All posts by Laura Counsell

I believe I am destined for great things, despite all evidence to the contrary!
TanLuxecrop

Things I like right now

Hey, it’s another post about fun things! I’m still pretending that the election isn’t happening! Here’s three things I am currently loving.

1. Tan-Luxe Facial Drops

A nice bit of glow on the face can lift the complexion, even it out, and mean you need less foundation, but I’ve always been wary of facial fake-tanning: I’m quite scared of fake tan in general as I never seem to get it right. The other option is a gradual tan in a moisturiser but that means applying a moisturising product or brand that you wouldn’t usually pick, and why am I using all these fancy anti-ageing things to just finish them with something I wouldn’t choose?

It's £35 but a little goes a long way
It’s £35 but a little goes a long way

Enter Tan-Luxe, full name: Tan-Luxe Illuminating Serum Self Tan Facial Drops (bit of a mouthful). You mix 2-4 drops with your own moisturiser (GENIUS) and then over a couple of days of use, a very natural tan develops. It doesn’t add weight or greasiness. There can be a very slight waft of fake tan smell occasionally but I usually don’t find that unless I use 4 full drops in the morning. As a light-to-medium skinned person, I would say that the Light/Medium option I went for is very subtle and I could probably have gone for Medium/Dark and used less, and the Medium/Dark is a great option for darker-complected ladies who want to warm up their skin during the winter months. I’ve been using this for about three months now and have had no patchiness or dryness, the tan has looked very natural, and I’ve been able to use all my beloved serums and Liz Earle products without compromise.

2. Cat Marnell’s How To Murder Your Life

I know this sort of book divides people, but I’ve been a sucker for a bright-woman-with-issues book since I read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation, and then everything else she wrote. When I came across Marnell’s pieces on xoJane I was hooked; her disregard for what others think of her is fascinating and her conversational but stylised writing draws you in.

IMG_2640
My beloved, shabby copy

XOJane is sadly no longer being updated but articles are still available to read, and I just found Marnell’s voice- so flippant in the face of so much pain- compulsive. How to Murder Your Life is Marnell’s memoir, of her privilege, her pain, her huge talent and success, and her inability to hold on to any of it. I’m about ten pages away from the end and I’ll be so sad to finish it.

Get it from Amazon or Waterstones for 10-15 bucks.

3. Ice Cream BLVD by Jeffree Star Cosmetics

I am a terrible, decadent cosmetics purchaser. I love trying new colours and styles, and I love stockpiling any essentials. Nine times out of ten, when QVC has a Today’s Special Value deal on make-up, I end up buying it: Tarte, BareMinerals, Becca, and all the other wonderful brands they stock. Sigh. I’m also a huge huge fan of Beauty Pie but that’s a whole other post entirely.

Lipstick

So I had promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any more make-up for a while but as soon as I saw it, I just had to have the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Lip Ammunition in Ice Cream BLVD. It’s pink with a lilac undertone, so on trend but without going too purple. Densely-pigmented and in awesome, kitsch bullet packaging, this little wonder has the power to cover fully in one sweep and still get more intense. I’m wearing it with fluttery lashes and neutral eyeshadow.

Apols for the selfies. I just feel it would be rude to ask colleagues to take photos of me
Apols for the selfies. I just feel it would be rude to ask colleagues to take photos of me

My favourite thing in a lipstick is buildable colour; I want that good, pigmented pay-off, but I also want to sweep it on and get a subtle wash if the mood takes me. And you can do that too. I can’t promiuse I won’t be getting more colours of these (and they are vegan and cruelty free).

Lipstick 3
See? Can be subtle too
Category: Style
This is good hair (for me).

The rules for managing fine hair

I think about hair a lot, and I talk about hair only marginally less. I’ve written about it before,  but anyway that was ages ago. One might argue that there are more important things to think about and that’s the whole problem; I haven’t written properly in forever because the world is so freaking overwhelming. I am genuinely overwhelmed by it. Work has been very busy this year so far but yawn, whatever, work is hard. That’s capitalism, babes! But it’s the political landscape that I’ve struggled to fathom, the lack of generosity and empathy in the way we are voting in the Western world (thank Christ for Trudeau and Macron), the million opinion pieces that make me feel worse. The seemingly constant belief by the common man that the rich will lift you out of your inequality! Why ask to be treated fairly if a billionaire can help put a (brown) face to your frustration and disappointment? It is so utterly depressing my creativity seemed to give a tiny pfft and disappear. I am left with too much to say and no words to express it all. And now a General Election!

