Wednesday, 25 November 2015

My husband didn't settle either

I read an article today from Kat Stroud on Bustle and it really resonated with me. You can read it here.

I know there's a commonplace thought that slim, attractive men who date, marry and love fat women are settling for less somehow, but I've never been made to feel that way with my husband. I've never felt anyone had ever 'settled' for me, but the myth of a slim man settling for less then he 'deserves' in being with a fat woman refuses to die. Strangely, that is rarely the case with fat men paired with slim women, and that tells you all you need to know.

James and I met in arguably London's most-loved rock pub on my birthday night out 12 years ago, and the place was teeming with gorgeous women with model looks. I was curious about what attracted James to me over the other women there, and when I asked some months later he said it was because I was smiling and throwing my head back with laughter having the time of my life. I'd been let off the leash having escaped from an abusive relationship (which I wrote about here) and I was so happy to be out and having fun that I was living like someone had left the gate open and I'd got out. I had.

I'd been going to London for nights out clubbing or to gigs for a few years by the time I met James and found it a great confidence boost. With so many people of all backgrounds and nationalities concentrated into a small area the dating pool was deep and rich and I met a lot of interesting people. I accepted I was attractive to others in some way without questioning it too much or being conceited about it. I felt pretty great about myself most of the time and I went into my relationship with James on an even keel. That's not to say I didn't have hang ups and insecurities about my body at times over the years, but it had never stopped me getting to know people.

James's attraction to me is never in doubt. He's very touchy-feely and I'm very comfortable naked so he has plenty of opportunities to get hands-on. He compliments me every day and I feel very secure in our relationship.


That's not to say I haven't seen double-takes when people realise James and I are a couple, though. When someone can't hide their surprise when they realise we're a couple, it reaffirms how daft it is to pigeon hole people by their looks. There's someone for every body in this world, and for every heart. If you haven't met your someone, don't lose hope. The world may be shallow in places, but there are people who will fall in love with you. Every part of you. You're enough. There are millions of fat people who are loved and adored for all they are. I'm lucky to be one of them.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Outfit | Stereotypical fat girl

When I saw this burger and fries t-shirt in a blog sale I just had to buy it. What could be funnier than wearing a top symbolising what some people think fat people eat 24/7? ;) I can only imagine the troll comments I might get when I upload these photos to Instagram. *shrugs* Whatcha gonna do?





This outfit makes me happy as it's silly and fun. And fashion should make us feel happy.

I'm wearing:
Unicorn headband, Crown and Glory (in pink on the website, the white one came in my Glitterati box)
Burger and fries top, Primark via Sarah's blog sale
Skirt, past season Yours Clothing
Gold shimmer ballet pumps, New Look

Leah xoxo

Monday, 23 November 2015

On blogging, a hiatus, comparisons and sharing the ugly

Hello loves,

I've only been away from blogging for a few days, but it's given me some desperately needed clarity.

I've been toying with the idea of archiving this blog and saying goodbye to plus size blogging. It's not so much that I wanted to walk away from the blogging scene, other bloggers or my readers. I wanted to walk away from the person I've become in association with this blog. More on this later.

I have this urgency to share all the good and bad stuff that happens to me - it's like a disease, a pathological need for catharsis which has to be bled out regularly for me to function in any way as a passable human being. I can be no other way. Silence is death.

Successful blogging is highly edited snippets of life shared with the world. PR-savvy bloggers skim over the less 'pretty' aspects of their lives to give the impression of perfection, and perfection sells. Because the last 6 months have been tough on my family and my mental health, it got to the point where I felt like all I was sharing was the dark, the ugly, the miserable. I believed the real me was too ugly to share and I had nothing left to offer. I felt empty and irrelevant, and a lot of that was because I was comparing myself to other bloggers who are better at keeping their shiny on show. Comparison is such a masochistic, self-defeating behaviour and I've decided to chuck it in the fuck it bucket because I like myself and everyone else a lot better without it. I've not been the person I could be because everyone else's pretty made my reality feel all the uglier, and that made me ugly inside.

I've been caught up in feeling bad about myself, my blog and feeling distinctly mediocre about all of it. Any failure for this blog to be as successful as I want it to be is in part down to my lack of likeability as a person, No, really. I hold my hands up and say I've probably burnt bridges in the UK blogging scene with my prickly nature. And I'm moving on from that.



There are other reasons for my dissatisfaction with blogging, such as the way brands have diminished the radical, political, outspoken side of blogging which I fell in love with it and encouraged sanitised, bland template people who amount to advertising and PR as they know that's what garners free product and attention best. Because so much of me appreciates radical fatness over materialism (believe it or not) this has been a hard turn of events to be surrounded by.

So I'm still here, if anyone cares. I need to maintain focus and concentrate on what I'm doing. How trends move on in plus size blogging is not my concern. I've got to be an island unaffected by the tide.

I got dressed today in an outfit that made me smile, not because I felt I HAD to do a blog post. I put makeup on because it cheers me up, not because my naked face is too ugly to share with the public. I felt happy again because I realised I'm enough. Comparisons need to die.

