Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Real Talk: Looking After Your Mental Health This Christmas

I absolutely love this time of year. I love all the twinkly lights. The smell of mulled wine in pubs. The sight of suited and booted city workers, tipsy and wearing festive headgear at 6 in the evening. I am full of all the Christmassy spirit (and all the glitter) and I really pack in all the yule time fun at this time of year. But damn, can that take a toll! Sometimes, despite my love for the holly and the ivy, I find this time of year gives my mental health a real bashing. (And I can only imagine it would be even worse if I really hated all things jolly). This time last year I was still really battling with my mental health - in the build up to Christmas I really struggled with my anxiety, and afterwards I really spiralled into a serious depression. So this year I am trying to do things a little differently, and I thought I'd share my tips for having a mentally healthy Christmas...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Festive Frocks: A Gift from Quiz Clothing

This beautiful party dress arrived as a little early Christmas present from the team at Quiz Clothing, and it ticks all my festive frock boxes! And I've never been able to say no to a gorgeous red dress...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

LBD with a Twist: Simply Be Star Sequin Midi Dress

This is the first of a series of festive frocks I am going to be having on the blog in the next couple of weeks, to help you find that perfect party dress to take you through the holidays. I'm starting off with a twist on the old classic - this little black dress from Simply Be. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Few of My Favourite Things: Feat Punky Pins, Self.Love.Brings.Beauty and NicLove

This look is from a few months ago, when the weather was a little more temperate. It is actually something that uni Hayley would have loved to wear - she was a little bit of a colourful boho punk (I know that's oxymoronic, but I'm an enigma. Leave me alone.) A collection of cute, fun pins, a mega body positive t-shirt (I hadn't discovered body positivity yet, god I wish I had), a black tutu and some fabulous earrings. What more does a girl need?! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Red or Dead: A Plus Size Look feat M&S and ASOS

When I was about 15 or 16 I started to realise what colours suited me. I gathered together a little palette that was very much my own. Over the years it's changed quite a bit - colours have come and gone, especially with changed in hair colour. But red has always been a mainstay for me. Red is my power colour. It makes me bolder and braver. Robed in red I can take on the world. So the fact that red is THE colour this season is filling me with all the happiness, and all the power (I am woman, hear me ROAR). 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Little Bit Witchy: Pink Clove Bardot Dress and Evans Embroidered Boots

This season is all about the statement sleeves, and Pink Clove have taken this LBD and really vamped it up with these awesome mesh bell sleeves. I added some statement boots from Evans and a colourful clutch, and I am loving this easy to wear Autumn look! 


Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday Blues: Featuring Simply Be, Navabi and the Wide Calf Boot Store

Since going proper copper with my hair I have been loving wearing blues even more than usual. So these Monday blues are a good thing, I promise! This look is comprised of some of my fave blue things in my wardrobe at the moment. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Azure Body Positive Yoga and Wellness Retreat - A Week Well Spent

If you follow my Instagram there is no way you would have missed this as I spent more than a week spamming everyone with holiday photos! But recently I went away to Turkey to an incredible body positive yoga retreat. And it was absolutely amazing!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Moving Up a Dress Size: On Acceptance and Self Love

A few weeks ago I posted this outfit on instagram, and talked about my dress size. To be honest, since embracing body positivity I've realised that the positive values we attach to some dress sizes / body shapes etc and negative values we ascribe to others are fictional. A dress size tells you very little about a person. I mean it can't tell you whether someone is actually healthy or unwell (society's apparent main issue with anyone plus size) but beyond that it can't tell you anything of any real note about a person. It can't tell you if that person is kind, if they're a good friend, if they are humourous, if they are honest. It can't tell you if they are afraid of the dark, or who their first kiss was with, or if they like their job, or what they'd do if they won the lottery. How they like their tea, if they've ever shoplifted, where they hide the good biscuits, or what they think about the new Great British Bake Off (I am in love with Noel, there I said it). It really can't tell you anything worth knowing. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dressed in Tess: Studio 8 London Tapework Dress

I'm never able to resist a green dress, and the Tess dress from Studio 8 is a lovely forrest green, that's perfect for this transitional season. It works just as well with bare legs and flats as it will with tights and boots. 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Navy and Mustard: Autumn Fashion with Marks and Spencer

