At this moment #4 - Lifestyle

Hello loves, it's time to see what I've been up to for the last few weeks.

WATCHING

Currently I'm midway through the second/last series of Sense8 on Netflix. I really enjoy it and it's a shame it's been cancelled. It's about 8 individuals who are linked psychically and the adventures they experience. It has a very diverse cast and is filmed in places such as Germany, India, Iceland and America. It's a riot for the senses but due to all the location filming it must've been very expensive to produce.

READING

I've been reading up a storm recently. I've read two more Baldacci books in the last couple of days - The Forgotten and The Target. I especially enjoyed the former. I *could* spend my time reading more factual books and fill my brain full of good things but I love crime thrillers.

MAKING

Making plans for when we go to Bath next month. I have enough recommendations to last a week but we're only there for 2 days. Still, we'll make the best of it and we can always go back again. 😀

STARTING

To be responsible adults and save for a mortgage - we estimate two years of really knuckling down will get us the chunk of money we need to buy a house or flat of our own. We'd started this once before, but then had to move with a month's notice, using up all we'd saved. Scrimping means my shopping habits and my whole outlook on life has got to change to one of thrift. I'll be sharing how I rediscover my thrifty ways, hack clothes I've already got into something new and add embellishments to jazz up older items. When I was younger I DIY-ed stuff all the time as lack of money meant I had to be inventive. I did it for years so I can do it again.

FINISHING

I recently watched the second series of Hinterland on Netflix. It's a crime procedural set in Wales. The scenery is stunning - all rolling hills and valleys - but the interior shots show beautiful decay as they visit crimes in dilapidated and dusty properties in the middle of nowhere. It's a beautiful contrast. There are 5 episodes of about 90 minutes each in a series and I really enjoy it.

I just finished a book called Principality of Sealand: Holding the Fort by Michael Bates. It's a fascinating story, and you can read more about it here on Wiki. Essentially a bonkers family commandeered a WW11 sea fort for their own use and have lived in it since 1967. I've been fascinated with the story for years since I first heard about it. The grammar and punctuation in the book leaves a lot to be desired but it's still a good read.

ENJOYING

Looking forward to my holiday next month. I'm going away for a week with James's mum, dad, brother, our sister in law and our niece, who is 4. We go every year and since baby E was born we fit the holiday around her and it's lovely. Last year I took 2 outfits per day, planning to take loads of outfit photos, but mostly I had the barest makeup and scraped back hair and let E use me as a climbing frame. I adore her. James and I are getting away for a couple of days before we meet up with the fam - to Bath - and hopefully we'll have a couple of days away on our own afterwards too.

TEXTING

The last person I texted was my brother Wayne, and that was about going to see him last weekend, which was very nice.

LOVING

I'm really into KIKO makeup at the moment. I said in my last at this moment post I'm loving the purple mascara I bought from them and I just bought some more in a sale they had. My order hasn't arrived yet as it comes from Italy, but I picked up both a light and dark green and a vivid blue mascara. I also got a slate grey lipstick (you know me and my love of weird makeup) and a couple of normal coloured ones. I'm still into really bright makeup generally of late. Life's too short not to stand out.

HATING

It's cooled down now but it had been unseasonably hot for over a week. We had the hottest day in June for something like 170 years. Because of my Fibro I have trouble regulating body temperature as I explained here so extreme heat (or cold) is really intolerable for me. I've been avoiding going out apart from last weekend when we went to see my brother. We walked around a lake for an hour in 28 degree heat and God only knows what humidity. When we got back to the car I felt so ill I thought I was going to have to vomit in my handbag! Thankfully sips of water and the air con soon sorted me out. Indoors I've nearly fainted several times as I overheat so easily. Temperatures have dropped now, so life is back to normal.

What's new with you?

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Cherry Coke - the taste of the 80's

PLUS SIZE CHERRY COKE T SHIRT // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
Hello lovelies, here's another casual warm weather outfit. It's as hot as balls so I can't stand to wear fabrics which aren't cool. Also I'm on a kind of spending ban (except for essentials) as we're doing grown up stuff - saving for a mortgage. I've got to keep reminding myself that when we have our own place we can rescue a couple of cats, and that's helping me sit on my hands a bit. I have LOADS of clothes, but I lack inspiration a lot of the time. This next couple of years as I crack down on superfluous purchases will be a good chance for me to remember what it is to be thrifty. I remember years ago when I really was poor the inventiveness it took. I remember once when I was a teenager cutting the labels out of all my clothes and sewing them at jaunty angles onto a pair of old jeans to funk them up. I'd tie-dye or tie-bleach items to make them unique. Just buying things off the peg has made me lazy. I need to up my game again!

Monki-ing around in the Monki palm print dress

Monki oversized palm print dress // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Hello everyone! I've got a little message for one of my readers - hello Joan! Tanya tells me you're a big fan, so hi! 😀

I'm wearing another dress from Monki today. I've had this a couple of months now so it's out of stock but I thought it's worth blogging about for size reference alone. This is a size M/L - which is supposed to be about a UK size 12-14 - and I'm a size 28. Monki are a Swedish company who do many oversized items. I only buy oversized things from them, or else they wouldn't fit me. As they're a straight sized company you will notice the models are thin, and look especially so in the oversized items. I mention this as the size of the models was pointed out to me by a reader before. I'm happy some of their items fit me.

