Thursday, 30 June 2016

Beachy vibes in Spain + GIFs and video

Hiya loves! I've still got quite a lot of stuff left over from our trip to Spain, and this is a Boohoo dress that I don't think is available any more, but I'll link to similar things at the end of the post. I love the simplicity of Boohoo's jersey dresses and I have about 4 of them now. They're very affordable, wash well and go with everything. Boohoo is my favourite place to buy clothes from lately, even though their clothes only go up to a size 24. I find most things I've bought from them to be extremely generously sized, especially if they're jersey or swing styles. I haven't tried anything bodycon from Boohoo but there's plenty of room for people of size 28 or above in the looser jersey styles I like.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Herstmonceux Castle gardens and grounds

Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex history architecture England

About a month ago James and I finally got around to visiting Herstmonceux Castle, which is not far from Eastbourne in East Sussex. We'd been meaning to go for a long time, but there are so many lovely things to do around here it joined a long list. You can see the outfit photos I took at Herstmonceux here.

Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex England history architecture castle close up

We went on a May bank holiday weekend on a gorgeously hot and sunny day but it was almost entirely devoid of people. It may have been because on this particular day there were no castle tours. It's not a castle you can turn up to and visit at your leisure - there are castle tours on select days. The castle is owned by Queen's University Canada and is used as an international study centre. We only wanted to see the gardens and woodland, so it suited us perfectly to visit on a quiet day.

Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex England history architecture castle close up

Construction of the castle began in 1441 and it's an unusual building as brick wasn't a common building material then. As well as the castle, gardens, woodland and folly there's also a science centre and observatories there from the days when it was owned by the Royal Observatory Greenwich. We will go back at some point to see the science centre as James is a massive geek, and we both love star-gazing.

Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex England history architecture moat reflections

There are several themed gardens to visit but the woodland and folly were our favourite parts of our visit. This lovely pergola marks the start of the walk into the forest, and as soon as we were over a brief muddy bit I walked barefoot in the lush grass, which was like a damp, springy carpet. The mild and wet winter has made for such gorgeous greenery this year. I've never seen anything like it.

Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex England history architecture castle woodland

Follies are funny things. Often built during the 18th century they were decorative buildings which usually had no purpose at the time, although many have been converted to housing in modern times. As you can see, the folly appears to be two storeys tall, but from the inside there's just one big wood-clad room painted white. You walk through to a garden behind, and from there you see that the upper storey at the back is an open sun terrace with steps up from the garden.

Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex England history architecture folly building
The folly
Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex England history architecture folly wild garden
The folly garden, which is left wild
Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex England history architecture castle lake
The lake near the folly
Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex England history architecture castle English rhododendrons
Gorgeous rhododendrons with me for scale
Herstmonceux-Castle-gardens-and-grounds-East-Sussex-English-rhododendrons history architecture

Here's a really brief video just to set the ambience of the day. (If you're reading via email click through to my blog to see the video).


There's ample space in the woodland for picnics, and most of the grounds are flat, so at times when it hasn't rained recently it should be reasonably accessible for wheelchairs and prams/push chairs. There's a cafe there, and there was a peacock hanging around a family waiting for table scraps when we walked past. There are lots of statues to see and the flower gardens are lovely. Being there on such a quiet day was a real tonic, with little to hear but birdsong and the wind. I'd thoroughly recommend a visit if you're nearby.

Have you ever visited Herstmonceux?

Gardens and Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle
Herstmonceux Castle
Wartling Road Entrance
Hailsham
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Website

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Society+ cranberry red tutu & tulle skirt styling tips

SOCIETY-PLUS-CRANBERRY-BURGUNDY-RED-TUTU-TULLE-SKIRT PLUS SIZE CARRIE BRADSHAW sex and the city PLUS SIZE TUTU PLUS SIZE TULLE SKIRT
Hello lovelies! In this post I'll be talking about the Society Plus burgundy/cranberry red tulle tutu skirt. I've had it some months - James bought me it for Christmas - but it's still for sale. I took these photos in Brookwood Cemetery near Guildford, which is absolutely stunning. Ever since I saw Carrie wear a tulle skirt in SATC I've longed for one, but at that time there were no plus size tulle skirts for sale. Being able to live my fashion dreams from the past now that plus size fashion has improved is a complete joy.