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Grief shaming and grief porn

I've got some thoughts about public grieving via social media and the way the media inundates us with 'grief porn' after a disaster, almost relishing our fear and sorrow. 

Today I heard Jonah Lomu had died, and I re-posted a video of him I'd seen on Facebook, adding RIP at the end, and I knew immediately doing so would leave me open to someone saying 'What about all the people who died in Paris? Don't they matter too?' even though I've shared plenty of posts about Paris (and Beirut/Syria/Iraq) on Facebook. When you express grief publicly, there's always the possibility that someone who deals with things differently will have something to say about it.

I think it's really difficult all round, the business of emoting on social media. We are people who (as a collective) may not engage with our neighbours and our communities, but care a LOT for people we've made connections with online. We might only see them on our computer screens but they're in our living rooms every day, and real life interactions can seem less supportive. I think some of the time we share the grief porn to show that there's actually something left alive inside us that still cares about 'real life people'.

When Sandra Bland was killed by the US police (I don't believe she died at her own hands) I fell into a cycle of sharing a huge amount of stuff about it because I was really angry, but at the same time it might've looked like I cared more, or maybe I even thought I cared more than others. Stupid. Someone wisely pointed out that sharing doesn't equal caring, and not sharing doesn't mean not caring. I've noticed a change in how people interact with each other on social media and on blogs over the last couple of years, and our interactions are less driven by connections with each other and more about the self. I think we DO care a lot more than we show, but we mainly share how human we are by constantly reposting soppy cat and dog videos, and I'm as guilty of that as anyone, if not more so. We emote through silly or sad animal videos because it's easier than thinking about things in the world going to hell in a hand cart.

A few years ago when that pond scum Anders Breivik went on a killing spree in Norway on the same weekend Amy Winehouse died I saw a lot of what I would call 'grief shaming' on Facebook. The sentiment seemed to be how could anyone care 'more' about Amy when dozens of young people had just died, but I think you can care about a famous person dying AND care about dozens/hundreds of people dying, but they're very different beasts. In some ways it's easier to focus on the death of one person than it is to think about the deaths of a huge amount of people at once, as when you open the floodgates to that magnitude of sadness it's easy to feel overwhelmed and to shut down emotionally.

And I think people with power - the media and Governments - LOVE to overwhelm us with grief porn because they want us to be overwhelmed and malleable. They want us to feel so scared that we'll agree to any plan - no matter how heinous - to 'protect' us. We are easily herded when we're afraid. They thrive off our fear. How else can you get a population who (more of less) cares about others to nod solemnly and say 'Yes Mr Cameron, please do take us to war. Sod the NHS, education and local services. I'm so glad you have billions of pounds to spend on war in these times of extreme austerity.'

I said RIP about Jonah Lomu on Facebook as he is a face and a name I know. I've seen some names and faces of people who died in Paris on Friday, and if I were to have a potted history of all of them and read an obituary for each and every one I'd be mired in grief for weeks. You can grieve for the loss of people collectively or individually, and there's no right or wrong way to do that. You can grieve for the dead in Paris, in Beirut, in Syria, in Iraq, in all the places of the world where hate runs unchecked, and it can be overwhelming to think about.

Having a face to focus on some of that, some displaced grief pushed onto Jonah Lomu (or whoever else may have recently died) can be a manageable way to deal with a bigger grief. Because of the internet, when the world hurts we are ALL starting to hurt. We are more connected than we know, and finding a way to deal with that in scary times - however we cope with that - should be OK. It's OK to mourn the famous dead amongst senseless loss. How we care shouldn't be the problem. The fact that we care at all is a good thing. Screw grief shaming.

Leah xoxo

Outfit | Burgundy and blush

Hello pickles,

A colour combination I'm really drawn to in A/W is blush pink and burgundy. I think they complement each other very well.


I'm experiencing productivity problems recently - the lack of daylight is kicking me in the pants a bit. I'm all right mentally, just a bit weary. I tried adjusting my body clock so I'd go to bed and wake up earlier but no matter what time I go to bed, I can't get asleep till the wee hours. So I'm falling asleep late and waking up late and not seeing too much daylight. Quality daylight at least - although it's not getting dark till about 4.30pm, any decent light is all gone hours before that. I feel like I need an alarm bed that'll slide up and throw me out of it, and an IV coffee drip. ;)



I'm wearing:

Necklace, gift from a friend
Hair flower, past Peacocks
Bracelets, past Primark
Burgundy velvet dress, Everything 5 Pounds
Tulle skirt, past H&M 
Shoes, past Matalan

The shortest day is on Dec 22nd and then the days are getting longer. Just over a month. I can do this! :)

Leah xoxo

Monday, 16 November 2015

Outfit | Metallic rose gold dress

Hello lovelies,

As you may know I've been on a self-imposed Simply Be ban for just over a year. I'm still not the biggest fan of them for a lot of reasons, but I fell in love with a couple of dresses I'd seen on other bloggers. I'd seen a 25% off code for Simply Be, I was pre-menstrual, and it happened.

And here's the first dress.

