VERY Last Minute Gift Ideas from M&S

Hands up who still has Christmas gifts to order? If you do and you're in full-blown panic mode, can I alert you to the gift section from M&S. Marks and Sparks literally has something for everyone, and this year I have pretty much done all my Xmas shopping there.

The homeware section is my fave. I've bought pot plants and side tables, candles and reed diffusers and I have found it so hard to part with them all as I want them for myself hahaha. I must admit, I've done a fair bit of 'to me, love me' shopping this year. Listen, 2018 has been wild, and I've felt the need to treat myself hahaha.

Take a quick look over this post if you're in need of some gift ideas, I've not put them into categories like 'For Her" etc. as I feel like all these gifts I've selected could be for anyone.

ORDER BEFORE 5 PM TODAY FOR NOMINATED DAY DELIVERY or pop into your nearest M&S store. 

Photographs by Bethany Elstone 

11. Vases

 *This post is written in partnership with M&S as part of an on going collaboration. 

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Tips & Tricks: How to shop straight sizes as a plus size person.

A lot of people are often shocked when I tell them that something I am wearing is from a well known straight size shop. Now, for those who are unsure of the term 'straight size', what I mean by this is a shop that you can find on the high street, that typically only goes up to a UK16/18 and that generally doesn't typically cater to the plus size person. Think Zara, Topshop, COS.

As a plus size woman, I have always had to be very creative with where I shop and how I dress. When I was a teenager, I wore a lot of items from menswear shops, I wore stuff from brands that were too mature for me such as Wallis and I learnt how to shop with an open mind.

My first tip for shopping straight sizes as a plus size person is to know your measurements. Knowing your measurements makes online shopping a lot easier. Often, pieces are oversize, cut in a boxy way and could easily work for your shape/size. If you know what you're working with, you can often end up coming away with some fab items that you might never have even contemplated rocking.

Look out for oversize items. I think I had subconsciously been doing this for all of my teens/early twenties, but it wasn't until I lived in Stockholm, Sweden that I truly understood the importance of hunting out oversize items in straight size stores. Scandinavian fashion focuses a lot on boxy, minimal, contemporary cuts and with shops like Monki, Weekday and Cheap Monday - it is no wonder my love of oversize pieces grew once I lived there. I used to spend my lunch breaks trawling the rails of these stores and my love of Monki blossomed. Do your research and make a note of brands that you spot on social media that often produce oversize items.

Letting go of expectations is key! We all know that Zara aint for fat people. We all know that Philip Green doesn't like fat people, so Topshop will never have a plus size range. We know all this. What we have to do when shopping as a plus size person, is let go of what we expect and look outside the box. There are gems to be found on the shop floors; we just have to have the patience to hunt and an open mind.

Head to the charity shops. Charity and vintage shops are a haven of mix matched, oversize, exceptionally random garments. You never know what you're going to get and you can more often than not stumble upon a killer piece - don't forget to look through the menswear racks as well.

Don't forget the indie brands. A few years ago, I bought something from a brand called Isolated Hero's. I hadn't seen anyone wearing this sequin obsessed brand before, but they made something for me, and as soon as I posted about them, they became really popular. That might sound arrogant, but it's how it went! This brand then went on to extend their sizes! Woo Hoo! A few of my fave indie finds can be found on ASOS Marketplace.

Go, Designer. Now, this is obviously not for everyone, BUT it is an option to some, so I wanted to make a note of it. I often browse Farfetch. It is one of my fave online stores to browse, and I can get lost on there for hours. I love looking at all the new in, designer pieces but what I often notice is the fact that although most high-end designers do not like fat people or cater to us; they do often make cool, edgy oversize items that would work on our chub bodies.

Shop My Look 

1. Shirt - Zara similar here | 2. Skirt | 3. Boots - old H&M similar here  | 4. Headscarf | 5. Handbag | 6. Heart Locket - ASOS similar here | 7. Double Coin Necklace 

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Time to Party with M&S

Pass me a glass, the festive season is once again here, and I'm ready to whizz around the dance floor dressed to the nines. 

Christmas is the one time of year; I go all out. I like to wear a pretty cool, minimal wardrobe throughout the rest of the year but come party season... give me all the velvet, all the luxe fabrics, all the sparkles and all the glam makeup. If you can't go all out at Christmas...when can you?

There are lots of different vibes you can go with when dressing up for your Xmas parties. I think I will do a few posts in the coming weeks focusing on the different looks you can do, but for today, I thought I would show you a more simple, fuss-free look which is perfect for those of you who aren't into wearing dresses or being overly feminine. 

