Monday, 30 November 2015

Health: Barriers, Access and Mind Games.

Ever since I wrote my post a few weeks ago, I guess I wanted to give you all an update because I had so many wonderful well wishers and messages - thank you so much.

I wanted to talk a little bit more about my experience of accessing mental health services and explore more about certain self imposed barriers and those imposed by health service professionals.

Firstly, you might recall I talked about 'building a fort'. After I had Poppy, the mental health services I had been accessing moved location to an area which, with a very young baby, no car and poor public transport was difficult for me to access, that was one of the first steps to our fort building. We decided as I was okay at the time, that we'd just 'manage', we couldn't afford the taxis, and the thought of two buses with a pram was more than my delicate brain could handle. So geographically and I think personally that was one of the first barriers we came up against.

The second, and probably self imposed barrier, was having just become a new mum, I was scared about the repercussions of accessing mental health care. In my head, I had told myself if I carried on seeing the mental health team, they would eventually take my baby away from me. Now let me take a moment to reassure any parents out there... Unless you pose a very real physical or mental risk to your child, this will not happen. Mental illness does not make you a bad parent, those of you with mental health problems know all too well that the majority of people with MH conditions pose no threat to others. BUT try telling a new mum that, especially when any new mum regardless of health conditions, feels scared, unsure and frightened about this whole new world they're having to cope with.

The third was my reluctance to access care because of my size. I remember vividly, when I was first diagnosed with bipolar, the consultant psychiatrist wrote on his report "Rebecca is a 25 year old obese woman who is well presented" - Firstly I'm glad my effort to dress well impressed you (fuck you) but that has stuck with me to this day, what possible relevance has my size got to do with my mental health? Has my brain got so fat that it can't function properly? Nope, but as with everything in the health service, a person's weight has bearing on their treatment including the type of anti depressants they prescribe, as god forbid you got any fatter.

Years later I tried to access some care, albeit in a different county, (mental health care will differ from trust to trust) I spent over an hour talking to the woman about my issues, I even told her about my blog and how it had dramatically changed my outlook and was helping immensely. I told her about some very specific issues which where causing me stress at the time, which had absolutely nothing to do with my body or confidence, she nodded, made notes and said she would call when she the details of possible treatments. I was expecting maybe some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or some counselling. A week later, she called me and said she had the details of a self esteem and body confidence class she thought would be helpful for me because what she got from the session was that I had image problems... WOW, she could not have got it more wrong, that was the one thing at the time I was okay with and completely happy and confident about, for the first time in my life in fact. I am convinced she took one look at me, closed her ears and wrote 'fatty bum bum' on her note pad.

So there you have it, all those years I spent hiding in my fort, pretending I was okay because I was scared, but there's only so long you can hide. And for me, the time had come to try and seek help. It wasn't easy, I had to persevere until I found something that worked for me and until I found someone who would listen, but I have hopefully got something more solid in place now.

I had an appointment with the consultant who asked me lots of questions, which might seem silly or scary, but I knew I had to answer them as honestly as I could so he could begin to understand me and what kind of help would be the best. In the end we settled on drug therapy along with the support of a care coordinator, who will be my first point of contact should I need him. I have been on a gradual course of Carbamazepine, a mood stabiliser, which I've built up to full dosage over 3 weeks and Venlafaxine which is an antidepressant.

I was very nauseous the first week and I had zero appetite, I had trouble sleeping too. The second week, in which my evening dose was doubled, was the exact opposite as I was very sleepy and got a good nights sleep for the first time in over five years (!), and I'm currently in week three, where I'm double dosage both morning and evening. I'm still sleeping well which is great but I'm a bit nauseous again and lacking in energy, feeling a little spaced out. I'm hoping this will pass after a few weeks, either that or this is what relaxed feels like? I don't know!

I just wanted to thank you all again for your lovely messages and support. I want to try and keep the dialogue open and honest as possible and wanted to reinforce this is only my experience. Anybody experiencing issues around mental health will have their own unique experience and how they deal with that is down to them and they should be treated with kindness, tolerance and love. We all seek help when we're ready, an sometimes we just want someone to tell us everything is going to be okay.

I know I'm on a life long journey (ick, I hate that word) now and that this particular treatment might not always work for me, and I could quite easily slip into the darkness again, but I will keep on keeping on and remembering to breathe, and hope for the best possible ride.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Style: Xandres XLine at House of Fraser.

I like to indulge in a little bit of luxury now and then on the blog, now I know it's not for everyone's budgets or purses, but I hope if nothing else you can take away a bit of outfit inspiration and maybe style existing pieces in your wardrobe in a similar way for example. 

This beautiful plus size cardigan from Xandres xline at House of Fraser may not look much at first, but what I've had the privilege of discovering, while writing my blog, is that a lot of higher end items are less about the flash and more about the feel, quality and attention to detail. 

And quality is exactly what this cardigan oozes. The soft wool, beautifully finished edges and little details make this something really special. In fact, my complete fashion inept husband even commented on how it looked "proper expensive" - bless him. 

Now you know I'm not usually one for belts and cinching and all that rubbish, but I thought the tan belt really complimented this and broke up the shape a bit. It still looks relaxed and comfortable, but just that little bit more dressy. The striped top underneath just screams classic style as do the loafers. 

