Book Review | In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware*

Hiya!

I was contacted recently by Harvill Secker and sent a digital copy of In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, which comes out on July 30th. I didn't start reading the book immediately, but when I did I finished it in a single evening. It is totally un-put-down-able, and yes I know that isn't a word or even a phrase but I'm still going with it. I know I'm onto something special when I drown out everything else and greedily consume a book, and that's exactly what I did. There's something so compelling about obnoxious characters in books, and this one has a few of them.

Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware


Our protagonist Leonora (referred to Lee/Nora throughout the book), a writer, finds herself invited to her old friend Clare's hen weekend, after 10 years with no contact between them whatsoever. Nora left her home town and all her friends behind after school and never returned, and her reasons for doing so slowly emerge as we progress through the book. Despite being perplexed as to why she's been invited after all this time, she accepts the invite, making a pact to attend only if her friend Nina also accepts. They drive from London to Northumberland to an eerie glass fronted house set in ominous woods in the countryside. It's set in snowy November, further increasing the sense of isolation caused by the lack of mobile phone signal and the perplexing failure of the house's land line.

Things are uncomfortable from the outset as Nora is wondering if there's an agenda to why she's been invited, especially when she realises she hasn't been invited to the wedding itself. All becomes clear during the weekend, as Nora discovers the groom-to-be is a blast from her own past. The other attendees aside from Nina - who's a doctor - are Melinda, a young mum who leaves early to get back to her baby; Tom, a gay playwright who's an honorary 'hen'; and Flo, who is Clare's highly-strung BFF. Flo is completely under the bride-to-be's thrall, in an obsessive and creepy way. It is Flo's aunt's house they stay in for the hen weekend.

When the group drunkenly bring out a Ouija board, it spells out Mmmmmmuurderrrrrrrrrrrrrer and it understandably puts the group on edge. In the middle of the night an unexpected visitor enters the house, a shotgun which was supposed to be filled with blanks goes off, and someone dies. Who's to blame, and who's being set up to carry the can? Things are not as they seem, and as the book picked up pace I found my heart racing, especially in the last 50 pages or so, when staying up to read late into the dark night on my own didn't seem like such a good idea any more!

I didn't guess the twists and turns until the denouement was laid before me, and it was an exhilarating read. There are no hackneyed tick-box formulas to be found in this book. I was left guessing who the mastermind of the crime was until it was spelled out for me as I was so caught up in the book and in a thirst to finish it. It was a refreshing change for me to read a thriller novel set in the UK, as most of the ones I read are set abroad. This is an amazing debut novel from Ruth Ware, and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

A definite recommend. I'm so excited about female helmed crime/thriller books again.

For: Fans of The Girl on the Train and the Gillian Flynn series. 

Amazon link
Ruth Ware website

*I was sent an e copy of this book for review and absolutely recommend it. Receiving this book for free has not shaped my opinion in any way.

Outfit | Pretty Penny with Curvety.com*

Hello lovelies!

I have a really special occasion dress to show you today, the Penny dress from IGIGI via Curvety. IGIGI are an American company, founded by Yuliya Raquel in San Francisco in 2000. I have been familiar with them for some time, having placed an order directly some years since.

About Curvety
They are a UK based company who offer sizes 16 to 36. From their website:
Curvety was conceived in 2004 because we were fed up of searching for trendy plus size clothes and being left disappointed by the lack of choice. We know that women want clothes that look great on and accentuate their curves and we think every curvy woman deserves to have her perfect wardrobe. This is why Curvety works hard to offer a sassy collection of clothing, from glam evening wear, to smart work wear.


Penny plus size Dress in Crimson City by IGIGI via Curvety.com

Penny Dress in Crimson City by IGIGI via Curvety.com


Penny Dress in Crimson City by IGIGI via Curvety.com



Penny plus size summer dress in Crimson City by IGIGI via Curvety.com

These photos were taken at my friend Rachel's parents' house the other day. I had a hair trial for the wedding, and I love the hairstyle Carla the hair stylist gave me. So elegant! This is just a rough estimation of how my hair will look - it will be more polished on the wedding day. There are some more photos of my hair at the end of the post.

