Navabi Plus Size Blog Awards 2017

If you follow my  Instagram  or Facebook  you may have noticed I’ve been asking for your votes for the Navabi Plus Size Blog Awards I don’t have a hope in Hell of winning the “Best Blog Award” because I don’t believe I have the best blog…! There are some awesome ladies in there – some of whom were my inspirations to start blogging myself… Or even before that, helped me to accept and then love my fat body then adorn it with things that I love! These are my top 10 bloggers for the Best Blog award:

1. Pamper and Curves – I’ve been following Perelandra online for years – since she was known as Betty Pamper. (Apart from being totally jealous of her beautiful pink kitchen) I have loved her fashion blog posts. They have encouraged me to try things the old “me” wouldn’t have done – I hadn’t worn a dress in years before I read Perelandra’s blog! She opened my eyes to the possibility that a plus size mum could look and feel stylish. Her vegan make-up reviews have also helped to improve the ethics of my make-up bag! She absolutely gets my vote! 

2. Lottie L’Amour – Lottie’s style is something pretty special – she always seems to be ahead of the trend or doing her own thing. I look to her for inspiration if I want to try something fresh. Her writing style is relaxed and honest it feels like she’s cracking jokes as if she’s writing a letter to her best mate! She also takes time to big up other women on social media. She always has a kind uplifting message. She’s definitely deserving of the award!

3. Fatty Boom Tatty – Another incredibly stylish lass! She’s not afraid to try something bold and I’ve never seen her wear an outfit that didn’t look bangin’! I am in awe of her natural beauty and fabulous make-up skills. I’ve followed her online for a long time and I always look forward to seeing what she’s going to be wearing next. That’s why she gets my vote!

4. Love Leah – Leah doesn’t suffer fools gladly! Her ballsy attitude, opinionated rants (in a good way!) and rock chick vibe make her a positive force for plus size women in a body shaming world. She isn’t afraid to stand up for what is right! She also blogs about more than just plus size fashion – her posts about mental health issues and being a spoonie are informative and inspiring too! She’s absolutely got my vote!
5. Secret Plus Size Goddess –  I’m in love with Tanya’s vintage style – so much so, I think I’d sell my soul to the devil for a rummage in her wardrobe! Her outfits are beautifully presented with amazing classic style dresses and beautiful accessories. She’s also a really lovely, kind lady – beautiful inside and out! Definitely worthy of a vote!

6. Kat Henry – This lass is a natural in front of the camera! She really know how to strike a pose (she taught me a thing or two!). Her smile and positive attitude are infectious. She also gives excellent advice. I love her pageant and exercise posts too! Certainly worthy of our votes!
7. Wannabe Princess – Debz was another trail blazer for me! Through her blog I began to understand so much more about challenging the notion that “fat=bad”. She managed to change my views with her eloquent posts. Her attitude to her body made me question (and eventually change) my attitude to mine. She’s had a huge influence on me and that’s why she’s got my vote!
8. Mog Plus – Kat is more than just a talented blogger – she’s a fab artist too! She uses her artwork to promote the body positive movement and the plus size community. Her artwork is beautiful, intelligent and inspiring – I loved her campaign that challenges the concept of being “brave” if you’re fat and wear a bikini! She has totally got my vote!
9. Kitty Rambles – Another multi-talented blogger! Kitty is also an incredible photographer (she took the photo of me on the Navabi awards page!). I’d love to have a shoot with her! Her blog and Instagram is full of bright colours – she’s not afraid to stand out in a crowd. She has a breathtaking smile and she’s a fellow Curly Girl! I just had to give her my vote!

10. U Can’t Wear That – (which has been misspelled on the Navabi site to “U Can Wear That”). This girl’s beauty and style was one of the first to make me challenge my own self-hate and body shaming views. I’d grown up to believe fat couldn’t be beautiful and Lucia simply proved me wrong without saying a word! I’m sure there are 100s if not 1000s more, like me, who had this illusion shattered by this beautiful lady. For that reason alone she deserves this award! 

For me personally, I’ve been trying hard to step out of my comfort zone and start putting myself out there. In the past I’ve felt embarrassed calling myself a blogger and was always a little self deprecating to protect myself. This year I’ve got to a point where I believe in myself a bit more and recognise the value of our message to encourage others to be comfortable and confident in their own skin. I feel less embarrassed talking about it in real life and less worried about any failure along the way. As a result I’ve put myself forward for opportunities more frequently, I’ve applied to be a This Girl Can Ambassador, entered a local modelling competition (6 winners and I was 7th!) and I talk about my blog more often to friends, colleagues and even passers by who comment on my dresses! I may not be the best blogger but even seeing my face listed amongst them, with a few votes of my own makes me feel pretty proud of how far I’ve come. 

If you haven’t voted yet, there isn’t much time (votes close today or tomorrow!) so please make sure you pop over to cast your vote before the deadline: www.navabi.co.uk/plus-size-blog-award-2017/

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ASOS Curve chinos

Since I discovered the joys of vintage inspired dresses about 5 years ago, I’ve barely worn trousers, like ever! Up until last week I had literally no pairs of trousers or jeans in my wardrobe, beyond leggings, active wear and pyjamas! 

So when I realised I was going to need trousers for a costume for a dance show I’m in later in the year I started browsing my favourite plus retailers for possible options… My character is a male, old style gangster and the brief was ‘black trousers’ so I wanted something that would be suitable for the show (and comfortable to dance in!) as well as being a new addition to my wardrobe. (I couldn’t afford to buy something to be worn once and EBay wasn’t offering up any cheapy options!).

