Who Do You Buy Your Plus Size Clothes From?…

PlusSizeInspiration

Photo Credit: Curvy Kate #TheNewSexy

Hello Jellyheads (are you loving the fact I am feeling so self important I have decided to allocate a name for all my lovely readers).  Now this isn’t going to come as any surprise to anyone who knows me but I love social media.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (I’ve not mastered SnapChat yet but I’ll get there).  Not only do I love them for the social aspect but since I’ve become more body aware and body positive I turn to them for plus size inspiration.  

I love being part of the ever growing plus size community and fat acceptance movement.  Although I don’t believe we are where we should be for 2017, we are definitely making baby steps in the right direction.  Lots more brands are starting plus size lines and this is great but there is one thing that seriously pees in my cheerios.  Seeing someone straight size being used to promote these lines and brands.  It’s like never fully committing to the idea.  I can’t be the only person here that sees a brand promoting their plus or curve line accompanied with a visual of a non plus person, even if it’s just the one, and think what a complete conflict it is.  Like I want to support a brand that is trying to be more inclusive by having a plus size line but at the same time I want to see it on a plus size body.  I have nothing against straight size models.  I love and support and adore all bodies.  I follow and support many straight size models and influencers but these aren’t bodies I look to when I am making fashion decisions.  These shouldn’t be the only images bombarding our young plus size lovelies.  Is that so wrong?   Am I alone in this?

Now I totally know I’m going to sound like I am kissing Navabi‘s arse right now.  I’m not.  I don’t own a single piece of Navabi clothing, I’m certainly not anywhere near the status of being gifted items for review so that’s not my motivation either.  If I’m being truthful their clothing doesn’t actually come into this matter at all.  It’s all about their #MorePlusPlease campaign and this doesn’t just count for magazine covers.  I implore brands that, if you are promoting plus size lines please PLEASE pick from the plethora of plus size gorgeousness that you can find all over social media.  

My friends and I are prompted to buy clothes after seeing them on the likes of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, Lottie L’Amour, Chloe In Curve, Sugar, Darling?, Arched Eyebrow, Danielle Vanier, Pretty Big Butterflies, From The Corners Of The Curve, Curves n Curls UK, Cardiffornia Gurl, CurvyWordy, Kat Henry and Terrible Tumbles to name just a few.


I see the likes of PLUS|EQUALS slaying their social media, bombarding me with plus size gorgeousness.  I’m not calling anyone out telling them that they are doing it wrong.  I’m just saying that you have a huge and growing pool of plus size awesomesauce to choose from – UTILISE IT – I can promise you it will not do your brand any harm at all if your aim is to sell plus size clothing.  My list has barely scratched the surface.  I’ve not spoken directly to all of these ladies, and I am not speaking for them, but I’m sure there is someone somewhere in the plus size pool that would happily wear something from your line and share it on social media.  If you aren’t getting submissions from plus size beauties then send them something so that you can get images because it is these lovelies that people like me are buying from.  

What can you do?  If you are a plus size lovely and you are buying from these brands share pictures of yourself wearing their clothes on social media and tag the granny out of them.  Believe it or not it’s YOU people want to see when making decisions whether to buy or not.

Why not tag people below who inspire you to when it comes to plus size fashion or tag brands you think are doing it for you.

TTFN
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13 Wishes After Watching 13 Reasons Why…

13 Reasons Why

So I start this post with an apology to my family, who I’ve completely ignored and neglected for virtually two days solid, as I spent them in a 13 Reasons Why induced coma.  At one point my husband came in to poke me with a stick and put a mirror under my nose to check I was still breathing.  I decided quite early on Sunday (16th April) I was fed up of feeling left out of everyone discussing 13 Reasons and I wanted in.  I should also just add here this is the exact same reason I read Fifty Shades of Grey.  Anyway skip forward 48 hours and I’ve binged watched all 13 episodes and I’m not going to give any major spoilers away but I will give you my 13 wishes having watched it.

  • There are a lot of references to other people listening to the tapes a lot quicker and I can’t help but wish the narrative would’ve followed one of those as my early suspicions were right.  It is soooooooo drawn out and long winded.
  • I wish someone would of throat punched Clay’s mum.  I don’t know why but she drives me insane.  I don’t know what it is about her.  Her monotonous drivel or her passive attempts at helping him but I spent most of the time wanting to throat punch her.
  • I love Jeff.  I wish he’d of had more air time.
  • I also wish we knew more about Skye.
  • I wish the make up department had of been more on point with Clay’s head wound.  It looked proper frowsy in most of the episodes and I know it was jumping timelines but the continuity with his graze also left a lot to be desired.
  • I so desperately wish Hannah would of got her shit together sooner when it comes to Clay but I also acknowledge then the story wouldn’t be what it is.
  • I wish my heart didn’t break watching episode 11.
  • I really REALLY wish I didn’t feel sorry for the likes of Justin and Zach.
  • I wish I didn’t fear Ross Butler (Zach Dempsey) was in danger of getting typecast.  Douchelord jock in Riverdale, douchelord jock in 13 Reasons Why.  I’m seeing a pattern emerging here.
  • I kind of wish we’d of started at the end and worked our way backwards.
  • I can’t be the only person who watched who wishes I didn’t still have this many questions.
  • I wish a PG version could be made to show to all teenage kids at school to try and help teach them some valuable lessons.

