Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Quiz!

2012's end of year quiz can be found here!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
I went to blog events alone for the first time and even stayed over night for Plus North without my hairy husband! I also modelled for the first time and I travelled abroad without my mum or husband. 

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I resolved to make more of an effort to look after my skin which I did. I still occasionally go to bed without cleansing but I'm generally making more of an effort. I'm sure I made others but I can't remember them! I have lots of things I want to do this year rather than resolutions but I might save them for a separate post. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not anyone super close but a few lovely bloggy ladies did! 

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?
Only one, Belgium! 

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
More energy, some savings and a tidier house.  

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
6-8th September for Plus North where I spent time with some of the most wonderful women and friends I've ever met. I also modelled two dresses on the catwalk for Simply Be and Scarlett & Jo which is something I never imagined I would do! 

15-17th November when my two bestest friends took me to Brussels to see The National and drink all the wines. It was magical and I want to relive it forever. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I have a few! Finishing college was a big one for me, despite my mental health being really bad this year and getting zero support from the college I qualified with merits and distinctions. Going to Plus North for the weekend on my own was also a massive achievement for me as was modelling but that weekend proved to me that pushing myself to do something I really want to do can be incredible. Hiring my own space in a salon to do beauty has been brilliant. I'm only a month in so I can't say it's absolutely going to be brilliant forever but the fact that I put myself out there and I've done it is something I'm really proud of. And finally, being comfortable in my own skin and learning to love myself for who I am right now. 

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't want to say it's a failure but rather a lesson learned. I allowed myself to be used a lot in certain friendships and taking a step back this year has proved to me that the people who are true friends want what is best for you and will encourage to do what makes you happy, not what is best for them to the detriment of your happiness and health. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My mental health continued to be dire this year but I survived. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My Plus North ticket. And my lovely little camera. 

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My two best friends, Sinead and Victoria have kept me going when I was ready to give up and I honestly do not know how I would have gotten through the really difficult parts of this year without them. They make me choke laughing when I feel like I will never smile again and there isn't anything I can't share with them. Also, Danie. She has become a massive part of my life and even though we've only met a handful of times, I feel closer to her than I do to people I see every week. She is the Wu to my Tang. 

13. Where did most of your money go?
All the shitty building work on our house that still isn't over yet!

14. What songs will always remind you of 2013?
Icona Pop - I Don't Care  

The National - Mr November
Beyoncé - ***Flawless

15. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Saving money!

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying and letting my anxiety brain run away with me. 

17. How did you spend Christmas?
I hosted Christmas at our house for my mum and stepdad and my brother and sister-in-law. It was busy and tiring but I loved every minute of it. We spent Boxing Day at my in-laws which was equally as lovely and I feel very lucky to have such wonderful family. 

18. Did you fall in love in 2013?
I was already in love with my silly, hairy husband. 

19. What was your favourite TV program?


20. What was the best book you read?
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Just bloody wonderful. 

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The National. I can't believe I ignored them for so long!

22. What did you want and get?
The ability to do more on my own and let the desire for wanting to do things override the fear of the unknown. 

23. What did you want and not get?
A finished house without leaky ceilings and messed up fire places. 

24. What was your favourite film of this year?
I have a few, Despicable Me 2, The Great Gatsby, This Is The End and Prisoners.

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I had dinner with my family at a Marco Pierre White restaurant in Lavenham in Suffolk. And this year was the year I stop telling people how old I am haha!

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Better mental health.

27. What kept you sane?
My family, friends, kitties and knitting.

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Probably Jack Whitehall. That facial hair is really growing on me. Also, Tom Hardy Tom Hardy Tom Hardy Tom Hardy.

29. Who did you miss?
My Amsterdam dwelling Victoria, always. 

30. What does 2014 hold for you?

The opportunity to continue building a life for myself that I am in control of that makes me happy. And hopefully many, many wonderful experiences with the people I love. 

2013's Best of Outfits

January - February - March
April - May - June
July - August - September
October - November - December
Happy New Year, lovelies! 

Mrs D x

Monday, 30 December 2013

Cocktails, Comedy and Christmas Jumpers

The Sunday before Christmas my tiny best friend and I went to see James Acaster at my favourite place in Northampton, NN Cafe. It was a comedy gig with a twist. We were all encouraged to wear Christmas jumpers, there was a charity shop Secret Santa (in which I received the cutest little tea cup and saucer!) and best of all, it was free! 

