Outfit | Modcloth dress 1


Here's a dress from Modcloth which Mookie gave me, and I've since bought one myself in their stylish surprise sale. ($20 for a dress, yay!) With the two Modcloth dresses Mookie also lent me I have a total of 4 to show you in the next couple of weeks.

This dress gives me shades of a sailor outfit, and it has POCKETS! Yessss. I'm wearing a 4X and it's a perfect fit. From the 2 Modcloth dresses I own and the 2 Mookie lent me I can see they're extremely well made and nip me in at the waist. This one in particular is a really heavyweight fabric with slight stretch to it, and it feels like it'll last years.

Rain cloud hair clip!

I'm wearing:

Brooch, Kaela Mills
Hairclip, Crown & Glory Glitterati box
Leggings, Very - as ever!
Dress, past Modcloth
Shoes, past Everything 5 Pounds

I've got my outfit mojo back and can't wait to do a zillion posts. I'm not too sure if I'll do Fatshion Feb this year though....... I'll have a think about that. Have a lovely Friday/weekend.

Thanks for reading!
Leah xoxo

Outfit | Photoshop This with Ready To Stare

Hi petals,

One of my aims this year is to support more small brands, and the ones which excite me the most are all in the US at the moment. I saw this tee on Ready To Stare and loved the message, plus I'm all over monochrome like cooties. Since I posted a sneak peek photo of this top on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter loads of people have asked me where it's from. That's always a good sign!

Photograph This middle finger tee shirt by Ready to Stare
Photograph This middle finger plus size tee shirt by Ready to Stare
I'm wearing the tee in a 4X so I can wear it as normal length tee if I wish, but I'm all about the crop tops at the moment, and knotting one up like this looks great. I'm confident enough to wear them anywhere now, and if people stare at 2 inches of exposed flesh then they can go for it. I don't care. It's a lovely thick cotton tee and really comfortable. I just love how tees age as they wash over the months and years and become even more comfortable. Some things are just better for lots of wear, like cotton tees and certain men. Ooh, you can't beat a silver fox. ;) Alysse is such a babe too, she included a sweet note with my order that made me feel really special. That's something little indie businesses do so well, and it's so nice to talk to the people behind indie companies online and get to know them a bit. Where your money goes is important - you can support a fellow plus size woman grow her business, or you can help nameless, faceless big brands buy another Mercedes. I know what I'd rather do. ;) I have my eye on a few other sassy slogan tees and a body chain too, so I'm going to invest in pieces as and when I can.

Postage on my order was about $10 and I got caught for customs fees of £11 so all in all the tee cost about £35, which is a lot for a tee, but there aren't going to many people I bump into wearing this tee AND I'm supporting a business run by a plus size woman. That feels good.

Photograph This middle finger plus size tee shirt by Ready to Stare as worn by Just Me Leah

Photograph This middle finger plus size tee shirt by Ready to Stare

I've got the hair frizzies something bad in these photos. It was foggy in places and the damp always messes with my hair.

Photograph This middle finger plus size tee shirt by Ready to Stare

I'm wearing:

Photoshop This tee by Ready To Stare
Boyfriend coat past season New Look Inspire, similar here
Skirt past season Yours Clothing
Boots, barely seen, Brantano

Have you heard of Ready To Stare before?

Leah xoxo

Homewares wishlist

Hello lovelies.

James and I are hoping to buy our first property together this year, and I've started to think about decor. We actually saw our dream home but were beaten to it, and I'm gutted and not looking at flats again yet as I can't bear to have my heart broken again. It was perfect - 3 huge bedrooms, in fact all the rooms were huge, and it was a bargain price as it's close to a railway line. I've lived near a railway line before and it bothers you for about 2 weeks and after that you don't even notice the noise any more so it wouldn't have made the slightest difference to us. It was less than 5 minutes walk to the sea and right in the town centre. *Wails*. In the meantime I'm starting to think about the delicious things I'd like to fill our new (hopefully) forever home with.

Now I've been planning the decor of a home of my own since I was in my 20s, and I've always wanted themed rooms, so our home will be eclectic. I want a Cornwall/Barbara Hepworth themed bathroom - think driftwood, smooth circular sculptures, deep blue and bright white tones, ships, nautical themes. I want the kitschiest loo in existence. I quite fancy purple for the smallest room of the house with gold photo frames and lots of tat like religious ephemera, and possibly a bit of Elvis. Why not?! I've always wanted a bit of a Hugh Hefner style pimpin' boudoir with leopard print walls and fluffy red rugs. I'm not sure about the kitchen and living room, but no doubt there'll be more kitsch in there too - possibly a 50s American diner themed kitchen. I have so many sides I'd want to express - my girly side, my goth side, my kitsch bitch side.

