30 March 2014

Capturing the Curve - The Selfie Post

Yesterday I attended the photo shoot "Capturing the Curve" organised by the fabulous Betty Pamper.

The inspiration behind the hair and makeup for everyone was vintage Hollywood glamour and to complement this I brought with me a beautiful 50s prom dress from +Simply Be 

I will tell you more about the shoot when I get the photographs through, but for now, just wanted to share a few of the selfies that I took of myself on the day.   As I felt so much that I had stepped out of a film noir movie on the silver screen, I have done a few in black and white too.

I can't wait to get the photographs through from Nicky Rockets who was a fabulous photographer on the day and completely made me feel at ease in front of the camera.

I love this photograph.  If I didn't have any other photograph from the shoot, then one would make it all worth while.  I feel beautiful in it.

27 March 2014

A Day for Charity

You may remember that I recently wrote A Charity Case on my blog further to the recent Facebook no makeup selfie thing on Facebook for Cancer.

The point in my post was that these Facebook games are always about the same charity and what I wanted to do was emphasis that although charities like Cancer Research are important; there are others out there too that need help and support.

Everyone has a charity that means something to them because a friend or relative is or has been affected or indeed themselves and those charities need support just as much.

The idea was that a date would be arranged for next month whereby we would all post on our blogs/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest accounts etc a picture of ourselves holding a sign with the name of a charity that you support, together with the link or text message number of how you can donate and the hashtag #IDonated.

I was excited to see that many of you contacted me and said that this was something that you wished to be involved in. I have decided to use Friday 11thApril 2014 as the day for everyone to post and hope that you will become involved.

I thought that I would tell you a little about the charity that I have chosen, which is one that I have heard about recently.

Capes 4 Heroes is a non profit organisation that have a very simple, but very powerful idea. Here’s what they have to say:

“We make and personalize superhero capes for kids with disabilities, kids with life threatening illnesses and kids who just need to feel empowered. We hope our capes give these deserving kids an extra boost of strength and courage and make them feel like the superheroes they truly are!”

Sometimes it isn’t about trying to cure a disease, sometimes it is as simple as putting a smile on a child’s face when they really need to smile.

You can donate a cape to a child for $30 or alternatively whatever you can afford to via Paypal on this link You can also nominate a child who you think needs a superhero cape of their own on the website. They also send capes to the UK.

I look forward to seeing your posts on the 11th!

Vicky x

25 March 2014

Slut Shaming

This picture, and variations thereof, has been making it’s way around the internet recently and it is really starting to tick me off.

It is a prime example of slut shaming.  It isn’t a joke.

Let’s look at the photo.  Why is she a slut exactly?  Because she is wearing heavy makeup and a low cut top?  She is wearing makeup because it makes her happy and because she likes the way it looks.  An extra flick of eyeliner or another layer of mascara do not say anything about how she chooses to behave and how many people she has slept with.

The girl in the picture also has large breasts.  Whether she chooses to wear a polo neck or a round neck top, this does not make any difference to the size of her breasts.  She has the right to wear what she wants without being labelled a whore.

I have personal experience of this.  Having large breasts myself I can confirm that no matter what type of clothing I am wearing, they always seem to come up in conversation which, whilst frankly bored by it, I am used to.  However, when I have worn something that shows a bit of cleavage I have, on many more times that I can count, been judged as “easy”, a whore, or have had my breasts grabbed at because I look “like that sort of girl”. 

What has scared me more than being grabbed at was not the actual grabbing, it was the reaction of the assailant (yes, assailant is the right word) and of those around us of shock when I have dared to complain.  The fact that I have large breasts does not give anyway a free pass to touch me.  It is sexual assault.

The picture is being passed around as a joke but I what I say that it is preserving the idea that women can be judged according to how they look and what they wear and then treated accordingly. 

Laughing at a picture of woman being called a whore is one step on the ladder to the frame of mind that says that she deserves to be/have been raped because of the way she looks or dresses.

In any case, whether a woman is a virgin or has slept with 50 men (what exact number crosses the appropriate line anyhow?) it is not your business.  If you want to judge someone then please, do it silently and to yourself.

Unless we stand up and say that these things are offensive they are going to continue.  So I am standing up and shouting back. 


22 March 2014

Bon Marche Spring/Summer

I was recently sent the Spring/Summer lookbook for +Bonmarche and was yet again very pleasantly surprised by some of the pieces available.

I have put together some of my favourite images and am happy to confirm that I have been given a 10% discount code which is valid for one month which can be used by you!

When checking out just copy and paste this code:  SFD23XP9VMW

Check out the new in section at BonMarche and see what you can find!

20 March 2014

A Charity Case

This week we have seen the latest Facebook craze which is to raise awareness for breast cancer by posting a makeup free picture of yourself. 
This originated back in September when Escensual.com launched the campaign Dare to Bare for breast cancer, which aimed at getting women to get sponsored to go to work or have a night out without their make-up on.   The first 1000 people were sponsored £1.00 by the company.

