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Win a Trip To The Races!

I’m a huge fan of the races. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given that it combines three of my greatest loves; champagne, low stakes gambling, and wearing ridiculous outfits. My first trip was to Sandown for a hen do, and I’ve managed to rack up half a dozen trips since then, including a last minute trip to the Derby, and three very memorable trips to Royal Ascot. I love choosing my hat, then choosing the outfit to go with it (the only way to do it). Here are my looks from the last couple of Ascot trips, in 2013 and 2014 respectively.



Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to Royal Ascot this year as I was in San Francisco (yes, my diamond shoes are a little tight now you mention it) so when an opportunity came up to go to another big race meeting this year, I jumped at the chance. The Hennessy Gold Cup (during the Bet 365 Festival) takes place at Newbury Racecourse in November, and not only will I be putting on my cold-weather gladrags for the occasion, you can too!

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be my date. I’ve got a pair of tickets to give away, plus a £30 John Lewis voucher to put towards your outfit for the day. They have a contest for the best dressed, so it’s definitely worth putting in the effort!

Of course, given the time of year the weather will be a slight fly in the ointment when it comes to outfits. Unless you’re lucky enough to be in hospitality, the majority of your racing day is spent outside, so dressing up is not as simple as my usual Ascot combo of pretty dress + statement headpiece. Instead, it has to be all about the coat. With that in mind, I’ll be wearing my Collectif Annabelle coat.


I’m now in the process of hunting down the perfect vintage-inspired headpiece to go with it. Newbury Racecourse doesn’t set out strict wardrobe rules like Ascot does, and any smart outfit is fine, but we have few occasions in life to truly dress up, and as far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as overdressed when it comes to the races. Though this will be my first time at this particular racecourse, I have it on good authority (and I’ve seen photos to prove) that plenty of people do opt for smart outfits and headwear. Yay!

If you fancy joining in the fun, enter my competition to win 2 tickets plus a £30 John Lewis voucher.

PLUS, you can also get a discount on any tickets you buy. Just use the promo code FUN15 to get £5 off premier or grandstand tickets for Saturday 28 November, Hennessy Gold Cup Day. Then look out for me on the day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you enter by tweet, remember to use the hashtag #WinInStyle and include @NewburyRacing and @gemmacartwright.

Competition T&Cs
This competition is open to UK residents aged 18+.
Your email address will be used for promotional purposes by the Company in question but will never be used by external third parties.
Transport to Newbury Racecourse is not provided.

Offer T&Cs
Offer applies to Premier or Grandstand admission tickets only.
Does not apply to existing bookings, three day tickets and cannot be used with any other offer such as group discounts or bumper packages.
Expires at midnight on 12th November and cannot be used on the day of the event.


Win a glamping trip plus loads of Summer survival goodies & spending money

A very exciting looking box arrived a few days ago. It contained a whole bunch of treats that will make Summer trips and festivals just that little bit easier. Containing everything from a solar charger to an energy bar, bluetooth speakers and a filter water bottle, this is Get The Label’s Ultimate Glamping Getaway Kit.


It’s been created to promote a pretty fabulous competition the brand is running in which you could win a chic Glamping holiday (like camping but with more creature comforts) plus £150 to spend at Get the Label and, of course, one of these boxes for yourself.

You might be thinking “you? Camping?!” but you’d be surprised how handy I am with a tent (or indeed a yurt, which I once put up as part of a hen do). I had a fair few camping holidays as a kid, not to mention guide camps as a tween, and even spent two weeks on a campsite in Cornwall in my early 20s. I’ve even had the festival camping experience, albeit only once (V 2002, and I have the sun damage to prove it). I actually like roughing it occasionally, though I have to confess the idea of a posh wooden wigwam with heating and power sockets does sound a little bit more suitable for me now I’m old and grouchy and less able to sleep on nothing but a ground sheet.

If this sounds like your kind of thing too, and if you fancy a new pair of Havs, a bunch of cash to spend on impractical clothing, plus a two night stay at a Wigwam Holidays site, get a wriggle on and enter now – the competition closes on 14th June.

Disclaimer: The box was a gift, and I also have the chance to win a holiday in a separate draw.

Competitions, Travel

The Sweet Scent of the Maldives

Usually I give blog competitions a miss, but sometimes the lure of an incredible prize and a fun challenge is too hard to ignore, and that is definitely the case with Kuoni’s incredible Scents of Adventure competition.