I've had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction with this dress. I never pay any attention to laundry labels so I've washed and tumble dried it a few times and it's shrunk so much that the slit at the front goes right up past my vag! In this weather we could all use a bit of free air con, but that much is indecent. 😨

NSFW. Pocket pleasure that packs a punch - a Lovehoney review

nsfw-pocket-pleasure-from-Lovehoney-sex-toys // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
If you know me in real life and don't want to read about my sexy-time adventures then please stop reading now! Yes Mum, that means you. 😝

OK, moving on - those babes at Lovehoney sent me some toys to play with recently and since orgasms are the best homework EVER it was my pleasure to try them out. I've been a sex toy user one and off since I was a teen and I've never written about it until recently, but sod it, most people I know love an orgasm!

I'm a liberal woman and James is a liberal man and we have a good selection of toys for both of us. I'm no stranger to Lovehoney - most of our sex toys are from there. They post everything in discreet and sturdy packaging so there'll be no knowing look from your postman! Also, they have a no-quibble 365 day returns policy! I love the reviews on Lovehoney - you're left in no doubt whatsoever if something is powerful enough to do the job as the reviews go into great detail - sometimes hilariously! I usually end up crying with laughter at the reviews and the euphemisms for genitals and shagging.

I was sent three toys and some lube. Read on for what I thought of them.

Ms Pomelo post-surgery bras for breast cancer warriors

Ms Pomelo post-surgery mastectomy bras for breast cancer // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Photo of Tracie © Simon Hunt at Alt Studio Manchester

Hi loves,

Something I'm really keen on getting out there is Ms Pomelo's post mastectomy bras for breast cancer warriors. I know three people who went through breast cancer last year and who are still experiencing it. One of those friends Tracie has been kind enough to supply me with a bunch of images of her in her post-surgery bras, including some stunning pin up images of her by Alt Studio Manchester.

Mookie and Mike's visit & my OOTD

A month ago my lovely friends Mookie and Mike came to stay for the weekend. On the Sunday we all went to a lovely farm near us to hang out in the sunshine. Here are some photos from the day, plus what I was wearing. I've been erring towards casual/nothing special looks recently, and because I've not been buying many new things I'm trying to put a spin on older items. James and I have had car trouble recently plus we're saving hard for a mortgage so money is tight. The dress I'm wearing was actually a knee length harem playsuit but I hacked through the legs to make it an asymmetric hem dress. You can see me wearing another one of these hack jobs here. I've put an old galaxy print t-shirt over the top.

Yours Clothing Navy Jersey Maxi Dress With Ruched Waist and Pockets

Yours-Clothing-Navy-Plus-Size-Jersey-Maxi-Dress-With-Ruched-Waist-and-Pockets // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Hello loves. I feel like prefacing all of my posts for the next three months with "Excuse my humidity hair!" or "I don't do well in the heat" but I'm sure I'm not the only person who melts at the slightest bit of heat. If you never look pristine in the heat then *high five* because I always look hot and bothered when it's muggy.

OBD Clothing gymwear t-shirts and discount code

OBD-CLOTHING-PLUS-SIZE-GYMWEAR-TEES-MERMAIDS // www.xloveleahx.co.ukHello loves! Today I have a workwear tee to show you and a lovely 20% discount code for you.

I know I don't talk about exercise here (or even food) but that's because I was put on my first diet aged 10 and had over 2 decades of disordered eating and lots of horrible thoughts about my body. Even now it can still be a touchy subject for me so I shy away from it. But I do exercise - my fave ways are country walks and yoga. When I saw the slogans on these OBD Clothing tee shirts on Twitter I fell in love. They're available from size 18 to 28 in the Curve line, and they have straight sizes too. They come in a number of colours (except size 26/28 which at the moment only comes in black) and 11 different slogans such as 'Kindness is free' and 'You got this girl'. The owner does want to bring out the larger sizes in a full range of pretty colours but at the moment her hands are tied, so watch this space. The tees are moisture wicking, made of a lightweight material and are true to size. Mine comes down to about my hips and I'm 5ft 5, but I always wear tees knotted as I prefer that look on me. I'm wearing a size 26/28.

Bad Rhino menswear big & tall UK blogger search

Yours Clothing's plus size menswear line Bad Rhino is looking for a big and tall male UK blogger to represent them. If you fit the bill or if you know someone who does, send them here.

Perks of the job include:
Creating content with the PR team
An allocated monthly spend on new in Bad Rhino clothing
Doing social media takeovers

It's great to see plus size menswear being widely available. The industry has come on leaps and bounds for all of us in the last few years.

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

Yes, Monki fits fat girls too

Monki-oversize-cold-shoulder-dress // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Hiya lovelies, this is my second Monki purchase in recent weeks. If you're not familiar with Monki they're a Swedish company who do many very oversized items of clothing. This dress is a size XL which is supposed to equate to about a size 14 UK, but it's obviously much larger - I'm a size 28. Monki have a website and two UK stores - one in Bristol and one in London. The XL is now sold out online, but the L should fit people up to a size UK 26 easily. The reason I'm blogging about it so quickly is because the larger Monki sizes sell out so quickly, so here are some quick photos in case you want to snap one up. If you're looking at other Monki items, remember they're not a plus size line so the models are very thin. Look out for 'oversized' in the title of the item. Monki also sells on ASOS but the larger sized items always seem to be on their website, not ASOS.

Too hot, too cold - Fibromyalgia and temperature regulation

Because I've had Fibromyalgia and ME for nearly 10 years now, I don't tend to talk about it very much on my blog. Because I feel like I vent about a number of things my health woes seem like a step too far. But someone reminded me recently that talking about it helps people understand illnesses that are not very well understood. (Thank you Vicky!) I'm going to try to talk about my health (mental and physical) every couple of weeks ongoing.

too-hot-too-cold-fibromyalgia-temperature-regulation // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
People with Fibromyalgia will often have trouble regulating their temperature, which means we tend to veer from too hot to too cold and back again with very little just right.

