Ooh La La…

So my bestest and most favourite of all Christmas presents was the reveal that the destination of the surprise trip away I’m being taken on by The Bloke is to Paris (obviously not a secret now, as I think he’d worked out that I’d not last until February to know where we’d be going!). I was quite overwhelmed that he’s taking me there, as we’re staying in a boutique hotel and whatnot; given that he’s a go to the middle of nowhere sort of boy, I know its been chosen with me in mind. I’m thinking between now and then, the Paris episodes of Sex and the City need to be on a loop….

Can one get away with a breton stripe without looking too much like a hopeless tourist? Because I do like a bit of breton stripage.I probably should try and dig my GCSE French out of the back of my mind also perhaps. If anyone has been and has a place to recommend going to or seeing, feel free to let me know!

All of this however leads to another recent purchase……..

DSC_0569 DSC_0570 DSC_0572Jumper:Asos Curve | Skirt:Asos Curve|T-shirt (unseen): New Look|Leggings: George at Asda

I’m interpreting this jumper as ‘lost in the wonder that is Paris’ rather than actually being lost. But yes, a new favourite of mine.

Until the next time x

Back Where I Belong….

I never thought it would happen but I’ve definitely had one of those phases where I wondered why I blogged. I’d been knocked by feeling a bit like there is not really room for me as more and more fantastic bloggers have come on the scene, that anything I could say could be said better by others. I felt I’d lost that sense of community that drew me towards plus size blogging in the first place. Also this blog got trolled by someone I know, and it did make me think that maybe this is just me being vain and navel gazing too much. However, I’ve decided enough is enough. I need to dust myself off and take life by the scruff of the next, throw myself into anything and everything that comes my way. Plus London reminded me exactly how far I’ve come in the last 18 months, and how I can achieve a lot when I put my mind to it. Also, the lovely and adorable Kathryn of Miss Kathyrn’s MissTakes is organising a get together of bloggery types, and the Facebook chat for it has reminded me that there is a community still alive and kicking, its more that I need to be more involved. I am not the girl I was, I’m becoming the woman I want to be.

So you want to see some clothes though, right? I’ve gone full-time at work, which whilst means no time to do bugger all, it does mean a few extra pennies for clothes. This top is one of my new favourites.

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Cardigan: George at Asda | Top: Asos| Skirt with belt: New Look| Slippers: Sainsbury’s|Tights: Evans|Glasses: Gok Wan for Specsavers

Featuring our cat Rory and my slippers! The top inspired the outfit, as I wanted a way to show it off because I adore it. I remembered this skirt and thought ‘Ooh, black and white with a punch of red’. This top is becoming a fast favourite of mine so its sure to feature a few times more on this blog.  Like a lot of ASOS Curve, it was a blink and you’ll miss it job as it’s no longer on sale. So, I consider myself a very lucky girl to have it…its the first time, ever I think, I’ve owned t-shirts of a decent quality that wash well. Oh, the plight of a fat girl!

Until next time!

Nothing Like A Little Heartfelt Honesty….

(Trigger Warning: This post deals with my current, personal journey with depression, self-esteem and eating issues. If you feel it may trigger your own similar feelings, I’ll not be offended if you carry on walking past this post.)

 

Its been a very long time since I wrote a personal post. I did rationalise it in my head as I’d entered a new chapter in my life and wanted to keep all the wonder and joy that was living with and being loved by The Bloke to myself, but I think it was actually something very different indeed. The last ten months of my life have been bittersweet and strange. On one hand, I’ve finally found the love of my life (ok, technically he found me) and I entered my fourth decade of life with a new desire to make the rest of my life as amazing, seeking new adventures and not being afraid to challenge how I view myself. Yet there is always a but. A big massive ‘don’t you dare get happy, the waves will come crashing, and the rain will pour, and down you will spiral’.

Loss is such a theme in my life. I lost my childhood by being all consumed with feeling inadequate and unworthy. I lost my teenage snogging years to fear and the wrong boy. I lost university and a proper career because oh so many reasons. I lost my dad, friends and potential lovers all along the way. I lost myself. I became the girl who thought she was no more than a flicker in the corner of people’s’ eyes and willing to become invisible, to blend in with the crowd. Stranded and drowning, with no idea of how to become how she wished to be.