Penny plus size occasion dress in Crimson City by IGIGI

Penny Dress in Crimson City by IGIGI via Curvety.com
Take time to smell the flowers

Curvety.com got in touch with me recently. I was sent this Penny dress in Crimson City. I love the mix of colours, particularly the electric blue which really stands out amongst the earthier colours. The keyhole detail at the neckline is a feminine and flirty touch, and the angel sleeves are roomy enough to be comfortable through even clammy days. The photos below were taken at sundown, and the golden sun brings out the warmth of the colour palette, as well as my hair.



There's a lovely wide band under the bust which draws you in at the waist, and the dress is fully lined a stretchy material (it's a polyester/Lycra mix.) The outer fabric is very light and floaty. It's a medium weight, well made dress which has a good length to it, coming just below the knees on my 5ft 5 frame. I'm wearing size 26/28 UK.

There's some magic woven into the fabric of this dress as it was a warm evening, but I didn't feel hot. Possibly because the sleeves are loose and there is enough fabric in the skirt portion of the dress to create movement, but I like to think it was woven by pixies. ;)

IGIGI Penny dress in Crimson City*, Curvety.com
Leggings (from twin pack), Very.co.uk
Faux leather brown slip on pumps, Everything 5 Pounds.

I can imagine myself wearing this dress for smart events like weddings and christenings, or on evening meals on holiday. As the pattern is a little busy I didn't feel the need to wear jewellery, but a simple necklace and earrings would be a lovely touch.

I have a skirt and top from IGIGI which I bought several years ago, and they're still going strong. This is an expensive dress at £100, but knowing that it will hold up for years makes me recommend it, and buying from Curvety means you won't incur shipping fees as you would buying directly from America (as I learned to my cost in the past, oops.)

Thanks for reading,

Leah
xoxo

*Dress sent by Curvety. Opinions are honest and my own.

Outfit | Curvy as hell

Hiya beauts!

Today I'm wearing a t-shirt from Betty Pamper & Nicky Rockets' clothing line.

NICKY ROCKETS CURVY AS HELL PLUS SIZE T SHIRT
I love red and don't wear it anywhere near enough for some strange reason.

Curvy, fat, whatever you want to call it I am it, and the little minx on the front of this t-shirt is a cutie. Leopard print is always a winner in my eyes!

NICKY ROCKETS BETTY PAMPER CURVY AS HELL T SHIRT

Here are some photos of my makeup, hair band and some pretty clouds.


The t-shirt is just £9 and I bought it when there was free P&P last weekend. If you sign up to Nicky Rocket's emails or social media you'll know when offers are on. I'm wearing the shirt in a 4XL, which is equivalent to a size 24-26 UK. I'm wearing the slash neck version and it's a lovely thick cotton. I have 3 or 4 of their t-shirts and love them all. Recommended!

I'm wearing:

Curvy as hell t- shirt £18 - it also comes in black
Harem pants, old Simply Be
Shoes, past season Very
Loverdose hair band, Crown & Glory £17

Have you got any of Nicky Rockets' t-shirts?

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Outfit | Casual Tribal

Howdy!

I'm wearing a really relaxed stay-around-the-house kind of outfit that I wouldn't be ashamed to go out in if I had to. Goals, eh?

I feel too plain in block colours, so when I'm doing casual I always feel the need to break it up with some kind of pattern. I bought this kind of tribal print top in a charity top a couple of weeks ago for just a few pounds. I love this warm colour palette - rusty orange, black and brown. This is actually my favourite outfit of late as it's presentable without pretence. I get so caught up in blogger world sometimes that I forget I'm just an ordinary woman with an ordinary life. Once again I got sucked into the kinda glossy magazine type blogs who have unlimited budget or are sent errrrthang for review. The source of my unhappiness is feeling like I have to keep up with that. Blogging can be so stressful - it's as competitive as all hell and it's very easy to never feel like I'm good enough. Sometimes it's good to remind myself not to get caught up in that crap, even though it's insidious. I guess it's human nature to seek some kind of validation for work put into something as personal as a blog.