Last chance to vote for me in the Navabi plus size blog awards


Hello lovelies. Today is the very last chance to vote for me in the Navabi plus size blog awards. I'm currently in 13th place and I'd really like to finish in the top 10 as this would be a feather in my cap after 6 years of plus size blogging. Being recognised within my niche as a top 10 blogger would be amazing, and it's an accolade I'd love to have.

You can vote here. As you can see, I'm up against some real plus size blogging heroes.


Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who's already voted. You've made me feel incredibly special.

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

At this moment #3 | Lifestyle

AT THIS MOMENT - WHAT I'M WATCHING READING LOVING // www.xloveleahx.co.uk

WATCHING

Oh God, what haven't I watched recently?! I had a bit of a rubbish mental health spell and my go-to escape from it is watching LOTS of tv so I don't have to think. I've just finished watching Designated Survivor on Netflix. It stars Kiefer Sutherland and it's a political thriller. The series has just ended and I hope it'll be renewed.

I also watched Alien Covenant at the cinema about 10 days ago. I really enjoyed it. I know a lot of people have said it didn't have enough aliens in it, but it is a prequel. I wish it had had less Michael Fassbender in it though, his Android facial expressions are so good it gives me the creeps!

Anxiety disorder and the importance of a morning routine

Anxiety-disorder-and-the-importance-of-a-morning-routine // www.xloveleahx.co.ukHaving anxiety disorder means as soon as I wake up I'm overwhelmed with things I need to do. They say an elephant never forgets, but I think it's the same for people with anxiety disorder. I'm scared to forget things so I have a never-ending to-do list in my head the second I wake up. No task slips my mind. I wake up knowing exactly what tasks I didn't do the day before, and before I've barely drawn breath a list of today's pressing tasks comes crashing down on top of me. It's no wonder it's hard to get out of bed on some days. As soon as I wake I'm giving myself a hard time.

Over the last couple of months I've introduced an idiot-proof 2-step routine which gives me the grace to actually wake up before I start beating myself up.

The first and most important thing in my morning routine is coffee.

You could say that's true of life too. 😉

National Trust - Scotney Castle visit

James and I joined the National Trust a couple of months ago and Scotney Castle was our first 'free' visit to a NT property. It's only about 40 minutes away from us at Lamberhurst in Kent. We'd driven by it often so it was our first choice. Scotney old castle (above) was built approximately c.1378–80.

Life lately including Navabi Blog Awards - vote for me!

Hello lovelies! I've had a whirlwind few weeks and I thought I'd do a bit of an update for those of you who like to follow my life as well as what I'm wearing. A few weeks ago we went to stay with our friends M&T in Wiltshire. We had a lovely time there and did a lot of activities. It was so lovely to spend time in the countryside with them and their kitties. Here's an outfit post from that weekend.

Another exciting thing is I decided to put myself forward for the Navabi blog awards this year, and I've been overwhelmed with the votes I've already received. I was joint first place initially and now I've dropped to 7th so you can vote for me here if you like what I do. Click on my photo (and the photos of anyone else you want to vote for - you can vote for multiple people this year) then fill out the captcha at the bottom. Ta da! I entered myself into the competition on a whim and it has made me realise something. I've often felt undervalued as a blogger - not necessarily by the people who read my blog, but certainly by some of my peers. I feel that people underestimate me, don't see me as a peer, and I always feel like a black sheep. Entering and realising I'm actually viewed with some esteem has made me realise that if you don't put yourself forward for things people assume you're happy to be in the shadows. I've realised the only person underestimating me before was me. Even if I end up last in the voting by the time the two week voting period is up, I've learned a very important lesson.

Manon Baptiste from Navabi embroidered dress & giveaway

Manon Baptiste Navabi A line plus size embroidered dress // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Have I got a treat for you today! Thanks to those beauts over at Navabi I have one of the dresses in this post to give away to one of YOU! (UK only). It comes in sizes 14-28 and it's a stunner, so do read on for more photos and details about it. Scroll down to the bottom for the giveaway itself.

This is the Manon Baptiste Embroidered A-line dress *AL and I'm wearing a size 28. Because it's an A line dress it flows freely over my body, so if like me your bottom half is your most bounteous area, fear not! I sometimes have to take a size 32 to fit over my bum, tum and thighs so this A line dress is generous. Let's have some more photos, shall we?

Two simple ways to wear a black maxi dress

Two ways to wear a plus size black maxi dress // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
I've got a bit of a chilly weather two-for-one today. I created two very different looks with barely any effort at all, one of the reasons why I'll always love black maxi dresses. They're so versatile! These shots were taken on an overcast and windy day and I was really feeling the cold. I started off wearing a light boho style cardi but soon swapped it for the cropped denim jacket and scarf I'd brought with me. This sounds like such an 'nanna' thing to say, but my outfits are very much weather dependent and I often end up wearing more than I left home in. Fibromyalgia really affects my ability to regulate my temperature and I always have at least a scarf in my bag - if not a spare coat in the car - as I'm really miserable when I'm cold.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

I'm wearing:
ASOS Curve hareem drape dress (out of stock) similar
here *AL £20 up to size 28
here *AL £20 up to size 28
here *AL £18 up to size 28
here *AL £18 up to size 32
Cropped denim jacket similar here £30 up to size 32 *AL
Open knit cardigan, Simply Be £17.25 *AL
Faux suede moccasins, Everything 5 Pounds *AL

New Look Curves Black Stripe 3/4 Sleeve Swing Dress

New Look Curves Black Stripe 3/4 Sleeve Swing Dress // www.xloveleahx.co.uk
Hello lovelies! I've had this dress for about 6 weeks but have only just got around to blogging about it. This is the second time I've worn it and it's now in the sale, so get in quick as it's selling out fast. It's a really thick fabric and nice and warm so it's ideal for these WTF-happened-to-spring days.