It seems I have not intentionally taken most of the summer off from blogging. New posts have been few and far between, I know. But if you follow me on social media, you'll know I have been posting regularly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I'd love to say it was because I spent the (rather short) English summer sunning myself, but it's actually because I have gone back to full time work. I am working on a couple of pan London mental health projects (which I am really enjoying) and have been learning how to balance my blog, work and life again. More recently I spent a wonderful week at a body positive yoga retreat in Turkey (which I will write about soon). But the end of my summer holiday meant I have to admit - Autumn is coming in fast. And while my African heart still longs to feel the sun on my face, I have to be honest, Autumn fashion is always my absolute fave. The colours, the fabrics, the textures. And this year the colours are delicious and there is velvet everywhere. This makes for a very happy Hayley. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hayley and the Hair: My Curl Story and Care

I've another long post today. This time about my relationship with my hair. I don't deal with the curls side of Curves n Curls very often, but if you are here for fat fashion check out what I wore last month here, or read about my journey with my body here. For those curly babes among you, or anyone who ever had something about themselves they loathed and have now learnt to love... read on...  

In the last few months I have had a lot of messages and comments asking how I look after my hair, and what I use on it. It is unusually curly, and very long and it has taken a lifetime to work out what is best for it. So this post is about my evolving relationship with my hair, as well as my current care routine. If you’re not interested in hearing my lengthy tale of hair woe and triumph (I don’t blame you) then skip to the section headed My Current Hair Care Routine – The Curly Girl Method below. 