Then I started this blog and because of it met many fantastic women who aren’t afraid to say a big fuck you to being conventional or how they’re expected to be. Being able to walk into a room and be the centre of attention for the right reasons, not merely the two-dimensional movie sidekick version of themselves. Women of all sizes, proud to claim their individuality. I realised I could either continue to be cast as the loyal best friend who aids the plot along in other people’s’ storylines or I could be the heroine, the one who gets all she wanted and more.

So I put myself out there….wore colour, stood tall, joined an online dating site, found the man of my dreams, started to become the sort of woman who wears bright lipstick and slinky dresses when she feels like it.  Then one day I had a huge decision to make, to move to be with The Bloke and share my life completely with him. That was the best decision I have ever made in my life, and putting him top of my list but only when appropriate has given me more joy and happiness than I ever thought I could have.

But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t come at a price. I’m not the sort of person that does things like move away from everything and everyone she’s ever known. Trying to live two lives has been very hard indeed, and often I’ve felt trapped between two versions of myself – the one that is unhappy and quiet and the one that is joyous and really rather loud at times. Loss is my biggest fear, losing those that I love and I still have is something I’m petrified of, and by moving I opened that Pandora’s box of confidence issues. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this low before….this is definitely worst than the big meltdown of 2003. Oooh, I’ve just realised I have meltdowns in years ending in 3…spooky. Anywho, so as you may have gathered from previous posts my seizures are caused by deep psychological stress and anxiety. But on top of that, if I’m running on low or empty, in other words tired or hungry or exhausted, the seizures worsen which causes the causes to worsen and around we go. For a while I really wasnt sleeping, which isn’t like me at all. It got to the point I was just existing rather than living, the seizures having expanded into me hitting myself and berating myself, even with attempts to throw myself down the stairs.

I felt hopeless, and I even started to doubt why The Bloke loved me, why anyone would give to flying figs about me. My deep and profound loneliness has been eating away at me, causing me to isolate myself from friends, from this blog, from life and therefore fueling the feelings even more. It came to a head and I finally admitted defeat, holding my hands up to the fact I needed help faster than the NHS wellbeing service could provide. A prescription of anti–depressants which also serve as sleeping tablets followed by a few weeks of being off work for a little rest and recuperation and for a finale, finding a private counsellor to start work on all the issues I’ve got.

It’s like for some reason the world has served to remind me of every bad thought I’ve ever had, every bad thing I’ve ever experienced. The bottom line though is I don’t think I’m good enough to be counted amongst the rest of the world, that somehow I’m bad, and wrong, and damaged, and malfunctioning. The Bloke often reels off all the reasons he loves me in the hope it actually sinks into my brain, or my heart, or wherever the damage lays. Yet, I hear but do not believe. Yes, I’ve gained ten times more confidence in the last year than I have ever before, but the broken parts seem more broken than ever. I can’t seem to let myself not worry what people think, of how I’m seen or unseen. I feel like only my fingertips are clinging onto those I care about and I’m about to lose those that matter.

I’ve started work on all of this….going back into my childhood and trying to reframe what has gone or I thought had gone before. It’s a long journey before I’ll be able to consider myself healed or healing, but it feels  like maybe this time I’ll crack this thing called confidence. Maybe. Perhaps.

To Be Continued….?

Fashion World Two Way Boot Challenge…

I was a lucky enough girl to receive both a gorgeous pair of boots and a pair of jeans from the lovely people at Fashion World. It was a tough choice as to what I was going to go for, jeans wise. Boots were a little easier as it was either a choice of tan or black I had the pick of…

Legroom Wear Two Ways Boot EEE Fit

Two Ways Boots £55 – Images Copyright of Fashion world

Legroom Wear Two Ways Boot EEE Fit

So as you can see, the boots can be worn either as knee boots or as ankle ones. I ordered my pair in size 9 EEE. I have ridiculously big calves, and find it a nightmare to get boots to fit. I was living in hope that these babies would be the first pair I owned in years that did all the way up the leg….