Variety is indeed the spice of life, so fear not, I have some fabulous supermarket pieces coming up this week, exclusive independent designer pieces and hopefully some regular outfit of the day posts if I remember to get pictures! 

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

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Style: Festive Sparkle with Yours Clothing.

Despite my strong resistance, the festive season is very much upon us. And although I'm not hugely into the whole christmas thing, I do love a bit of sparkle. 

Finding the right plus size party dress can still be a bit of a chore, but this black and gold metallic thread dress from Yours Clothing is a corker. 

This is the kind of dress that makes you feel all lady like, perfect for a date or dinner party, yet it's got enough glitz that you'd be ready to go out with the girls and cause some trouble in it! The draped back is SO sexy, I just want to go out and do some serious minxing in it!

I've worn it with bare legs here, but this is going to look great with opaque tights and shoes or even some vote ankle boots. Grab your clutch bag and hit the club! 

Don't forget to check out Yours Clothing this week too for some MEGA deals! Click on the pic below!

OOTD: Winter Warmers and Tourist Haunts.

Not only did I attend the British Plus Size Awards in London over the weekend, but I packed the whole family up with me and on the Sunday we spent a lovely day doing lovely touristy type things. The highlight of which was taking Poppy to the Natural History Museum, which, I think even if you had a full week, you wouldn't be able to explore everything it has to offer, it is huge! Packed to the rafters with things to see, do and enjoy. 

It was a beautiful crisp but bitterly cold London day, so I wanted something that would keep me warm, but something I wouldn't feel weighed down in, so I went for a gorgeous Marina Rinaldi jumper dress from Navabi and my new favourite thing in the whole wide world, this furry collared jacket from Simply Be. 

Please excuse my massively hungover face and hair, let's just say I was a bit tipsy the night before haha!  The jumper dress is lightweight cotton/wool mix which means you don't get too warm in it. The black jewel detail against the beautiful midnight blue is just gorgeous and I love the pop of colour the collar of my jacket adds to the outfit. I may have felt rough, but this outfit definitely gave me a boost.

I wore: Marina Rinaldi Jumper Dress - Navabi// Fur Collar Biker Jacket - Simply Be// Leggings - Scarlett and Jo// Boots - Clarks

** The dress and jacket in this post were  gifted to me**

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Style: Jumpsuit Styling with Elvi.

Oh what lovely weather we're having... So I apologise now if I have to start doing a few more indoor shots, but thankfully I have a delightful sofa, so I thought I'd stand near it haha! We all know my love for a jumpsuit is never-ending, and this beauty from plus size clothing brand Elvi is a great Autumn/Winter option. 

It's a heavy crepe so it will keep you warm enough on these chilly evenings. The rust colour is so classy and the d-ring detail to the waist is just fab. I found the leg a little awkward on me, it was neither flare or straight, so I might get my mum (sewing wizard) the take it in at the ankle so it sits more like a peg-leg on me. In terms of sizing, I'm in wearing the 24, which is snug, but given how it fits on my bum, well, it can be snug all it likes because check out my ass! haha! 

I love the wrap detail and although I've gone for a more glam look with the fur collar I think this would look great with a camel coat for example or even a biker jacket. The jumpsuit is also available in black 

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

Monday, 23 November 2015

Style: Award Winning Lingerie with Elomi.

I meant to get this post up before the weekend, but due to some major travel delays, I wasn't able to, but I'm actually glad in a way, because no sooner was I home late Friday night was I heading out again saturday morning to London for the British Plus Size Awards. I was lucky enough to be attending as a guest of, as it turns out, the winners of the best plus size lingerie brand Elomi, so I can now proclaim I'm wearing award winning undies! 

This lovely little number is the Nina from the AW collection, it's a beautiful zingy red shade with a really pretty and delicate floral print, it's the kind of lingerie set that you can wear every day but feels really special. 

Elomi aren't just made for the fuller bust, but they are cut specifically for the fuller figure which means the fit and support are perfect for the larger body. I wore this set all day Thursday and it was so comfortable!

I had so much fun at the awards with the Elomi gang and even got to go up on the stage when they collected the award! I'll be writing a post about my outfit very soon, but in the mean time, why not check out all the lovely items they have to offer! 

**This set was  sent to me for the purposes of review**

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Style: Martine McCutcheon Collection at Fashion World.

You might remember that back in September I had the pleasure of venturing down to London for a very swanky breakfast and the chance to view the new Martine McCutcheon collection for Fashion World. My absolute favourite piece from the collection was this sheer black wrap top with gold spot detail which  I now have the pleasure of owning and am able to share with you today! 

I teamed it with the PU trousers also from the collection and these gorgeous cage shoes. I think what I loved about Martine's collection was the simplicity of it, it's very chic and understated and grown up. 

In terms of sizing I'm wearing the 24 in both top and leggings, I found the top to be a great fit, I'd say it is true to size, whereas the leggings just weren't that great on me. I have really chunky thighs and calves and there just wasn't enough stretch in them to make them work on me, I struggled to get them up properly and they didn't sit quite right. That's not to say they won't fit great if you have a less chunky leg situation, sadly they just didn't work on me. 

I do love this collection and I hope there's going to be another offering from Martine as I really do like that girls style! 

**The items in this review were sent to me by Fashion World. All words and opinions are my own**