Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year, New Shoes

Babes, we're coming to the end of party season. For many of us that means dusting off the LBDs and killer heels one last time. But for me? Well... not so much.

Once upon a time I'd have been more than willing to sacrifice my pain-free tootsies to look good in a brightly coloured stiletto. I would even run for the train quite comfortably in 4 inch heels without a moments hesitation. But now? Now I prefer to treat my feet to a comfortable night out and there's no reason why this should mean having to compromise on an outfit.

These looks are just three of my outfits from this year where I've opted to swap the heels for a pair of flats and right now Simply Be have a fab selection of gorgeous flats for every occasion.
Check out their blog post for some amazing footwear inspiration on how to Pump Up the Party in some stylish flats.

The plimsol shoes are my current favourite style as they come in such a huge variety of colours that you can literally have a different pair for every outfit. Brogues are another firm favourite of mine but the possibilities if you decide to give your feet a rest and opt for flats this New Years Eve are endless.

What will you be sporting for New Year? Comfortable fats or those once-a-year killer heels?
Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, 14 December 2015

George Secret Santa Swap

I go absolutely bonkers for Christmas and very little excites me more than a gift swap Secret Santa style so when I was invited to take part in George at Asda's Secret Santa, I was over the moon!

Each of us were given another blogger to buy for and sent off to stalk our giftee, picking their gifts from the extensive range at George. Then came the wait as the elves packed up everyone's goodies and sent them on their way. The jolly postman left me hanging and made a surprise 6pm delivery a week later.

I'll just shoosh and show you what I got shall I?

I adore this package! It has a gorgeous cushion and matching tealight holders. (I don't know if the colour coordination was intentional but I like to think it was.) There's also a Maybelline Red Siren set which I am really looking forward to trying this Christmas. You can never go wrong with all the red! I was also sent an AMAZING scented large candle. It's Baylis & Harding in Midnight Fig and Pomegranate and it smells utterly divine. I've not even lit it yet and the scent wafts around the room as you walk in.
And of course, the piece de resistance, the spotty Christmas tree jumper with red sequin stars. I've worn this a few times but I've been a bad blogger and not taken any photos. You'll have to wait for Christmas Jumper Day to see it in all it's glory but I'll tell you now it's bloomin marvelous.

Unfortunately we weren't told who are Santas were but I want to thank them for such a wonderful gift. So if you're reading this, Santa, thank you!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Charitable Christmas Colouring In

In recent months I've become a teeny bit obsessed with adult colouring books. I find it very therapeutic and soothing to channel my anxious energy into something calm and creative.

It's truly wonderful to see how popular these "mindfulness colouring" books and pages have become. Maybe it's because I've always been a big kid at heart or maybe it's because it's because I now have kids of my own that I can appreciate the innocence and simplicity of losing yourself in your own creative world. Just for a little while.

One of my favourite illustrators, Johanna Basford, already has a trilogy of incredible books to her name (Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest and Lost Ocean) and has now created some festive colouring pages for us to download and enjoy this winter with all proceeds going to Scottish charity Mary's Meals who feed starving children the world over.

Take a look at the video below to see Johanna talk about her drawings and her chosen charity then pop over to her Just Giving page and donate any amount you want to receive the link to your printables.

(As a rough guide, it costs around £12.20 to feed a child for a whole school year. BUT between now and December 28th, the UK government are doubling donations made so you could feed two children for a year if you donate the same amount of money. Amazing!)

The four seasonal printables come as high quality PDFs (ie large files, mobile and tablet users) and are an absolute joy. Though I'm now realising I need better pencils and some nice pens. Something to put on the Christmas List!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Afternoon at Bluewater feat Scarlett & Jo

In the buildup to Christmas there is one place I absolutely must visit; Bluewater Shopping Centre.

My husband and I found ourselves with a couple of hours to spare this weekend so we drove to the surprisingly uncrowded shopping mall with the intention of just buying my Christmas present (which for the first time ever is not an item of clothing).

Of course with Christmas being Christmas and Bluewater being Bluewater, we couldn't just buy one thing and we came away with five additional christmas presents for the kids and a refurbished PS3. Doh!

