Lifestyle

Crochet To The Maxi!

A plus size woman smiling in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids and sunglasses

When it comes to the summertime there are many things to look forward to.  Some of us make plans to travel and catch some sun, others decide to stay home and enjoy those surroundings. This past month I turned 30 and the big occasion was taking place in Las Vegas! The last time I was in the USA, I was on the west coast, LA to be exact. Some of my best friends had visited sin city before and so, they made sure to warn me of the extreme desert heat!

A plus size woman wearing freetress gogo curl crochet braids A plus size woman smiling in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids and sunglasses

In preparation for a summer holiday we all tend to stock up on new clothes for the big trip. In my case I wanted to be fashionable and comfortable in the sunshine. Of course my birthday falls right in the middle of July, typically the hottest time of the year in Vegas with temperatures reaching up to 50 degrees. I had a lot to consider wardrobe-wise. The aim was to have a selection of summertime options that would be comfortable, easy to wear and fat friendly! Each summer there is one item that all women tend to look for and this is of course is a maxi dress.

A plus size woman smiling in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids and sunglassesA plus size woman in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids and sunglasses

When I saw this low cut tie-dye number from Junarose (also available at Simply Be) it was something that I really wanted to try. The splashes of blue and white would compliment many other items in my closet. I already knew that I could add my own style and flair to such an item. I tried this dress in both sizes 24 and 26; eventually opting for the 26. The V shape lines sat too high against my large bust in a 24 and so I decided to go one size bigger. We all like to explore when we go on our travels and so I thought it would be best to pair the dress with a simple pair of trainers. Las Vegas is a city built in the desert, with this in mind it was important to include a bag.

A plus size woman in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids and sunglassesA plus size woman in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids and sunglasses

My white backpack was to help in carrying water bottles and other essentials. Aiming to protect my eyes from the bright sunshine, I borrowed Hanna’s Polaroid sunnies. Wearing this outfit I felt like a 1970s, disco diva. I really enjoyed wearing this look and found it to be extremely light and airy. The deep V cut, allowed for quite a helping of cleavage, which is fine with me lol. With my arms uncovered and exposed, it took a little added confidence to wear this one but I enjoyed myself and felt really great.

A plus size woman smiling wearing freetress gogo curl crochet braids and round sunglasses A plus size woman smiling in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids and sunglassesA plus size woman wearing freetress gogo curl crochet braids and sunglasses

My amazing friend Venice had installed some crochet curls into my hair the very day before these photos were taken. The plan was to have a heat protective style for my hair that would be easy to manage. Many women with natural afro hair are conscious of protecting their hair from extreme heat and UV rays. Unfortunately I have found that no amount of oiling my hair has prevented it from drying out in the sunshine. I wanted a stress free, time-saving style and thought that curls would be a nice way to go. Interestingly enough, human hair is usually the chosen option when wearing extensions. Crochet braid wearers tend to go for synthetic styles instead. Of course this is helps when it comes to the price tag and can save one hundreds of pounds! I selected the Freetress GOGO curl, colour 1B.

A plus size woman in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids and sunglassesA plus size woman smiling wearing freetress gogo curl crochet braids and sunglassesA plus size woman smiling in a summer maxi dress, wearing crochet braids

I always select colour 1B when wearing extensions as this matches my natural shade. If I were to wear a weave or a wig, Brazilian or Peruvian hair would be my texture of choice. I have become a huge fan of crochet braids as they are such an easy style to wear and extremely lightweight. They come in a variety of curl and twist patterns and only take a short amount of time to install. Venice more than hooked me up! I thought it would be cool to include my navy bandana with this outfit to compliment the shades in the maxi-dress.

The sunshine is still here so i’m hoping that I will get a little more wear out of my summer clothing this season! I may have big hair, loud dresses and bold prints in my wardrobe but, I plan on experimenting. I find that you can surprise yourself when you just take a chance with your look!

A plus size woman smiling wearing freetress gogo curl crochet braids

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and do it with a smile!

The Confidence Curse?