Friday, 24 June 2016

10 things I really regret about my early days of blogging

.....and by 'early days' I mean about the first 3 years!

As you blog you get better by degrees, so much so that it's only looking back through your archive that you realise how many new skills you've picked up. Here are the things I wish I'd addressed sooner, but I'm glad I know about now.

  1. Taking my outfit photos indoors - you just can't beat the light outdoors, plus my home is so crammed full of my clothes, shoes, bags and makeup stashes there's little free room to pose. Plus if there's a choice of a lovely scenic place to take photos in or my tired ol' living room wall unit, there's no contest!
  2. Not resizing the width of all my photos - when I look through my posts from 2014, even part of 2015 I see hideous higgledy piggledy images of all sizes. It makes my brain hurt to look at them.
  3. Not investing in a softbox set for winter photography sooner - I got one last year. When it's cold out no matter how crammed my flat is, I'm still not going out to freeze my arse off unless I really have to. (Fibromyalgia + cold temperatures = widespread cramp, all over). Having soft box lights REALLY helps in winter, not just with outfit shots, but product shots and selfies too.
  4. Not keeping a journal. There are some things that would've been best kept to myself. What's that old quote about wondering if someone's an idiot and them removing all doubt by speaking? Yeah, sometimes it's best to keep people wondering rather than spewing out my every thought.
  5. Being such a grumpy cow. I've waged one-woman wars against so many retailers in the past, let alone the ways I've likely pissed off other bloggers with my open-mouth-insert-foot tendencies, so since last year I've been trying to calm my tits, especially on Twitter. It's so satisfying to have a quick Twitter whinge, but I don't want to be 100% whingebag.
  6. Not investing enough time in my photos. Photos in blogging are everything, and mine have been on a sliding scale from absolutely fricking dire to passable and back again a few times. I've started picking up little props here and there which look pretty in the background of photos and I've been making a real effort to get outside more for outfit shots. 
  7. Not knowing anything about SEO until about a year ago. I had no bloody clue and I'm learning all the time. Being an older blogger and thus not so media savvy is a definite minus but it just proves I need to read mooooooooooore blogs!
  8. Huuuuuuuuuge close ups of my face. No man, no. I scrub up all right but seeing myself in close up at about 850 pixels wide when I scroll back through my blog? I scare myself. 
  9. Using alll the links. Jaysus and Mary, I used to link to everythaaaaaaang. I have been way too generous with links in the past. Now I'm going through allllll my posts prior to last year and deleting all of the links, dead or not. I have something like 6000 links on this blog. Bananas.
  10. My biggest regret of all - not really believing in myself sooner
I'm one of those people who'd always swung wildly between huge self confidence (for about 2 days a month) and feeling like a single celled organism hanging around in the bottom of a pond. I now like to think I'm a slightly more stable individual, making good use of antidepressants, journaling and voracious reading to keep me on the up. I started blogging because I wanted to share my JOURNEY to confidence, and I'm still on it, but I've noticed something in my time slow-burn. People LOVE people who are goddamn on fire in their self love from the get go and I've been crawling there. If people come out of the gate like 'WOW, I love myself and you should too!' people flock to them.

That's not my journey though. I've been here since 2010 (I've reverted everything before 2012 to drafts as it was awful) but only now can I say 'Yeah, come at me, I'm at one with my existence.' It feels like my time is now. I regret not being that kind of person sooner, but you know what? Hard fought for victories taste SWEEEEEET. I switched my focus around to plus size blogging in about 2011, and that was my baby steps into thinking, yeah, you're all right, love. Prior to that I'd been on the dieting train obsessively for 25 years (since before puberty) and had always been made to feel wrong for existing by society. As time has gone on I've become more and more at one with myself, and now at the grand ol' age of 42 I find myself in the situation of giving almost no shits at all about what other people think of my body. I'm putting myself out there because although it's never nice to hear crappy things on social media, other people's opinions of me are just that - other people's. I feel like the best stuff is ahead of me, so 10 little regrets are nothing in the face of what's to come.

What are your blogging regrets, if you blog? If not, share a regret you have. 

