Tag "Beauty"

A Run-down Of 2014

Hi everyone I hope all is well and I hope you all had an amazing time bringing in the new year! 2014 was an interesting and eventful year for me. I had a lot of interesting changes and developments on the career front, travelled a little and experimented loads with my wardrobe and style choices. Here’s a run down of some of my favourite looks throughout the year, to see the original outfit posts click on the title month:

January

February

March 

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Selecting just one look for each month posed as a real challenge for me as there were so many looks I really liked. I figure that because I have raved so much about the houndstooth print I have to add in a bonus look. This was also taken in the month of November check out the post here.

2014 was also the year I took a major step to push my confidence and so I had 2 photoshoots with my friend and talented Photographer, MUA and model: Chiara Aprea. First was my boudoir shoot where I stripped down and posed for the camera in my lingerie and not much else! The second being a beauty and face shoot where I played around with 2 different themed looks. I was transformed into a modern day geisha and an angry dominatrix.

All in all it was a fun and exciting year and I look forward to seeing what 2015 has in store. I have some new developments happening with the blog and of course loads of new looks and tips to share with you so stay tuned.

I’d like to take the time out to thank you all for reading my blog this past year and I wish you all an amazing new year filled with fun, adventures, travel and many fun times with both old and new friends.

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

My Boudoir Shoot With Chiara Aprea

One of the hardest things for any women out there to do is to look in the mirror and absolutely love what she sees! About a year and a half ago I pretty much hated myself physically. I would poke holes in my appearance, jump in with insults before others could and like many plus size people, I would hide away in black clothing hoping to blend into the background. I would do things to make myself feel better like get my hair done or my nails but I would still find fault with myself. Those who have known me for quite some time will know that I may be confident in my personality and with my talents but my image was the one area that had always taken a beating leaving me with limited self confidence.
When you spend years of you life listening to the comments of others and telling yourself that being big makes you ugly it can be hard to have any real level of self esteem. What changed for me was when I reached my mid twenties. I decided that I had spent more than enough time hating myself and that if I didn’t “pull myself together” I would spend way too much of my time beating my own confidence into the ground. I experimented with different styles of dress, playing around with fashion and make up and have now reached a place where I can look in the mirror and actually like what I see!
When I was at Plus London last year I met an amazing girl who not only is a stunning plus size model but amazing photographer! Chiara Aprea is fast making a name for herself specialising in plus size photography with an aim of building confidence in her clients. When I saw the gorgeous photoshoots she had done of some of my friends I thought you know what i’m gonna call her and try this out. I dropped her a message and we made plans to do a boudoir themed shoot…
I arrived at her home with a suitcase full of vintage inspired clothes and some lingerie. I was full of nerves but excited to get all dolled up for the shoot. Chiara worked on my hair and make-up and transformed me into a vintage sex kitten! We were soon ready to get snapping away and I went in with a mind set that even if I don’t like how I look in some of the shots, the experience would do me some good…
Hair and MUA and photography by Aprea Chiara
Styling by Chiara and myself.
Please do not copy or edit any images without permission from model and photographer.
As we first got started I was really nervous and self conscious and Chiara convinced me that I looked good and that I had nothing to worry about. She directed the shoot giving me hints and tips on how to pose. We played around with different hair styles, clothes and backdrops, always fun for any girl who likes playing dress up! For me I found this experience extremely daring! I had posed in as little attire as a sheer sheet and my underwear, right the way up to a corset and cape with petticoats on. I started out as a shy woman doing something for a little fun and ended the day feeling revived, confident and fabulous! From start to finish Chiara made me feel comfortable, in control and beautiful. She would give me sneak peaks of some of the frames and in truth I looked one hundred percent better than I could possibly have anticipated!
Not only did it feel good to have a friend on the other side of the camera, I felt confident that she would be able to get the best out of me. As a plus size model herself with some beautiful photos I knew that she was able to capture me how I wanted. Looking back in hindsight I really believe that what had me nervous in the beginning were my former doubts trying to creep in!
When the shoot was done and we went to review the pictures I expected to pick out maybe 5 or 6 that I liked and I ended up wanting to purchase almost every single frame taken in the shoot! I had never thought I could look so good and I am so glad I did it! Putting myself in a new situation that was totally out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to try something new has given me new insight. You have to be willing to take more risks, you may love the end result!
Myself and the gorgeous Chiara after a fun day of shooting
If any of you have considered doing a shoot of this kind and you live in the UK you really should drop Chiara a message and book in your shoot! You will not be disappointed!
You can find her on Facebook here.