But y’know what we can have a bit of control over? Hair! Well, to tell the truth, I’m not even sure that’s accurate, but I have to search for some order in this shitshow and why not start with my sharing the painful learnings of years of hating my hair? Beats thinking about the other stuff! Now, if you don’t have hair that you would hand-on-heart call ‘thin’ then you have my best wishes but you don’t know my life. Truly fine hair is the kind that experiences a gust of wind and goes greasy, blow-dries with some oomph but is flat in an hour, is generally hard to work with and won’t hold a curl. Now I have empathy with our fine, curly haired sisters, but that’s a whole different ballgame; I’m talking MY hair: flat, fine, caucasian, straight but with the ability to kink in a hairband, prone to grease. I had one huge blow-dry that lasted a few hours once, and that’s about all anyone’s been able to do. So often all you can really do is take away the factors that sabotage your hair, and here are my tips.

1. Get your hair cut regularly

Ugh, haircuts are so expensive. Even where I live- where the hairdressers don’t have websites- a cut is £35-£39. Extortionate. I think lots of people get a lady round their house rather than go to a salon and if you have one you like, awesome. In an ideal world, all fine-haired wimmin should  find a stylist who knows their hair. They may not be the most cutting-edge (sorry) stylist in the world, but if you think they do reasonably well with your hair and they understand how finer hair works, stick with them. And then get your hair cut, every 6-8 weeks. I know it’s annoying, I know it’s hard to find the time (I go to a salon near work so I can do lunchtime trims), and I know it’s expensive, but it really is the best thing you can do for your hair.

Fine hair damages easily and if yours is anything like mine, I always need to apply some heat to it to not end up with a flat mess. So every time I’m using the hairdryer, I’m probably doing some damage, and that can be seen in split-ends or broken hair (which can make hair look quite fly-away). The more precise the haircut, the more it will benefit from regular trims, but I would argue that fine hair needs those trims even when the cut isn’t high-tech. In my experience and opinion, fine hair just looks better when it’s regularly trimmed. It just keeps those bobs looking healthier, and long hair looking as thick as it can do. When your hair gets ‘end-y’, it looks thinner.

I always walk out of the hairdresser looking flat and sad, but it passes!

They condition your hair so it’s easy to trim, and then it just looks so sad and flat afterwards…

1a. If you have a fringe, get it trimmed

More trips to the hairdresser, sorry. And this is one that I have come to quite late, but now I know the truth: if you have a fringe, take your hairdresser up on those goddamn free trims! I’ve been offered these for years and had never gone for one; I just found it a bit mortifying and I tended to wait until I was getting my hair cut properly. This may work if you have a sweeping kind of fringe and you go fairly regularly for the cut as evangelised about above. But for a heavier or more classic fringe, a trim keeps it from separating; the bane of a fringe-owner’s (wearer’s?) existence.

I combat fringe separation with the following tools:

Even with all of that, if the fringe gets too long, it’s Game Over. But I do understand! Being a bit weird and awkward at times, the thought of going in to the salon to be told no-one could trim me seemed like a nightmare. But now I’ve realised how much neater and fresher I look (vanity will out), I just call them up, ask when the best time to come in for a fringe-trim is, and it’s relatively painless. At a push, a place local to you will probably trim your fringe- if they’re not too busy- for £4-£5.