Leah xoxo

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Simply Be Sprinkle of glitter polka dot dress

Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review
Hello lovelies, in this post I'm going to talk about the Simply Be Sprinkle of Glitter polka dot dress which I bought a few weeks ago. Since I've bought it it's gone down in price to £21 so I'd jump on that if you like the look of it. It has pom poms AND pockets!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Comfort and quality all day long in plus size business suits & luxury nightwear #sp

LUCY-ALICE-PLUS-SIZE-BUSINESS-SUITS-DAVID-NEIPER-LUXURY-NIGHTWEAR

Hiya! In this post I'm introducing plus size ladies business suits from LucyAlice and luxury nightwear from David Nieper so you can be in comfort and quality all day long, from the office until bed time and beyond. There's nothing like changing into your comfies after a long day of being a responsible adult, so why not do both in absolute quality?


Thrifted finds - Evans lime lace tunic dress

 Evans-Lime-Lace-Thrifted-plus-size-dress summer dress green dress
Hiya lovelies! In this post I'm going to be talking about a brand new Evans dress I got from a charity shop recently. It was a steal at £7.50 and it still had the tags on it. Score!

Monday, 13 June 2016

La Redoute Castaluna dotted plus size tulle skirt

La-Redoute-Castaluna-dotted-plus-size-black-tulle-tutu-skirt-polka-dot-plus-size-occasion-skirt-plus-size-holidaywear-plus-size-wedding-wear
Hello lovelies! In this post I'll be talking about this lovely Castaluna dotted plus size tulle skirt from La Redoute which I bought recently. I saw it on Chloe and fell in love with it. It took foooooorever to come (literally a month) but it was worth the wait.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

10 things I learned in Spain


Yes, I AM sitting on a pool noodle!
  1. There aren't a lot of fat Spanish people, so when they see a fat person they STARE. And stare, and stare and stare......and when you glare back they don't do the polite English thing and look away. It's a little disconcerting at first but I soon got used to it. 
  2. Caroline is scarily good at mimicking. Her David Bellamy impression is hilarious!
  3. Mookie REALLY loves sloths. Like really really. She started crying when talking about them and I was an awful friend and I laugh-cried, but mostly laughed. Sorry Mookie, I'm a shit friend!
  4. Flying with anxiety disorder is literally hell. The flight going out was worse ("If this plane falls from the sky now, how long will it take us to die?" being one of the things that kept going through my head) but the flight back was a little better. Just like I learned in CBT, exposure therapy really does help. 
  5. Spanish restauranteurs are generally as warm as arctic tundra. They don't care if you eat at their restaurants at all. We had a couple of good hosts, but the majority wouldn't have cared if we passed them by. (This is totally my personal experience, and is gathered in contrast to other sunny holiday spots I've been to like Greece, Gran Canaria, Ibiza etc where people greet you warmly and are personable hosts).
  6. I'm a luxury bitch who really needs her own personal swimming pool!
  7. Spanish lemon Fanta is like crack. So good!
  8. Irish bars are great no matter what country you're in.
  9. Never fly home from Alicante on a Tuesday with Norwegian. The flight is N-E-V-E-R on time. Neverrrrrrr. Avoid.
  10. Spanish people loooooooooove sunflower seeds. Love them. When we went to La Mata beach I was following a trail of them along the boardwalk like breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel. They put them in whole, chew them and spit the shell out. 
Mike sniffing the fresh lemons a neighbour brought round
James being all suave in the pool
Mookie trying not to fry in the sun
Take me back there right now!
Caroline, myself and Mookie all dressed up and wearing a bit of blue, coincidentally!

I still have some outfits and other things to show you from our holiday but life has been so busy recently. We've spent lots of time with our families since we got back and things have also been picking up on the blog too so I'm all sixes and sevens, but life is good!

I hope you're having a lovely weekend.
Leah xoxo

    Saturday, 11 June 2016

    Homewares from House of Fraser

    Homewares from House of Fraser teal embroidered feather fulled cushions from the Living by Christian Lemieux range

    Hiya! In this blog post I'm going to be talking about some new Christian Lemieux cushions from House of Fraser. I do love a good cushion, and I have a penchant for feather ones as they are so much easier to redistribute and plump up than those wispy stuffed ones that go lumpy and horrible. James and I have gone through no end of pillows and cushions to find the most comfortable ones for us and it's feather all the way. The only downside to feather cushions and pillows of course is that the feathers make a break for freedom and tend to poke you when you least expect it. Not these bad boys! The fabric of the cushion cover is really thick and the feathers inside are in a heavily lined inner cover so there should be no little stragglers.

