Beauty, Fashion

What’s in my handbag?

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We often see headlines shouting facts & figures at us about how carrying too much in our bags is detrimental to our health and specifically to our backs. This is one of the reasons why I started carrying a smaller handbag many years ago & started carrying a LOT less stuff. The other reason was that after my accident I physically couldn’t carry a big heavy handbag anymore. So here’s what’s inside my handbag…

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One of the most important things is my purse. The purse is from Radley & I’ve had it for over 5 years now. I love it so much and I’ll be really sad to see it go when it does eventually give up. The purse has lots of card slots and I’ve managed to use all of them up thanks to my many loyalty cards! Obviously I also keep cash and my debit card in here, which both probably get used more than they should! I always have loads of discount vouchers stuffed in too. It’s safe to say that I’m a sucker for a bargain.

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One of my beauty essentials is my Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream lip balm. I carry it with me everywhere as it’s one of the best lip balms I’ve ever tried. I discovered it after winning one in a competition & I’ve gone on to buy several after that. It has such a moisturising formulation but doesn’t feel sticky plus it’s long lasting too. It’s one of the few lip balms that actually makes a real difference to my lips. The packaging is simple but sleek and it’s really lightweight. The only down side is the price. Unfortunately it is quite expensive but I stock up when it’s on offer.

As well as lip balm I usually carry a lipstick and lipgloss with me too. The shades change depending on my mood and look that day but one of my favourite lipsticks is the Clinique Pop lip colour and primer in 04 Beige Pop. It’s a beautiful pinky nude shade & feels nice on the lips too. The lipgloss in the photo is the Sexy Mother Pucker lipgloss in Rose & Shine by Soap & Glory. The lipgloss is a bit more pink than the lipstick but the two shades go well together. I love the minty fresh scent & tingling feeling you get when you apply this lipgloss.

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Tissues are always useful but never more so than during hayfever season! If like me you find yourself endlessly sneezing then tissues are extremely handy. I picked up a multi pack from Poundland a while ago & they had pictures of Disney Princesses on them; I was thrilled as they satisfied my practical side as well as my childish side that still adores anything Disney!

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The little purse with beach huts on is my pain purse. I use it to hold my painkillers & medication. If you live with a chronic illness you’ll know how important it is to have painkillers to hand at all times. Unbearable pain can strike at any time so it’s important to be prepared! I choose this pretty purse for my pills as it reminds me of happy memories & it’s important to remember the good times when you’re feeling rubbish.

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To my partner & family this isn’t news but I am a little bit OCD about germs & bacteria so I take antibacterial everywhere I go. I know to some this might seem a bit weird but I feel so much more comfortable after I’ve used this gel. This one smells of strawberry laces, so that makes it even more appealing to me.

Now that I’ve started using Invisibobble hair bands I can never go back to using those horrible scratchy things I used to use. Invisibobble hair bands not only look cool & come in a wide range of colours but most importantly they don’t hurt or damage your hair when you take them out.

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As with most millennials I love my phone & I carry this in either my bag or a pocket if I have one. I have the Samsung Galaxy A3 & I love it. It may not be the most hyped up phone but personally I think the camera on it is really good (I take all my blog photos with my phone) plus everything is easy to use. I always carry a pen too as it has proved very useful on many occasions & you never know when you might need it. Keys are also a handbag essential buy there’s not much to say about them!

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Finally, I’d love to talk to you about the actual handbag. It’s so beautiful yet practical at the same time. The bag has 3 different compartments plus smaller zipped compartments too for your phone & keys. The straps are perfect for wearing on your shoulder or carrying in your hand. I don’t currently use this bag everyday as I like to keep it for special occasions. I tend to use it for evening wear & meals out. This bag looks so similar to the Chanel 2.55 yet is just a fraction of the price. I was amazed at the quality of the bag & it has proved to be durable so far. This bag is also available in nude & white and is called Marsaille. To get yours visit http://www.boutiqueofmolly.co.uk and use code KATEISCOVETING20 to get 20% off the entire site!