A dressy jumpsuit is suchhhhhh a good partywear option as it's one item, you don't have to faff with it or worry about matching other things to it (like you do with a skirt or top). It's more unique to wear a jumpsuit to something dressy, and you can take a relatively plain one and dress it up with killer heels, a bag and earrings.


I recently took part in a fantastic partywear shoot for M&S, and I chose to wear this beautiful velvet jumpsuit. Originally I styled it with an incredible tux jacket, thrown over the shoulders but because we had to dance and wave our hands around for the photographer, I ditched the jacket. The fit of this jumpsuit is out of this world. The chunky tie around the waist works really well at pulling you in, and I love the leg length works really well for my 5"3 frame. You can't see them from the photo below but the black heels I am wearing are my new faves and I might have bought them in leopard print as well. The heels are wide fit and will see you all the way from home to dance floor to the kebab house aha! They have a very comfy, chunky block heel and the velvet means they're really comfy. To finish off this look and give it a really glitzy vibe, I added these big statement square drop earrings. I am so into them as they are super bling-y but kinda cool as you don't see that many square shaped earrings.

Taking part in a Christmas M&S campaign was a dream come true. If you haven't gathered already, M&S are one of my fave brands and to take part in a shoot like this, makes me feel ever so proud. I am so so happy with how the shots have come out as well. The shoot set up was so cool. We had a DJ actually on set, playing 70s disco music and people firing confetti cannons at us as we danced. The photographer was so nice, he put us all at ease and was so complimentary of all of us. The best part...getting to drink M&S fizz while on set... god I love my job!

Shop My Look

 *This post is written in partnership with M&S as part of an on going collaboration. 

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Need a confidence boost this party season? I've got your back!

If you aren't feeling so festive this year because you are already struggling with what to wear during the party season - have no fear, Danie is here!

Party season is the time to let your hair down, feast on fancy foods, guzzle ALL the fizz (responsibly ;) ) and sparkle your way into the early hours! I absolutely love this time of year as I have my annual besties night out, my work Xmas do, numerous PR dinners and lots of parties to attend. This is all very well if you have a heaving wardrobe full of party wear, but what if you have one go-to dress, that's seen better days and your heels are still covered in mud from that fancy summer barn wedding you attended back in June. It's time to add some on-trend party wear pizzaz into your life, pronto!

If you struggle to know what to wear during the festive season, updating your party wear wardrobe can be quite daunting! To help you tackle some of your party wear hang-ups, the Simply Be community wanted to ask their favourite bloggers what some of their party wear/confidence woes were and I am here to answer one of the most commonly asked questions.

Hang Up #1 - "I am a size 20/22, and I feel like I've lost my confidence. What can I wear to help?"

Right, the first thing I want to say here is: YOU ARE AN ABSOLUTE ROCKET at a size 6, or a 26 and I won't have you think any less of yourself!! We can't just go to bed and wake up with confidence one morning, it is something that takes time and work, BUT it is very, very obtainable. Self-love and appreciation for what's inside goes a long way. Try to focus on how you still have the same beautiful soul as you did, before you gained weight/lost weight. Your weight or dress size is not a reflection of of you or how great you are!! I am a size 22 and my gosh, I prance around a party as if I'm the hottest girl in the room. I do this because I genuinely believe it and I wear things that make me feel happy, comfortable and sexy!

With that being said, I want to introduce you all to THE most comfortable party dress I have ever worn. I am, cross my heart, OBSESSED with this dress. When I tried it on, it did things to me...I tell you hahaha! Teamed with some killer heels...my confidence skyrocketed! I was posing for these photos as if I was the hottest IT girl ever to grace that central London Cafe! 

This fine knit dress is honestly so comfortable. It isn't thick, so I don't think you'll get hot in it and it's just like wearing your fave loungewear, but out and about! I love that it is a great length, it isn't too short and it just feel so cool, trendy and relaxed but with a festive edge.

If all else fails, a faux fur coat this time of year will genuinely make you feel like an absolute babe however you are feeling! Flung on over your shoulders, draped over one arm... they take a relatively simple party wear look to new levels of glam!

Simply Be have sooooo many party wear pieces this season, definitely take a peek if you fancy treating yourself! 

Photography by Bethany Elstone 

Shop My Look

1. Dress | 2. Wide Fit Heels - sadly out of stock (more options here) | 3. Faux Fur Coat

Check out all of the Simply Be Party wear here 

*This post is written in collaboration with Simply Be

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