Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Advice: #YouAreNotAlone

If the title of this post has planted that sappy Michael Jackson song in your head, I apologise, I didn't create the hashtag haha! 

Joking aside, the festive period can be incredibly hard for many people, for many different reasons. So, in bloggy tradition, I always like to leave lots of help and info here. I also wanted to let you know, you are not alone, your feelings are perfectly natural and justified and you are worthy of help and care. 

I too don't like Christmas, it's a combination of many things for me, one of which is the incredible financial pressure it places on us as a family. When we can barely afford the rent, the thought of even purchasing the smallest of presents for even just immediate family can be crippling. 

The joy of being self-employed means we get to dictate our own hours and work around Poppy and my mental health, but it does mean one week we can feel like rockafella (i.e we can afford to spend more than £40 on a weeks food shop) the next we're on the bones of our arse and are literally scraping together pennies for a loaf of bread. Don't get me wrong though, we're happy, stone cold broke, but happy, so we make the best of of it, but there's no denying, there are certain times of the year it smarts a little! 

Obviously, mental health is a big one for me too and I know how hard it is to be in a room filed with laughing happy faces, yet you feel like the most lonely person on the planet. Depression is isolating, and even more so when everyone's mood is set to extra jolly! 

Should you find yourself needing a little bit of extra help, or just need someone to lend an ear, the fabulous Kellie at Big Fashionista has collated an excellent list of contacts.

Tel No   0300 123 3393

Tel No      116 123 

Alcoholics Anonymous
Tel No     0800 9177650 

Info line 08000 50 20 20 

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
Tel No    0207 837 7324

Tel No     0300 304 7000

Papyrus, Prevention of young suicide

National self-help body for the Transgender community
Beaumont Society
Information Line 01582 412220


Depression Alliance

Tel No     0808 2000 247

Beating eating disorders.
Help line 0345 634 1414
Youth Line 0345 634 7650

Tel No    0808 800 4444

NHS Direct

No Panic
Tel No  0844 967 4848
youth helpline     01753 840393

I also wanted to share a short film written by a lovely chap I know:

I was going to write a big sloppy sign off here, but you know what, just a simple, I love you lot should suffice, so... Love you lot! 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Travel: #TravelodgeTopTowns

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas to be honest, so my thoughts are already with the new year and all the exciting possibilities it will bring! The most fun part of the new year for me is planning my travels and getting holidays and breaks booked. My first port of call when booking city breaks is Travelodge, the value for money is always great. 

One of the big trips I'm looking forward to is visiting Liverpool again. It's been well over 10 years since I was there last and even then I don't think I got to fully appreciate the city, so this time, whilst I'm there for The Curve Fashion Festival, I'm hoping I can take in the sights and culture that the city has to offer. 

First up has to be the iconic Albert Dock; as a child of the 80s (well late 70s but shush) I grew up watching This Morning with Richard and Judy, so whenever I see the Albert Docks I always think of them! Since old Madley and Finnegan packed up and headed down south, the site has been further developed and is packed full of visitor attractions, restaurants and activities to keep the whole family entertained. 

When it comes to nightlife, Liverpool is overflowing with bars and nightclubs, but if you're looking for something different why not try Berry and Rye, a very cool hidden gem in the form of a 1920s-esque speakeasy. Apparently, if you can find it, it is well worth a visit, I know I'm going to try and hunt it down! You can visit their twitter page here.

SOURCE: Liverpool Echo

And finally, for a spot of retail therapy and big high street names, Liverpool One has everything under one roof! 

SOURCE: ACC Liverpool

I've not even scratched the surface when it comes to everything Liverpool has to offer but any one of the Travelodge's located there make a great base to explore all the city has to offer! 

**This post was written in association with Travelodge and Talented Talkers, all words and opinions are my own**

Monday, 21 December 2015

Style: Cozy up with Damart.

Despite the recent warm spell (I know I start most of my posts off like a weather report!), it has definitely turned cooler again today, and I've got the perfect winter snugglies from the nightwear section at Damart for you today. 

I cannot convey how snuggly the fleece on this printed flower top is, I literally put it on and squealed! Then demanded everyone in my household touched me! 

I'm wearing the XL (I'm a 22/24) and there is bags of room. It's just perfect for wearing when you get in from work and it's a bit chilly, or with your PJ's. It's even nice enough that you can just bang your coat over the top to walk to dogs in for example. 

The selection of nightwear on the Damart site is great, there's loads of lovely snuggly winter warmers and as a complete pyjama enthusiast I'm always looking to expand my collection haha!!

**The times in this post were sent to me for the purposes of review**

Friday, 18 December 2015

Style: #BraHumbug with Simply Be.

'Tis the season to be jolly, but are your boobs feeling merry and bright or are you a bit of a bra-humbug?

It wasn't so long ago that my lovely lady bumps were subject to their very own Christmas Carol, with me in the starring role of Scrooge! My lingerie drawer had become a victim of my measly ways and my poor boobs longed to be treat with the love they deserved!

There in the back of my drawer lurked a dull, murky bra that once used to be white, but after several fake tans, several hundred washes and several years it resembled an old dishcloth, fit for Cinderella's bucket! I'm not sure what made me hang on to it for so long, but I think I thought it was comfortable; I fell into the trap we all do, as in, it fits and it does the job, why bother spending all that money on a new one? But the truth of the matter was, it didn't fit and it was far from living up to its uplifting duties! My boobs were sad and my outfits lacked the foundation they required.