Asda are killing it on the homewares at the minute, so here are a few bits and bobs from them.

George Home Paris Clock, £6
George Home Mary Bell Jar, £10
George Home Copper Effect Pineapple Vase, £10
George Home Cord Doorstep, £8

I'd have to put some tinsel or fairy lights around Mary to jazz her up a bit though.

Also on my mind is a new bed, as ours is a bit broken. We also need a new mattress. I saw an ad on telly the other day saying you need to replace a mattress after 8 years. James and I worked out ours is 9-10 years old, and even though we've turned it several times, it still has some springs which dig in your back. Not ideal. We got it for a great price though - I think we got the king sized bed (our one before last) and the mattress for about £350 from Argos so not bad at all. It did us well. I quite like this one from Bensons, which is £299 at the moment, which is a steal.

We bought our last bed from Bensons 5 years ago and delivery is quite prompt compared to Argos. It's a behemoth of a sleigh bed with a massive thick headboard and footboard and huge side storage drawers so it takes up SO much room in the bedroom it's unreal, especially as our bedroom is long and narrow, so I can't have bedside table on my side at all and James has to move his to get his drawer open - what a ball ache! I can't wait to move somewhere with square bedrooms, as stupid as it sounds. I really crave having a sleeker bed so we have more room in this bedroom, and in our future bedroom too, wherever that may be.

It's been a great bed but it's time for a new one and I really like the look of this one. The end drawer storage would be so handy for clean bedlinen as well. I wouldn't buy a mattress from Benson's as they seem very expensive. I fancy a memory foam mattress or at least one with good springs that even out the big weight difference between James and I. My aunt has a really thick memory foam mattress and I get stuck in bed as it sinks so deep, but it's so blooming comfy! I've been looking at a Mattress Online and their prices are really competitive, as well as having big names like Sealy and Silentnight. I know it's important to have a good bed and a good mattress (especially for me with my ME and spending so much time in bed!) and I want to have a good comfortable sleep without spending hundreds and hundreds on a mattress. We'll probably end up spending a few hundred pounds on a bed and a couple of hundred on the mattress, which is not bad, as our big sleigh bed cost £600 without a mattress! I don't know what we were thinking then, to be honest. I guess we had no thoughts of mortgages then, though, and at least you can get interest free credit on Bensons beds, so we paid it off over a year which took the sting out of the cost a bit. 

Tell me, what's your bed like now, and what's your ideal bed?

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

*This post was sponsored by Mattress Next Day. 

Because we are saving hard for a mortgage deposit there may be occasional sponsored posts in the future. 

Rifts in UK plus size blogging


There's no doubt plus size blogging in the UK has exploded in the last few years, and new bloggers emerge by the week. In any community where a group of strong, frank women come together disagreements are inevitable. But I feel something bigger than any other previous quarrels building - something that may split ranks - and I want to address it. My thoughts on this go off into tangents with Fibro fog but I'm going to try to pull them together. I'm making generalisations here - big picture thinking rather than focusing on individuals - and this genuinely isn't aimed at anyone in particular. I've been plus size blogging since 2010-11 and I read plus size blogs for about a year before I started blogging myself, so I've seen things change a lot over time. Of course this post is personal to me, and it might feel personal to others too - I don't know a single blogger who doesn't invest themselves in their blog.

There have always been cliques, don't get me wrong, but I think what drives some bloggers is so far removed from that of others that it's going to need more than superglue to hold us all together. I believe there are 3 camps emerging.

  1. Bloggers who came into plus size blogging from a fat acceptance viewpoint, who wanted to start blogging to share what they'd learned so other fat women would feel better about themselves. They would talk about living in their fat bodies and what that entails, and were much more focused on that than the clothes they wore. Angry, politicial, radical, necessary discussions were the order of the day. What might be referred to as 'old school' bloggers, ones who've been around at least a few years.
  2. Newer plus size bloggers might have started off from a fat acceptance perspective, but have become less political over time because they felt they had to diminish themselves to do well in plus size blogging. Most brands clearly prefer bloggers who talk more about clothes than their bodies. Alternatively newer bloggers in this group may have started blogging because they came to it when brand influence was already rife, and they wanted some of the prestige/opportunities which can be gained by rarely touching on radical fatness/fat acceptance. They may not have known anything other than bloggers basically being mannequins with a set of links at the end of their posts. They may never have even read fat acceptance blogs.
  3. Plus size bloggers who are openly pro diet and evangelical about it, which is pretty much the opposite of what fat acceptance bloggers believe in. Groups 2 and 3 often intersect. Group 1 and Group 3 are at odds with one another, even publicly so.

