Saturday, 29 September 2012

Give me your number...

Hi guys! This post has been on my mind for a while but I wanted to blog about clothing sizes! Inspired in part by yesterday's Proud of My Size link up, I think most of us probably have the same problem in actually pinning our bodies down to one size since it varies so hugely from shop to shop. 

To illustrate it here's a random selection of the clothing labels in my wardrobe, ranging from an 8 to a 22.

Yep, that’s right and every single piece pictured here fits me perfectly - or at least it fits exactly how I want it to fit.

The size 8 makes me laugh because I have never been that small in my adult life. Its a big cuddly, purple cardigan from Peacocks and was clearly meant to be "oversized". Even so, its so big it slips off my shoulders! It would look like a huge sack on someone of the size for which is was intended.

The 22 is actually my wedding dress label. Its a Vivian of Holloway 50's halter neck and admittedly had to be taken in slight in the bust, but only because I'm fairly small chested, the waist was a perfect fit!

So whats my point? Well my point is that a lot of people put great stock in the number that is in their clothes. I have slim friends who practically cry themselves to sleep when they have to purchase a size 12, instead of their normal 10 - which I find just silly! A) all shops are different and B) it doesn't mean they've suddenly got fatter over night and C) is it really the end of the world if they did get slightly bigger if they still feel great?

My advice to anyone is get good at eye-balling clothes. As an avid charity shop/car-boot raider and thrifter I look at clothes to see if I think they will fit me, then look at the label, then try them on. If they look good I wear them.The label makes no difference if when I wear it, it feels good.Sometimes manufacturers produce things to fit certain types and shapes, but sometimes going up or down a few sizes will produce different/better effects on different body sizes.

Here's my lovely new charity shop jumper from by French Connection. Its a 12 - clearly I'm not a 12 but I love the fit. It has super cute bows on the back too. If I had just looked at the label and not the fit, I'd have missed out!

So my lovely strawberries do you pay attention to clothes sizes? Or do you just buy what you want and what fits you?


Friday, 28 September 2012

OOTD - Cowboys in Texas - Proud of my size.

Good morning lovelies!

I've wanted to join in with the Proud of My Size link up run by Rachel over at the Near Sighted Owl since I stumbled across her blog. If you've not read it before get over there now, not only is her writing style great, she's gorgeous and is fighting the good fight when it comes to body image and a bit of self love!

So here's my image! Its taken 27 years to come to the conclusion that I'm ok just the way I am. That a number does not dictate my worth in anyway shape or form and that taking care of myself physically and mentally is whats important. I was a ladies size 16/18 when I was in my tweens, and I remember being so ashamed that I had to get my school uniform from Marks and Spencers because kids clothes didn't fit me. No kid should go through that. All it would have took was for a few suppliers to up size a little. I wasn't even that fat, I was just tall and well built, but the shame piled on by external forces, (surprisingly mostly adults rather my child peers) can really effect a young mind.

You know what, I've never been an unhappy fat person. Over the years I've been from a size 16 to a 24 and any dislike, shame, disappointment or feelings of unattractiveness were brought on by societies view of me and how I was told to view myself - not how I felt inside. My body has never reached that size that is totally "socially acceptable" and it never will. Now I've changed my mindset I'm comfortable with that - freeing yourself from that burden is awesome!

And now for the outfit...

Last weekend I went on a bit of charity shop crawl. I picked up an epic snuggly jumper dress by French Connection (which I will do as an outfit post soon), and my eye was also caught by this crazy shirt by warehouse with an awesome kitsch cowboys print.

The shirt just drew me straight in and at £2.50 I couldn't say no. The problem however is that I don't wear crazy prints, or shirts for that matter so how to style it??

So I made a bit of an attempt at a cow girl look with a bit of a retro twist.

Shirt - Charity Shop
Vest - Asda
Jean Shorts - Asda (cut off)
Ankle cowboy boots - Peacocks.

 Didn't really have time to accessories as had to run out of the door after this was shot, but just put a head scarf on to add to the look.

Bit of a step out of my comfort zone with a loud print, but I think it works and felt kinda rocking in it!

After I took the pics I tucked the vest into the shorts which improved the look a bit I think, forgot to photograph it. Hubby said it was a bit Daisy Duke esque...

Have you guys ever brought a piece that goes with nothing in your usual wardrobe but you just had to have? How did you style it? 


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Inner voices

Hello my lovelies, just wanted to blog a bit today about our inner voices and how much they affect everything we do in our life, and for the most part ,can be our biggest enemy.