I wanted to wear my Christmassy jumper but knew it would be quite warm in there so put on one of my favourite Collectif dresses and took a cardi with me to switch if I needed to.

Dress from Collectif (a few years old now so no longer being sold)
Cardigan from M&S (who now do certain items up to a size 28!)
Shoes from Next

My Louie-cat!
My gorgeous tiny best friend and I in our festive wear.
That tasty looking beverage in my hand; prosecco, orange juice and amaretto. Magic in a glass. Almost as magical as the 75 apple mojitos I had afterwards that had about a mouthful of apple juice in. Needless to say I didn't feel too chipper the next day but the joy from the night before got me through nicely!

Mrs D x

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Pockets & Polkadots

I know I wore this dress in an outfit post last week but POCKETS! (And a bonus Louie-cat.)

I've cracked out a festive handbag to use for the rest of the month too. This red patent handbag was from Collectif last year and is a thing of beauty. Even if it does only open a fraction so within a few days of using it I get scratches and red marks all over my hands from digging around in the bottom of it. . 

Spot Print Dress from Marisota 
Brogues from Clarks

Mrs D x

Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas Day OOTD

We always put on something a little fancier than usual on Christmas Day even if it's just something with a bit of sparkle in. When I modelled this dress at Plus North in September I knew I wanted to save it to wear at Christmas. It's beautiful, a little fancy and incredibly comfortable which is important for a day of being on my feet and then eating all the roast parsnips! I didn't sit down for the first time until 4pm so slippers were an imperative part of my Christmas Day outfit too.

One of the benefits of having damaged my hair slightly when colouring it is that it is far more pliable! Victory rolls have never worked that well in my hair before because even when it was dirty it was still very fine and soft but now it has a little more...stiffness (herp) in it victory rolls were a doddle. I didn't bother with lipstick because it would only get ruined so welcome, naked lips, to your first blog appearance!

Dress from Simply Be
Slippers from Clothing At Tesco 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I have a few blog posts I'd like to get up before New Year but if I don't manage it, have a magical New Year too :)

Mrs D x


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

A very quick post to wish you all a lovely day whether you're celebrating Christmas in a full festive fashion or ignoring it completely. I'll be wrestling a 5kg cockerel into my not-5kg-capacity oven whilst wailing along to carols! 

As wonderfully magic and fun this time of year can be, it can also be stressful and incredibly difficult too. If you're struggling, have a look at Sian's post here for masses of channels of support. You really don't have to muddle through alone, even if it's just putting it out on Twitter that you're finding things tough there will almost always be someone there to listen to you. 

Merry Christmas, you lovely lot!

Mrs D x


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Going Red!

For the last few weeks I haven't been feeling quite myself. I think the extra pressure from Christmas and starting working for the first time in 18 months has taken it's toll on me a bit. My self esteem took a big hit and I felt as though I had regressed ten years in terms of how I was feeling about myself. When that happens I tend not to look after myself as well as I should do which only makes things worse. Sometimes the best thing to do when I feel like that is treat myself in some way.

I had mentioned to my colleague/sort-of-boss-but-not-really-because-I-work-for-myself that I've been wanting to dye my hair red for ages but was being a bit of a wimp about it so when we both had a spare couple of hours on Tuesday she said let's do it! 

And so within two hours I went from this...

to this...

I think my face quite clearly says how I much I love it! It's exactly how I wanted it to be, not overly pillar-box red but more violet-red. I was very apprehensive about bleaching it because I've never done it before and wanted to limit the amount of damage. Cleo (my colleague and owner of the salon) lifted my hair a few shades with quite a low peroxide treatment that brought it out to quite a coppery tone which I actually quite liked! 

It had been around six months since I had dyed it myself so I had a good few inches of 'virgin' regrowth at the roots so naturally the red came out brightest there and is a little duller towards the ends but I was expecting that. I'll have my regrowth filled in a few times then we're going to lighten it all over a bit more to try and get it brighter. I don't mind doing it gradually over time to get the colour I really want, I'd rather wait a bit longer than dive straight in and destroy my hair too much.