Hi everyone, I have been meeting a lot of people lately and taking the time to see what’s happening out there. A lot of my friends are either getting married, newly engaged or have embarked on a new relationship. These are all things that I have no relation to as I’m still single and working hard in other areas of my life, however I’m no stranger to the dating world and I have to say it’s pretty rough out there these days. I’m living vicariously through a lot of my friends and acquaintances at the moment but here are some of my findings…

Plussize women are being appreciated a lot more these days now with some

public sex symbols of our own flying the flag for women like myself everywhere. The funny thing though, I actually find in my own personal experience and that of some of the other women I know, that being confident can be a little bit of a curse when it comes to dating. Yes, men love a confident woman but the problem in that area often falls short at the feet of the men…

I have seen a lot of articles and youtube videos featuring many men who find bigger women seriously attractive. A common theme that a lot of them have is the insecurity that comes from peer pressure and society at large. For some it seems that plus size women are allowed to be confident, even pretty but many people find it taboo to want to date one of us! I guess society has been pushing our smaller sisters out to the world as the one and only standard of beauty. I have mentioned this before but I think it’s a cultural thing because in many parts of the world it’s the bigger girls who are seen as the more desirable option. The issue is that many men simply can’t face the ridicule of dating women who look like myself.

Having said all of this, dating as a plus woman is not an easy thing. A lot of men make it obvious that big women to them are nothing more than some sort of sexual fetish. The term BBW used to mean Big Beautiful Woman but over the recent years and through the negative side of social media this is now a term that has attached itself to the larger women who wish to objectify themselves sexually. I have no issue with women choosing to do what they want with their sexuality or their fatness. The problem that I have is that to some men, all confident big girls who like to show a little skin from time to time are placed under that same umbrella.

There seem to be a lot of men out there who want to date big girls, whilst hiding them behind closed doors. I find that the challenge many of us have is finding the men who have the larger woman as a physical preference or those who don’t care either way that generally want to get to know the woman beneath the body. It’s funny how many men think they are paying you a compliment whilst blatantly letting you know that they see you as nothing more than a sexual fantasy. On the flip side to that there are a lot of men who also think that we big girls should be grateful to receive any male attention at all and should “take what we can get!”

If you meet a woman like myself who knows herself, has a lot of confidence but won’t settle where do you go from there? I know a lot of men who like big women genuinely but the stereotypical feeders and chubby chasers are giving them a bad rep and many women are missing out on these genuine guys because they have had to wade through so much nonsense that in the end many of them give up dating all together!

I think there is a fine line because every woman wants to feel sexy and be seen as sexy from their prospective dates. The thing is there does come a point where you think OK, glad you like what you see but don’t you wanna get to know me at all? A lot of men these days are asking women for sex before they even know their name, age or relationship status! I personally find this really frustrating. I mean on the one hand it’s good to know up front if a guy is just out for the one thing but on the other hand at least back in the day a man was willing to honour you enough respect to try and take you out a few times before trying to get into your knickers! I find that the current way of dating, using apps that scroll through people like magazine pages has left a lot of us feeling like the people we may date are talking to a catalogue of other people and it can make it hard to know if someone really likes you for what you have to offer and if they’re even willing to get to know you.

I’m personally not sure what to think of the dating world at large but I am starting to wonder if being a confident fat woman is intimidating to many guys? I’m trying to work out why some men think that being thin and confident is super sexy but being big and confident is such a turn off. For all the men I have spoken to about this subject I am still none the wiser and so I’m bringing the question to some of you. What do you think the issue is for big girls out there looking for love and what can they do to help some of these nice guys feel more confident in making their approach?

Summer Stripes – A Lane Bryant Review

*This is a gifted Dress

Summers in the UK seem to get shorter with each passing year. As a summer baby born in July I crave the warm sunny days where the flowers have bloomed, pub gardens are packed and we can wear those cute summer outfits that are needed during the warmer months. I love it when I can get really cute and girly and I find that summer is the season where I most enjoy doing so. I was recently sent a cute stripy sun dress from Lane Bryant and I was finally able to wear it last weekend. Technically summer starts in June but lately in London the warm days have been few and far between but, when they do finally come they tend to be sweltering hot!