My relationship with my hair has not always been easy. As a little girl, I had a halo of golden curls - often admired and commented upon. From an early age I was aware my hair was unusual, purely for the reason that so many people mentioned it - first to my mum, and as I grew older to me. But as I got older, I slowly moved from indifference to dislike. I think it's normal as a child to just want to fit in. To be like everyone else. And in those awkward teen and tween years most of the girls in my class had long straight ponytails that swished down their backs, while my wild, unruly hair defied being smoothly tied down, and my ponytail closely resembled a bush. 
While most of my family have curly hair, mine was by far the curliest. I now realise that what it really needed was a whole different care routine to what my mum and aunts were doing with theirs. But as I headed into my teens I was not interested in learning how to work with my curls and enhance them. No, it was the 90s and hair everywhere was dead straight - Rachel Green, Kate Moss, Gwenyth Paltrow - not a kink to be seen anywhere. 
My war with my hair was of biblical proportions. My mum spent more than she had spent on hair care for herself in a lifetime on me in a year - desperately trying to help me find some sort of magical serum, gel or lacquer that would allow me to have the dominium over my hair I so desired. I compulsively brushed it hoping it would flatten, and I wore my hair like all the others girls in my year –  in a centre parting with a low ponytail. (Once so coveted, isn’t it funny that I now think of this as the most boring and unflattering of hair styles). All to no avail – my belligerent hair frizzed and fuzzed in all directions. I had (still have) a tremendous cowlick at the front of my hair, which meant my parting never lay flat. And whenever I let my hair out of the restrictive ponytail, it would quickly form itself into a large frizzy triangle about my head (I grew up in Durban, South Africa - famed for its humidity, which DID NOT HELP!). 
When I was 13 a well-meaning art teacher who had hair (I now recognise) much like mine when it's well maintained and looked after, suggested I stop brushing my hair and allow the curls to form of their own accord. I was quite appalled by her suggestion. I also didn't really believe that I had those sorts of curls lurking under my fuzzy frizz, because I hadn't seen them since I was about 8 years old. And anyway - I didn't want them. I wanted to be like everyone else with their poker straight hair. 
The hormonal changes of adolescence were not kind to my hair, and it seemed the older I got the worse my hair became. Totally and utterly unmanageable. At their wits end, my parents agreed for me to go to a very expensive hairdresser, who proposed to chemically relax my hair - a process ordinarily reserved for Afro hair. The details now are a little sketchy, but the product was not at all right for my hair. The hairdresser left an apprentice in charge of the application process, she got it all over my scalp, and it resulted in 40-50% of my hair breaking off about half an inch from the scalp. Fuck! Thank God I have so much hair that it means I can actually stand to lose some, but basically… my hair was fucked. And all the damage had to be cut out over the next few years. It kinda put an end to the eternal war with my hair, because there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, but leave it alone and let it grow back. 
  Leaving school brought about the first signs of peace with my hair. I no longer had to wear it tied up, and so wore my hair loose more often. Which resulted in people once more commenting on my curls and these compliments really bolstered my confidence. I moved to London for year, and with everyone regularly ironing their hair with straighteners to within an inch of it’s life, everywhere there seemed to be sad, flat, dead hair peppered with little white flecks of split ends. Mine had grown by this time, past my shoulders, and the weight pulled the curls down a bit meaning my hair silhouette was less triangle shaped. Instead it floated around me like a red cloud. Making me stand out, in a very good way. It was also at this time I started religiously dying my hair red. My once golden curls had headed more and more towards mouse brown through my teens, and so I ditched my natural colour in favour of something warmer. Something that felt infinitely more me. I have now been every shade of red, pink and orange imaginable. And hair dye continues to be the only real vice I have when it comes to my hair. Otherwise I try to treat it as well as I possibly can.
At uni I grew my hair even longer, stop brushing it in between washes, so the curls could form naturally, and revelled in how unusual my mane was. While high school is all about fitting in, uni is a time to stand out and my hair certainly helped me to do that. It matched my boho, hippy style to a tee. 
Since then it has been pretty much plain sailing – my relationship with my hair remains good. It is definitely my favourite physical attribute. Every adult growing up told me I would love it one day, and I rolled my eyes and responded with a yeah right. But now here I am. Truly in love with my curls, and so very glad I have them.
Over the years I have learnt more and more about what is and isn’t good for my hair. The internet has been helpful – because while I can’t think of the last time I met someone who has hair quite like mine irl, online I can find people who know the struggles and learn from them. I have also learnt to look for hairdressers who aren’t intimidated by or scared of my hair. Some people have more experience with curls, and I make sure that anyone handling my curls, be it for a cut or a colour, knows what they are doing and appreciate curls. I talk to my hairdressers. I tell them all the things I have learnt about curly hair. I usually end up with the whole salon around my chair at some point – commenting, advising, admiring. And I have to be honest, I rather like it. I am vain about my hair. It took me a long time to get here, and now I genuinely love the fuss (attention whore). 
Having hair like mine means that style wise I don’t have many options. A fringe just isn’t going to happen. Cutting my hair would be quite a gamble – I don’t know what the curls might do without the weight to pull them down. And as I stay away from heat styling where I can, I very rarely straighten my hair, or give it different blow waves. So any time I want a major change I usually have to find a way to achieve it with colour. 
My Current Hair Care Routine – The Curly Girl Method
But my care routine has changed quite a lot. About two and a half years ago, I discovered the Curly Girl Method. This is like the Holy Grail for curly girls everywhere. I am going to do my best to explain it here (or at least my adaptation of it). But please note, unlike some I don’t follow the routine religiously. I have taken the essence of the method and adapted it to me. But I will provide links of where you can find out more information. 
The Curly Girl (CG) method is the best way I have come across for looking after your curls, and encouraging good curl formation. There are a lot of very harmful chemicals in today’s shampoos and conditioners. They are damaging to hair in general, but particularly bad for curly hair which tends to be dryer overall. So the first thing is to find out which products are the enemy (hint: most of them), and which ones you can  use. Here is a very helpful list of products you can purchase in the UK that don’t have any evil silicones or sulphates in them. I've got this link saved on my phone for when I am out shopping. 