I feel like there were so many important things said during all the episodes that I’d be here forever listing them all but here are just a couple to reflect on.

Overall I found 13 Reasons Why to be a very compelling and heartbreaking watch.  I actually feel bad, due to the content and nature, saying it was great.  It’s a bit like watching The Passion of Christ and saying it’s “brilliant”.  It explores teenage suicide and deals with rape and some very difficult subjects but I know that it will stay with me for a while.  Have you watched? What did you think? No spoilers please or DM me on Twitter to discuss.

TTFN

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The Home I Love…

The Home I Love

So it will come as no shock to everyone I’m still playing catch up.  I’ve been super busy for the last fortnight with my fundraiser hat on, which surprisingly enough left me very little time to have my blogger hat on.  I’ve decided to plough on with my 52 Weeks of Gratitude challenge and this time it’s “The City You Live In”.  Now I don’t live in a city, I live in a village in Buckinghamshire, so I’ve decided to just go with the home I love.  

I live on a little green which still has the element of the quintessential feel of a village.  I know most of my neighbours, we exchange pleasantries and recognise anything out of place or notice if I’ve not seen an elderly neighbour for a while.  It’s still not “leave your back door open” but then I don’t think anywhere is like that anymore sadly.  It’s a short walk to the park for my son and generally is a nice place to live.

RLP

Rhododendrons at Langley Park – Photo Credit: Andy Le Marchand/Twitter

We are fortunate to be surrounded by a couple of country parks as well, notably Black Park and Langley Park.  Both are great for walking and exploring and generally just letting loose and running wild (clearly not me, but both my 10 year old son and my furbaby).  My favourite place has to be the Rhododendrons at Langley Park.  They are absolutely beautiful when in full bloom.

PWS

Main Entrance to Pinewood Studios at Night

Iver’s neighbour, Iver Heath, is also famed for being the home of Pinewood Studios.  Pinewood Studios is responsible for many productions including the Carry On films and the Bond 007 films.  They also have the most unique underwater filming facilities and many of the soaps utilise it.  Most recently Eastenders and their dramatic Ronnie and Roxy final scenes and Emmerdale with the big multi vehicle pile up, which including a Aaron and Robert’s vehicle going into the quarry with Lachlan in the boot.    

Iver is also a bit of a travel gateway.  Within 10 minutes I can be on the A40 into Central London or the M40 or M25 or M4 heading wherever the mood takes me.  One of my favourite places is Hayling Island and from home, on a clear day, I can be there in about 90 minutes.

What do you love about where you live?

TTFN x

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Happy Tattoo To You…

Birthday Tattoo

So I know you probably don’t know because I always keep it to myself but it’s my birthday this Saturday (25th March) and I will be a whopping 39 years old.  I’m always the most loveliest person and happily give my family and friends at least 2 months warning (as if it changes every year and they might forget when it is).  I’m also kind enough to make sure my Amazon Wishlist is up to do just in case anyone feels inclined.  I’m sure you are supposed to get over this kind of birthday excitement by the time you reach your thirties but I see chance of it waning anytime soon.

My Wishlist is full of my usual goodies; Funko Pops, planning supplies, Tinkerbell items, paperbacks from some of my favourite authors.  I’ve already had some birthday pennies early to spend at the Scarlett & Jo Sample Sale.  That resulted in the trying on of many dresses and the purchasing of a few.  Oopsie.

I’ve know for a while I wanted a new tattoo.  I have a memorial piece planned for my left thigh so thought my right thigh would probably be the ideal place to balance it out.  I got chatting to a lovely lady called Monica, who happened to be a tattooist, in a Facebook group I run last year about general tattoo chit chat.  I stalked her Instagram and fell in love with her work.  It was so bright and colourful and pretty.  I knew almost instantly I’d love to have something done by her but she was over 2 hours away in Wolverhampton.  Fast forward to just before Christmas and there was chatter about the Style XL Awards being held in Birmingham and I thought “hold on a minute – two birds, one stone”.  I spoke to Monica and we got chatting about what I’d like and where I’d like it.  I knew it had to be something unicorn related and gave her a few examples of tattoos I’d seen online that I liked.  My hubby, sister and good friends Nickey and Zoey all clubbed together to pay as a birthday present for me.  I was all booked for 12th March before the Style XL Awards.

I left home just before 7am and jumped on the tube to Euston. I then travelled to Wolverhampton via Virgin Trains.  Monica’s shop, Poison Apple Tattoos, was just a brief walk from the station.  When I saw my new pretty on my leg I knew I’d made the right choice.  Monica was lovely and chatty and really put me at ease.  Although I know I was alright when I had my last tattoo done, that was over 3 years ago, I wasn’t sure how I’d be this time but Monica did a really great job.  We spoke about her love of doing colourful tattoos and I’d most definitely recommend her to everyone.  Here’s how she turned out…what do you think?