Bloggers Love Fashion Week

A couple of weeks ago there was a 3 day long extravaganza for all bloggers. Being in attendance at an event that heavily featured fashion and beauty was not something me and the girls were going to miss out on! The theme of the night was “Black City Chic” and everyone was ready and dressed to impress for the evening.

A fashion show was taking place which included new collections and fun pieces, hair, make up and beauty stands filled the penthouse floor and we were given the opportunity to try out many new and interesting products. As a HUGE fan of fantasy make-up, I couldn’t resist the chance to try out the amazing sparkle and glitter styles by The Parlour. Blue, purple and silver glitter and sequins framed my eye (my favourite colours) and gave me a very different look.

It’s always fun to see my girls and I have to admit. When you put 3 bloggers in a photobooth, wild things happen…………………………
Anne-Lise, Helen and I definitely went a little wild lol.
All in all the girls and I had a fantastic night and it was a shame for it to be over so fast. It’s always great to meet with other bloggers and see what amazing products are out there for us to buy.
Here we are towards the end of the night:
From left to right: Helen, Myself, Hollie, Leighanne and Anne-Lise
I look forward to future events by Bloggers Love as this one was great fun!

Introducing…Plus Size Mannequins

There has been a lot of talk about fashion; where we are with it, where it’s heading and what the possibilities are for the future. When it comes to the way we buy our clothes various different stages come in to play.When I buy my clothes I don’t just buy something because I like the look of it. There have been many times where I have had such a bad experience with a company that I have vowed to NEVER put my money into their tills again, despite wanting something that only they are selling. For me I like to know that I am getting a good service as well as a good product and it’s not only the big details that come into play when I am parting with my money but those little added extras that makes me as a customer feel valued.
 
 
Model Denise Bidot poses with an average size mannequin. The beautiful Latina models for various companies such as Forever 21 and Macy’s. For years she was working in the industry behind the scenes doing hair and make up and was later given the opportunity to work on the other side of the lens.  It makes you wonder though if the size of this mannequin is how the average women as represented, then no wonder it’s taken them so long to even consider working on a plus size one!
 

For years I have struggled with buying my clothes because I simply can’t envision how something might look on me when I see it in the stores. There has been a lot of talk about plus size mannequins lately and for some reason many people are totally against them. I personally think it’s a great idea that we are finally bringing in mannequins to wear the clothes that are designed for a person with a fuller figure. There are so many companies who have now expanded their range and introduced plus size clothes and even more are popping up all over the place who specialise in dressing larger women. 


For many plus size women the simple task of buying clothes can be rather traumatic. Bright florescent lights, minimal size options and often sales people who can’t sympathise with some of our shopping problems can make the experience of shopping one that we really dislike. I am so pleased to say that things are starting to make positive changes. I am used to walking into stores and seeing the larger clothes thrown onto mannequins that are a size 8-10, sometimes 12. I have to say they don’t help me in the buying process. I like to see the clothes hang correctly and when the garments are made from a size 14-32 and higher I think to give us larger mannequins can help enhance the look of the clothes.  Some people think that the idea of larger mannequins is strange and puts out the wrong message. In my opinion I think that we should feel comfortable to use them in the plus size section of the store and stick to our standard size figures elsewhere. This way everyone can enjoy the shopping experience and the clothes can look their best.


Plus size model Laura Wells is pictured next to a mannequin that was created against her very own proportions. This doll is seen in lingerie departments for Australian stores Myer and David Jones.