For washing and conditioning I swear by Aussie Miracle Moist conditioner. (More about washing my hair with conditioner below) I have tried other CG friendly conditioners, but I haven’t liked any nearly as much as Aussie Miracle Moist. (To the best of my knowledge nothing else in their range is CG friendly) It is a very rich conditioner, and my thick, dry curls slurp it up happily. I imagine it would be too much for those with finer hair, but for me it’s what works best. I probably go through 3 big bottles of it a month. But I am using it as both a shampoo and conditioner, and I am extremely generous with how much I use. I have a lot of hair and I want that conditioner smothering every strand!
I do know people who frequently find CG friendly conditioners in pound shops, so do not despair if you are on a budget. And I tend to load up on Aussie whenever I see it on offer in Boots or Superdrug (one of them is always having some sort of deal).
So, one of the foundations of the Curly Girl method – No Poo! Yup, it’s time to cut out the shampoo. Now I know this is a hideous thought to many. I personally thought I would struggle more than I did. I did miss that super squeaky clean feeling in the beginning. But as my hair is really dry anyway, I never felt it got greasy as a result of cutting out shampoo, so I was spared the awkward in between phase many people have to go through while your hair adjusts to life without shampoo. But it will adjust. It has just become over reliant on chemicals it doesn’t need. Many forums say this can be done gradually – reducing how often you shampoo, or how much you use so you can wean yourself off. Some people recommend you do it next time you take a beach holiday. Being able to scrape your hair back most of the day while it goes through the greasy phase, and all that washing means you can get over the no shampoo hump, returning with CG curls and a tan! (Well, some of you – I have never come back from anywhere with a tan!)
So how do you get your hair clean then? Well, you co-wash! Co-washing (or conditioner washing) is essentially just washing your hair (and scalp) with conditioner. I tend to do the washing once a week, and in between just wet my hair and condition it, to get rid of frizzies and keep my curls looking happy. I wash my hair by gently scrubbing and stimulating my entire scalp with my fingertips (no nails!) using conditioner. I make sure I do this in rows to make sure I don’t miss any of my scalp. The friction should lift residue, sweat & oil to be rinsed out. I make sure all of this ‘dirty’ conditioner is completely rinsed out, to make sure I’ve gotten rid of and grub. Then I condition as usual. When rinsing your conditioner out ordinarily it’s best not to wash it all out. If you are using a CG friendly conditioner it won’t create build up on the hair, and will leave it feeling nourished, hydrated and more manageable. As for how much to leave in – just rinse until it feels right. It will be different depending on your hair and curl type. In the beginning a few times I definitely left a bit too much in which resulted in my hair feeling heavy. But I have the hang of it now. And if I feel I have over rinsed I just put a bit more in.
It’s also time to abandon brushes, combs etc. They are no longer to pass through your hair. Ever! They ruin curl structure, and make your hair frizzy. To get rid of tangles hair should be combed through with your fingers when you have conditioner in it. This is a process that can take some patience, especially if you hair is particularly prone to knotting. I do sometimes use a wide tooth comb, very gently, to detangle mine. But  finger detangling and combing should only ever be done when your head is saturated with conditioner. 
On to drying - towels will make your curls fluffy and fuzzy, and suck up all that yummy conditioner you’ve just left on them. But it’s a really simple fix. Just use an old t-shirt instead (the softer the better). When I come out of the shower / bath I wrap it up in a t-shirt until the worst of the wet is off. Just before I put it in the towel I add my styling products. Just like with your shampoo and conditioner, it is important to ensure that your products don’t contain any of the nasties that coat and dry curly hair – no silicones, sulphates, alcohols etc.

Product wise I swear by Boucleme for styling. Boucleme is a small company, based here in the UK, who make products specifically for curls, with 0% nasties in them. They have a stable of products just for curls, including cleansers, conditioners and styling products. I have given them all a try, and they’re all good to be honest. 
Their range sports a Curl Cleanser, which I use every now and again when I feel there is some build up on my hair from environmental factors. I probably use this every couple of months, before conditioning. I imagine it would be useful if you think you’ll find coming off shampoo particularly difficult. I have also tried their conditioner, but for my thirsty hair it is just not quite rich or thick enough. I think it would be better for finer hair and perhaps looser curls. Ideally, I would like to see them create a deep conditioning treatment to complement their range. 
Where they really come into their own, in my opinion, is their styling products. 

