Wednesday, 26 February 2014

That Cosmo Article

I make an active effort to avoid 99.9% of mainstream magazines. Unless they're about knitting, crochet or food, I'm not interested. They are normally full of ridiculous articles on how a diet of black coffee and cabbage will do wonders for your bikini body and shaming so-and-so off the tv for having an inch of cellulite or too many ribs showing. They make me feel completely shit about myself, plus the idea of obsessing over the details of lives of people I don't know and never will makes my tummy feel a bit funny.

When I saw this article from Cosmopolitan appear on both my Twitter and Facebook timelines I was very skeptical. However, I should have learnt by now not to judge a book by it's cover because this article was absolutely marvelous. It is the first article I have ever read in a mainstream magazine that is entirely fat positive. The interviewer doesn't question the interviewees' responses or pick fault with it, it's not an article on how being fat has ruined their sex lives or how they can't stand to be naked. It is just an honest and true representation of how hundreds and hundreds of fat women feel about sex and being fat which to my knowledge has never been portrayed in such a mainstream form of media before. 

Claire from A Monkey Fasthionista had the brilliant idea of getting some of us together to answer these questions ourselves to see how they fared against the original interview. I did a similar interview a while ago for someone's dissertation and I really enjoyed it so was eager to take part. I'm really interested to see the differences in our answers, on one hand it's a wonderful exercise of solidarity but on the other I can't wait to prove that just because we all share a BMI over a certain number we don't all think the same. 

Here we go!

How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat? 
It really depends on who it is and what the circumstances are. There have been so many instances in my life where someone who is no bigger than a size 10 and not a pinch of fat on them has moaned about being fat and looked around eagerly for someone to tell them they look fine. That naturally is incredibly irritating and makes me want to squeeze them with my massive thighs. 
However, everyone is entitled to express how they feel and I completely appreciate that everyone no matter what size they are has 'fat days'. but it's frustrating having someone complain about how fat they are and how disgusting they feel when factually there are not fat and you are. Having to listen to someone do that is like having them say 'you're disgusting and the idea of being like you makes me feel sick'. Whether or not that person means that doesn't matter. Words hurt. Even if I use a word to describe myself that doesn't mean I give everyone else permission to. I guarantee that every single person regardless of their size has used a word to describe themselves before that if someone else used against them, would be completely heartbroken. The notion that fat = something bad is everywhere. It's not easy to live in a world where you're seen as disgusting and negative just for existing so it's really hurtful if you're having a conversation with someone and they reinforce that. 

How has your body image changed since high school? College?
When I was at school people made sure I was aware of the fact that I was bigger than everyone else. Not necessarily fatter but always taller, with bigger boobs and bigger hips than most people and it wasn't in a good way. I became a little more comfortable with my body as I got older and I started to realise that not all men were repulsed by my squishy bits which sounds awful but sometimes you need someone else to be fine with the bits you don't like in order for you to be and men definitely did not have a problem with my big boobs or hips! However, I still didn't actively like my body or deem it okay and the slightest negative comment or situation gave me the excuse to punish my body for being fat. It really has been only in the last couple of years that I can honestly say I have a positive body image. I don't feel the need to compare myself to other people anymore or feel intense guilt if I've eaten something 'naughty' or buy clothes I want in a size smaller as an incentive, I've just accepted my body for the way it is right now. That doesn't mean I don't want to make changes to it because I would like to be healthier but I will hopefully love my body whatever it looks like. 

Have you tried dieting? What happened?
I spent years flitting between Weight Watchers, Rosemary Conley and Slimming World and the same thing would happen every time. I would lose about 9lbs in the first month then gain a pound then lose it and yo-yo until I gave up. 

Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
Partly yes but a lot of it is down to my lifestyle and being insulin resistant. 

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people have assumed you are unhealthy?
I could definitely be healthier but I don't have any health problems (aside from my brains which is completely unrelated). I saw a nutritionist a couple of years ago who did extensive tests and other than being insulin resistant I was completely healthy. People assume I'm unhealthy a lot, I've had people make comments about how it 'gets easier and keep going' when I've been swimming and shock when I tell them I really hate greasy food. When I was diagnosed with PCOS the consultant told me to lose weight and when I asked how he said 'next time you eat a burger, have a salad instead'. Thanks, here's your £70,000 a year. 

