Thursday, 11 December 2014

Review: Live Unlimited
with House of Fraser

I only recently became aware of that House of Fraser offers plus size women's clothing, following spotting some reviews from other plus size bloggers. It's always great to have another retailer to shop with and I was over the moon when House of Fraser contacted me to ask if I would like to review an item on my blog.

With brands such as Carmakoma, Juna Rose and Marina Rinaldi to name a few, choosing an item wasn't an easy decision; but when I spotted this Multi-Coloured Print Dress by Live Unlimited (in the sale for £27.00, only size 20 left) the print lured me in.

I opted for my usual size (22) and the dress is just above knee length on me, so a similar length to what is shown on the website; sometimes plus size dresses can be ridiculously short, but this one is reasonable. You could wear it with tights and heels for a dressier look; I opted for leggings (Primark, £3.00) and boots (JD Williams, £55.00; review here). My necklace is from New Look and it's currently in the sale for £4.00!

I'm really impressed by the variety of plus size items that House of Fraser stocks and that there's something to suit every budget, as well as there being items available up to a size 30. There's also a lot of items in the sale so you can grab yourself a bargain! This is also the first time I've had an item from Live Unlimited and I'm sure it won't be the last; the fabric and fit of this dress is wonderful.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Review: Colour Collection
Glasses with SpecsPost

Hi folks. The fabulous team at SpecsPost have very kindly gifted me a pair of glasses from their new Colour Collection range to review. The funky new range comes in a variety of colours and prices start at £18.99 including standard lenses. I opted for 'clear red' and prescription lenses, which I was relieved to find wasn't complicated at all; I just had to obtain my prescription from my Optician and send a photo of it to the Specspost team. Usually I'd go for a pink or purple colour, but as my main glasses are purple I thought I'd try something different. Please excuse my fringe, I need a hair cut...!

I have quite a chubby face (like a hamster) and small eyes but I think they look quite cute, what do you think? They are comfortable, though feel a little odd to me to begin with as the glasses that I am used to are much smaller. I always receive compliments when I wear them and it's nice for me to wear something that's a little 'different' to my usual style/colour choice.

I had hoped to pair them with a bit of red in my outfit, but realised I don't actually own anything bar a couple of burgundy things that you've probably seen already! So, all black it is. I'm wearing a jersey dress from Marisota (similar here and here), Primark leggings (£3.00) and my JD Williams boots (review and further info here).

You may remember I previously reviewed some sunglasses from Specspost; I can honestly say that they've come up trumps in customer service, quality and price again and I wouldn't hesitate to purchase from them in the future. In fact, I can now see why some folk have several pairs of glasses; it's quite addictive!

What colour would you choose?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review: Wide Fit Boots
with JD Williams

Hi folks. JD Williams got in touch with me recently to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing an item from their wide fitting footwear collection. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity to try some calf length boots; perfect for winter. The collection has pretty much every kind of footwear you could imagine in a wide variety of sizes (sizes 3-10 in 'E' fitting boots, for example), even slippers (which I'll also be blogging about very soon)! I was really surprised at the prices, too; I imagined that a decent pair of boots would set me back around £80.00, so it was great to see that many of the styles I liked were around £50.00.

I chose the Legroom Quilted Hi Leg Boots (£55.00) in the 'Curvy Plus' calf width and 'E' fitting, in a size 8 (my usual size). I measured the widest part of my calf (with a piece of string and a ruler) at approximately 500mm; in an 8E this is the exact measurement of the 'Super Curvy' calf width so I went for the 'Curvy Plus' which is 534mm. I'm pleased to report that they're a perfect fit and very comfortable! They sit a comfortable distance below my knee, as you can see (ish, sorry!).

Sometimes shoes with a heel (yes, even a little one like this) cause my feet to ache but I haven't had any problems with these and I've worn them a lot. They go well with anything; in this outfit I am wearing my Elvi coatigan (£60.00, sizes 16/18-24/26), Primark leggings (£3.00; I'm a size 24 and wear a size 20), old Asos Curve dress (similar here) and a leopard head necklace (not a real one!) I picked up in the New Look sale a while ago.

I've since worn these boots with many different outfits on a variety of occasions. They're still comfy and I've had lots of compliments on them. They've also kept my legs dry on many occasions, today included! Honestly, I can't fault them. I know that a lot of people are looking for boots that fit bigger calves at the moment, so I hope you'll find this review useful :)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Should Fat Shaming
be a Hate Crime?

‘Remember, remember, the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and’…Katie Hopkins? On this memorable date Katie and I came ‘face to face’ in a heated discussion as I formed part of a panel discussion being filmed for her TLC documentary; To Fat and Back. The documentary will be aired in early 2015 and I’ll be writing a full account of my experience to coincide with the airing; so, this post is very much to be continued at a later date.