I really love this dress it’s bright, light and extremely comfortable. I really like the length and found that I could easily wear anti-chafe shorts without them being seen if I wanted to. The thick shoulders allow for any style of bra to be worn and I was able to select one that provided me with a lot of comfort and support in the summer heat. I often worry that buttons will gape when it comes to any item of clothing with a front fastening due to the size of my breasts. With this dress I found that I had more than enough boob room with all of the buttons fastened although in these photos I chose to leave a few open at the top for a little cleavage to be shown. The tie detail at the front I found to be a really cute way to accentuate the waist and showcase the shape of the breasts when fastened.

The bright pastel blue of the dress is perfect for this season and the different sized stripes I think is a nice touch and elongates the length of my 5’5 frame. I deiced to pair this one with a pair of brown leather sandals from a previous Lane Bryant collection, my signature hoop earrings and a pair of Isabel Marant Daria Mirrored glasses. I felt a little like a 70s soul diva in this outfit I have to say lol. The temperature in London was about 32 degrees Celsius when I took these pics. Even in such hot sun I was more than comfortable and felt like summer had well and truly arrived!

I love to wear a comfortable heel regardless of the time of year but a cute pair of open toe sandals or wedges really tops off a summer look. I could have gone for a white or blue shoe to compliment the colours in the dress but thought i’d go the other way and work with the sunglasses I was wearing. If there was a bit of a chill in the air then a white cardigan or a denim jacket of some kind would have been a nice addition to this outfit.

I’m really hoping that I have some more sunny days to enjoy in London as I have several summer outfits I plan on wearing! If all else fails I am taking a trip to Vegas next month to celebrate my 30th and I will most definitely be able to sport some of my summer looks in the strong desert sun! I used to dread swealtering hot days as I would want my arms covered due to lack of confidence. Now I could care less about layering up on a hot day and choose comfort before anything else. Having said that comfort doesn’t have to be safe and boring. It can fun, sexy and flattering all at the same time!

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and do it with a smile!

Bad Bitch!

Hey guys, as some of you know every now and then I create a post paying homage to my all time favourite musician, Michael Jackson! To me there will never be another artist like him. I honestly can’t ever imagine seeing another musician with his life dedication to the craft, expertise, allure, talent and genius artistry. I enjoy being a Michael fan and do what I can to celebrate him. Every single MJ fan out there is loud and proud in their fan-ship towards Michael and I have to say it’s not always been a fun or easy thing to be a member of the fan community. That being said confidence is definitely something every Michael fan posses as we are used to people seeing us a little bit differently to everyone else. It is because of this that I thought it would be fun to recreate a Dirty Diana style look.  Everyone remembers seeing Lisa Dean’s very shapely legs walking in the shadows during the short film and of course that tight black bodycon dress. Now I may not have a figure like hers but as I love the leather and daring looks from the 80s (and have that alarming confidence most of us MJ fans have) I thought I would switch up the look and wear a strapless black dress, no shapewear (like I said i’m confident and not afraid of my VBL) and of course a pair of MJ style looking heels. Topping off the look with my replica tour jacket from the groundbreaking 1988 Bad World Tour (released for the 25th anniversary of the album). A pair of vintage Ray-Bans from the 80s and I was ready and set to go!

As a singer and songwriter I was always inspired by Michael. He musicianship, creativity, phenomenal stage presence and timeless back catalogue have been a major part of my life. Some of my fondest memories include his music and of course meeting him on November 16th 2006 with one of my best friends Pez. Unfortunately even though I have been a fan of MJ for pretty much my entire life, I was never lucky enough to experience his magic in a live concert. The closest I got was seeing him at the World Music awards when he received the diamond award for selling over 100 million copies of Thriller. I, like every over die hard fan in the stratosphere was working on making up for that when the This Is It residency at the 02 arena was announced. With several dates booked, my fan t-shirts and flags at the ready I was pumped. I then found myself stunned and in a full state of grief when Michael passed away and so, Pez and I took ourselves to the public memorial in Los Angeles.