DSC_0495 DSC_0496 DSC_0494As you can see, I don’t have the upper sleeve on,  turning them into knee boots. Essentially they went about two-thirds up my calf before they went no more. Very sad times indeed. Especially as the boot bit was actually a tad big on my foot. I  adore the boots though and have been stomping around in them ever since I got them.

 DSC_0497 DSC_0498 DSC_0499 DSC_0505Jeans: Joe Browns Awesome Fit Jeans 30in £40 

Cardigan :Primark|Top: Evans

The bloke has a whole wardrobe full of Joe Browns. In fact, he wears little else when choosing casual attire. I have often been really rather vocal in my dislike of the female version of the brand, simply as they tend to favour loud and busy prints of which I am not fond. So when I spied these jeans on Fashion World, I knew this challenge meant I had to give them a try.

And awesome fit that  they are. I have huugggge problems getting jeans to fit, either having to have a gaping waist to accommodate my larger backside, or have them tight around the backside so they fit the waist. With these jeans, neither had to compromise for the other. My waist needed no belt and I didn’t feel constricted around my larger lower half…heck, even though they are straight legged, my calves didn’t feel that ‘encased in fabric’ feel one usually gets with such a style. My only grumble is that they didn’t do a 28 inch leg as I’ve rather short legs for someone who is 5ft7 and had to roll them up a bit so they didn’t drag. Although no big deal as I did intend to roll them up rockabilly style anyhoot.

My look that I’ve gone for is ‘Lady who lunches meets a biker and starts dressing somewhat accordingly’. Or ‘nanas who wear jeans to go a-jiving in’. Or to put it simply I’ve tried to go for a simple classic look, very 50s inspired as that is on trend for this season, very lady-like on top juxtaposed by the tougher bottom  half.

If you like what you see, pop along to Fashion World’s facebook page and vote for me!

Simply Be Review – China Blue…

Yes, its been a while. I don’t believe in doing the whole announced ‘hiatius’ thing, especially as it was more my body and mind failing hard rather than me going ‘oh, I simply must take a break, life is sooooo taxing darling!’ (not that there is anything wrong with that, just my inner voice goes ‘no, keep going! don’t stop!’ usually).

Anyhoot, onto other things, namely one oh so pretty dress. I eyed this up at the A/W preview blogger event a while back and when I was asked if I wanted to review a couple of items, as well as the boucle dress I reviewed nearer the time, I knew I had to have this dress. I’d seen willow china blue patterned dresses all over the high street, but none in a cut I liked and this seemed to tick all the boxes.

DSC_0480 DSC_0482 DSC_0479Dress: Floral Blue Skater Dress £55 Simply Be

So, I adored the pattern and the fabric, which I knew that I would, because of having a very similar dress with sleeves from Simply Be. I also thought that the gold exposed zip was a really nice touch – I am a sucker for hardware on dresses that are a proper finished job, makes something look alot more luxury and expensive, I think. However, there are a couple of things that I thought ‘oh, if only it was…’.Firstly, its not skater. Skater flares out and will always move away from the body when you spin or sway (yes, I do spins in dresses every single time). This however flared from the top of the hips and then went straight, as you can see, thus making it tulip shaped. For those of you who are sick of skater then this will be a welcome relief, but for me as skater suits me I was a tad disapointed (plus no room for spinning, sad times).

Secondly, I’d urge you to size up. It does fit, however in my normal dress size its a very close call and unless you like skintight dresses you’d be better off heading up the size scale. Also, it was a little on the short side – making it almost more a tunic than a dress (unless again, you’re on board with tight, short dresses; after all most of you probably dont have an aging librarian or granny chic as your daily inspiration in your head (yes, I dress like a prude sometimes)).

However, the back cut-out design is stunning, and as its a fairly thick cotton this dress could probably see you into early Autumn if you pop a cardigan on. (yes, I dress and talk like your nana, but hey, nanas are cool.)

