of teasing, the glamour, those confident women loving their bodies. And of course, the outfits. This little number by Dottie's Delights makes me feel like I'm one step closer to that dream.

From the second Esty Lingerie announced they would be stocking it I knew exactly what was going to happen. The Bow bodysuit is part of the Sheer Show collection designed in collaboration with the beautiful Miss Mosh and is primarily made from black mesh with a cute bow appliquƩ across the bust.

The bodysuit is held up by a detachable halter neck ribbon which is long enough to give you a lot of play with what length you need to tie it at. Unfortunately for me, with my bountiful bust, the ribbon gets pulled down a lot and can get a bit uncomfortable on the back of my neck after some time. But this isn't really an item that I would be wearing all day (unfortunately) anyway. The ribbon has not once slipped out of the bow that I tie it in so that is a definite upside. Technically, you have the option of going without the ribbon and therefore strapless, but this isn't really something that will work for me as I need it tied tightly in order to get a good coverage as well as so the full impact of the bow can be seen.

It was a bit difficult for me to decide on a size. According to the guide my bust would put me in a large but my hips remain in the small category, so I went down the middle and hoped that a medium would work. And boy am I glad I did! The fit is perfect, in fact a small would probably have been too snug even on my hips. The mesh is described as a stretch mesh but there isn't too much movement to it. This means that it feels comfortable but I still feel smoothed out a bit. Being a bit on the short size I get a few folds while wearing it but that's only to be expected.

The microfiber bow is a flawless example of appliquƩ and feels so soft to the touch. Its size and placement mean that is offers you a bit of modesty by covering up your nipples (so these photos will be instagram safe, #freethenipple) which acts as a bit of playful teasing in contrast with the sheerness of the rest of the bodysuit.

Around the legs of the bodysuit are some sweet little ruffles, again adding a playful edge to a rather sexy item. And I love this balance that they've struck up in this design. It definitely feels very true to the art of burlesque; so much so that I find myself shimmying around the flat whenever I have it on.

I can safely say that I'm in love and would definitely purchase some other Dottie's Delights designs in the future. In particular the amazing black mesh jumpsuit which is also from the sheer show collection. If you're a fellow UK dweller then, as I said before, Esty Lingerie stock a few of the designs. Lingerie lovers in the USA can find a couple of designs in Bluestockings Boutique. Otherwise they are available from the Dottie's Delights online store

Thanks for reading. x

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Joan Babydoll Review

A few months ago, before I had started blogging, I was lucky enough to win a lingerie giveaway with The Lingeristas. One of the prizes was a £25 gift card for My Retro Closet and I knew straight away what that was going towards. So here you have it, my beautiful Joan Babydoll in lilac! Isn't it just gorgeous?

This babydoll has been designed and handmade by Abi, the one woman powerhouse behind My Retro Closet, and you can really see her attention to detail in it. There isn't a stitch out of place and the fabric choice means that it hangs beautifully while also being perfect for floating and swirling around in. Which is all I ever do while wearing it, as evidenced below.

I love the combination of the lilac main and pale pink hem. This, combined with those satin shoulder ties and a sweet little centre bow, probably makes this babydoll my most feminine piece of lingerie. I just feel so wonderfully girly and pretty when I wear it. Not to mention it's obvious 1960's inspiration giving it that fabulous vintage feel.

'Joan' only comes in one size which is something that I'm usually apprehensive about because my body  type does not fit into averages. I am a short, busty girl with a postpartum tummy and oddly slim hips and legs. Problematic, but I'm still learning to love it. I had no need to worry with this particular piece though as its swing style leaves plenty of room and is very flattering. As well as this, the adjustable shoulder ties give you complete control over how much of your torso you're going to have on show so these would contribute to a number of different sizes and shapes being able to wear this.

I've slept in my Joan Babydoll a couple of times now and have found it really comfortable to sleep in. Also, the shoulder ties haven't once slipped out of the bows I have put them in, either while sleeping or lounging around. So you don't have to worry about opening the door to the postman and exposing yourself to a nip-slip!

This has fast become one of my favourite nightwear options and a go to when I want to feel comfortable but pretty. If you want to get your hands on your own 'Joan', My Retro Closet has just opened an area on their site which lets you customise the original nightwear designs, so you can order it in a number of different colourways and combinations. There is also a matching bed jacket along with a few other styles. I, for one, have my sights set on the new 'Bettie' style in all red. But until then, I'll be happy lounging around as a 60's Siren in my 'Joan'.

Thanks for reading. x

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Curvy Kate Luxe Strapless Bra Review

Last summer I was heavily pregnant and spent a lot of my time in a strapless maxi dress with only a simple bandeau underneath. This was fine when my comfort level was way more important than the amount of support I was getting, but this year I decided to invest in something a bit more structured. I've had my eye on the Curvy Kate Luxe bra as a potential candidate for a while now, so when Figleaves offered 20% off their solution bras I decided to give it a go.

The Luxe is a pretty extreme contour bra; thanks to its full cups alongside some pretty dense padding, your natural shape is not going to have much of an impact on it. Inside are side slings for added support alongside rubbery piping to make sure it stays in place without straps. And it does a pretty good job of staying up for that matter! I've managed a couple of days of wearing this, while leading the very active lifestyle of chasing after a now crawling 10 month old, with only minimal adjustments throughout the day.

Aesthetically, I really love the almost androgynous look of the bra with its pin stripe details and centre bow and buttons. I appreciate the avoidance of the overt femininity that comes with that ever present skinny bow on almost every DD+ bra. Instead, this one seems almost like a tiny bow-tie, rendering the Luxe with an almost tuxedo like look, while still succeeding in being pretty.

As for the fit, I was initially quite apprehensive when the bra arrived. The cups are a very different shape to what I am used to and I don't think I've every worn a contour bra before. Having very full-on-bottom breasts I really didn't think that I would succeed in filling the tops of the cups. However, they are surprisingly shallow which results in a lot of my tissue being pulled in and up. This means that I would perhaps be cautious about trying this bra if you're very full on top because it may result in the bra cutting in to you.

The '30' band felt pretty true to size and went comfortably around my 28" underbust. My only complaint is that I really hate that rubber piping and always find it digs in and causes uncomfortable friction against my skin as the day wears on. But in my experience this is just something that you have to put up with for a decent strapless bra when you have a big bust. Also, I've spent the past year and a half in nursing bras which have super flexible underwire or none at all. This means that I'm just not used to the level of rigidity that this bra presents and for this reason I'm probably going to have to keep it down to a half day of wear at a time.

Also, I know this isn't the purpose of this bra, but if any other Mamas are wondering if they could breastfeed while wearing a strapless bra then my answer is yes to this one! It was surprisingly easy to pull down the cup, considering the padded lining, and nurse my baby with it on.

The Luxe is definitely filling a gap in the market in that there aren't many GG+ strapless bras and I am very grateful for that because I will now be able to wear my strapless summer dresses. I'm not the biggest fan of the shape it creates under my clothes but again, I think that's just because I've become so used to wearing soft cup bras. All in all I'm really happy with my purchase and hope to get a lot of wear out it in the upcoming months.

If anyone has any suggestions of other strapless bras then I'd love to hear because I'm probably going to be needing one in a 30FF after I've weaned. But who knows, I may just end up re-purchasing the Luxe because it certainly does the job. Once again, thanks for reading!