My friends and I have always been very active within the MJ community, travelling all over the world and throwing a host of events over the years. Fast forward 8 years since Michael’s passing and we are celebrating all things in relation to Michael Jackson live! The world’s greatest entertainer did more than wow millions with his concert tours. Michael Jackson revolutionised what is expected of a live music performer! Breaking through the stage and standing frozen on the spot was genius, exiting a stadium with a jet pack strapped to his back, bringing out a giant full size army tank you name it he did it! This Is It was also set to break new ground with live sequences being combined with incredible visuals, CGI Imagery and of course phenomenal choreography and live vocals… It would have been an amazing experience to finally see the king do what he does best but I am grateful to have many memories both with Michael and around him.

The boys and I have hosted the world’s only Michael Jackson convention “Kingvention” for the past 2 years. Starting with marking the 20th anniversary for the HIStory album, followed by celebrating the 25th anniversary of my ALL TIME favourite album Dangerous. This year we are focusing on all things live, in an event we called ‘Access All Areas’. We continually try to find ways to make our events bigger than the previous ones and this one we have really taken things to another level. The live interviews will feature special guests who have worked closely with Michael in his live tours. We have Dorian Holley, who featured as a backing vocalist on the Bad, Dangerous & History World Tours and returned as the Vocal Director for This Is It. He has also worked with the likes of Rod Stewart, Lionel Richie, Usher and Christina Aguilera. Dancer and choreographer Eddie Garcia is also joining us. Eddie was one of the principal dancers on both the Bad and Dangerous tours and featured in the Smooth Criminal and The Way You Make me Feel short films. More uniquely, he helped bring Spike Rabbit to life in Speed Demon by dancing alongside Michael. He will be hosting a special dance masterclass in addition to participating in the main event. Finally and by no means least we have the incredible photographer Steven Paul Whitsitt. Steven has captured Michael during some of his most iconic moments, as one of the photographers on Michael’s official team he captured some iconic stills from the Dangerous Tour & The Superbowl. Steven was also the on-set photographer for the HIStory Teaser, Scream, You Are Not Alone and Childhood. He also captured Michael as Charlie Chaplin for his single ‘Smile’ and shot the You Are Not Alone Single Cover. We will get to hear live talks from each of these amazing men who will share some amazing stories, insights and view points on what it was like working up close and personal with the King Of Pop!

We will also have an incredible photo exhibit, incredible merchandise store, screening, meet and greet and spell binding after party! The big event takes place on September 30th at the Victoria Park Plaza hotel. If you feel like pulling out your old MJ tour t-shirts and would like to hear more about how Michael put together his incredible tours and captivated the world with his amazing live vocals and dance skills come on down to Kingvention. We’d love to see you there! Any music lover would hate to miss out on this one!

Remember whatever you do, feel fabulous in it and do it with a smile!

Spa Sessions And Sensational Spices

Don’t you just love it when you get an email or phone call where you are presented with an amazing opportunity? I was asked recently by The Entertainer if I would like to spend a day with Hanna at a luxurious spa followed by a slap up dinner! Some of you may have seen that I joined their squad a few months ago and; I have since been lucky enough to try out and experience many of the fun attractions, restaurants and amenities they have to offer right here in London.

Life has a way of knocking the wind out of your sails, putting you under stress and pressure. Sometimes things can get a little on top of you and you just need some rest and relaxation. I recently have been under a lot of stress in my working life and I tend to carry it all in my back and shoulders. You can only imagine my excitement when I was invited to visit the amazing Spa Verta, located in Battersea right by the river Thames. I cannot tell you this could not have come at a better time for me! The mere thought of getting a quiet relaxing day with one of my best friends wasn’t something I could pass up…

Hanna and I were made to feel like VIPs on arrival, we were given some lovely robes and slippers to change into and, a lovely selection of teas and coffees to enjoy. Within about 20 minutes we were taken into a beautifully decorated, dimly lit, aromatic, relaxation room with soft loungers while we waited for our individual massage therapists to come and collect us for our treatments. I walked in full of tension in my back and knots in my shoulders. The minute I laid down on the massage table I could have fallen asleep, the music was really comforting and relaxing, so much so that I want to try and get a copy of it on my next visit. A series of oils from Espa were used during the treatment and I have to say my skin was left feeling baby soft and smelling like heaven, again more products I want to get hold of during my next visit lol. In a short space of time I was left feeling totally relaxed and tension free.

