I was recently invited to spend an afternoon learning how to take better photographs with my iPhone. While the thought of ambling around Kalk Bay for an afternoon and upping my photography game already sounded fun to me, I was also secretly hoping that my reluctant insta-husband would join me and learn a thing or two about taking my OOTDs. Turns out, we both did.
The course runs over a couple hours as you make a loop in picturesque Kalk Bay, which has plenty of fodder for budding photographers. Our guide, professional photographer Trevor Samson, starts with a short talk with some key pointers on taking better photographs, and then we set off on our walk. The groups are small and intimate, and the real lessons kick in when Trevor stops us at key vantage points, and spends quality one-on-one time working with you while you take photographs. I found this kind of practical lesson both immensely fun and informative, and Trevor’s gentle but brilliant input both inspired and elevated my photography game. The individual attention of this course is a definite USP. Trevor is also chock full of interesting info about Kalk Bay, which adds a whole new dimension to the tour.
The tour ends in a cozy coffee spot, where Trevor reviews the learnings, and runs the group through ways of editing your pictures to get that professional finish – as well as how to save ‘meh’ pictures. We get to check out the pictures taken by the rest of the group, and it’s always amazing to see how different people interpret the same things so differently!
It’s my birthday this week. I’m one of those childlike (childish?) people who really likes celebrating birthdays every year. Usually with a costume party of some sort. (Like last year’s Rockabilly Bash. Oh gawsh, has it really been a whole year since then!?). Plus, there’s usually cake, and I mean, ANY excuse for cake, amiright?
Well, this year I’ve held off on the costume party part (renovations take up all of my ‘organising’ energy – and just about every other sort of energy, for that matter). But I still thought I’d let myself indulge in a little fantasy, by composing my Ultimate Birthday Wishlist – and please – lemme stress the fantasy part here. I really would be very mortified if anyone I knew got me anything on this list. This is definitely more of an indulgent ‘if I won the lottery’ scenario.
Without further ado:
Joolz Fashion’s Fat Unicorn dress
I discovered the mega-talented Aussie designer Joolz over Instagram, and have been in love with her awesome plus size designs and quirky prints – that she designs HERSELF – ever since. I even had the massive honour of featuring her V-dress on the blog, which is currently amongst my most prized possessions. But that was before her unicorn dress came out. Guys, it’s a dress with a full skirt, and it has chubby little unicorns on it. I can’t even think of anything else, it haunts my waking hours and my sleep.
An Erste Wilder brooch
All the cool pinup girls on Instagram have Erste Wilder brooches. Basically my life is incomplete without one – or many of these beautiful, quirky works of art. And the Halloween range has just come out. A sign? I think so.
Plus size Harlow ’50s dress from Hell Bunny
I’m pretty sure they designed this dress with me in mind. I mean, my buxom heroine George of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust got to model it, but I’m pretty sure that was just because they knew I was busy on that day. Really, this dress is meant for me.
Anything from Creepheart
What is it with the Aussies and making awesome stuff? Creepheart is another Instagram discovery-turned-massive obsession of mine. Her prints, her jewels – everything is breathtaking. One day one of this pretties will be mine. One day…
Here’s more, just in case you haven’t got the full effect of how awesome Creepheart is:
Anything from Lou Harvey in the Gnome print
I’ve lusted after Lou Harvey for a while now, and there are a number of prints that I adore (Robot, Worthington, Alex Sage), but none more than the Gnome print. Look at it. Just look at it. They’re actually having a website sale, so maybe this will be a ‘happy birthday to me’ situation.
A GhostGoods pin
Cape Town is not without it’s own dose of design awesome though. I have been gazing longingly at local lovelies GhostGoods pins for some time now – and am so thrilled to see some new designs out for Halloween. Most wonderful time of year indeed.
Luckily for me, not only is Abi a fantastico-brilliant photographer, but she’s just damn rad too, and she was totally amped to do a fun shoot with me. I got involved with her incredible #CTConfidence Reverse Before and After project, but we also wanted to do something a bit more quirky and whimsical. We brain-stormed about some of the things I like, and an idea was born. To make matters even more exciting, Abigail’s studio mate designer Rose of Molteno Creations wanted to get involved too, and offered to custom make me my own gown for the shoot. My own custom gown, you guys!
A few fittings later, and some gathering of fun and arbitrary props, and we were ready for shoot day.
This is the breathtaking dress that Rose made me:
I mean, just look at that detail. That polkadot lace is sewn on by hand. The weirdest thing for something that looked so amazing? It was SO COMFORTABLE. (Seriously, I could have done pilates in it. I mean… not that I would. But I could have).
Kristine from Kruz4Makeup came onboard to do my hair and makeup, and created a look so amazing I never wanted to wash my face again.
And then there were the props. A trinket from here, a scrap from there, and these babies:
Painstakingly custom-made to our specifications by Kerrith from Over Indulgence Cupcakes, and gobsmackingly delicious to boot! (They were promptly demolished following the shoot, so I can testify as an authority).