In hindsight having her done before spending the rest of the afternoon / evening on my legs, then added on top of that a long journey home on the train might not of been the smartest idea but she was definitely worth it.  So I’m thinking after my memorial piece on my left thigh that might be my last one…maybe.  Do you have any tattoos or would you like any?

TTFN

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And The Award Goes To…

StyleXLAwards

I was fortunate enough to be extended an invitation to attend the very first Style XL Awards organised by Leah from Style XL.  So yesterday I dusted off my finery and travelled to Birmingham for a celebration of achievements within the plus size community.  The event was held at the Rose Villa Tavern in the Jewellery Quarter.  

S&J XL StepBoardThe dress code was partywear and although I had a couple of choices and could of shopped for many more, I decided to debut my new Scarlett & Jo 2-in-1 dress which can be found over at Simply Be.  Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of the 2-in-1 dress and this one is no exception.  It has a really nice wrap neckline and a gorgeous floral skirt featuring pink, orange and lilac.  It has all the features I love in the 2-in-1 style.  The top is stretchy, the elastic waistband pulls me in a bit and the flowing skirt gives me enough room to move.  My footwear choice was a little pair of black peep toe kitten heels from eBay.  I’d love to say I had a cute little handbag but my choice was based on practicality and the fact I had so much to carry around with me.

Leah did a fantastic job putting the event together and the venue was great although if yesterday’s success was anything to go by I think you’ll need a bigger boat.  I have never been to a formal awards ceremony so I can’t really compare but I really like the informal vibe.  There was a cacophony of amazingness represented from within the community from brands and models to vloggers and bloggers.  All the nominees were totally worthy for bringing something to the plus size table and the winners were:


Most Inspiring Blogger: Secret Plus Size Goddess

Best Plus Size YouTube Channel: Glowpinkstah

Best Plus Size Model: Fuller Figure Fuller Bust – Blogger & Model

Best Plus Size Publication: Lifesize Magazine

Most Engaging Brand: Simply Be Fashion

Best Specialist Plus Size Brand: Curvy Kate / DearScantilly

Best Plus Size Newcomer: Fifi Valentine

Best Social Media Campaign: #IAmMe – Evans

Top Social Media Influencer: Lottie L’amour

Outstanding Achievement (Person): Grace Francesca Victory for BBC Documentary

Outstanding Achievement (Brand): Curvy Kate

‘One to Watch’: Radioactive Unicorn

Although I was already on my journey of body acceptance finding some of these bloggers and influencers really helped me realise it is ok to be ok with my body and it is ok to want to look nice and not hide away.  It also helped put me in touch with brands I may never of come across otherwise and clothes I may never of discovered.  Speaking of clothes there was so much fabulousness worn yesterday it was a visual delight.  I honestly do not believe there was a badly dressed person there but here are a couple of my favourite looks.  

Left – Right: Laura from Lolly LikesFifi Valentine who picked up Best Plus Size Newcomer and Sam from FattyBoomTatty:

I got to see and squidge some of my favourite people (far too many to mention), as well as meet some amazing new people and I always think that is one of the best thing about these events.  Connecting like minded people that may never usually come into contact.  When you hear from someone that they’ve never been to a place where they felt they belonged, you know someone is doing something right.  The other thing I realised is I need to start knowing and recognising people by their actual name rather than their social media handle (It was lovely to meet you Diana formally known to me as DianaSaladPot from Twitter).

What were your highlights from the Style XL Awards?  Let me know your feedback about any plus size events you have attended or any you are looking forward to?jwtb-signature

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A Most Grateful Gift…

Grateful GiftI’m now up to week #5 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge and the topic is Something Someone Gave You.  This one is actually really quite difficult.  I have been fortunate enough to have so many wonderful things given to me that trying to find just one is really hard.

My friends Vikki and Clare got me a copy of one of my fave books, Raw by Belle Aurora, last year for my birthday.  My friend Lou gives me the most amazing gifts in memory of my angel.  I also have the most amazing memory chest for Lily-Mae that was gift from a group of mummies I met via Bounty.  My sister gets me the most fabulous Wedding Anniversary presents that follow the traditions for that year.  I also have some of the most amazing Momiji dolls in my collection thanks to my friend Lisa.  My signed copy of Fighting Fate by JB Salsbury was a gift from the women herself.  The list goes on and on.  See like I told you, choosing just one was very difficult.  When I whittled everything down I decided to go with my furbaby, Betsy (or Binky as we call her).

