Tag "Beauty"

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!

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!

Hair Raising

When it comes to selecting the perfect hair and beauty products the infinite amount of options can make the task at hand rather daunting! The vast majority of us are left with the few options that we see in the stores and our choices are usually made for us by the constant stream of magazine and television adverts out there. When it comes to hair care people with Afro hair are a lot more limited here in the UK; not only to the available products but also to the stores where we can buy them from. In truth I can’t complain being in London but even I have to pretty much take out half of my day if I am running low on supplies! Travelling across the city to the specialist stores that carry products for my hair type is one thing, getting advise and guidance is quite another…

A few months ago I started collaborating with the amazing app the Entertainer, available here in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The app is geared at bringing incredible deals and offers to people all over the place with a vast interest in entertainment, fine dining, travel and leisure. I was recently given the opportunity to have a personalised hair consultation and treatment in one of the incredible salons teaming up with the app and of course I jumped at the chance!

The team at CV Hair & Beauty were incredible and gave me a fresh and new salon experience. I was literally made to feel like a VIP from the minute I arrived, everyone was extremely friendly, fun and helpful. I have to say this is the first Salon I had ever been to who specialised in all styles of hair from European to Asian and of course Afro styles. I’m used to being in a jam packed Afro hair salon for appointments that stem for HOURS full of endless chit chat. I was really pleased to find that I was not only quickly taken care of and given a series of treatments, I was also getting a whole new education about Afro hair care! The amazing stylist Ian and his team treated me to my first ever Indian head massage (something you must try if you haven’t already) and they helped me put together a series of products perfect for solving some of my many hair problems…

As some of you may already know my hair type is described in the Afro hair community as 4C, this basically means that I don’t have a defined curl pattern and my hair pretty much grows in every possible direction and can also be very dry and coarse. During a deep shampoo and conditioning treatment Ian and his assistant were asking me some really interesting questions about my hair and about some of the issues I face with styling and general maintenance. It was mentioned that my scalp is warmer than most people’s which can result in build up from product, flaking and dandruff. There was me thinking I just had problems in that area for no identifiable reason! Seeing my hair in it’s natural state the team were then able to put together an amazing hair care package for me using a series of products from the System Professional Collection by Wella. These products are only available in selected salons and I have to say they are incredible! I was surprised that these sort of products would even be suitable for my hair type but they are created to work for people of all hair types, each item geared to target specific problems. What I loved is that the products recommended to me were created to repair damaged, broken or split strands, deeply condition and treat the hair and they all smelled absolutely incredible! If you head on over to the System Professional website and fill out the quick questionnaire a selection of products specifically created to help your problems will be recommended to you, generating what’s known as your personalised care system and energy code. I would definitely give this a go regardless of what you hair type may be!

The products recommended to me from my personalised energy code.

To finish things off my hair was then topped off with the most gorgeous chocolatey scented leave in product, Dark Oil from Sebastian. Created with sandalwood, cedarwood and argan oil this amazing product will deep condition, smooth and protect your hair from UV damage and will help with styling.

The team at CV Hair & Beauty gave me a series of samples to use on my hair and I have to say I loved how soft and healthy my hair felt after my treatments and following the various washes that took place afterwards. I left the salon with a perfectly trimmed and pulled out Afro! The first time I had ever worn one, just before my shoot with Studio52. I felt like the ultimate Afro diva and thoroughly enjoyed the experience! I will most definitely be taking another trip down there in the future only this time i’ll be sure to get some beauty treatments in too! A huge thanks to the team for their time, care and expertise, I loved letting you loose on my fro!

For more details about the Entertainer and the amazing deals they have check them out here or head on over to the app store on your phone. Here’s a little something I filmed with them when I was at the London Bridge Experience And Tombs.