And yes of course I did get my gingerbread latte.

Since I was already in the vicinity it would've been rude not to pop into Yours Clothing to check out their Scarlett & Jo dresses. They had a lot of the stunning velvet maxis but I chose to try on the more prom-style dresses. (Please excuse the minimal makeup!)

This first dress (Black & Gold Lace Prom Dress) was my favourite of the two I picked up. Classic S&J prom dress with a sheer yoke and sleeves giving plenty of stretch for those of us with big chests and/or upper arms. The thin ribbon tie details draws to the waist and the full skirt skims my belly wonderfully.

The second dress (Black & Red Jacquard Prom Dress) comes with an elastic belt to give the same look as their 2-in-1 dresses. I love these as they define my waist quite nicely. The jersey wrap top has a lot of stretch so it's perfect regardless of your chest size (but I think I'd need a pin to hide the bra) and the slightly gathered skirt is a lovely below-knee length. Perfect for those indoor Christmas parties where you don't want tights or leggings.

So all in all a nice productive day at old Bluey, followed by a tasty Chinese takeaway. Perfect!

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Royal Oak Beefeater Review

I was recently invited to experience the freshly refurbished Royal Oak Beefeater in Wrotham Heath.

Whilst I'd like to say I took the whole family to experience the entire menu, I opted to leave the children with grandparents and have a rare and relaxing evening out with my husband. 

We arrived on time at 6pm, were seated instantly and introduced to our waitress who promptly took our drinks order. 

I was excited to try the Beefeater Festive Menu as I had heard good things about it in other restaurants but this didn't appear to be available. In fact there were no festive decorations to speak of although being November it was perhaps just a little early. So we took our picks from the standard evening menu and admired some of the quirky beef-related artworks mounted on the walls while we waited for our starter.

Because we went in the evening, I cannot say what this restaurant is like in natural daylight. Of an evening it is bright but cozy and has an air of familiarity that you come to expect from a Beefeater. The atmosphere was homely but vibrant and very family friendly. All of this was reflected in the staff who were extremely welcoming and a pleasure to talk to. The Royal Oak is also wheelchair friendly with great disabled access and the staff are more than happy to help with any needs or inquiries.

The food itself was wonderful. There is a fantastic selection of starters with three vegetarian options. In the end I went with the pulled beef in red onion gravy, yorkshire puds and a horseradish cheese sauce. This was a tough act to follow. The shredded beef proved to be a bit of a balancing act trying to keep it from falling off the well portioned yorkshire pudding pieces but this starter was amazing. I would've been happy even to have this as a main course.
My husband opted for the sticky duck wings. I was surprised with the amount of meat you get from these wings and the sweet chilli glaze gave the perfect kick to the dish.

Our main courses weren't far behind. Despite experiencing some technical issues, our meal choices were taken down and they were brought to us in good time, hot and delicious!

I figure you can't go to a Beefeater without eating (more) beef, so I had steak and chips and my husband went for the mixed grill. His dinner went down a treat and while my beef was ever so slightly pinker than I'd expect from a medium, it was an excellent main course and tasted great.

For dessert my husband scoffed down a giant sundae before I could even focus the camera, and I asked for the raspberry bakewell with ice cream. It arrived with custard and actually I think that turned out for the best! The slice of bakewell was rather large and came with a generous helping of custard to be poured over it. This was absolutely delicious and rounded off the evening meal perfectly.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to the Royal Oak for having us. I had a wonderful time sampling the menu and taking in the friendly atmosphere on a Friday evening. I'd thoroughly recommend this restaurant to anyone in the area and I'd completely and absolutely suggest that you try the pulled beef starter.

(This review was given in return for free, delicious food. This has no bearing on the content of the review and all opinions are my own.)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Top 5 Christmas Movies

No Blogmas is complete without a mention of festive films and a list of our favourite flicks of the season.
As mentioned in my Christmas Bucket List, I aim to watch my top 5 movies between now and Christmas Eve.

There are films that could go on this list (Die Hard, Home Alone, The Grinch) but this list is for those Christmas movies that I go back to year after year without fail.