JOANNA HOPE Bow Back Metallic Dress rose gold Christmas party dress plus size

Simply Be Fashion World Bow Back Metallic Dress rose gold Christmas party dress plus size
I love the tattoo peeking through

JOANNA HOPE Bow Back Metallic Dress rose gold sparkly Christmas party dress plus size

It's the Joanna Hope bow back dress. It was £41 before discount, but has since gone back up to £59 on Simply Be. Go to Fashion World, where it's still £41 at the time of writing.

Plus size JOANNA HOPE Bow Back Metallic Dress rose gold Christmas party dress Simply Be Fashion World

Plus size sparkly Simply Be Bow Back Metallic Dress rose gold Christmas party dress
My face!

I had an undercut done on Saturday, on the other side of my head to my previous undercut. There's a photo of it further down.

JOANNA HOPE Bow Back Metallic Dress rose gold  plus size Christmas party dress


The material of this dress is just stunning. It's super stretchy, soft and so sparkly! I'm wearing a size 28 but it's generous and I could've sized down had I known. I don't know if it's sheer good luck but both of the dresses I bought this time have been relatively true to size, something which definitely had not been the case last time I purchased from them. I was having to size up 2 sizes at least as the sizing was shit.

There's a lot of movement in the dress, especially on a windy day like yesterday, and it's so comfortable to wear. 

I'm wearing:

Joanna Hope bow back metallic dress
Earrings & hair flower, old
Leggings, Very (from twin pack)
Shoes, past season Very
Velvet jacket, Scarlett and Jo

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Paris

Unsure of source - will credit if found


My heart goes to Paris, the innocents who've lost their lives, and their families. Hate on such a broad scope is hard to comprehend. I feel it's important to remember that scumbags murdered those people and the distinction needs to be made that is was NOT their religion and NOT their colour to blame. Evil scumbags are to blame, regardless of colour, creed or religion.

---

Firstly, in writing this I have my failings as a human in mind. I paint in broad strokes (metaphorically speaking) when I write, which means I unwittingly upset others with my swingeing observations on life. But know I write this with no superiority, as I have none. I'm just a person like any other trying to make sense of the world we live in.

---

All of my thoughts and feelings feel so trite today after last night's events. I sit looking around me at the things that felt important yesterday, realising the things that are important aren't THINGS at all. They're just distractions from the emptiness of being in a world where you can feel lonely surrounded by a room full of people.

I've often wondered what it is about me (and modern society in general) which makes us crave connections to things above people. I don't know the answer, but I know hate + hate isn't right. We're better than machines who spend, and hate those different to us, led by a media who hates everyone except the filthy rich and powerful like them.

The only way there's any hope for humanity is for us to embrace people more than ever, do good, be good, and find our connections - to communities, to each other, and to ourselves. The world is a dark and scary place and becoming more and more insular can't be the answer.

As everything goes to hell in a hand basket we'll need to connect with people more than ever, against terrorists (and only them, not their religion), against Governments who are out to destroy life for all but the elite, and against a world where kindness is a surprise and we all expect the worst from each other.

But where to begin?

We have become people who emote through animal videos on Facebook. I know because I do it too. It's OK to cry at a sad dog story if that dog has a happy ending, but we barely notice drone strikes in Syria and unrest in the middle East, let alone shed a tear. We have become immune to each other's suffering by degrees. It's OK to care for other people. It's OK to cry. It's OK to feel lost. It's OK to wonder what will happen to the world. It's OK to wake up. It's OK to feel like a very small cog in the hugest wheel and wonder where your place is in it. It's OK to wonder if and how we can help.

I genuinely feel heartbroken and scared. Scared that hate will win. We can't let it.

Be kind to yourself, and others. It's a start.
Leah xoxo

Friday, 13 November 2015

Plus 40 Fabulous - An introduction


As you'll know if you've read my blog recently, Mookie and I created Plus 40 Fabulous to claim a space within plus size blogging for those of us aged 40 and over.

This post is an introduction to our style, our feelings on being over 40, and what this means for us with regards to societal pressure.

First, a little introduction to me if you've never read my blog before. I'm Leah, I'm 41, and I live in SE England by the sea. I wasn't a confident youngster, in fact I'm pretty sure I had undiagnosed anxiety disorder my whole life (until a few years ago when I got diagnosed) as absolutely everything terrified me and I never had any faith in myself. I've been on a journey to love myself as I am and my confidence grows year on year. I'm not 100% confident yet, but I'm inching ever closer and I definitely feel the best is yet to come.

My style

Had I been asked to describe my style a few weeks ago I would've said eclectic as I wore pretty much anything/everything, but I've since realised that what truly makes me happy is alternative fashion, leaning towards the rock chick and gothic. And alternative is an attitude as much as a look. It might be a pretty dress with shit kicking boots and one of my favourite strange coloured lipsticks, or it might be all black everything.

