30 December 2013

My End of Year Post




I am currently on holiday with my friends for the week of New Year but have scheduled this post to be my end of year post.   Be warned, it is a very wordy post, but a very happy one.

One day, when I am old and grey and I look back over the years, one of the most successful and memorable will be 2013.  2013 has been absolutely amazing. I have come so very far in such a relatively short space of time and have accomplished more in that time than I ever thought that I could.

I started off the year much the same as many years previous. Without direction, unhappy, under confident and searching, but for what I didn’t know. By chance one day I saw a retweet on Twitter linking to a blog and something in the cosmos told me to click on it. It took me to
The Ramblings of Mrs Bebe.

My mind got a little bit blown that day.

My journey has been well documented on this blog but I wanted to write down some highlights to remind me of just how fantastic this year has been.  I will be adding to this list right up to New Year's Eve, who knows what will happen between now and then?

-          I have embraced colour and pattern into my wardrobe.
-          I don’t walk down the street anymore worrying about what others think I look like.
-          I have modelled for Plus North (the best moment, ever).
-          I have got changed in a room full of people.
-          I got over a broken heart I didn’t know I had.
-          I have joined a dating site.
-          I have worked with numerous brands and been given a lot of opportunities.
-          I have a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes.
-          I now write a monthly guest post on a fashion site.
-          I feel confident in myself.

-      I received a thank you email from someone who had read my blog and had started to gain
       more confidence as a result.
-          I’ve met some incredible people in the blogging community.
-          I’m not as shy, I feel much more self assured.
-          I’m not afraid to stand up to insult, either to myself or to others.
-          I’ve travelled to London on my own for an event.  Something I would never have had the

       courage to do before.
-          My blog is going better than I ever thought it could.
-          I’ve gained more courage of conviction in the way I speak about things I am passionate about.

-     The word fat no longer scares me and is no longer an insult.  It is a part of whom I am.  It has no power over me now 
       see Turning a Negative into a Positive



When I read back through all of those incredible things my eyes well up.  There are probably more than I haven’t remembered to put on the list because I have been changing so quickly and so many wonderful things have happened that time has passed in a blur.

I can honestly say that I am happier now than I can ever remember being.  Roll on 2014 and what may happen then.

Happy New Year everyone!





24 December 2013

Happy Christmas!



Hi y'all!

Apart from an end of year piece I've scheduled for the 30th, I won't be posting on the blog over Christmas as I will be away until after the New Year. 
 
I just wanted to wish everyone who takes the time to read my blog a very happy Christmas.  Whatever your religious beliefs are or lack thereof, I believe that Christmas is a time for families and friends to spend time together and that is exactly what I will be doing.
 
My little blog has come a long way this year.  I still can't quite believe that people read my blog and it really means a lot to me that people take time out to read what I have written.  This blog has become an important part of my life and is something I absolutely love.  I hope that comes across.
 
I have met and spoke to some fantastic people in the blogging world this year and hope to carry on with that next year.  I already can't wait for the next Plus North and with a bit of luck, will also make it to Plus London too.
 
Have a very merry Christmas!  Eat, drink and be merry!!
 
 
 
 

23 December 2013

Gift Ideas

Christmas.  The time of year that is all about a well deserved break, gift giving and spending time with those we love. 

When it comes to buying presents I am a firm believer that it is the thought that counts.  I don’t care whether someone spends £5.00 or £50.00, you can always tell when thought and care has been put into the gift and that makes the world of difference.
 
I enjoy buying gifts, what is the point of a gift voucher after all?  Experience tells us that you only end up losing it or not finding anything you want.  How many times have you lost a gift voucher within all of the wrapping paper?  I know I have.

When I think of buying a present for someone I keep in mind what type or response I have in mind.  Are you looking for something funny, something to warm the heart; something practical; something a little bit different?
 
One website that I tend to use is www.IWantOneofThose.com and recently they kindly let me choose something from their gift range that I would buy as a present for someone.

I had my best friend in mind and along with what I had already bought her, I decided on the Chillsner as something that I knew that she would laugh at, but would also be practical.  My friend loves a bottle of cider on a hot day and throws many a gathering at her home in the summer months.