In the meantime, there is a particular ‘incident’ from that day that has already reared its head in the media; taking the form of a tweet from Katie herself and a delightful mention in her column in The Sun newspaper on 7 November 2014 (see left). What happened, I hear you ask? Well, I’m not going to flower it up; one of the participants accused Katie of hate crime (with regards to her fat shaming comments, I should add) and called the Police. I don’t know the individual’s reasons and my initial thought was of concern that someone felt so deeply affected by Katie’s comments that they felt it warranted Police attention. The initial statement formed part of the panel discussion, for which I was present, but I did not witness the filming of the telephone call or the aftermath (in which, I am informed, the individual discussed what had happened with the rest of the participants).

Some of the responses to Katie’s tweet and article have been incredibly insightful (note: sarcasm) and include treats such as ‘do the scales of justice go up to thirty stone?’ and ‘I think she’s mentally challenged…probably latent tuck shop issues’.

I digress. My second thought, and what I would like to discuss, is that fat shaming is not a hate crime. Hate crime only covers ‘crimes committed against someone because of their disability, gender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation’ (GOV.UK, 2014). If fat shaming were a hate crime this situation would be entirely different. As it stands, I think it will reflect poorly on those that were involved in the panel discussion (myself included), despite it being the actions of a sole individual. Reporting a non-existent crime comes across as naive, at best, and stupid, at worst; asides from the issue of wasting Police time.

So, now that we’ve established that fat shaming isn’t currently a hate crime, I ask; should it be? There is no doubt that fat shaming can and does have a negative impact on the wellbeing of many people, and I know from personal experience that the abuse isn’t always just verbal. However, I’m not convinced that it should be classed as a hate crime, particularly as I’m not sure what it’d achieve; it’d be a minefield to navigate. Does fat shaming have a long historical and cultural background, like other forms of hate crime?

I could go on forever, but I won’t bore you. I’ll just leave you with one, final, honest point...

You can’t walk into the lion’s den and expect not to get mauled.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Fierce-some Fashion
for Halloween

Halloween is rapidly approaching so I thought I'd share some freakin' awesome plus size fashion finds with you all! I'll be heading to the Feeling Gloomy Halloween Special in London with my friends on 1 November to celebrate. Tacky expensive costumes aren't really my thing and I can never motivate myself to make something half decent; here's what I'm wearing...
#1 New Look Inspire Black Glow In The Dark Skeleton T-shirt, £9.99 (limited stock)
#2 My tutu is ancient so this is just a random photo, but check out the Tutu Factory
#3 The black veil I bought from eBay is now sold out, but there's a similar one here
#4 New Look Wide Fit Black Lace Up Chelsea Boots, £24.99 (sizes 3-9)

I also bought some Edit Manson Contact Lenses in white from Swapeyes (if you're a student and have a NUS card you can get 15% off); they're out of stock now, too, but I've found them elsewhere (albeit slightly more expensive). I've yet to decide what to do with my make-up so I'll probably just 'wing it', although a skeleton face would be awesome!

Unfortunately a lot of the Halloween themed goodies have sold out (Boohoo's skeleton dress and Asos Curve's skeleton leggings, for example), but there are still some great buys out there that you could get in time for the festivities...
#1 New Look Inspire Black Glow In The Dark Skeleton T-shirt, £9.99 (limited stock)
#2 Simply Be Halloween Trick or Treat Jumper, £20.00 (sizes 12/14-22/26)
#3 ASOS Halloween Lips Clutch Bag (out of stock, sorry!)
#4 Black Heart Creatives Red Lip Fang Necklace, £16.00-£19.00
#5 Boohoo Maria Pumpkin Print Dress, £18.00 (sizes 16-22 in black and 16-24 in orange)

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Review: Wild Berry with
New Look Inspire AW14

Image (Below) © Big Fat Betty | Hi folks. Today I'd like to share with you some fabulous AW14 fashion, in collaboration with New Look Inspire's latest trends and their Autumn palette; Wild Berry. I'd like to thank New Look for gifting me the Inspire Burgundy Mesh Hem Split Back Top (£19.99, sizes 18-32) [PC: 326520265] to review and share with you. This top jumped out at me as it looks like a thin jumper, so I knew it'd be fairly warm, and I also love the rich burgundy colour.

