Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Moving On Up!

I was trying to think of a cheery, motivational type title for this post and all I could come up with were the wise words of Heather Small, I'm sorry. 

This isn't going to be a detailed run down of my year finishing with unrealistic goals for next year but it is going to be something I want to look back on whenever I'm feeling marginally less fabulous than usual or when I feel like I need to *do* something. (Not in the sense of  'I've got a spare ten minutes, what can I do because that never, ever happens.)




And so, this year I will endeavour to:

1. Get out more, as in literally leave the house. Start walking to the post box at the end of the road instead of waiting to go to the post office. I could never do that sort of thing when I was unwell but even though I'm doing much better I still don't out of habit. I'd like to push myself a bit more with getting out and doing the things.

2. Spend more quality time with Mr D.

3. As part of number 2, go out for Sunday lunch in nice country pubs more often!

4. Put down my phone and actually focus on what I'm doing.

5. Wear more jeans.

6. Keep exercising. Not for weight reasons but for sanity and peaceful mind reasons.

7. Make more of an effort to visit non-local friends.

8. Get more tattoos! (Sorry mum.)

9. Keep on top of paperwork and filing important things.

10. Take better care of myself both physically and mentally.

Hopefully none of those are too unrealistic! What would you like to do in 2015?

Have a wonderful end of this year and start to the new one!

Love,
Mrs D x
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2014 Quiz!

2012 and 2013

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
I got tattooed! Four times!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't really make any other than to make an effort to look after my skin a bit more which I definitely did. Not that it's made the slightest bit of difference! This year I resolve to stop comparing myself to other people and to spend more quality time with Mr D. I want to make a list of things I physically want to do rather than resolutions which I will put in a different post.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

We had two babies born in our group of friends this year! Both beautiful, healthy, happy girls who I am completely in love with.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
The Netherlands with my tiny best friend to visit our tall best friend and her beardy husband. 

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

The same thing I wanted last year; a non-leaky ceiling! And for the brain stability I've gained to continue.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Not exact dates but mid-June when my beloved tiny best friend left for Canada which broke my heart a little bit.
My weekend spent in an Amsterdam garden drinking wines, eating crisps and singing in the sunshine (and filming it) with three of my favourite people.
My husband's birthday. We had a really simple weekend, we went and stayed in a hotel, went for a fancy dinner and had cocktails.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Starting university, sticking it out when it got taxing and generally making it through the first half of the year.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I can honestly say I don't regret anything or feel like I've failed at anything this year. Unpleasant things have happened but none of them were in my control. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Serious bad mentals.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My new floors. I  am officially a grown up.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
As always my two fabulous best girls, Mr D and my mama. I can say hand on heart that if it weren't for all four of them I would not be here. It's a bold statement and I normally cringe when people say it but it's absolutely true,

13. Where did most of your money go?
On the house, and Modcloth.


14. What songs will always remind you of 2014?

Bears Den - Agape
Sam Smith - Stay With Me 

15. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Spending quality time with my hairy husband.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Comparing myself to other people.

17. How did you spend Christmas?
I loved this Christmas. My tall best friend and her beardy husband came to stay with us for a few days before Christmas which was so, so lovely, I really loved having them here. Our village do a carol service on the square with fireworks on Christmas Eve every year (which always get me right in the feels) so after we went to that we had some people over for party food, cheesy music and boozes. We spent Christmas Day with my husband's family and then spend Boxing Day and the few days after with mine. It was all pretty wonderful. Except the tummy bug Mr D and I got, that was pretty grim!

18. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Yes, with our new fur baby, Opie. 

19. What was your favourite TV program?

Sons of Anarchy, The Fall, AHS: Freak Show aaaand Eastenders. I've really loved Eastenders this year and I'm not ashamed at all.  

20. What was the best book you read?
Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs. 

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Bears Den. 

22. What did you want and get?

To come out of my bad brain patch and get a bit more stability finally.

23. What did you want and not get?

A ceiling that doesn't leak. 

24. What was your favourite film of this year?
Interstellar, without a flippin' doubt. Incredible film!

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 27 but I cannot for the life of me recall my birthday at all. 

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Obviously better mental health. And perhaps giving in and hiring a cleaner earlier than I did because it has taken so much pressure off! 

27. What kept you sane?
Netflix, cinnamon buns and my Hoff botherers.

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jamie Dornan, especially in The Fall. It was a new experience fancying a serial killer.

29. Who did you miss?

As always, my Amsterdam dwelling Victoria but now my Canada dwelling, Sinead too.
30. What does 2015 hold for you?