Are your parents both supportive of the weight you're at? Have they always been?
My mum is worried about my health and the affect my weight has on my body which is completely acceptable and fine, she did make me! In the last few years, as I've put on weight, she's expressed concern about it as she has for her own weight gain. She was always very supportive of my body growing up and I don't even ever remember her saying anything negative about her own body which I think is important for impressionable young girls. 

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
Stop taking plus size ranges out of shops and stop closing plus size shops. So many times over the last year I've gone into somewhere like H&M to be told that the plus size section no longer exists. To me it feels like another excuse to hide fat people away and make us ashamed by forcing us to shop online. Also, different lengths and fits would be magic.  

Do you think plus-sized women are judged differently to plus-sized men? How?
I think there's a bigger emphasis on women to be desirable and slim to attract men and the majority of diets are marketed at women but both men and women are judged for being overweight. Both sexes are subject to people making assumptions about them based on their size. There are also very, very few plus size women being represented in films and the media compared to plus size men. 

Do you think there is an assumption made/stereotypes that exist about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
Abso-flippin'-lutely. There is an assumption that all fat people are lazy, eat too much, don't do exercise, are unhealthy, don't look after themselves, dislike themselves and want to lose weight. It's bullshit. I know so many plus size women who exercise regularly and don't spend their spare time shoveling doughnuts in their face. I also know a hell of a lot of plus size people who like themselves just as they are and have no plans to lose weight. 

Do you think there's ever a right way/time to express concern about someone's weight?
If someone you love and are close to is putting on or losing drastic amounts of weight in a short space of time, you can express concern in a polite and caring way that something else might be going on but I don't think weight is an indicator of health. 

What are the worst things people have said to you about your weight? 
People at school used to make constant jibes about my size which was so damaging at the time. I also had a boyfriend tell me once that we couldn't meet up with his friend and girlfriend because she was thin and I'd probably get jealous. He also told me that I'd be perfect if I lost a bit of weight. My uncle quite often tells my mum 'it's such a shame about Elena, she's got such a pretty face'. Yawn. 

How did you respond? 
By turning their hate and negativity into myself and punishing myself for it. My mum did always tell me to say 'I can lose some weight but you can't change your personality' to bullies but I never got the courage! Now I'd tell that boyfriend that he shouldn't hang around naked men because he'd probably get jealous. 

What have people said (or do you wish they'd say) that would compliment your body or appearance?
People compliment me a fair bit but for the first time I can actually accept it. I really clearly remember a friend who I was having a sort of fancy with (!) telling me she loved my big hips and small waist and for some reason that really stuck with me. I think it was the first time I saw those parts as something other than irritating!

Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Not particularly. My two best friends are quite a few sizes smaller than me but I also have a lot of friends I've met through the plus size community so naturally they're close to my size. It really makes no difference to me either way. 

How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?
It hasn't, at all. Despite not being hugely body confident when I was younger I don't ever remember being self conscious when I've been naked infront of people I was sexually involved with. It's really had zero effect on my sex life. I'm quite open about sex and am not shy at all so that probably helps. 

When you've been single, has your weight affected your dating life? 
I was only 19 the last time I was single but I had no problem meeting people and I had plenty of romantic and non-romantic...encounters haha! 

Do you feel weird if the guy you're with only dates larger women?
Not at all. Everyone has certain things they're attracted to. There's a big difference between a fat fetishist and someone who just genuinely finds a softer, squishier body more appealing. 

Do you feel weird if he's only dated slimmer women before you?
I think I might for a while just because I would want to make sure he genuinely finds me physically attractive and isn't with me in spite of my size, but I don't think it would bother me too much. 

You can read the other bloggers' responses here...