We’d be umming and ahhing about getting a dog for quite a while.  Regular trips to the local Dogs Trust hoping to find the perfect furbaby for us.  It always boiled down to the same thing.  Money.  Whilst we worked out we could afford the monthly aspect of having a dog; food, insurance, flea/worm treatments etc, the actual initial outlay was a problem for us.  Finding £160/£200 wouldn’t be easy.  We kept visiting and kept hoping but nothing ever came together at right time.  Last August, just a few days before my son’s 10th birthday,  I was scrolling through a local group on Facebook* and what should I see, a post from a lovely lady called Natasha explaining due to an unfortunate change in circumstances she was looking for a new home for her 6 month old Jack Russell / Lakeland Terrier puppy Betty.  To say it was love at first sight is an understatement.  Naturally I commented and messaged and messaged again (keen much) and expressed my interest.IMG_0123  We exchanged a few messages and it transpired that she was unexpectedly returning to work and no longer had time to give Betty the care and attention she needed.  I explained about our search for a pup as a companion for our son.  It seemed a perfect match but I was also aware that, as it was just a few days before his birthday, the likelihood of us getting her in time would be very slim.  I thought our chances were also being reduced by the numbers of responses to the post.  Natasha agreed to come to our home on Tuesday with Betty so we could meet her and see how she responded to us in our environment.  She was just the cutest little bundle ever and I knew as soon as I saw her that she was just perfect.  Natasha and I spoke at length and she explained she had a few more people lined up to see later in the week but she would let us know by Friday.  As soon as she left I felt heartbroken.  Like I knew that there was no chance that everything would fall into place and she would be ours.  Luckily it turned out I couldn’t be more wrong.  After about an hour I received a text from Natasha saying she’d spoken to her mum about it and she just felt immediately that we were the right forever home for Betty and she didn’t need to see anyone else.  I asked if she was joking, followed up by was she sure?  If she wanted to take some more time to think about it, or to see the other people, I’d totally understand but she was adamant that it just felt right.  My husband picked her up the following morning and she has been ours ever since.  We changed her name to Betsy but for some reason we call her Binky most of the time.  Although she was originally intended as a companion for our son she has in fact become my substitute baby and we wouldn’t be without her and this is why I will be forever grateful to Natasha.

What gift are you most grateful for?

TTFN
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*I openly acknowledge getting any pet from a Facebook group may not be the smartest idea in the world and whilst our story turned out ok, many don’t.  Please make sure you research any potential pet as fully as possible, wherever you get them from.

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Carrying On With Half A Heart…

half-my-heartI did say I wasn’t going to do this quite so early on in my blogging journey but it is such a huge part of who I am so to let it go by without saying something seems unjust for some reason.  I will say upfront this piece features baby/child loss and is very raw and real and probably all over the place.  It is also image heavy.  I’m not apologising for it I’m just letting you know in advance in case you decide not to read on.  I wrote a small post on my Facebook page last year skimming some of the things you experience when half your heart is missing.  As tomorrow will be 6 years I thought I’d just show how my thoughts have not changed. 

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6 whole years since the very last time I held our beautiful angel in my arms.  My brain still can’t comprehend that it is 6 years since our baby girl grew her wings far too soon.  I just can’t fathom how something can seem to long ago and only yesterday all at the same time.  Sometimes, albeit very briefly, just in the tiniest moment of waking from a deep sleep I forget. I forget all the pain and the heartache of the losing her, our gorgeous baby, and I’m still there getting up to check on her and see her adorable little face smiling back at me. Smelling the faint scent of vanilla lingering in the air. Then all too quick it’s gone and I’m scrambling just to get those memories back again. To hear her call “Dad” when he’s trying to creep through the door as quiet as can be from the night shift so as not to wake her. To hear her yell “Archie kiss” as her big brother runs about like mad playing with her and the sad reality is time is a bastard as it slowly robs you of all these memories.  They become harder to recall with the speed and clarity you used to.  The painful memories, well they are there in a flash, but I just wish sometimes that the ones that make my heart swell didn’t take so long to come to the forefront from their little coping mechanism compartments.

Then as if that anguish isn’t enough, your mind quickly snaps to could’ve beens and would’ve beens. What would she look like now? How cute would she look in her little school uniform? How much would she adore her big brother? Then the realisation hits you like a steam train, so hard it takes your breath away and leaves a heavy pain in your chest, that these are thing you will never know. What kind of person she will grow up to be. How amazing she would be. What she will look like when she goes to her school prom or walks down the aisle. How beautiful her children will be.


Then there are the token grief adages.  It’s like there is some sort of secret handbook of “things to say to a grieving parent” that include, but are not limited to:

  • God must of needed her more than you
  • It gets better with time
  • Well at least you have another child
  • Time is a great healer
  • Are you going to think about having another

I just wanted to stop you right there and say please, you should you ever encounter a grieving parent, do not say anything of these things.  Not one.  The only thing I can promise you is none of these are the case.  I’ve always felt it’s easy to say “God must’ve needed her” when it’s not your child he’s asking for.  He definitely didn’t need her more than we did and while we are at it, just for reference, time isn’t a healer.  That is literally one of the biggest piles of shit going.  Not one bloody iota.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, can heal the loss of a baby/child.  Ever.  Time doesn’t heal anything.  All time does is give your brain the opportunity to learn and adopt new coping mechanisms.  I can assure you the loss of a child is not something that gets ‘healed’ or ‘better with time’.  My best piece of advice just say “I’m here for you – I’ve no idea what to say but I’m here regardless”.  You don’t need to fill that empty space with even more empty words or sentiments.  Sometimes a hug is all it takes.