These harem pants are so comfy it's unreal. They even have pockets! I had a wardrobe clear out today to see what's what since I've gone down about a size in the last month and I found these at the bottom of one of my wardrobes. I'm so glad I kept these, because I have rediscovered my love for them (even though they have a hole on the bum!) Wearing airy jersey fabric on hot, humid days like we're having here at the moment is essential for me. I hate fabrics that make me clammy. I think a lot of my happiness in these photos is coming across because I'm in soft clothes that don't irritate my skin. It's good to feel comfortable aesthetically with what you're wearing and be comfortable in what you're wearing.



Busting out some moves to Spotify

I'm wearing:

Hair flower, eBay
Top, F&F from Tesco size 26 via British Heart Foundation
Harem pants, old Simply Be
Brown shoes, Everything 5 Pounds.

What do you wear on hot, humid days?

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

Everything in this post was bought by me.

Photo Story #8

Hello beauts!

This week's photos are from lovely Rye, East Sussex (again.) This place pulls me back time and time again. It may be the tales of smugglers through the centuries, it may be the quaint winding streets and lovely historic houses, but whatever it is, there's always something new to see here. The difficult part is trying to remember which photos I've taken and shared here in the past as I don't want to repeat myself. ;)

 Have you ever been to Rye? It's a fantastic place to be when the sun shines.

Thanks for reading!
Leah xoxo

Outfit | Scarlett & Jo black lace dress & polka tights*

Hiya!

When I went to Bluewater on Sunday I bought this lovely dress from Scarlett & Jo. It was down to £25 at the time which is an absolute steal. I love neutrals because you can dress them up or down in any number of ways and accessorise as much or as little as you like. I was in two minds how to wear this - femininely like this, or with skateboard shoes and a denim shirt.

Excuse my hair. I'm running a temperature and I just wanted it off my face. I think I'm coming down with something....arrrgggh.

Scarlett & Jo plus size black lace dress

Scarlett & Jo plus size black lace dress
I'm not getting out to take outfit photos in pretty places at the moment as we're just so busy, and it's only going to get more frantic. My family are staying for 5 days from today, then it's Rach's hen do this Saturday (which is an all day event), various hair trials and wedding rehearsals, picking up my finished bridesmaids dress,  and the wedding itself is next Saturday. I'm stressing out, especially as my health is really suffering at the moment.

Onto the dress - I'm wearing a size 28 and it fits like a glove. The lace sleeves are very stretchy and are made of a soft lace. I can't stand rough lace, it makes me itch. The length is great on me - long enough to wear without leggings, and it doesn't ride up at the back as the length takes into account the larger lady's sometime tendency to have a big ol' bum shelf. I do, at least. :)

I'm wearing some tights which were sent to me by MyTights. I'm wearing an XXL which fits up to a size 32, and they're true to size. I have to size up in tights as my bum, tum and thighs are the biggest part of me. They're 20 denier, so they are very fine. I'm always careful to take my rings off before I put thin tights on. I love the cute polka dots. These are special occasion tights at ten pounds a pair, make no mistake, but they'd be super cute for a wedding or other such smartly dressed occasion.

Charnos XeLence polka dot plus size tights


I'm wearing:

Scarlett & Jo black lace dress (no longer on sale)
Tea and cake necklace, Drown Soda (no longer in business)
Charnos XeLence mini spot tights* Mytights.com £10
Shoes, past season Evans

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend.
Leah xoxo

*Disclaimer: The tights were gifted to me. Opinions are honest and my own. 

Off With Her Head Millinery

Hello sweets,

I had a year long flower of the month club subscription with Off With Her Head Millinery which finished a couple of months ago. It wasn't until I'd been receiving the flowers for some months that I realised one of my favourite actresses shares my love of OWHH. I love Criminal Minds, and Kirsten Vangsness' character Penelope Garcia is one of my fashion inspirations because of her bright clothing and funky accessories. You can see some of my previous posts about OWHH here and here.
(A heads up - this isn't a sponsored post.)


Scottish Milliner, Lisa Jones, of Off With Her Head Millinery, has seen her business take off recently after American Actress, Kirsten Vangsness wore one of her hair flowers on the hit CBS Show Criminal Minds. Taking a chance to send some of her handmade hair flowers to the actress in 2014 it wasn’t long before Lisa received an email from the actress herself to say how much she loved the flowers and that the character of Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia would be wearing one of the hair flowers on the shows 200th episode.