*Photos Courtesy Of Spa Verta

Our treatments were followed by some time spent in the incredible hydro pool. I could have stayed in that water for hours! With a choice of 3 different saunas we were able to really work on any additional tension that we may have had. First we spent some time in the UV sauna, followed by the steam room and then the traditional sauna. You cannot imagine how amazing my hair felt after all that steam! We both had the most amazing time and will be sure to book another session in there soon.

Following on from a peaceful day we headed over to The Red Fort and Zeena bar in Soho, a sexy, swanky spot where many celebrities frequent. I will say I love Indian food and have been a little cocky in my time about what’s available. As a vegetarian I have always loved this cuisine but the food was served in a very decorative fashion and was surprisingly light in flavour. I started with the Hara Kebab, a gorgeous spinach and fenugreek patties lightly filled with cheddar and onion. I then had some saffron and cumin rice with some sauteed spinach, chilli, garlic and onion for my mains and finished off the meal with some gorgeous home made ice cream. Of course Hanna and I enjoyed some South African white wine with dinner! I have to say we had a really lovely time here.

I would highly recommend these places for a nice day out with your significant other, a fun day with friends or a nice treat for your mum. If you’re ever in the big city of London you definitely will want to check out the The Entertainer for the current deals and offerings for a fun day or night out!

Remember whatever you do, feel fabulous in it and do it with a smile!

The Sunny Side Of Blue

*The Jacket And Top Are Gifted Items

Finally spring is here! For the past few months we have been treated to and endless stream of cold days, muddy puddles and the general dregs of winter. I am definitely a summer baby in every sense of the word but, I really enjoy the spring time. It’s nice to witness the flowers blooming, bright and pretty colours flooding the streets and the general happy buzz that comes with the season. I love the fashions of the spring as there is always such a vast mix of styles between the transitions of winter into spring and of course, spring into summer. London has been through some weird times of late but it has been such a blessing to get some sunshine at last!

I was recently sent the most amazing jacket from In The Style Curve. The Tay blush waterfall drape tie waist jacket is a really soft jacket made in a stretchy material that works as a light cover-up for the season. The sleeves can be shortened with the button tie detail attached at the arms. This one works both open as a duster or closed for a different effect. I love the colour and I thought that even though the sun is shinning here in London there is a still a little bit of a chill in the air so this was a great addition to my outfit. The brand have a really fun and edgy collection this season so be sure to check it out!

Spring always gives us pastels and soft tones. I don’t own many pastels to be honest with you but I do have a fair amount of blues in my closet! I was recently sent the most gorgeous sleeves top from Navabi. The cotton Peplum top from the Manon Baptiste collection, a really light and comfortable item to wear that is bursting with style. The material is really breathable and soft to the touch and compliments stone wash and acid wash denim really well. Their current collection is full of fun and sweet items for the season so be sure to check it out. I thought i’d wear this top with a pair of light jeggings from a previous Simply Be collection. I pulled out my blue cork wedges put on my favourite pair of Ray-Ban aviators and I was ready and set to go!

I love that when the seasons change you can make some fun outfits with old items in your closet and some new ones. I can’t wait to have more sunny days as I have some other outfits in mind that I haven’t been able to wear as the weather hasn’t allowed for it just yet. Denim is the fabric of the season so there will no doubt be some fun and fresh items out there in the stores. I have seen some amazing previews of some embroidered items and fun accessories. I definitely hope to get more light shades of denim so that I can play around with some more summery styles.

Have fun with the change in the season. I always see this is a great time to express myself visually whether that be by having nice flowers in the house, creating fun and colourful meals or dressing in some fun and bright items. I can’t wait to get out my fun summer dresses but I will most definitely make the most of the denim that’s everywhere. We all have it in our wardrobes and we all enjoy wearing it so why not switch things up and take your look to the next level?

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!