These are just a few of the things that are the never ending torment and reality of a person who has lost a baby/child. Sometimes people are really skilled actors and manage to walk around not showing these things, whilst others simply cannot hide it. Six years in and most of these things are forgotten about by those that grieved with you at the time, because reality is life does go on and that’s ok. But yours doesn’t. All these feelings and emotions come flooding back at the strangest and most obscure of triggers.  A song, a smell, a sound, some days it takes nothing all.  

All the anniversaries and birthdays and milestones are made marginally more bearable by the support of loving family and friends. The small gestures of kindness and thought and compassion that are extended during these difficult periods. The loving hug from a family member or friend. The phone call or text or message to say ‘we are thinking of you’. It is these actions which make the darkest of times more tolerable.

There is no nice way to end this post and I accept that that is ok.  Just to say that we still love you so much beautiful girl and you took half our hearts with you that day.  It doesn’t hurt any less today than it did 6 years ago.

remembering-you

Sweet dreams our angel.

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A Family That Laughs Together…

family

So I’m still playing catch up on my 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge and Week #3 and #4 are family and a family member.  Here’s your advance warning – grab a brew as this might be a long one.  I am going to stick with tying them together as they go hand in hand anyway.  I think in order to appreciate the need for gratitude you have to go right back to the beginning.  An abridged walk down memory lane with a little prefaced history into our unconventional family dynamic.

bp2My nuclear family consists of my dad, my little sister and me.  My dad is what you’d refer to as a man’s man.  In 1983 he was a younger, more virile, man’s man.  In his professional life he was a very skilled, much sought after builder and tradesman.  In his personal life he had just moved into a new home with his wife and two young daughters.  For all intents and purposes he was living the dream.  Work hard and play harder.  He was a provider.  He was running a big site over towards Wendover when, one afternoon going out of his way to give someone a lift home which would take him off his usual route, he was involved in a life changing head on car collision.  Lucky to survive, he would find himself spending months in hospital and rehabilitation.  He finally came home on crutches still needing physio and help with a long road ahead of him but he had his family around him.  

In March of 1984 I was just about 6.  My little sister was 18 months and my dad hobbling around adjusting to his life post accident.  My mum was also adjusting just sadly in a way none of us saw coming.  She up and left, without warning.  I mean truthfully I was so young maybe there was warning I just didn’t see it or know what it was.  Just I know one of my last, very vivid memories is being stood at the school gates waiting to be picked up and her not coming.  Yet another life changing event for my dad.  Now alone on crutches with two young girls at a time when single fathers weren’t exactly the norm.  He had to fight tooth and nail, under the scrutiny of Social Services and through the High Court in London, to be eventually awarded full custody of us both.  But he won and that became our family, just the three of us.  Now I know there’s not really that much unconvention in a single parent family but there is when the lone parent is the dad.  It also causes a shift in the roles within the family.  As I got older I adopted more of a maternal role towards my little sister.  As she got older we returned to sisters fighting like cat and dog, but always me with a motherly eye on her.  I am 39 this year and she is 35 and I still mother her…or perhaps mither I’m not 100% sure.  Our “mum” has had very little contact over the last 30 + years.  I could probably count on the fingers on one hand how many times we’ve spoken to her, and even less seen her.  By defacto she has given up all rights to be referred to as mum which is why she is Alyson, if she is even referred to at all because honestly she just doesn’t factor into our lives.  I mean I know if it was not for her I would not be here but literally that is the only thing she has ever done for me.

 


All of this brings me to finding weeks #3 and #4 of the Gratitude Challenge easy.  I don’t have to put any thought into why I am grateful for my family.  I just am.  I don’t have enough time to go into why things could’ve been so different for us all but individually and together but we a proof of the old adage that what doesn’t break you makes you stronger.  My dad is an epic man.  He is funny, charismatic, charming, generous and loving.  He is also a stubborn, strong willed, belligerent pain in my arse.  I spend equal parts of my day juggling the want to give him a big squidge with a compulsion to throat punch him.  Would I change that about him? Of course I bloody would! Who would genuinely say “of course let’s keep all the opinionated stubbornness you can find” seriously right but these things are him and I love him regardless.  There is not a day goes by when we don’t laugh about something.  Even in the darkest of times and probably strangest / most inappropriate of times we will always find something to laugh about.  We have no shame or boundaries.  We laugh at ourselves, each other, anyone or anything but I firmly believe if you can laugh with each other and at each other then there is nothing else you couldn’t do together.

bp1

 

So I am grateful to my dad…the half deaf, bouffant white haired, hugely inappropriate old fool.  You are the man that all men in my life are measured against.

What do you laugh about with your family?

TTFN

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My First Month As A Blogger…

bloggerversary

I can’t believe I’ve just reached my one month bloggerversary.  I pressed publish on my first post on 18th January and this will officially be post number ten.  I thought one month in would be a great time to reflect on the last four weeks.  Don’t panic I’m not going to be one of these “let’s celebrate every month type” people.  I just thought, as deciding to start writing was such a big thing for me, it would be useful to have a point of reference I can refer to as my journey continues.  Think of it as somewhat of a “Dear Diary” entry.

