Friday, 24 June 2016

10 things I really regret about my early days of blogging

.....and by 'early days' I mean about the first 3 years!

As you blog you get better by degrees, so much so that it's only looking back through your archive that you realise how many new skills you've picked up. Here are the things I wish I'd addressed sooner, but I'm glad I know about now.

  1. Taking my outfit photos indoors - you just can't beat the light outdoors, plus my home is so crammed full of my clothes, shoes, bags and makeup stashes there's little free room to pose. Plus if there's a choice of a lovely scenic place to take photos in or my tired ol' living room wall unit, there's no contest!
  2. Not resizing the width of all my photos - when I look through my posts from 2014, even part of 2015 I see hideous higgledy piggledy images of all sizes. It makes my brain hurt to look at them.
  3. Not investing in a softbox set for winter photography sooner - I got one last year. When it's cold out no matter how crammed my flat is, I'm still not going out to freeze my arse off unless I really have to. (Fibromyalgia + cold temperatures = widespread cramp, all over). Having soft box lights REALLY helps in winter, not just with outfit shots, but product shots and selfies too.
  4. Not keeping a journal. There are some things that would've been best kept to myself. What's that old quote about wondering if someone's an idiot and them removing all doubt by speaking? Yeah, sometimes it's best to keep people wondering rather than spewing out my every thought.
  5. Being such a grumpy cow. I've waged one-woman wars against so many retailers in the past, let alone the ways I've likely pissed off other bloggers with my open-mouth-insert-foot tendencies, so since last year I've been trying to calm my tits, especially on Twitter. It's so satisfying to have a quick Twitter whinge, but I don't want to be 100% whingebag.
  6. Not investing enough time in my photos. Photos in blogging are everything, and mine have been on a sliding scale from absolutely fricking dire to passable and back again a few times. I've started picking up little props here and there which look pretty in the background of photos and I've been making a real effort to get outside more for outfit shots. 
  7. Not knowing anything about SEO until about a year ago. I had no bloody clue and I'm learning all the time. Being an older blogger and thus not so media savvy is a definite minus but it just proves I need to read mooooooooooore blogs!
  8. Huuuuuuuuuge close ups of my face. No man, no. I scrub up all right but seeing myself in close up at about 850 pixels wide when I scroll back through my blog? I scare myself. 
  9. Using alll the links. Jaysus and Mary, I used to link to everythaaaaaaang. I have been way too generous with links in the past. Now I'm going through allllll my posts prior to last year and deleting all of the links, dead or not. I have something like 6000 links on this blog. Bananas.
  10. My biggest regret of all - not really believing in myself sooner
I'm one of those people who'd always swung wildly between huge self confidence (for about 2 days a month) and feeling like a single celled organism hanging around in the bottom of a pond. I now like to think I'm a slightly more stable individual, making good use of antidepressants, journaling and voracious reading to keep me on the up. I started blogging because I wanted to share my JOURNEY to confidence, and I'm still on it, but I've noticed something in my time slow-burn. People LOVE people who are goddamn on fire in their self love from the get go and I've been crawling there. If people come out of the gate like 'WOW, I love myself and you should too!' people flock to them.

That's not my journey though. I've been here since 2010 (I've reverted everything before 2012 to drafts as it was awful) but only now can I say 'Yeah, come at me, I'm at one with my existence.' It feels like my time is now. I regret not being that kind of person sooner, but you know what? Hard fought for victories taste SWEEEEEET. I switched my focus around to plus size blogging in about 2011, and that was my baby steps into thinking, yeah, you're all right, love. Prior to that I'd been on the dieting train obsessively for 25 years (since before puberty) and had always been made to feel wrong for existing by society. As time has gone on I've become more and more at one with myself, and now at the grand ol' age of 42 I find myself in the situation of giving almost no shits at all about what other people think of my body. I'm putting myself out there because although it's never nice to hear crappy things on social media, other people's opinions of me are just that - other people's. I feel like the best stuff is ahead of me, so 10 little regrets are nothing in the face of what's to come.

What are your blogging regrets, if you blog? If not, share a regret you have. 