2. Take B vitamins!

My gorgeous and clever big sister recommended Biotin to me and I was all like “Whu?” as I had never heard of it and I wasn’t much of a supplementer. Oh how times have changed! I didn’t use anti-ageing skincare then either and that time seems a million years ago. Now I take a tonne of supplements to help with joints and digestion and fatigue, and I sure do love my Biotin, which is basically a B vitamin that helps your hair, skin, and nails. It’s what’s in Perfectil, which I used to take, but the dose in just straight-up Biotin can be way higher. Since taking it, my nails grow so much faster and stronger and I feel that my hair is in better condition. My hairdresser has assured me that it will mean my hair is much stronger and a good friend recently told me that she’s been taking it for a couple of years, after she noticed some hereditary thinning hair, and she looks fantastic. It may not work for you but I’m certainly happy and it’s not expensive at all to try.

Big Sis did counsel caution with the Biotin as it caused a few spots on her and apparently, this isn’t hugely uncommon when taking the big old 10,000mcg strength; she cut down to half and the issues went away. There’s a variety of strengths out there and I’m thick with numbers so I get a bit confused between milligrams and micrograms… Anyway, I sometimes get a spot when I am, I suspect, hormonal, but that’s pretty infrequent and could just as easily be my wine consumption.

Purchase at Holland & Barrett, Amazon, or most shops where you’d buy supplements…

3. Styling product balance is KEY

I do not have the answer to this: whenever I think I’ve reached an Hallelujah moment with my styling products, I feel like they kind of stop working. And, if I don’t keep up with the other rules on this list, my styling products don’t work as well. I would say that the golden rules are:

  1. Usually more than 2-3 products are going to weigh your hair down so don’t overload; and
  2. If someone tells you some light-hold, all-natural spray is the answer to your dreams, she doesn’t have fine hair and do not pay heed

That second one might just be because I’m bitter. Either way, any time I casually Google ‘fine hair tips’ or similar, I get terrible articles about blow-drying your hair upside down. No shit! I need product recommendations, specifics I can use. I’m glad the Aveda product worked for you, but I need something to change the texture of my hair- fine, fine baby hair needs work (and if you have a less baby-like texture then I am very jealous).

I am currently enjoying the Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray, but it’s extortionate at £27. I got it with my Space NK loyalty points and while I’d like to buy it again, I’m not sure it’s demonstrably better than a bog-standard thickening spray. I need mousse in my roots, and I have been impressed with the TIGI Catwalk Root Boost Spray, which you can find for about £8 if you’re savvy. I spray it right into my roots in little bursts and then rub it in. I think it keeps a little lift in those roots through the day, and a bit of dry shampoo (I like Colab) helps refresh my hair when it gets a bit flat. I also usually use a bit of hairspray to finish everything off, and as long as it has a nice fine spray I’m not sure the brand matters too much.

My current favourites, The Oribe is just so special
My current favourites. The Oribe is just so special

I still stand by the products I recommended in my post a while ago, but I try different things when I’ve used a product for a while and the initial excitement has worn off. TIGI products are pretty good in my experience, and I love Fudge Urban Iced Coconut Cocktail hairspray because you need so little of it and it’s very handy to sling in your bag for trips and going out.

Ultimately it’s about trying different products and seeing what works on you, but too much product in your hair- even if it’s promising the world- will just weigh your hair down.

4. Go easy on the conditioner

This may be stating the obvious for most, and for fine-haired lovelies with dry lengths and ends, it’s also not helpful. But goddamn did it take me a long time to realise the truth of this statement. I think it was a hangover from having highlights and needing to use umpteen products to both boost and tame my dry, damaged blonde hair. So many brands that have a volumising range include a conditioner as part of it and I just continued to use it, but not conditioning has been a revelation.

My general advice would be that if you have fine hair prone to oiliness throughout, try skipping the conditioner; if you have a bit of dryness, then try conditioning first and then washing out with your shampoo; and if you’re dry through your lengths and ends or have processed hair then do what needs to be done, deep-condition, and ignore this tip. Philip Kingsley Elasticizer is a great choice if you do need a full-on conditioner but want to avoid heaviness; pop it on while you’re brushing your teeth and then shower and shampoo off (you can leave it on for 10-20 minutes if you really need to condition deeply).

Look! I have a halo!
Look! I have a halo!