Lisa Jones said, “I was so excited to receive the email. I’ve been a huge fan of the show since the beginning and seeing one of my creations on the show was simply amazing. I still have to pinch myself every time I see Kirsten (Penelope) wearing something that I designed and created in my little home studio!”

Since then Lisa’s hair flowers have been spotted regularly on the small screen in Season 10 of Criminal Minds with Kirsten (Penelope) becoming a member of Lisa’s popular “Hair Flower of the Month Club”, where members receive an exclusively designed hair flower via post each month. With members all over the globe from Texas to Paris and Glasgow to Gateshead, Lisa’s business is certainly blooming!


For further information on Off With Her Head Millinery including information about becoming a member of the Hair Flower of the Month Club visit www.offwithherheadmillinery.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/offwithherheadmillinery
Twitter: www.twitter.com/OWHHMillinery
Etsy: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OWHHMillinery

Contact Details:

Lisa Jones
Off With Her Head Millinery
Email: LisaJ@offwithherheadmillinery.co.uk

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

Disclosure: I haven't been compensated for this post in any way.

Outfit | Lipstick print top from E5P

Hello pickles!

I'm wearing a lovely lipstick print top today from Everything 5 Pounds. It seems to have sold out now, which is often the way with E5P. If you see something you like, don't delay or it'll sell out. And for that price, you can see why! Keep an eye out on eBay as lots of people seem to buy from Everything 5 Pounds to resell at a profit.

I was multi-tasking in the first set of photos - I was talking to my mum at the same time. :)

Lipstick print plus size top from Everything 5 Pounds
I got the top in a size 30/32 as it doesn't have stretch, and it's ample. It has tight elasticated cuffs on the sleeves, which I need to undo. It sounds ridiculous but Fibromyalgia makes my skin so tender that elasticated things hurt my skin.

Lipstick print plus size top from Everything 5 Pounds bargain
I'm really loving E5P at the moment. I've bought a few pairs of shoes from them this year and the quality is always amazing. They are generally small/narrow fitting so I always size up from a 7 to an 8. I've noticed recently they have some size 9 and 10 ladies shoes, so keep your eyes peeled if you have big feet. Plus size items on there seem to sell out really quickly so it's worth checking the website every day to see if they've added new lines. I only check every couple of weeks - any more often than that and I'll go broke. ;)

I'm wearing:
Top, Everything 5 Pounds
Skirt, Yours Clothing
Shoes, Very.co.uk

Bracelet, clothing swap
Hair flower, old Peacocks

When I was writing this post this song came to mind. You might want to strangle me for this, but I find it really catchy! (If you're reading by email click through to the blog to view.) I've just lost any cred I might have had. :)



Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Beauty | Freedom Makeup Far Away Galaxy collection

Hiya loves,

I recently made an order with Freedom Makeup London, the sister company to Makeup Revolution. They also do £1 lipsticks, and as soon as I saw the Far Away Galaxy collection I had to have it. It's inspired by Star Wars and the names are all Star Wars themed. I adore strangely coloured lipsticks, and at a pound each you can't go wrong.

Freedom Makeup Far Away Galaxy swatches review

Freedom Makeup Far Away Galaxy Star Wars themed collection beauty

Colours:
Far Away - looks blue in the bullet but is more purple on my lips
Sky-walker - a gunmetal silver grey
Space Luxe - a coppery gold
Stormtrooper - white and not as scary on as I was expecting
The Sith - a blackened blue


Freedom Makeup Far Away Galaxy collection nerdy Star Wars silver gold white blue lipsticks

The hardest two to work with are the first and last shades. I was most surprised by Stormtrooper, which I expected to look vile. I really like it. The containers are far better than Makeup Rev's, which tend to be stiff and hard to use. I found the silver, gold and white to be quite creamy and easy to use and the darker shades a little patchy, but I might try them over the top of another dark lipstick next time. Longevity on me for these kinds of lipsticks is usually the 2-3 hours mark. Most of the colours are quite nuanced in the bullet, but perhaps that doesn't come out so much in the swatches themselves. Either way, for £1 I'm more than impressed.

You can buy all 5 lipsticks here.

Here's me wearing the gold shade, Space Luxe.

Freedom Makeup London £1 lipstick in gold

Have you seen the Freedom makeup website yet? I really like the look of their £4 eyeshadow palettes as well, not that I need any more eyeshadow.