Leah xoxo
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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Simply Be Sprinkle of glitter polka dot dress

Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review

Hello lovelies, in this post I'm going to talk about the Simply Be Sprinkle of Glitter polka dot dress which I bought a few weeks ago. Since I've bought it it's gone down in price to £21 so I'd jump on that if you like the look of it. It has pom poms AND pockets!

These photos were taken when I was up in London visiting James's parents. I look really tired in the photos as I had a virus this weekend and had been vomiting the night before.

Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review

Simply Be Sprinkle of glitter polka dot dress fit and comfort

I'm wearing a size 28 for room over my boobs because there's no stretch in the dress, and it was a good move. It's a loose smock style with plenty of room in the waist and hips but I needed the extra room across the chest. If you have smaller boobs (I'm an F cup) your normal size should be more than adequate as it's smallest around the chest. It's a light airy viscose fabric which was a blessing on this day as it was ho-ho-hot. It's really comfortable, and the pockets and pompoms as well as the multi coloured polka dots make it a fun summer dress. It's short though - more a tunic length than a dress I'd say. I'm 5ft 5 and if I was a couple of inches shorter it might be a bit indecent over my bum.

Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review
Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review
Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review

Simply Be Sprinkle of glitter polka dot dress quality and price 

It's a good quality garment and at the current price it's worth snapping up. It's one of those dresses that comes out of the washing machine creased beyond belief because of the fabric, but on the plus side the pompoms washed well. More in the video!

Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review
Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review
Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review
Simply-Be-Sprinkle-of-glitter-polka-dot-plus-size-dress-with-pom-poms plus size summer dress review



I'm wearing:
Simply Be Sprinkle of Glitter polka dot dress
Hot pink leggings, past season Yours Clothing
Skechers, QVC
Satchel, birthday present

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo


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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Comfort and quality all day long in plus size business suits & luxury nightwear #sp

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Hiya! In this post I'm introducing plus size ladies business suits from LucyAlice and luxury nightwear from David Nieper so you can be in comfort and quality all day long, from the office until bed time and beyond. There's nothing like changing into your comfies after a long day of being a responsible adult, so why not do both in absolute quality?

Both online stores offer plus sizes, so let's take a look.

LucyAlice's plus size ladies' business suits offer the best choice and versatility I've seen in plus size workwear, of which there has been a serious lack on the high street and online. A British family firm on over 16 years standing and named after the MD's daughter, they were the first website to sell suits online. They offer quality workwear which will last for years. Each collection coordinates, so if you were to buy a skirt, trousers and 2 jackets from the same collection, you'd have an ensemble matched wardrobe which required no more thought in the morning other than which top to pair it with. On average an employer decides within the first 10 seconds of an interview whether you're the right person for the job, so a workwear wardrobe is an investment in your future.

Sizing is from UK size 6 to size 24 (with selected trousers available up to a size 30) and up to 6 colours/patterns including plain and pinstripe. My favourite range is the Asti - which comprises of 5 different jackets, 2 skirts, 4 styles of trousers, a dress and a waistcoat. You can expect to see black, black pinstripe, navy, navy pinstripe and grey in most styles. The sizing is true to size - not vanity fitting as is offered so often on the high street. Materials are lightweight and quality - a wool, polyester and Lycra mix which is fully machine washable - negating the need for expensive dry cleaning.
    Catania Single Breasted Womens Jacket/Miranda Parallel Leg Trouser
    Numana Short Skirt/Susa Single Breasted Womens Jacket

    After coming in from a hard day's work, David Nieper's luxury nightwear would be the perfect way to relax. The range has something for all ages and tastes, and in sizes up to 26/28. Everything is made in England at their workrooms in the heart of Derbyshire. They're a family firm with over 50 years of experience making luxury clothing who carefully select the finest laces from Calais and satins from Italy to finish their nightwear, which is made using the finest, softest cotton. If you splash out on high thread count bedding for a more comfortable night you deserve to extend that comfort to your nightwear too.

    David Nieper also offer an individual size service where they can offer custom sizing - finding out if your favourite style can be customised is no more than a friendly phone call away. They also offer an alteration service, where their nightwear can be lengthened or shortened to suit your exact height - perfect for petite and tall customers. Their website holds a wealth of information, and you can also arrange to visit the shop and workrooms. 