Before I put my hair in my t-shirt to dry a bit, I take a couple of pumps of Boucleme Curl Cream and run it through my hair in sections. Then I do the same with the Boucleme Curl Defining Gel. The gel is very light, and doesn’t make my hair feel heavy or too sticky. I then wrap my head up for a while to get the worst of the wet off. When it is damp, I take the t-shirt off and then twist my already formed tendrils, to give them a little more definition. If the ends are looking a bit frizzy then I add a little more curl cream just to smooth them out. Twisting doesn’t appear to be a standard part of the CG method repertoire. In fact curly girls are encouraged to touch their curls as little as possible particularly while they are drying. Which is something I follow as soon as I have done my twists. I then leave it to air dry for as long as possible. I often end up sleeping on damp hair, but as long as there is no draft this is not a problem for me. 
My hair still gets a fluffy and a bit frizzy between conditions. When I am being good (which isn’t very often) I sleep with a silk scarf tied around my head, to prevent my curls from being mussed by my pillows. And I must say this does work. But sometimes I’m lazy. This method is called pineapple-ing, and you can learn how to do it here with a video tutorial.
The CG method is pretty dogmatic. And there are some things I do which would probably result in me being drummed out of the magic circle if I told the CG queens, lol. I do occasionally allow hairdressers to blow dry or heat style my hair (although I usually prefer it in all its curly mane glory). I do the twisting thing. I don’t always put a head scarf on at night (Okay I haven’t in months, oops). I am not particularly rule following in any area of my life, so unsurprisingly I have adjusted the CG method to suit me. And I am pretty happy with the results. Not to say this is what you should do though. Definitely do the research and decide for yourself. 
Right! I realise that is a silly amount of information, so here is a little break down of my curly girl steps, that you can refer back to if it’s helpful: 
Products – find CG friendly products (from this list) to replace anything you use that contains silicones, sulphates, alcohol etc.  Try around – it’s not a one size fits all thing. Styling wise I swear by Boucleme.
This is a very simple break down of how I take care of my hair. There is a lot more to the CG method out there, and a quick google will have you browsing for hours. There are loads of different types of curls, and so different products and techniques that work depending on your hair. This is the method I now use, and have found works best for my hair. But if you want to read more on following the CG method I would recommend joining the Curly Girls (Conditioner Washing Group for Women) on Facebook – they have loads of documents that can give you every bit of advice you need. 
Damn! Well done if you made it to the end. This post feels pretty comprehensive, but I am sure there are some bits I have left out no doubt. So if you have any questions please send me a message or leave them in the comments. If you are a curly girl yourself, are you using the CG method? What do you do differently? I'd love to hear from you, as ever! 
**Quick note to say sorry I have been so elusive - no post in a month! I think that is a record! For those who follow me on social media, you'll know that I got a new job (first time working in a year after a hell of a struggle with my mental health) and so the last month or so has been about adjusting, and making sure I am doing all the self care necessary to make such an adjustment without a relapse. But I am back now, and more posts will be up shortly I promise. Some exciting things happening too. I will be at Curve Fashion Festival in Liverpool on the 9th of September, with the crew from Studio 8 - so if you're there do come and say hi. I will also be going away on a wonderful body positive yoga retreat with the gorgeous George from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, at the end of September. If you'd like to book a place, you can do so here. Lots of love, darlings!**

Before I started following the CG method, I had already made some styling product decisions. I refuse to even look at mousse – which is the go to curly hair product for hairdressers trained in the 80s and 90s. It makes my hair look wet and unnatural, and I can’t bear it. I used to feel the same about gel. I am not down with that wet look, or my hair being crispy or crunchy. What I didn’t realise was that this crunchy setting is called gel cast, and it can be removed by gently scrunching the hair once it is dry. Leaving your hair soft and natural looking. I now use a gel in conjunction with a curl cream – which gives me even more moisture and a bit of a smoothing finish on the ends. 

Washing – throw out your shampoo. Wash instead with conditioner (I use Aussie Miracle Moist conditioner), every couple of washes. Remember to leave a bit of conditioner in your hair when you rinse. 
Brushing – no more brushes! Hair should be finger combed when saturated with conditioner, and if absolutely necessary combed with a wide tooth comb. Otherwise – no brushes! 
Drying – no more towels! No more hair dryers, no more rough drying, don’t even squeeze water from it. Find an old t-shirt and wrap it in that to take the worst 
 Styling products – add your styling products when hair is still wet. I use a curl cream and curl gel from Boucleme. When my hair is damp I twist individual curls, and then leave it to air dry. 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What I've Been Wearing Lately...