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What do you have in your handbag? I’d love to know what you buy from Boutique of Molly! Thanks for reading x

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Travel/Lifestyle

A Guide To Cruising For First Timers

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It’s that time of year when everyone seems to be planning their summer holiday, panicking that they haven’t booked yet or suffering from holiday blues if like me you had your summer holiday a bit earlier than everyone else. My boyfriend, Jon and I hadn’t had a proper holiday for a little while until we went on our cruise. This was mainly due to my health (for full details read my post here). So after an eventful few years we decided to book a holiday together as we knew we needed it & deserved it. We wanted a holiday that would be interesting enough to keep us entertained and I really liked the idea of seeing lots of different places so a cruise sounded perfect for us. Going on a cruise was a fantastic experience for us both but there were certain things we wish we’d known before we went, so that’s why I decided to write a post about cruises for anyone who hasn’t been on one before.

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Once we decided we definitely wanted to go on a cruise we started searching online for the best deals & once we found some that we were happy with we decided to go to a travel agent to get some advice. If you haven’t cruised before then I thoroughly recommend doing this. Our travel agent was really helpful as she’d been on several different cruises before & could not only tell us a lot about what to expect but could also price match the cruise we wanted. Flicking through travel brochures can often be a lot easier & more pleasant than trawling through loads of different websites too. To begin our search we used the Planet Cruise website as we could compare lots of different cruises all in one place. Planet cruise is a great place to start so that you can get an idea of what to expect for your money.

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We decided to go on a P&O cruise around the Mediterranean for 14 days and our ship was called Ventura. Our destinations were: Alicante, Barcelona, Marsaille (was supposed to be Cannes), Florence, Rome, Cartagena and Gibraltar. We choose P&O because we’d heard good things about them plus we didn’t need to get on any flights. Instead we could just board the ship in Southampton & set sail from there. Some of you may prefer to fly in order to miss out on some of the sea days. Sea days are when the ship is traveling to your next port & you are out at sea so you can’t get off the ship. Sea days are good for relaxing & exploring the ship but personally I wouldn’t want too many of them. On sea days the ship is obviously much busier than when you’re in a port so meal times can get quite busy, as can pools & other public areas.

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Before you set sail you’ll be given details for your cruise personaliser, which is a website all about your cruise. It will give you information about packing, maximum weights for your luggage, your itinerary, how to book excursions and more. It’s worth knowing that if you choose to set sail from Southampton you’ll be allowed a much more generous luggage allowance than if you choose to fly. With P&O you can also take drink on board with you, including alcohol & soft drinks.

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Getting to Southampton was pretty easy for us as we’re only a couple of hours away but if you live further afield then you can choose to take a coach rather than driving. We had parking included in the price of our cruise but this is something to consider if you do decide to drive.

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You will be given a time to arrive at the terminal by your cruise operator and generally you do have to stick to this time but we arrived just over an hour early & they did let us through. So it’s worth trying if you are a little early.

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Once you’re on board the ship will seem overwhelming at first but you will get used to it after a few days. There are maps located all over the ship to help you if you do get lost & you can also ask a member of the crew for help.

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Every day on our cruise we received a newspaper called horizon & this publication tells you about all the events & entertainment happening on board that day. For example it will tell you what shows are on in the theatre that evening as well as handy information such as restaurant opening times. This newspaper is delivered to your cabin each evening ready for the next day.

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When our ship arrived in a new port it docked quite early & people were generally allowed to disembark from around 8am so it’s worth being up early to make the most of your day. Our ship left the ports between 4-6pm each day with the exception of the last port (Gibralter) when the ship left at 1pm. Before you set sail you will have the option to book excursions around each of your destinations. As we hadn’t cruised before we booked excursions for most places but found that we didn’t really need to unless the port was a long distance away from the place we wanted to visit. For example we needed to book an excursion to Florence because the ship docked in Livorno and it was an hour & a half coach journey from the port to Florence. That journey would have been far too expensive by taxi. So if the port is close to the town/city then you don’t need an excursion as you can do the same activities that the excursions offer yourself.