Well known department store Debenhams were one of the first companies in the UK to try out the Plus Size mannequin and on the whole it was well received. Of course some people were sceptical but that’s to be expected in all honesty. I think that if anything it will help companies better display the clothes they carry in larger sizes. Many people will have negative views on it but I think that’s to be expected as with anything new or different that a company may be trying out. 
 
 

I really believe that everyone has the right to look and feel good in what they wear and that should also be the case for purchasing the clothes in the first place. I would like to think that someday in the future we see plus size mannequins for men, and even disabled mannequins. We all come in different shapes and sizes and there really is no standard look for anyone so we should be aiming to work with as many different looks as we can. We have mannequins of different racial groups, with a variety of hair types and from wide selection of ethnic backgrounds. I think this is another positive step into showing our diversity and I look forward to seeing more of them in department stores everywhere.



The Shame In Body Shaming

In recent weeks one of the hot topics of discussion has been body image and body shaming. I personally have a pretty big opinion on the subject as I grew up as the fat girl in the group, the fat one in my family and in general as the token “fat” girl. The label is one that it took me years to get used to despite always being larger in size. Now I’m not one of those people who by any means feels sorry for themselves. I understand that my size is due to various things and that I have issues with food, however I find it extremely offensive when people who have never had a weight problem feel it’s their right to pass judgement and insults on those of us who have. I have this same opinion when it comes to people constantly saying derogatory comments towards skinny people too.

I don’t know if the issue seems to be heightened by the media at the moment or perhaps I’m just noticing a few things more often, but lately all I seem to read about in my Twitter feed, Facebook news feed and on other social media channels is constant ramblings aimed to make us feel bad about ourselves! Before anyone gets the wrong idea of where i’m going with this no I am not here to promote obesity and I am not here to say anything ignorant or cruel towards my smaller counterparts. I am just rather confused about where we are all headed at the moment. We are constantly plied with mixed messages of what sexy, healthy and beautiful actually is and somewhere amongst all this discussion the topic of health and fitness has gone out of the window, leaving the focus on our image instead.

In a society where we aim to embrace people of different cultures, religions, sexual orientations and many other things I find myself rather confused. Why is it that we have stopped short when it comes to how people look? We do our best to make people feel comfortable and accepted within their minorities, even to a point where we have rules and regulations set to protect them from abuse and other harsh treatments from people. I guess what irks me the most is that lately people are portrayed to each other in a way that I feel resembles that of a freak show! We have television programmes aimed at showcasing people struggling with anorexia, bulimia and various other eating disorders. More often than not these shows are out there to provide the “shock treatment” of bringing us in line. I won’t lie I haven’t watched all of them but those I have seen often fail to touch on the deeper issues behind the situation. Why is it that when we focus on our body image our main focus tends to be on an aesthetic and cosmetic level? How we look is only one factor of ourselves and I personally think that no matter what your size or shape you should be made to feel comfortable in your own skin so that should you choose to stay as you are or to work on your situation, you can do it with pride and in a safe manner.

Slogans like this anger me to no end, especially as a fat vegetarian! 

A few months ago there was a despicable thing called ‘Fat Shaming Week’. What came of it were countless short sighted and nasty tweets and images flooding the internet. I read comments like ‘if you can’t be carried over the threshold you don’t deserve to be married!’ What a disgusting thing for someone to say! And that was one of the more tame statements…. I really feel like people need to learn that if you can’t say anything positive or productive sometimes it’s best to keep it shut! Not all bigger people are your typical happy go lucky bubbly types who are able to laugh at themselves. I happen to know of a few people who have had to suffer serious emotional and psychological damage due to some of the things people have said and done to them in relation to their image and it’s just not fair! This is the point I am making, not all people are fat simply because they like to eat too much, many use food as a comfort or as a substance for escapism just as drug addicts and alcoholics do.