Here are the outfit deets then read on for more pics & words.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

New Look Curves Black Stripe 3/4 Sleeve Swing Dress now £10 *AL
White lace edged crop leggings, Yours Clothing  *AL
Iridescent handbag, Primark (in store only)
Skechers (similar) *AL
Biker jacket, past season New Look

Boho looks are for fat babes too

You don't have to be thin to pull off boho styles. It's all about confidence and mixing things up a bit so you look like you got dressed out of a tent at a festival. 
Yes I'm wearing that bloody hareem dress again, but I'm trying to illustrate how easy it is to style up a black maxi in any number of ways. It's a blank canvas and you can do gothy, witchy or boho looks with ease. Previous outfits of me wearing this dress are here and here. Although this dress is now out of stock, I'm linking to a few similar black maxi dresses.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

ASOS Curve hareem drape dress out of stock similar
here *AL £20 up to size 28
here *AL £20 up to size 28
here *AL £18 up to size 28
here *AL £18 up to size 32
Maxi crochet cardigan, *AL Simply Be £20 up to size 32
Striped flats, Primark
Handbag, thrifted
Necklace, Bluebirds and Daisies

Nature goth in Wiltshire

LOVE-LEAH-PLUS-SIZE-BLOGGER-IN-RAPESEED-FIELD // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
Oh God, about the last 6 outfits I've worn have involved this hareem dress, which has now sold out. I wonder if others did what I did - buy one, realise it was the comfiest dress on earth then buy another! Having two of them means it's rarely off my body. I'm sorry it's sold out (I dislike posting outfits when things are sold out) but you can knot a t-shirt over any black maxi dress and achieve the same kind of look. Carry on reading to see me frolicking in a rapeseed field and taking outfit photos with a cat sitting on my foot. As you do.

Everything I'm wearing apart from the dress is old. The leather jacket is old New Look Curves, as is the t-shirt I'm wearing over the dress. The dress is from ASOS Curve and I really hope they restock. These dresses are selling out as soon as they come in. I bought a yellow one less than a week ago and it has already completely sold out.

New Look Curves Black Embroidered Mesh Midi Dress

New-Look-Curves-Black-Embroidered-Mesh-Midi-Dress-La-Redoute-Castulana-grey-dotted-tulle-skirt
Hello lovelies! Today I'm wearing the New Look Curves Black Embroidered Mesh Midi Dress (as a top) over a La Redoute skirt from last year. There are lots of shots of bluebells in this post as we came across the most wonderful carpet of them while we were out on our travels around the Kentish countryside.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

I'm wearing:
New Look Curves Black Embroidered Mesh Midi Dress *AL £27.99 up to size 32
Castaluna dotted tulle skirt *AL La Redoute - in the sale for £17.70 right now - up to size 28
Pink trainers, Evans now sold out online, check stores
Leather jacket, past season New Look

ASOS Curve hareem drape dress

ASOS-Curve-hareem-drape-dress-witchy-boho-gothic-oversized // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
If you follow me on social media anywhere you're know I've been RAVING about this dress - the ASOS Curve drape hareem dress, which is completely out of stock in all sizes at the moment, boo! But hold on, they have it in another colour, yay! (link below). It's SO comfortable, so airy, so relaxed. I loved it so much I bought two and I've just bought a third in yellow. YES, yellow! Ohmyfrigginglord, I can't wait for it to come! I hope it's a slightly more ochre yellow than an erm, yellowy yellow. 😆 These dresses are oversized for an airy fit too, so if your size was out of stock I'm pretty sure the next size down would do.

It's wide cut at the hips and tapers a bit towards the ankle, and so by witchcraft it catches any hint of a breeze brilliantly to give you some well needed air conditioning around your nether regions. Have a look at the video on ASOS to see the drape of it. It's a thing of wonder.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

Drape hareem maxi dress *AL - link to yellow £22 up to size 28 
T shirt, old Pink Clove
Leopard print trainers, *AL Everything 5 Pounds - I always go up one size because of my wide feet
Apocalips lipstick, *AL Illamasqua £19.50 I think this teal shade is my favourite lipstick ever

What to do about shadowbanning


Up until a few days ago I'd never even heard of shadowbanning, or soft banning/stealth banning/ghost banning, but it happened to me so I'm going to tell you what I've learned.

I'm going to talk about the experience of shadowbanning and content blocking/link blocking on Facebook and Instagram, as this is what I've experienced. I've had problems on Facebook and Instagram for almost 6 weeks, only being let out of Facebook/Instagram jail yesterday. If you think you may have been shadowbanned on other social media sites, Google is your friend.

WHAT IS SHADOWBANNING ON SOCIAL MEDIA? 

Shadowbanning is a process where the user thinks their social media account appears to be working fine, but few other people can see their content.

At this moment #2 | Lifestyle

AT-THIS-MOMENT-LIFESTYLE // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK

WATCHING

I'm currently watching Bordertown, which is a Finnish crime drama. It's set near the border of Russia and it's a typical dark Scandi thriller, which I love. I love Scandi writers like Jo Nesbo and I love their dramas too, like Wallander.

BORDERTOWN SCANDI DRAMA // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK

READING

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. It's a lovely book, easy to read and heartwarming. I finished it last night and it left me feeling happy.