    DAVID-NIEPER-LUXURY-COTTON-NIGHTWEAR-COMFORT-AND-QUALITY
    Fine Dainty Nightdress/Pretty Short Sleeve Nightdress
    DAVID-NIEPER-PLUS-SIZE-LUXURY-NIGHTWEAR-PLUS-SIZE-NIGHTSHIRTS-PLUS-SIZE-NIGHTDRESS
    Soft Lace Trimmed Nightie/Soft Cosy Night Shirt
    Thanks for reading!
    Leah xoxo

    *post in collaboration with LucyAlice and David Nieper
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    Thrifted finds - Evans lime lace tunic dress

     Evans-Lime-Lace-Thrifted-plus-size-dress summer dress green dress

    Hiya lovelies! In this post I'm going to be talking about a brand new Evans dress I got from a charity shop recently. It was a steal at £7.50 and it still had the tags on it. Score!

    Evans-Lime-Lace-Thrifted-plus-size-dress summer dress green dress
    Evans-Lime-Lace-Thrifted-plus-size-dress summer dress green dress
    Evans-Lime-Lace-Thrifted-plus-size-dress summer dress green dress

    Since the dress is past season I won't review it as there's little chance of grabbing one of these dresses now. I love the way I can see my VBO through it. A couple of years ago that might've mortified me but it shows how far I've come.

    Is this dress lime or chartreuse? Either way I like the colour. I have nothing else in this shade as far as I can recall. Here are some detail shots:

    Evans-Lime-Lace-Thrifted-plus-size-dress summer dress green dress

    I went too hard on the blush this day. Oops! This kind of straight-up-and-down dress isn't really flattering to me because my bottom half is so chunky, but the colour makes me smile and that's reason enough to buy - and keep - a dress. It's the kind of lace that catches on everything so I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

    Evans-Lime-Lace-Thrifted-plus-size-dress summer dress green dress
    Evans-Lime-Lace-Thrifted-plus-size-dress summer dress green dress

    Outfit details:
    Flower crown, Crown & Glory
    Sunglasses, bought in Spain
    Swirl pendant necklace, Mandy's Heaven 
    Dress, charity shop
    Footless tights, Donatella's
    Ghillie shoes, Spanish Primark

    Do you like charity shop buys? I can't resist them!

    Thanks for reading.
    Leah xoxo
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    Monday, 13 June 2016

    La Redoute Castaluna dotted plus size tulle skirt

    La-Redoute-Castaluna-dotted-plus-size-black-tulle-tutu-skirt-polka-dot-plus-size-occasion-skirt-plus-size-holidaywear-plus-size-wedding-wear

    Hello lovelies! In this post I'll be talking about this lovely Castaluna dotted plus size tulle skirt from La Redoute which I bought recently. I saw it on Chloe and fell in love with it. It took foooooorever to come (literally a month) but it was worth the wait.

    These photos were taken at gorgeous Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, and I'll be writing a separate post about our visit with lots of photos of the stunning scenery. 

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     La-Redoute-Castaluna-dotted-plus-size-black-tulle-tutu-skirt-polka-dot-plus-size-occasion-skirt-plus-size-holidaywear-plus-size-wedding-wear

    Right, let's talk about fit and so on, shall we?

    La Redoute Castaluna dotted plus size tulle skirt - fit and comfort

    I bought the skirt in a size 26 as I thought it had an elasticated waist. It doesn't exactly - there's a slight bit of give to it but not a lot as it has ribbon sewn on all the way round. Anyhow, the fit in the waist was a little snug but not to a point where it was uncomfortable, and there's plenty of room over my hips. It seems to be cut slightly longer on the back of the skirt - at least enough so my big bum shelf doesn't make the skirt look several inches shorter on the back like some skirts do. The fabric is light and floaty. There's an under layer to protect your modesty and a couple of layers of see through polka dot tulle over the top. The waistband is very stiff and did roll over quite a few times so the bow in the middle was no longer visible, but it's no biggie - it only bothered me because I had my 'Wah, everything must be perfect!' fashionista head on. Other than that it's a really comfortable skirt with a little swish to it, a little movement in the breeze, which is always nice on a hot day.