Santa Claus The Movie
The one where an elf runs away from the North Pole and tries to find his way in New York.
The heartbreak when my little sis spilled orange juice on the video tape rendering it unplayable will never be matched ever. Thank heavens we grew up and bought our own copies on those new fangled DVD things.

The other one where an elf runs away from the North Pole and tries to find his way in New York. I was a bit of a Will Ferrell hater until Buddy showed up but this is a film that the kids and I love equally. Basically if you don't like Elf you're a cotton headed ninny muggins.

Love Actually
Billy Mack, Top of the Pops! This is my Christmas Eve movie. Last minute wrapping next to the tree with a glass of Baileys falling in love with Mark in that scene where he's probably being a douche by declaring his undying love to his best mates wife.

It's A Wonderful Life
After the wrapping is finished, Love Actually has ended and the Baileys isn't far behind I sit alone and watch this. And I cry. And I remember all the times I mocked my mum for crying at a silly old black and white movie. And I cry some more. Attaboy Clarence.

Polar Express
I was still living with my parents when this came out and I didn't see the appeal at all. But it's actually a very sweet film that has fast become my childrens favourite movie. It keeps them quiet which is good enough for me... and who doesn't love Tom Hanks?

Okay, okay...

Die Hard
It just felt wrong leaving it out, ya know? Yippee ki yay.

Enough now...

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Christmas Bucket List

Good evening folks!
Do you, like me, enjoy making lists? My usual starts as a well meaning To Do List first thing in the morning which eventually turns into The Big List Of Everything You Didn't Do Today by mid-afternoon.

But there's something about this time of year that makes me want to do a Christmassy bucket list. So without further ado, I present to you The Little List Of Things I Probably Won't Get Around To This Christmas.

What are your "must do" plans for the holidays? Do you have a Christmas bucket list? Let me know what you'd add to the list in the comments below!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

So This Is Blogmas

Hooray, it's December!

One day into Advent and I've already put my poor young boys in their Christmas jumpers, made a gingerbread house (out of paper, not actual gingerbread so... just a house) and sat them down to watch Polar Express with hot chocolate and marshmallows. To say I'm feeling festive is something of an understatement so I've decided to channel my Christmas cheer by taking part in Blogmas this year.

Every day from now until the 25th I'll be posting to the blog. It won't necessarily be about Christmas every time but I'm fairly certain I'll cram in as much festivity as possible in the next 3 and a bit weeks. Here goes!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Way To Go, Scarlett & Jo!

It's been five weeks since I began #thisisplus, a campaign for diversity in models and plus size representation on the high street. Of course there are a few brands who already do this and the first brand that always comes to mind when I think of equal representation across the board is Scarlett & Jo.

If you've ever searched for a brand which supports, no, LOVES to design beautiful functional clothes for ladies with curves and rolls, you need look no further. Scarlett & Jo is the one.
They don't take small patterns and make them big. They make patterns which consider curves from the outset and create timeless classics in fabrics and styles which flatter and fit plus sizes, from tunics to maxis to 40s style tea dresses.

Previously only available at Evans, Scarlett & Jo have recently extended to include Yours Clothing amongst their resellers and today they launch their very own website at

I'm so excited by this as Scarlett & Jo have been the frontrunners in championing every body and showcasing their clothes on models of different sizes, shapes, ages and heights for a very long time.

Long may it continue!

A photo posted by Scarlett & Jo (@scarlettandjo) on

Don't forget to visit Scarlett & Jo and check out the different ranges at Evans and Yours Clothing (where their purple velvet prom dress is to die for).

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

#THISISPLUS at Curve Fashion Festival

It's been a week since the launch of the #thisisplus campaign and I have been completely bowled over by the response. Hundreds of submissions have come pouring in on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and email, showing us that us plus size shoppers really do feel left out in the cold when it comes to "plus size" high street advertising campaigns.

I want to thank everyone single one of you for supporting this campaign in its infancy. You are all amazing individuals and it could not have happened without you. Thank you!

Beauty In All Shapes & Sizes
I'm sure you are aware that Curve Fashion Festival took place over the weekend and despite not being able to attend the event myself, I was inundated with photos from the incredible Daisy ( who flew the #thisisplus flag in my absence.