 
The idea behind the Chillsner is that you freeze the unit (one of two you receive in the pack) for 45 minutes and then you can put it into your beer or soda bottle and keep it icy cold from your first sip to the last!  An additional bonus is that as the top fits perfectly into the neck of the bottle you are able to drink through it without having to remove every time you want a drink.

They retail at £24.99 from “I Want One of Those” and are an ideal social present for someone who enjoys a cold drink in the summer.

20 December 2013

Friday Wishlist Taking Shape

Welcome to this week's Friday wishlist.  Today I am focussing on one brand in particular, Taking Shape. 
 
Taking Shapes have been in business for over 28 years in Australia and New Zealand but I confess that I only heard of them when they extended their business to the UK.   I have seen various bloggers talking about their range in glowing terms so I thought that I would take a look myself.

 
Their tagline is “Celebrate your Curves” and they have some gorgeous patterns and shapes available in their range.  All their stores have trained fashion stylists which is something that I think some be extended across more clothing stores. 

 
Here are my current favourites, available in store and on their UK website Taking Shape


Here are the links to each item:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have you seen that Boucle coat?  It is one of my favourite coats of the season I want to run away with it back to the 1940's!
 
Have you found any new brands lately?
 
 
*  Please note that this is not a sponsored post.  I merely want to support a new brand coming into the UK market and there were lots of things available that I loved! 


19 December 2013

Turning a Negative into a Positive

It was only this week that I did a post on my blog about customers and what you can experience when working in a service industry.  It is little ironic therefore that the week that I suggest that people should be more courteous to the person they are dealing with is the week that I have the worst client I’ve had in 18 years of working.

Being in the legal industry I am used to dealing with all kinds of people who deal with you at various levels of courtesy; from the lovely old lady you want to adopt, to the horrible man who shouts at you.

I am fairly well hardened against shouting and swearing by now.  I calmly tell them to stop or the conversation will end and most of the time they either do calm down or call back in a more pleasant manner later.

Today though was a one off.  I have never walked away from a client appointment physically shaking before.  I have never told a client to get out before today and have never come so close to swearing at one before.  Thankfully I didn’t and maintained my composure.

So what happened?  A man over a foot taller than me physically intimated me and then screamed at me for five minutes from across the reception room, in front of the receptionist and other clients with verbal abuse ranging from “you fucking cow” to “you fucking fat bitch you need to get to the gym”.

Horrible nobjockey.  No other words for him.

Now, turning a negative experience into a positive one. 

Yes, he was an idiot and not worth my time.  But, a year ago I would have been in tears, I would have crumbled under his insults and would have retreated to hide under the duvet.  He would have broken me.

Today though, I stood my ground, told him to get out and sarcastically waved at him as he left, letting him know that he had not beaten down the fat girl.  Yes, the fat girl.  Fat is just a word and it is just one part of the many things that I am.

I am so much stronger now than I realised, with confidence and the ability to brush aside this asshole’s comments and it is realising this that makes me smile now.  I have taken back the word fat from being an insult to what it is actually is, a mere description.  His words didn’t hurt me.  


So thank you rude man, you actually did me a favour.  But still, fuck you.

18 December 2013

Purple Skater Dress

How do you know that you are on to a winner with a dress?  The answer is when you see the same dress in a different colour and snap it up without a moment’s hesitation.

I recently showed you the Forest Green Dress I bought from +Simply Be   I was completely in love with the mesh sweetheart neckline and the way the dress nipped back into the waist just at the right point for me.  It is warm enough to wear for Winter and can easily be taken from day to night. 

The simple back drop also allows a variety of statement necklaces to be worn, which I seem to be addicted to at the moment! 

Here I am in the purple version of the dress which I love just as much.  Alas in my bleary eyed dressing this morning I neglected to notice that I was wearing the same jewellery as in the green dress photographs, but as you can see, you could style this dress in many ways.

One thing I particularly like is that when you remove the cardigan, it immediately takes the dress into something I would wear out in the evening making the transition from work to party simple with the exchange of jewellery and minus one layer!





17 December 2013

GFC Go ByeBye

As you have no doubt noticed, we all woke up this morning to discover that the GFC had disappeared from our blogs.

If you were previously were following me on GFC and would like to continue doing so (no Chinese burns to convince you, promise!) here is where you can find/follow me:

 
 
 
 
 
xxx

16 December 2013

The Counter Point

I have been meaning to do this post for ages now, either in video or written form but for one reason or another have not gotten round to it.  I have seen a couple of posts today in the same vein that I wanted to talk about so I cleared some time and got my typing fingers out.
 