How I feel about being over 40

I'm loving life. I've never been as happy with myself. Of course getting older brings some changes - more grey hair, the menopause and all that stuff, but I'm pretty sure I was more unhappy with myself when I was young and perky than I am now. What loss is youth when I finally feel at peace with myself? The only thing I dislike about being this age is the tiny little slights. Suddenly you find you disappear by degrees. You turn less heads (although conversely as people don't see me at all I get insulted less), people start to overlook you as they think you're past it, and your opinion suddenly counts for less. It's like death by 1000 cuts, and none of them are visible to other people. You have to live it to feel it. But that's exactly why Mookie and I started this, because I strongly believe that if you feel under-represented, you have to represent yourself. Be the change you want to see, for you and people like you. I know that women of my age have a lot of life experience, some great stories to tell and good advice to give, and like fine wines, we get better with age. I feel very much that the best is still to come for me, and I know there are a lot of other women who feel this way.

I was never a confident teen, and I was never that confident in my twenties (unless you count when I was drinking, in which case, yes!) I was just starting to like myself in my 30s, and my 40s are even better. I know who I am, I know what I want, and I know that whatever anyone else's expectations of me might be that I'll be true to me. I'm no one's puppet.

How society treats older women

I think society treats the older lady with utter disdain. You only have to look at articles in the media running Nicole Kidman or Demi Moore down for their wrinkly knees, or whatever shitty body fascination is in vogue to belittle women over 40 that week. Phrases like 'bingo wings' are created by the media to remind women that their looks are currency, and when you're low on funds, you're considered worthless. I think it's a load of old bollocks. I LOVE older women - people like Dame Judy Dench, Helen Mirren, Joan Collins, Betsey Johnson, Zandra Rhodes etc are uncompromising women who know who they are. They're beautiful at ANY age, not beautiful despite their age. (That's a back-handed compliment if I've ever heard one!) Oh, the stories those ladies could tell, I bet they're a bloody riot.

Isn't it funny how you see distinguished older men reading the news but most female newsreaders are under 40? Men are 'allowed' to go grey and become wrinkly, but women are crucified for it. The world is still a pretty misogynistic place, and you realise this by degrees as you age. I hate that women feel the need for drastic surgeries as there's so much pressure on them to look young their whole lives. Visibly ageing is a privilege only afforded to men. Youth is attractive but knowledge is power, and I'll take 41 year old me over 18 year old me any day of the week.

I think things are changing though. People are living longer for a start, which means there are going to be more older ladies than ever before. And I think a lot of women are coming around to the idea that although society has expectations of how women over 40 should dress/act/be, that it's a crock of shit and you should please yourself. After all we're here for a short time and we're a long time dead.

Think of how many 'rules' you know about older women. Let me start:

Women over 40 should cut their hair short. Why is this even a thing?!
Women over 40 shouldn't wear too much makeup. Piss off.
Women over 40 shouldn't wear short skirts. Why not? Oh no, the wrinkly knees might offend some man's eyeballs. Quelle horreur!
Women over 40 should dress conservatively. Aw, pish, as the Scottish might say.

Why do so many people invest themselves in telling (or thinking) that other people should live their lives a certain way? Join me in raising your middle fingers aloft to sexist, ageist bollocks and let's praise feisty women with plenty of life and fire in them. Only a fool underestimates the older lady. We are powerful, and we don't need anyone's approval to be our authentic, amazing, vibrant selves.

Here are my sisters from other misters rocking it at 40 plus. We're the best kind of girl gang, trust me. ;)

If you're sharing your posts on social media feel free to use the hashtag #plus40fabulous and Mookie and I will share as many as we can. You can still take part with the introductory post on social media if you don't have a blog, and remember we will be taking guest posts from people who don't have blogs, which will be shared on mine and Mookie's blogs alternately. Email for details.

Email: plus40fabulous@gmail.com
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Thanks for reading, and please tell me in the comments about a rad lady over 40 you know! Let's praise our elder queens. Shout out to my mum, who's my biggest role model and who has faced endless hardship with humour and strength.

Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

Leah xoxo

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Outfit | Tangerine Dream & loving evolving bodies

Hiya!

You might well have been wondering if I was ever going to wear any colour apart from black again. I had wondered myself. ;) I'm glad to say the urge for colour hasn't completely left me. I love orange shades at this time of year - it reminds me of the lovely leaves and pumpkins, and of course the wrappings on Reese's chocolate. Om nom nom!

I pulled this dress out to sell recently but found what I thought was a pen mark on the chest, but it's actually where a tiny piece of darker thread found its way into the mix. It rendered it unsaleable but for all but a pittance, so I thought 'Sod it!' and kept it. It doesn't even show up on camera, score! The brooch, the wet look leggings and the shoes are my nod to the alternative in this outfit.



And it has pockets! Hurrah. I have to say - although I love the look of these shoes - they're singularly the most uncomfortable pair of shoes I've ever worn. They hurt my feet within 3 steps taken, but they look so good. I shall prevail! I'll try to stretch them.

I've deliberately included a shot of my VBO (visible belly outline) in the collage below. Body confidence is a never ending quest, because our bodies are always changing. Be it pregnancy, weight loss or gain, menopause, ill health or stress our bodies wax and wane all the time. If we tell ourselves we'll only love ourselves at X size or X weight, we're setting ourselves up for a lot of heartache.