Thank you Daisy!
By all accounts the Curve Fashion Fest was the place to be last weekend for any plus size fatshionistas and I'm so proud that #thisisplus was not only represented but also supported by so many.

Ruby, Becky,  Steph
Sharon, Tanya, Kat
Nikki, Daisy, Sarah

I am more inspired now than ever before to show brands who we are and why we're not happy with this promotional image of plus size in all its 5ft 10in size 16 hourglass glory. This Is Plus and it will not go quietly.

Lucie, Lisa Riley, Lottie

Remember to tag your images on Instagram and Twitter with #thisisplus and keep sharing!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

#THISISPLUS - The Campaign For ALL Plus Size Bodies

We've all seen by now the plus size campaigns by the likes of Evans and Lane Bryant, championing all shapes and sizes and throwing around catchphrases and hashtags like 'Style Has No Size' and 'Plus Is Equal' whilst parading women around the high street and in shop windows.

In Case You Missed It...

But these campaigns have left a sour taste in the mouths (and fingers) of social media users the world over.
People are quite rightly asking, if style has no size, why are all of the models on the lowest end of plus size? Where is the size 24 model? The size 32? Where are the women of colour? Who is representing the petite among us? Why can't we see a shorter model amongst the 5'8+ leggy ladies?
It seems that unless you are tall, white and have and flat tummy to complement your size 16 hourglass figure, then plus is NOT equal.

But it should be. It has to be.
Who out there will represent my hanging belly? Who represents Sarahs 4ft 11 in frame?

Sarah blogs at

In the same way that we can't get style inspiration from a size 6 mannequin, we can't be inspired by barely-plus models posing for photoshoots in shop windows. Plus bodies are so so varied and we need the clothing industry to realise that. To represent and inspire ALL. OF. US.

Inspirational plus size bloggers Katt (, MoG ( and Tanya (

#THISISPLUS is a tag for everyone but specifically anyone who feels that the high street plus size campaigns do not represent them. For the petite ladies, the older women among us, those of us with visible belly outlines or darker skin or a shape that differs from "industry standard."

#THISISPLUS is for you.

The world is not made up of industry standard people. We should not have to aspire to fit these standards. The outdated ideals are old fashioned and need a fresh start. We are all beautiful in our bodies and we deserve for those bodies to be represented fairly.

#thisisplus exists to show the international plus size industry that they need to take note. To change things up and start celebrating ALL plus size bodies, not opt for the same old formula that showcases only a tiny percentage of the people it is supposed to represent.

Friday, 31 July 2015

#OMCZ - Bare Arms

Its the weekend! And the time has come for me to rejoin the Outside My Comfort Zone challenge! 
For various health reasons over the past few weeks,  I've been a little bit rubbish on the blog front so hopefully this challenge will keep me focused and get me back on track.
This months challenge is Bare Arms.
This is something that I struggled with even as recently as last year. But this year I realised that the world won't stop and stare even if my upper arms are giant so I might as well just get on with it.
These are a selection of my most recent sleeveless faves.

How do you feel about having your arms on show?
See what the following bloggers thing by clicking their links below.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Bodyshaming Instagram has banned #curvy

Only a few months ago my account with Instagram was closed without warning. On the same day, I encountered a group of other users raising the same issue on the Instagram Facebook page. The only thing we had in common? The word curvy in our usernames. I kicked up a bit of a fuss and my account was reinstated with no official explanation. 

I thought that was the end of my experience with their unacceptable body shaming but Instagram has caused a storm once again with its shameful restricting of certain search terms. 

From today, if you search for the hashtag #curvy, you will be met with this page.

That's right folks. The curvy hashtag has been filtered out of Instagram searches to show no results. 

I was informed that this was also the case for #skinny and #thin but upon investigation I have found that you can search for these hashtags and after accepting a content warning popup, you can browse the results freely.

So... why the total ban on #curvy? Can they not think of an appropriate warning?

An update from Buzzfeed:
A spokesperson from Instagram said the hashtag #curvy is not searchable because, according to the company, it was being used to share images and videos that violated Instagram's community guidelines around nudity.