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     La-Redoute-Castaluna-dotted-plus-size-black-tulle-tutu-skirt-polka-dot-plus-size-occasion-skirt-plus-size-holidaywear-plus-size-wedding-wear

    La Redoute Castaluna dotted plus size tulle skirt price and service

    The skirt is £55 but I got 25% off as they had a voucher code at the time. It is an expensive item no doubt, but I love polka dots and looked after carefully it should last years. On to the service from La Redoute. When I ordered the skirt at no point did they tell me it was out of stock. After about 2 weeks when I hadn't received it I was wondering if it'd been nicked from the doorstep. I went onto my account on the website and it said stock was expected in the next couple of weeks and I'd be informed when it was on the way. I did get a text when it was ready to collect, at least. I'd arranged to pick it up from a local newsagents, albeit one off the beaten track, and that was the best choice given for miles - none of the popular local shop pick up points were listed. I'm glad I looked it up on Google maps street view first as the newsagents doesn't have a sign outside or anything to identify it (it's a bit of a multi-purpose offering and looks like a greengrocers from the outside) and on a street with two newsagents who needs the faff? But finally after a month I had my skirt. La Redoute is a part of the Daxon company and all the stock comes from France and in its own sweet time. Would I order from La Redoute again? Probably not to be honest. If they'd told me I'd have to wait a month for it I probably wouldn't have bought it. I wanted it in time for my holiday and got it after I got back. In case you're not put off by a month wait, it also comes in grey. It's available in sizes 14-28.

     La-Redoute-Castaluna-dotted-plus-size-black-tulle-tutu-skirt-polka-dot-plus-size-occasion-skirt-plus-size-holidaywear-plus-size-wedding-wear
     La-Redoute-Castaluna-dotted-plus-size-black-tulle-tutu-skirt-polka-dot-plus-size-occasion-skirt-plus-size-holidaywear-plus-size-wedding-wear

    Here I am standing outside the folly in the castle grounds. Here's a post about it from Instagram where I explained what follies are. Some of them have been repurposed to actually have a use in modern times - such as being converted to family homes - but initially most were made by rich buggers for no other reason than to amuse themselves.

    This is the #folly at Herstmonceux castle. In case you aren't au fait with the habits of rich British eccentrics, a folly is something people with too much money had built for no other purpose than to amuse themselves. They were decorative and mostly useless. Perhaps the small penis symbol of the time? There are dozens of them in Britain and I do find them quite fascinating. Inside this one there's nothing but wood paneling, but you can walk through to a gorgeous little courtyard garden behind it. Although it's two storeys at the front, from behind the second storey is a sun terrace with steps up from the garden. It was really hot on Saturday so we sat a few minutes in the shade of the folly in the garden to escape from the heat. #herstmonceuxcastle #castle #history #architecture #eastsussex
    A photo posted by Leah ✨🌙⭐ (@justmeleah.co.uk) on

     La-Redoute-Castaluna-dotted-plus-size-black-tulle-tutu-skirt-polka-dot-plus-size-occasion-skirt-plus-size-holidaywear-plus-size-wedding-wear

    I love how our mild winter has had such a glorious effect on nature - I don't think I've ever seen a summer so lush. Greenery is shooting up by the day and it's wonderful to watch. I took my shoes off and walked barefoot through the verdant forest in the vast grounds of the castle, as well as by the folly. It was beautiful. It's so important to connect directly with nature - do walk barefoot through soft grass, especially in the mornings when the dew is so refreshing. Paddle in the sea. Get some mud on you. Did you know gardeners may live longer than non-gardeners? There's anecdotal evidence that gardeners may live longer than non-gardeners. At some base level a literal connection to the earth does us the world of good. Embrace your inner hippie!

    Just look at this gorgeous rhododendron bush! What a beaut.

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    Do look out for the post coming up with more about Herstmonceux gardens and the woodland, especially if you're local and want to visit. We didn't go inside the castle as there were no tours on the day we visited - which explained why it was so empty. We had the place virtually to ourselves and it was idyllic.

    I'm wearing:
    Necklace, Jewel Street  
    New Look Curves black floral print bomber jacket
    Big Tights Company All Woman lace edged vest
    La Redoute Castaluna dotted plus size tulle skirt
    Flats, past season Primark

    Thanks for reading,
    Leah xoxo
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