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I really wanted blogging to be my full time job but it hasn't worked out

I-really-wanted-blogging-to-be-full-time-job // www.xloveleahx.co.uk

I had an epiphany on holiday and it's going to change my life.

I really wanted blogging to be my full time job but it hasn't worked out.

Let me clarify that. I wanted it to be a paying full time job. It has been a job, and at times over the last 6 years it has felt like a full time job. It has paid in the past and I had a good end to 2016, but this year things haven't been the same. My heart isn't in it.

I had a social media hiatus on my recent holiday. I had felt like I was heading for a nervous breakdown, so it was bliss to unplug. I didn't use my laptop once in 9 days despite lugging it to Bath and Dorset with me. I ignored my work email 90% of the time I was away. I avoided social media as much as I could. I didn't miss it at all. Doing real life things and having a break from my usual habits gave me pause for thought.

Plus size alternative wear - sun moon and stars kimono from EMP

ALTERNATIVE-PLUS-SIZE-SUN-MOON-STARS-KIMONO-FROM-EMP // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
Hello lovelies! I'm an alternate chick at heart, and in the past plus size alt clothing has been dire. I grew tired of looking for clothes that reflected that side of my personality, realising most companies didn't see fat rock chicks as worthy of clothing. I settled for whatever I could find in my size and concentrated more on the girly side of my personality. There's no need for plus size people to feel 'grateful' for the clothing options we're given any more, and thankfully over the years all kinds of plus size options have got better, including alt styles. This kimono is from EMP who specialise in rock and geeky merchandise. This item has sold out for now (I will check to see if it comes back into stock) but don't worry because they have a lot of plus size clothing for everyone. Women - Men. (Affiliate links).

Instagram fashion round up post

instagram-fashion-round-up-post-plus-size // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Hello chubbly bubblies!

I'm really into the 'Gram above blogging at the moment and I've been whacking out really quick, not-too-done-up outfits over there. They aren't really worth a blog post on their own, but I thought I'd do a round up of a few outfits I've published over there that haven't been shown here. I'll link to any items that are still in stock.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

Crop top - Witch Worldwide - very wide armholes so it shifts about all the time, be warned
Neon trim leggings, ASOS Curve *AL
instagram-fashion-round-up-post-plus-size // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
 Everything in this outfit below is old. I wore this to the cinema for date night with James.
instagram-fashion-round-up-post-plus-size // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Here's James's outfit. We went to the cinema to see Alien: Covenant then went to the beach.
Camo trousers, George at Asda - these are really comfortable and are only £14.
Alien t-shirt, Tee Fury *AL
This outfit comprises of an old Yours Clothing dress Ruby Thunder sent me, Primark bag and Forever 21+ denim jacket with sleeves cut off. *AL
instagram-fashion-round-up-post-plus-size // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
I wore this to vote (GOOOOOOO JEREMY CORBYN!) The cardi is thrifted Evans, the dress is ASOS Curve hareem (available in yellow, red, and palm print), bag here. *all affiliate links
instagram-fashion-round-up-post-plus-size // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
I'm wearing this gorge George at Asda scarf wrap here. It's literally a big scarf with tassels which is longer on the back that the front. It has no sleeves.
instagram-fashion-round-up-post-plus-size // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
instagram-fashion-round-up-post-plus-size // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
instagram-fashion-round-up-post-plus-size // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
I didn't feel that any of these posts warranted a full blog post on its own as I prefer to do those 'on location' at pretty places, so these round ups are a good way for me to share. Would you like to see this kind of thing more often? Maybe what beauty products I'm buying too?

 Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

Fuller softer shinier hair - the £3.95 vegan shampoo you need in your life

Thicker-softer-shinier-hair-the-£2.95-shampoo-you-need-vegan-cruelty-free
(At the time of writing this post the shampoos were £2.95 but they're now £3.95).

Hello loveys! If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen me banging on about my new shampoo constantly for the last couple of months. I found Perfect Pamper Gifts on Google when I was looking to change my hair care routine. I haven't been paid for this post - they don't even know I'm writing it - I just want other people to know how brilliant these SLS- and paraben-free shampoos are. This is cruelty free and costs £3.95 what more could you want?!