5. Dye your hair regularly

If you don’t dye your hair then I’m not suggesting you start! I’ve always found that my porous hair likes a bit of semi-permanent dye, but I’ve no idea whether this is the case for other fine-haired peeps. What I do know is that if you do dye, keep it up because hair that has had the colour stripped out- which is essentially what is happening when you’ve dyed your hair and the colour starts to fade- tends to feel weaker and thinner. My personal experience is that my hair looks stronger, shinier, and thicker when it’s freshly dyed (well ok, after I’ve washed out the custard-y conditioner that you put on afterwards a couple of times), and sadder and thinner after about 4 weeks.

I realise this isn’t easy if you’re fancy and go to a salon, but I am ride or die for my Blue Black at home.

6. Volumising shampoos and conditioners will promise the earth…

…and sometimes they’re not bad. But honestly, I go into every new bottle of shampoo with my eyes shining and with hope in my heart, and I just don’t think that there’s a magic bullet. It pains me to say it, but there’s only so much shampoo can really do. Gah! It’s so sad.

I have tried many different combinations and I’ve often thought I found a keeper, only to get halfway into the bottle and lose faith. Philip Kingsley and TIGI Bed Head were pretty good. The L’Oreal Fibrology range is ok, and is nice and cheap. Sali Hughes rates the Bumble and Bumble system and what I find interesting about this, even though I haven’t tried it, is that part of the aim of that range is to avoid hair-loss, which is a more long-term aim than a lot of ranges will work towards but worth thinking about, and definitely part of the benefit of taking Biotin.

I’m currently using STEMM by Deciem and I really love it. I’ve stopped using the conditioner because as light as it was, it still weighed my hair down, and the shampoo is mildly conditioning anyway. I also use the Density Stimuli from the same range and I have no idea whether it works but I’ll probably keep going for a bit. I think my hair currently looks the best it ever has and I’m sure it’s a combination of all of the tips I’ve set out here; and there’s no scientific way to see whether that’s the case or not cos I did them all at the same time! But the STEMM feels really good when I use it and I just make sure to do a proper shampoo once every 1-2 weeks as it hasn’t got any of those chemicals that are so handy for cleaning the crap out of your hair.

 

So that’s it; these are the things I’ve learnt the hard way. Maybe everyone else knew and I just hadn’t cottoned on? Very possible. But hell, this piece was long. I wanted to get a few words about hair down as I hadn’t written for so long and here we are at 2300. Congratulations if you got this far- email me and I’ll send you some hair styling products that are still 90% full!

In the mean time, I’ll be throwing more money at the problem and pretending we’re staying part of the EU. Ciao.

This is good hair (for me).
This is good hair (for me).

 

Category: Style
unreal exposed

Watch UnREAL on Amazon. Seriously, go watch!

I’m rarely prompted to write about a programme I’m enjoying. I’ve written some oh so witty recaps for an as-good-as-defunct website in the past but apart from that, I’m usually hearing about programmes once someone’s already said they’re good. I think Transparent is utterly incredible: so does everyone else.

But I had heard nothing about UnREAL when I started watching it, I just finally gave in to the relentless suggesting of it on Amazon Video. And man, it’s good. The premise is fascinating, and UnREAL does it super well. UnREAL is a drama set behind the scenes at a hit reality show and as such, lets us glimpse behind the magic and into the machinations that make such shows happen.

At the centre of UnREAL is Everlasting, a reality show almost identical to The Bachelor, which is now about to enter its 21st season in the US. The Bachelor has been around so long that it’s easy to forget how huge it has been, and the extent to which it created the blueprint for dating shows. In the post-writers’ strike days of reality programming, The Bachelor is a behemoth. Looking at its Wikipedia page, The Bachelor has been accused of being scripted and I have no idea of the extent to which this is true, but UnREAL takes as its starting point the idea that the show isn’t scripted, but that the Producers manipulate every detail to produce the result they want. This includes cajoling, flattering, and criticising  the contestants into acting the way they want, which is as compulsive to watch as it is horrifying. And some of the ways they manipulate the characters is watch-through-your fingers bad, pushing buttons and using the mental health issues of the contestants to push them in to an emotional, sometimes extreme, reaction. Which is to say that it’s so entertaining! While I do like to think that Producers on a real show wouldn’t go quite as far as they do on UnREAL, I could well be being naive.