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

A Luscious Christmas

The holiday season is here and with that comes many things! Family and friends are gathering everywhere for those much needed winter catch ups and celebrations. The streets are filled with pretty lights and the stores have an abundance of things for us to buy. I’m not a huge fan of the winter, everyone who knows me knows that i’m a summer baby in every sense! I will say this though, I enjoy watching great movies this team of year, partaking in fun events and parties and of course pampering myself! Some like to snuggle up on the sofa in a new pair of PJs, others enjoy a glass of mulled wine or a hot chocolate. Now don’t get me wrong I enjoy these things as much as the next girl but for me, there’s no better feeling than a piping hot bubble bath with luscious essential oils and pretty colours.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the incredible brand Lush! I absolutely see why they named the company this because their products are just to die for! All of their products are vegetarian and handmade each with it’s own significant features, benefits and amazing scent. Lush are an Eco friendly, animal loving, fun and fresh company and; I have become what one could an addict! Their bath bombs are my favourite thing to buy as they make the bath time experience so much more enjoyable. Forget your typical bubble bath, Lush bath bombs are a small package of essential oils, beautiful colours and even glitter at times! I find that your skin is left feeling baby soft, beautifully fragrant, vibrant and revitalised. I even know of some parents using these as a way of getting the kids into the tub! They even have a play-dough style product called Fun which is perfect for the kids to enjoy during bath time and, this can be used as a shampoo or creamy bubble bar.

During the winter season Lush have a selection of seasonal specific items which are sold between October and December and unfortunately for me, my favourite scents come in this collection so I have to stock up! Snow Fairy is the most incredible candy floss scented shower gel that comes in unicorn pink, with a little glitter that produces the most silky soft lather. I have been buying this gel every Christmas since I have become a Lush customer, I simply can’t get enough of it lol! I recently bought a bottle of this with the Father Christmas bath bomb. This one carries the face of Santa that bursts in a snowy white foam with Christmas red explosion, eventually turning into an emerald green lap of luxurious water. Using these 2 items together is something I highly recommend!

During my most recent trip to the Oxford Street branch I stocked up on a few bottles of Snow Fairy, picked up a collection of amazing bath bombs and some much needed moisturisers. This time of year Lush have an incredible selection of Christmas gift sets, great items for both the hair and body and in some of their locations an incredible spa! Gentleman your women will love you that little bit more if they are treated to a really luscious way to have a home spa session! It’s worth checking out the range as you may even find something you like too!

A Classic favourite of mine, The Comforter Bubble Bar and  The Comforter Shower Cream

The team over at Lush are super friendly and fun people and they make shopping there such a great experience! I have to take my hat off to Lush for finding and employing so many amazing people! I will also say, there have been many times I have wanted something specific for a target area of the body such as the perfect cream for softening the feet. I was given the most amazing product to sample, Pink Peppermint Foot Lotion and I have to say I was amazed at the results, and of course the amazing minty fragrance. The team are incredible at recommending products and you get to try them in the store before you buy!

If you’re looking for something amazing this Christmas for yourself or as a gift do try out their range! You won’t be disappointed!

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

 

Another Part Of Me

A lot has been happening recently. I’ve been on a train that just doesn’t seem to want to stop with loads of things happening with the blog, a busy work schedule and making an effort to pack in more time with family friends. Whilst things have been hectic and a lot has been shifting and changing; I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and evaluate on some things, of course the first thing that needed some personal attention…me.

I’ve experienced a year that has been full of drama and so I had to take some time to take care of a few personal health issues. With all the time I’ve had to address with regards to my body I have also been looking at how I think about myself and, how I treat myself. I’ve come to realise that being in my twenties has been a really awkward period. Of course you hear people speak about how much they loved this time in their life and how they wish they could re-live it all. In my case i’m really looking forward to getting into my thirties. I have heard many women say that this is the decade when you really start to embrace yourself, find your feet and really take life by the reigns. I’m in the final year of my twenties and with that I have lost some very special people in my life, made some incredible friends, seen some amazing countries and ended some personal and professional relationships. The one thing I have spent a lot of time on the past few years is building my self confidence.

I spent many years working as a professional singer and musician alongside doing boring and mundane day jobs. Music is and will always be my biggest passion and I will always spend my days and nights with something amazing playing along and surely enough, becoming the soundtrack to some of my memories. I miss the stage, I do. It’s not something I’ve hidden but the truth is, in time I came to realise that the music industry is full of many corrupt people and circumstances and I never wanted anything to dull my love of the craft or the art form. With this and my increasing age I decided to keep music as a huge love and passion that I will always create and perform but without putting so much pressure on myself.