Here's my hair 4 months ago, before I started using solid shampoo.
Compare it to my hair now and you can really see the difference. This is a quick phone selfie of what my hair looks like after it's washed and been left to dry (naturally). This was taken last week.
Thicker-softer-shinier-hair-the-£2.95-shampoo-you-need-vegan-cruelty-free
When I get hot my head sweats A LOT and my hair usually gets drenched, loses all volume and looks stringy. This is a photo of me last week in 28 degree heat and God-awful humidity. My hair was soaking wet underneath - I sweated so much my hair actually went crispy at the end of the day - but look at my frigging hair! This is with NO product on it whatsoever.
Thicker-softer-shinier-hair-the-£2.95-shampoo-you-need-vegan-cruelty-free
For shits and giggles, this is how fine my hair was in 2011. Excuse my funny brows and dodgy eyeliner skills. How I've evolved! 😆😆😆 When I was a habitual dieter my hair was so thin. Eat your greens and don't starve, babes, it effs up your hair.
So here's more information on the solid shampoo bars - cruelty free, suitable for vegans, SLS and paraben free.

Why should you avoid SLS - sodium laurel sulphate

Do you like nature? Have you heard about the vast swathes of forest being cut down for palm oil? SLS is made from palm oil, and the world's demand for it is effing up the environment. Palm oil is in everything from shampoos and shower gels to peanut butter. Perfect Pamper Gifts' shampoo bars use sodium coco sulphate, made from coconut oil.

Even without the environmental concerns, SLS is a known irritant. It strips all the moisture out of your hair which means you need the silicones in conditioner to give your hair the appearance of shiny hair, but it's only shiny because you've got bloody plastic on your head. SLS in shampoo strips out all moisture and silicones in conditioner fake putting the moisture back. It's a vicious circle. And the silicones in conditoner weigh your hair down, making it look finer than it is. Now I'm not stripping my hair with SLS I don't need to use conditioner at all and my hair looks full, luscious and shiny because it is. If your hair is a different texture to mine you may still need conditoner - just grab one without SLS.

Since I've had Fibromyalgia I've had multiple chemical sensitivities and traditional shampoo and conditioners often caused an allergic reaction. This would result in a very tight, itchy scalp, lymph nodes coming up on my head and neck and lots of pain and discomfort. Since I've been using the shampoo bars (the coconut one is my favourite) I haven't reacted once. My scalp doesn't get tight and itchy. I have less dandruff. If you have psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis on your head (or your children do) these bars will be a lifesaver.

The shampoo bars aren't heavily scented. Again because of Fibromyalgia I have a ridiculously sensitive nose and strongly scented products (cough Lush cough) induce migraines and nausea. No problems at all for me now.

Here's a photo of me using the bar in the shower so you can see how much lather you can get.

I wet my hair, rub the bar around my head about half a dozen times then rub it all in and as you can see there's a really rich lather. When my hair is wet it feels too clean - like squeaky clean, but it soon passes. If you're a wet hair brusher get thyself a Tangle Teezer - you won't regret it. They cause way less breakage than a regular brush because it's so much gentler. As my hair dries it's as fluffy as a baby chick and full of volume. It's unbelieveably soft, and I don't get greasy hair any more. I wash it every 2-3 days as my hair falls better when it's clean, but I don't get that gross soup on my scalp now. If you strip your scalp of all natural moisture of course it tries to compensate by producing a lot more oil.

So, to sum up, if you want all of this then buy yourself one of these bad boys and bring on the best hair of your life!
  • thicker hair
  • shinier hair
  • softer hair
  • no itchy scalp
  • no chemical reactions
  • no animal testing
  • no parabens
  • no SLS
  • no killing orangutans to get palm oil 
I've got the coconut one and the grapefruit one and have used both over the last couple of months. They haven't even halved in size yet. They look like they're going to last for months. For the purposes of having shiny new bars to photograph for you I bought 2 more - a lavender one and a tea tree one (I think, it's not on the website at the moment). I haven't started on them yet but I will when the other two are finished. The bars do vary on the site at any one time, so if they don't have your fave check back in a week or so and they may well have stocked back up.