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P&O like guests to be quite smartly dressed and have dress codes in most of the restaurants. The dress code each night was either evening casual or black tie but you could avoid dressing smartly if you wanted to by just eating in the buffet restaurants. For evening casual my boyfriend wore a polo top & chinos with smart shoes & I either wore a dress, skirt and a smart top or trousers and a smart top. For black tie my boyfriend wore a tux and I wore a cocktail dress or smart evening dress. There were 4 black tie nights over the course of our 14 night cruise. Personally I really enjoyed getting dressed up for dinner & hogging the mirror for an hour to do my hair & makeup (Haha, sorry Jon!) If you can’t look & feel your best on holiday then when can you?

IMG_20170518_103000_437It’s also worth knowing that the large majority of passengers on board a cruise ship are (how do I put this?) over a certain age. The vast majority are in their 50s/60s/70s and beyond. I’m only pointing this out because I know that this would seriously bother some people. It didn’t bother us too much but it would’ve been nice to talk to some other couples our own age. However we did talk to some really lovely older couples. If you’re after a young party atmosphere then this might not be your cup of tea!

All meals are included in the price of your cruise with P&O but you have to pay for all drinks (excluding water & fruit juice at breakfast) on board. This can get quite pricey over two weeks so I recommend stocking up on your tipple of choice from a shop in one of the ports or bringing some with you. The prices of drinks on board are about the same as most bars. For example cocktails are roughly £5 each, mocktails are £2.65 each and soft fizzy drinks are about £2.50 each.

IMG_20170527_111808_395Our cruise had a great variety of entertainment on board in the evenings including singers, comedians, dancers and west end theatre style shows. I would advise that you arrive within plenty of time for these shows as the venues do fill up very quickly! I highly recommend that you do see the theatre shows on board as they are amazing & will really add something special to your holiday. One of the shows we watched was all about musicals & featured music and dance routines from many different productions.

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I think that’s about it for now but if I think of anything else I’ll add it in later. If you have any questions then please feel free to leave a comment or tweet me @KateIsCoveting. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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Awards & Other Bloggers

Blue Sky Tag

I know that tag posts might not be for everyone but personally I really like them because you get to know the blogger behind the blog & they’re fun to write!

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There are 4 rules for taking part in the blue sky tag: 1. Thank the person who nominated you. 2. Answer the 11 questions they asked you. 3. Tag 11 people. 4. Ask them 11 questions. Simple!

I was nominated for the #BlueSkyTag by the lovely Claire of http://www.mamavoom.com so big thanks to her!

Q1: How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

A1: I have been blogging for nearly two years now but I haven’t been very consistent due to illness. I started blogging because I love writing & photography and I wanted a new hobby. I have continued to blog because I love the blogging community and all the new friends I’ve made!

Q2: What is your all time favourite movie? 

A2: Ooh this is a tough question! One of my favourites since I was younger was always Titanic. Yes I know it’s cheesy but I’m a sucker for romance. Kate Winslet is also one of my favourite actresses.

Q3: Lipstick shades – Nude or bold? 

A3: Definitely nude! I’m a huge fan of a nude lip. It suits everyone & is really easy to wear.

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Q4: Who is a woman that inspires you?

A4: I have two groups of women who inspire me. Firstly the Suffragettes because without them we wouldn’t have the level of gender equality that we take for granted today. Some of these women were working mothers who still found the time & energy to campaign. The second group are my fellow female bloggers. You ladies inspire me everyday with your wonderful posts & your amazing photography. I’m very pleased to say that many of you are now friends.

Q5: What was the last book you read?

A5: I’ve just finished a book called The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. It’s a brilliant story all about fashion, love, hate and revenge. It’s set in Australia in the 50s & is full of interesting complex characters. I highly recommend it!

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Q6: Early bird or night owl? 

A6: Definitely a night owl, which is kind of annoying because my partner is an early bird!

Q7: What was the last concert you went to? 

