Monochrome with Joanie Clothing

This week I received my first Joanie Clothing order and I was soooooooo excited to try out some of their vintage pieces! I recently discovered the brand when I saw a few blogger babes reviewing some of their knitwear and liked their style. I love a vintage-inspired brand so I was keen to take a little look! 

Their website offers a cute selection of vintage style or kitch clothing all in sizes 8-22 with some pieces going up to a 26, which is a reasonably good size range. But when they claim they’re ‘inclusive‘ and for ‘every body‘ it’s a little disappointing …particularly if you’re above a size 26! I’m a size 24/26 depending on the cut or style so I was a bit worried about the fit if their sizes ran small.

After several online “window shopping” sessions I finally took the plunge last weekend to place an order! I was looking for a black and white outfit to wear to my sister-in-law’s birthday party and their sale had a couple of bargain outfit options I thought were far too good to miss!

I opted for the Betty Monochrome Stripe Dress as my first outfit choice (and a bargain for £12 reduced from £40) and also thought I’d try a Phoebe Polka-dot Blouse with a Lula Skirt as a back up (totalling £22.50 for both). I ordered everything in a 26…

I liked that the Betty dress framed my back tattoo and that it was a good fit. I was also impressed that the bow detail belt actually fit – which sadly isn’t always a given with plus size garments so this was a solid plus! On the other hand, I was a bit disappointed that the pleats hadn’t been pressed very well and it sat crumpled and uneven (this may have been because it was a return item as the bag it came in looked like it had been taped up a few times). I’d also planned to wear the dress with my frilly petticoat but even when I had it pulled up to my boobs it sat too long under the skirt (above, right) and looked a bit silly! To be fair to the dress, though the fabric is quite firm so it has a bit of shape to it without the petticoat (above, left) so I would probably be happy to wear the dress without it. However…the whole reason for buying this dress was because I wanted to wear a petticoat with it so it was different to this one (below, right) from Everything £5… Without the petticoat and the neat boxy pleats they’re a bit samey… 😟 so, regretfully I’m thinking of returning it.

So I had high hopes that my back up selection would be a winner!

I really wanted to love this outfit, but I didn’t. The pleats of the skirt weren’t crisp enough, yet again! In fact this time they weren’t even very evenly spaced. The shape of the skirt didn’t look very A-line on my body because my hips seemed to mess up the intended silhouette (I have other skirts and dresses that don’t do this so I know I’m not expecting the impossible!). The blouse is kind of cute, though. It fits nicely (although there is some bra peep-age at the arm holes) and was a steal for just £7.50! The pussybow is detachable (I think) which handy because the way it sits under the collar pulls the collar out of shape so I think it will look better without it. I might even make a little bow out of the fabric that I can pin at the collar if I fancy… I’ll have to keep an eye out for a skirt to go with it now.

So, my first Joanie Clothing experience was a bit of a mixed bag. I love the way the clothes look on their site. The pieces I bought all fitted OK and we’re made of good quality fabric. Sadly the creases in the pleated items have put me off a little so I might be more selective when shopping with them in future. I haven’t been put off yet – mainly because they offer sensibly priced cute, vintage-inspired fashion in a size that fits me and I believe everyone deserves a second chance! 😊

…and I’m still on the hunt for my perfect black and white party dress! 


Health is More than Just a Number

A few weeks ago I shared this image on my personal Facebook timeline:

To which my Facebook friend replied:

​This particular friend happens to be a health professional, although not my health professional! So here is my response:
Basically I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been in terms of body and mind – strong, more resilient, more positive sense of self, able to enjoy high impact exercise regularly (for years now). But I’m fat. Very fat. ‘Morbidly obese’ fat. I shouldn’t have to justify my fatness by saying “but I exercise and eat healthy food”. I’ve been lucky enough to have no medical conditions linked to my weight, 2 healthy pregnancies and births. I’m reasonably well educated and have always had a job since leaving school. Yet society sees my body shape as a problem. It urks me a little.

Before my wedding I was not in my current body confident mindset and I did what I thought was the standard, socially expected pre-wedding diet to drop a few dress sizes ahead of my big day. I can’t even remember which diets I did but I had some success and lost a stone or so. My doctor then offered me some (now banned appetite suppressant) to give me an extra boost. I took these for almost a year, I dropped about 4 stone and was the thinnest I’d ever been in my adult life at a size 16/18. 