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Out & About | Bloggers go to Bluewater

Hello lovelies!

James and I went to Bluewater yesterday with my friends Rach and JP, and we met lots of lovely people there - Mookie and her hubby Mike, Abi, Caroline and Vicky. Rach wanted to meet Mookie as she's been friends with her on Facebook for a while, and it also gave us lots of time with Rach and JP.

I tried on a whole bunch of stuff from Scarlett & Jo and brought home one of these beauties with me.
SCARLETT & JO BLACK MESH PLUS SIZE SUMMER DRESS

Mookie

Boobs! Bra also from Evans

Me, Vicky, Mookie

S & Jo angels!

Abi and I


Top photo credit Caroline. Bottom mum & Rach/James

I had to leave after lunch as we were going to see my step dad at the hospital. My brother was there when we got there, so it was good to see him too. Pete's doing really well. He actually had 3 days of intensive chemo (instead of two) and now he can eat again. He hadn't been able to eat at all for about 3 weeks (because his growth was blocking the path to his bowel) and he was only eating tiny amounts for a few weeks before that. So now he can start to build his strength back up. I printed off a lot of well wishes from people on Facebook and he cried reading them all. They really lifted his spirits. I told him he has far more supporters than he knows. Next time I'll print off more well wishes from other places to cheer him up. I gave him his Father's Day card. He's not my dad but he's been there for me for the last 20 years and I view him as a bonus parent. :)

After the hospital, we went back to Bluewater so my mum could meet Mookie and Mike, who'd very kindly bought her some sweet treats and a card. Vicky had gone home, but everyone else was still there and mum got hugs from everyone when we arrived and left, which really cheered her up, so that was lovely. We quickly nipped to the pub to see my dad for Father's Day and buy him a couple of pints, nipped round to my mum's to help her prepare for Pete coming home (in about a week with luck) and then James drove us home. Phew. It was a really busy day but a really nice one.

I bought the black dress from Scarlett & Jo, the one me and Abi are both wearing. I'll do an outfit post in it soon! We tried on mostly the same things, we have the same taste. :) She also bought the black dress. I posted the first photo above on Instagram and Facebook this morning - the one of the prom dress with short sleeves and mesh - regretting not buying it yesterday as it looks so bloody good on! I went onto the Evans website and it was sold out in my size, so my friend who lives near Bluewater said she'd pick one up for me. I rang Evans and spoke to a lovely lady who put one in my size aside (the last one in my size, it was fate!) and Isobel picked it up for me tonight. Yay. I'll pick it up next time I go visit my mum and step dad.

Mookie and some of the other ladies may have more photos from the day. I didn't take many.

What did you do this weekend?
Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

Photo Story #7

Hiya pickles,

If butterflies in close up aren't your thing, look away now.



These photos were taken last weekend when we went to Rye to see Mad Max. Afterwards we took a walk through a cemetery, where this Red Admiral butterfly was happy to pose long enough to take ample photos. James took the photos, as you can probably tell since I'm in one of them. ;) He has a steadier hand than me so I always pass him the camera when there are live subjects to capture. Talking of butterflies I've gotten into Die Antwoord recently and can't get this song (which mentions a butterfly) out of my head. They're certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but Yo-landi and Ninja from Die Antwoord acted in Chappie (another great film) and I heard this song in the soundtrack and can't get it out of my head. I love Yo-landi's weird, ethereal voice.

We really enjoyed Mad Max, by the way. It's a great film with a wonderful ensemble cast, and so many strong female characters. Recommended! 

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Outfit | H&M plus blue jersey dress

Hello loves,

Happy Friday! It feels like all I'm sharing at the moment are super casual looks but to be honest, that's all I AM wearing.

Here's another basic jersey dress from H&M plus. It's £12.99 and is super light and great to fling on for days doing errands. I look like I only have one boob in these photos as I'm holding the dress over to one side as it's too big. Oops!

H&M plus size casual blue jersey dress

H&M plus size blue jersey summer dress

I wore this out tonight to go to another bridesmaids dress fitting. Just 2 weeks until Rach and JP's big day! The dress is bloody gorgeous! I can't wait to share it with you - after the big day, of course!