Strangely enough I have to confess I’ve found it a little harder than I anticipated.  For the most part I’m confident in what I do and say and I have no problem expressing an opinion.  Starting a blog had been on my radar for a little while.  I’d dabbled in other areas before and it never quite took off but I knew this was an area I am comfortable with and will hopefully thrive in once I find my feet.  All that being said I’m not 100% sure why I am struggling more than I thought I would.  I think a factor maybe I thought, probably somewhat naively, that I’d be a bit better received.  As I already run a plus size group on Facebook and know a lot of lovely PS Bloggers I had some preconceived idea it would be a bit like a Take A Break centre spread.  We’d all be holding hands, skipping in a meadow full of daisies, in slow mo, with the wind blowing through our hair and there would be laughter and merriment and music in the background (ok I know I’m painting a picture here but I obviously slightly exaggerating but you get where I’m going with it) and we’d all run off and live happily ever after.  

The reality has been starkly different to this and I think a lot of it is down to me.  All of a sudden I’ve turned into little nerdy, slightly nervous 12 year old Jelly on the first day of Secondary School, on the outside looking in at the amazing, idealised powerhouses.  I mean I’ve looked up to and adored these girls and now all of a sudden I’m in the same playground as them [insert squeaky bum here literally].  I could feel my confidence slowly draining away and I’m back to being this little imp that needs constant reassurance, praise and to be patted on the head and told I’m doing a good job.  I struggle to even refer to myself as a blogger as I don’t feel that, just ten posts in, I warrant that title but an amazingly lovely and very smart lady said to me “You have a blog, you’re posting on it…you’re definitely a blogger!” and I think perhaps maybe I just need to start believing that.

I think I’ve been doing ok.  My posts seem to be being well received and the feedback I get is mainly positive.  I’ve made five goals I’d like to achieve in the next month:

  • Buy my domain name With payday coming this one will be achieved within the next few days.
  • Move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org I’m still coming to terms the creative side of my blog and I’m thinking the advice to focus on getting a grip with .org and making the jump sooner rather than later is the smart decision.
  • Network more I’ve started taking part in Blogger Chats on Twitter and I’d just like to put myself out there a bit more.
  • Get to grips with scheduling Currently all my post shares are done manually by me so I think this would be really beneficial.
  • Include more plus size related posts This has always been what I wanted to see my blog doing and I’m hoping a few new outfit purchases and a pick up in the weather will help this no end.

I also think it’s healthy to say something about any achievements I’ve had, as well as improvements I’d like to make, as it’s always about the balance.  I’ve had 3 blog tags which has led to some great content, I’ve already been asked about a guest blogger spot on a new blog starting and my most popular post has been my Open Letter To Plus Size Brands About The Cold Shoulder.  Since I’ve started blogging I’ve had 1024 views and 670 visitors and I’m actually quite chuffed with that.

I’d like to finish with a feature that seems to be running through my posts of late…a mushfest.  There are a few ladies I need to thank as they’ve been really helpful and just good old fashioned nice and kind to me and with me, that goes a long way.  Some of them I knew before I started on my journey and some a new to me but either way I owe them some love.

Clare from NeonRainbowBlog Clare and I have been friends for around ten years now and I’m always sad to say, in friendship terms, we’ve never made it to first base (we haven’t actually met in real life) but this does not make her any less my friend.  She’s always got my back and when it comes to blogging she is my sounding board, my first port of call with ideas and usually my first draft looker overer.  She is a great help and support to me and I love her (ok that’s over back to hating on you whoreface).

Zoë from I Knew I Was Next (IKIWN) I’ve followed Zoë’s blog and stalked her on Instagram and Twitter before I started blogging but since I’ve started she has been an ear when I needed one and always ready to offer friendly helpful advice.  When you are starting out this really means a lot so big thanks Zoë.

Kellie from Big Fashionista and my new tweetheart Laura Both ladies are new to me but their support has been unwavering.  In this social media age we live in I think a post like or retweet is like the equivalent of a little cyber hug or pat on the back.  If you are having a proper crappy day a cheeky little retweet can cheer you right up and it’s something that takes like a millisecond to do.  So thank you both so much ladies.  

So how do you think I’m doing? Are you enjoying reading? Is there anything you’d like to see featured?  I will say if you just take one thing from this post then please retweet more.  If you see something and you love it – retweet it.

TTFN
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Why Start This Challenge?…

So I was having a nose through my blogging buddy Jenn’s posts over at And The Beat Goes and I stumbled across this 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge:

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Week #1 is Why Start This Challenge?  I thought the challenge sounds really interesting and, despite already being 8 weeks behind, I might like to give it a go.  I really like the idea of speaking about some things I am grateful for and paying it forward.  Immediately there were some topics I felt would come quite easy to me but at the same I could also see some weeks that would serve to challenge me and it was this element I was drawn to.  As I’m so far behind I thought I’d take the opportunity to tie weeks #1 and #2 together and kill two birds with one stone.

13th-january-2017Week #2 is Spouse / Significant Other.  This is my Jase and me, or Ade as he is known to his friends as they think he bears a resemblance to Ade Edmondson.  We are collectively referred to as Jelly and Ade.  We have been together for 12 years this year and married for 7 years.  