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A Proper Grown Up

When Bon Marche gave me the opportunity to review some clothes I thought I'd use it as a chance to step out of my comfort zone a little. Despite being rather comfortable in my body there are always going to be a few things that I find challenging; one of them is pencil/tube skirts. Whilst I quite like my thunder thighs I'm not overly keen on my round tummy and wide hips so something that clings to the both is not something I tend to reach for, even though I really love the shape of pencil skirts in general. Down the ponte material the skirt I chose is nice and thick so it didn't stick to the bits I'm not keen on as much as a thin jersey would have.

The other item I chose was a casual jersey style blazer...absolutely completely out of my comfort zone! I've seen them on so many fat babes and they look amazing but it's not something I've ever attempted before. It was really comfortable to wear, although the material could have been a little softer. I rather like the overall look, it's probably the most grown up I've ever looked!

That's right, I can be a grown up sometimes. 

I've even got a grown up handbag...
The whole ensemble is probably not a look I'd wear every day but I would like to pop some colour into it with my shoes, handbag and top to make it a little more 'me'. I can definitely see me wearing the skirt a lot though, it's so comfy and fits really well. Plus I'm a sucker for a bit of houndstooth.

Black fine knit jumper from ASOS Curve
Black tights from Evans
*Black patent shoes from Fashion World

Love, 
Mrs D x 




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Friday, 14 February 2014

A Bit of Spring Romance by Scarlett & Jo

It's no secret how much I love Scarlett & Jo and with the launch of their new Spring Romance collection to celebrate their first anniversary, it's quite obvious why. Taking inspiration from classic vintage styles the collection is made up of timeless 1940's tea dresses and fun prom dresses, both of which are right up my vintage loving street.

I was very kindly sent one of their four newly released Retro Button Front Midi Dresses to review in a beautiful floral bouquet pattern. Every little detail on this dress is perfect, from the slightly padded shoulders to the fabric covered buttons and sweetheart neckline. As with all S&J dresses it's been so well thought out and catered to a fuller figure whilst keeping true to a really classic vintage style. I'm all about empire waistlines, mid-length sleeves and a swishy skirt and this fancy frock ticks all the boxes!


I got my usual size 24 and like all other Scarlett & Jo dresses I've tried, it fits really true to size. I would have preferred it to be a teensy bit longer but at 5 ft 8 it's quite rare I find a dress that even tickles my knees! The jersey material is lovely and stretchy but still quite heavy so the skirt swings beautifully. 


My big bum in all it's flowery glory. 
Look at that beautiful detail! And not my wonky smile...

My lovely hairy husband has booked us tickets to see Breakfast at Tiffany's tonight at the Errol Flynn Filmhouse in town so I'm definitely going to be wearing this beautiful dress that has stolen my heart! I cannot wait to add the other three designs to my wardrobe, right after I make the Floral Prom Dress mine... I would ask S&J to stop making pretty dresses because it makes my purse cry but I'm pretty sure that would be a crime against humanity. Here's to another incredibly successful year!

Love,
Mrs D x
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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Fatty in Jeans Klaxon!

I've blithered on before about how I never wear full length jeans or trousers but I did dip my toe in the cropped waters last year and realised they're not as terrifying as I thought they were. Plus they make my big but quite dull arse look pretty excellent. I fancied giving some full length ones a go and after fannying around with different lengths (because for some reason I am still not ready to come to terms with how stupidly long my legs are), I found some I really like!

Frivolous Mrs D: plus size jeans
Thunder thighs ahoy!

I had a look around to see which jeans other bloggers had gone for before and these Peaches High Waisted Slim Leg jeans from Simply Be seemed popular and I can definitely see why. As well has having long legs (I went for a 34" leg) my hips are massive and my waist is significantly smaller which means most jeans don't fit well at all. I'll normally find a pair that fit round my hips but gape round my waist or squeeze my hips and thighs so much that the seams split within weeks but magically, these fit perfectly everywhere! They don't feel tight over my thunder thighs or chubby calves and the high waist covers my tummy enough without digging in when I sit down. I have never loved anything with leg holes as much!