    Friday, 10 June 2016

    Big Tights Company anti chafe shorts and seamless underwear

    Big tights company big bloomers company anti chafing long legged knickers plus size chub rub summer thigh sweat
    Before I went on holiday to Spain I reached out to the Big Tights Company to see if they had some ideas for keeping me cool in the heat, as I've got some of their other products and they're always of the highest quality. This year's holiday was my first warm weather holiday abroad since 2007 so I was concerned about coping in the heat. They sent me some anti chafing shorts, seamless knickers and a lace edged vest and knickers set. Read on to see how they helped me beat the heat!

    Big Tights Company All Woman anti chafing long leg knickers size 24-28

    I'm fat and my legs rub together when I walk, but then they always did. It's nothing to do with size and everything to do with pelvic placement. Even at my lowest weight my legs always rubbed. It's just the way I'm made. Big Tights do these shorts from a size 12 as they know it's not just us plus size folk who suffer in the heat! I already had a pair of these anti chafe shorts in an airy size 30-36, so I wanted to try them out in a smaller size to see how fit and comfort would be affected. Please read my previous in-depth review of the long legged knickers in a size 30-36 here. I found the bigger size very cooling (no swamp crotch) and I'm glad to say this size is equally as comfortable. They pull up over my bum and stay put all day both in the waist and in the legs thanks to the wide hem, but they don't dig in. They aren't just comfortable from the perspective of keeping your legs from chafing, but they actually stop you from sweating altogether. I've said it before, but I think it's witchcraft. These are a summer essential. Buy here. You can buy one or a pack of three.

    Big tights company big bloomers company anti chafing long legged knickers plus size chub rub summer thigh sweat

    I also have the shorts in a short leg length in a size 24-28 and these weren't so good on me. It depends where your fat distribution is on your legs. My legs touch almost to my knees, so I do need something that comes down quite far. What tended to happen with the short legged ones was if I pulled them up high enough to sit at my waist, there wasn't enough length left in the leg for me to be completely comfortable - they sit about 4-5 inches above my knees. I think that if I'd sized up to the 30-36 in these I would've had enough coverage for my bum and my legs, but in this size there just wasn't enough material to do both. But again, it depends where you need the coverage to be. I know many plus size women with relatively thin legs who wouldn't find the short leg length a problem. And at least now I know that the longer length is better suited to me. It's what you're used to as well - I'm used to having comfort shorts to my knee or even cropped leggings under skirts and dresses, so I feel a bit naked with a lot of leg being exposed to the air. Buy here. They also do short legged ones with lace on the legs here.

    Big Tights Company All Woman Lace Edged Vest and Knickers Set

    This lace edged knicker and vest set is great. The lace is soft, not scratchy and the fabric of both is ribbed and soft. There is a lot of stretch in both the knickers and vest. I've worn the vest on a few different occasions. Because it's so stretchy it really makes my boobs stand out and the lace edging adds a little something to every outfit, regardless if it's casual or smart. I wore the vest on holiday under my Lindy Bop dress in this post.

    Big tights company big bloomers company all woman lace edged vest and knickers set plus size underwear plus size lingerie cooling in the heat comfortable plus size underwear

    Big tights company big bloomers company all woman lace edged vest and knickers set plus size underwear plus size lingerie cooling in the heat comfortable plus size underwear

    I also wore it for a relaxed walk in the woods under a checked shirt. There is only one drawback with this vest and that's because it's highly stretchy, it does tend to ping up to my smallest part, being my waist. I find if I tuck it into my knickers or leggings then it doesn't do it as much. It's really a small thing to mention when it makes my boobs look so amazing, but I'll always be honest and bring up the good and bad points of an item so you have a balanced view.


    The straps on the vest are wide enough to cover up the wide straps of plus size bras, which is always a thoughtful touch. Buy here. I will be buying one of the vests in white as well - you can buy the lace edged vest and knickers together or separately if you want one without the other.