MAKING

Money disappear out of my bank account like a bucket with a hole in it. 


via GIPHY

STARTING

To gather birthday presents for my two gal pals whose birthdays are next month. 

FINISHING

I just finished watching Top of the Lake, a drama set in New Zealand. It was weird, but good. Weird in that the characters were all oddbods and the dialogue was kind of disjointed, but maybe that was the point. Elisabeth Moss was very good in it. I watch a lot of tv but I'm chronically ill, so bite me. 😛

ENJOYING

Eating cereal directly out of the box, avoiding housework and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Yup, a mental health slump but I'm getting through it one day at a time.

TEXTING

No one. I is misanthrope. 

LOVING

My blog! I sometimes look at it just before bed and think 'I did all this!' Considering my mental and physical health challenges I'm doing all right. And I don't do comparisons to other people anymore, so phooey to that!

HATING

The bloody Conservatives. If  you have absolutely anyone in this world you care about, vote Labour. Mr Corbyn may not be someone you can see in power, but do you really want the NHS run into the ground? Do you really want sick and disabled people to face a continuing witch hunt, blamed for all the crimes of the bankers? Jeremy has potential to grow. The Tories have potential to kill.

Thanks for reading. What are you up to at the moment? Lemme know!
Leah xoxo

Fat hippie chick

FAT HIPPIE CHICK FAT BOHEMIAN STYLE // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
Now spring has well and truly sprung I've got loads of outfit shots set in places with lovely scenery. James has been roaming about with our zoom lens instead of using the kit lens on our camera and the shots are so much nicer.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission. 

In these photos I'm wearing:
Gold kimono, Viva Voluptuous
Cross back vest top, *AL Yours Clothing
Ruffle skirt, past season ASOS Curve
Faux suede shoes, *AL Everything 5 Pounds
Necklace and earrings, Bluebirds and Daisies
Ring, gift from Mookie
Bag, Primark

Some words on not being the 'right' kind of competitive


This post has been in my drafts for months because I've been trying to find the right words. In coming to a realisation about myself and sharing what I've discovered I risk coming across an a self-indulgent prat, but I'm sharing this for anyone else who isn't competitive in the 'usual' way and feels out of place in the world. This post is long and may be rambling so grab a cuppa.

It's important to say I see competitiveness and being driven as different things. You can set yourself goals and pursue them independently of anyone else - that's being driven or goal-oriented. Then there's competitiveness, where a person has goals but they're about being elevated above others in their field and the prestige that it brings

I've been a plus size blogger since 2012, and in that time I've gone from a nervous wreck terrified of putting full length photos of myself into a blog post (yes, really!) to someone who's posted naked photos on Instagram to my 10k followers and shared them on my personal Facebook page for most of my friends and family to see. Although I've come on leaps and bounds in body confidence since my early days, one area of growth has been stilted until very recently - my confidence with my place as a blogger. I briefly touched on my 'I'm not wooooorthy!' feelings in my recent post 'About self-limiting thoughts' and I wanted to expand on that.

Khaki and animal - the £29 outfit

These photos were taken in Winchelsea, a lovely little East Sussex village you can walk around in about an hour. It's where the comedian Spike Milligan is buried and there are lots of lovely historic buildings to look at. We often go there for a peaceful stroll through the cemetery and to walk the pretty streets.

This outfit is a bargain one. The skirt was bought from Primark a few years ago. I think it cost about £10. It's one of those rare oversized Primark items as they only go up to a size 20. The blouse was from the New Look sale a month or so ago and cost just £4. The shoes are from Everything 5 Pounds, the bag was £9 from Primark, and the ribbon cost about £1. That comes in at £29. Not bad at all!

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

I'm wearing:
Shirt, past New Look Curves similar here *AL here up to size 24 (oversized), short sleeved here up to size 26, up to size 32 here *AL
Skirt, past season Primark similar here *AL (fitted) up to size 28
Bag, current season Primark (in store only)
Pink metallic slip ons, Everything 5 Pounds

Reproductive health | Living with menorrhagia

So what does menorrhagia mean, then? It's abnormally heavy periods, and I've had them for a number of years. I've been on treatment for the last 6 months and those 5 days each month are so much better now.

Before treatment I would:

Soak through a max flow night time towel in 1-2 hours and soak through my clothes/bedsheets
Get through at least two packets of towels and 2 boxes of Feminax per period (plus other painkillers)
Get up off the toilet after a wee and have blood running down my legs and splashing on the floor
Have huge black blood clots
Have stabbing pains in my vagina and bum and evil burning pains over my left ovary

This fat girl loves horizontal stripes


I've decided the people who make up fashion rules for fat people must be really boring. Saying we need to avoid horizontal stripes as they make us look fatter makes no sense to me. Newsflash - I look fat whatever I wear because I AM FAT. I'm not going to let that curtail my fashion choices and neither should you. If you've ever been told you're too fat/skinny/old to wear anything, phooey. Wear the thing and be happy.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

I'm wearing:
Dress, past season George at Asda - similar here *AL, here here
Red tights, Big Tights Company
Flats, past season ASOS
Necklace, gift from a friend

Change of blog comment system - back to Blogger comments

I feel like there's been a dizzying array of calamities on my blog recently and I want to address them all. If my head is spinning from all the stuff that's happened lately then I'm pretty sure yours will be too.