Shooting with Abi is such fun, and my memory of it is a blur of giggles and laughter. The process of pulling off these images is pretty involved, and there’s nothing quite like being dressed up like a fairy princess and holding ridiculous poses to give you fits of chuckles.
But the end result took my breath away. Without further ado:
I love them so much. I just want to live in those little moments. I want to *be* that cupcake-obsessed fairy creature.
I can’t recommend the entire team involved in this folly of a project enough – we couldn’t have done it without each of them.
Forgive, for a minute please, that this blog post is all of *counts on fingers and toes* 6 months overdue. (My blog went through a black hole period where I failed to post about a bunch of really cool things, and I’m trying to make up for that a little now, almost in the spirit of #throwbackthursdays.)
Right at the very top of my list is the reverse before and after shoot experience that I had with Abigail K Photography. Abigail invited me – along with some of my favourite Cape Town beauty bloggers – to her studio for a shoot that focused on making us feel confident – not just when we were dolled up to the nines with fluttery eyelashes and sparkly lips, but also when we were barefaced in our most informal lounge-around-the-house clothes.
One of the greatest lessons I learned from the experience was that confidence is so much about how you hold yourself and the energy that you put out. I feel that so much of the reason we think we look better when we have makeup and pretty frocks on, is because we’re projecting ourselves from a place of confidence – we’re ‘enabled’ by what we’re wearing. But, as the #CTConfidence shoot shows, if we present ourselves in the same way – with confidence – without a bit of makeup on, we look just as good.
Take a look at the video Abi put together, and see for yourself:
As she was taking the photos, I was expecting to love the ones where I’m dressed up, and loathe the ‘afters’, without makeup, but upon seeing them I realised I loved them both, for different reasons. There was something about the makeup-free ones that revealed a bit more of the ‘inside me’.
Take a look:
I would also love to take this opportunity to challenge you, my readers, to experiment with this idea of confidence. Why not do your own reverse before and after pics, and post them to Twitter and Instagram with the #CTConfidence? Please tag me in them too, I would love to see 🙂
For anyone who’s interested, Abigail takes the most amazing profile pictures – professional, family portraits, or otherwise. You can find out more about her services here.
Regardless of where you live, chances are the weather can be a bit fickle at times, especially when the seasons are transitioning from one to the next. Unpredictable temperatures can make choosing an outfit tricky, to say the least. After all, what’s a girl to do when it’s cool in the morning but sweltering by noon? The key to this age-old dilemma is to create an ensemble that revolves around layers, allowing you to easily lose or add items, depending on the weather. Use these simple plus size base pieces (that you probably already have hanging in your closet!) to build an outfit for any time of the year, taking your wardrobe effortlessly from one season to the next.
Tunics are a must have at any time of the year, but this style is also particularly handy when it comes to creating transitional outfits for us plus size ladies. As Refinery29 points out, the tunic is an easy choice for anyone who wants something that won’t cling to her middle – one reason to love this all-season piece even more. Choose pieces that hit at mid-thigh or just above the knee to get the biggest (and most flattering) bang for your buck. At this length, tunics can be worn alone or with a pair of skinny jeans during the summer, and then paired with a cropped sweater and leggings (aka the curvy girl’s best friend) for fall. To give your look an instant boost, opt for a pair of faux lather paneled leggings for a trendy touch that’s both comfortable and sophisticated.
A timeless wardrobe staple, the pencil skirt never goes out of style, and it’s not hard to see why. With its curve-enhancing silhouette and endless choices of fabrics, colors, and accents, this particular piece can do no wrong. If you’re worried this type of skirt will look too “buttoned-up” for your liking, just know that it’s all about how you wear it. First, choose a fabric that suits your style and shape – a structured ’70s-inspired suede and slimming ponte knit are both top picks in my book. Then, pair with a turtleneck, chunky sweater, or slouchy crew neck sweatshirt for a fall-friendly ensemble.
Fit and Flare Dress
If you’re like most plus size ladies, you have at least one fit and flare dress that has become your go-to for most occasions. Versatile and chic, this style is just as ideal for a cocktail party as it is for running errands on the weekends. Plus, this particular cut does wonders for accentuating all of your best features while downplaying the ones you aren’t crazy about. By now, you can probably guess where I’m going with this: the fit and flare dress makes a great piece for bridging the seasonal gap. Top with an oversized cardigan, layer over tights, add riding boots, or wear with a cropped denim jacket—the options are endless. For inspiration, browse the dress options from Lyst. The collection of different designers highlights a variety of styles that makes it easy to find just the right addition to your transitional wardrobe.
The last transitional piece on our list just so happens to provide the perfect finishing touch to almost any ensemble: the trench coat. Effortlessly chic when worn open, this outerwear can also be cinched close when temperatures drop, keeping you warm and defining your waist all at once. Not only does the trench coat come in virtually every colour, length, and material that you can imagine, it pairs well with everything. As Vogue writes, it almost doesn’t matter what you have on underneath because the trench is what makes that first great impression. Dresses, trousers, skirts, rompers, and more—you name it, the trench coat will go with it, making it a very complementary, and very essential, transitional piece for any plus size wardrobe.