    Seamless knickers

    These knickers are so comfortable I actually bought some more when I came back from my holiday! I have a pair for every day of the week and then some. I'm wearing them now! I have them in black, white and nude. They're made of the same fabric as the anti chafing shorts, and they actually prevent you from sweating. I don't know how, but it's magical. I find them even cooler than cotton knickers. Seriously! They're not just comfortable because they don't make me sweat, they just fit so well. I'm wearing the size 24-28 and there's lots of give in them. The don't pinch in the waist or the legs, they just hug me perfectly. If I had my way everyone would wear these. They're that good!

    The only drawback to these knickers is when I'm on my period I can't wear them. Sanitary towels don't stick to them at all because they're so smooth, so I do wear cotton knickers when I'm on my period. The other drawback to them can be if you're wearing them AND the anti chafe shorts over the top, the chafe shorts will slip down. Again this is because the fabric of both has some slip. This of course can be avoided by wearing the long legged knickers with nothing underneath, which is perfectly acceptable thing to do, or wear cotton knickers underneath.

    Another great thing about these knickers is they wash and dry so well. They come out of the washing machine barely damp at all. I dried mine in the sun on holiday and it took no time at all. They're perfect for taking on holiday as they scrunch up to nothing in your case and barely weigh a thing. I did mini reviews on Instagram on holiday and afterwards so I've included that information as well lest I repeat myself. You can buy them here. You can buy them singly, in a pack of 3 mixed (nude, black, white) or 3 black, nude or white.

    A photo posted by Leah ✨πŸŒ™⭐ (@justmeleah.co.uk) on


    Thanks to Big Tights I had a comfortable time on holiday, and if you're struggling with the heat I recommend you check out some of the solutions on their website.

    Thanks for reading.
    Leah xoxo

    *Items provided by the Big Tights Company

    Thursday, 9 June 2016

    Statement necklaces from Mandy's Heaven

    Statement necklaces from Mandy's Heaven

    Hiya! In this post I'm going to be talking about statement jewellery from Mandy's Heaven. I came across their website recently and they're a one stop shop for accessories - from bags to hats, shoes, scarves, and of course jewellery.

    I've worn a couple of pieces in some outfit posts which are coming up in full soon, so here's a sneaky peek of what's to come!

    Here I'm wearing the Swirl Pendant Necklace, which is a chunky silver tone necklace on a short chain. I'm wearing this on almost the shortest length as I prefer short necklaces to sit above my clothes. It's a well made and sturdy piece with a bit of weight to it.

    Statement swirl pendant necklace from Mandy's Heaven online boutique

    Something I like about Mandy's Heaven is that the pieces are big and bold. I'm a big woman and small pieces of jewellery get lost on me. I want large statement pieces to balance me out and all of the necklaces on the website are large in size or impact. I feel the jewellery on the website is perfectly suited to the plus size frame, both in the respect of impact and that some of the necklaces have very long chains. For a necklace to come below the my boobs it has to be quite lengthy and there are some very long necklaces on there which makes me happy. There's nothing worse than losing a necklace in my cleavage!

    Below I'm wearing the Short Jewel Statement necklace. Again this piece is well made, with a chunky chain and a substantial clasp. It's so good not to have to fiddle around with tiny clasps on either of these pieces.

    Short Jewel Statement necklace from Mandy's Heaven online boutique

    I wore the second necklace last week at my mum and stepdad's vow renewal service, which was lovely. I got lots of compliments on it. Aside from jewellery, Mandy's Heaven also do a range of really dressy sandals which would be great for holidays abroad. I could imagine wearing these on a cruise, especially that middle pair, which remind me a little of mother of pearl, which I love. 

    Embellished-sandals-for-cruisewear-or-holiday-wear-from-Mandy's-Heaven

    They also do a range of clothing, which although feels too mature for me, is the kind of thing I know my mum adores. If you have relatives of a certain age, you know where to go to treat them.

    The good thing is jewellery is ageless and it's a great way to get bang for your buck and change up the look of an outfit. I've yet to see an article for women over 40 telling us what kind of jewellery we can wear - unlike the plethora of articles telling women of a certain age how to dress (ugh!) -  and long may it last.