Me at my thinnest and on my wedding day

I thought I looked pretty good but emotionally I was a mess. The pills made me anxious, stressed, unable to sleep – they were making me ill! When I came off them I joined an NHS weight loss group and followed their programme but was unable to maintain the weight and managed to put some back on before I got married. It had little bearing on how happy and amazing I felt on my wedding day.
Both mentally and physically, I was definitely less healthy when I was thinner. Not to mention the risks attached to the medication I had been taking. I appreciate that there might be a time in my future when I may be healthier AND thinner than I am now but that will not come from society telling me that I’m a fat, ugly, lazy, worthless, unhealthy human being. It will not come from a crash diet or from excessive exercise because all of those things will have an overall negative impact on my emotional wellbeing. If it were to happen it would be from a place of self-love and self-care…and if it doesn’t I will make the most of the body I have now. I’m not going to hate it any longer!

I guess my Facebook friend is right – it probably is just as inappropriate to suggest fat is healthy as to comment on someone’s health without knowing their medical history, just the same as it can be wholly inappropriate to comment on how healthy someone looks if they lose a lot of weight. I recently overheard a conversation between two breast cancer survivors who were commenting on how their weight loss as a result of their gruelling chemo and surgery was in some way a benefit of having cancer. It’s great that they’ve found a silver lining but seriously – surely society should see that’s a terrifying way to think! 
It’s not just the cancer patients either. I have friends or acquaintances who have lost weight due to depression, bereavement, stress, eating disorders, excessive drug or alcohol use and other illnesses who have had comments made about how ‘well’ they look because they no longer inhabit a fat body. These are just more examples of the fallacy that fatness equates to poor health.

My point is that you cannot judge an individual’s health by just looking at the skin they live in. Good health and wellbeing is made up of lots of different factors and it’s not as simple as thin=healthy and fat=unhealthy. For some people this may be true but for me and many other people it certainly is not. 

If I’m looking for advice on my health I will go to my GP who knows about my overall health. If I don’t ask then I don’t need you to make an uninformed comment. You cannot tell by looking at me how healthy I am so don’t even try to.

The point of the original post wasn’t even really about ‘health’ for me. It was about it being OK for fat girls to feel comfortable in their skin. To be confident. To dress how they like. Regardless of their health, the number on the scales or the label in their clothes – surely everyone has the right to feel good?

Review: Avon 3 in 1 camera lens

Review: Avon 3 in 1 camera lens

I don’t tend to buy many beauty products from Avon these days, partly because I’ve read that they’re not truly cruelty free (as I think they’re still selling beauty products in China where testing on animals is compulsory) and partly because I’ve never been a big fan of their make-up. But I always have a look through the catalogue, especially in the lead up to Christmas as I like some of their gift ideas and decorations.

I found this camera lens set from Avon during my most recent catalogue perusal. I decided to give it a try…it was basically an impulse buy because they were only a fiver and I thought they might assist me with my very basic photography “skills”! I currently take photos on my phone (an old Sony Xperia) – often with it balanced in an empty mug (so hardly a professional operation) so I thought it was worth giving them a try to see what they were like.

The set contains a wide, fish eye and macro lens that screw onto a clip that slides neatly over the phone’s built-in lens. 

It was very easy to use and the results were pretty impressive …Here are a few comparison shots:

I wish I was photographing a beautiful skyline rather than the junk in the corner of my bedroom but it still illustrates how much wider the shot can be with this lens. I was sat in the same place for both pictures.

The silly face is optional, obviously! But I absolutely think I can have some fun with the fish eye lens!

I didn’t even know what a macro lens was but it turned out to be my favourite one! I love the fact that I am able to photograph close-up details with my phone! It will be great for beauty or accessory posts! 

My only criticism is that the lens can sometimes cast a shadow when using the phone’s built-in flash, which I guess might be more of an issue with the phone design rather than the lens clip. I’m going to see if I can find a way to use both the lens clip and my clip on selfie light at the same time… I’ll let you know how I get on!

Now I need to find myself a phone tripod so I can free up my poor mug and enjoy a cuppa while I take blog photo! 

What’s your best bit of cheapy photography kit?!

Thanks for reading!


How to make a last minute kid’s vampire cape!

How to make a last minute kid’s vampire cape!

So, not my usual style of post, but this evening has been taken up with a temporary re-purpose of one of my dresses into a cape! it’s a dress I love so I didn’t want to do any permanent damage so thought I might as well share it in case it comes in handy for anyone else!

I used my Amy in Black by Monroe Knows (which are currently on sale for £24.99 – a mega £50 off the RRP!) which I don’t appear to have a photo of myself wearing… so you will have to make do with this picture of H wearing it in another cape style as part of her Darth Maul outfit last year:

So here goes…

Apart from the dress, you will also need a handful of safety pins and a piece of A3 card.