I know that although I may have some grumbles about my body now, in another 20 years I'll be looking back at photos of this time wistfully and kicking myself for beating myself up now. As I transition into that dreaded time of life for a woman I've already noticed a thickening of my waist because the way women distribute fat at this time of life changes. I've noticed sudden changes in my face because the collagen in your skin decreases as you near menopause. If my self-worth hinged on loving myself when I look like X I'd be permanently miserable. No, I tell myself every day I CHOOSE TO LOVE MYSELF. And I will ALWAYS choose to love myself, because it's the best thing for my mental health. Last time I checked thick waists and wrinkly faces don't bar anyone from doing amazing things with their lives, so why should I love myself any less? I promise you, if you set off down this road to self-acceptance, it'll be the best gift you could ever give yourself. The work is never done as we're always in a state of flux, but it's the most worthwhile task ever. And if you can be an example to a young person with body image issues, you are going to change lives. Don't doubt it. Plus, doesn't that belly look dang cute?! I love it.



I was feeling cute yesterday, hence the wealth of photos. I'm even enjoying my badger streak of grey at the front, but I'll henna over it when I tire of it! I'm getting an undercut put back in on Saturday, on the opposite side to the big grey streak. When I had the undercut on that side from a distance it looked like a big bald patch, so I'm going for the side with less grey. I don't know how big of an undercut to go for though - I'd best look at some inspiration photos!


This dress is an oldie from Simply Be, one of their bespoke fit dresses for different boob cup sizes. This one came in 3 different sizes depending how big your boobs are, and I plumped for the middle one as I'm an E cup.

Dress, past season Simply Be
Cardigan, past Everything 5 Pounds
Cross brooch, New Look
Leggings, past season Very
Shoes past ASOS

These shoes aren't wide fit, so I sized up from a 7 to an 8. Generally this is sufficient for a comfy fit but ASOS shoes are longer and narrower than other shoes I've sized up in.

Oh God, I'm a horrible human being! I just went to the Simply Be site to see if they had any similar bespoke fit dresses to link for you (nope) and I've broken my year long ban! I fell in love with one of the Jameela Jamil dresses and a Joanna Hope sparkly number. My resolve has finally crumbled! They're the only Christmas dresses I'll be buying this year. Ugh, I have no control at all when I'm pre-menstrual. I need to be in a cage. ;)

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

Monday, 9 November 2015

Outfit | Velvet and pleather

Hiya love bugs,

Every couple of months when I've been too busy to get out into nature for a while I get the right grumps and a long drive in the countryside recharges me. We went out on Saturday, which was a really rainy, windy day and took these photos near woodland. I'd lost my glasses on this day so I wore by back up pair, these cat eye ones by Derek Cardigan.

PLUS SIZE VELVET AND PLEATHER OUTFIT OOTD

PLUS SIZE GOTHIC ALTERNATIVE OOTD OUTFIT PLEATHER FAUX LEATHER VELVET AND CHIFFON

This top I'm wearing is actually a short dress. It barely covers up my foof and bum at full length, but it constantly rolls under on itself to create a bulge under clothes. You can see it in a couple of the photos where I'm side on. As it's already too short to function as a dress on me I'm either going to cut it down to a waist length top or split the sides to discourage the rolling. I also bought the burgundy one and I'm in two minds whether to make that a crop top or a normal top. We shall see! The fabric is gorgeous though, and feels like it cost a lot more than a fiver. The umbrella doesn't really fit the outfit but it was throwing it down so needs must.

PLUS SIZE FAUX LEATHER GILET VELVET TOP OOTD OUTFIT ALTERNATIVE CURVES GOTHIC

PLUS SIZE GOTHIC BLACK OOTD OUTFIT VELVET DRESS PLEATHER GILET CHIFFON MAXI SKIRT GOTHIC ALTERNATIVE

PLUS SIZE GOTHIC ALTERNATIVE CURVES VELVET PLEATHER FAUX LEATHER CHIFFON



I'm wearing/using:

Bow trim umbrella, Love Umbrellas
Bat earring, eBay
Necklace, Abi's blog sale
Velvet dress, Everything 5 Pounds 
Faux leather biker gilet, past season New Look Inspire
Skirt, past season Yours Clothing
Footless tights, Donatella's
Boots (sold out) Brantano
Skull bag, past Everything 5 Pounds

Leah xoxo

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Masochism and blog fatigue

Hello sweet peas.

Isn't that a lovely title for a blog?! I'm full of hormones (my cycle is like every 3 weeks now, yay uggghhhh) and I'm thinking about some stuff that I probably shouldn't put out onto the internet. I think too much, that's the trouble.

Awards and masochism

I got an email today from Navabi about entering their blog awards and got to thinking about the process of being in a competition where my blog would be judged/voted on. For me it's like volunteering to be crucified to put myself through that, and yet there's a battle going on between head and heart. It goes a little like this.