I guess I could add another mushfest warning and gush relentlessly about why I love him so much.  I could also add reasons why I remind him on a regular basis I am a super nut about CSI, Law & Order and Criminal Minds.  Not only could I murder him and dispose of his body, I’m pretty confident I could get away with it.

In the interest of sticking to the post subject rather than going off on a tangent I’m just going to share a few reasons I am grateful to my Ade:

  • Being the best dad you can be to our son
  • Supporting me through some of the most difficult times a couple can go through
  • Always writing on the wrong side of a card
  • Letting me cry and shout and even give you the silent treatment during our difficulties
  • Maybe an old, outdated, unPC thing but being a great provider
  • Knowing that my crumpets need double dipping at a minimum
  • Leaving me the last diet coke when there is only one left
  • Texting me every morning to ask if I’m ok and I slept alright
  • Doing my hot water bottle for me, even though you can’t deal with that dodgy top
  • For being everything I need you to be, and even some things I don’t

Now this isn’t a tagging kind of post but I’m hoping some of my blogging buddies take part as I’m looking forward to reading some responses.  I will probably cheat and tie my next few posts together just so I can catch up quicker.  Even if you don’t want to take part in the challenge how about sharing something you are grateful for?

TTFN

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20 Wishes For 2017…

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So this is lucky blog tag #3 and I have to say I quite enjoy doing these.  I have to thank my lovely friend Clare at NeonRainbowBlog for this one.  20 wishes for 2017.  As I’m so new to blogging I thought this would be a great measuring stick so I can come back this time next year and check on my achievements.  As always the rules are quite easy.  You must include 5 personal wishes, 5 family wishes, 5 blog wishes and 5 hopes.  Then tag someone else to take part.  So here goes.

5 Personal Wishes

This one comes quite easily for me as it ties in with my Goals For 2017 post.

  1. Improve my makeup skills.  I mean I think when I go out I look ok and I don’t look like my face has been gangbanged by a box of crayola but I’d like to have skills.  I’d like to be able to put my false eyelashes on without it being an epic task that could lead to murder.  I’d like to have my winged eyeliner go ok and not have one Chanel and one Primarni and maybe even throw in a little contouring.  These are the kinds of things I wish for my face.
  2. Try more new things.  This is just a really generalised one.  Anything new.  Meeting someone new, trying a new food.  Just striving to push yourself that little bit further than the norm and testing your boundaries.  
  3. Work on my fitness levels.  Not to be confused with weight loss.  I just want to do something to make me feel a bit fitter.  If bits tighten up along the way I’m ok with that too.  More walking, maybe get a bike.  These kinds of things.
  4. Meet more people.  I have forged many great friendships online.  Some of these people have been with me through some really dark times and I feel a genuine bond of friendship with them.  I’m hoping 2017 will be the year I get to actually meet some of these people in real life.  
  5. Learn to dance.  Now don’t get me wrong.  For a big bird I can move.  I can turn it out and shake my bon bon when I need to but this is more than that.  This is about something proper.  I adore the Argentine Tango and the Jive.  Improving my fitness level and purchasing an industrial strength sports bra will definitely help with this.

5 Family Wishes

  1. Go out more.  I think an improvement in the weather will help this one but just simple things.  Picnics in the park, to the beach for the day.  Just more of this.  It’s not even about things that cost loads of money.  Just simple things.
  2. Have a holiday.  I’ve been with my hubs 12 years this year and we’ve never been abroad together.  The last couple of years we have managed a week in Cornwall and we absolutely love it down there.  I’d love for this to continue and for us to be able to enjoy at least one family week away.  Doesn’t even have to be out of the country as we are quite happy with Perranporth.  
  3. Get a new sofa.  Now this may sound like a daft one but we have a small two seater sofa and it’s on it’s last legs.  We have never had a brand new sofa.  This is definitely a wish for 2017.  I even have one picked out.  A beautiful corner sofa.  You will be mine, oh yes, you will be mine.
  4. Happy School Transition.  Our son is moving from Junior School to Secondary School this year and I wish for a smooth happy transition for him while he makes that change.  It’s such a huge leap and culture shock when you move to “big school” and he will always be my little boy.  Although actually I do feel like he is so little as he is the baby of the class.  He will be 11 for all of a week before he moves to Secondary School after the summer holiday.  
  5. To extend our family.  Whilst I’m pretty sure, not matter how much we try, a little bublet is out of the question I am working on wearing hubby down for another furbaby.  Or maybe even chickens (although with a bird phobia this one is looking less likely, but is also great leverage in favour of another furbaby).