DEFAULT BLOGGER COMMENT SYSTEM

First and most importantly I've gone back to the default Blogger comment system. I know a lot of you find Google+ impossible, and I want you to be able to comment on my blog, or else I'm just talking to myself. 😝 I currently have zero blog comments anywhere on this entire blog. I lost 13 thousand comments when I uninstalled the ever-problematic Disqus about 6 months back and now I've just lost all the comments that had been left on the Google+ system since. Even though Blogger comments and G+ comments are both Google products, the comments don't transfer so feel free to drop me a comment and break my comment cherry! It feels so weird to have over 5 years of posts and not a single comment. 💩

MY BLOG HAD A MALWARE ATTACK

A few days ago a reader informed me that they were getting a pop up when they visited my blog. It was telling them their computer was infected and they needed antivirus. If they clicked yes in this pop up it took them to a site selling antivirus software. It was very sneaky though as you could only see it if you were visiting my blog for the first time, or if you were using a different browser than usual. That's how I didn't know it was there. James and I spent hours trying to find out what had happened, and eventually I found malware in my blog code. I was able to find it and remove it, so the pop up stopped. Apologies to anyone who visited my blog during that time and got worried. I'm going to write a post for fellow bloggers for what to do if it happens to you.

CONTENT THIEVES

For the last couple of weeks I *had* been cutting my RSS feed really short to put content scammers off stealing my content. In case you didn't know, someone had been nicking my blog and social media posts wholesale and was reposting them without credit on their own website, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. In case you don't know what an RSS feed is, it's a way for readers to subscribe to read blog posts in an email or read them on sites such as Bloglovin' and Feedly. The thought behind me only posting a tiny snippet of a blog post and having the reader click through to my blog to read the rest was it's harder for people to steal my work if I only post a snippet. But then I thought "Why should I disadvantage my readers because selfish people think it's OK to steal other people's work?" So I've gone back to publishing RSS posts up until the 'Read More' break, which is just the same as if you read it directly on my blog. That way you get to see the first photo and a good chunk of text and then decide if you want to click through and read the rest. If I'm unlucky enough to have my work stolen again I'll deal with it at the time.

I think that's all my blog issues for now. Go leave me a comment on something! 😉

Thanks for reading. Leah xoxo

About self-limiting thoughts

ABOUT-SELF-LIMITING-THOUGHTS // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
When I was a new blogger obsessed with what opportunities everyone else was getting (and what I wasn't getting) I often shared my thoughts about why. I'd whinge on that I must be swearing too much, I was too fat or too old, or too something else for brands to want to work with me. I thought there had to be a reason, but in hindsight I can see the reason is I wasn't ready for what I wanted. (And in hindsight, having a bursting inbox is really not all that it's cracked up to be, but that's a topic for another day).

It takes time - the building of a blog worthy of collaborations - but I was in such a hurry to try to be somewhere else other than where I was. The grass ain't always greener on the other side of the fence. The honest truth is I was putting out self-limiting thoughts about myself into the universe, which doesn't attract good things. No wonder I was frustrated!

Lazy Sunday at the beach/perfection is a myth

Something that's really important to me is being a blogger for every woman (by that I mean anyone who identifies as one), and not one who makes people feel inadequate. It's important for me to document the not-so-great outfits, the days where I've got hardly any makeup on, the days where life gets in the way. I do this because I'm not a polished blogger and I'm not a polished human so why pretend to be? I do it for you, and I do it for me because even *I* need reminding that my worth doesn't hinge on looking like I just stepped out of a catalogue shoot. A quest for 'perfection' leads us all to believe that we have to be done up to the nines to be a worthy of taking photographs and quite frankly it's bollocks. Life happens. Bad weather days happen, bad sleep days happen, ill days happen, bloated days happen, and I don't want to suggest in any way that you have to look perfect to have a great day, a great time, or a great life.

This was a lazy Sunday. I'm barely wearing any makeup, I'm wearing clothes that feel comfortable and I've got windswept hair. This is me in a nutshell, and I'm enough. You're enough.

Recent cruelty free nail/nail care purchases

I've decided to talk more about using cruelty free items. I've been on a mission for about 5 years now and about 95% of everything that comes into this house to use on my face, body, and for cleaning/laundry hasn't been tested on animals. Here are some recent nail care and nail polish purchases I've made.

I can't remember if I got these strengthening nail masques in a beauty box or if they were a gift. I wasn't expecting a lot from them as I can have an allergic reaction to anything, but they blew me away. You slip on the little pre-soaked covers and leave them on for 15 minutes then massage any excess goop into your nails and cuticles. It made my fingers and nails feel so soft and moisturised. I may buy a bunch of these and do one a week. Montagne Jeunesse are a PETA-accredited cruelty free company. Some companies are cruelty free but may not make PETA's cruelty free master list because PETA are very strict.

It gets a bit muddy here on out: companies who don't test on animals (like The Body Shop) are totally cruelty free, but sometimes their parent company (in this case L'Oreal) will perform tests on its other products. You draw your own line - I do use Body Shop products, but I wouldn't touch a L'Oreal product with a shitty stick. I totally understand if others choose to boycott an entire group, even its cruelty free sub-companies.  If you're a vegan it becomes even more complicated as even some cruelty free companies aren't fully vegan. Once you start caring about things like this you soon realise how complicated it is to have a conscience. I don't judge anyone who's trying to live a kinder life. It all makes a difference.

Book review - Big & Fabulous: The life and times of Brenda Cankles by Randi M. Sherman

I've just read a hilarious book with a plus size heroine and I think it's a great light hearted read. I devoured it over two evenings, laughing away to myself. Here's what Amazon has to say about the book:

The time for BIG & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles is now! The emphasis is on positive body image. Big & Fabulous is a truly entertaining story that's strongly written, funny, insightful and bitingly smart. Inside its covers, readers will find no shortage of acidly hilarious accounts of the highs and lows of living life inside a big and fabulous body.