Heart - Oh, it might be nice to be in the running.
Head - Are you effing crazy? You'll never win.
Heart - With that attitude you definitely won't! It's not the winning anyway, doofus, get over yourself. It's the taking part.
Head - True. But if I enter then I'll be really unenthusiastic about asking people to vote for me as it screams WON'T YOU PLEASE LIKE ME? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.
Heart - Why?
Head - Well, because part of me wants to be archly cool and not give a shit about awards and suchlike and whether people like me, and another part of me cares very much about whether people like this blog (and by extension me) or not. And some recognition might be nice...........
Heart - Do it then.
Head - ............but what if I enter and not a single person votes for me? I'm prickly and TMI and coarse and play the joker so much no one takes me seriously. Won't it just reinforce the 'I'm not worthy' feeling I already have?
Heart - What have you got to lose?
Head - Erm, my dignity?! It would make me as vulnerable as standing naked on a plinth in Trafalgar bloody Square!
Heart - Loser!

The thought of putting myself into a competition is kinda like being picked last for sports at school. I was ALWAYS picked last for sports, apart from in rounders once in junior school when I knocked the ball about 50 yards and everyone wanted me the next week, but alas it was a one-off. Meh. It's the mental torture all over again of 'No one's going to pick me, I just know no one's going to be pick me, please pick me, oh bugger no one's going to pick me, pick me, PICK ME, oh shit no one picked me, I hate everything and wish I hadn't bothered!'

I don't think it's that I'm a sore loser, I just think I'm so used to being 'picked last' that I have a defeatist attitude from the get-go and combined with my 'Only vote for me if you think I deserve it!' attitude VS other people's 'I'm bloomin' marvellous so if you don't vote for me you're quite clearly bananas!' appeals to people. People LIKE assured people, and deep down I'm still not one. Not completely. With my body, yes. With other stuff, not so much. So part of me thinks to enter would be akin to masochism. It'd be like choosing to torture myself.

Blog fatigue

I started my other blog and I feel so free when I write there. It's weird - again there's a fight between head and heart. One side of me LOVES the freedom of being able to write whatever the hell I like, loves having no expectations of me there, loves not having many people know about it, loves not having an email account attached to it, a Twitter, a Facebook. It's as free as the wind. I'm also incredibly grateful for this blog, the friends and opportunities it has brought me, and the readers I have. I wish I could feel as free here as I do there, and that's in my head, I know that. I feel kinda like I'm cheating on this blog with that blog! Over there there's no pressure at all. If I want to write about the mating habits of the Peruvian dinklecougher, I can do without worrying about turning people off. And I fear the other blog will end up better than this blog because this one has so many expectations attached to it. And not forgetting as this is my 'job' because of Fibromyalgia/CFS/depression I put a lot of my heart, soul and happiness into this.

Things that stress me about this blog

1. Stats, or rather the feeling that I should give a shit because it's the done thing.

2. Endless advice about how to blog and every aspect of it. It suffocates creativity. I think a lot of bloggers write for other bloggers when they should write for their READERS.

3. Posting often enough (whatever 'enough' is).

4. Getting enough outfits posted when I feel shitty so much of the time (especially now quality light is as rare as unicorn poop - that horrid grey light we get most of the time washes out outfit photos).

5. Endless emails to my blog account, 75% of which are spam and have no relevance to me at all.

6. Trying to remember to share my posts on a bajillion social media sites.

7. My feelings of inadequacy and not matching up to other plus size bloggers.
 
Here's the thing - the plus size blogging community is huge in the UK (pardon the pun!) I've made some friends for life and a lot of casual acquaintances. (I also think of my readers like extended family after all this time). I'm friends with over 100 bloggers on Facebook. I follow probably 5 times as many bloggers on Twitter. I follow bloggers on Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest. My whole social media life is saturated with plus size bloggers, and for 3/4 of my menstrual cycle and when I'm having great mental health, this is awesome and I love it. As I said just above, this is my 'job' and thus I think about it a lot of waking hours, probably more than is healthy. Then I go to social media and it's bloggers bloggers bloggers. Most of the time this is a blessing. I don't have blog friends on social media to 'network' with, I'm friends with them as I like them as people. But it can be too much, as seeing their blogs all day on my social media feeds makes me feel like I have no break. If I worked in engineering, I wouldn't go home and spend my evening looking up everything engineering, you know? There needs to be a separation somehow.

I love seeing my fellow ladies succeed until my hormones or MH are in the gutter and then I feel the stupid urge to compare rise up within me, and it means I'm thinking 'Gotta do better, gotta do better!' And for most people, this is a healthy competitiveness. But part of my depression is holding myself up to ridiculous standards so I can self-flagellate. And I forget I'm not playing with a full deck of cards, you know - Fibro, CFS and the black dog take such a lot out of me. No matter what happens or what would happen, I would always find a reason to beat myself up for some imagined failing.

So actually this 'fun' thing is often like a hair shirt for me, and when I sit down to write a post here, I don't feel free. I feel free at the other blog because I guess it's a lifestyle blog and I haven't immersed myself in lifestyle bloggers THANK GOD and therefore I'm not endlessly comparing myself to others with every word I write.

So something has got to change, and that thing has got to be ME, or I'm going to quit this blog altogether, and that would be a shame. Even I can see that, mentally tormented as I am.