It's been about 6 months since I have done one of these round ups. I have been pretty busy job hunting as I am finally ready to go back to work. And so the blog has had to take a bit of back seat, while I dealt with real grown up stuff (lame). That's not to say I don't have some exciting blog stuff coming up (more on that in the coming weeks), but just that I probably haven't been creating as much content as I would have liked, particularly over the last month. But I have still been getting dressed (on occasion - still mainly PJs) so here's what I have been wearing lately...

Friday, July 7, 2017

Big Love: Dating as a Plus Size Woman in your Thirties

I've been single for a long time. Like a really long time. Like, it's getting embarrassing over here people. I've had a couple of conversations lately, where I have explored with friends (both single and coupled) why that might be. I am not sure that I know. I mean who does? A few weeks ago I was talking about being single, and dating, and the endless search for "the one"over on instagram stories (if you're not following me yet, you can do so here) and it turned into a really lively discussion with quite a few lovely readers. And that got me thinking - I have been meaning to write a post about dating, both as a woman in her thirties, and someone who is plus size, for the blog for a while now. So grab yourself a cup of tea, or an alcoholic beverage might be more appropriate, and settle in for the scoop on my dating escapades...

Monday, July 3, 2017

Walking On Sunshine: : Marks and Spencer Yellow Tiered Dress

I am currently obsessed with yellow (if I am not wearing pink, you can find me in yellow). And today's plus size friendly dress from Marks and Spencer dress is actual sunshine. It is the brightest, sunniest yellow you can imagine! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Swirly Goodness: Cut for Evans Pink Tunic Dress

This heat wave is insane! It is 8pm at night right now, and it's 31 degrees here in London. What?! I can't even! I am from Africa people, Africa! And right now I feel like I am nestled inside hell's bumhole. Does anyone know if you are allowed to legally marry your fan? How about a three way with a fan and a calippo? Answers on a postcard...

Friday, June 16, 2017

#MyBodyMyBFF with Curvy Kate

How do you talk to your body? How do you talk about your body? Do you treat your body with kindness, compassion, understanding and respect? Or are you more likely to reach for criticisms and harsh words when describing the form you inhabit? Is you body you BFF? Curvy Kate's newest campaign, #mybodymyBFF, focuses on how we talk to and treat our bodies, and urges women to treat their precious bodies as their BFFs for one month.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lady in Lace: Featuring the Chi Chi London Liviah Dress from Simply Be

I adore pretty dresses. Despite having a wardrobe overflowing with frills and frou frou, I can always find space in my heart for one more. So I was delighted when Simply Be made my princess dreams come true and sent me this gorgeous pale pink confection to feature on the blog.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Utterly In Love With Ursula: Lady Voluptuous Ursula Dress in Jade Bouquet

Since Lady V London launched their plus size brand, Lady Voluptuous, two years ago I have been a dedicated fan. The styles are well designed for plus size bodies, and have a timeless vintage quality. Every season they release new colours and prints meaning you can get your hands on updated versions, and I now have a lovely back catalogue of my favourite styles. Lady V recently sent me an Ursula dress to review, and I am rather smitten! 

Friday, June 2, 2017

My Month In Outfits: What I Wore in May

Sheesh! May was a busy month. I spend 5 days in France with my family, which was wonderful. I had a host of parties to go to. There were loads of press days in London, previewing Autumn Winter trends (I know, it's weird, summer has barely started). So lots of opportunities to dress up. Check out what I wore in May...