Let me say I started off in Group 1. My biggest inspiration in my early days was Rachele Cateyes' blog The Nearsighted Owl (her blog was deleted as she was hounded by Reddit shitlords). She was ballsy to the max - I clearly remember she blogged a photo of her standing naked in her living room, not for the benefit of any man, but to make other women feel better about their fat bodies. She made me feel better about being me. She gave me the strength to love me. Most of her clothes were thrifted, and she had such fun outfits and always looked so happy in herself. I didn't even care what she was wearing, I just wanted to see more of her. She could've worn a bin bag and I still would've been rapt. She's one of the few people whose blog I read way back to the beginning after I discovered her. She changed my life, pure and simple. Before finding her and other blogs like Diamonds n' Pearls, Lolly Likes Fatshion, Does My Blog Make Me Look Fat, A Dress is for Life and My Big Fat Blog I was talking about makeup and my life in general, but I got inspired and s-l-o-w-l-y I started dipping my toe into showing full length outfit photos and talking about my fatness. I started doing outfit posts in 2010-11 but have reverted most of them to drafts (along with all my posts here from 2009) as the photos were awful - grainy, too dark or too bright, horrible backgrounds etc. So understand that in writing this post my background was very much in terms of radical fatness and less about the commercial side of things.

So in the years 2010-11 when I started off, of course there were some plus size brand collaborations with bloggers, but bloggers mostly bought their own stuff and talked about it. They weren't selling things for other people all the time. They were speaking for themselves. And this was the soil I grew in.

But somewhere along the way, I started to pay too much attention to what my peers were doing. Well, not just my peers, people way above me. And little by little, I started to look at all the things I was doing and thinking 'I need to do this, this and this' to become a better blogger. I don't share this as a woe is me because I've been down that road before. I'm sharing because I want to illustrate how lost you can become when the people who have all the money and power (brands) funnel that to the people they feel most worthy - who are often the same people again and again. Don't get me wrong, I've had my share of review posts and I do OK, but the nature of today's blogging (which is unduly infested by brand influence) makes it VERY competitive. Plus size blogging is such a close knit thing here that it's a double-edged sword and when you know everyone else's business it makes you question yourself all the time. I had to remove myself from certain situations to help my mental health, and to come to a place where I can be genuinely happy for the success of my peers and friends. I'm in that place now and it's great.

So in my period of comparing myself to others (and always feeling like I came off worse) I was wondering what I lacked. I've always been too frank for my own good, I've always liked a good swear and if I can say something with a string of words or describe it in a few rude words instead, the latter's my jam. But as brands made us all compete for the buzz and power, I lost some of me. I started to wonder why I wasn't good enough. Was it because I swear too much? Was it because I'm too angry? Was it because I'm *too* old and *too* fat? The wrong shape? What then?!

And you can see how very quickly insecurity and comparisons win when you see people coming out and playing bloggers by numbers, and doing great with it. By that I mean that you quickly get to know what brands want by being in this environment. You see young, conventionally pretty, mainly hourglass women of a size 24 or under, with no double chins and no belly hang being lauded, as well as women who are less political in their blogging. I knew that meant I'd have to not be ME to do great. And that's not a nice feeling. It's soul destroying and it kills creativity stone dead. And I started to see that some of the people who were doing really well were just talking about fashion. They perhaps had a better control on their feelings or they were happy being pretty little models for the clothes, as a lot of brands seem to like mannequins rather than opinions. That's not to say all brands do, or all bloggers bland themselves down, but I know some do feel that pressure, because I started to feel the need to do the same.