That has been taken over this week by Facebook users by posting a makeup free selfie.  The problem is that whilst many people have posted the photos, they are putting little or no information about cancer and are forgetting about the donation part. They simply post the photo, nominate some people to join and then forget about it.

I am aware that Cancer Research posted a message yesterday saying that although they hadn't organised the Facebook campaign, there was a text message number you could donate to (text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3).  For the majority of postings I have seen however, it was picture only.

It was the same with the colour of your bra game and where you put your handbag.  Neither did much of anything to help, unless writing "on the table" suddenly cures cancer.

Am I being too judgemental?  Probably. 

But what actually irritates me (and this may get people shouting at me) is why is it that these Facebook crazes always fixated on cancer?  Whilst Cancer Research is of course a very worthy cause, what about the other charities that need donations and awareness as well?  Alzheimer’s Research, The Stroke Association, FMA UK, SANE, the RSPCA, the Down’s Syndrome Association, everyone has a charity that means something to them because a friend or relative is or has been affected or indeed themselves.

I want to do something to emphasis that although charities like Cancer Research are important; there are others out there too that need help and support. 

My suggestion is simple.  If I can get enough people together who would like to do the same thing, my idea is that on a day to be decided next month we would all post on our blogs and Facebook/Twitter accounts a picture of ourselves holding a sign with the name of your chosen charity, the link or text message number of how you can donate and the hashtag #IDonated.
You don’t have to donate a lot.  You can donate as little as a pound if you want to.  The point is that this would be more proactive than taking a silly picture in order to raise awareness.
This is just a fledging idea at the moment so if anyone has any thoughts and hopefully wants to collaborate on this with me, please email me at thecurvedopinion@gmail.com. 

Thanks for reading!

Vicky xx

19 March 2014

Taking Shape Store Visit

I was recently asked if I wanted to check out the Taking Shape Southport store to have an appointment with their personal stylist and try on some of their pieces. 

Now to start off I should say that I can't even remember the last time that I did a shopping trip in the high street. Where I live there is nowhere that I can shop and I have been buying online for probably the past six or seven years.  I had completely forgotten what the "in store" experience was like and I confess, I was more than a little nervous.

I need not have worried.  My stylist Sharon was absolutely lovely and immediately put me right at ease.  I had a look around the store prior to my styling session and was very impressed with what I saw.   What particularly impressed me was the amount of frankly fantastic jewellery available (I would wear all of it) and the fact that many of the clothing items had been styled with a necklace or accessory to give you an idea of how it would look like on.

After a restorative coffee we headed to the spacious changing rooms which were airy and well set out.  I still remember the horrors of changing rooms from years ago, ill shutting curtains, no room to move around etc etc!  There were lots of mirrors and a comfortable sofa which made you want to linger rather than hurriedly try something on and make a quick decision.

Here are some of the outfits I tried on.  I have tried to link where I can!

Cria Dress £39.00

I have previously seen this dress on Betty Pamper and it was my first choice for trying on.  The fit was just right and I loved the leopard print touches throughout the patterning.  It has gone on my "To Buy" List!

Honor Dress £39.00
This dress has a very strong floral print to it and makes quite a statement on, which I like.  This type of dress I would probably wear for work.  Yes, I dress up for work but hey, why not!

Tropical Maxi Dress £49.00
I loved loved loved this dress.  For some clever reason I can't tell you it makes me look taller and I loved the necklace detailing to the neckline.  This came home* with me, ready for Summer time frolics!

Enchanted Lands Dress £40.00

I am gutted that we didn't manage to get a great photograph of this dress as it was one of my favourites of the day and one that I took home* with me.

Lexa Dress - £45.00

I really wanted to try this dress as I haven't worn a stripe print before and was interested to see how it would look.  I really loved the dress and personally, I loved the stripes!

Annabell Pullover £35.00
Bella Vista Trousers £29.00

This was without a doubt the surprise outfit of the day.  I NEVER wear trousers and have never worn orange before but the combination just seemed to work perfectly.  I felt stylish and yet comfortable.  Both items have also gone on my shopping list as I regretted leaving them behind as soon as I got home!

Gigli Pullover £45.00
Summer Night's Necklace £15.00
Visa Versa Trousers £39.00

After trying the previous combination I then moved on to the above outfit.  I loved the trousers which were silky to the touch and had a drawstring at the bottom in order to create different looks.

Looming Necklace £10.00
Water Colour Dress £55.00

This was such a pretty dress and the picture doesn't quite do it justice.  It was a fabulously swooshy dress, yes, that's a word :)  I just wanted to spin around and around in it.

Olivia Dress £39.00

I absolutely love a paisley print but am not quite sure I can get away with it in this dress.  What do you think?

Uninhabited Tee £35.00

One thing I do want to talk about is the lengths of the dresses.  One constant irritant of mine is that so many of the dresses that have been around for the past few seasons are at that length where tights or leggings are needed.  

All of the dresses I tried on were knee length or just below, basically hitting me exactly where I wanted (I am 5ft4).  When wearing a pretty dress I don't want to wear leggings (just my personal preference) so I could happily wear any of these dresses bared legged, as I have in the photographs.