As always, Simply Be have come up trumps again. In fact, methinks they are slowly piece by piece taking over my wardrobe. Keep smashing it out of the park, you gorgeous guys and gals over at Simply Be HQ!

Review: Simply Be Boucle Dress…

The lovely people at Simply Be generously gave me a couple of things to review, including this dress. I adore Simply Be and their clothes, more and more they are becoming my go-to brand. Long gone are the days when I would get my plain t-shirts and combat trousers from there, and in are beautiful colourful clothes, fitting all my moods from girly to edgy.

DSC_0483 DSC_0484 DSC_0485 DSC_0486 above 5frt7Dress: Boucle Skater Dress – Simply Be, accessories – Accessorize, glasses- Specsavers

Did I tell you that I love this dress? I am a bit of a sucker for boucle, and one of my dreams is to own a piece of Chanel boucle one day…so when I laid eyes on this lovely, I knew it had to be mine.

Its not too heavy a fabric…I’ve managed to wear it in the heat we’re experiencing at the moment, but with tights instead of leggings and a cardigan (or even dare I say the matching biker jacket that I’m now also drooling over), it’d be warm enough to take it into autumn/winter.

Length wise it falls to about my knee, so those above 5ft7 wouldnt find it too short, and neither those shorter find it too long. Being smaller chested, I did find a bit of spare room in the top half of the dress, so those more amply endowed in the chest area should fare pretty well.

There is however one downside to this dress of wonder. The zip. It just doesnt pass muster…its not a flat broad zip head like most plus size dresses would need, and despite there being bags of room in the fabric, it took alot for The Bloke to get it done up for me. It is not a dress to be done up alone, unless you’re incredibly flexible! I’ve resorted to just pulling it up over my head instead….therefore elimating the need for a man-shaped person to labour over pulling up the zip.

But that is such a small thing….overall this is a 4.9/5 dress. Well worth a buy!

Ten Day You Challenge – Two Songs

Well, I’ve done a great job on this challenge…a few days in and I’d already failed to post every day…maybe I’m just not a challenge girl!

So to my two songs….

1. Buddy Holly – True Love Wayshttp://m.youtube.com/index?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&desktop_uri=%2F%3Fgl%3DGB%26hl%3Den-GB#/home

I adore this song. My dad was a huge Buddy Holly fan so was familiar with pretty much his whole back catalogue and have always found his way with lyric and melody enchanting. Now me and The Bloke don’t have a huge crossover in musical taste and his greatest hits was about the only thing on the stereo in the car. It got to this song, we were driving a long country lanes,it was a lovely sunny day and I started to song each and every word. Instantly it sort of became our song, a summary of us, sneaking up quietly and unexpectedly, despite my efforts previously to find something to no success. Just such a beautiful old classic.

Lianne La Havas – Don’t Wake Me Uphttp://m.youtube.com/index?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&desktop_uri=%2F%3Fgl%3DGB%26hl%3Den-GB#/home
I adore this woman’s voice, she’s a current obsession of mine. This is probably my favourite sort of music – soulful,full of meaning and you can hear the emotion in every line. This sums up how I feel recently…songs are there for personal interpretation, and for me this song is all about love, all.consuming, wonderful love. A close second to this choice was Munford and Sons – I Will Wait…a fairly obvious choice to why I like that,if you take it to be about a long distance love affair, or even waiting for the love of your life.

This is why I love music….the meaning and feeling it can convey, and how through your own interpretation, it can mean something private to yourself.

Ten Day You Challenge – One Photo…

you

I have firmly decided to kick myself up the blogging backside and am using this now well-known challenge to get the old cogs working again. I contemplated finding a more long-term challenge, however, even I know that I’d never last the distance!