It's so exhausting being in my head. Thanks for reading my train of thought. I think the train needs to pull into the station for some essential maintenance. :D

Leah xoxo

TL;DR - hormones, meh, wibble, brain fart.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Outfit | Gothing up Beetlejuice with DP Curve

Hello lovelies,

Is casual glamour a thing? If so, I hope I bring it to this outfit. This is me where I want to be comfy, but still look done up.

PLUS SIZE LONGLINE STRIPED SHIRT BEETLEJUICE DOROTHY PERKINS CURVE

PLUS SIZE LONGLINE STRIPED SHIRT DOROTHY PERKINS CURVE BEETLEJUICE GOTHIC

PLUS SIZE LONGLINE STRIPED SHIRT BEETLEJUICE DOROTHY PERKINS CURVE

PLUS SIZE LONGLINE STRIPED SHIRT MONOCHROME BEETLEJUICE DOROTHY PERKINS CURVE

PLUS SIZE LONGLINE BLACK AND WHITE STRIPED SHIRT BEETLEJUICE DOROTHY PERKINS CURVE

So, I wanted to try something from Dorothy Perkins Curve and I fell in love with this shirt and its Beetlejuice vibes. I had an urge to slick back my hair and only needed about half a can of hairspray to keep this wavy mop in place. ;)


I'm wearing:

DP Curve striped long sleeved shirt
Necklace, past season New Look
Grey acidwash jeggings, Yours Clothing
Metallic hi-tops, past Everything 5 Pounds
Rings, Alchemy Gothic

I got the shirt for 25% off and free delivery so I was very pleased. I do hate to pay full price for anything and always search for discount codes or offers first. I'm wearing the top in a size 28 as there's no stretch in it and as you can see it's a bit too small around the bum so I opened a few buttons. Next time I wear it I may tie it under the bust. 

Have a great weekend,
Leah xoxo

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Outfit | Coven vibes

Hello loves,

I really feel like I've found my groove now I'm concentrating on vampier looks. I've been speed-watching American Horror Story for about two weeks now and fell in love with the dark vibes of AHS: Coven, so this is my homage to those fabulous witches.

This leafy backdrop is just divine, and really matched my shoes. ;)

PLUS SIZE WITCHY GOTHIC OOTD INSPIRED BY AMERICAN HORROR STORY COVEN

PLUS SIZE WITCHY GOTHIC DARK OOTD INSPIRED BY AMERICAN HORROR STORY COVEN

PLUS SIZE WITCHY GOTHIC BLACK OOTD INSPIRED BY AMERICAN HORROR STORY COVEN

PLUS SIZE WITCHY GOTHIC ALTERNATIVE OOTD INSPIRED BY AMERICAN HORROR STORY COVEN

PLUS SIZE WITCHY GOTHIC OOTD INSPIRED BY AMERICAN HORROR STORY COVEN


PLUS SIZE WITCHY GOTHIC OOTD INSPIRED BY AMERICAN HORROR STORY COVEN ALTERNATIVE CURVES GOTHIC PLUS SIZE


I'm wearing:

Hat, ASOS
Sunnies, Primark
Necklace, Abi's blog sale
Cover up, Trendy Molet (bought at UKPSFW)
Jumpsuit, past season New Look Inspire
Shoes, Matala
Rings, New Look & Alchemy Gothic

I got a LOT of looks this day, and I lapped it up as I felt effing fabulous. These kind of clothes are my armour.

Thanks for reading!
Leah xoxo

Plus 40 Fabulous fashion challenge starts Fri 13th

Hello loves!

You may remember I wrote recently about Plus 40 Fabulous, the movement Mookie and I started to celebrate the plus size, 40 years old and above person. We feel our age group has a wealth of life experience and a lot to give, but because society is so ageist we're also a demographic who start to find themselves passed over or ignored. Balls to that, we're fabulous so let's shout it from the rooftops!

As part of Plus 40 Fabulous, we'll be doing a monthly fashion challenge on the 2nd Friday of every month. The first one is due next Friday, 13th November.

Mookie and I thought this first post would be the perfect chance for everyone to introduce themselves to each other and our readers with respects to how we feel about being over 40, how we came to find our personal style, and how we feel that society treats women of our age. It's up to you how you contribute. You could do a collage of your favourite fashion looks, tell us a bit of your life story, or combine photos and text. There's no right or wrong way to take part, so don't sweat it.

We'll be taking suggestions from the participants for future themes for the fashion challenges and we also plan to see if we can get some brands behind us with regards to collaborations.

If you're sharing your posts on social media feel free to use the hashtag #plus40fabulous and Mookie and I will share as many as we can. You can still take part with the introductory post on social media if you don't have a blog, and remember we will be taking guest posts from people who don't have blogs, which will be shared on mine and Mookie's blogs alternately.

You can find us in these places:

Email: plus40fabulous@gmail.com
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Any questions?
Leah xoxo

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Body Shop Oils of Life skincare*

I've been trialling some new skincare from the Body Shop for just over two weeks and it has totally revolutionised the way I look after my face. I have before and after photos towards the end of the post, so check those out.