I diminished myself. I lost my fire. I lost the joy of getting dressed, even on days where I wasn't going to take photos of an outfit. All I did was consume and compare. My wardrobes (note the plural) were full to bursting and because I couldn't find anything I just bought more, more, more. I'd drifted into being a Group 2 person, as above. My mental health was in the toilet as I felt less than in everything I said and did. I was a few steps away from giving up altogether, or going in the opposite direction totally to become what I call a 'template blogger' - someone who follows the unspoken blogger rulebook, as such:

  1. Go to Starbucks and buy a yak milk triple shot wankerccino and a self-righteousness muffin. Sit in. Ensure to take a top down photograph of the drink and muffin, Macbook Air just in shot artfully in the corner, and Instagram the shot talking about hooooooooooow busy you are. 
  2. Send numerous tweets to brands inserting your tongue into their colon to try to get them to send you free shit. 
  3. Spend a huge amount of time contacting brands via email in the hopes of free shit and spend a lot of time talking to like-minded people about how to best screw free shit out of brands.
  4. When they do, post photos everywhere of your 'blogger mail' doing a humble brag or an overt brag.
And so on, ad infinitum. And I speak so vehemently about that because I've been blogging some 5 years about plus size matters and even I felt this pressure to be a something other than I am, a 'template blogger'. What does the average plus size woman feel like if she reads a lot of plus size blogs? What are we showing her? That unless you're in your 20s, hourglass and under a size 24 that you have little to no worth? That you have to spend hundreds of pounds a month on clothes to be happy? That something is old if it's worn once? That even feisty, strong women can't talk about their fat bodies or say how angry they are about the shit ways of larger plus size companies? That basically money and things are better than making women feel better about themselves? That selling clothes for millionaires is what it's all about?

I had to get away from that mindset. I had to divorce myself from making comparisons, because it was making me ill, and I nearly gave up blogging. By the end of last year I was going to walk away. And then I remembered what made me start - wanting other women like me to feel OK about existing. Making others feel they don't have to be ashamed to exist. That they can even feel proud to exist, just as they are.

And then we come to the third group - plus size diet bloggers, who for whatever reason want to change themselves. Your body, your rules - have at it! But what I don't think is right or healthy is for plus size bloggers to use the plus size arena to discuss it. Because we live in a world where EVERYWHERE is diet friendly. You can talk about that shit literally everywhere and be patted on the head for it. Doing it in fat spaces is so selfish. Literally the whole world wants to eradicate fat bodies, and then it gets brought into what is for many a safe space? Nah. Many, if not most fat people will have been told hundreds of times throughout their lives that they're wrong in every way for being fat, and many may have had disordered eating or actual eating disorders. It can trigger the hell out of someone who's trying REALLY hard not to hate themselves when a blogger suddenly starts talking about diet tea, or juice cleanses or whatever the frig else diet plan they're following. I'm not saying don't do it, I'm saying think about what you're saying and where you're saying it. The rest of the world celebrates weight loss for all reasons. Got cancer? Oh well, at least you're not fat any more! Husband left you? Ah, dems the breaks but at least you can shop on the high street now! Ugh. So yes, when other fat people choose to infest OUR spaces with weight loss talk, it does cause a rift and it always should create a rift. We should question what's more important to us - is it a right to a life without shame in the bodies we come in? Or is it feeling so entitled that your diet is more important than the mental health of your readers?

I think that some circles of plus size blogging are WAY too concerned with hawking clothes for huge companies, and not concerned enough with talking about fat issues or calling out brands when they screw up. I think as brands have more and more power over bloggers that there will be a huge divide between very commercial focused bloggers and ones who are more into talking about their fat bodies, fat issues and so on. And I'm with the latter camp. I'm going back to basics. I look at my blog posts from a couple of years ago where I reworked stuff often or went to clothes swaps or SHOCK HORROR bought my own fucking clothes instead of relying on brands to bestow their wares on me, and I was happy! I was happier when I cared less about brands. I was happier when I read blogs and didn't eat, sleep and breathe them. I was happier when I was less closely involved with my community as a whole, because I'm an introvert and I don't do well in huge group settings, be that in the flesh or online. And I don't do well with this hyper-commercialised, jealous and competitive scene we find ourselves in where some people might use my face as a stepping stone if it meant grabbing an opportunity to review a £30 dress before me.

If the Scarlett and Jo debacle taught me anything, it's that brands have WAY too much power over blogging, and look where it's left us in the aftermath. Some people are hanging onto S&J for dear life for their own reasons (NOT Hanna and Mayah who rely on that man for money - I have more respect for them now than ever). Some people appear to be trying to brown-nose their way into empty ambassador spots, and I hear some people are actually singling individuals out for abuse. You can hate a man, you can hate a company, but when it's handbags at dawn one on one it's all a bit much for a sensitive bird like me. This is not what I started blogging to become a part of.