Recent cruelty free skincare/beauty purchases

Here are some recent cruelty free purchases I've made. I don't talk about cruelty free beauty items as often as I should - I've been on this CF thing for about 5 years but rarely talk about it as it's so normal to me now.
CRUELTY-FREE-SKINCARE-AND-BEAUTY ALDI LACURA UNANI // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

Aldi don't test any of their own label products on animals, which includes their Lacura beauty range. The Lacura light-reflecting concealers are £2.99 each and I bought them from Aldi online with free delivery as they didn't have them in stock at my local store when I popped in. It's a repurchase as I love them. I bought two shades this time - Savannah and Cashmere. Cashmere is the lightest shade and I use it for my under eye area and for tidying up my brows after I've drawn them on. As it has bristles you can really fine tune with it. Savannah is for medium skintones and I got that to cover some darker marks I have on my face - melasma from the sun. This is the first time I got the darker shade. I've only had Cashmere before. It only comes in 3 shades which is a bit rubbish as there are so many shades of humans, and everyone deserves a chance to wear this great concealer. I hate that dark skins are left out of so many makeup products. The two shades I got are out of stock online in the UK now, so check in store.

Why is an hourglass figure so idolised by the plus size fashion industry?

 My second article for Indie+Design is up now!
WHY IS THE HOURGLASS FIGURE SO IDOLISED BY THE PLUS SIZE FASHION INDUSTRY?
Image via Pixabay
Although plus size women come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, most fashion choices for plus size women are designed for an hourglass figure. There aren’t many types of dresses available to us – the oversized boxy or swing dress, tight fitting bodycon, wrap dresses, and 50s style fit and flare. You almost always see the latter three dress styles modelled on hourglass women. As I mentioned in my last article a lot of plus size models pad out their bodies to imitate the hourglass figure, and conversely, some models use corsets to give an hourglass look to naturally less defined silhouettes.

That tells us that a lot of models don’t naturally have the hourglass shape, let alone the average woman. Use of padding and corsetry in modelling should make designers think about the body shapes they’re neglecting, but instead, they push this hallowed hourglass shape.

Read the rest of the post here.
Let me know your thoughts!

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

An outfit inspired by the Manic Street Preachers

PLUS SIZE LEOPARD PRINT COAT // WWW.XLOVELEAH.CO.UK
Back when I wrote my fashion manifesto at the start of this year I said I wanted to experiment with colour/pattern mixing, both clashing and complimentary mixes. A little voice in my head had always told me that any shade of brown with grey was baaaaad, so I thought I'd mix it up and see what happened.

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission. 

I'm wearing:
Coat, New Look Curves sale
Dress, past season Lovedrobe *AL
Scarf, past season H&M similar here *AL
Shoes, ASOS wide fit - only available in pink velvet now *AL
Tights, Big Tights 90 denier currently out of stock but when they come back they'll be here

Reasons to be happy

I've been doing a lot of work on my mental health recently and one of the things I've been doing is concentrating on the things that make me happy, so I thought I would share some of them with you.

1. Becoming National Trust members.
James and I have got a joint membership and I can't wait to explore lots of places. I love being outdoors in spring, summer and autumn so I'm so excited. We went to Scotney Castle on Saturday, where the photo above was taken.

The third time's the charm feat. Elvi

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.
ELVI GREEN PLUS SIZE MAXI SKIRT // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
Let me let you into a little secret - the first time I wear a new item of clothing I rarely hit the jackpot in the outfit stakes. When I get something new I'm usually so excited to wear it that I take photos of it and blog them right away. I later regret that because when I wear a new item a second or third time I really get a feel for how to style it and the outfit comes out much better. So, I've been holding off blogging looks that didn't work out too well until I get it right. This is my third attempt at this wearing this skirt and finally I'm happy with how everything came out. Unfortunately because I waited so long this skirt it's now out of stock on Elvi (and it's not on ASOS or Navabi either) so keep your eyes peeled for it on eBay if you like the look of it. For reference I'm wearing a size 26 and it's VERY oversized, you could get me in it twice, so don't be afraid to try a smaller size than usual if you find it somewhere. If you've never worn Elvi before the quality is always fantastic, and although at a higher price point there are often bargains to be had if you're patient. This skirt is a heavyweight fabric which washes brilliantly and feels great on. It's my favourite skirt at the moment. I'd buy it in 5 different colours if I could.

I saw this skirt on Danie Vanier a while back and fell in love with it. That woman could wear an old potato sack and still look like the most ravishing woman to ever walk the face of the earth.

I'm wearing:
Necktie, from the skirt
Boyfriend tee, Simply Be (from a twin pack of black/grey) *AL
Skirt, Elvi  *AL - check out some of their other pleated skirts here
Hi tops, Everything 5 Pounds *AL
Bag and earrings, Primark

About web content scrapers and why every blogger needs to be aware of them

ABOUT-WEB-CONTENT-SCRAPERS-AND-WHY-EVERY-BLOGGER-NEEDS-TO-BE-AWARE SEO PAGERANK // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK

As some of you may know, my blog content was ripped off recently by web content scrapers but what does that actually mean and why is it bad for your blog?

CONTENT SCRAPING 101

Content scraping is when an individual takes content from many other sites, collates it and publishes it to their own site as if it's their work. It's theft of original works and it can negatively affect the SEO of the site it was stolen from. Many sites are made up of works entirely stolen - scraped - from other people. There are a lot of content scrapers out there -  this is the second time it's happened to me. Scrapers may steal a few of your articles, or they might copy your whole damn website.