Confidence is something that for me comes with experience. People who have known me forever will say that I have an abundant amount of it but in truth that would only be in some areas of my life. I can take a stage and sing at full force in front of as many as fifteen thousand people and do it with conviction and confidence. Why is this? Music is what I do and it’s one of the things I know how to do best and something I have always excelled in. Having said all of that everyone knows that a huge part of a good performance is the look of the performer, whether that be in their clothing, make up or body type. The music industry is one that appreciates and puts a strong emphasis on image, beauty and sex appeal. Many years ago talent was at the forefront but as we came into this new century in some parts of the world this took a back seat to image.

I was always aware of my weight and my dress size and until I reached 25 years old, this affected every area of my day to day life especially my life on stage. I have always loved fashion and it wasn’t until I started to really see myself as a beautiful, sexy woman that I embraced fashion for myself and didn’t just appreciate it on others. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into new circumstances is how I build my confidence. I started with bright and bold colours, edgy and fresh clothing options and wearing clothes that previously I would have been to scared to even try on! I felt empowered, liberated and fun and, with this my blog was born 3 years ago. I try to get women to see what they can do with their look despite whatever demons they may have to face from their past or present life using myself as an example.

A few months ago I was challenged once again when financial circumstances and the voices of many friends encouraged me to wear my hair natural. I spoke about his in detail in my ‘Back To My Roots‘ post. Being of mixed race I have always made the joke that my hair is the blackest part of me lol. My hair totally natural, right out of the shower without blow dryers, wide tooth combs and various products shrinks down into a tight Jackson 5 style afro! I have what’s described as 4C hair; meaning that I have an undefined curl type and my hair is extremely tight, coarse and can be rather dry. I decided to do a photoshoot to mark the final year of my twenties and so, I returned to the studio that shot me on my milestone 21st year; Studio 52. In many ways I feel I have come full circle and have learned to really love every part of myself including my insane fro and, even though I will always enjoy wearing a good wig or weave, I wanted to shoot myself without any barriers and so I donned a full afro!

A couple of shots from my shoot marking my 21st year with Studio 52

For clothing I decided to wear some hot an sexy items from one of my favourite brands Lane Bryant. Wearing their Lightweight Strapless Bra with detachable straps (the first ever strapless bra I have found with perfect fit and support). With this I pulled on their Point D’Espirit Tie-Neck Top. I don’t wear this one as well as Ashley Graham but I still had to have it myself lol. I thought a pair of wet look leggings that I’ve had for ages would go great for the look I was after. Finishing off with these amazing Over The Knee Faux Suede Boots, some large gold hoops and I was set. I wanted to bring out the R&B diva in me, only this time with a new swag and new found confidence.

By and large i’m still the same woman i’ve always been, only a little older and now with a new perspective of life, myself and others. You know what I always say…

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

Girly Girl

There are some things that all women have in common regardless of what their background or personal style is. We have all found ourselves sifting through everything that we own in our wardrobes unsure of what to wear, and we have all woken up with a random need to feel somewhat girly. Now girly for some would be dressing in bright pink with their hair in pigtails and cute makeup. For others it might be wearing a set of lingerie that makes them feel that extra bit feminine. In my case when I feel the need to be girly one thing comes to mind. What sort of skirt am I gonna wear and how big do I want it? I tend to gravitate towards sexy bodycon dresses, vintage swing dresses or tulle skirts.

The sun was shinning bright and strong the other day in London and I knew that I wanted to wear my navy tutu skirt but I had no idea what I should pair with it. The last time I had worn this skirt the weather was a lot cooler and I was able to pair it with a sweater and some nude heels. This time around I wanted to be bright in the summer sunshine but I also wanted a look that would transition well into an evening look. The plan was set I was going to go bare legged and pair the skirt with a cute t-shirt. Now I should note that this particular skirt was from Asos a while back and from their standard range. From what I have seen they no longer stock this one but they do have some similar options here. Last summer Scandinavian brand Zizzi released their summer collection, Wardrobe of wonders. They had some amazing items including some cute school girl inspired items, check out my previous review here. In the collection they had a really cool digital print line featuring midi skirt and crop top tee. I was lucky enough to get the skirt and borrowed the top a few times from Hanna. The good news is that both the top and skirt are still available from uk outlet Navabi.