On my journey to start loving my body I've regularly started practicing using comments that are kind and helpful. With the aid of all you seriously fierce bloggers out there, its slowly getting easier to quiet down the negative comments. Don't get me wrong they're still there, but they're not shouting anywhere near as loud. One thing I've found helpful is to ask myself why I think the things I do about my body. If I look in the mirror and think to myself:

"Urgh my loose arm skin looks horrid!"

I force myself to ask: Why do I think it looks bad? How can I turn that around? Who is my loose arm skin effecting? Who says its not acceptable? Who actually gives a shit? Where do my perceptions that is it "ugly" come from? If I see someone else with fat arms do I judge them? Why?

When you start posing these kind of questions to yourself it starts to become easier to see through the BS you've been fed and start seeing that there is nothing wrong with you!

Since when was my agenda ever to be "acceptable" anyway? Don't I want to be extraordinary? Special? A bit of a rebel? Don't I just want to be me??


 And yet, whilst I'm slowly recognising the inner voice that tells me "I look wrong", "I could be more attractive if I was thinner", "I SHOULD be thinner", "Being thinner = better life",  its started to make me realise how much self bashing I do in all areas of my life and how impactful negative self talk is.

I've mentioned briefly in other posts that I play roller derby. I don't want to go into huge detail about it but its a major part of my existence and I can't help relating a lot of things to it. Its actually helped me understand me, and I continue to surprise myself in this journey of understanding. Anyway...I'm utterly motivated by it, and yet I find myself holding myself back by retaining negative thoughts instead of clinging to, and reinforcing, the positives.

During practive I find myself apologising to team mates if I think a block or a hit, or a turn or a stop isn't executed right. I mentally berrate myself if I start to feel tired, uncapable, out of my depth. I come home feeling low and as though I'm not reaching goals and targets quick enough, particularly when others around me are excelling quickly. (Comparing yourself to others in any rarely a good idea)

Its utterly frustrating and at times incredibly mentally demanding. Its the nature of any competitive sport I guess, but you know whats not helping? Me - or more specifically my negative inner voice.

By chosing to allow those comments..."What did I do that for??" "Seriously I'm an idiot??" "OMG she just saw me when I fell over my own feet for no reason!" to circle in my head I'm building a self belief that I'm not good enough, which in turn makes me feel like I'll never achieve what I want to.

If you chose to believe you can't. You never will.

I look at some of my team mates who have, or are becoming successful and I realise that although I can't read their minds, outwardly they never (or very rarely) engage in negative talk. Because not only is my internal monologue negative I often voice the thoughts to others too, which just reinforces it! My successful team mates speak only of how they did something well, how they will nail it next time. They very rarely apologise for mistakes even when they make them. Why should they? That's what practice is for.

Even when I do get compliments I find myself reflecting a self depricating comment back.

If someone says "That block (hit) was awesome!" - I will usually follow up with - "Oh thanks, but I fouled out straight after!" But but but...

Why do that?? Why turn a compliment into a chance to berate yourself? I don't think I'm alone in doing this? I do notice others do it too.

"Your hair colour looks nice!"
"Oh thanks, but its just a cheap bottle dye"

BUT BUT BUT.  No more butts. "Thank you" is an adequate response on its own.

I think mastering (and quieting) your own negative self talk, whether its related to your looks, weight, job performance, personality, emotions..anything, can be the key to real happiness and confidence.

We can't all be mentally full of sunshine, roses and puppies all the time - shit happens, emotions happen, but if you mentally talk to yourself like shit, instead of motiving change, you just motive more self doubt and hurt no one but yourself.

I'm going to be making a real effort from now on to root out negative self talk. Who's with me?

I'll leave you with this gem that actually happened last night before I went to sleep...

Me - "Why do I keep bringing myself down?!..Because you're a knob, that's why!"


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

High Tea and a red dress

Hello my lovelies! I've just got back from my holidays, managed to squeeze in a week off work and a 4 day mini break to Caister (near Great Yarmouth). The outfit I want to share with you is what I wore on one of my days off. We decided to visit a friends restaurant for high tea, so I decided to dress up. Man I was glad I did. The place is so special, and the outfit felt just right.


If you saw this post then you'll have had a glimpse of this lovely red dress I found at ASDA on the sale rail, and I've been wanting to wear it and do a post for a while. I've just worn leggings under this which do offer a small bit of support but otherwise I'm letting my shape hang free!