A7: I haven’t been to a music concert for a little while. My last was probably Rebecca Ferguson in Cardiff with my boyfriend a few years ago. Shortly before that I went to see Pink with my best friend at the O2 in London.

Q8: Where would you go if you could visit any country? 

A8: There are so many places that I’d love to visit but very high up on my list is Canada. It looks so beautiful there. My uncle lived there for most of his life & he loved it.

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Q9: How many lipsticks are in your handbag right now? 

A9: Only one lipstick but I also have a lipgloss & a lipbalm. The lipstick is by No7 in a shade called honey bloom. The lipgloss & lipbalm are both by Elizabeth Arden.

Q10: What is your favourite makeup brand? 

A10: This is definitely the toughest question on the list! I absolutely adore makeup & I love so many different brands. I like a mix of high street and high end brands. Some of my favourites are: Benefit, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Rimmel, Barry M and No7.

Q11: What quote do you live your life by?

A11: “When it rains look for rainbows & when it’s dark look for the stars.” I love this quote because it completely sums up what life is about. We all need to appreciate the little things and be grateful for what we do have.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my answers. I will tag 11 people on instagram so head over to my account (@KateIsCoveting) to see if it’s you. If you haven’t been tagged please feel free to take part anyway!

Here are the 11 questions I’d like you to answer:

1. What would you say is your best quality?

2. What is your favourite place that you’ve visited?

3. Do you prefer lipstick or lipgloss?

4. Do you have any pets?

5. Are you more of an indoors or outdoors sort of person?

6. Who would play you in a film about your life?

7. What is your favourite memory?

8. What’s on your wishlist at the moment?

9. What TV series are you addicted to right now?

10. What is your favourite Disney film?

11. Any tips for aspiring bloggers?

Thanks for reading!

Kate x

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Opinion

Celebrate Love Everyday!

I’ll start off by saying Happy Valentine’s day! Whether you’re spending today with your partner, best friends, family or colleagues I hope you have a fab day. This post is about love in all its forms and why I think it’s important to show your loved ones how much they mean to you everyday rather than just once a year on Valentine’s day.

Whilst I am a romantic person I do find the whole idea of Valentine’s day a bit odd. It’s not because it makes me feel lonely or depressed but because I find it odd that each year the retailers dictate to us that we should make huge bold gestures to show our partner that we love them on a set day. We are overwhelmed with slushy adverts at the beginning of February making us feel both envious & anxious at the same time. Why put so much pressure on one day to be the perfect romance? I believe that everyone should show all of their loved ones how much they are loved on a regular basis. This doesn’t have to be telling somebody that you love them (but I’m sure they’d appreciate it!) We can show love in many different ways & sometimes a really small act is all that is needed.

The actions you take to show people that you love them will be different for every individual & I’m sure you can come up with some great ideas for specific people but I thought I’d make a list of ideas to give you inspiration:

  • Write a letter or card telling that person how much you care or thanking them for something they did. You could even make the card yourself to give it an extra personal touch.
  • Buy them a gift. People love receiving random gifts (I know I do!)
  • Take them out for a meal or you could invite them over for a home cooked meal.
  • Paint or draw them a picture. This could be of their favourite place or maybe their pet
  • Offer to fix or mend something
  • Pick up the phone and have a proper chat. Set aside enough time to have a really good catch up. A lot can happen in a week, month or longer.
  • Pass on a favourite book for somebody else to enjoy
  • Go and see them! Nothing beats seeing someone face to face
  • If you’re good with words you could write them a poem, song or story.
  • Help out with chores without being asked. I’m sure all Mums would appreciate this!
  • Give a compliment. This really can make somebody’s day
  • Make a special packed lunch for somebody going to work or out on a day trip. Personalise the selection with some of their favourite foods
  • Go for a walk with them in a favourite place
  • Have a picnic together. A picnic at night under the stars can be really romantic (just remember to wrap up warm!)
  • Offer to go with them to a hospital appointment or something they are feeling nervous about.
  • Ask how their day was. Ask how they are REALLY feeling and give them time to talk about their feelings
  • hold hands
  • Write a list of reasons why they are amazing

As well as showing loved ones how much you value them you could also do something nice for a stranger. Something as simple as holding the door open can mean a great deal. There is too much sadness in the world already so let’s try to spread more love and happiness. “Be the change you want to see in the world” and “Throw kindness around like confetti” are two of my favourite quotes.