Monday, May 29, 2017

Ariel in Disneyland: Feat. Voodoo Vixen Maggie Dress

While on a recent trip to France my mum and I went to Disneyland Paris, because you're never too old for Disney! I decided I wanted to do a Disney inspired outfit, because why the hell not, and couldn't resist going for a plus size Ariel look because, well, #lifegoals.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Come On Dover! Dress Destination with Studio 8 London

Summer is always full of exciting events and engagements. Weddings, parties and race meets mean your occasion wear will be working overtime. Studio 8 London is my go to for gorgeous plus size dresses for pretty much ever occasion, and a couple of weeks ago they were kind enough to take me and Emma Smyth (of Terrible Tumbles) for a super luxurious day of racing, delicious food and general fanciness at Ascot.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How to Dress for Actual Spring Weather: WIth River Island Plus Cold Shoulder Top

This look is a bit sneaky - it looks all Spring like and ready for the warm weather, but add a jacket and you're ready for the unpredictable, often chilly London climate. I'm loving the combo of black and pale pink at the moment - it's like a softer monochrome. And I am finding so many great pieces at River Island. Viva their plus size collection!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

I Feel Pretty: Collectif Peony Dolores Doll Dress

I have been feeling so girly in the last few months. Which is good because a lot of SS trends are decidedly feminine - lots of pinks, lots of florals, lots of embroidery. All those girly trends have kinda combined in this vintage look from Collectif.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

My Month In Outfits: What I Wore in April

April was a brilliant month! To be honest, it's the first time I have felt like myself in a really long time - I can feel my usual cheerfulness and interest in life returning, and after a long battle with depression and anxiety that is kinda a big deal! I got out and about much more, I got dressed up more, and I totally milked my birthday, with waaaaaay more celebrations than are merited for a 33rd! But it was marvelous! And here's what I wore...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Take It To The Maxi: City Chic Graphic Print Maxi Dress from Evans

Each year on my birthday I get a new outfit, a tradition I have had since I was little (my mum has always done this too). This year I opted for this City Chic maxi dress. I am having a real moment for maxi dresses and skirts at the moment. Getting back to my boho roots! I am a big fan of City Chic clothing, an American brand that Evans has recently added to their online stable of plus size brands. I got a really great maxi dress from them last year, which I wore in the Caribbean, and so I have been keeping my eyes peeled for more from them since then. In summer they look super elegant, while being cool and comfortable. I tend to wear shape wear with my more fitted dresses, but this style requires no structural undergarments (other than a bra in my case lol),  just some chub rub shorts and I'm good to go.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Little Lace: New Quiz Clothing Plus Size Collection feat Lace Skater Dress

It's too fabulous to see more of the high street opening up their offering to plus size customers. The most recent to add a plus size collection is Quiz Clothing - launching a Curve range in sizes 18 - 28. It landed in March, modelled by the absolutely delicious Felicity Hayward, and the new collection is fresh, pretty and romantic. So when the team at Quiz asked me if I like to review something for the blog, I decided to opt for this beautiful lace skater dress.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


The days are finally getting longer. The shops are starting to fill with the first hopeful hues of summer fashion, and there are daffodils everywhere. Which means we are seeing the first stirrings of the great marketing con, perpetrated against all women, the "summer body". Also known as the "bikini body" or "beach body", it is a myth rooted in a desperation to sell us things we don't need, patriarchy and utter horseshit.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Welcome to the Jungle: Studio 8 Thea Dress

How is it that every season Studio 8 London make the perfect green dress? It's like they have a gift! And incidentally this Thea dress arrived as a little gift for me last week from the lovely lot at Studio 8, and I couldn't wait to get it on my body!


Friday, March 24, 2017

First Blush: Sequin Pearl Top from Navabi

We make a lot of rules for ourselves. We put boundaries our own way. I am currently on a course that talks a lot about the limiting belief systems we construct for ourselves, and how we get hemmed in by them. I am unpicking some of those beliefs now, and I'm finding the process most enlightening. It's also hard seeing how many rubbish rules you have put in place for yourself, that are usually based on flawed evidence and are instrumental in holding you back. It's got me thinking about some of the nonsense fashion rules we follow.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

My Month in Outfis: What I Wore in February

I really enjoy doing these monthly round ups. It inspires me to keep enjoying my wardrobe and be creative with the outfits I put together, and I think it's also important to see how new items can be incorporated into your existing wardrobe because sometimes with bloggers I think it can look like we have a new wardrobe every month. While I am lucky to have a vast wardrobe, with more new garments than most, I still really love to wear my favourites, whether they are a month old or a decade. So, here's what I was wearing in February (with again the reminder that I am not working at the moment so most of the time I don't get dressed!)...