A new sofa, a holiday or two and a LOT of studying!


This was a little difficult to do because my recollection of the first six months of the year are very patchy. It sounds a bit scary but it's one of the things about brains I'm rather fond of! Mine has a wonderful habit of protecting me by not allowing me to remember the traumatic times until I'm absolutely ready to process them. Thanks, brain! 

I love doing these quizzes at the end of every year. I first started doing them about ten years ago on my LiveJournal so I have a good collection now! 

Love,
Mrs D x

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Monday, 22 December 2014

Plus Size PJs

Pyjamas aren't something you see very often on fashion or style blogs but considering I spend approximately 74% of my life in them I thought it was about time to introduce them.

I have a touch of the Princess and the Pea syndrome and cannot sleep in pyjamas so mine are reserved for cosy evenings and lazy mornings, which incidentally I have rather a lot of. Pyjamas have to be comfortable, matching and cute and these Minnie Mouse 'jamas from Simply Be are all of those things. I'm not even slightly ashamed to say I love Minnie Mouse. Bow in her hair, polkadot dress, loud shoes...what's not to love?! 



Finding plus size pyjamas in cute cartoon prints is quite rare but Simply Be have quite a few including Betty Boop, Hello Kitty, 101 Dalmations and more Minnie Mouse. I really wish it was socially acceptable to wear pyjamas as regular clothes, really, really wish.

Love,
Mrs D x

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Friday, 19 December 2014

Mental Health & Where to Find Help at Christmas

This time of year is magical; full of twinkling lights, Christmas music and people making an extra effort to be kind, but it also be really tough. 

This photo popped up on my Timehop this morning and it reminded me of the position I was in this time last year. I've mentioned before on my blog that I've struggled with my mental health for almost half my life now. There have obviously been all sorts of ups and downs and all over the places but this time last year I was in the midst of the worst episode of my life and weeks away from a serious breakdown. 

Mr D had started to notice my behaviour was a bit strange and that I wasn't coping very well around October so I did what years of therapy has told me to do and asked for some support. Despite having been in and out of secondary care for the last 13 years I was added to the waiting list and told to go away. As things got progressively worse I got increasingly determined to power through and just get on with it. I decided I could still do All The Things and part of that was hosting Christmas at our house for my family. Both my mum and Mr D tried to convince me that it wasn't a good idea but when I'm in that place I will not listen to anyone (see mum, I do admit you're right sometimes!) and ploughed on. 

It's difficult to explain but it's quite childlike behaviour; blind to consequences and being convinced that you're capable of anything. (Actually I'm not sure that's not just my entire personality rather than my mental health!) I genuinely had fun and enjoyed myself in whatever it was that I was doing but I had no concept of what it was doing to my brain. Inevitably though I would end up an exhausted, sobbing, crazy mess unable to move or do anything for the couple of days after. I think (but I can't remember too well) I may have even gone to some blog events and although I really, really enjoyed being there and was happy as larry at the time my brain didn't feel the same way.

Once the excitement and joy of Christmas and New Year had passed and I had nothing to occupy my mind with, it all came to the surface in a very unpleasant way. Fortunately for me my mum was at my house on the worst day so she took care of me then decided to come to stay with us for a few weeks. Between her and Mr D they kept a constant eye on me and I didn't have to go through it alone. Thanks to a medication change, some intense therapy and my mum's no nonsense attitude with the mental health services I've improved a lot over the year and feel like I've made serious progress.

As much as I love this time of year and Winter in general (and I really, really do) it's always a little bit difficult. End of term assignments and feeling like I still have tonnes to do for next week has left me feeling quite frazzled this week but I've taken a step back, prioritised and taken care of myself which is not something I've been able to do before. Stress is a big trigger for most people with any mental health issue and Christmas is the epitome of stress. It's incredibly easy to get overwhelmed and feel out of control.

As cliched and cheesy as it sounds, you are absolutely not alone. There is so much support to be accessed and although it's scary to pick up the phone or send an email saying 'help', it's scarier being alone with unpleasant thoughts. Just knowing that someone else knows how awful you're feeling can be comfort enough and often, a kind word from a stranger will do wonders. I've lost count of how many times a few simple tweets of support have made me feel that little bit less alone. It's scary being honest and for some people it's a very hard thing to do but in my experience honesty has only ever brought me love and support, whether it's from a stranger or someone close to me.

I'm not sure where I wanted this to go really and I've closed this window more times than I can count. I've listed some helplines and ways of getting some support online below, please feel free to copy and share it elsewhere.