What I love about plus size fashions now is that there is something for every kind of curvy woman out there. Should you choose urban street styles, vintage classics, current casuals or smart sophisticated evening wear there is something for everyone. I have said many times I like to dress to my mood which I why I like to carry a wide range of clothes in my wardrobe so that I can be ready to attend whatever event or occasion in appropriate items. My personal trick to save space and money is to buy clothes that can be worn in more than one way preferably for a casual and smart look. Of course I have some items that are exclusive to specific occasions but this is why when I pick my separates such as skirts and tops, I tend to go for colours I can easily incorporate into my style. Anyone who knows me personally will know that I try to colour coordinate almost everything I wear. This is something that was ingrained into me as a child and a particular style trait I still practice.

I thought I would wear my pleather biker jacket for additional coverage and to offset the black heels I chose. I opted for my number 1 go to heels my pairs of Michelle shoes from Hotter. A simple black clutch was required, my signature hoop earrings and a pop of red! I chose my new favourite lipgloss, Forgive My Sin from L’Oreal Paris. I tend to keep my makeup the same with pinup style winged eye liner, mascara, my brows of course and a touch of foundation. I play around mostly with my lip colour but it tends to be reds and pinks I gravitate towards the most. Specifically deep reds. I love how they look against my complexion and I find that my teeth looks miles whiter when I wear red which is always a bonus lol.

Every now and again it’s fun to dress up in a way that makes you feel fun, feminine and bright. Sometimes you just have to do what makes you feel good and be mindful that you may draw some attention to yourself which is always good if you’re feeling confident! Have fun with your look and if you haven’t already ladies, try out a tutu or tulle skirt! They are a lot of fun to wear and can make for some great outfits!

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

 

 

Back To My Roots

You know it’s funny sometimes things happen to you for reasons you don’t expect and when you don’t see them coming. In my case I’m talking about my latest achievement on my journey to confidence. What I’m about to discuss for some people would seem like a small thing but if you stick with me for a few minutes I’ll do my best to explain. A few weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and go natural. What do I mean by go natural? I’m speaking specifically about my hair. Most women know what it is to wear their natural hair and even what it is to treat and style it. I really had never had the chance to do so until just over a month ago. Let me take you back a bit…

Me as a tot with my dreads

When I was a child my hair was in dreadlocks until I was about 14-15 years old. Both my mother and father have dreadlocks and my mum later told me it was never her intention to lock my hair but as a child I simply would not let her style it without bringing my house into a state of chaos as I screamed in protest while she worked to style my hair. Of course my hair was a lot softer as a child but I have always had extremely thick and tight hair. Growing up I never really thought much about my hair I would wash it weekly and then sit down to let my mother twist my stray hairs into my locks. It was when I got into secondary school I realised that I wanted to change my hair and try new styles but that would mean doing the dreaded chop and cutting it all off. As an over weight teenager who already had a lot of attention from bullies and other people in the class the last thing I wanted to was draw more attention to myself by having a bald head, so I spoke to my mum about the situation and it was decided that I would let my hair grow out somewhat and then cut it and work with braids until I could get it to a decent length.

In My late teens with braided extensions

I started speaking to some of my cousins to see what things they did to maintain and style their hair and I soon realised that I would have some different challenges to them when it came to maintaining my own hair. My hair is thicker than that of most people’s and some would describe the texture as nappy. To mixed raced and black people it’s been deemed over the years a really negative thing to have nappy hair. What the term means is that you have really dry, coarse and tight afro like hair. For people of other ethnicities this doesn’t seem to even be something they think about and in truth most of my friends who are of other backgrounds have been pushing for me to wear my natural hair out for years! The problem with doing this was, well me…

Me with my hair relaxed, wearing some weave tracks in my hair

The truth is that for decades the world has been shown one very small standard of beauty which leans towards the looks and features that Caucasian, European women have. Thinner bodies with slightly smaller curves and beautiful long, shiny and straight hair. Already women of colour were set a precedent that we simply could not live by and as a result we have seen women bleaching their skin for years, dressing and wearing clothes that may not have been their preferred style and of course the changing and experimentation with our hair. For years women like myself played around with relaxing our hair which basically means to paint a chemical paste into our hair that burns it straight. I did this for years and to be honest I always have and will always hate the process. It’s extremely painful and could often times leave you with scabs or scars on your scalp. The hair can become brittle and damaged and as a result can take forever and a day to grow! The thing is I come from a mixed race family and have a host of friends from all over the world so I personally don’t feel I have carried all of the baggage that some other coloured women carry when it comes to having confidence in their looks. In my case the problem was initially my weight and then of course my hair.