What confuses me to no end is how many people have put a series of rules forward for us bigger people to abide by:

– Don’t wear stripes
– Don’t wear pattens
– Don’t wear anything fitting
– Black is a must as it’s slimming

I could go on and on and on with the countless amounts of ideals we are meant to follow and 99% of the time the main focus is on image! I really believe that how we feel should come before how we look. In my experience when a person feels good about themselves they generally take more positive steps to take better care of themselves. This tends to be because they have a sense of self worth, a higher esteem and generally take more pride in themselves.

Companies like Victoria Secret and Dove each have their own view on what beauty is. Take a look at these 2 different add campaigns:

I would argue that both groups of women are “real” women and I hate that a large amount of body shaming and snarky remarks come from women. All women face many of the same struggles and we should all aim to be a champion for each other and not the people aiming to tear each other down!
We speak a lot today about airbrushing and the modification of celebrity images, but we are now having to witness companies trying to sell scales with the main objective; us to reach the size of a particular celebrity. When this was spoken about a few weeks ago on social media people were outraged by the idea. Superdrug, the company behind the idea had to witness a heavy backlash from customers and some of the celebrities they had chosen to use. For one thing how would they know how much Beyonce weighs and why would they want to entertain such an idea? The amount of girls who self harm themselves every day through various eating disorders because they are working to look like their favourite superstar is immense and I would suggest that this was a rather silly idea on their behalf. Cheryl Cole who was one of the selected women wrote this tweet to the company:

And Superdrug responded to the customers and celebs concerned with this statement:
I think it’s important for us all to take some perspective here. We all face different challenges in our day to day lives and we don’t need to be comparing ourselves to others all the time. I would suggest that we all aim to be the best we can be within ourselves and do what we can to be more self confident. I can admit that I would like to lose some weight in the future and take more focus on my health. I personally know that whilst I may not be exactly where I want to be I am happy enough within myself for the time being to be able to get on with my life, head held high and a smile on my face.
In all honesty I can say that I feel so much better about myself since I stopped focusing on crash diets, and beating myself up about how I look. I would urge everyone out there no matter what their shape or size to make the most of what they have and to try and enjoy it. After all the one person you will forever be stuck with is yourself so you may as well learn to get on with it as best you can.
Hopefully we become more tolerant of each other and won’t feel the need to push our own opinions and ideals on others in the future.

Skin And Hair Problems Solved… With Turmeric!

When it comes to beauty I think one of the best things a person can do is take care of their skin. Now I’m someone who has combination skin on my face, which can be a nightmare to deal with. With general skin care, wearing make up and even using certain hair products I struggle with getting the perfect balance. I have what’s known as an oily T zone and I have some dryer areas to my face. I moisturise daily and I exfoliate on a regular basis. The thing is I don’t like putting chemicals on my skin a lot of the time as they can be costly and because some people have sensitive skin that can react badly to abrasive ingredients. I try to stick to the products that I know work for me.