I think brand influence has totally screwed plus size blogging, and I know I'm far from alone in thinking that everything's going to come to a head and lines will be drawn. What side of the line you end up on it up to you, but me, I'm trying to find the old Leah who was happy to prat around in her living room pulling silly faces in outfits I can't possibly link to because they're old. I'm trying to be the girl who thought of new ways to spin old clothes, rather than what new shit I could buy to feel a part of a scene which at times sickens me. I'm trying to lose the girl who thought she had to swan around doing street photography in dresses 5 days a week to be worthy. I have a wardrobe of swanky dresses and next to nothing casual as that's what bloggers are, isn't it? You buy dresses, and you play the game, and then you lose yourself. I want to be a girl who inspires my readers, not someone who does nothing but sell clothes for millionaires. So yeah, there are rifts coming, and I think they might be necessary, actually.

So what can you expect from me? Back to basics, as I said. Only working with companies I believe in, and there aren't a lot of them left, trust me. I'm all over indie companies in the US at the moment, because they're the only ones inspiring me. I'm loving alternative looks and I'm loving me. I am loving being me, and it's wonderful! I'm done comparing. I'm done courting the attention of brands. I'm done feeling like I'm not good enough because I let brands dictate my worth to me for a while. No more.

Where do you stand on this?
Leah xoxo

Outfit | Borrowed splendour

Hello loves,

When Mookie came to stay over a month ago she left me with a bunch of clothes to do outfit posts with, and this is one of the dresses she kindly lent me. It's good timing as I'm quite skint - James and I hope to buy our first home this year, and I'm feeling quite anti the evil influence of big brands anyway. Any money I do have I'm spending on select pieces from American indie sellers. I'm done pushing the interests of millionaires. I'd sooner support plus size women who make clothes for other plus size women, or at least straight sized women who try to get it.

Yours Clothing ivory lace skater dress plus size party dress plus size occasion dress
Although I'm much bigger than Mookie in the waist and hips, we're a similar size on top. Me because my back is very wide, and Mookie because she has bounteous bazookas.

I'm busting out some moves in a couple of these shots. :)

Yours Clothing ivory lace skater dress plus size party dress plus size occasion dress

Yours Clothing ivory lace skater dress plus size party dress plus size occasion dress
The dress is from Yours and I didn't even look to see what size it is, but I presume it's a 26/28 as that's the biggest size it comes in. Mookie's had it a while, but it's still available to buy.

Yours Clothing ivory lace skater dress plus size party dress plus size occasion dress
My bloody face! Ha.
The dress is lovely with it's lace and peek of colour coming through, and it has a lot of netting underneath to make it flare out from the waist. The top part is sheer mesh, which is nice too, but I'm not sure I'd pay £60 for it, not right now at least.

Yours Clothing ivory lace skater dress plus size party dress plus size occasion dress
I'm wearing:

Black & ivory floral lace dress, Yours Clothing
Red jersey cardi, past season Yours Clothing
Leggings, Very
Shoes, past Everything 5 Pounds

Mookie and I are going to swap clothes again in the future (but because I'm a doofus I forgot to send her away with some of my clothes other than the ones I gave her to keep). It's a great way of refreshing our wardrobes without spending any money.

I'm aiming to get back to the kind of blog I had before I became a person who thought I *should* do XYZ to be a good blogger. I looked at my blog from a couple of years ago when I thrifted or swapped lots of clothes, re wore things endlessly and didn't compare myself to my peers so much, and I looked a lot happier. That became a real problem for me last year. I never felt like anything I did was good enough, and I even lost the joy of getting dressed for myself. I've found myself with dozens of dresses in my wardrobe, and next to nothing for casual wear, because bloggers wear dresses and do certain things, you know? It's the law, lol. You feel you have to do, to be certain things. And I got caught up in it. And that's me, 5 years into reading plus size blogs and fat activism blogs, and blogging & reading blogs made me feel worse about myself, not better. So how does the ordinary woman feel when she reads blogs, if she's like me? Mind blown. So I'm going to wind back the clock a while and just poodle along in my own lane posting more about living in my fat body than selling millionaire's clothing ranges.