H&M plus size blue jersey summer dress



I'm wearing:
Jersey dress in 3X, H&M 
Leggings, Yours Clothing
Shoes, past season Very.co.uk
Hair flower, Peacocks

Have a great weekend!
Leah xoxo

Life | Adventures in meat/dairy free

Hello lovelies,

I thought I'd write about how I'm finding not eating meat and drastically reducing dairy. I'm not going to talk about it that often on the blog, but I thought I'd share the things I've tried and liked for anyone else out there who wants a less animal-intensive life. In the future I might share the occasional recipe, but this blog will still be primarily about fashion, which I'm sure might please some of you. ;)

It's going really well, far better than I thought it would. I don't miss meat at all, that's the first surprise. The second surprise is I don't miss cheese either. I have eaten cheese a couple of times when eating out if there were no other choices, but I've surprised myself with how little I've missed it. I don't even really miss pizza! I think at the beginning I thought I'd miss everything - but I just miss the idea of it. I've also decided to not buy fish any more. I can get fake fish if I have the urge.

I had a delivery from Ocado of some bits and bobs a few weeks ago. I've worked my way through some of it, but haven't tried it all. I get my main shop from Tesco with all my fruit & veg, pulses, vegan cheese and stuff like that in it. This is just a top up as Ocado has way more vegan choices than any other supermarket.

The Rebel Kitchen banana mylk was lovely once I realised you have to shake well before use - I think it's got raw cacao in it and it can be a bit lumpy unshaken. The Smooze coconut lollies are divine, seriously one of the nicest things I've ever tasted. I have an infected mouth from having so many mouth ulcers (stress-related) and they're helping to numb the pain. The Swedish glace is lovely - I actually prefer it to ice cream. It's fluffier and tastes great, especially with a spoonful of Lotus spread mixed into it - orgasmic! I haven't tried the 'cheese' sauce yet but will do cauliflower cheese with it soon. The dark chocolate digestives are great, and the soy choc milk was quite nice too. I don't really like chocolate flavoured things but since I'm off milk choc it's a substitute. Since I've been on this eating plan my sweet tooth has almost disappeared. It's so weird!

The Fry's meat free stuff is really great, all of it. I've had the 'meat' strips in a couple of stir fries and the nuggets and burgers are great with sweet potato chips and beans. Lotus spread is a gift from the Gods. Seriously, that stuff is so addictive and I've since discovered they do a crunchy version too. Ohmygod. I haven't tried the vanilla yoghurts or the veggie burger mix yet. The Nom banana bars are amazing. So tasty and filling! I haven't tried the vegan cream yet but it's calling out to be poured over some strawberries!


I also bought some hemp powder I've yet to try, some nutritional yeast flakes which I don't think I got in the photo (they taste kinda cheesy) and I haven't tried the vegan mayo and salad cream yet either as I'm using up the normal stuff with eggs in it first.

I'm still debating with myself over eggs. I knew when I started this I didn't want to buy any more ready made products with eggs in them (like mayo or quiche) as they'd likely use cheaper caged eggs from other countries with who knows what kind of animal welfare policy. I've been buying local free range eggs, and I know that hens lay regardless (thanks Snoskred.) It's knowing they kill the male chicks that's erring me onto giving eggs up. I don't advise looking that up. Once you know how you can't un-know. This last month has been eye opening - it's like I made the decision to live a slightly kinder life, and now I've opened my eyes, I keep accidentally coming across more information which hardens my resolve.

I'm still debating full blown veganism, but I know if I say 'I'm a vegan!' then make occasional bad choices I'll beat myself up. Maybe it's best not to call it anything, and just carry on being mindful of living a kinder life, sans labels. I've been pleasantly surprised about how little the change of eating habits is affecting me - other than some of my knickers falling down - that's a pain in the arse. ;)

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Step dad update: He started chemo at 6.30pm yesterday. He's in a lovely side room with a private bathroom and it sounds like they're taking fairly good care of him. He's had a Hickman line put in which is making him feel a bit poorly as his body recognises it as a foreign body and is raising a temperature, but it should pass. Here's a photo of him and my mum in better times. He's notoriously camera shy so he must've been in a really good mood this day. :)



Guest blog | Weddings & weight loss pressure

Hello loves,

Today I have a guest post from my friend Rach, who's getting married in a little over two weeks. She TOLD me she was going to guest post on my blog, and I never argue with a woman who controls whether or not I wear a meringue for my bridesmaids dress. ;)

She's going to talk about the pressure on a bride to lose weight so if that makes you uncomfortable, please don't read.