They’re asking people to get their thinking cap on and come up with the signature scent of a country to add the finishing touch to a poster that will hand in the Bluewater store. The rest of the countries are already completed (coffee for Brazil, apple pie for the USA and so on) which leaves one last island nation to get its representation; the Maldives. The prize, of course, is a trip there to experience the sights, sounds and smells for yourself. How could I resist?


Now, I’ll be honest. I did my research, I tried to find a unique, interesting choice that wasn’t completely obvious. But the truth is there’s only one thing that could possibly represent the Maldives as its signature scent, and that’s the coconut.

The coconut palm is the national tree of the country, and the most commonly grown tree on the Islands. The national emblem features a coconut. They use it in abundance in their food, they serve up drinks in carved-out coconuts, and the palm leaves are woven into baskets, mats and decorations (often used in wedding ceremonies). If you’re a tourist visiting the gorgeous beaches, no doubt you’ll be slapping on sun cream that has that familiar tropical scent. Hell, coconuts have even been at the centre of vote-rigging scandals in the country! These folks take their coconuts very seriously indeed!

The Maldives
Image courtesy of artur84 /

It would be ridiculous to think that anything else could represent this country. Nothing sums up the Maldives so well; exotic, sweet, aromatic, fresh, tropical. I also love that the coconut has so many uses, just as a trip to the Maldives offers so many new experiences.

It’s not just something with a memorable scent, it does so much more. It’s used in both male and female beauty products as both a scent and an ingredient. It’s used in sweet and savoury cooking and baking, and even has its place in cleaning (you may not believe it, but SLS, the controversial cleansing agent, is derived from coconuts). The oil can be used for everything from cleaning your teeth and gums to taming frizzy hair. Even the shells and husks don’t go to waste. As well as being perfect for holding a pina colada, they’re carved into trinkets and souvenirs, used to make buttons and jewellery, or can even be used to make charcoal briquettes.

And let’s be honest, when you think of the Maldives, do you really think of lemongrass, or freshly washed hotel sheets, or a spicy curry first? Nope, you think of lying on a beach, surrounded by palm trees, drinking something exotic and making plans to do absolutely nothing!

Disclosure: This is a competition entry. I wasn’t paid to write this post


Spring / Summer outfit inspiration: casual, party and holiday

I never usually enter blogger competitions, but I couldn’t resist the lure of the Passion for Fashion challenge. The rules are simple: create three outfits for under £200 based around three areas: casual wear, party wear and holiday wear. There’s a blogger judging panel (hi guys! LOVE YOU!!!) and prizes will be awarded for each category, plus a grand prize for the best set. We’re advised to take trends into consideration, and create budget outfits for Spring / Summer 2013 based around the key season looks. I love doing outfit picks and I am the queen of the budget outfit, so most of these come in well under the £200 allowed! My three trends are Global Traveller for my holiday look (encompassing all the ‘boho’ and ‘tribal’ inspired trends floating around this season), Monochrome for my party look (with an added dash of 1920s, Great Gatsby glam in honour of the long-awaited film), and for casual wear, Print-on-print with a slight 50s twist, inspired by my post about cropped trousers the other day, with a touch of off-duty Taylor Swift in her Keds (wha? I’m obsessed with 22 and I don’t care what you think). Here goes nothing…

The Partywear outfit: Monochrome goes Gatsby


When is this Great Gatsby film going to come out? And will it be worth the wait? I fear not, but I will be watching just for the Prada and Miu Miu dresses and Baz Luhrmann madness. This outfit is my homage to that, and trust me, I’m as surprised as you that a TOWIE alumni could come up with a dress this pretty. High fives, Lydia. More of this, please.

Studded bunny ears headband £12.50 at Topshop
LYDC knuckeduster clutch bag with jewels £22.97 at Amazon
Jewel bauble earrings £18 at ASOS
Lydia Bright shift dress in embellished deco style £75 at ASOS
Rosanna high heeled sandals £35 at Boohoo
Rhinestone cocktail ring £7.50 at Dorothy Perkins

The Casual outfit: Print on print with a 50s twist


I’m 29 and I’m obsessed with a girl who sings about being 22. This is not going to end well. I love that Taylor Swift manages to wear little dresses with Keds (she’s got a campaign with them) and not look like a fool. I’m not quite there yet, but I would happily team some polka dot plimsolls with Uniqlo’s amazing Celia Birtwell ‘legging trousers’ (that’s capri pants to you and me). Add some more polka dots for luck, and you have my casual look, which actually comes in at under £100. WIN!