Any questions? Hit me up in the comments!
Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

Bagpuss and friends

ALTERNATIVE PLUS SIZE BLOGGER // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
Hello babes! I've been trying to look at my fashion in a different way. Instead of thinking of everything in a fast-fashion-everything-new-is-wonderful way I'm reminding myself how many old faves I have and how glorious it is to wear things I want to wear, rather than feeling the pressure to be Mrs Bloggy McBloggerface at all times. I always feel bad if I show off old stuff on this blog, which is ridiculous because none of us are Kardashian rich (as far as I know!) Let's dispense with this obsession for new shit, yeah? Of course new things are nice an' all, but so is being able to afford your rent. 😀 So yes, I need to get rid of this blogger mentality I carry around with me and stop apologising for 'everything old' posts. So with a proud flourish and some jazz hands I say - everything in this post is old, especially the bag, which I've had since the late 90s/early 2000s.

Yours Clothing grey acid wash playsuit

Yours-Clothing-grey-acid-wash-playsuit-limited-collection // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Hello lovelies!

I'm back off my hiatus (I think) as I have a couple of outfits to share. Today I'm wearing the Yours Clothing grey acid wash playsuit from the Limited Collection. It's so comfortable and I'm a bit obsessed with it! Read on for sizing info and more photos.

Brainstorming bra fitting for the bigger bust

Hi loves,

I'm still on hiatus from blogging except for my existing commitments, but don't worry I'm still on social media.

BRA-FITTING-FOR-THE-FULLER-BUST-MS-POMELO // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK

 In just under two weeks I'm hosting a webinar about bra fitting for the fuller bust. The experts are:

  • Ilona from Ms Pomelo, who make gorgeous comfortable bras for the fuller chest 
  • Jackie Clarke, a bra fitting expert of many years experience at a major department store
  • Retha Welding, a physiotherapist from SE1 Physio

It's a half hour long chat on Weds 12th July between 7.30 and 8pm and Ilona is going to give away some bras at the end of the evening to people who attended the webinar.

If you've ever had questions about bra fitting or breast health now's your chance to get your questions in. You can drop any questions about bra fitting/breast health you might have in the comments. If you have any photos of yourself in ill-fitting bras and want to know what the problem is, you can send photos to care@mspomelo.com. Title your email LoveLeah Webinar.

You can see the event on Facebook here and if you're attending, please register here.

Further reading:
Here's a look at me wearing some Ms Pomelo lingerie. Read here about Ms Pomelo post-mastectomy bras.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

Hiatus

Hiatus. I've looked at the word for so long it almost feels foreign to my eyes.

There's something almost reverential about putting pen to paper as opposed to fingers to keyboard. I think I read once that most of your brain is formed by the time you're 7, which explains why I can't think clearly unless I'm writing out my thoughts. From the time I could hold a pen and pad I poured out my every thought, childhood fantasy and embarrassing teenage lament. I write to see how I feel, and sometimes the words are scratched out by hand and a decision made before it has even registered with my brain.

I don't feel like my thoughts are half as eloquent without the scratch of pen on paper, the indent on the next few pages of an opinion fiercely expressed. I should freestyle my blog posts before I commit them to the keyboard and make them indelible. Words can be erased from the internet but not from hearts and minds, as I've discovered in the past.

Writer's block is a pain in the arse, but I call it writer-speak for being knackered. If you've never been too tired to think straight then I envy you. Sometimes there's just too much horror in the world to take in and the words retreat like clouds on a sunny day. The only thing you can do to beat it is to NOT beat it - you have to give yourself a break, which is what I intend to do now (present commitments willing).

A writer gives of themselves and life gives too, but it also takes away in increments. Our hope, our energy, and at some points the ability to take in any more suffering. This is how I find myself now - careworn, sad and overwhelmed. I'll be back when the need to share words outweighs my exhaustion, until which time be good to yourselves. ❤

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

At this moment #4 - Lifestyle

Hello loves, it's time to see what I've been up to for the last few weeks.