When I was at a recent trip to my salon, my hair stylist made sure to tell me about her latest beauty secret. When she gave me the details I was so enthused to hear that I can make my own very effective skin care treatments using one or two things in my kitchen cupboards and my fridge!
One fantastic ingredient that I have always been known to use when adding that little extra something to a dish while cooking is something I have personally renamed the super spice……. Turmeric! After seeing the results of a regular skin cleanse I decided to do a little research myself and I discovered so many useful tips and tricks for this amazing spice!
I knew this spice had some fantastic properties to it but I had no idea that it could be used to do so many fantastic things for your hair and skin! 
Acne Treatment: There’s a simply face mask that you can make using raw honey and powdered turmeric. If you mix the two ingredients together to form a paste, smear it on your face and leave it for about 30 mins or so and simply wash off. If you have pale skin you may have to spend a little extra time washing this off as it may leave a slight yellow hue on your skin. The end result is extremely smooth skin that will have a natural looking glow.
Scar Treatments: Many people have scars from popping spots, cuts and bruises, eczema, stretch marks… you name it we may all have something! There is a simple treatment that is set to seriously help with the problems. Again using turmeric you can mix it with milk and flour, make a thick paste leave it on for around 30 mins (or longer if you prefer), wash it off  with water first and then again with a gentle soap. Hey presto you have a cheap and effective treatment to help make the scars fade. Some people also use turmeric and yoghurt with a little olive oil for the same effects.
Some people like to take it internally for a skin treatment mixing it with milk and black pepper. From what I hear it does not taste like anything special but the effects are fantastic!
Foundation Make Up: Many people have trouble getting the perfect shade of foundation and have been known to mix two different shades together to get to a close colour. Some have even been known to mix turmeric into their foundation to create the perfect shade for their skin tone, cream and powdered foundations are more likely to work better than bottled foundations because you can mix enough to match you skin tone into your compact or jar and then that’s you set until it runs out. If you do decide to do this I would gradually add it into until you reach the colour you are aiming for.
Facial Hair Treatment: Many women have been known to have random spurts of facial hair growth. Some wax, bleach and shave the hairs which in some cases can make the problem worse and even if you have dealt with the issue you may have a slight inkling that someone else can see those pesky hairs. Women around the world suffer from this problem and it can be rather embarrassing for them to deal with. This can be caused by an imbalance of hormones, a condition called Hirsutism. In India where turmeric is used on a regular basis for a series of things, some women also use it to fight this issue.
Mixing it into paste using just water, apply it to the area and leave it on the skin until it dries. After the paste has dried proceed to wash it off. Some people have been known to mix this with gram flour also. You would need to do this frequently over a period of about a month to notice the results.
Anti Dandruff Treatment: Mixing turmeric and olive oil is known to be extremely effective for helping with an itchy scalp and dandruff problems. Apply to the hair and leave for about 15 minutes before washing out with your regular shampoo. This is known to stimulate the hair follicles providing nutrition and circulation to the scalp.
As we all have different skin types if you decide to try any of these treatments you may want to do a small patch test on your skin to see how you feel with any of these remedies and to see how the turmeric washes off your skin. I would advise that you take care when doing this as it may stain your clothes or towels. 
I have only outlined a few of the fantastic beauty treatments that this fantastic spice can provide. It is also known to be an anti inflammatory ingredient, and has been used to help with toothache, bruises, chest pain and colic, women with menstrual problems have also found it helpful.
If you do try any of these treatments please let me know how you get on. I’d love to know how it works for you!

Finding My Style

One thing I think everyone does is experiment with different looks until they find one that they really love. In my case my style seems to evolve whilst still holding many of the same elements. I will always love my boot-cut jeans and flared tunic tops, just as I will always love my huge hoop earrings. I think we all have our signature things that we will always bring into our new style.
I’m one of those girls that loves my glam and I love to play dress up (providing what I select doesn’t make me look like a sausage stuffed into a casing that’s too small lol). I think the key to looking good isn’t necessarily what you’re wearing but how you wear it. For me confidence is key as well as knowing what looks good on your frame.
The one part of you that is always on show is your face, and it’s the first thing a person tends to look at when they meet you. I used to wear very little or no make-up and I guess that was because I couldn’t be bothered to experiment with it and see what worked for me. My focus was on my hair and my nails rather than my face.
* An old pic of me totally make-up free!*
It was when I had a short stint as an Avon lady that my knowledge about make-up expanded and I started to see what would work with my skin tones and my look to make small and simple touch ups. I won’t lie I played around with many different types of make-up, and it’s only really now I have found a way of painting my face that works for me. I’m not going to pretend that I know everything as there is so much to know and the list of products out there is endless!
*A recent Selfie of me after freshly applied make up*
The funny thing is that now I tend to wear make-up nearly every day and it’s only when I’ve overslept or I’m just staying in that I leave the contents of my make-up bag untouched.
I like the fact that so many women out there look stunning all the time and simply don’t need to wear anything other than a touch of moisturiser. For me I guess I feel that little bit more prepared for the world with a painted face and I will be honest I feel that bit more girly too.
Having said all of that I think the best thing to put on your face is a smile. So I guess I’ll keep on smiling and playing around with various different types of face paint lol. I’ll be sure to write about some of the specific products I love and some that worked against me rather than for me and I look forward to hearing about what works for you all too.