Those who know me, know one thing for certain – I’m utterly mad for Halloween! Creepies, ghoulies, hobgoblins and bats – these are a few of my favourite things. Everyday is Halloween in my home, from my zombie and monster decor – and my absolute speciality is cooking creepy-looking food! (Brain jello anyone?)
So, when I got asked to partake in a South African pinup calendar, I jumped at the chance to be Miss October because it meant one thing – Halloween pinup shoot!
I consider myself somewhat of a pioneer in the clothes swap party area. I’ve been hosting them for years and years – since my early uni days – but it’s only been in more recent times that they’ve become a big ‘thing’. I’ve even had to go from an open-door policy to limiting numbers – too many people trying to squish into my little housie! In case you’re not familiar with the idea, let me tell you a little more about it.
What is a clothes swap party?
Clothes swaps – or as I now call them, junk swaps (so much more than just clothes), are get togethers where everybody brings their old ‘stuff’ – clothes shoes, handbags, jewels, makeup, scarfs, books, kitchen utensils, you-name-it – and we play a sort of game going through it all and searching for treasures.
What I like about clothes swaps
There are several reasons I this clothes swap parties are such an utterly amazing thing.
1. First off, it’s a regular prompt to go through your cupboards and get rid of your old crap. I keep a bag at the back of my closet, and every time I try something on and it doesn’t fit, or I don’t feel good in it, I chuck it in the bag. Seeing someone completely light up and look fabulous in something you haven’t worn in 5 years makes it a whole lot easier to get rid of the clutter weighing you down.
2. You come home feeling like you’ve shopped up an epic storm, and you haven’t spent a cent. It’s that same sort of feeling when you find a thrift-shop score – like it’s one-of-a-kind and it was meant just for you. And you wouldn’t believe the interesting things that come out of the woodwork!
3. All the leftovers (and you wouldn’t believe how much there is!) go to charity. I’m in touch with a few different charities and keep things for specific places that I know might need, but any charity shop would be thrilled with the leftovers from one of these parties. If it’s a ton, places like St Luke’s Hospice even collect!
How to organise your clothes swap party
1. Start by figuring out how many people you can fit in your living area. I have a pretty small space, but manage to squish quite a few people in. I find 12 – 16 people a nice number. Get friends to invite their friends so you can have a nice mix of people.
2. Set a date. I used to host these on weekday evenings, but to be honest they can go on for ages and it would get quite late, and a lot of my friends these days have kiddiwinkles etc. Most recently I’ve been hosting the parties on a quiet weekend morning or afternoon. We do a clothes swap four times a year, or every three months, with the changing of the season.
3. Ask everyone to bring a bite to nibble on. Snacks are always a big part of the festivities, and you’ll need your sustenance!
4. Let the games begin! Over the years we’ve developed our own unique ‘proceedings’ for the event, which works well for us. I’ve been to other events where there are equitable bartering systems (one for one) or your donations are given a value and you’re allowed to take something of an equal value, but those systems aren’t for us. Neither is making a whopper of a pile, and digging in. Instead, I’ve turned it into a game.
Everybody is randomly given a playing card. This is their trump card. They hold on to this for the right moment.
I methodically go through the pile of stuff, holding things up for everybody to see, and reading out size and label if I can find it. If only one person is interested, the item is theirs. If more than one person is interested, my trusty assistant will flip cards from a deck, and whoever gets the highest card wins the item.
If a player didn’t win the item on the card flop and still really, really wants it, and their trump card is of a higher value than the winner’s card, they can trump for the item. They can play their trump card only once per event, and they don’t get another one once it’s spent.
Anything unwanted get tossed into a big pile in the middle of the room. Once in the middle pile, all items are open game for anybody who wants them.
Once everyone’s got their piles of ‘winnings’, we take regular breaks for everybody to stop and try things on. I try to have tons of mirrors out around my house! The rule is you have to try it on before you leave. If it doesn’t fit you and someone else really wanted it, it goes to the next in line to try. You’re allowed to take things for friends and family, but only if no one else present wants it. It might sounds a little involved if it’s the first time you’re hearing it all, but we’ve been doing this for years and find it to be really fair and fun!
5. The last – and most important – rule is: invite me! I frikken love these things, and if you live near me, I’d love to attend and help you host 🙂
While I’ve scored soooooo many fabulous outfits, jangles, doomahickies and bits and bobs from clothes swaps, I also really love the utterly bizarre stuff that comes up – and finds another loving home! Most recently, there was a fruit bowl with a tiger on its back as the base. Previously I scored an entire zoo – that could fit in a matchbox.
The treasures are limitless.
I’m so thrilled and flattered that the divine Cupcake Mummy has done a doodle of me – even featuring my silly kitten, Spooky!
I’ve really loved spotting this talented illustrator’s doodles of the day on her Facebook and Instagram pages. Her latest series, which she’s calling ‘Our Garden Secrets’, all feature a touch of nature collected from her garden by her darling son Fysh.
Here are some of my other favourites:
She’s taking commissions, so if you’re looking for a unique birthday gift, this could be a total winner! Or Christmas cards even! How cool would that be?