What has been rolling around in my head?  Customers, customer service and how courtesy works both ways.
 
The original piece I saw was from  a few weeks back from the ever fabulous Sera talking about how the customer service industry has been in decline and how you just don't get the same level of polite service and helpfulness that used to be expected when going into a shop.  I wholly agree, some places you practically have to do a dance to attact attention and a "don't care attitude" is found in a lot of stores.
 
That said though, I wanted to add more to the subject.  Because I am a person at the other side of the counter.  I am not faced with customers in a shop, I have clients on the other end of the phone who require updates on claims and want their money, tomorrow.
 
I was always trained to be polite, courteous and try to find a solution to any problem that may arise.  I have always found that a conversation started with a smile usually tends to go well.  However, what I get back in return can sometimes veer from the rude to the downright horrible (see my previous post We Have a Soul Too)
 
When will people realise that shouting and rudeness doesn't work when you want to resolve an issue?
 
I recently had a huge problem when moving mobile networks.  You may have seen a few frustrated tweets about the subject as literally everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  It took well over two hours on the phone and four visits to the store before the matter was rectified.
 
What I didn't do during any of that time was shout, be rude or be verbally abusive.   You can easily put your point across that you are unhappy with the situation with resorting to the above.  I raised my issues in calm manner, gained a rappour with every person I spoke to and was patient while they tried to figure out the issues.  Yes it took a long time, but the issues were technical glitches and none of the faults were due to the people who were trying to help me. 
 
As a result, my problems were resolved, I was more than adequately compensated and I would highly recommend their customer service support.  They bent over backwards to make sure that I was happy and more than one thanked me for being so understanding.
 
It's Christmas now and everyone is slightly on edge, running around buying last minute Christmas presents and wondering whether you are going to get everything done.
 
"Christmas isn't Christmas without presents" said Jo.
 
I just ask that you take a breath before you are served at a till, speak to customer representative or make a complaint because the chances are, you will get a far higher level of service if you do and it won't leave both parties wanting to bang their heads against a brick wall.
 
 

15 December 2013

I Feel Good Challenge



I’m writing this post on Wednesday 11th, ready for the I Feel Good series on Sunday. 

I came up with this challenge because I wanted to share pictures that weren’t all camera ready, those that you just looked in the mirror, whatever you happened to be wearing and thought "I feel good today".

I want to extend that and do something a little more off piste.  I see many people on Twitter say "If only people actually saw me when I wasn't posing for blog pictures".  That is partly why I started the challenge but I want to take it a step further.  Because today, I am not the happy, smiling blogger you always see; and I'm sharing it on my blog.

Because today, I don’t feel good; not mentally anyway.  I am having a dark day, which I haven’t had for months now.  Today is not the sort of day that I would take photographs of myself because I look sad.

But the aim of this challenge is to share both the good and the bad and to find the positives.  So I’m using a photograph of myself today and yes, I look unhappy (and more than a little pissed off that I am forcing myself to take this photograph at all).  But I am acknowledging that today is a dark day.  All I can do on these days is hunker down and ride it out but I know that at the end of it, I'll be back to my smiling self.
 
No doubt by the time this post is live on the blog on Sunday I will be happy again and the shadowy fog will have lifted.  But I feel that it is important to acknowledge to myself that this side of me exists too. 


I am the happy smiling girl you normally see in my photographs but I am also this too.  Today, this is who I am and that is ok.  I don't have to always be the perfect version of myself.  On here, I share all of me.

Sorry if I have depressed anyone there.  Check out the other ladies involved in this challenge and hopefully they will have a happier face for you.



13 December 2013

Friday Wish List - The Expensive Week

Friday WishList - The Expensive Week




What the hell, it's nearly Christmas and what does a girl want for Christmas?  Well I want (but not getting) an expensive handbag!

10 December 2013

Christmas Party Dresses

I am in a Christmas party dress quandary and I have no clue which way to go.  I guess that it is a nice position to be in, actually having two dresses to decide between so I can’t complain!

I have been toing and froing between these two dresses for weeks now and still no decision has been made, so what I decided to do was create a blog post and hopefully make my decision from there.  All comments would be greatly appreciated!