I'm not normally this brave, I have some issues with the way my hips go in and out and tummy issues. But I'm slowly starting to embrace it, and its so freeing! My mum got me the purple pumps from a discount store, they're mega comfy.

I also got this amazing coat from the same place on Sale for £10. It looks toasty, but its actually a really thin fabric with a lining. So its perfect for the between weather where its sunny with a bit of chill. I was drawn to it because its in my team colours, which ended up as a bit of a theme through this outfit - red and purple. 

The only size they had left was a 14. Its a little tight on the bust but still wearable.

The day before, I'd had my eyebrows threaded for the first time ever. Very cool! So I decided to make an effort with full makeup and even penciled a brow shape in which is another new thing to me.

I was also getting massively bored with my natural hair colour. I've been meaning to bleach it a little for a while, but I had to wait until I could get a colour remover to take out the red tones, from a Schwartzkopf bright red. I probably needn't have bothered as I got a bit bored waiting for the bleach to take and washed it out at this quite nice gingery tone anyway.What do you think? I just keep being reminded of honey badgers..can't imagine why?


 EDIT: - Totally forgot to add pics of the actual high tea, which was so awesome it has to be shared...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

OOTD - Cats & Leopards

Hi everyone! I've been a bit slow on the the old posting front. Life as ever gets in the way, but I have lots of posts plans and have been meaning to get this up for over a week!  Better planning and setting aside of time is in order.

I wore this outfit to work on what eventually turned out to be quite a hot day. Its definately more an autumn/winter combo.

Leopard print dress is a carboot find. Its a Next size 16, and is still really roomy. Paid £2 for it!

I would normally wear black leggings with something like this but wanted a bit of colour so went with clarat tights. I'm definately out of my comfort zone with the length, normally never have this much leg on show.

Cat boots and matching handbag are both irregular choice. Sadly I had to swap the boots for flats when I went to work as skating has mangled my feet and the cat boots really hurt to wear now :( I can't bear to part with them though.

Skull beads are from a market in Skegness. From a distance they have the illustion of chunky pearls which I love, and they make me feel like Wilma Flinstone when wearing them.

I used to have a huge ring obsession but the only finger I'm normally comfortable wearing them on is my wedding finger. So when I got married suddenly my rings didn't fit anymore. This is one of the few I've hung onto. A corker from TKMax when they breifly started selling jewellery. In some lights the stone looks aqua blue, in others a lovely purple.

Cat bag!

The belt I got on the same day as the dress from a carboot, but on a different stall. Slightly different colours but I like the contrast. Cost me 50p!

Is anyone else still struggling with the completely unpredicatable weather and interchangeable seasons? How do you cope when its hot one minute, then cold and rainy the next? xx

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The journey to body confidence

I'm pretty new to all this I have to say and my journey so far has been great. I've always been a fairly confident person, despite being larger than socially acceptable. I was never really bullied at school or anything like that so for the most part I got on with being fat as it didn't really effect me that much.

The only time its really affected me is in the clothes area. When I was a chubby kid growing up I was way past kid sizes before I'd even hit about 11. Wearing a ladies 16-18 meant that I was so limited by what I could wear. Couple that with the 90's fashion of leggings/tight trousers (before they were reinvented and cool) and short tops, it left me feeling incredibly self conscious about my stomach. Looking back now I realise that actually my torso is really long and I'm pear shaped, and was never built for even normal length tops let alone short ones! But with money not in abundance, a severe lack of plus size clothes back then, growing up as a teenager I had no chance in the fashion stakes.

Around 13 here? Hiding under baggy clothes

I remember a period when I was about 14 where I got away with the tight trousers/too short t-shirt combo by tying a jumper around my waist. I was so ashamed of my lower stomach sticking out that I tied something around it at all times. How ridiculous!?

 I briefly flirted with the idea of being a goth

It wasn't until I got into my grungy baggy jeans and t-shirt phase later on in my teens that I began to feel more comfortable, although still too fat, and very far from feminine. By the time I hit 21 I had started to mature a little in what I was wearing, I felt like I was getting too old for stripy knee high socks, baggy jeans and band shirts (ppffft old, smold!) and rediscovered fashion. By this stage I had continued to gain weight and was a size 22. I felt OK, but still society told me my body was wrong...although it had at least acknowledged that plus size girls need clothes too and shops like Evans were easier to find (new look inspire, yay!). Shoes became my biggest passion - the easiest way for a bigger girl to feel fabulous...