    Are you a statement jewellery kind of person or a lover of the understated?

    Thanks for reading,
    Leah xoxo
    *Necklaces sent by Mandy's Heaven

    Wednesday, 8 June 2016

    Prompted by Murder of Goths - on dieting

    Go read this post from Murder of Goths about the big bad anti diet brigade.

    TW diet talk.

    Whenever I find myself writing a War and Peace length comment on someone's blog post I know it's time to say my piece on my own blog too, hence this post. My thoughts on this subject are long, complicated and very personal and I'll unpack them as calmly as I can.


    Your opinion on dieting within plus size/fat acceptance/body positivity circles is likely to be strong, no matter which camp you fall into. Whether you're completely pro dieting in fat circles, have an 'each to their own' mentality or think 'hell naw, that doesn't belong in our spaces', the chances are your thoughts on dieting are deep-rooted, passionate, and in some way define who you are. It's no wonder it makes us fall into camps, predominantly those who diet and want to talk about it everywhere, and those who feel diet talk shouldn't be in fat spaces.

    Before I say more, let me tell you about my dieting history. I was a fat baby, a fat toddler, a fat kid. My mum was fat and had been bullied by the people who should have loved her most. She took me to the doctor as a child to be put on a diet as she wanted a better life for me than she'd had. Being put on a diet before puberty messed with my head. (I can't remember exactly how I old I was but I know it was before I started senior school). Of course as an adult I can look at it objectively and know she was trying to help me, but at the time it made me feel like I was deficient in some way. I wanted to please my mum so I went along with the diet, and I dieted until my mid-to-late 30s, long after it was for her.

    A particularly horrible time of it was when I was in my teens, about 17 years old. My boyfriend was a dick who started dating me when I was fat then pressured me to lose weight (ugh, eff off mate) and combined with my previous dieting history it sent me to a nasty place. I was also having trouble at home - my mum was in a bad relationship with a violent and dangerous man who lived in our home. I was struggling with really poor mental health. I developed what I now know to be an eating disorder, except I called it a diet. It got so bad that I was only eating fruit and carrots and would get drunk so I didn't notice the gnawing pain in my stomach. I lost weight quickly as you'd expect, and everyone changed around me. I was still me but more men approached me, and girls who hadn't had time for me before suddenly wanted to be my friend. It was a really weird place to be in and it made me realise how shallow the world is.

    Back then in my youth the only real health concern was from my GP - it wasn't like it is today, where everyone thinks they're a doctor. Back then dieting was about aesthetics and not so much about health. I'm not going to touch on dieting for health except to say there are unhealthy thin people and healthy fat people. I'm not going down that road - it's none of my business why someone diets or what they hope to achieve from it.

    I wish I could say I snapped out of dieting a long time ago and lived happily ever after, but it took nearly bleeding to death in 2011 for my 'fuck it' moment to happen. Before then, what diet didn't I do? Slimfast. The Cambridge diet, where I had such bad hunger pains I couldn't stand up straight one day. Weight Watchers, Slimming World. And after each and every one I piled on more weight. But still I played the game, as it's what you do isn't it? Isn't a woman supposed to be utterly fixated on her looks? I mean, that's all that matters, right?! (If you're detecting sarcasm, well done).

    When I found plus size blogging I found fat fashion bloggers and radical fat acceptance bloggers. My pocket went to fatshion bloggers, but my heart - oh, my heart - it went to rad fat bloggers. There wasn't anything wrong with ME, just society. It was OK to be me, whatever form that took. I discovered feminism, a thing I'd had with me since that eye-opening time when I lost weight at 17, except I never knew what to call it before. I now knew my worth was more than the size of my arse. I clung onto these things like life rafts, for I'd been drowning for over 25 years. I stopped dieting, learned to love myself from all angles, found my clan.

    But within this clan were people like me - complicated people with long histories like me, and yet not like me. They'd had their tough times and likely had some experiences similar to me, but their experiences of dieting may have been positive. Mine really wasn't. I've been really judgemental in the past - it's hard to separate my experiences of dieting away from everyone else's and understand it may have brought good things to some. My opinion has softened over time knowing that body image is fraught with highs and lows and messages pumped out from the cradle to the grave about who gets to be worthy, who gets to be beautiful, who gets to exist without shame. But even though I know people's decisions to diet are based on their own pain, I still get dragged back to the place where my stomach always rumbled, when I was weak with hunger and obsessing about every morsel that went into my mouth. So yes, I get that lure dieters get - to shrink, to gain widespread approval. However, is it right to do it in plus size circles?