So, to day one and its challenge – one picture of myself. I felt like there wasn’t really any story I could tell with a picture of myself alone, or at least one that wasn’t a very long one. With that in mind, I chose a picture that both fulfills the requirement of featuring yours truly, yet also another subject whom I thought I’d quite like to talk about a little…SCN_0003

Dad and me…

I chose this picture for many reasons. Firstly, it shows my Dad exactly how I remember him best – a bit daft, alway being a bit silly. I really adored my dad, I most definitely was a daddy’s girl, and this picture shows it so well…us both reading the paper, my dad having a cup of tea and us just generally mucking about. I look quite a fair bit like my dad,  and often I can see how I resemble him…from expressions I pull, to the fact I tap my hand on my thigh when sat down and listening to music; to the fact I love cups of tea, reading and just generally pottering about of a weekend in places such as garden centres. I’ve inherited his nose, his love of cameras and being the picture taker rather than being in them, his love of cake and also an entire lack of remembering birthdays of non-immediate family members. There are many ways in which I’m not like him also, which my sister has inherited instead – she has his cleanliness streak, his level-headedness, his fondness for a wonderfully coordinated Christmas tree, his skill in being good with small children, his way of getting almost everyone to warm to him.

I really truly miss him…every single day I think of things I’d want to say to him, things I’d want to share. There is definitely a dad shaped hole in all of our lives….not just mine and my mum’s and sister’s but also the wider family. He was one of the family linchpins, and there is a gap where he should be. But I see him in so many of my family members…echoes of his numerous good qualities as well as the family nose. I no longer look in the mirror and hate my nose, because it was his too. I embrace how I am like him, celebrate in our sharedness. He is missed.

The Man I Love…

This time last year, I was single and not very happy about it. I’d gotten to a point where I thought that if something special didnt come along sharpish, maybe I’d have to accept that I was unloveable, not meant to be part of a two, a couple. But life is funny, and it has a habit of just as you’e about to give up on something, surprising you with the exact thing you were looking for.

I’d had a flurry of really lovely emails from a man who’s picture I now know doesnt do him justice. I’d been giving the online dating thing a jolly good go for months and was fed up of giving but not getting what I was looking for. A phone or call two and then plans were carefully laid to meet up for drinks.

DSC00727My gorgeous man…

The first moment I laid my eyes on him I was taken aback with how beautiful he was. To me at least. I’ve always spent so much time describing the exact man I was looking for, and I just knew this was it, he was the one. He was and is the perfect gentleman…holds opens doors, listens attentively, considers my needs and pays for drinks (something probably a bit more noticeable on a first date!). Every other date I had been on, I always worried that the conversation didnt flow, that I was boring the man. But not with this man, there was far too much conversation for there ever to be a gap where I could worry about how I was coming across. And then, after a truly wonderful date, when I’d waved him off on his tram, he was texting me just moments later.

From the very beginning I knew that I could love this man…he never made me worry about what he thought about me or how he felt, he always made me feel sexy and desireable and beautiful. He still does and I know he always will. We are equals, a partnership. Two halves that make much more sense together as a whole.

IMG_0715Me in a dress I’d never have had the courage to wear and feel as sexy in if it was for the love of my life…. (also, this is one of his fav dresses of mine ;p)

He makes me stronger and a better version of myself…as if anything is possible, that I could do anything, I just have to put myself out there. He surprises me with presents on random weekdays just because, he has looked after me during all my recent health issues and he tells me how much he loves me every single day. But he also gives me room to be by myself, to be myself as Sara the individual not just as part of Sara + Bloke.

I used to get a lot of stick for wanting a proper old fashioned romance yet equality too…that I was asking for too much, that the man I was looking for didnt exist. I very nearly believed that. But then he came, and I just wanted to shout ‘LOOOOKKKK, HE’S REAALLLL!!!’. I will spend the rest of my life putting the effort a relationship, even one as lovely as ours, requires because I want, no – need, to spend a lifetime with the man who makes me never doubt that I am exactly where I am. That I am home. That I am loved.

Us on our first holiday together

Every day feels like an adventure with him. Like anything is possible. That together, our love will take us places we could never quite go alone. There will be, to borrow a phrase from Sex and the City, ‘Me and You, Just Us Two’ for pretty much the same reasons and I look forward to bestowing all my love and affection upon this man…my main focus outside the other important things that make me happy being loving and being loved by him.