Please excuse the creases; I expect most of you know me well enough by now to know that the iron is not my friend! I decided to size up in this and got a 24 instead of a 22, as I wanted a loose fit; I'm pleased that I did as it's just right. This has quickly become my favourite top and I've always received compliments when wearing it; I'm even tempted by the 'shell pink' version, although I don't normally go for pale colours. The split back gives the top something a bit different and, as I often find tops too short, the extended hem is ideal for providing a longer length.

For a casual look I paired the top with my Simply Be Denim Pull On Slim Leg Jeggings Long Length (£20.00, sizes 14-36) [PC: MB964FX] and my New Look Wide Fit Black Lace Up Chelsea Boots (£24.99, sizes 3-9) [PC: 317987901].

As usual there were many other items that I was tempted by from the AW14 Wild Berry palette...

#1 New Look Inspire Purple Fine Knit Lace Shoulder 3/4 Sleeve Top, £14.99 (limited stock) [PC: 315370757]
#2 New Look Inspire Dark Red Paisley Burnout T-Shirt, £12.99 (sizes 18-32) [PC: 321304968]
#3 New Look Burgundy Textured Collarless Coat, £24.99 (sizes 6-18) [PC: 314586867]
#4 New Look Inspire Dark Red Short Sleeved Pleat Front Skater Dress, £22.99 (sizes 18-28) [PC: 320302365]

What do you think of New Look Inspire's AW14 collection and the Winter Berry palette?

Monday, 29 September 2014

Giveaway: Curvety Bag

Hi folks. The lovely team at Curvety have very kindly offered the opportunity for one of my wonderful readers (that's you!) to win their Diamond Quilted Bag in Cream (RRP £35.00). To enter simply use one or more of the options on the Rafflecopter widget below; don't forget that you can tweet every day for an additional entry!

The giveaway will run until Sunday 12 October and is open to UK residents only (sorry).

As well as their gorgeous bags and accessories, Curvety offer a range of stylish women's plus size clothing in sizes 16 to 36, with free delivery and returns (in the UK). Whether you're looking for sumptuous occasionwear (they also stock IGIGI *swoon* amongst other brands) or executive workwear I'd recommend that you take a look at what they have to offer. Anyway, enough of my rambling, here's the important bit ;) good luck to everyone entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Review: Boohoo Plus
Collection AW14

Image (Below) © Boohoo (Nadia Aboulhosn)Hi folks. Boohoo have recently launched their AW14 boohooPLUS collection and kindly offered to gift me an item from the new range, which has been styled by US fashion blogger and model Nadia Aboulhosn. I love Nadia's style and think she was a great choice.

Image (Below) © Big Fat Betty | The gifted item I chose was the Alina Floral Textured Shift Dress in black (£18.00, sizes 16-24). I opted for my usual size (22) though I think I would have preferred to have sized up for a looser fit (as Becky from The Ramblings of Mrs BeBe did). The dress is very comfortable and just above knee length on me (I'm 5'7"); I chose to wear it with leggings but I think it's long enough that you could wear it with tights, too.

I have worn this dress practically non-stop since I received it; in fact, I'm wearing it now! Another thumbs up for boohooPLUS.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: Ann Harvey
at Bonmarché

Image (Below) © Big Fat Betty | Hey folks. You may have already heard that Bonmarché is the new home for Ann Harvey and they've launched a new collection, which comes in sizes 16-32. The collection is available now and you can view and purchase via their website. I'd describe the overall feel as formal and elegant.

When Bonmarché asked if I'd be interested in reviewing an item from the Ann Harvey collection, I chose the Brush Stroke Floral Wrap Dress (£45.00) in my usual size (22). I love wearing dresses to work and this dress looks both flattering and colourful. When I received the dress I wasn't disappointed, it came in a lovely box with tissue paper and the catalogue images are an accurate representation of the pattern and fit.

I wore it with leggings and a vest top; the latter as I felt that the wrapover part of the dress is a tad too big on me, which is not unexpected as I regularly have this issue due to my small cup size (42B). Easily solved by wearing a vest/cami underneath or adding a couple of stitches, and if you're well endowed on the breast department you probably won't find it to be a problem. The dress is quite roomy so sizing down may have helped, but the rest of it is a good fit.

The wrapover style and rouching at the side gives this dress a flattering cut that I love; it's my perfect style in terms of shape and I also love the print.

I intend to wear this dress for work but I think it could also be worn as evening wear, with a sparkly necklace and/or hair accessory and swapping the leggings for tights. Heels would also go great with it, but unfortunately I can't walk in them!

£45.00 is more than I would usually spend on a dress, but I can tell that you're getting what you pay for in terms of quality. It's fully lined and comfortable.