Friday, March 10, 2017

Keeping It Casual: A Casual Look with Simply Be

With my latest incarnation as a lady of leisure (read unemployed) I am definitely wearing casual looks a lot more often. Anyone who has read my blog for a while will know this has always been an area of fashion I've been less comfortable with, but I feel like I am finally starting to crack it. And so I have put together this totes casual season transition look from Simply Be, which I am living in right now.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ain't Got No Blues: Studio 8 Dita Dress and Priya Jacket

It's been a while since I've shown you a really Hayley, plus size work wear option (not working means I rarely have to even get dressed - hallelujah!) but this look from Studio 8 London is cute and fresh, and almost enough (but not quite) to convince me to get a damn job already! 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Pretty in Pink: ELVI Premium Embroidered Skirt

My taste lately has taken a really girly turn. It might be that after living in black most of the winter, I am now ready for the colour and lightness of Spring. It might be this season's obsession with pinks, florals and embroidery. Or it might be that pretty, romantic clothing feels like a wonderful antidote to the rather broken, angry world we seem to be living in right now. It's probably a combo of all the above!

Monday, February 6, 2017

My Month in Outfits: What I Wore in January

January is always a bit of a slow, lame month. Not much happening socially, and even less happening generally if you're unemployed (yup - I took the plunge at the end of last year and left my job after almost 5 years, and now I am (kinda) looking forward to pastures new). Which means that a large part of January was spent in pyjamas and slippers. Not that I'm complaining. But when I could be arsed to get dressed, here's what I was wearing...

Friday, January 27, 2017

She's a Tease: Curvy Kate's Tease Balcony Bra in Black and Purple

Okay, I'm gonna say it. Curvy Kate's Tease bra is my favourite! It's pretty and sexy, gives my rack a wonderful shape, and is comfortable enough for day wear, but saucy enough for the bedroom. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Dealing with the Wobbles: Feat. Collectif's Blossom Printed Dolores Doll Dress

This was a hard post to write. When you write a blog that is largely about being body positive, and loving you body, it's hard to admit that you have experienced a bit of a body positivity wobble lately. How can I hope to be a light to others, when I am struggle to keep my own little flame going? But I want to talk about it. Because I think sometimes we can really beat ourselves up when we think we're the only ones struggling. Body positivity is not like a qualification - when you've found a body positive mind set, you don't get a certificate or a couple of letters after your name, and that's it. It's something you have to work on, and work for.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Light My Fire: Ignite Halfy Cup Bra by Scantilly

Since their launch in late 2015, I have been obsessed with Scantilly. The gorgeous, flirty designs are a dream come true for busty girls everywhere, and a product that the plus size market just didn't have before. The team at Scantilly are radiantly body positive, something that shows in their campaigns and their social media - if you're not following them already you really should be - and so it's not just their product that I love, but their ethos as well. Recently the team sent me this gorgeous Ignite half cup bra to review, and it's just as saucy and sultry as I could have hoped.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Kiss My Deadly: Hell Bunny at Yours Clothing

Urg, January! How hard it is to hold on to any semblance of body positivity in the cacophony of new year new you bullshit. Television is choked with dieting adverts, social media feeds are full of self deprecating memes about being a fat fucker, and everywhere people are being smug about sticking to their resolutions, or self flagellating for not managing to do so. It takes a lot to hold on to any sense of normality in this tsunami of bullshit. Not because making change is in any way a bad thing, but because of the nonsense moral value that is ascribed to making certain changes. As though anyone not doggedly chasing societal depictions of the perfect body, skin, hair, diet is some sort of deviant, delinquent aberration. The horrifying "Before" shot, to be avoided at all costs.  Urg! Enough!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Making It Your Own: Elvi PU Skirt and Velvet Trench

This season a big trend has been textured pieces - exciting, tactile fabrics of various types have been a big hit. But sometimes I can be hard to know how to wear such statement pieces. How to blend them with your existing wardrobe and make them your own. I've taken this PU skirt from Elvi, a rather modern piece, and made it something wearable for me.

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