    Over time my attitude has softened from a place of judgement to 'each to their own'. However, a little concern for people who will ALWAYS struggle with food and weight is golden. It isn't enough for some to be a 'You do you, and I'll do me' person. There are some who demand the right to talk about dieting in plus size spaces, and if you disagree you're considered a fascist. Because you protect yourself from going back to a bad place you're 'unsupportive'. Because you want people to be conscious of where they say these things you're selfish and cramping their style.

    I used to be in a couple of Whatsapp chat groups with various plus size bloggers and plus size people. It was up and down, as any clustering of people can be. Not everyone is going to get on all the time, especially not when messages are pinging across by the dozens a minute and it's hard to tell who's talking to whom. It's easy to speak out of turn and stick your foot in it. I did it a couple of times with regards to my views on dieting and I suspect I've become persona non grata to a few people since. People should absolutely do what makes them happy, but they can't MAKE me enjoy it. I have muted several people who are avid dieters who trigger that part of me I'm trying to forget. The part where I flay off my skin, scream 'I'm not good enough!' and go back to obsessing over the scales, inches, pounds, bites, forkfuls.

    These people (who I like) are not important enough to send me back to that. No one is.

    I WILL NOT be that person again. I'm protecting myself from great hurt, but because I don't want to support that aspect of other people's lives, I'm a pariah. Or it feels that way. Maybe I'm paranoid - it's hard to tell with my mental health sometimes. I know I felt a lot closer to the community at some point, and once I left the Whatsapp chats less so. Maybe it's the dieting thing, maybe it's something else (like out of sight, out of mind).

    For me, triggering goes on when people bring a LOT of diet talk into my spaces - and by my spaces I mean my social media feeds. I do unfollow/mute people who devote a lot of time to diet posts - let's say the magic number is 50%. If someone posts photos of their face/kids/animals/other interests half as often as they post diet stuff, I'll probably keep them around, but if they become consumed with dieting (as many dieters do because they're hangry all the time) I won't. It's not just triggering, it's boring. If they mix it up and are fun to follow despite the slight triggering I'll probably keep them around, but definitely not if they lose 2 pounds then start body shaming fat people because they're already mentally divorced from their own body type. Understand that it's a cumulative effect. If I have one person per social media channel enthusing over their new diet it's no biggie, but when I have a dozen and it feels like every other post I see is about dieting it quickly starts to fuck with my mental health.

    Sometimes it feels like if I'm not cheering every dieter on, I'm a different breed. It's not enough to like them as people, I actually have to go out of my way to congratulate them on doing something which takes me back to a really bad place to be considered worthy of their time. Please don't take my long and complicated history with dieting, weight, self-image, and make it about my feelings for you. Even if you were my best friend, I would put my own wellbeing first. I stay away from people who might accidentally harm me even if they think I stay away as I don't like them. I just like me more. If I could say one thing it would be: Do what you have to, but don't treat people who are surviving eating disorders badly because they won't give you the kudos the rest of the world garnishes you with for dieting. You don't need our acceptance cookies - you have the rest of the world for that. You will be clapped on the back for that literally everywhere else on earth.

    And as to the insidious way dieting is creeping into bopo spaces, and the way brands react to newly thinner plus bloggers, holy cow, we have a whole new clusterfuck. That's another blog for another time.