Leah xoxo

Outfit | Society+ tulle tutu skirt

Hello loves,

James bought me a tutu from Society+ for one of my Christmas presents and I'd been waiting to get out and take photos of it.

Society+ formerly Cool Gal Blue burgundy plus size tutu skirt Society Plus tulle fat Carrie Bradshaw

Society+ Society Plus formerly Cool Gal Blue burgundy plus size tutu skirt plus size occasion skirt tulle fat Carrie Bradshaw Society Plus
I'm wearing a 4x and it's plenty roomy. There's a lot of fabric and it's fully lined. When I was getting in and out of the car I had to make sure it was all in - I felt like a fancy lady from olden times gathering my skirts!

Society+ formerly Cool Gal Blue burgundy plus size tutu skirt plus size princess tulle skirt by Society Plus
Fat girl falling over! My face!

Society+ formerly Cool Gal Blue burgundy plus size tutu skirt as worn by Just Me Leah tulle plus size skirt by Society Plus
Oodles of fabric!

Society+ formerly Cool Gal Blue burgundy plus size tutu skirt by Society Plus Jessica Kane tulle fat Carrie Bradshaw

Society+ formerly Cool Gal Blue burgundy plus size tutu skirt by Society Plus VBO crop top

Plus size crop top as worn by Just Me Leah, Society+ Society Plus VBO

The waistband is firm, and although there's a lot of material it isn't a heavy skirt. It leans more on the burgundy side in the flesh but photographs a little more red on camera (which is why the shoes don't match as well on camera). This skirt isn't to be confused with the burgundy high-low tutu skirt. That was out of stock in my size when James bought it, or else I would've chosen that one. Delivery from the US was very prompt - I think it took about a week. I was lucky and didn't get stung by customs but that's always a possibility when ordering from the US.

Society+ formerly Cool Gal Blue burgundy plus size tutu skirt VBO plus size crop top tulle fat Carrie Bradshaw by Society Plus

Society Plus formerly Cool Gal Blue burgundy tulle tutu skirt fat Carrie Bradshaw by Society Plus
Oops, it's caught up a bit at the front.

I'm wearing:

Biker, past season New Look Inspire
Necklace & hair accessory, old
T shirt, past season Pink Clove
Burgundy tutu, Society+
Shoes, Matalan

This won't be my last Society+ purchase by any means. Have you bought anything from them yet?

Here's a bonus photo of the sunset.

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Beauty | Picking my foundation shade with Makeup Atelier Paris

Hiya loves,

I haven't written a beauty post forever which is sacrilege as I'm probably more into it than ever right now. I've been using Makeup Atelier Paris foundation for about 8 weeks now and I absolutely love it. To make sure I got the right shade I ordered 3 samples of their waterproof foundation, and have been using them ever since. I was recommended it by Georgina from She Might Be Loved, whose face is always flawless.

I almost always pick the lightest shade available (unless it's someone like Illamasqua who does a white foundation) as my skin is uber, uber pale. Even makeup artists don't realise this at first because I have so many freckles and rosy cheeks so it's often hard to tell - but yes, I'm Casper the ghost underneath! This makes things easy for me as I just look at the photo with the palest looking tone and go from there.

So I picked the palest shade in 3 tones - pink toned, neutral, and yellow toned. FLW1A is for pink/cool toned skin, FL1NB is for those with neutral tones and FLW1Y is for yellow/warm toned skin.

L-R FLW1A (pink), FL1NB (neutral) and FLW1Y (yellow). With flash to highlight colour differences.

How do you know whether your skin is pink, neutral or yellow toned? I've got your back.

Look at the veins on your inner wrist. If they look blue, you have pink/cool tones. If they look green you have yellow/warm tones, and if you can't tell if they're green or blue you're neutral toned. Also, jewellery. If you look great in silver jewellery you're likely pink/cool toned. Yellow/warm tones look better in gold, and neutral tones can wear either.

I had no idea if I was neutral toned or pink toned, but I knew I wasn't yellow toned. After applying all 3 shades separately, I could easily tell that the pink toned foundation made me look most well, so ta-da, I'm pink toned. It's not that the neutral and yellow tones make me look bad (because they don't), it's just that they don't make me look my best. I have in fact been wearing all 3 shades over the last couple of months and they're all OK, but the pink one is definitely more flattering and looks more me. Here's a photo of me wearing it. I wasn't much of a foundation wearer before, but this evens my skin out so much I wear it a lot now. I've had NARS foundation used on me at a photoshoot which was nowhere near as good as this.