5 Blog Wishes

  1. Be seen more.  I’m guessing these wishes will be quite easy as I’m so new to blogging everything is a wish.  Just to average being seen by 2/3 people a day is a wish right now.
  2. Improve my photo skills.  When the weather is better I’m hoping to include more plus size fashion in my blog, which means being outside having more full length, multi angled pictures taken.  Whilst I feel, with the equipment I have, that my skills aren’t too bad I need to help other people take pictures of me I am happy with.
  3. Consistency in posting.  I think there is almost a bit of a binge element to my posting at the moment.  Lots and then nothing.  I’m hoping this is because I’m my fairly new and looking to find my feet.  I think I’d like to level out to manage at least one post a week.
  4. Attend more events.  2016 saw me still being quite new to the plus size community. I run a plus size group on Facebook but I wasn’t a blogger so I didn’t really sit in a particular pigeonhole.   This isn’t a particular problem for me as I’m used to marching to the beat of my own drum but I’d just like to do more events as a blogger this year.  Last year I attended two events, which were opposite ends of the spectrum for me.  In May I went to Curvy Con which as an event was absolutely poop but as a chance to meet people I’d talked to was amazing.  Then in September I went to Curve Fashion Festival which was fabulous.  I just had the best day.  Seeing fabulous clothes, meeting amazing people and meeting so many people and bloggers I look up to and admire within the plus size community.  I’m already booked for this year and I’m really looking forward to seeing the event grow.
  5. Be happy calling myself a blogger.  At the moment I feel a bit like I’m playing dress up.  Like I don’t deserve to call myself a blogger just yet.  Just because I’ve written a few posts it doesn’t actually make me a blogger right?  I want to get to a place where I don’t feel uncomfortable and awkward saying “I’m a blogger”.

Finally 5 hopes…

  1. I know it’s all so very British to moan about the weather right but I’d love just a long stretch of sunny, warm weather.
  2. There are so many amazing bloggers I admire and look up to.  I’d like to hope just one of them would read one of my posts and have some feedback.
  3. I hope for restraint.  Not for epic stuff but just enough that I could open a packet of biscuits and just have maybe 2 rather than a packet.  Damn you Fox’s Jam Rings.
  4. I desperately hope to read more.  I keep banging on about it.  I just want my reading mojo back properly and not on the fritz.
  5. I hope I don’t lose my bottle when it competing as Mrs Buckinghamshire Curve 2017 in the Miss British Beauty Curve pageant.

So anyway that’s enough about me.  I’d love to know some more about you and your hopes and wishes.  I’m tagging Emma from Plus Size Of Life and Jenn over at And The Beat Goes On.  

TTFN  

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Love is…

This week it has all been about the love so this post comes with a super dooper mushfest warning.  I’m warning you all in advance this post will be laden with overshares and clichés

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Monday was Galentine’s Day and Tuesday Valentine’s Day and my social media feeds have been full of public displays and outpourings.  I love love.  I love the idea of love and the actuality of love.

Like many I spent a long time trying to find it.  Here comes a cliché….I did look for love in all the wrong places.  Being a plus sized lovely, for quite a while I thought I didn’t deserve love.  I would never find love and I would never find someone to love me for who I was.  I fell into the habit of confusing lust and sex with love.  Thinking that if someone wanted to have sex with me surely they must love me right, or think they’d be able to love me.  Luckily I only wasted a couple of years (give or take a couple more) believing in this premise.  It’s probably one of the most valuable lessons I’d love to pass on and it was so liberating to realise my worth wasn’t connected to these two things.  

Anyway I’ve gone off on a tangent as usual.  I was getting to the love bit.  I met my now husband in 2005.  I was at the regional finals of a karaoke competition at my local and he was down there with his brother.  I truthfully thought he fancied my sister when he started chatting to me (this was a regular occurrence).  I even told him if he was interested in her I’d introduce them.  So imagine my surprise when he said it was me he liked if that was ok.  We chatted and arranged a proper date for the following week and three weeks after that we were pretty much a full on item.  This year we have been together 12 years.  I love him with everything I have to give, and some stuff I didn’t even realise I had.  We don’t “do” Valentine’s Day in the traditional sense.  We exchange cards if we remember but we don’t buy in to huge gestures once a year, on a special day.  I find love in the smallest of gestures.  Waking up to a text every morning asking if I’ve slept ok.  Making sure there is always a cold diet coke for me in the fridge (trust me this one could have murderous consequences).  I don’t need chocolates and flowers although the occasional creme egg goes down a treat.    

My point for this post is to acknowledge that I know not all people have this but love can come from anywhere and everywhere.  My family, friends, children, even pets.  I honestly don’t know if there is anyone in the world that loves me more than my furbaby loves me.

loveis 
In this social media age we live in love can come in the form of a retweet or a post share.  It’s not about popularity it’s about sharing the love.  Someone could be having a bad day or week and the simplest of gestures could cheer them up.  So to that end here are a few things I’ve seen this week that I have loved.

  • The gorgeous Kellie over at Big Fashionista did an awesome blog post featuring Joanie Clothing.
  • Claire from Aloha Lola Cards has been sharing some epic illustrations over on her Twitter feed.  Whether you need buttons or blog headers or just a little motivational pick up Claire’s your girl.
  • If it’s even possible, I fell in love with the delectable Sam from FattyBoomTatty after discovering her love affair with bacon.  A girl after my own heart.

What have you loved this week?  Let me know.  If you’ve not come across anything yet try sharing some love. You never know it might come back to you.

TTFN

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