Loving The Skin You’re In

Photography By Studio 52

It’s funny how some people think that they know all that there is to know about a person just from meeting them once or from the persona they portray. I often have people writing to me or telling me in person how confident I seem and they ask me what things they can do to let their guard down and just feel comfortable in their skin. To be totally honest with you I don’t think there is a magic formula or series of steps one can take to achieve a feeling of confidence. I always refer to my own confidence as a journey, I have my good and my bad days just like everyone else but in my case I think a combination of different things has all contributed to my being the way that I am.

My family is massive! I have tons of family members on both sides and a bunch of people who may not carry the same blood line as me but they are very much a part of the bunch also. Being around so many people who have large bold personalities can make it a challenge for some to find their own way and stand out in a positive light. Many of my friends have come from situations where they found it hard to find their voice in a sense. In my case my childhood was filled with my family, friends and of course many tumultuous times. As many of my readers know I was severely bullied in school from the age of 4-18 and always struggled with fitting in and being comfortable. My weight has always been with me despite countless diets, exercise regimes and emotional headaches. I always had a constant war going on in my head because I had the confidence of a raging bull when it came to taking the stage and entertaining people whether that be singing my heart out, acting, public speaking or otherwise. The thing is, knowing that your talent shines bright is one thing but it can easily be diminished when you’re not comfortable in your own skin…

For me I had to go through many situations and experiences with people all over to realise that I get my confidence from truly knowing who I am, what I stand for and having the courage to stand by whatever it is that I believe in. I have never been the quiet silent type unable to express myself and I know already that I’m not the sort of woman who will ever become a shrinking violet. I stand high on my morals, my faith and my relationships with the people who matter most to me in my life. All of these things have allowed me to feel confident. I guess it’s that fight of flight sort of thing; you can make a decision to panic which more often than not does nothing and can exacerbate a situation or you can stop, pull yourself together and do the best you can in a situation. I tend to be someone who takes the latter option and with this my self confidence when it comes to my self image has started to get the message.

When I was 25 years old I came to the realisation that I love who I am as a person and a woman. I figured although I had a lot to learn and a lot of growing up to do I couldn’t continue to spend another day hating the way that I looked. I had pretty much spent a quarter of a century beating myself up for not looking like other women and I eventually realised that I’m not meant to be like anyone else. I need to be the best Mayah that I can possibly be and that instead of looking at my glass as half empty I needed to look at it as half full, focus on all the things I love about myself and build on those; eventually overshadowing the doubts I had in my own mind.

Confidence isn’t something that I feel you can buy through any sort of beauty product or clothing item. These are things that can help enhance what may already be hiding beneath the surface. I think the key is learning to love parts of yourself that you previously may have hated. Take my hair for example, I have always had a constant war with my hair and when I finally realised that it is the way it is, I learned to find things about it that I enjoy and I build on those. I think the same can be said in other aspects of who you are. If you love to be creative then surround yourself around creative people who will uplift and inspire you to do the same for yourself. If you want to be more introspective then find ways to channel that energy in a positive light and the rest will follow. The old saying can also be true “fake it until you make it” it worked for me on many occasions. I think basically it’s a trial and error sort of thing and is a process that takes time. I have those days when I look in the mirror and think ewww I look hideous but I try and just take it for what it is, a bad day and I keep pushing on. What I’m saying is that when you’re having a down day try and focus on the aspects that you love about yourself and don’t feed into that negative energy. Eventually the paradigm of your thoughts will change.

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!

A Different Kind Of Vintage – A Dolly And Dotty Review

I love getting a pretty new dress. There’s just something about a cute dress that can make you feel girly and beautiful; I always find myself thinking of exactly where I might want to wear it and how I would style my look. I tend to gravitate towards vintage dresses that have a deep cleavage and a wide circle skirt but, when vintage inspired company Dolly And Dotty contacted me recently to see if I would like to try out one of their styles I was really excited. I love vintage clothing and I find that more often than not most vintage style brands on the market don’t cater to my dress size or proportions. I’m always on the hunt for vintage brands which include plus sizes and it’s often difficult finding that perfect little dress with something a bit different. Things have most definitely improved in that area and most of my readers would have seen some of my favourite looks that I like to wear. Give me a swing dress and a petticoat and I know exactly how I’ll wear it!