So just to sum up, I don’t dislike Valentine’s day at all. I think it’s great if it gets people to express their love when they normally wouldn’t but I do think we should all make an effort to show our love more and not just to our partners but to everyone that we care about. After all life is short & you can’t tell them once they’ve gone.

Feliz dĂ­a de los enamorados (that’s Happy Valentine’s day in Spanish. It never hurts to learn something new!)

Kate x

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Opinion

Why we should all be speaking out

As you may have noticed I’ve had an extended break from blogging recently but I’m pleased to say that I’m back now. Did you miss me? (I hope so!) I’ve missed writing but really lacked inspiration for a long time plus I’ve had a lot of issues to deal with including my health (read my post about my illness here) Anyway lets get on with this blog post…

I’m sure you haven’t failed to notice that recently the world has been in utter shock and turmoil over the new president’s actions and views . Everytime we switch on the telly or open social media we are slapped with the bitter reality of what Trump is not only doing to America but to the whole world…But I’m not here to explain Trump’s actions. I’m here to say that it’s extremely important that we all use our voices, actions and written words to express our opinions and fight injustices. If you’re a fellow blogger then I’m sure you’re aware of all the debates and conversations that have taken place lately on the issue of whether or not bloggers/writers should be expressing their opinions and speaking out against Trump. I decided to write this post because I think it’s essential that we all speak out when things are happening in our world that threaten to destroy human rights or cause pain & suffering to undeserving people. I think we need to speak out when bad things are happening otherwise things can snowball and get worse very quickly. It is also a right to have freedom of speech & we are very lucky to have it in the UK so we must use it. This post is not just about encouraging everyone to speak out against Trump’s hateful views but I also want you to speak out about other issues that affect us all. If history has taught us one thing it’s that staying silent when faced with evil only leads to great atrocities.

Monday 27th January 2017 was an important day for two reasons, firstly it was Holocaust Memorial day and secondly it was also the day that Donald Trump enforced the Muslim ban in the US. How crazy is that? On a day that we remember all the horrific things the Nazis did to the Jews and other minority groups (including the disabled, homosexuals, gypsies and Poles) Trump went and banned Muslims! By doing this Trump showed the world that he has the same mindset as Hitler did. The worlds problems will never go away by blaming a whole group of people. Surely this was a lesson we all learnt when learning about the atrocities of WWII at school? Clearly not.

Seeing the floods of images and news stories surrounding the Women’s March that took place recently in many cities all over the world including London and Washington filled me with pride and sadness. Pride because I thought it was fantastic that so many people felt passionate enough to protest and express their views but also sadness that this event even needed to happen in the first place. The images from this march reminded me of the Suffragettes and we all know that without them women wouldn’t have got the vote or the equal rights that we have today. Lets take the Suffragettes as an example of how staying silent gets you nowhere. If the Suffragettes hadn’t protested & voiced their opinions then the world could be a very different place right now for women. They did us a great service so lets do the same for future generations and not allow them to grow up in a world where one religion is singled out and punished for the actions of an evil few.

In conclusion I just want to say that if you have opinions and a voice then you should be using it! As humans we need to defend those who need our help.

I’m sure Trump’s future actions will cause further angst and when the news comes on you know what we’ll all be thinking “God, what has that orange turd done now!?”

What do you think? Do you agree? Let me know in the comments

Kate x

 

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Fashion

Occasion Wear Shopping

I absolutely adore going shopping and if you’re anything like me then you do too. I enjoy browsing & love picking up new pieces if I find something I love. However I always find shopping can be stressful when you’re looking for something specific like jeans or a dress for a wedding. Occasion wear shopping can be extremely tricky for us ladies as most of us have body hang ups and it can be very hard to find an outfit that highlights the good bits but also conceals the bits we aren’t so comfortable with.