Its strange when love last comes along, said a floppy-haired man in a Richard Curtis film. It can hit you like a thunderbolt, which it did in one way – I knew I could love him when we went on a date where he bought me a book as a present; but equally it can just grow and grow and grow….finding your own way to live your lives together. To find new and different ways to take bigger steps, to increase and develop what you have together

Recent pic of us

So, today marks one year of  Sara and The Bloke. It feels like both a lifetime and a second. I never thought I could feel my heart filled with so much love, so much joy. All of which grows every day, nutured by his love for me, by the way he sees the very best version of me and reflects that in his eyes when he gazes upon me. I will spend today, tomorrow and the rest of my life showing, telling, giving, sharing and devoting myself to our life together. I look forward to the adventures, the surviving obsticales, the highs and the lows, the quiet calm and contentment. I love him when we’re out on a date night all dress up and being flirty, but equally I love him when we’re all curled up on the sofa together, wearing our comfy clothing. It takes a very special person to get me into practical outdoors clothing, but I feel comfortable enough to do it because of him telling me I look good in it. He got me to wear glasses properly by telling me I look sexy in them.

He makes me feel so good about myself, makes me want to take care of myself and sort out inner troubles of old….so there will be a happy and healthy Sara around for a long time so we can have decades together in utter bliss. I want to spend all of the rest of my life, holding his hand, feeling secure. He helps me conquer fears, to stand up for my rights, to make bold and ambitious decisions. To say I was a lesser woman before he was in my life is an understatement….not because a woman needs a man in her life, but because this woman needed that man, and that man needed this woman because they were meant to be together.

He is my soulmate, my best friend, my grand love affair. I love you darling Bloke, today on our celebration of our first year together and for the rest of my life and beyond.

Simply Be Blogger Takeover Event..

Last week I had the enormous privilege to be invited to the Simply Be Blogger Takeover event. Its been, well, a while since I’d been in a room full of lovely plus size bloggers and it was most certainly over-due. I can’t begin to describe how much such occasions mean to me – there is just a certain sort of magic that I only get when I’m surrounded by the positivity and uplifting good spirits of being amongst such lovely people. Beforehand, I met up with Becky, Toni and Rosie all whom I’d met before and also Kim who I hadn’t but is a fellow midlander like yours truly. We all headed off to the venue, not knowing what to expect (except seeing lovely clothes and even lovelier faces!)

After a little bit of mingling, things got underway…

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Em, Lauren and Laura talking about the dresses, from conception to production, from photo shoot to launch

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The Dresses! Left to Right: Laura, Lauren, Em. Mannequins back standing up right after they fell down when I walked past (I didn’t touch them, honest!)

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Some of the moodboards, including ones put together during production of the dresses

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Being talked through the buying session and some between sessions mingling

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Moodboards and clothes from the main Simply Be Autumn/Winter range. I think I fell in love with all of their clothes, but especially loving the Forties and Future Folk!

DSC_0350 DSC_0354 DSC_0355 DSC_0357 DSC_0358Slide show of what the brands Simply Be collaborate with/have on the site will offering this Autumn/Winter…was especially impressed by Anna Scholz and Project D’s offerings…

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The Girls! The Dresses!

So, all three dresses are retailing at £45, and can be found as follows: -

Laura 

Lauren 

Em  

So, all in all, a truly fantastic day! I have to say Simply Be have really pulled it off…the dresses are stunning, much like their designers, and they have managed to catch the essence of each blogger and somehow bottle it up before distilling it into a dress. I didn’t manage to get to talk to everyone I would have liked to at the event – I wasn’t being rude, just incredibly shy. Although you’d not have thought it…I did rather talk a lot during the Q&A bits, so sorry if I was a bit annoying…but its incredibly rare that I have the confidence to speak at length in public in front of lots of people. That’s what blogging, what these women and all the other women in the room do – they give ordinary girls like themselves the bravery and courage to just be themselves and to feel confident in their own skin. Whilst of course wearing beautiful dresses. I can’t wait to have one of my own.