What do you think of the new collection and, more importantly, 'how do I look'? ;)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Pink Clove's PR Faux Pas

I meant to write about this a month ago but, well, you know what I'm like when it comes to updates! Some of you may have seen this image (left) which was shared on Pink Clove's Facebook page on 8 August. The image in itself caused some controversy, but nothing in compared to that of Pink Clove's responses to the matter. The post has since been deleted, along with their most recent share of 'hot or not' (which you can read more about on Debz' blog here).

I indirectly tweeted about the post when I first came across it, asking  'does anyone else agree that saying one body shape 'is' is effectively saying other body shapes 'are not', even if it's meant positively?' These were my initial thoughts; although I knew it wasn't intentional, to me it said one is therefore another is not. That is tantamount to body shaming and holding one body type above all others; whether it's intentional or not it is, in my view, these kind of thoughts that continue to feed the body hierarchy that 'we' (the body positive) are fighting to eradicate.

You may think I'm over reacting and in the context of one image and one company you could be right. Alas, this is not the first time that I've seen such a thing and it probably won't be the last. Correct me if I'm wrong but fashion companies provide fashion and, whilst it's nice to have a 'personal' approach with your customer base, sharing content such as this is irrelevant and unnecessary. Perhaps I am 'privileged' in having a degree of body confidence, but I don't need a fashion company to make me feel better about my body (I need them to sell me fashion!); especially at the expense of others.

Asides from the content issue, the responses made by Pink Clove to customers airing their concerns was somewhat appalling. Unfortunately I didn't save any of the details and, as mentioned, the post no longer exists, so this is the only quote I can provide: '...you certainly have not read our comments - We said all are good for cuddling, its a quote and we liked it so we used it. If you don't like our post, you have your right to your opinion which we respect which you have given. 59 followers have liked the post so that's their opinion. Please read our comments before you follow up - Thank you! x'. This response is comparatively polite. Reading this I was expecting to see 'so there!' at the end of it.

Content aside, the way in which the issue was dealt with is a PR faux pas in its own right. I have, therefore, made the decision to take my custom elsewhere, until such a time as Pink Clove publishes (publicly) an apology of an acceptable standard and ceases to dismiss the valid opinions of its customer base.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Review: Electric Feel with New Look

Image (Left) © Big Fat Betty | Hi folks. Today I'd like to share with you some fabulous neon tropical fashion, in collaboration with New Look Inspire's latest trends; the aptly named Electric Feel. I'd previously spotted their Inspire Neon Pink Pineapple Bodycon Dress (£14.99, sizes 18-26) and it was love at first bite (see what I did there?); I'd like to thank New Look for gifting me the dress, along with the matching Pink Pineapple Samsung S4 Case (£4.99), to review and share with you.

Images (Below) © Respective Brands | Before I started blogging (two years ago, although it seems like a decade!) I didn't wear a great deal of colour and certainly nothing that would stand out, but I'm so glad that my tastes have changed along with my confidence and I can rock neon and tropical prints with style. I went for a casual look with the dress and wore it with some cropped leggings, as if it were a long vest, but I'm equally looking forward to dressing it up. Take a look at the 'wishlist' below for an idea of what I'd wear with the dress for a night out (along with shapewear for a smoother silhouette; my personal choice, not a necessity by any means - the image further down is without shapewear):

#1 New Look Inspire Neon Pink Pineapple Bodycon Dress, £14.99 (sizes 18-26)
#2 Black Heart Creatives Fiiiiiineapple Necklace and Stud Earrings, £15.00 and £8.00 
#3 New Look Pink Pineapple Samsung S4 Case, £4.99
#4 New Look Wide Fit Black Chunky Cross Strap Heels, £27.99, sizes 3-9

Image (Left) © Big Fat Betty | The dress itself is quite a vibrant pink whereas the phone case I would describe as faded, although they are the same print; the case looks chipped when photographed but it's perfect, it's just the reflection of the light. It has a clear coating on it and seems quite sturdy, so I don't think it'd chip easily.

I went for my usual dress size which is a 22. I sometimes have to size up in bodycon dresses but this one is quite generous and I actually think I could've sized down for a better fit around the arms and hem line.

I think that both of the items are good value; I was concerned with the dress only being £14.99 it might have that slight opaque look if stretched but it doesn't. The only thing I would personally change is the size/length of the arms; I'm sure there's a technical term for this that I don't know of! It's too big/low for me.

I'm devastated that ASOS' pineapple bag has sold out, which I was going to add to my 'wishlist'. Perhaps you can have too much of a good thing though - pineapples, that is! I can't wait to dress this up and show you how it looks!