She says:

I have lived in Canada for 2 years and recently have come home (to the UK) on a holiday. My first year out in Canada, I was based on the Sunshine Coast in Gibsons, I worked full time and was constantly tired. My problem I found over there was that I was unhappy.

People would judge me for my weight and would think they are "helping" by sending you diet tips and telling you not to eat certain foods because it's "no good" for me. People at work were judging everything that went into my mouth. Even the cashiers I worked with would look at my shopping, then look at me... I didn't know how to react to this. It was almost as if the best thing to eat according to them was DUST!

Once I moved to the city, people were more active there and as well as having a great gang of people to work with, they did not pass judgement on what I ate. I would even have a once a week lunch date with a girl from work to Fat Burger. Even though I would have a Caesar salad sometimes, I felt good that no one tutted or shamed me for my lunch choices.

Since I had moved away, there was always that couple of "friends" who would send dieting tips and "ways to stay healthy in Vancouver" type articles for me to read. I actually got quite angry at them for sending me this stuff.

I went back to the Coast for a friends birthday not long ago. I am due to be married in July and this was March, I had been pole dancing for 3 months, once to twice a week to keep FIT not to LOSE WEIGHT! The birthday girl proceeded to ask if I was going to fit into my wedding dress, or if I was going to Lose Weight for the big day!? The fucking cheek of her. Luckily I had a friend who stuck up for me and said I will look fabulous NO MATTER my size, plus James (she's also marrying a James - go James's of the world!) isn't going to marry me because I have lost weight, nor is he NOT going to marry me for the size I am. He has fallen in love with me for me!

This is the beginning of what a Bride to be has to focus on. It's probably the most stressful too! My dress is perfect and I am so grateful to my friend who altered and made my dress to fit me. All I have to do, is maintain who I am for a month which isn't as pressuring as I thought it would be. I am currently working part time whilst back in England so I am keeping active. My eating habits could be better. But I'm working in a BAKERY! It's torture! The plus sides are, I'm keeping up with Pole, I am active at work, I am trying to stay active on my days off. Back in Canada, I was no way near as active as I have been since returning to England. People are still judgy on sizes but I flick those bastards away and focus on me.


OK, it's Leah again. Did you feel pressure to lose weight for your wedding?

I wasn't worried about getting smaller, but I did worry about fitting into my wedding dress. Had I measured correctly?! Aarrrrghhhhhh. This is because the company I bought my dress from were a bunch of shits and my dress only came 3 days before the wedding. If I'd had it earlier I would've been much happier.

Really I think with all the other pressures on a bride, losing weight should be the least of them. I nearly went full Bridezilla as it was, let alone trying to lose weight as well.

Thanks to Rach for giving me a day off. :)

Leah xoxo

Outfit | H&M+ pink jersey dress

Hiya pickles!

With summer coming up I wanted some basic dresses that I can throw on for a day out or travelling in and H&M have some great basic dresses for a steal.

H&M+ pink plus size jersey dress

This one was £12.99 and comes in sizes XL-4XL. I'm wearing the 4X as I wanted a loose fit, but it's way big and a 3X would have been ample and still comfy. I have to tell you the material for this dress isn't the best - it had bobbled within the first day of wear. For what I wanted - comfort and a bold block of colour - I can live with it but do take that into consideration. It also comes in black, blue and white stripe and a green & white pattern. I'd never tried racer back anything before, and I can't say I'm much of a fan, but whatever - it's PINK!

H&M+ pink plus size jersey dress
JP and Rach





I'm wearing:

H&M+ jersey dress
Cardi, past Just For 5 Pounds 
Leggings, Very (from twin pack)
Shoes, past season Very
Hair flower, May Glitterati box from Crown & Glory


These photos were taken a recently when we went for a picnic on the beach. It was an absolutely glorious day and I have some more photos of scenery to come another time.


Have a great day!
Leah xoxo

P.S. My step dad starts his chemo tonight. Fingers crossed it'll go OK.