The coverage is great, and buildable. In the photo above I'm wearing a light covering - you can still see some of my freckles. If I layer it on a bit more thickly it almost does away with the need for concealer, but never looks cakey or highlights my pores. And it photographs amazingly with or without flash. Did I say this foundation is water- and sweat-proof? Hell yeah! I absolutely love it and am about to run out of my samples so it's time to buy a full size bottle.

I was worried this foundation would look horrible on my ageing skin, but it's amazing. Every time I've worn makeup in the last 2 months this has been on my face. Recommended! I've finally found the foundation for me.

Grab some here

Outfit | Scarlett & Jo prom dress*

Hiya lovelies,

This is the last dress I'll be reviewing on an official capacity for Scarlett and Jo. I was sent this dress on Christmas Eve and it was a lovely extra Christmas present. After I chose to leave the S&J ambassador program at the end of 2015 I was given the choice to return it at S&J's cost or review it.

Since I'd already worn it, taken photos in it and washed it by this time I decided to keep it. (I didn't want to return it in less than pristine condition.) I'm reviewing the dress, rather than the company - I've said all I'm going to say on the latter. In doing this review I asked myself if it was hypocritical and came to this question: 'Is it likely I'll buy from S&J in the future?' and at some point in the future, I may buy from them again. I do really like their clothes and I have limited choices at my size.

Regular viewers will know I love this style of dress - I have 2 or 3 others in this style by S&J. They're great for smart occasions like weddings, christenings and parties.

The floral pattern is a mix of pinks, white and green and is really pretty. As usual with the prom dresses it has a wide elastic waistband and a skirt with netting and lining to give it more oomph. The black part of the dress is a stretchy fabric and it's a comfortable wear.

I'm wearing a size 28 and it feels a little snugger than their normal size 28, but this may be because the thick elastic waistband is partly sewn down to stop it from folding over when you sit. I think they've done that with other prom dresses in the past, but more tightly in this case. In fact, in my indecent haste to get the dress on over my head, I tore the side a little as I didn't realise. It's a hole big enough for a finger to wiggle through, but it'll sew up in no time at all.

This dress is available at Scarlett and Jo and Simply Be. I'm also wearing leggings by Very and shoes, past season Very.

All I need is a wedding to wear this dress to now. :)

Thanks for reading. Apologies the full length photos are slightly out of focus - I was balancing my camera on my mum's wheelie bin to take the shots!
Leah xoxo

*Item supplied by Scarlett and Jo. Opinions are honest and my own.

What David Bowie's death taught me


Before I begin, let me say prior to his death that I didn't consider myself THAT much of a David Bowie fan. He was one of those people I'd kind of taken for granted - ever-present, likely immortal, and pretty fancy in tights.

Labyrinth was one of my favourite childhood films (alongside Karate Kid II, don't judge). Under Pressure was one of my favourite songs as a teen (it still ranks high) and my first crush tried to turn me onto David Bowie's Tin Machine era - without much luck, I must say.

Pop music is something ever-present in my life, but is something I don't consider myself a fan of. I had liked and sung along to no end of Bowie songs, but I only heard the music. I didn't see the art. He passed under my radar.

Then he died of course, and I watched the video to Lazarus, and was touched. It was clearly a goodbye. Then I read this article. Please read, I'll wait. It's short, powerful and so worth it.

An excerpt:

There’s sage advice embedded here, a thinly veiled warning: Do not waste any more time not expressing yourself. Say what you need to say, boldly and without reservation. Nurture your creativity and don’t be shy about it. Stop constantly consuming and start creating before it’s too late, and that dark, mysterious wardrobe into nothingness consumes you.

Leave your mark. Start today.

And it made me think. Hard. A light bulb went off, or on. I'm not sure. But something happened. Like any reasonably comfortable Western person, I live imagining my days are endless, although I know they are not. There's always tomorrow, until there's not. And tied up within my chronic illness is a huge amount of feeling shitty, of not wanting to get out of bed, of not being able to face getting out of bed, because in my waking hours are struggle. Sleep is a short practice at a long death, and although I have no fondness at all for the death that will come for me one day, it's easy for me to roll back over into the nothingness and not have to face my reality until a little later on.

But every day is precious, every day a chance to create. David Bowie was 69 and had been creating for decades, and he still had so much more to say, to do.