I think this calls for a pina colada...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Review: Bras&Honey (ft. Elomi)

Images (Below) © Bras&Honey | Hi folks. The lovely team at Bras&Honey contacted me recently to ask if I would be interested in trying some of their products; their site offers a variety of well-known lingerie and swimwear brands such as Elomi, Freya and Panache. As I have an 'awkward' bra size (42B) I was initially concerned that there may not be anything suitable, particularly as I am aware that many of these brands cater for larger cup sizes. However, their search function came in really handy and I came across the Elomi Caitlyn Black Soft Cup Bra (£27.00) and Briefs (£18.00); Bras&Honey kindly gifted me both of these items to review.

This is the first time that I've tried an underwired bra, as they often look quite flimsy to me and lacking in support. I was pleased to find that the Elomi bra was incredibly supportive and well structured; I did experience a little 'rolling' with the thick elasticated area under the bust, but it wasn't uncomfortable. In fact, I usually experience a lot of 'hangover' under the arms with bras and they tend to dig in because of this; with the Elomi bra this didn't happen at all, the material under the arm and round to the back is much wider than most bras that I have worn and it didn't fold or dig in at all. The straps are equally thick and comfortable.

Image (Left) © Big Fat Betty | Price-wise in the past I've spent between £10-20 on bras (usually around £12-15), but I would happily pay more for the comfort and quality of the Elomi bra. The briefs, however, are pretty standard in my book and don't really warrant the cost; having said that, if I was buying a set that wasn't plain black I would still buy the matching briefs.

I went for size '4L UK 22' in the briefs as I usually wear a 22 and the size was spot on; this is the biggest size available in the briefs but, as I mentioned above, I think any plain black briefs would be a good match. Also, to confirm, I also went for my usual bra size which is a 42B. The bra is available from a B-G cup and a 36-48 back, although the back sizes available for each cup size vary (a B cup is available in back sizes 40-48, for example).

Asides from the items themselves, I was really impressed with Bras&Honey's communication and the ease of use of their website, as well as the fantastically cute polkadot mail bag that my items arrived in! I would be more than happy to order from them in the future should there be more products available in my size (NB: this is more to do with the sizes offered by the brands).

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Outside My Comfort Zone #34

Hi folks. This challenge is 'Show Me Some Skin' and was chosen by Katt (of A Curvy Cupcake) who wrote: 'As summer approaches and the days get warmer, I'm struck with the fear of getting my pasty white legs and the tops of my arms out. Apart from the obvious rudey parts, what areas of your body do you prefer to keep covered?'

So, as per usual, I haven't prepared. I'd love to get in my swimsuit and take some snaps; alas I'm at work and I don't think a 7pm selfie in the mirror jobbie is going to cut it! I very rarely expose my legs bar the odd night out and when I do I'm near enough always wearing tights, primarily as I can rarely be bothered to shave.

Before I started blogging I was incredibly self-conscious about my arms and would keep them covered up until I couldn't take the heat anymore. Now, I don't care. I wouldn't say I like my arms but I'm just not bothered about them or by what other people think which, actually, is probably nothing. Anyway, *drumroll*, here they are in all their glory...

Image (Left) © Big Fat BettyDon't forget to check out the rest of the OMCZ crew (or search #OMCZ on Twitter):

Natalie - http://awheelbarrowfullofstyle.blogspot.co.uk
Nikki - http://www.nattynikki.com

Stephanie - http://www.seeingspots.co.uk
Becky - http://www.doesmyblogmakemelookfat.com
Mary - http://www.marysbigcloset.blogspot.pt
Hollie - http://www.prettybigbutterflies.com
Erin - http://erinslittlebigcorner.blogspot.co.uk
Debz - http://www.wannabeprincess.co.uk
Becca - http://thegirlwiththeplait.blogspot.co.uk
Rebs - http://sullen-hearts.blogspot.co.uk
Katt - http://acurvycupcake.blogspot.co.uk
Leah - http://www.justmeleah.blogspot.co.uk
Mookie - http://muki7x7.blogspot.co.uk
Danielle - http://www.daniellerharris.com
Beverley - http://www.thecurvyword.com
Sam - http://fattyboomtatty.blogspot.co.uk
Gillian - http://www.weegillie.com
Sarah - http://plussizeproud.wordpress.com

What I'm Wearing...

Top: Forever 21+ Crop Top, £5.00, size 2X (similar here and here)
Skirt: Cut for Evans Midi Tube Skirt, £15.00 (in sale), size 24 (no longer available)
Bag: Marisota Beaded Ethnic Print Shopper, £40.00 (gifted from Marisota)
Tights: Evans Black Triple Pack 20 Denier TIghts, £6.00, size 3
Shoes: Primark Wide Fit, £6.00, size 9