I'm going to try and find a product to use once a week to brighten it but I'm not quite sure what yet, whether it'll be some sort of treatment/shampoo or just mixing something in with my conditioner. Making this change to my hair means I need to seek out a whole new set of products to use so I'm making a trip to the wholesalers I use on Monday. (Would anyone be interested in a little post on what products I'm going to use/how to care for dyed bright hair?)

I definitely feel like a bit of life has been breathed into me and I can't imagine going back to a sensible colour for a long time yet. Infact, I've already planned out what colours I want to go after this! 

Mrs D x

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

More Polkadots Please

Another pretty dress magically found it's way into my wardrobe and it's bespeckled with polkadots, would you believe it?! I had seen the Timeless Spot Print Dress on the Simply Be website a while ago and kept going back to it but I wasn't sure if I liked the shade of blue so left it. For some silly reason I hadn't realised it came in another colour...a beautiful, slightly festive Burgandy Port! 

I'm always a bit wary of shirt dresses because they have a tendency to gape over the girls but this fits perfectly. It doesn't make me look shelf-y either which is a bonus. The waist band nips in nicely and best of all, there are no ties! I'm not a fan of things that need tying round the waist, for some reason they tend to lose the shape of the waist on my short body. I've worn this dress all day (it's now gone midnight) and it's still super comfy, and relatively un-creased too which for someone who has ironed a grand total of two items of clothing this year likes a LOT. 

Anything with a collar needs a brooch.
Dress from Simply Be
Tights from Evans
Shoes from Clarks
Elephant brooch is vintage
Pearls are vintage
Lipstick is Vintage Vixen from Rockalily
Wonky fringe is from lack of hair brushing

Mrs D x


Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas Market OOTD

This is what I wore to wander the streets of Bury St Edmunds with my mama last weekend. I might have been overdressed but I live by Oscar Wilde's saying of 'you can never be overdressed or overeducated'. Or at least that's my excuse for always wearing flouncy dresses and wanting to do all the courses ever! 

This Simply Be dress has been featured on my blog before but it was hidden at the back of my wardrobe for a while for some reason. I love finding things I'd nearly forgotten about, especially when they're spotty and swishy. I teamed it with the first pair of high street tights that actually fit (thanks 40 denier from Evans!) and my beloved Clarks brogues. 

Slightly unrelated but I used a hemp shampoo my mum bought whilst she was in the beauty wholesalers with me and it made my hair so incredibly shiny! I'm normally a die hard Lush solid shampoo girl but this was magical. And it still has the same natural/ethical properties as Lush so I might switch to this. Having access to professional hair products (and beauty products for that fact) at trade price is a massive, massive perk to being a qualified nail tech!

Shiny, shiny hair! 
Dress from Simply Be
Tights from Evans
Brogues from Clarks
Lipstick is Vintage Vixen from Rockalily (Who are taking orders at the minute so quick quick quick!) 

Mrs D x


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Obesity Clinic Visit 1

If you follow me on twitter you might have noticed a few tweets about an obesity clinic I went to today. It was an interesting experience that I was very apprehensive about for many reasons so I thought I'd do a little post.

As I've mentioned before my husband and I are at the point in our lives where we want to have children. I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago and we are now at the stage where we need some help. My GP told me (which was of no surprise to me at all) that my weight could be a big factor in why we're not conceiving and so in order for her to refer me for fertility help, I need to lose weight. No indication of how much but just 'lose weight'. I was given the option of a GP referral to WeightWatchers which I very swiftly declined because I am not down with dieting, especially one that encourages you to eat processed food. So the other option was to see a dietitian at the obesity clinic. 

The first meeting is a mandatory group meeting. When she told me this on the phone my heart sank because to me my health is quite personal. (I know I choose to share it on here but that feels different because it's a targeted audience.) I didn't necessarily want to be discussing my infertility or how many digestives I eat on a weekly basis with Dorothy from the post office. 

We were all given a form to fill out on arrival which we later found out was given to us so we had something to occupy ourselves with while the dietitian met one to one with all of us to weigh us and say hello. People started to chat whilst we were waiting for it to start and within a few minutes I found myself gritting my teeth and getting quite uncomfortable because naturally people were talking about their experiences of diets. I've made a point of surrounded myself with positive people in my life regardless of their size but the majority of fat people I know are not self loathing, diet obsessed people. Diet talk makes me uncomfortable. It makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel worthless. It makes me feel like I have failed at something because I'm not thin. And I don't want to feel like that. So within the first ten minutes I was pretty uncomfortable. 