These women are badass
These women are badass

The co-creator of UnREAL- along with Marti Noxon, who is probably most famous for working on Buffy the Vampire Slayer- is Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who originally wrote the acclaimed short Sequin Razeon which UnREAL is based. Shapiro worked on The Bachelor for nine seasons so I suspect she knows a thing or two about the show, but it is her personal reaction to working on it that I find so interesting, and is what makes UnREAL so compulsive for me. Yes, it’s fascinating to watch the manipulations and machinations, and to see the dynamics between the people working on the show as they simultaneously compete with each other and strive for a common goal. But it’s the characterisations that make me go back to UnREAL for episode after episode, long after that point that I lose interest with most series.

UnREAL has two main characters and they are both women. That genuinely doesn’t happen often, and when it does the female characters are rarely as flawed and complex as these two. Rachel is very definitely the heroine of the piece, dragged back to work on a TV show she finds morally repugnant but that she is so very good at producing. But Rachel also makes terrible decisions- and selfish ones- and acts in a way that makes you want to shout at her sometimes. She is stuck doing something she hates but is incredible at and we watch wondering whether she will destroy herself. She’s also played by the ace Shiri Appleby, who was so great in Girls, and brings a real humanity to the role. Rachel is bright, capable, right-on and likeable, and sometimes she is a pretty bad person. Luckily there is her boss, Quinn, the show-runner of Everlasting, to make Rachel look good. Quinn is vicious, cutting, hard-nosed, witty, and angry, and also a multi-layered character with human relationships, hopes and dreams. Looking at the other roles Constance Zimmer has had, I can’t pin any one thing down to where I recognise her from, but she has been in a lot, and I love her in this. Two female characters who are selfish and single-minded, successful and intelligent, and you still manage to like them for at least some of the time; I can’t think of another example of this. It happens slightly more in our new, amazing golden age of television, but usually as an ensemble cast or in a sitcom; a genre where the reality of complex human relationships is often lost. in UnREAL there are other fascinating characters, not least a gay character who isn’t a horrible stereotype, but it’s the women who run the show. It shouldn’t be surprising, but it is.

UnREAL holds a mirror up to reality TV and all of its racist, homogeneous tendencies. The drama of the show that is being produced is almost matched by the drama going  on behind the scenes, but I don’t find anything camp. Of course there are times where there has to be a little suspension of disbelief, but even watching episodes back-to-back UnREAL stands up. This is something I struggle with when I watch episodes of anything close together as so often the characters suddenly change their mind about things that were so important an episode ago, in order to advance the plot. UnREAL does a pretty good job of staying true to its characters and smashes it out of the park when it comes to the Bechdel Test. I’m thrilled that a third season is coming and heartily recommend this show. Now someone watch it so I can talk to you about it.

Category: Comment
Lace top, £24.99 hm.com

My Plus Size Not Curvy Basics

So since my first post on being plus size but not really particularly curvy, I have been thinking about how to represent my personal style. In looking at the outfits I put on I realised that there are a few  things that I base my outfits on and that are recurring themes. These are skinny workwear trousers, super-skinny jeans, and (to a lesser degree) leggings.

One thing I didn’t mention when writing the previous post was how tall I am- I expect that’s obvious, but it does really add another dimension to the challenge of dressing a plus size body. I’m 5’11″ with a 36″ inside leg so Tall ranges are essential for me when buying jeans or trousers. I also find that having slimmer limbs and a larger waist size can mean getting drowned in trousers. Which is why I am in love with New Look’s Black Bengaline Slim Trousers. And when I say ‘love’, I am not messing around; I currently have four pairs of these trousers in circulation with another four pairs in reserve to rotate in. 

This sort of slim fit often doesn't translate to larger sizes, but on these it does
This sort of slim fit often doesn’t translate to larger sizes, but on these it does

They have a super-flattering slim leg throughout (yes ‘flattering’ is a problematic concept, but it happens to be true of these trews) and a high waist that sits comfortably. In these, I’m a comfortable size 18. They have a tendency to eventually stretch, and they’re £15.99 a pair so they won’t last forever. YES, MY FAVOURITE TROUSERS IN THE WORLD ARE SIXTEEN POUNDS. I never want to be without them and at that price I’d be an idiot to not stockpile. These trousers used to be on ASOS, which is where I first took a chance on them, and when they went down to £7 in the sale I both wept and rejoiced. I’m extremely relieved to see that New Look still sell them.