I trucked on like this for a while, my wardrobe became more varied, but I still tried to diet intermittently with little or no success. Around 24 I actually just stopped dieting, relaxed a bit and before I knew it I had dropped a few sizes without much effort (more personal proof that dieting doesn't work for me - or anyone for that matter, but that's another blog post entirely). I also collected a huge amount of irregular choice shoes, they were actually my babies!

Then BAM! I was 25 and along came this crazy sport called roller derby. I just took one look and fell in love. I have no idea why, I hated sport at school - I used to accidentally on purpose spill coke on my PE kit as an excuse! But whatever the reason I did and it really did change my life.

This is me not long after I started roller derby
(I have to say it is slightly photoshopped lol)

I went from very little exercise to training a few times a week, and before long as we got more serious it became more like 3, 4 even 5 times a week. The weight stayed steady for a while. Although I was exercising more I was also eating more as I was constantly hungry, but the best thing of all was that there were women much older than me still parading around in their knee high socks and frilly skirts, and band t-shirts and goth stuff and just generally being awesome. It finally opened my eyes to the fact that if you have the confidence to wear it, it will look good and you should please no one but yourself when it comes to the clothes you pick.

Suddenly I found myself in a community where all women of all sizes were celebrated as sports women - big bums and thick thighs suddenly became desirable and a sign of hard work, or a good blocker.

Even through all this though society still told me I was too big for this or that fashion, I should be dieting and spot training (which is actually impossible incidentally) to "lose my bingo wings", "tone that tum" and if I couldn't do it, there was something wrong with me. Somewhere in the back of my mind I still believed it.

I like to eat!

Things changed when I broke my ankle. Stopping training sucked and it also meant my weight went up. I gained just under a stone in 4 months. Coming out of healing process I vowed once more to go on a diet, albeit a "healthy" one to lose the weight. I started calorie counting and like all diets before it I could go 1, 2 or even 3 months being "good" and inevitably binging and feeling out of control around food. I was on the cusp of a size 16, but mostly wearing 18's then plateaued. My weight was actually fairly stabilised. And if I'm honest I knew despite my odd tendency to overeat I actually had a pretty healthy lifestyle in balance, but dieting actually made me eat more and gave me a bad relationship with food.

 I also love having my picture taken...

Then another BAM! I discovered HAES (Health at Every Size) - a principle that teaches that all bodies are good bodies and that, with a bit of self love, we can all take subtle, enjoyable actions to make ourselves more healthful. It takes away the judgement of people - goes against dieting mentality and against the idea that overweight or obese automatically = unhealthy and that thin is automatically = healthy.

What a revelation! There's nothing wrong with fat bodies, and here's the big kicker...

Its non of anyone's damn business if someone owns one or not, or how they chose to procure and maintain said body!

I've tried explaining this to friends, but if I mention the words "fat acceptance" the first thing anyone says is "Stop the press! Isn't that promoting unhealthy lifestyles!?" Umm no... My usual response to this is "Because the media is so full of healthful role models like Kate Moss right...??"

With all this comes the self questioning. Why do I want to hide away parts of my body? Why are certain things not acceptable? Who's actually bothered? Will the world collapse if my fat arm is hanging out and still waving a big "Hiya!" long after I've finished. No! Will I feel liberated and like a bit of a rebel? Yes! Will I open myself up to critism from others? Humm Maybe... But if I feel good in something then who gives a shit!?

So after this pretty long and drawn out post what is my point? Well there are still two main areas of myself that I struggle to really love or accept even. That is the aforementioned bingo wings, and my lower stomach/hip area. I have saddle bags on the tops of my thighs then I go in, then I go out again around fat hips and my lower stomach sticks out. Its not particually easy to love, but I find that by being kind in my mental voice, and appreciating my body for its worth as a whole rather than its looks its slowly become easier to love youself a little more.

My right saddle bag is noticably bigger than my left because I had a car accident where I pulled out infront of a lorry (yes massive idiot) and actually nearly killed myself. Instead of dying however the brunt of the impact was on the driver door and my right thigh. I came away with nothing more than a pizza sized bruise on my leg and a bit of a fleshy lump. So in a way my fat juicy thigh saved my life, and my extra saddle bag is just an awesome scar and representation of that!

So I'm vowing to keep practicing a little self love, body acceptance, looking after myself physically and mentally, even if that means eating an entire tub of Ben and Jerrys on a Sunday afternoon. Because actually living my life is the most important thing, and its carrier vessel is so much more than something to look at.

But hey, if I can dress it to look damn good, then I will! ;-)