Red tee with white polka dots £15 at A|Wear
Celia Birtwell cropped legging trousers £14.90 at Uniqlo
Frankie fringed bag in turquoise £22 La Moda
Champion red polka dot plimsolls £37.50 Keds
Brown leather and gold chain cuff £4.99 at New Look

The holiday outfit – the Global Traveller


High-waisted bikini, ridiculous sunglasses, denim cut-offs, killer wedges and loads of jewellery. Just add a fake tan and a huge hat and you have my holiday wardrobe sorted. I know there’s no handbag, I am going to pretend that is absolutely deliberate. My virtual holidaymaker is staying all-inclusive so doesn’t need to carry anything!

Crochet square top £45 at Miss Selfridge
Diane double wrap necklace £12 at Boohoo
Tribal print bikini £26 at River Island
G21 Aztec shorts £12 George at Asda
Monochrome Aztec cross strap cork wedges £27.99 at New Look
Tortoiseshell look sunglasses £12 at ASOS
Bracelet stack £18.50 at Topshop


CLOSED Dressember giveaway! Win a Pepperberry party dress worth £89!

I promised special Dressember treats this year, and here’s one that I think you’re all going to really love! My good friends at Pepperberry are offering one Big Girls Browse reader in the UK the chance to win a gorgeous party dress worth £89. The competition will run over the weekend and a winner will be picked early next week so hopefully the winner will receive their prize with plenty of time for New Year, if not before Christmas (if you’re lucky)!

I chose the jacquard full skirted dress as the prize because I knew the retro style and 50s shape would really appeal to readers of this site. It’s a timeless, universally flattering shape and I think it represents this site very well – we all know I love a full skirt and a cinch waist and this is the dress I would want to wear if I won!

Pepperberry dresses are designed with larger busts in mind, so this dress comes in three cuts (Curvy, Really Curvy and Super Curvy) and sizes 8 – 18. I find Pepperberry sizes come up relatively large because I quite often size up due to my bust – I wear a 12C or 12SC in Pepperberry, so if you’re a busty size 20 don’t be put off entering as I bet the 18RC or SC will fit you perfectly.

To enter the competition, just leave a comment on this post telling me when you’d wear the dress. Anyone who has sponsored me this Dressember gets an extra entry instantly. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday and the dress will be shipped out ASAP by Pepperberry. Please ensure you leave a valid email address or twitter with your comment so I can contact you to check your size should you win. You can find a Pepperberry sizing chart here. Please ensure you check this – Pepperberry sizes are different to those you’ll find on the high street.

Terms & Conditions:

1) The prize is one Pepperberry jacquard full skirt dress worth £89 in your chosen size (8 – 18 C, RC, SC)
2) Only one entry per person – IP addresses can be tracked on comments
3) This competition is open to visitors in the UK only (sorry!)
4) The prize will be sent as soon as possible but we cannot guarantee delivery before Christmas
5) No cash alternative is available
6) Closing date is Monday 17th December at 11pm (UK time). The winner will be notified shortly after.

The prize:

Lace Jacquard Full Skirt Dress £89.00
Available in sizes 8 to 18 in Curvy, Really Curvy and Super Curvy
To view the full collection visit



Win the INES Collection Graphic Pop dress!

The response to my review of two pieces from INES Collection got some great feedback both through the comments and on twitter, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a few of you haven’t already taken advantage of that amazing 40% off code and bought some of their printastic items already. If not, you might fancy throwing your name in the hat for this giveaway, as I’ve decided rather than letting it loiter in the back of my wardrobe because it’s a tiny bit big, I will give away the Graphic Pop dress (worth $72) to someone who’ll really get some wear out of it…

The dress is a size XS, which is a US 10 – 12. That translates to a UK 14-16 though it has plenty of stretch and is generous all round, so I think it would fit most size 18s as well. I only really wore it to take the review photos, but rest assured it’ll be washed and ironed before being sent to the winner! I’m happy to send it to a winner anywhere in the world, though I’m not responsible for the package getting lost in transit – I’ll send by airmail from the UK and we’ll both cross our fingers!

I’ll keep entry as simple as possible, just do these two little things:

Follow this blog (via the widget in the right sidebar, below the categories & tags —>)
Leave a comment on this post to let me know you’d like to enter

It’s as simple as that! The competition is open for two weeks, so I’ll pick a winner some time after the 7th Feb.

Good luck everyone!