BODY SHOP OILS OF LIFE SKINCARE LOTION OIL GEL CREAM

I used to find moisturising my face a bit of a bore to be honest, but the products are so luxurious it's like a mini spa experience. Before I started using them I watched this video.



The video IS a bit bonkers, but it got me into the idea of making skincare into a mini massage, and I've started to really enjoy my twice daily routine. I close my eyes, massage the products into my face and it's unbelievable relaxing. Watching the video also reminded me that I was neglecting the back of my neck so I've been moisturising the back of my neck ever since.

The products are infused with 3 precious seed oils from around the world, known for their revitalising and repairing properties on skin – Black Cumin seed oil from Egypt, Camellia seed oil from China and Rosehip seed oil from Chile. What I love about this range is they don't promise you you'll look 10 years younger. They don't even mention anti-ageing. They say 'Get radiant skin whatever decade you're in.' We all age and there's nothing wrong with that. All our skincare needs to do is make us look like our best version of us, and these products do that. They give results.

BODY SHOP OILS OF LIFE SKINCARE LOTION OIL GEL CREAM
Lotion/oil/cream

Oils of Life essence lotion £15
Step one (after cleansing)

This is essentially an upgraded toner, but with more moisturisation. Skincare specialists like Caroline Hirons call them 'lotions' these days. It's to be used after cleansing your face and before moisturising. Your skin needs an astringent to prepare it for moisture, so anyone who's missing the toner phase thinking it's unnecessary will be missing out on the full effects of their moisturiser. The lotion has a spicy, peppery scent which is really pleasant. It's an oil in water formula with glycerine, so it is a moisturising toner. I use a few drops and massage it in gently across my face, neck and decolletage.

By infusing 3 precious seed oils from around the world in to a unique bi-phase [oil + water] formula, we created the essential 1st step after cleansing: a daily lotion that provides instant visible results while preparing and activating skin for the next steps of your routine. Skin feels instantly replenished with moisture and appears softened. With its bi-phase formula this Intensely Revitalising Essence Lotion supremely combines the freshness of water and the nourishing feel of oil.

Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising facial oil £28
Step two

You may be thinking 'Why do I need an oil as well as a moisturiser?' and if you're under 40 the answer is you may not. But at my age, I need to keep my skin well moisturised or else my fine lines are really apparent. The before and after photos show the difference between the dehydrated skin I had before I started using these products and the well moisturised, glowing skin I now have (read on for those). This oil smells lovely and feels glorious. I use a few drops on my face, neck and decolletage and massage it in with upward strokes. If I've been naughty and haven't had enough water for a day or two I'll use a few more drops to help rehydrate my skin. I know when I need to apply more oil as my skin feels draggy while I'm massaging it in. It should feel smooth, but not saturated with oil.

By infusing 3 precious seed oils from around the worldwith a powerful blend of essential oils, we created a lightweight daily facial oil to intensely revitalise skin, instantly replenish moisture and revive radiance. Signs of ageing appear visibly reduced. Made from 99% oils of natural origin, this lightweight, quickly-absorbed formula effortlessly melts onto skin leaving a non-sticky, velvety-soft finish. 

Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising gel cream £25
Step 3

This is the first gel moisturiser I've ever used and I'm a complete convert. It has a lovely slip to it and I use about a pa sized dab all over my face, neck and decolletage and massage it in with upward strokes. It's cooling and soothing and the perfect end to my skincare routine.

By infusing 3 precious seed oils from around the world in to a dewy-fresh gel cream with illuminating micro-pearls, we created a lighter alternative to the cream that intensely revitalises skin. Skin feels instantly freshly hydrated and suppler. From the moment it touches the skin, this Intensely Revitalising Gel Cream delicately melts onto the face, leaving a fresh light finish without a greasy feel.

There is also a cream moisturiser which is an alternative to the gel moisturiser if you need a heavier cream. Also £25.

So, what changes have I seen in my skin? The most startling of all is that my age spots have started to fade. Although I've avoided the sun for some years now, as a daft 20 year old I used a sun bed 3 times a week (or more) for a year so I do have a lot of brown marks on my face. The biggest of these - near my mouth - has started to fade and I can see unblemished skin in the middle of the mark, which has faded most. The other changes have been my skin is much softer, and that was an instant change. The rest speaks for itself - I'm a bit scared to post the before photo, especially as I'm pulling such a face in it. As you can see in my before my skin looks dry, there are lots of fine lines and I look a bit pinched. In the after photo my skin glows with health and vitality.

Before/After


Will I buy these products when they run out? Yes, yes and thrice yes. Skincare is one of my obsessions and I constantly chop and change, but I have a feeling these 3 products will be ones I'll come back to again and again. Quite simply, these products wowed me.

Yes, they are a little expensive, but you only get one face. The Body Shop are brilliant for discount codes if you sign up to their newsletter online so don't be intimidated by price, and besides, these products are so luxurious you'll find yourself looking forward to using them every morning and evening. You can shop the full range here.

Have you used any Body Shop skincare before?
Leah xoxo

*I was sent these products but hand on heart I'd have written an equally rave review if I'd bought them myself. I love them.
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