Whatever you're doing this Christmas, be safe.

Love,
Mrs D x



Samaritans

Telephone: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day)
Email: jo@samaritans.org
Website: www.samaritans.org
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: 0300 123 3393 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday)
Email: info@mind.org.uk
Web site:
 www.mind.org.uk/help/advice_lines
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.

Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line

Telephone: 0300 5000 927   (10am-2pm Monday to Friday)
Email: info@rethink.org
Website: http://www.rethink.org/about-us/our-mental-health-advice
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.

Saneline

Telephone: 0845 767 8000 (6pm-11pm)
Website: www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/support/helpline
Saneline is a national mental health helpline providing information and support to people with mental health problems and those who support them.

ChildLine

ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor for free about anything - no problem is too big or too small. 

Elefriends

Elefriends is a supportive online community where you can be yourself. Elefriends is run by Mind. 
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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Going Glam at the British Plus Size Awards

It's been a few weeks since the British Plus Size Awards happened but I've been snowed under with uni assignments and I haven't spent a weekend at home since the beginning of November so blogging has sadly slowed down a little. However, I have a few hours to myself this morning so I thought it was about time I showed you my outfit for the awards!

The awards were a black tie event which usually means a long dress. Long dresses do not look good on me; they're rarely long enough and I like a little volume around my hips otherwise my shape looks a little odd. Scarlett & Jo very kindly offered me their Embellished Velvet Dress to wear but when I tried it on it just didn't work for me and I wasn't comfortable looking so lumpy. I was quite heartbroken because it is honestly one of the most beautiful dresses I've ever seen, so luxurious and glam. I'm currently running a giveaway on my instagram to win this dress in a size 24, go and take a look!

Embellished blue velvet maxi dress


However, I'd had my eye on the Going Glam dress super blogger Nicolette Mason designed with Modcloth since it was teasingly added to the site three weeks before it was available for sale (why, Modcloth, why?!). When I showed it to people more than a couple of them said it was the perfect dress for me so it seemed silly not to give it a go!

I initially went for my usual s a size in all the items I've bought from Modcloth, a 3X (for reference, I'm a UK24) but it was a little too tight on my boobs so I sized up to a 4X which gave me some extra room for my three course meal. As the dress was satin I thought I'd go full on luxurious, swanky material and got myself a velvet shrug and shoes because who doesn't love a bit of velvet?


I desperately didn't want to wear black tights so knowing how well the All Woman tights from The Big Tights Company fit me, I gave their 'natural' tights in size 22-32 a go. The last time I wore nude tights that actually fit was my school leaving party in 2003 so I was a bit skeptical! I needn't have been though because as always with All Woman, they fitted perfectly. They stayed up all night without any need for lifting my dress over my head and hoiking them up in a classy fashion, nor did I get Nora Batty ankles.

Although my outfit was quite simple I felt flippin' fabulous in it. With my pin curled hair and having had my eye make-up done at Illasmasqua earlier in the day I felt so glamorous! 

I normally loathe photos of my laughing with my massive gob open but I really love this!


The lovely folk at Panache very kindly took Becky and I as their guests so we got to spend the night with this lovely pair, Jennie and Richard. How fancy do they both look?! Jennie's skirt was possibly the most beautiful skirt I had ever seen!


My favourite blog girls, BettyKateRivkie and Becky. These girls keep me laughing and breathe life into me when I'm feeling marginally less fabulous than usual. 


There was a real life red carpet which we all spent a significant amount of time posing on whilst the photographer, Betty's lovely husband Nicky (who also makes the fab Nicky Rocket tees!), patiently snapped away.

As most of you know I was up for Best Blog at the awards. I was so shocked when I found out I had been shortlisted, it was seriously overwhelming. Regardless of any issues people have with the event and organisation itself, being up for an award means people took the time and effort to nominate me and for that I want to say a huge thank you. I was amazed to be in a category with bloggers I respect so much and see as being far more established and successful than I am so being nominated in the first place was more than enough of an achievement for me. Although I didn't win I genuinely didn't feel a hint of disappointment because I lost out to the beautiful and inspiring Betty Pamper. Betty's blog was one of the first I ever read and she works so very hard on it so it was a well deserved win. Her posts are always full of sass and style and I'm insanely happy to call her my friend. Well done, B!

I love this photo! Especially my red lipstick mark on her face :D

Thank you again to everyone who nominated and voted for me, I love you all!

Love,
Mrs D x

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