Yes, bonkers I know. But I had to show you the slimness of the fit!
Yes, bonkers I know. But I had to show you the slimness of the fit!
Yeah, I really do apologise for the quality of some of these snaps
Yeah, I really do apologise for the quality of some of these snaps

In a similar vein, my jean of choice is good stretchy super-skinny. ASOS Tall Ridleys to be exact. High-waisted (you may spot a theme), comfortable, and very, very skinny. They come in an extraordinary range of colours and washes,  and I have quite a few pairs… The brilliant thing about them- apart from the fact that I’ve had pairs that have lasted 2 or 3 years quite happily- is that they are around £30 and always come down in the sale. ASOS Tall only goes up to a size 20 (or 38″ waist for jeans) but do not make the mistake of going for the comfortable option with these jeans; if they feel just a little bit tight then they fit just right! I have two pairs that I bought in a 38″ waist when I put on weight- they’re comfy but they bag, which is very sad. Buy two sizes and see what fits, they do stretch and settle.

Lace top, £24.99 hm.com

Along with good leggings to put under dresses- a subject for another time- these New Look trousers provide the base of my workwear, and the Ridley jeans do the same for my free-time outfits. So what do I put on top? Well, despite making decent strides in the direction of body confidence and acceptance, I do prefer to camouflage my tummy. It means that I shy away from anything too fitted- which is potentially a bit of a shame- but as my favourite silhouette is volume on top and tight underneath, it’s not too much of a hardship. I like to channel a ‘Scandinavian’ vibe- I put that in inverted commas because I do realise that this is a stylistic contrivance and that not everyone from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland (depending on your definition of Scandinavia) dress the same- so anything with structure really appeals. I also really like- and I cannot emphasise this enough- to go up at least one size when buying tops. Additional fabric adds structure, it looks more expensive, and if you’re not aiming for a tailored look then a size often doesn’t make that much difference. One site I visit on a weekly if not daily basis, is hm.com. I will bang on about their plus range until I’m screaming, alone, into the abyss, because some of the pieces are so great, and you would never know from the way they style the pieces. Where ASOS Curve features sexy, confident models, current accessories and catwalk videos so you can get a better idea of how the garment hangs and moves, H&M is really quite poor. Even their gorgeous models look a bit bored. But the range is well worth a look.

I have worn this top so much since I bought it, at work and with jeans. At £24.99, with a lining and in a cracking navy, I find it an awesome bargain. I bought it in a 3XL so it hangs nicely, and it nods to the lace trend of this summer without being insubstantial. I love it.

I'll ask someone to take photos, I promise!
I’ll ask someone to take photos, I promise!

A word of warning: H&M sizing is as bonkers for their + range as it is for the main line. The L-4XL sizing is kind of ok, but when it’s numbered it’s insane. I bought a blouse in a 26 the other day that barely fit and I certainly wouldn’t have worn it in the length and how close it was to the body. Went straight back! My most recent purchase- a pyjama-style blouse with an abstract dragonfly print- has been worn to work and for fun and has gained many compliments so far. I will feature it in another post because it’s just the cutest and was £14.99, but it is a size 28. and it’s not even as floaty and over-sized as I would usually buy; it’s kind of a nice shirt fit. I can’t even imagine if a UK size 26 or 28 ordered it and received the shirt I did- it’s just mean. So beware, and remember: it’s not you, it’s H&M.

I don’t know whether this shot shows the top at all. I will do better.

Ok, so next steps. I mentioned leggings, and for comfort in this weather I am a huge fan of a dress and leggings so I shall showcase a few of my favourites. And I’ll find someone to take some dang photos of me! That will help. I need to show off my lovely H&M £15 shirt, and I’m also going to start tackling some of the things that I do to feel fashionable and confident as a plus size lady.