The dietitian (who I should point out was really lovely and very approachable) explained to us that for this first meeting we would briefly discuss what we've done in the past to lose weight, why it didn't work, what options there are and what happens next. We were asked to have a chat with the person next to us about what we diets we've tried. The girl I was sat next to was around the same age as me and immediately started to tell me how she has been big all her life and she's tried every diet but she associates food with comfort so nothing works. She said that she had a difficult childhood to every time her mum treated her or rewarded her it was with fatty foods. She clearly desperately wanted to lose weight but had a lot of emotions attached to it. I didn't get a chance to talk because she was so full of stories which really made me feel sad because she was obviously very unhappy because of her weight. 

When the dietitian was explaining the science behind weight loss; energy in needs to be less than energy out someone pointed out that they had a low thyroid which makes it very difficult to them to lose weight so how do they make it work for them. She said that for people like that their goal is not necessarily to lose weight but to stop them gaining more. At this point I piped up and asked what someone in my position can do; that I have a condition that makes it very difficult for me to lose weight but I have to lose weight. Her answer was a bit scary. She said that there were many options, the first is going back to basics with healthy eating then looking at other things later on like surgery. Surgery. Within half an hour of being there was discussion on weight loss surgery. She continued her train of thought and after a while asked if we had any questions. I said that I was really, really baffled that she mentioned surgery. That it is such a drastic thing that I didn't feel should be given as an option in the very first step of seeing a dietitian. She said it was a very far away option and that she wasn't saying any of us should or shouldn't have it. The girl next to me said that the only reason she was there is because she had gone to her GP asking for surgery. The dietitian explained that in order for people to have it done they have to go for a year of seeing a dietitian before they qualify and that some of us were here because we'd asked for it and some of us were here because the GP had told them they had to have it. There were a couple of women who were around a 18-20 who were there in order to have surgery including the girl I was sat next to who from my brief talk with her clearly had some very deep emotional issues with food and needed to address those long before surgery should even be an option. That really, really shocked me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and choice and should be granted the opportunity to access services but knowing that there were people there who were seeing a dietitian for the first time in order to jump through the hoops for a possibly life threatening and certainly life changing surgery seemed so scary. I understand completely why she brought it up because for a lot of there people there it was already something they had thought about and a possibly reality but for me it had never entered my head. 

The rest of the meeting was discussing what options there were from then on. There was either the option to do a 6 week group session or 6 one-to-one sessions. The next group started in January which isn't long to wait at all but the next available appointment for a one-to-one session is the end of March. My initial decision was a one-to-one simply because having PCOS makes things slightly more difficult for me and I would have really liked some targeted advice on that but once I spoke to her at the end she encouraged me to do the group. At the end I stayed behind to speak to her about my options along with two other women and a man. The man started talking about why he was there and it led me to saying that I was there because I want to have a baby. I said that in terms of my appearance I have no issues and am quite confident and if it weren't for the fact that I want to have a baby/fertility health I would not be wanting to lose weight. One of them women said she admired that because she really hated herself and that she would love it if I came to the group because she might learn something from me. The dietitian then said she thought it would be great to have someone with body confidence there because it would be good for other people to see that. 

All in all it was a strange experience. It made me realise just how much effort I've put into choosing positive influences in my life. It had been a very long time since I'd been in an environment of people who were very negative about their bodies. It also made me see how far I've come in my own self esteem. A few years ago I took part in a self esteem group as part of my mental health treatment and I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did. It completely changed my outlook on life and how I treated myself. That, combined with surrounding myself with positive people and people who genuinely care for me and whom I care for has turned me into a different person. 

I'm very aware that in this plus size community there are people who believe weight loss is awful and shameful for any reason, that if you want to lose weight you automatically hate fat bodies and believe them to be wrong. I disagree. Seeing how unhappy some of those people were made me want to do anything for them to make them feel better. Yes, that unhappiness comes from the pressures of society and how fat people are treated in the world but if they genuinely feel that losing weight will make them happy they have every right to do it. They may find that once their weight has decreased they're still unhappy and that it makes no difference but that is for them to find out. As much as you can encourage people to embrace body positivity and fat acceptance, they're not always open to it and if they are stuck in that mindset it can be so hard to alter it. I found it difficult today to find my balance between not wanting to conform to something I believe is damaging to society and knowing I have to do something in order to get something I really want.

