Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Event: Westfield CollectPlus

On Tuesday 13 May I was invited, along with some other bloggers, to check out the new CollectPlus Lounge at Westfield Shepherds Bush. As a plus size lass I frequently shop online which is a relatively pleasant experience, but trying things on (I still don't have a full length mirror) and arranging returns can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare. I've heard of CollectPlus before and know that you can return parcels to your local CollectPlus point (not that I've done it yet!); but the CollectPlus Lounge experience really does go that extra mile.


Image (Above) © Arched Eyebrow (Lauren at the Concierge Desk) | The idea is that you get your order from your chosen retailer (Asos, Very, New Look, etc; there's a full list here) and choose the CollectPlus Lounge as the delivery point. It doesn't stop there, though. One you collect your parcel from the concierge desk, there are changing rooms (complete with power sockets!) in which you can try your items on. There's also plenty of sofas and chairs if you have company and if you're driving you'll get an hour of free parking, too! If you decide to return any items the concierge desk will process it for you and give you a tracking number. No hassle, no fuss, sorted.

Image (Above) © From the Corners of the Curve (Me in my Asos Outfit) | So that we could experience the process first hand, Westfield very kindly ordered items on our behalf up to a certain value as a gift. I chose the ASOS Curve Sleeveless Skater Dress with Sweetheart Neck in Longer Length (£20.00, sizes 18-28, also available in pink) and the ASOS Curve Blazer in Floral with Fluro Trim (was £45.00 now £33.50, sizes 18-28).

We were also treated to a cocktail at Searceys Champagne Bar and a fabulous meal at The Meat Co. I genuinely think that both provided some of the best customer service I've ever experienced, not to mention delicious drinks and scrumptious food! We were well and truly spoilt and treated extremely well.

I must admit with Westfield (either site) being about an hour away from me, it's not likely to be a service I'll be using in the near future (pending moving, jobs and whatever else that brings me closer to shopping central), but I can see that it'd be of use to people who work or live nearby and I hope that it's something that's expanded.

Image (Below) © Pretty Big Butterflies (me, Bethany of Arched Eyebrow, Hollie of Pretty Big Butterflies, Lauren of Pocket Rocket Fashion and Callie of From the Corners of the Curve) | Last but not least, it's always a pleasure to spend time with lovely blogging babes like this lovely lot. Thank you Westfield for a fantastic day!


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Review: Specspost Sunglasses

Hi folks. For those of you that don't know, I've recently been prescribed glasses for reading/VDU use; I've never had glasses before and don't usually bother with sunglasses either, so the whole 'spectacle' (see what I did there) is a bit of a novelty.

When the lovely folk at Specspost asked if I'd like to review some of their products, as I already purchased my glasses frames and prescription lenses from another retailer, I opted to try their sunglasses. I was able to choose three pairs to review and Specspost very kindly allowed me to keep all three as a gift (I was initially able to keep one pair as a gift, but as I didn't need prescription lenses they said that I could keep all three!).

The amount of frames that they have to choose from is quite phenomenal; you'd be hard placed not to find at least one you like! There prices are reasonable too and start from £26.00 including standard lenses. When I was browsing their website I was really impressed with the amount of information provided and it was really easy to use.

I chose to review the "Katie" Pink Sunglasses (currently on offer for £30.00 instead of £35.00), Black and Purple Vintage Chic Sunglasses (£27.00) and "Festival" Pink Geek Style Sunglasses (£23.00). Here they are on (in the order listed, l-r):

Each pair came well protected in its own case. I think my favourites are the "Festival" Pink Geek Style Glasses, what do you think? They all felt comfortable and weren't a squeeze to fit my slightly larger than average head, although I think the "Katie" Pink Sunglasses were marginally less comfortable (probably due to their size).

Honestly I can't fault them at all really, although if I were shopping for sunglasses I would probably spend less given that I don't need prescription lenses; but if you do, they're a definate bargain and I will certainly be checking out Specspost next time I'm in the market for glasses. Retro frames ahoy!

Now, I'm off to catch some rays in style...well, when the sun comes out :)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Outside My Comfort Zone #31

I'm on time for once! This challenge is 'Sitting Down' and was chosen by Stephanie (of Seeing Spots) who wrote: 'As a fat woman i'm expected to stand up, breathe in and generally blend into the background. It's my birthday today and I fancy a sit down and I'd like to ask all my fellow plus size bloggers to sit down. Wear what every you like but post a photo of yourself sat down.'

So, here I am, sat down at work (where I spend most of the time sat down, though usually behind a desk). I absolutely detest having my photo taken sat down, I just lose all my confidence and feel like I look like a blob. I'm not sure I'll ever like the way I look sat down as much as standing up. This is a lot of the reason why I lack confidence in the bedroom department also, but hey that's another kettle of fish! I feel alright about this photo though, I mean I've seen worse. I've come a long way in the body acceptance/love department, but it's still an ongoing journey.