Category: Style
loz

Plus Size but not Curvy

I have been thinking about this post for quite a few weeks, and about plus size fashion for significantly longer.

Back in January 2015, I wrote about my New Year’s Resolutions. There was every chance that none of them would stick for more than a couple of weeks, but two of the three have: I make an effort to hot-cloth-cleanse my face every night, and I have read lots of fantastic non-fiction books since pledging to do so. I have not, however, lost weight. Quite the opposite.

The fact is that I love our life together, mine and M’s. We go to gigs, and comedy, have weekends away in Brighton and random Northern cities where there’s a Strongman event on, eat great food and have too many beers at the fighting and the wrestling. I can’t imagine making the sacrifices  I would need to in order to get back to where I was two and a half years ago. And I am sad at my wardrobe of COS tops I can’t quite fit in, and I don’t love that I can’t shop in mainstream high street stores anymore, but not quite enough to feel bad about it. I have made the decision to look straight ahead, mindfully and intelligently, and not waste my days obsessing over my weight. As long as I can still find items to wear that I feel represent me and my personal style, I’ve resolved to accept myself as I am.

I like how my lashes look in this pic, even if it is a bit low-res.
I like how my lashes look in this pic, even if it is a bit low-res. And this necklace is exactly the sort of thing I’ll be banging on about from now on

[As a side note, I do realise that all these beers and fun times have to be balanced with sensible, positive changes. More walking, more vegetables, better sleep are all being tackled. I just refuse to conflate being healthy with being skinny.]

So, over the last few months I’ve been supplementing my wardrobe and beginning to follow some truly inspiring plus size bloggers. I particularly love Georgina Horne’s Fuller Figure Fuller Bust blog, although she’s well worth a like on Facebook too.  I enjoy seeing what bloggers have found, how they style the items they wear, and how unafraid they are to try things that aren’t automatically considered ‘flattering’. Is pretending to be slimmer than you are what nourishes the soul? The problem for me is that I don’t have their figures. Georgina Horne looks incredible but I’m a B-cup athletic apple- if you can imagine such a thing- and skater dresses, belts and a retro pin-up look suit neither my personal style or my figure.

This H&M + dress is great quality for the money. Full post to follow.
This H&M + dress is great quality for the money. Full post to follow.

There is no easy way to be a woman in the world, let alone one over a size 10. I am not for one moment suggesting that Ms Horne doesn’t get abuse and lewd comments- Christ, does she- but there is a traditional, curvaceous, sexy femininity to the way she styles herself and the way most of the plus size bloggers dress in their posts. They embrace their curves and enhance them, but I barely have them at all! At almost six feet tall, my limbs are long and slim (at least to mid-thigh). I have a high waist, and my weight is carried in the tummy (and the arse, but the tummy is what shows changes in weight immediately). My hips are rounder at the moment, but when I’m slimmer the weight comes off the hips while the stomach remains. At a 14-16, I look long and trim, but with a tummy. An athletic apple.

Future posts will have actual outfit shots! This is a preview; excuse the monster arm.
Future posts will have plenty of full outfit shots! This is a preview of a top I’ve worn way more than I thought I would; excuse the monster arm.

So I’m carving out my own style: plus size but not curvy. I’m taking the elements of my slimmer style that I still love and adapting them for my new figure. Clean, Scandinavian-influenced lines; an abundance of fabric worn with super-skinny jeans, leggings, or close-cut trousers; architectural lines and texture. Buying a size up for style but also so the items look better quality. Flowing dresses with statement jewellery and striking make-up.

More clothing than ever before is offered in size 16+, and the rise of online shopping has meant that companies don’t have to play it so safe, providing much greater competition. Navabi offers a wide range of high-end plus size clothing and my love of Carmakoma is well documented. ASOS offers over 1300 items in its Curve and plus size brand section, offering safer items alongside bodycon dresses and fashion-led pieces not traditionally considered flattering or acceptable for fuller figures. Evans hasn’t been able to rest on its laurels when River Island brings out a plus-size range, although I am yet to be entirely convinced on the latter. I can get the silhouette I want- I’m just learning that it might mean buying every top in three sizes to see what works. I shall report back soon.

Category: Style