I want to have a child. I have always wanted to have a child and if I have to jump through the NHS hoops in order to get the help I need I will, regardless of how wrong I think it is. I have a condition that makes it harder for me to get pregnant as well as making it harder to lose weight. As it stands right now my GP is treating my weight as the main reason as to why we're not conceiving despite the fact that my PCOS is bad enough that even if I wasn't overweight, we still wouldn't conceive naturally. I understand their logic but I just don't feel that showing me the Eat Well plate and telling me to exercise is going to help my body use insulin correctly or balance my hormones. But I am determined to stick it out and I will do everything I'm told to do because if I don't I won't get the help I know I need. 

I'm really, really apprehensive about publishing this but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm scared of people's reactions to it or how it will be taken but I just wanted to share my experience. I had no idea what to expect when I went so hopefully if anyone else ever has to access these services it might help them. Or not. I don't know! I might actually create a different blog for the fertility/baby makin' side of things, I don't know. Oh goddddddddddd just hit publish. NOW. 

Furry Hats, Bratwurst and Mary Tudor

Last weekend was the Christmas Market where my mama lives in Bury St Edmunds so we went to have a nose round. It wasn't nearly as good as last year's with most of the stalls being unrelated to Christmas which was quite disappointing. Other than the food stalls it could have been any old market. 
Fortunately though any day with my mama is a good day, especially when we get to do stuff on our own with husbands whinging about architecture! We had a look in the St Edmundsbury Cathedral and St Mary's Church which is where Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's sister) is buried. Bury St Edmunds is an incredibly beautiful town and I'm so happy my mum and stepdad moved there because it means I get to explore and revel in it's beauty on a regular basis. 

This is the ceiling in the Suffolk Regiment Chapel. It's all the places they've fought.

No Christmas Market would be complete without a Baileys hot chocolate and a bratwurst. And an amusing photo of my mama eating it. (Please don't kill me, mum, the world needed to see this...)

I tried this hat on for the lols but mum said it looked rather glamorous and I'm inclined to agree! ALL THE FURS. 

Ooh, I haven't done a lifestyle post in a long time, I enjoyed that! I like sharing little bits of my life with you lovely lot. I'll do a post on what I wore on Monday and my weekly Plus Size Partywear post will be up tomorrow as usual so keep your eyes peeled!

Mrs D x

ps. Do you enjoy these sorts of posts or do you skim over them? Feel free to reply on anonymous if you're going to tell me they're dull as arse haha!
pps. This will be the last grainy piephone camera post because my shiny new camera arrived today, YAY! 


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Mr D in F+F Suit Challenge

Many a time has my hairy husband grumbled whilst bringing in my fourth parcel of the week that I'm always getting lovely new things and he never gets anything. Fortunately for him an email popped in my inbox last week offering him his first ever blog challenge with F+F at Tesco! He was challenged to create an outfit around a suit jacket that he would be happy wearing to a Christmas party. Mr D is definitely more comfortable in casual but smart clothes rather than a full of suit so he chose accordingly. He took longer than anyone has in the history of the world to choose his items but eventually (with perhaps a teeny input from me...) he chose a pretty excellent outfit.

Mr D chose the Textured Blazer with Wool to base his outfit around. I was surprised at how soft it was and I loved the little detail of the checked hanky in the top pocket. Very fancy! 

He's never worn a suit jacket without the rest of the suit so it was a little out of his comfort zone but I think he pulled it off really, really well. To complement the jacket he chose the Brushed Checked Shirt and tan coloured Straight Leg Chinos which he now owns in every colour! I love the colours in the shirt, I wasn't expecting them to be so vibrant. We also ordered the Merino Wool Cardigan in navy but unfortunately Tesco sent the wrong item so we improvised with one he already had. I think it worked out for the best! Lastly, he wore his beloved brogues. 

Now, I know I'm his wife and I'm legally bound to think he's the fittest thing ever but LOOK AT HIM. Ooft. 

A huge, huge thank you to www.clothingattesco.com for offering Mr D this challenge, he really enjoyed it and it put an end to his 'I want nice things' whinging! 

Mr and Mrs D x

ps. He also got these to wear underneath but he wouldn't let me photograph them...
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