I wanted to try something a little different this time and so I selected the Anna dress to try out, a special little number that reminds me of something that the legendary actress Audrey Hepburn may have worn. I love the navy and white mix with block colour bodice and horizontal striped skirt, for me this gave a slightly new twist on a sailor dress. The weather in London has been pretty dire the past few months and so I didn’t want to wait until the summer time to try out this gorgeous dress. I decided to bring it along as one of my looks during my recent shoot with Studio 52. In most cases I would wear this dress with a white jacket, white heels or trainers, blue bandana and hair my hair in a series of twisted curls. This time I’m wearing the dress without a petticoat and no other accessories.

Looking back on these photos and seeing myself in a vintage dress sporting a full afro got me thinking. I wonder how times were for women who look like me back in the 40s and 50s? A lot has happened over the past few decades and a lot of things we begin to talk about today with regards to politics leans towards more of a negative feeling about where we are as people. As a woman of colour though I am aware of the changes that have happened throughout history and I am happy to say that for the most part we have all come along way with how we look to other people and how we treat them. I know that very few women who look like me would have been able to wear a beautiful dress, in a beautiful setting with a gorgeous velvet chaise lounge, feeling glamorous having lovely photos taken of them… I’m pleased that times have and do change and i’m happy that this is an experience to which myself and others like me can thoroughly enjoy.

I look forward to wearing this dress in the warmer seasons of the year and having fun playing around with different accessories and vintage style items. I do love that even though this is a vintage inspired item that it can easily be worn with some more modern items with a little creativity and flare.

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!

Embracing My Blackness

*Photography By Studio52 Clothing From Evans Clothing, Live Unlimited And Hotter Shoes

It seems that the entire planet is talking about America at the moment. They have just elected the new president, enjoyed the Superbowl Halftime show and black history month is in full swing. I’ve been watching a lot of American TV shows and news postings lately and even though the celebration of black history month doesn’t come to the UK until October, it got me thinking about the icons who have inspired me, important people in my family and of course my own blackness…

I come from a multi racial family as many of my readers know. My mother is half Irish and Trinidadian and my father is Jamaican. In both sides of my family the Caribbean influences have hints of Indian and Chinese. Having said all of that people are often interested to know where my family are from and having been exposed to all sides of my culture I have always identified as a mixed race person. I personally find that embracing a part of myself doesn’t have to mean ignoring the other and I try to merge the different areas of my background into the various areas as life such as my diet, the music I create and listen to and of course when it comes to my looks to name a few.

For the past few months I have been wearing my hair natural and it has been an interesting journey. I had no idea how much work and upkeep is required in taking care of my hair or how I would be perceived with the different styles I might wear. I’m still trying to get used to it to be honest with you and at times I find myself frustrated. I am finding that the most supportive people around me on my hair journey actually happen to be my white friends. I had expected in all truth that I would be bombarded with people asking questions about my hair and wanting to touch it out of a somewhat negative interest but, I was pleasantly surprised in that area and was received with positivity and enthusiasm. My friends seem to really love the “REAL” part of me and think that I should take my look to the next level with more experimental hair styles. In contrast to this I have found that some of my own family members have had some minor issues with my hair and how I have chosen to style it on occasion. I have been teased quite a lot recently and given the nickname Harriet Tubman. What’s awkward for me is that this has been given to me in a negative sense. I guess wearing my twists with scarfs or bandanas reminds some people of the kind of images we see from times past or what we see from documents surrounding slavery or something. In truth I am slightly saddened by this for several reasons. For one thing I have a lot to learn when it comes to taking care of my 4c hair but I find that using a woman like Ms Tubman as an insult is insane! For one thing she was a humanitarian, abolitionist, american spy and armed scout during the civil war, what an incredible women with an amazing legacy.