    Where do you stand on this?
    L xoxo

    Monday, 6 June 2016

    Curvy Kate fuschia Portia balconette bra from Brastop

    Curvy Kate Portia balconette bra in fuschia plus size bra large cup bra 44F hot pink plus size lace bra
    Hi! In this blog post I'm going to be reviewing the Curvy Kate Portia bra from Brastop. I'm wearing a size 44F. I was immediately drawn to this hot pink colour as it's so summery. Brastop do bras in D-K cups and sell brands such as Curvy Kate, Elomi, Fantasie, Gossard, Panache and Ultimo - all the big cup bra brands you would expect. Delivery is swift and returns are free.
    Curvy Kate Portia balconette bra in fuschia plus size bra large cup bra 44F hot pink plus size lace bra

     Curvy Kate Portia bra from Brastop - fit and comfort

     Firstly, this bra gives me great shape as I discovered on holiday when I took this photo:


    I'm really happy with the shape it gives me. The central gore sits flat on my breastbone in between my breasts and the uplift is great. I need to tighten the straps as they keep rolling over - I'm a terrible one for not adjusting bra straps when they loosen. This would stop the straps from rolling over and also afford even more uplift.

    Curvy Kate Portia balconette bra in fuschia plus size bra large cup bra 44F hot pink plus size lace bra
    When it comes to the clasp, it's 3 hooks in 3 columns. I really can't abide bras for large cup sizes with only 2 hooks, because they roll up and get swallowed in my back fat. The straps themselves are about 3/4 of an inch wide, which is ample to hold the weight of my breasts up without digging into my shoulders uncomfortably. The orange ribbon trim and bows are a nice contrast to the pink of the bra. This is my first foray into Curvy Kate bras because I was wearing the wrong size. I was wearing too big a size in the back and too small a size in the cup. Because of this I didn't think Curvy Kate did bras to fit me. Oops! Now I know they do and offer great shape I look forward to trying more bras from them. I have my eye on this beauty!
    Curvy Kate Portia balconette bra in fuschia plus size bra large cup bra 44F hot pink plus size lace bra
    Curvy Kate Portia balconette bra in fuschia plus size bra large cup bra 44F hot pink plus size lace bra
    The cups are double layer in just the right place, making for discreet wear in colder weather, if you catch my drift!
    Curvy Kate Portia balconette bra in fuschia plus size bra large cup bra 44F hot pink plus size lace bra

    Curvy Kate Portia bra from Brastop - wear time

    Many of you will know I have Fibromyalgia, and if I'm home in the evening I'm most likely not wearing a bra, as wearing tight things all day can be really painful. Some of my bras are more comfortable than others, and I have a sliding scale of comfort-to-wow-factor to help me determine if a bra is worth it, and this one is. James's eyes lit up when he first saw me in this bra, which makes it a roaring success alongside my own love of it. If a bra is really uncomfortable but looks amazing on, I'll grin and bear it for a day or night out, but won't wear it all day. I would give this bra 7 out of 10 for comfort, as towards the end of a long day it does make me a little uncomfortable, and I'll tell you why that is. It's the fabric of the bra. It's not rough, but it is a thin fabric, and that means there isn't a lot of padding around the underwires. By sheer luck rather than design many of my bras are made of thicker materials, which means I don't feel the underwires so much throughout the day. But as this bra gives me such lovely shape I don't mind that it gets uncomfortable after several hours wear. It's a wow bra which I'll happily wear to give me good shape for as long as it's comfortable. I see bras just like I do dresses - you need many for many different occasions. I have some comfy bras which may not be the prettiest, and pretty bras which may not be the most comfortable. I believe there's room for both in my lingerie drawers.

    Have you been fitted properly for a bra? Have you got anything from Curvy Kate?

    Thanks for reading,
    Leah xoxo

    *Bra sent by Brastop

    Thursday, 2 June 2016

    Competition - free online access to the Fat Studies Conference in New Zealand

    Hiya lovelies!

    I have a great competition for you today, for free online registration to the Fat Studies Conference in New Zealand next month. The speakers include Substantia Jones of the Adipositivity Project, Kath Read of Fat Heffalump, Cat Pause and more! Hear 18 speakers from six countries speak about fat politics, bodies, art, activism & discrimination.



    The winner will receive free online access from 29th-30th June plus further access to the conference for a year afterwards. All I need from you is your name and email address to enter - leave them in the Rafflecopter widget below.  The winner will be announced on Monday 6th June. Good luck!


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Leah xoxo

    Wednesday, 1 June 2016

    Lovedrobe heart back ribbed skater dress

    Hiya! In this blog post I'm going to be talking about the Lovedrobe heart back ribbed skater dress which I bought in the Lovedrobe sale a couple of weeks ago. I'm tired and hungover in these photos and I look it too.
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