But fear not! There is a happy ending, I promise! One day I was visited by a collection of underwear fairies, who waved their magic wand and using their extensive knowledge, I was fitted correctly and they were able to advise me on the best bras for my breast shape, size and needs.

Happy Boobs, My Girl's got Happy Boobs.

So the moral of the story is, get fitted correctly, spend some money on good quality bras and look after them!

If you head to the Simply Be website, there is loads more information and fun facts about our bra-humbug ways! And you never know you might find the bra of your dreams and get your happily ever after!

**This post was written in association with Simply Be. All words are my own**

Monday, 14 December 2015

Style: #XmasStartsWith... Marisota!

A few weeks ago now I headed over to Manchester for a day of sparkles, bubbles and fun thanks to the lovely folk at Marisota to shoot and film their #XmasStartsWith Blogger campaign.

When I arrived I got stuck straight into the clothes and decided on my two outfits for the day, as did all the other ladies on the shoot. We had a whole host of accessories and shoes to choose from too, I was like a kid in a candy shop!

It was straight into hair and make-up then, our MUA was the gorgeous and talented Michael Richmond who worked his magic throughout the day, what a star! 

In between shoots I got to catch up with the ever lovely Em, from It's Em Channel and chatter away with all the other ladies and Marisota gang.

So what outfits did I go for? Well it will come as no surprise that I went for a jumpsuit haha! I really just couldn't help myself! I accessorised with a lightweight cape jacket, strappy sandals and a brilliant statement clutch

My second outfit of the day was this amazing beaded dress which fulfilled all my House of Eliott, 1920s dreams, but I felt I had to add a bit of an edge to it, so I went with this amazing furry collar biker jacket and chunky boots

A had a brilliant day with my fellow blogging ladies, from L - R Claire, Emma, Nikki, Em, and yours truly.  Thank you to Marisota again, it was a blast! 

You can also see the video from the day here!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Style: #OffDutyDenim with George at Asda.

Self professed jean queen at your service! I've found a corker of a pair for you today which are extremely pocket friendly! I was asked to take part in the George at Asda #OffDutyDenim challenge, which I of course jumped at. The premise was, with £70 at my disposal I had to find a few outfits based around my chosen jeans that would see me through a weekend. 

Clockwise from L-R: Stag Print Shirt// Jeans// Sequin Camisole// Black Ribbed Roll Neck Jumper// Cable Knit Jumper

My first outfit was for the Saturday day time, it's a run around town, go for lunch, get a manicure kind of outfit (we'll pretend that's what happens on a Saturday, we all know the reality is I try and go in to town, Poppy moans about being bored and throws a tantrum and we end up going home in a huff half an hour later having done absolutely nothing).  

I wore the jeans and roll neck jumper and teamed it with some leopard print boots and a leather jacker with fur scarf. 

Moving onto saturday and it's party time! I have swapped out the roll neck jumper for this super glam sequin camisole, changed the boots for some heels and added a statement jacket.

And finally, I suppose after a big night out, you need a comfy Sunday outfit, if you make it out of your pyjamas that is! We'll call this the hangover butty run outfit! Haha! The cable knit jumper is snuggle central, and I just had to add this cute stag print shirt under because, well,  I love cute print shirts!

All five items came to exactly £70, how's that for budgeting skills? The jeans are so great, they're not too high rise (which I struggle to wear) just a quick not about the sizing, they are MEGA generous. I sometimes have to wear a 24 on my bottom half, I'm somewhere in between a 22/24 (call it a 23 if you will), but these are a 22 and I need the 20 to be honest, as I had to wear a belt with these. So I would size down at least once. 

**These items were sent to me for the purposes of a blog challenge.**

Friday, 4 December 2015

Style: A Beloved Endeavour Indeed.

You might remember a few weeks ago I brought you some plus size vintage style from Beloved Endeavour run by the fabulous Diane who has been on the UK blog circuit for as long as I can remember, way before me and my modest four and a half years.

Today I've got a piece from her gorgeous, handmade capsule collection which you will also find at her Etsy shop, Beloved Endeavour. 

Just a quick note: As always now the winter months are upon us, I have to apologise for the grainy indoor photography, sometimes it's my only option but I hope you can still see the detail and appreciate the outfits!

This beautiful handmade velveteen full skirt is just one of those skirts you dream of, it's simple but packed full of thoughtful details and is oh so luxurious. My absolute favourite part has to be the fly buttons, they are just amazing, I love the placement of them, and the way they elevate the skirt to something truly special. Of course there's the pockets too, every skirt should have pockets, and I've decided it should be written into the fashion laws. 

The price point of Diane's handmade items are what you would expect for a handmade, high quality item, and no they're not for every pocket, but if you can afford it and want to invest in a plus size business, owned by a plus size woman, designing items for plus size women, then I can highly recommend the pieces from Beloved Endeavour. They are finished beautifully, the quality of fabric is far superior to other handmade items I've had in the past and the detailing is unique and fun. 

Please do take the time to look at the Beloved Endeavour Etsy page, it is so important to support plus size pioneers and give back to the little guy (so to speak). 

**This item was sent to me for the purposes of review.**