WATCHING

Currently I'm midway through the second/last series of Sense8 on Netflix. I really enjoy it and it's a shame it's been cancelled. It's about 8 individuals who are linked psychically and the adventures they experience. It has a very diverse cast and is filmed in places such as Germany, India, Iceland and America. It's a riot for the senses but due to all the location filming it must've been very expensive to produce.

READING

I've been reading up a storm recently. I've read two more Baldacci books in the last couple of days - The Forgotten and The Target. I especially enjoyed the former. I *could* spend my time reading more factual books and fill my brain full of good things but I love crime thrillers.

MAKING

Making plans for when we go to Bath next month. I have enough recommendations to last a week but we're only there for 2 days. Still, we'll make the best of it and we can always go back again. 😀

STARTING

To be responsible adults and save for a mortgage - we estimate two years of really knuckling down will get us the chunk of money we need to buy a house or flat of our own. We'd started this once before, but then had to move with a month's notice, using up all we'd saved. Scrimping means my shopping habits and my whole outlook on life has got to change to one of thrift. I'll be sharing how I rediscover my thrifty ways, hack clothes I've already got into something new and add embellishments to jazz up older items. When I was younger I DIY-ed stuff all the time as lack of money meant I had to be inventive. I did it for years so I can do it again.

FINISHING

I recently watched the second series of Hinterland on Netflix. It's a crime procedural set in Wales. The scenery is stunning - all rolling hills and valleys - but the interior shots show beautiful decay as they visit crimes in dilapidated and dusty properties in the middle of nowhere. It's a beautiful contrast. There are 5 episodes of about 90 minutes each in a series and I really enjoy it.

I just finished a book called Principality of Sealand: Holding the Fort by Michael Bates. It's a fascinating story, and you can read more about it here on Wiki. Essentially a bonkers family commandeered a WW11 sea fort for their own use and have lived in it since 1967. I've been fascinated with the story for years since I first heard about it. The grammar and punctuation in the book leaves a lot to be desired but it's still a good read.

ENJOYING

Looking forward to my holiday next month. I'm going away for a week with James's mum, dad, brother, our sister in law and our niece, who is 4. We go every year and since baby E was born we fit the holiday around her and it's lovely. Last year I took 2 outfits per day, planning to take loads of outfit photos, but mostly I had the barest makeup and scraped back hair and let E use me as a climbing frame. I adore her. James and I are getting away for a couple of days before we meet up with the fam - to Bath - and hopefully we'll have a couple of days away on our own afterwards too.

TEXTING

The last person I texted was my brother Wayne, and that was about going to see him last weekend, which was very nice.

LOVING

I'm really into KIKO makeup at the moment. I said in my last at this moment post I'm loving the purple mascara I bought from them and I just bought some more in a sale they had. My order hasn't arrived yet as it comes from Italy, but I picked up both a light and dark green and a vivid blue mascara. I also got a slate grey lipstick (you know me and my love of weird makeup) and a couple of normal coloured ones. I'm still into really bright makeup generally of late. Life's too short not to stand out.

HATING

It's cooled down now but it had been unseasonably hot for over a week. We had the hottest day in June for something like 170 years. Because of my Fibro I have trouble regulating body temperature as I explained here so extreme heat (or cold) is really intolerable for me. I've been avoiding going out apart from last weekend when we went to see my brother. We walked around a lake for an hour in 28 degree heat and God only knows what humidity. When we got back to the car I felt so ill I thought I was going to have to vomit in my handbag! Thankfully sips of water and the air con soon sorted me out. Indoors I've nearly fainted several times as I overheat so easily. Temperatures have dropped now, so life is back to normal.

What's new with you?

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Cherry Coke - the taste of the 80's

PLUS SIZE CHERRY COKE T SHIRT // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
Hello lovelies, here's another casual warm weather outfit. It's as hot as balls so I can't stand to wear fabrics which aren't cool. Also I'm on a kind of spending ban (except for essentials) as we're doing grown up stuff - saving for a mortgage. I've got to keep reminding myself that when we have our own place we can rescue a couple of cats, and that's helping me sit on my hands a bit. I have LOADS of clothes, but I lack inspiration a lot of the time. This next couple of years as I crack down on superfluous purchases will be a good chance for me to remember what it is to be thrifty. I remember years ago when I really was poor the inventiveness it took. I remember once when I was a teenager cutting the labels out of all my clothes and sewing them at jaunty angles onto a pair of old jeans to funk them up. I'd tie-dye or tie-bleach items to make them unique. Just buying things off the peg has made me lazy. I need to up my game again!