This is what an example of what a scraped website looks like. This was the site of the last person to scrape my content. As you can see it has content from several different people, but nowhere on the site does it LINK to the people whose work it has stolen.

Pink and khaki, it's officially a thing

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.

If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen this outfit a while back, as I always preview things on there first. Talking of Instagram, I've been banned from posting/commenting/liking/replying/making stories on there as their algorithm as picked me up as a spammer. I'm waiting for an actual human to respond to my report, but I won't be holding my breath for a swift outcome with the weekend an' all. I think happened because I thanked 3 people for comments they'd made on a photo of me, but because I don't follow them, Instagram thinks I'm one of those annoying spambots who tag loads of people in comments. It's a massive pain in the arse, but c'est la vie!

Moving on, part of my fashion manifesto for this year was using colour in new ways - both harmoniously and in jarring ways. Pink and khaki was a match I didn't expect to like, but I really love it. This was a minimal makeup day and a chilled outfit as we were only popping out to Primark to get James a new belt, but I bought a new bag while I was there and wanted to show it off straight away.

I've decided to start putting the outfit details in the main body of my text (before I do the 'read more' section) as in my reader survey about 1/4 of you said you were bothered about not being able to read in one chunk. At least this way if it's outfit details you're after, you'll get to them quickly. I aim to please. 😜

I'm wearing:
Jacket, past season Boohoo
Top (under dress) H&M+ £8.99 *AL
Dress, local shop (hacked from a 3/4 length playsuit)
Tights, Big Tights Company 90 denier (currently out of stock)
Trainers, Evans £28 *AL
Bag, Primark (in store only)

At this moment #1 | Lifestyle

at-this-moment-lifestyle // www.xloveleahx.co.uk

WATCHING

A few days ago I started watching Shooter, the Netflix series starring Ryan Phillippe. It's about an ex-Marine who was set up for murder. I was expecting it to be a propaganda-fest in the usual 'Murica the greatest nation in the world style, as often happens when American patriotism, guns and TV commingle. I found it really immersive from the first episode, which was nice as the point of watching TV for me is not having to think about the day to day stuff. If I'm thinking about my laundry pile or the washing up the show really doesn't cut it. I think I'm about 6 or 7 episodes into the first series, and I really like it. I didn't see the attraction to Ryan Phillippe back in the day when he was younger - he was far too pretty for me - but he's matured nicely and he has a beard now, so there's that. 😍

Fat Girl Casual

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.
I've been playing around with looks, splicing dressy things with casual things. I've a new-found love for casual wear that I've never had before, and it's because as a fat person I've had to PERFORM high femininity at all times. Fat girls don't get to hang out in sweats with messy unwashed hair in a bun and get called cute. People think we're lazy slobs who look like that all the time. So I've spent a looooong time avoiding wearing anything casual to avoid The Judgement™. Well fuck that shit because I'll soon be 43 and I'll wear what the fuck I want. I didn't even realise until recently that my avoidance of casual wear was a thing. It's weird to be socialised to behave in certain ways and not even realise it until one day BOOM - epiphany. So I'm messing around with femme + casual wear to get the feel for it before I jump into full-on casual wear with both feet.

My Fertility Story part 2 - my first ectopic pregnancy

[If you're reading by RSS/email, please note my feed has been shortened to discourage theft of my blog posts. Click through to the blog to read the whole post].

MY-FERTILITY-STORY-PART-TWO-MY-FIRST-ECTOPIC-PREGNANCY CHILD LOSS BEREAVEMENT // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK
It goes without saying but TW: child loss.

Only after I started writing this did I realise how much a toll bringing it all up would take, but like they say on Mastermind, I've started so I'll finish. I've had it better than some and worse than others, but everything I've been through has made me a stronger person. Here's the story of my first ectopic pregnancy. It happened 14 years ago but I'll recall it as best I can.

But first, what are ectopic pregnancies? From the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust: Ectopic pregnancy is a common, occasionally life-threatening condition that affects 1 in 80 pregnancies. Put very simply, it means “an out-of-place pregnancy”. It occurs when a woman’s ovum (egg), that has been fertilised, implants (gets stuck) outside the womb. The most common place for an ectopic pregnancy is the Fallopian tube but there are many other sites where an ectopic pregnancy can be located. It is, sadly, not possible to move an ectopic pregnancy into the womb to allow it to grow normally.

A Wednesday (Addams) state of mind

Any link with *AL written after it within this post is an affiliate link, which means if you click and buy from it I will earn a small commission.
FAT WEDNESDAY ADDAMS GOTH OUTFIT // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK Well I had lost my outfit mojo but I've found it again. This is one of those outfits which came about in a flash. I had to go to the post office and some other errands and my hair was greasy so I needed to do something quick. Buns or plaits? Once I'd plumped for plaits the rest of the outfit came to me. It was well overdue I got my goth on again as I've been wearing a lot of 'pretty' outfits recently.

I dress so seasonally - when it's cold and grey I need colour in my life to keep the misery at bay. But once the world comes alive again in spring I can haul out all the dark shades because life has enough colour without me having to add to it. I've tried to mix up the textures a bit to add interest to an almost all black outfit, but the light was fading a little so it may not be clear that I'm wearing leather look leggings.

Mustard and rust

MUSTARD-AND-RUST-A-PLUS-SIZE-OUTFIT-POST // WWW.XLOVELEAHX.CO.UK

As well as my ongoing fascination with pink and grey at the moment, I've also got a yen for earthy colours like rust, mustard and dark greens. Here's a very simple (and inexpensive!) outfit I wore recently which cheered me up with its burst of colour.