My boyfriend’s cousin is getting married in June and as my bust & hips have grown the dress I planned on wearing is no longer an option. We needed to go shopping for a dress for me & a shirt and shoes for him. I’d been browsing online  Going shopping on this particular day wasn’t really the best for me as I was feeling a bit down about my body. I’m tall and fairly busty with big hips and a big bum so clothes aren’t really designed for my shape at all. I find dresses are generally too short plus too small on the bust & hip area. I always end up having to buy a bigger size because of my bust and hips but then it’s too big in other places. I’m sure I’m not the only person to have this problem, surely? Clothing in the large majority of high street shops seems to be designed for short & very skinny people which really frustrates me as we come in all shapes and sizes. I know there are some online fashion retailers that cater to curvier shapes but I’d love to be able to get a good fit in all my favourite high street shops too. Sorry for having a little rant!

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We went to an outlet shopping centre called Clarks Village in my home county Somerset. Clarks Village has a good range of shops including: Hobbs, Coast, Phase Eight, Joules, Sugarhill Boutique, Molton Brown, Marks & Spencer, Next, Crew, The Body Shop, Osprey, Radley, Thorntons, Jeff Banks, Yumi and of course Clarks among others. We browsed around a few shops and Jon found a perfect shirt & shoes very quickly. I found lots of dresses I liked but nothing had the wow factor when it was on me. I was feeling frustrated at the lack of suitable dresses found and very self concious because those huge mirrors in changing rooms with their harsh lighting just seem to magnify every little flaw. We decided to try Phase Eight as I know they specialise in occasion wear. I was thrilled to find a beautiful midi length dress in there that fitted well & looked nice on. I feel a bit like a Disney Princess in this dress so that’s a very good sign! I’ve learnt that the key to feeling good in any outfit is to wear clothes that flatter your shape & work with your curves rather than battling against them. Don’t be afraid to buy a bigger size if it looks better on you and I’ll be honest I have been guilty of worrying too much about what size the label says but nobody else sees the label or what size it is. I’m not going to post a photo of this dress until I actually wear it to the wedding in June but these pictures in this post are of the outfit I wore to the last wedding I attended (excuse my pale legs, they don’t get out much!) My dress in the pictures is from Coast, my cardi & black wedges are both from Primark and the mint green clutch bag is from Accessorize.

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As well as sorting out an outfit there’s also hair, makeup, bodycare and accessories that we need to consider. As you can see in the pictures I had my hair up for the last wedding and I left it curly as this is my natural style. My hair will be curly again for the wedding in June because my hair takes hours to straighten plus I don’t even own any hair straighteners anymore. I’ll decide on the day if I have it up or down as it depends on if my hair decides to behave. I always tend to keep my makeup very natural apart from the odd occasion when I really go to town on the eye shadow & I’ll keep my makeup fairly low key again for the next wedding. I’ll most probably be wearing a light/medium coverage foundation with contoured cheeks & highlighted cheek bones plus lashings of black mascara with a nude daytime smoky eye. I will need to get my eyebrows in order too as they’re quite thick and a bit unruly. A few days before the wedding I will exfoliate my body with a scrub and body brush. I’ll need to pay special attention to my legs and arms as these will be on show. I will probably also use a bit of tan on those milky white legs and arms of mine. I’ll use fake tan a few days before the wedding so that if it goes wrong or looks streaky then I’ve got time to redo it.

I’m a bit nervous about going to this wedding as I will most likely be the only disabled person there & some people can be unkind/judgemental. I also worry about having to stand for a long time as my back and legs are very weak & painful. I always get worried about most social situations & I won’t know most of the people there. I’m trying not to think about it too much as I’ll only make myself worry more. I worry about far too much already & I have much bigger problems to worry about. I’m sure I’ll be fine on the day & have a good time just as I did last time.

Are you off to a wedding or special occasion this year? Let me know in the comments 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Kate x

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