Wearing a relaxer with a clip in extension 

I finally reached a point where I would find ways to achieve the hair looks I liked without having to put my hair and scalp through so much physical trauma. I started to experiment with weaves, clips ins and eventually wigs. The truth is though while I like how I looked with these styles they are extremely expensive to do. It’s no wonder the hair industry is such a wealthy business and from what I have seen over the years it’s women of colour who have been the largest consumers of synthetic and human hair supplies and extensions. Recently we have seen a rise with women of all races buying into these products which I can only assume is a result of celebrity pressure that we all face, through social media and reality TV shows. The past 10-20 years has seen women doing anything and everything to enhance the beauty we already carry with wearing new styles of makeup such as nail extensions, false eye lashes, fillers and injectables and of course additional hair pieces. I recently hit a financial snag and was simply unable to find the few hundred pounds required to do something about my hair! I thought about relaxing my hair again which I hadn’t done for nearly 2 years and thought back to the horrible experiences of my past. The average woman can use about half  tub of relaxer to work on the 2-3 inches of regrowth she would need to burn her hair straight. In my case I would need up to 2 tubs for the same amount of hair growth due to how thick and coarse my hair is! I could only imagine how much of the stuff I would need to do what’s known as a virgin relaxer and the thought of sitting for an hour with my scalp on fire was not an option!

Wearing a wig

A mix between natural and enhanced. I wear my hair in corn row braids and a clip in extension

My friend Venice had taken the time out to pretty much give me the push I needed to just work with what god gave me and wear my own hair out. It had been years since I had worn just my natural hair out, the last time was when I had had dreadlocks! Now in my late twenties the prospect was rather daunting for me and I suddenly felt my self confidence being questioned. Venice washed and conditioned my hair (with some products I’ll later be reviewing on the blog), showed me some techniques to condition my hair to help with growth and style. She had been doing the same thing to her daughter’s who’s hair is like mine. I have to say after taking out my large twists and seeing my huge bouncy curls I was taken aback for about 5 minutes and then I suddenly thought wow it’s me, all me! Even my hair has a large personality of it’s own and I should embrace this! I took some pictures with Hanna, put them on Facebook and the amount of compliments I received from my friends and loved ones shocked me! I was given a new source of confidence and I am slowly falling in love with my own hair for the first time in my life!

Like I said before I know this seems like a small fate to some but I had no idea why so many women were throwing away the wigs and weaves and going bare with their own hair. This was a movement I hadn’t taken the time to look into or be a part of. I simply ended up taking note when I saw other friends doing the same and it was only because of my financial situation and some kind words from some friends that I thought oh what the hell let’s give it a go! I say it all the time about fashion and wearing what makes you feel confident, we need to play around with our look more to see what works for us. I now say the same about your hair and I encourage all women out there with quote on quote “nappy” or course hair to give this a go! I’m so happy I did!

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

My Aquatic Mermaid Shoot With Chiara Aprea!

I spend a lot of time on the blog talking about my love of fashion and showing you all the outfits that I have put together. When I first started this blog my aim was to show plus size women a variety of clothing styles available to them and hopefully give them some ideas and tips when styling their looks. Early on in my journey to confidence I played around with my look and it was through this experimentation that I discovered that we all have the ability to wear whatever we like and we can use fashion as a way to show our personality and have fun. As it stands I haven’t shared that many beauty looks on the blog because in truth, I haven’t had much of a chance to play around in that area.

There is one woman who knows my face better than most and is able to transform my image in a variety of ways. Chiara Aprea is real visionary and such a talent! So far most of my photo shoots have been with her. As a plus size model, photographer and makeup artist her skills are second to none. I love working with her because each experience is different to the last. When Chiara and I prepare to do a shoot we usually brainstorm over different themes and MUA styles. I had told Chiara quite some time ago that I really wanted to do a beauty shoot featuring fantasy mermaid makeup. Fast forward a few months and we had set a date to transform me into an aquatic mermaid with hints of the ice queen!