Turning the whole thing over and pinning from the back will look neater but is a bit more fiddly!

Again, pinning from inside the dress is neater but fiddly, so pin from the inside if it’s easier… And ta dah! You’re done!

Happy Halloween! 🎃 👻 

Plus-Fun! at Plus Size Essex

Plus-Fun! at Plus Size Essex

Incase you missed me banging on about it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – last week (Sunday 9th October) Essex hosted it’s first plus size fashion event ‘Plus Size Essex’ at Brentwood Holiday Inn and it was a blast!

As it was the first one it was on a smaller scale than some of the national plus size events but I liked the intimate atmosphere and the feeling of being a part of something exciting, shiny and new! There may have only been a handful of brands but they all offered something different and of an excellent quality for the plus sized lady so I wasn’t disappointed! Here’s a selection of what was on offer:

Apples and Pears were there, fronted by their owner Liz who is not only a lovely lady, she is also an advocate for body positivity and passionate about offering fashionable clothes to plus size women. Her pieces are easy to wear and often have a slightly vintage feel so they’re right up my street! For some bizarre reason I didn’t get any photos from their catwalk show but here are some snaps taken by Kat (one of the models) backstage: I particularly liked the polka dot dresses! And here’s another taken by Essexy Hair (who did the model’s hair on the day). 

Couldn’t Curve Less were also there with a beautiful hand-picked selection of pieces. They’re a fairly new brand so I hadn’t heard of them before Plus Size Essex but I was impressed by their on-stream collection and was particularly fond of their floral bomber jacket and black jump suit (pictured).

For me, the brand who stole the show were Gatsby Lady who offer 1920’s inspired hand finished sequin and beaded dresses in sizes 6-30! I’ve read a few blog posts about these dresses (including this one by Georgia at She Might Be) and had them on my wish list for wedding outfits but ended up choosing other things. Now that I’ve seen them up close I am totally buying one for my next fancy do! The model’s were having soooooooo much fun during their catwalk show too…!

They all looked absolutely stunning! 

I jumped at an opportunity to try a couple of their dresses myself – I didn’t want to take them off!

The gold one was a little big at a size 30, and the turquoise was a 26 and I think I might size up to a 28 to give the cape a bit more fabric to flow if I was going to buy it (it’s on my “must buy” list!). I’d probably decide to wear shapewear to smooth out my silhouette but I think they look absolutely stunning! Considering the attention to detail these dresses are very reasonably priced too. I’ve also got this one on my wish list…!

I’d been excited about meeting the ladies behind Chocolate Buddha who make beautiful active wear – primarily for yoga but I’d wear it to my exercise classes… when they make it in my size! They’re looking to extend their range of sizes (and unlike other brands I absolutely believe them!) so I’ll be keeping an eye out! I’m particularly interested in the vest tops (with a double layer so you don’t flash you bra in a head stand!) and either capri leggings or harem pants. The models let us have a little feel of the fabric too – they were so soft!

I truly enjoyed chatting to 2 of the ladies from Chocolate Buddha too – they have great motivations for creating their clothing and I hope it’s a success so I can buy some of it!

There was also a very informative bra fitting workshop by  Ms Pomelo (although, regretfully I didn’t make it to her stall to talk bras or find out more) and a selection of gorgeous bridal wear from Curves and Couture Bridal. I didn’t manage to catch their impromptu catwalk show but I did snap a couple of the models back stage.

Finally, there was a beautiful selection of accessories on offer from Jo’s Jewellery, including my only purchase of the day:

 I’ll be back to tell you more about my time at Plus Size Essex but for now, these were the pioneer brands and Plus Size Essex 1! Do you have a favourite?! 


Who I Met: Curve Fashion Festival 

Who I Met: Curve Fashion Festival 

Oh God, I’m absolutely useless at getting the things I plan to write about out of my head and typed up into any semblance of a blog post! Sorry! I promised to tell you more about my adventures in my last CFF post. So, as they say ‘better late than never’ – here’s a quick update on who I met at Curve Fashion Festival in Liverpool the other week and why meeting them was so important to me…

The Celebs 

I’ll be honest, there wasn’t really anyone on the celeb line up I was particularly desperate to meet. But I figured I might not get the opportunity to meet these plus size icons again so decided to say hello – and I’m so glad I did!

I met Sandra and Sandi from Gogglebox, who were great fun! So friendly and chatty. Loved their matching outfits!

They also walked the catwalk (I think for Want That Trend but I might be wrong!) and looked like they were enjoying themselves! I’m a huge Gogglebox fan but Sandi and Sandra haven’t ever been my favourite on it but they were so lovely in real life! 