When I stumbled across these ASOS Curve chinos I thought I’d found exactly what I was after! They’d pass as men’s trousers for the show and I’d be happy to wear them as part of my regular day wear. I’m never quite sure on ASOS sizing (sometimes I find they come up small) so I ordered a UK size 28. I think I would have been better off with a 26 but was worried they’d be too tight for dancing!

Top: Evans – past season, Chinos: ASOS, Pumps: Primark

These trousers are super comfortable (I was worried as I hadn’t worn trousers for over 2 years!) with belt loops (although the waistline is low on the hips so none of my belts actually fit to do up!) and fully functional front + bum pockets. They sit on my ankle – so I’m hoping that will prevent me slipping over on them mid moon-walk during the show! 

I’m absolutely head over heels in love with these trousers and had loads of comments about them when I wore them to work. I think they’re excellent value too, for £22! I might buy myself a second pair in a smaller size if I find myself wearing them often enough.

Now I need to find myself some more tops to wear with them!

6 Reasons I Exercise (that are absolutely NOT about weight loss!!)

Some of you may be aware that I’ve recently been selected as one of this year’s This Girl Can Essex ambassadors as part of the local drive to get the women and girls of Essex moving and shaking! 

In the This Girl Can spirit, I wanted to share some of my personal reasons and motivators for exercising – which are absolutely not about weight loss! just incase you weren’t aware **NEWSFLASH** Fat People Don’t Just Exercise To Lose Weight! Over the past 3 or 4 years since I recognised these motivators, my enjoyment and approach to exercise has changed completely!

(In fact, in the preceeding 15+ years before I discovered this revelation for myself – when weight loss was, sadly my ONLY motivation to exercise – I would get to a point where my weight would plateau and I would eventually give up… The cycle ultimately made me miserable and unmotivated…).

Why Exercise Then?! Here’s why:

1. To improve my wellbeing 

This is about looking after my body AND mind – and not in a self-righteous “holier than thou” way! I experience less stress and depression when I exercise. I sleep better. My knees and ankles cause me less pain. I’ve finally found exercise (mainly dance based group classes) that I love – so much so, I sometimes find my cheeks ache from smiling so much during a class! 😄 Knowing it will make me feel good keeps me going back!

2. To see progress 

I love seeing my strength and stamina improve – particularly when I started circuit training and managed to do a burpee over that sodding little bar!! I’d kicked it off weeks and weeks! But then I managed one, then a couple, then a few more! I had a similar experience with planking. Now, I go through it on an almost weekly basis as I’ve joined SOS Dance “crew” training so I’m being pushed to learn more complicated choreography. I start off thinking “I’ll NEVER do that” and then hours, days or weeks later I’m doing it! It’s basically competing with myself over and over. Recognising the progresses really keeps me motivated and looking to see what I can try and achieve next! 

3. Excellent instructors

I’ve been very lucky to find instructors who choreograph amazing routines – particularly zumba and street dance (with SOS Dance). I’ve generally found the instructors at Colchester Leisure World to be positively encouraging without pushing me too far (except the spin instructor – I couldn’t stand her! But I know other people who love her). Not one of the class instructors made me feel like I wouldn’t be able to manage their class or was patronising. Having a membership for a while meant I could choose lots of different things while I sussed out what and who I liked. Through this trial and error I discovered I was as motivated by who was running the session as much as having a class preference. I’ve had more than one situation when I was tempted to walk out of a class because I didn’t like the cover instructor! Find the right people – it makes a huge difference! 

4. To spend time with people

Writing “make friends” seemed a bit of a cliché but basically that’s what it is. Sometimes I guess it’s making acquaintances – for example: there’s a purple haired lady I see at lots of zumba classes. We chat regularly, I know she commutes home from London but I don’t know her name! I enjoy chatting to her and the other regulars. I like dancing together, laughing when we get it wrong or when we have to do a cringey ‘freestyle’ bit! Joining “crew” and being part of a mini dance family with 15 other dancers (who’s names I do know!) is a lovely experience. I’m a people person so being able to let my hair down and shake my bootie with a lovely bunch of ladies brings me joy.

5. To keep dancing

I have always loved dancing and the way it feels to move in my body. I did ballet, tap and modern as a child and gave them up as a young teen as my peers were going ‘en pointe’ and I was embarrassed to be left behind (I didn’t see the point in messing up my feet and ankles for something that would only ever be a hobby). I did Performing Arts A-level and danced throughout. My uni days were spent on the dance floors of the bars and clubs. I returned to adult tap and ballet and tried a bit of street dance in my mid-twenties before I had kids. Dancing just for the sake of dancing has always brought me joy! Having that as part of my regular routine is a just brilliant!

6. As an act of self-love 

Rather than a grueling regime to “work off” something I’ve eaten, I now view my exercise routine as a kindness to myself and my body. It has taken me an awfully long time to begin to love myself and my body and now that I have I want to treat it with kindness. It’s a bit of breathing space away from my job and my kids. A time to focus my mind and let go of my inhibitions. Be a little bit free. It’s my own weird kind of indulgence!

I’d love to hear about what your body positive (i.e. not weight loss related!) motivations are! Or is there is something that worries you or prevents you from exercising? I’d love to know more about your experiences.

Tomorrow night I’m off to a celebration event to meet some of my fellow ambassadors – I’m bound to be sharing a photo or two on my Instagram