Now I have jeans I actually like and want to wear I need more tops. This flowery thing is years old from F+F and is starting to fray at the collar. The cardigan is another trusty M&S purchase. If you've seen any nice tops lately, let me know! I haven't bought anything other than dresses and cardigans in such a long time I don't know what I like anymore. 

Love,
Mrs D x

ps. Here is a silly photo my mama snapped on me putting my tea trolley back in it's place...


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Thursday, 6 February 2014

#TimetoTalk


I did have a big, in depth post planned for today but rather ironically I'm in the midst of the worst mental health dip I've had since I was first treated in 2001 and instead, I'm just going to waffle. My concentration is rubbish so I apologise if this is disjointed and poorly written. My anxiety is constant and persistent. There is not a single day that goes by where it doesn't affect me in some way. The depression comes in waves and when it hits it generally hits hard. I seem to have two types of depression, one where my brain is so full and so busy that I can't make sense of anything and it exhausts me, the other leaves me lifeless and limp and is so completely debilitating I can barely find the energy to talk. I've been the latter for the last few months getting gradually worse. My GP referred me back to the community mental health team at the beginning of the year to be reassessed as she thinks I may have been misdiagnosed all those years ago and that I could have bipolar disorder. I've been treading water waiting for my appointment date later this month. 

However, things took a turn for the worse last week, everything got a bit too much for me to handle and for a brief moment I lost my grasp on whatever it is that keeps me afloat. Between my mum and my husband they decided the best thing to do for the time being would be for mum to come and stay with us for a while. My husband works quite long hours and is studying for a teaching degree so can't be at home with me during the day and I just cannot face being alone right now. I desperately wanted to avoid a hospital stay and my doctors and crisis team have agreed that mum staying with us is the best thing to do for now. 

I am incredibly lucky to have the support that I do from my husband, my mum and my two best friends. They all look after me so well both physically and emotionally and if it weren't for them I can hand on heart say I would have given up a long time ago. Fortunately for me they all understand, appreciate and encourage my need to be open and process things out loud. They never question why I do something the way I do or get irritated or tiresome of talking about my health which is something I am convinced everyone must. My brain convinces me that I am a burden, that everyone is bored of me being ill and that I just irritate everyone but if the people around me ever do feel like that, they never, ever let me know it and for that I am so grateful. I could not ask for a better immediate support system. 

I don't know what I wanted to get from sharing this; just to encourage people to talk I suppose. It's so important to know that however you're suffering, you're not alone in it. I think we would all be incredibly surprised to know just how many people live with a mental illness yet it is still something people don't talk about. I know there will be people reading this with apprehension, wondering why on earth I would want people to know something so personal, that I could only possibly want some sort of sympathy or attention but that's not what I want. I want more people to talk about it. I want people with a mental illness to be treated the same as someone with diabetes or IBS. There are good days and bad days and we don't know when they're coming. I don't want to feel ashamed for something I have no control over. It is difficult enough to come to terms with having a lifelong illness of any sort but when people treat you differently because of it and judge you, that makes it all the more difficult. Talking will help. 

If more people talk about mental illness, less people will be scared of it. Start a conversation, ask someone how they are, tell someone about how you're feeling, just talk! If you don't feel like you can talk to anyone in person but feel you need to, try one of these. 

Samaritans
Telephone: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day)

Provides confidential, non-judgmental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or in most cases talk to someone face to face.
Telephone: 0845 4647

Health advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday)


Mind provides confidential mental health information services.
With support and understanding, Mind enables people to make informed choices. The Infoline gives information on types of mental distress, where to get help, drug treatments, alternative therapies and advocacy. Mind also has a network of nearly 200 local Mind associations providing local services.
Telephone: 0300 5000 927   (10am-2pm Monday to Friday)


Provides expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them, as well as giving help to health professionals, employers and staff. Rethink also runs Rethink services and groups across England and Northern Ireland.
Telephone: 0845 767 8000 (6pm-11pm)

Saneline is a national mental health helpline providing information and support to people with mental health problems and those who support them.
Love,
A quite scared and fragile Mrs D x

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