But of course searching for clitoris or cunts is still entirely okay.

I find it disgusting that this filter is in place yet you can find hundreds of fatshaming images with a few clicks.

So heres the deal: I don't want to miss out on all the beautiful curvesome photos that the users of Instagram have to offer so from now on I will be using #curvee on my IG photos instead.

Please feel free to do the same and spread the word. 

Friday, 10 July 2015

Date With A Prom Dress

Last month I spent a lot of time trying on clothes in Evans (as can be evidenced by my From The Changing Room post) but I was stuck with the dilemma of only being able to take home one item.

I tried on dress after dress, even a pair of trousers! And what did I choose?!

Scarlett and Jo, Scarlett & Jo,  evans, plus size fashion, plus size, curvy, fashion, blog, Blogger, review, prom, dress, prom dress, fat, fatty, chubby, alternative, curves, bbw, cleavage, sweetheart, boobs, arms, legs, thick, chunky, hourglass, waist, hips,

The mesh insert prom dress has flown off shelves and it's easy to see why. The quality and attention to detail in the Scarlett & Jo dresses make them many fatshionistas favourite brand and one of the main reasons to visit Evans.

This dress has a mesh panel which reveals a gorgeous sweetheart neckline and an elasticated waist which gives this dress the signature Scarlett & Jo Prom Dress look.
Lucky for me this dress is also lined with a net petticoat which helps it retain some shape even on the most blustery of days!

My biggest little was feeling a little left out and joined me for a photo. Check the hands on hips pose!

Sadly our photo session was cut short thanks to the wind and a shaky tripod. Perhaps he'll join me again soon, who knows!

Outtake anyone?
Unfortunately this dress is now sold out but Evans currently have a fantastic sale on and many gorgeous Scarlett & Jo pieces have been slashed in price.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

What Is Plus Size?

Humans exist in so many ways. Bodies are so varied. So how do we determine which category each body belongs to? What is plus size?

To me, plus size isn't a dress size, or a body shape.

To me it's in how you feel.

Trigger Warning: eating disorders and body dysmorphia

As someone who was once a size 12-14, at my lowest weight since my mid-teens, with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia, even back then I considered myself to be grossly overweight. I would eat under 250 calories a day and still dress as Princess Fiona for a fancy dress party because I wanted to make a joke out of myself before anyone could make a joke out of me.

Princess Fiona: Once Upon A Time... 2008 to be precise

When I went down a dress size and someone told me they were concerned at how fast it was happening, I thought I was being mocked. I felt out of place in my office of slim girls and would've been more at home among larger ladies because I felt I could relate to them more.

When I thought of myself, I thought of a girl with a big bum, tum and hips and refused to look for clothes in Topshop or River Island because I had convinced myself I'd never fit into their clothes and look good.
Emotionally I was a fat girl.

However if I had mentioned being plus size in the PS communities I see today, I would've faced backlash for not being plus size enough. I would've been accused of attention seeking and banned from Facebook groups, shamed for being too small.

I would've spiraled into a depression, feeling shunned and isolated and like I didn't belong anywhere.

So when I see people suggesting that Plus Size is above a size 18 because "smaller sizes don't have the issues we do," I beg to differ. A size 14 who feels that she is too big to be socially accepted or that shops don't cater for her specific shape or style preference will have the same insecurities and feel the same body shaming that larger sizes do (regardless of whether you believe she's correct or not, whether it's a disorder or not). The issues may be slightly different in nature but they are there, much in the same way a size 24 and a size 34 will have different issues.

We are not Club Plus Size. There is no membership and no criteria for getting past security. If you feel shamed, if you feel you don't fit in with the straight sized crowd, if you feel plus size.... who is anybody else to decide that you're wrong?

You are not shaming larger plus sizes by considering yourself to be above straight-size.

So please, plus size babes, before you react harshly to someone smaller than you calling themselves plus size... stop and think about how they might be feeling in themselves at that moment. Think about how it feels to be shunned because of your size. Remember that we should all support every body, every shape, every size.

Because if we start pushing away smaller sized individuals, we are no better than the individuals who push us away for being big.