Having worked with Chiara twice before I knew I was going to be in for a fun and very creative day. Our first shoot together was a vintage boudoir theme with a series of different costume and hair changes. My makeup for this shoot remained the same but the different accessories, angles and looks made for a really varied set of photos. To see some of them check out my previous post about it here.

Second time around was a new experience for both myself and Chiara. She had wanted to start offering beauty shoots which focused on hair and makeup set to a specific theme. This time around she had approached me to do this with her. The idea was to transform me from the Mayah you are all familiar with to a technicolor geisha and dangerous dominatrix! I loved the idea as I thought this would be a challenge and a great way to play with makeup! Chiara thought that with my hair type and complexion I would be a great candidate to showcase some of her capabilities that people weren’t very familiar with. To see some of these images and hear about our day check out my previous post here.

So here we are, I’m back in the makeup chair and this time we both knew that the process of application would be quite lengthy. Firstly she started by painting my forehead in a blue and silver gradient. My eyes and hairline were perfectly lined and the plan was to have a similar finish on my lips. We then added sequins and glitter and finished off by adding tons of diamontes in a variety of sizes and shades of blue. We then straightened my hair, added extensions and sprayed the tips in white and silver hair paint. The colours we used didn’t show up hugely on my hair but they gave me a slight tint which actually worked really well in the pictures.

My aim was to tap into a really quiet sombre side of my personality and do my best not to smile. As quite a smiley person this was a challenge for me. The aim was for me to showcase all of my emotion through my eyes. We switched up the lighting throughout the shoot which gave my skin and makeup a really interesting hue throughout. When bright lights hit my eyes they tend to go from their usual dark brown to a bright chestnut colour, this happens to me in the sunshine too. I really love that in these pictures my eyes constantly look different and I have a variety of expressions from dark and moody to sweet and sultry. I absolutely love how these pictures came out and love the high fashion feel that they have. Once again I am in awe of Chiara’s work and her direction helped me pose for some beautiful images.

If you would like to see more of Chiara’s work check out her photography page on Facebook. You can also get information on how to book your own shoot. To check it out click here.

As I mentioned before Chiara is not only an amazing photographer and makeup artist she is also a successful plus size model and a gorgeous one at that! Check out her model page here.

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

Sparkly Kisses – A Glitter Lips Review!

Recently I have had some enquires about which beauty products I like to use. I will be sure to share some of my tips and tricks with you all in the very near future but for now I must talk about a product I discovered whilst at a fashion event. Admittedly I’m more of a gloss and balm girl when it comes to my lips but every so often I am looking to wear some fun and fresh lipsticks. A new style of lip-wear has reached us and with it comes that added shimmer and sparkle we have been missing! What am I talking about?

Glitter Lips of course!

I first discovered this product when I attended the recent Cut For Evans launch held at the Marble Arch store here in London. Initially I tried out a lilac/pink shade as it matched my dress, I think this may have been the Molly Dolly colour. I fell in love with it! First of all I was seriously impressed by how life proof this stuff is! You can eat, drink, talk, smoke, whatever and this stuff stays on! It’s really simple to apply and comes with a gummy style glue which you apply just the same as you would a basic lip gloss. It appears white on your lips and when it starts to go transparent you then apply the glitter powder to your lips. I really like the end result that you get with this product.

It’s really easy to remove too all you need is some oil based make-up remover, but baby oil or Vaseline would work also. Simply add some to a cotton bud, wipe and hey presto you’re glitter free!

Selfie Taken The First Time I Tried Glitter Lips

I tend to go for blood red tones when selecting lipsticks. My love of vintage pinup fashion and beauty styles tends to be the main reason, also I  like how red works against my skin tone. This of course made me gravitate towards the Ruby Slippers shade when I bought my first Glitter Lips kit. This isn’t the sort of lip make up I would wear on a daily basis, but this would be a lot of fun to wear out to a club or something or to add a little edge to a simple look. I may even try this out in a photoshoot or something.

If you feel like trying out something a little different why not pick up a shade yourself? They’re only £12.50 and in even better news there is an option to get free postage on the website! To find out more about Beauty Boulevard and their amazing Glitter Lips range, click here.

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