Hayley Hasselhoff was there launching her new collection with Elvi, the clothes looked sleek and very high-end on the catwalk. I particularly liked the chunky knit jumper on the left:

I’m not so sure about the idea of wearing your PJs and dressing gown as regular clothes (right) but I guess if my night attire looked that glam, I might be tempted! 

Hayley had her very own photo booth where she snapped a few pics and chatted while the photo printed. She was an absolute delight! Complementing everyone, looking flawless and generally not seeming like she was sick of the day (the queue for photos was pretty massive at times!). She was happy to pose for selfies and signed the photobooths print – she gets 10/10 for effort! 

Finally, I also managed to grab a quick chat and photo with the plus size poster girl pioneer herself – Tess Holliday! I know the jury is out amongst the plus size community on Tess, but I figured I may never get another opportunity to meet her and much God, she is a stunner! 

Tess was polite and professional in her manner, she chatted a little but was probably tired by the time I bowled over requesting a photo! I actually asked Kat
 to ask her because I thought she was more likely to say yes to her! 😂 I was happy with my pic and she didn’t refuse so I’m happy! 

The Bloggers 

I’ve said before that I feel like a bit of a fraud calling myself a “blogger”, well coming face to face with real bloggers (the ones who have inspired me to love my body) was a bit intimidating but I needn’t have worried – they were all lovely! I didn’t manage to get photos with everyone I spoke to (and I didn’t manage to speak to everyone I wanted to either) but here’s a selection of the bloggers I’ve followed and chatted to for (in some cases many) years – finally meeting them in the flesh! This was where I got really excited – swoon!

Clockwise from the top there’s Lottie L’AmourFatty Boom TattyPlus Size and Proud,  Fuller Figure Fuller BustLolly Likes and Not So Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess. I’m sad I didn’t get more photos of the others. Each of these ladies have given me something – either motivation, inspiration or practical tips on how to live comfortably in my skin. Spending a bit of time with them was the highlight of the day for me. It’s a huge boost being part of a community of plus size women, especially when they are as kind, encouraging and beautiful as this lot!

I was almost too nervous to go and speak to Georgina from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust but just before we were due to leave she was stood chatting to some bloggers I know so I decided it was my last opportunity… I didn’t introduce myself or anything because I didn’t expect her to know who I was and didn’t want to look like a crazed super-fan! So I kind of awkwardly asked for a photo. 

George was one of the first plus size bloggers I followed on Twitter and she has inspired me to change my style, wardrobe and attitude towards my body. So I’m so pleased I didn’t pass up the opportunity to meet her.

It was such a fantastic day! Connecting with fellow plus size women is good for the soul! Tickets for next year’s event are already on sale!




I’ve talked a bit before about my poor relationship with food and I imagine these posts will explore that relationship. I believe I am body positive and very much comfortable in my own skin, but I know that some of the obsessing I do around food is not contributing to a healthy mind. It’s part of my own self-love to take steps to rectify that. If that kind of discussion is likely to offend you or make you uncomfortable then these posts are not for you! Head back over to the fashion and make up pages and forget all about what you’ve seen here! 😊

Anyone still with me?! OK here goes…

Tonight I’m starting a 7 week course called “I Eat What I Need” which claims to offer “a different way to resolve eating issues”, to give participants the opportunity to explore their eating and body “challenges” and to find peace in yourself. Pretty big claims! But for someone who is looking to change their mind rather than their body, there was something about the course that made me think it was worth a try.

After years of “failed” diets and interventions (I’ve tried lots) I’ve learnt everything there is to know about a healthy balanced diet. I’ve also been super lucky to have the recent realisation that it’s OK to be happy in my body regardless of it’s shape or size – which made it easier to stop the faddy diets and get rid of the guilt associated with eating ‘bad’ foods – now I just call it all food. 

Despite this (literally life changing) realisation I’ve come to the conclusion that I still have an unhealthy relationship with food. I self-medicate, using food to help regulate my mood, as a reward or a punishment. It’s a way of thinking I have control when actually I’m completely out of control. In order to truly demonstrate self-love I believe need to address this little food demon in my head because regardless of the physical impact it might be having on my body, it’s absolutely having an impact on my emotional wellbeing.

If I can find a way to “eat what I need” this course will be worth it. If I can share my body positive message with others it will be worth it. It’s possible that I could lose weight as a by-product but it isn’t my primary reason for going. I’m doing it from a place of love rather than a place of self-loathing.

I am definitely sceptical. But I’m open to trying something new. Especially if it will make me a happier, healthier person.

I’ll be updating my progress and my experience of the course as it progresses. Wish me luck! 😄