Monki-ing around in the Monki palm print dress

Monki oversized palm print dress // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Hello everyone! I've got a little message for one of my readers - hello Joan! Tanya tells me you're a big fan, so hi! 😀

I'm wearing another dress from Monki today. I've had this a couple of months now so it's out of stock but I thought it's worth blogging about for size reference alone. This is a size M/L - which is supposed to be about a UK size 12-14 - and I'm a size 28. Monki are a Swedish company who do many oversized items. I only buy oversized things from them, or else they wouldn't fit me. As they're a straight sized company you will notice the models are thin, and look especially so in the oversized items. I mention this as the size of the models was pointed out to me by a reader before. I'm happy some of their items fit me.

I've had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction with this dress. I never pay any attention to laundry labels so I've washed and tumble dried it a few times and it's shrunk so much that the slit at the front goes right up past my vag! In this weather we could all use a bit of free air con, but that much is indecent. 😨

NSFW. Pocket pleasure that packs a punch - a Lovehoney review

nsfw-pocket-pleasure-from-Lovehoney-sex-toys // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
If you know me in real life and don't want to read about my sexy-time adventures then please stop reading now! Yes Mum, that means you. 😝

OK, moving on - those babes at Lovehoney sent me some toys to play with recently and since orgasms are the best homework EVER it was my pleasure to try them out. I've been a sex toy user one and off since I was a teen and I've never written about it until recently, but sod it, most people I know love an orgasm!

I'm a liberal woman and James is a liberal man and we have a good selection of toys for both of us. I'm no stranger to Lovehoney - most of our sex toys are from there. They post everything in discreet and sturdy packaging so there'll be no knowing look from your postman! Also, they have a no-quibble 365 day returns policy! I love the reviews on Lovehoney - you're left in no doubt whatsoever if something is powerful enough to do the job as the reviews go into great detail - sometimes hilariously! I usually end up crying with laughter at the reviews and the euphemisms for genitals and shagging.

I was sent three toys and some lube. Read on for what I thought of them.

Ms Pomelo post-surgery bras for breast cancer warriors

Ms Pomelo post-surgery mastectomy bras for breast cancer // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Photo of Tracie © Simon Hunt at Alt Studio Manchester

Hi loves,

Something I'm really keen on getting out there is Ms Pomelo's post mastectomy bras for breast cancer warriors. I know three people who went through breast cancer last year and who are still experiencing it. One of those friends Tracie has been kind enough to supply me with a bunch of images of her in her post-surgery bras, including some stunning pin up images of her by Alt Studio Manchester.

Mookie and Mike's visit & my OOTD

A month ago my lovely friends Mookie and Mike came to stay for the weekend. On the Sunday we all went to a lovely farm near us to hang out in the sunshine. Here are some photos from the day, plus what I was wearing. I've been erring towards casual/nothing special looks recently, and because I've not been buying many new things I'm trying to put a spin on older items. James and I have had car trouble recently plus we're saving hard for a mortgage so money is tight. The dress I'm wearing was actually a knee length harem playsuit but I hacked through the legs to make it an asymmetric hem dress. You can see me wearing another one of these hack jobs here. I've put an old galaxy print t-shirt over the top.

Yours Clothing Navy Jersey Maxi Dress With Ruched Waist and Pockets

Yours-Clothing-Navy-Plus-Size-Jersey-Maxi-Dress-With-Ruched-Waist-and-Pockets // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Hello loves. I feel like prefacing all of my posts for the next three months with "Excuse my humidity hair!" or "I don't do well in the heat" but I'm sure I'm not the only person who melts at the slightest bit of heat. If you never look pristine in the heat then *high five* because I always look hot and bothered when it's muggy.