With regards to blogging and any other creative effort, there will always be self doubts. There will be the urge to compare to others, especially when things aren't going well. There will be the urge to think 'Am I/is it good enough?' and that kills creativity stone dead. My advice would be write like no one is listening (but hope they are).

Get your truth out while you have the chance - without self-editing for the critique you may think is coming. No one can do you better than you, and we live in a time where it's entirely possible to be historians of our own lifetimes. What will remain of me after I'm gone, when everyone who had known me has also died? My blog, my social media presences, my zillion selfies, they're the history of my life.

This is what I learned from Bowie: He reminded me time is short and precious, and that being ourselves should never be something we put off doing/being, even if it is a little painful. Sometimes it's hard to get up. Sometimes it's hard to get going. Sometimes it's hard to be, let alone create or feel like what you put out into the world is important, needed, or useful. But that's the thing about art - not everyone will get it. Not everyone will like it. Sometimes you'll stand alone while you're making the art of you, but if you have it in you, let it out. Don't let your truth die inside you, whatever form that takes.

The final words go to this:

Source unknown - I saw it numerous times on Facebook

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Plus 40 Fabulous: childhood fashion inspo & Plus40Fab admin

Hello lovelies,

It's Plus 40 Fabulous time again and as usual I'm late to my own challenge. ;)

Lee came up with the theme this month (and we'd love theme suggestions from all other participants too). She suggested talking about some of our childhood inspirations and how they affect our clothing choices today.

Well, I've never been a subtle girl when it comes to fashion. I grew up obsessed with Marie Antoinette-era dresses and used to spend a lot of break time in my junior school library looking at fashions from the past then drawing them when I got home. A lot of my most distinct fashion inspirations are from film and TV, rather than historical eras. Beetlejuice came out when I was 13 and it was one of my favourite films as a child. It still is.

I still can't get enough of black and white stripes.

Married with Children also started when I was 13, but I'm not sure if it started airing in the UK that year. Peg Bundy was a big inspiration for me and still is today. I liked her OTT 80s style, and her big hair & tacky makeup.

Hair backcombed to all hell in homage to Peg.

Who inspires your fashion style?

If you're a participant of Plus 40 Fabulous please read on for a bit of admin at the bottom of this post.

The others (hopefully) taking part are:

Cathy: http://www.southernyacht.blogspot.co.uk/
Christy: http://www.sprintingwithscissors.blogspot.co.uk/
Daisy: http://daisysays.co.uk
Kate: https://wearingmywardrobein2016.wordpress.com
Kath: https://fatheffalump.wordpress.com
Kellie: http://www.bigfashionista.co.uk/
Lee: http://www.pinkybellesshed.co.uk/
Mookie: http://www.mookieslife.com/
Nikki: http://www.nattynikki.com/
Perelandra: http://www.pamperandcurves.com/
Sarah: http://www.plussizeproud.co.uk
Steph: http://www.misskittenheel.com
Vicky: http://www.therandomnessoftwee.blogspot.co.uk
Yvonne: http://woosangwashere.blogspot.com

(Kaye is taking a break).

Plus 40 Fabulous admin

Things have kinda died on their arse a bit because Mookie and I have been quite unwell, but we hope to be a lot more involved in 2016.

Mookie and I would like Plus 40 Fabulous to be a supportive community so we'd ask that every person who takes part each month comments on at least 3 posts by other members, and then you should hopefully have some comments left on your posts too.

If anybody hasn't taken part 3 months running we'll take them off the list above.

When you've written your post, you can post it on our Facebook page if you like (not essential). 

Leah xoxo

Outfit - coal dust, diamonds & VBO

Hiya sweet peas,

When I'm writing these blog post titles the old romantic in me comes out. Coal dust and diamonds sounds a bit sexier than 'A shirt I bought in the Evans sale', hah.

The 'coal dust and diamonds' comes from the silvery sparkle in the shirt set off against the rest of the black outfit.

I've got some fierce belly action going on here. I don't know if it's middle aged spread (lolololol) or pooch from my ovarian cysts (which have got huge again, they're fucking with my bladder and bowel) but whatevs. Bodies change, and so attitudes have to. ;)

Here I am busting out some moves. Heh.

I'm wearing:

Necklace & earrings, past season Primark
Sleeveless shirt, Evans
Crop top, past season ASOS Curve
Harem pants, past season H&M
Shoes, old Rocket Dog

May your belly game be as strong as your eyebrows.

Leah xoxo