The event by the way for a bit of background information is dinner and dancing at a lovely country hotel/restaurant.

The first dress I have in mind is the beautiful peacock print dress as designed by the lovely Em for +Simply Be . 
 


 
I also have some gorgeous black glittery shoes to go with it.  I haven’t actually worn this dress yet so am itching for the right place to wear it.  Question is though, do I want to be so far in my comfort zone or do I want to wear something brighter to celebrate how far I have come on the colour front???

The second option therefore is the Sorrento Clothing cartoon print dress. 
 
 
 
 
I loved this dress from afar for ages but didn’t pluck up the courage to buy it until I attended Plus North.  I actually wore it on that night along with my favourite red shoes (below). 
 
 

The thing is, the dress doesn’t exactly scream Christmas now does it. 

Someone help me decide!!!!

 

7 December 2013

Shoes that Sparkle


We will be posting on the 7th of each month, and the aim of the challenge is to create an outfit to fit the theme, using clothes from our wardrobes, and yes that does mean digging deep into the depths and finding those long lost clothes! Hopefully one of us won’t end up in Narnia, but you never know with a bloggers wardrobe!

This month's theme is sparkle.

Now whilst I love some sparkle and glitter in an outfit, for some reason, I don't own any.  Any!!  No glitter on my tops, no sparkle in my dresses, nothing!  There are many gorgeous sparkly dresses around at the moment that I love, the green +Simply Be one for example or the gorgeous multi coloured one from @So_Fab_Clothing but they have never quite made their way into my shopping basket.

What I do have is sparkly shoes.  I bought these shoes for my best friend's wedding a couple of years ago and I adore them.  With the silver block heel they are a little easier to walk around in and the 20's feel to them is something I love.






Don't forget to check out the other ladies involved in the challenge:

Beth http://tinkerbellandthelostgirls.blogspot.co.uk
Kaye http://polishedcurves.wordpress.com/     
Becky http://www.doesmyblogmakemelookfat.com/
Nicola http://www.nicolarelph.blogspot.co.uk/
Gail http://gailygumdrops.blogspot.co.uk/
Kirsty http://www.hellokirsty.blogspot.co.uk/
Mary http://marysbigcloset.blogspot.pt/
Kathryn http://misskathrynsmisstakes.blogspot.co.uk/
Steph http://seeingsp0ts.blogspot.co.uk/
Charley http://www.biggirlabouttown.blogspot.co.uk/
Rebecca http://sullen-hearts.blogspot.co.uk/
Leah http://www.justmeleah.blogspot.co.uk #
Nikki http://www.nattynikki.blogspot.co.uk
Lindsey http://linzerellofatshion.blogspot.co.uk/
Vicky www.thecurvedopinion.com 
Christiana http://www.lifeofouk.blogspot.co.uk/
Megan http://theclosetofmeganfaye.blogspot.co.uk/
Nancy http://sugardarlingblog.blogspot.co.uk/
Leah http://thirtysomethingcurvyme.blogspot.co.uk/

6 December 2013

Weekly Wish List 2

Weekly Wish List 2





The owl print dress from YoursClothing has a special meaning for me as this was the dress I modelled in Plus North.  It seems so long ago now!!
 

3 December 2013

BonMarche Lace Print Dress

Today on the blog I have for you an outfit that I wore to work yesterday. 

Bonmarche kindly allowed me to chose something from their New in range and I immediately spotted the Lace Print Dress by David Emanuel.  I was immediately drawn to the beautiful lace pattern on the jersey fabric and thought it would be an ideal dress for work.

It would also work well for going out for a meal in the evening but you know me, I am never knowingly under dress for anything!

I wore the dress yesterday at work with my trusty black cardigan from South  at +Very.co.uk together with my new red shoes from +Evans  and a gorgeous statement necklace that I bought on sale from +Dorothy Perkins 

If you decide to buy this dress I would advise to size down as I bought my usual size and it was a little roomier than I would normally wear.  At work with a cardigan though it worked just fine and I was comfortable all day.







*The dress was gifted to me by BonMarche.  All opinions are my own.

Fashion Worked

Today is the second outing of my monthly guest post with Fashionworked.

This month I am talking about the troll factor when it comes to fashion blogging and how in the end, they don't matter at all.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Check it out here