Leeds fat swap part 1 - photo OBESE! Ha.

Hiya lovelies!

Hubby and I had a fabulous weekend away in Leeds so I could attend my first ever fat clothes swap and meet some of the lovely ladies I've been chatting to for such a long time on Twitter.

This is going to be Part 1 of 4. Today I'll talk about the swap itself and I'll show you some of the items I picked up. In part 2 I'll show you some more clothes I got and in part 3 I'll show you the accessories, make up and nail polish I snagged. In part 4 I'll talk about what we did in Leeds and show you some Instagram shots.

First, here's a photo of the gaggle of us ladies waiting for the doors to open so we could get a-swappin'. There was much joking about banging open the doors with our ample bums and boobs, but luckily a sheepish man came in and let us in after we'd all been baking in the sun for about 20 minutes.

In the photo below you can see Becky, looking all sexy in her shades leaning up against the wall. There's Lolly in her graphic print dress and winning red hair. Mel in her cool tie dye with her lovely smile and my be-flowered bonce hogging up the shot. Apologies to the other ladies, I don't know who you are (but please feel free to let me know who they are, someone?) I also met the amazing Lisa (who took the photo below), Steph, Tink, Gemma, and some other lovely ladies whose names I didn't catch. Sorry! There were a couple of ladies I was hoping to meet today who couldn't make it (Sian and Becky) so hopefully I'll get to meet them soon!

Photo courtesy of the babein' Lisa

I felt instantly at ease amongst this group of women, something which didn't even strike me as odd until I sat down to write this post 36 hours later. I was instantly myself - joking around, not afraid of being too loud or too weird. My anxiety didn't come into play at all as it usually would in social situations and much of that is down to the fabulous Rachel from A Dress is For Life for letting me know she was so looking forward to meeting me. Normally I'd have been a bag of nerves on meeting a lot of new people but there wasn't so much of a flutter of an impending panic attack. VICTORY!

Once inside the venue it was all hands on deck - setting up the tables and quickly laying out our wares. I'd brought so much stuff with me (a huge wheelie case packed to the brim!) that by the time I'd laid all mine out the swap was in full flow so I had some catching up to do. I wasn't quite sure of the ettiquette of the swap, but I'm pleased to say it was very refined with no tug of war battles over clothing! I flitted about from table to table, pulling out prints I liked or soft fabrics I'd felt (soft clothing is so important for people with Fibromyalgia) and sizing them up by eye, something I discovered at this swap I'm good at. Periodically I'd take a bunch of clothes back to my bag to unload to ease my cramping arms. After a while when I had filled my bag by about 3/4 someone told me there was cake in the bar area of the venue, so of course (after joking how sterotypical it was of a fat person to love cake!) I went next door to have a nibble on one of Lolly's lovely vegan cupcakes and sat down to chat with some of the other ladies over a Fentimans ginger beer. People came and went, and we all chatted so naturally I even forgot to ask for names of some of the ladies. It was like chatting to people you've known all your life. I also picked up a cool custard cream brooch that Lolly made - photo to follow!

Anyhow, I know some of you will have skipped the text because you want to see the clothes, right?! RIGHT!

This stretchy dress is from Tesco. I love the colour.

This dressy top is from Evans and will be great for a night out.

This cardi is from New Look and I love stripes so it's perfect.

This top is from Evans and must've cost a bomb. I can see myself on holiday somewhere hot and exotic in this. (All I need now is the holiday!)

Stripes again from Asda this time. Always a winner, even horizontal stripes! Yuss, fat people can wear them! We can wear what we like. Our bodies, our rules. I'll get off my soap box now! ;)

A waterfall cardi from Tesco.

This t shirt from Asda is great. I love grey, and who can resist Mickey?

This dotty top is also a little on the 'so tight my boobs will take your eyes out' side, but it's perfectly wearable with a cardi over the top to cover up some of my shirt potatoes' impact.

This top is from 1647, the range Dawn French was involved in. It's a real heavyweight material which will come into its own in winter, I think. I dread to think how much this would've cost new!

After the swap we all did some hanging around in the cafe area and various people went off elsewhere to eat. I waited for Rachel to come back as her hubby Brett had taken my hubby off for some geeky adventures! When we'd finished the fellas came back, helped us ladies help Lolly and some others clear up and then me and Rachel plus menfolk went off to Nandos.

We broke our Nandos cherry! I forgot to take a photo of my food. Bad blogger, and if Instagram gets wind of this they'll ban me. You know it's the LAW to Instagram your food, right?! Anyway, we had a lovely chat and some nice noms in the fully air conditioned upstairs part of Nandos. Did I mention it was baking hot on Saturday? Well, it was el scorchio and I had as much energy as the lettuce in my chicken burger. 

James and Brett got on like a house on fire because they're both supreme nerd beings, and they bonded over a love of Game of Thrones and gaming. James is super, super chuffed to have made a new friend. Brett is lovely and so easy to talk to. I'm stoked that Rachel was as lovely in the flesh as online. No, lovelier! In fact everyone I met this weekend was so nice, and I already had high expectations. Everything went so well. If you're nervous of coming to a clothes swap, or meeting other bloggers in general I say cast your fears to the wind, make like Nike and just do it!

Sadly after dinner the heat had all but exterminated our collective mojo, so we went our separate ways to nap, but not until promising to meet again and do actual things together! Brett mentioned Laser Quest and I think James did a bit of a sex wee as he LOVES it. They can nerd out all they like while we shop. Mwoo hahahaHA.

When we got back to the hotel OF COURSE I gave James a fashion parade of all the clothes I'd picked up, and a few times he said 'That makes your boobs look HUGE!' then beckoned me over for a boob-grab, but sadly it was all too much for him and he fell asleep while I was talking to him! :D I can now see that being a model isn't all cocaine and throwing phones at maids, it's actually hard work. My limbs were aching from shirking off so many garments. Soon I joined him in some slumber and by God, did I crash hard! I woke up with a mouth like the bottom of a bird cage, but felt supremely revived.

Things I learned today:

Most people are lovely, even more so than they appear on Twitter/blogs.
TRY THINGS ON. Some of the things I picked up are WAY smaller on the label says should fit me, but they do. Also 'fit' is subjective. Some things I picked up are tight, but I love that. I picked up clothes from size 18 to 28 and they all fit my body! It has given me much more confidence to shop with my hands instead of my eyes. I'll be stretching things out and weighing up fit rather than going on labels in future.
Clothes swaps are bloody awesome! Free clothes? Hell yes.
Lolly's cakes are really good. Yum.

This post is only HALF the clothes I picked up, but I took more with me than I brought back so I don't feel like a clothes hog! The wheelie case was much lighter going back. Yes!!

Come back for part 2 for the other half of the clothes I snagged, part 3 for the accessories/make up, and part 4 for the other things I did in Leeds and some Instagram photos. 

Have you been to a clothes swap? How do you feel about previously loved items in general? Something I really want to get into more is charity shopping (thrifting.)

Thanks for reading!

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