I will always enjoy a variety of different hair styles, wigs, natural and styles in between. One thing that is apparent though is that a black or brown woman wearing her hair natural to some people looks like a rebellious action or a political statement. I never would have thought that sporting the very hair that grows from my scalp would be viewed in such a way. The thing is, I will continue to use these situations as a talking point to raise awareness to things. Many of my friends and even some family members had no idea how time consuming, expensive and difficult wearing natural hair could be until they were witness to what I go through. Washing your hair can take between 3-5 hours sometimes, luckily stylists advise that women with hair like mine only wash their hair every 1-2 weeks!

I am enjoying embracing myself and learning more about influential and special people who play a huge role in black history. As a Londoner I can honestly say that what is taught in schools about black history is so minimal and it’s a shame because there are so many amazing things that can be shared. I don’t think of myself as a particularly political person but I do have a big opinion and the readiness to share it if asked or if the moment requires it.

*Photography By Studio52 Clothing From Evans Clothing And Live Unlimited

I simply think that with what’s going on in America at the moment and to a degree here in the UK; that it’s important for everyone in the world regardless of their ethnicity or their experience to speak out and share their stories. I really believe that the only way barriers are broken down, people come together and change is a possibility is through talking and sharing. People don’t understand or they can be fearful or what’s new or different and I find that even something as simple as one’s hair can be an interesting place to start and get the dialogue going. These are the things that brought for the civil rights movement, feminist movement and spawned the welcoming change to the LGBTQ community all of the world. We all have rights, we all want acceptance and love and I just think that people really need to listen to that old saying our parents told all of us “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. The thing is we have become able to experience different genres of music, various styles of cuisine and even adopt customs from our brothers and sisters. I really think a lot has been achieved but  we need to take the time to look at the topic of skin colour and the areas around it, otherwise we stand still or even worse move backwards in our way of thinking.

I may see myself as a woman of mixed race but I have always embraced areas of my blackness and I’m proud that I can do more of this through something as small as wearing my hair the way God intended for me to have it!

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!

My Finnish Winter

I love getting to know new people and see new places. I have always been intrigued by what makes someone who they are and, I have found that learning a bit of someone’s history is a great way to connect. When I met Hanna a few years ago I had actually been following her blog for quite some time! If you know Hanna’s style you’ll easily see why she continues to inspire many women like myself. Like many girls in the bloggersphere our initial connection was about fashion and lots of it. Our bond was strengthened by many things including our love of boy bands and music. Hanna and I have been through a fair bit together these past few years laughing and crying together at times. I’m lucky enough to say that she is by far one of my best friends and I would have been lost if she hadn’t been there for me to rant with on occasion!

I have been hearing many stories and tales about Finland since meeting Hanna and have since made some connections and new friendships of my own with other Finns. I had wanted to visit for a while now and so when Hanna and I were invited to Mimmi’s wedding party (you can see some of the photos on my Instagram) we made plans for my first visit! I was really looking forward to seeing friends, catching up with Hanna’s family and seeing the very country I had heard so much about!

Hanna was seriously worried that I might dislike Finland because of how freezing it can get over there! Everyone knows my distaste of winter and the cold so she made sure I knew that almost all of the homes out there are kitted out with saunas and that we’d not only get some time to relax but be more than warm! When she said it was cold she was not joking! The minute I stepped off the plane I felt a cold wind that made my teeth feel like shattering glass! The temperature was at times below 20 degrees Celsius! Having said all of that it’s absolutely gorgeous out there! The snow is a fluffy like powder and the bright sunshine makes it sparkle. Trees and wide spans of forest can be seen for miles and overall the countryside is a really tranquil and calm place to be.

Now when you’re heading to a winter wedding on a freezing cold day what does one wear?! I thought my Collectif Claudette dress would be the perfect dress. It is rather glam but I felt that the emerald green colour would be perfect for the season. The velvet provided some much needed warmth and comfort. As this is a very booby sleeveless dress I borrowed a green turtleneck from Hanna and went with a layered up look. My Georgette heels from Hotter and a silver clutch and I was set! I was so excited to get to the wedding that Hanna and I started taking pictures before I applied my lipstick lol.

I’d like to thank Hanna’s lovely family for having me at their home. They made me feel so loved and welcome and like a member of the family. I look forward to seeing everyone soon.

Remember whatever you wear, feel fabulous in it and wear it with a smile!