Image (Right) © Big Fat Betty | Don'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

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Love EVERY Body #6

Hi folks. The sixth assignment for Love EVERY Body focuses on our stomach/waist: 'Bum. How do you feel about your butt? Is it muscly or squidgy? Do you have a freckled tush or maybe a tattooed one? How do you feel about your bottom. Do you have junk in the trunk or a flat 'un?'

I have (and always have had) a big bum, they run in my Mother's side of the family (along with small breasts). It's not fashionably big though, I mean it sticks out a bit but it has more 'length' than err...alright, I'm not going down that road! I kinda like it. It's squishy and seems to be popular with the lads.

It can be a bit of a pain with clothes, though. Things in this department have improved drastically since I've learnt (somewhat) how to work with my shape, but I'm still usually a size bigger on bottom than on top and have problems with trousers gaping in places that they shouldn't most of the time. It's also a pain full stop; I've recently been experiencing a lot of discomfort from sitting down and the type of chair/length of time doesn't seem to matter. I don't know why this is. I have put on a little weight so it could be that, I guess.

I have a birth mark just above my bum somewhere. I don't really notice it myself, I couldn't even point it out to you, but I remember my Mum mentioning it and saying it looks like a strawberry.

As much as I don't mind my bum in it's own right, as part of my figure I still struggle to accept it; it's part of the loving your body journey I suppose. I'm bottom heavy but I'm not curvy, meaning my body shape isn't in the 'good fat' or 'popular' demographic. Combined with small breasts, I'm unbalanced. I'm working on being OK with that, but I do still struggle to stop myself from thinking 'if I had larger breasts I'd be curvier, ergo more attractive'.

Yep, I know, I need to kick myself up the backside and see sense...!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Guest Post: Too Fat to Run?

Image © The Fat Girls Guide to Running | Too Fat to Run? Sounds a bit harsh really doesn’t it? But that is what a doctor told me a few weeks ago when I went in complaining of a trapped nerve in my back, caused by lifting my daughter. He took one look at me and basically said I was not fit enough to run the marathon I was due to run that month. He didn’t care that I had lost close to 5 stone that year, and it didn’t matter that for months I had been running 3-4 times a week, or that I had completed a 20 mile training run just 2 weeks prior, he basically just saw the size of me and assumed that I was too fat to run.To add insult to injury he suggested that I was only doing the marathon to raise money for a charity, because of course a fat person would never run that far simply because they just enjoyed running and challenging themselves.Well screw you doctor, and screw everyone else who has ever seen me and made assumptions about what I can or can’t do with my fat body.

Its not just doctors that are prejudice; my running journey began because a snotty nosed kid poked fun at me, calling me fatty when I was running, and it was that incident that led to me becoming a fat girl that runs. That was over 10 years ago, and I have competed in well over 100 races since, everything from 5k up to marathon distance, so I reckon that qualifies me as a runner somehow, and having been everything from a dress size 14 up to a 22, and possibly more when I was pregnant in 2012, I am living proof that there is no such thing as being ‘Too Fat to Run’.

I guess that leaves one big question though, “if you are such a great runner, why are you still fat?” It’s a reasonable question to ask, the answer however is not so straight forward. Running isn’t THE best weight loss exercise, especially not distance running, as it makes you so hungry and it makes your body store fat in some cases. I don’t always follow the most consistent of diets either, I mean I know what and how much to eat, but sometimes I choose not to play ball which means I don’t lose weight or put it back on again in a typical yo-yo pattern. But I also had a baby 17 months ago, and during pregnancy I put on all of the weight I had lost and more, bringing me back to square one; not just in terms of my weight, my fitness was back to zero too.

The point is despite being a size 16/18 and 30lbs or so overweight I don’t actually run for weight loss any more anyway. I run because I love to run. Even though it’s a tough sport, and its not nice being ridiculed and pointed at in the street, running enables me to push my body using it in the way it was designed to be used. My persistent running through the busy streets near where I live is a metaphorical middle finger aimed towards anyone who has ever doubted the capabilities of someone carrying extra weight.

So what about you? Can you run? Do you run? I bet you have a ton of reasons or dare I say excuses why running is not for you. Bad knees, asthma or the classic “my boobs would knock someone out”. Well I don’t buy it. If done right running can be a great form of exercise for plus size women, whether it’s for weight loss or simply just to improve health and wellbeing.

So why not give it a go? Scared? Or don’t know where to start? Well, I write a running blog for plus size women; The Fat Girls Guide to Running, which is full of useful information on how to get started. I also deliver unique 1 day running retreats where only fat girls are allowed. The first ones are in East London but they could be coming to an area near you soon. Why not join my Facebook community for plus size runners and see just how many other fat women are out there running too.

Written by Julie (of The Fat Girls Guide to Running)