All in all I had a brilliant couple of hours at the Taking Shape store.  The theme tune to Pretty Woman was playing on repeat in my head and I have never had so much fun trying on clothes in a shop before.

Taking Shape's clothing is all about interesting cuts, bold prints and patterns and completely works with the way I love to dress.  If I ever win the lottery, just pack up the whole store and I would be good to go!

* I was not paid to write this review of the Taking Shape store, however I was gifted two items as denoted with the * above.

18 March 2014

Guest Post from Just Me Leah

Morning all! 

Today I am happy to say that I have the fabulous +Just me Leah guest posting on my blog today, so I will hand you over to her.

Hi, I’m Leah and I blog at www.justmeleah.co.uk. Thanks to Vicky for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her blog.

As bloggers, people who comment on blogs, or people who use social networking pages and forums regularly we’re all at risk of coming into contact with people who share a very different set of values and beliefs to us, which can lead to conflict. For this post I will be writing from the perspective of you being the one who’s on the receiving end of conflict. 
If you’ve been active online for a long time and haven’t come into conflict with anyone I’d hazard a guess that you’re in the minority. The first time someone sought me out over something I’d said was on MySpace almost 10 years ago. Someone called me an emo (and much worse) because one of the many bands I said I liked in my introductory post in a group about rock music didn’t fall into the rock/metal category according to them. There have been many occasions since then where someone has felt the need to tell me how wrong I am about something, the last of which was very recently. The circumstances each time have been different and have warranted differing courses of action.
There are three categories of people you may come into conflict with.
1.  The person you’re in conflict with is using an anonymous profile. I would advise caution, because you have no idea if the person in conflict with you is a slightly pissed off keyboard warrior, someone having an off day who might later regret their comment, or an unhinged person with an agenda and nothing better to do than pick your life apart for their own amusement. I don’t allow anon comments on my blog as I think it gives people the opportunity to do their worst. If your blog or social media page has an option to pre-approve comments, think hard about whether you want to publish negative ones. Do you want to respond to the person if you publish it, or leave it there and have someone else possibly stick up for you and get drawn into it? What effect might getting dragged into a slanging match have on you and the other people who can see it?
2. The person you’re in conflict with is well known to you. How you proceed depends on their relationship with you and how your response might affect things outside your relationship with them. For example if you fall out with a friend of a friend, how will that affect things with your friend? If a family member has said something out of order, is it worth making life awkward for the whole family? Think hard and take a little time to breathe before saying something you can never take back. If they’ve said something unconscionable, I would suggest blocking them rather than having an ongoing conflict. The break might do you good and at a later date a reconciliation might be possible. You never know. But if it's someone on Facebook who's overstepped the mark, the choice is yours to reply or delete their comment and/or block them.
3. The person you’re in conflict with is using an account or username you can Google search. You’ve just hit gold, my friend! Everyone using a regular username leaves breadcrumbs you can follow, and most of us are creatures of habit after all. If you can Google their name/username, within a few clicks you can find out whether they’re trolls who do this a lot, or it’s somewhat out of character.
When someone took exception to a throwaway comment I made on someone else’s blog recently I Googled her username, and something very interesting became apparent. She rarely commented on a post to say anything good. In fact she rarely commented on a POST at all. Instead she’d find something contrary to say to someone who’d posted in the comments. I had been contemplating replying to her, but when I saw she was the kind of person who mainly looked for something to argue about, I knew the kind of person she was and decided I didn’t need to go there. Know your ‘opponent’ where possible because it will dictate your course of action.
Things to remember:
·  Some people are trolls, pure and simple. They enjoy getting a rise out of someone and if you respond it’ll make their day.
·  You have the choice to delete and ignore the comment, reply once and say your piece in full and never comment again, or be drawn into a dialogue which might go bad like milk in summer. There’s no right or wrong decision – just take a few deep breaths while you decide what to do. It’s hard to be calm when you feel under attack but you can’t unsay something once it’s on the internet.
·  I’ve regretted answering back a couple of times but have never regretted deleting a crappy comment and forgetting about it.
·  There are some people who ALWAYS have to have the last word even if they’re wrong. These people will gain pleasure from keeping a row going until you give up. Then they think they’ve ‘won’.
·   There are some people who don’t even care what subject you’re talking about. They have a superiority complex and will argue to prove to themselves how great they are. They will argue about the colour of the sky for the joy of arguing. Leave them alone in a room and they’ll argue with their shadow. Avoid.
·  There are some subjects which are so contentious you and the other person could debate/argue for months and still NEVER see eye to eye. You have to work out if there’s any point in wasting your energy on someone like that.
What are your tips on dealing with conflict? Feel free to let us know your troll horror stories in the comments.
Thanks for reading.

15 March 2014

The I Feel Good Challenge

 You know sometimes when you spend ages getting ready for a night out, an event or even just a blog post, and the reflection in mirror isn't what you hoped?  This challenge is for those times when you look in the mirror, no pre planning involved, and think "I look good today".  

We all have our good days and our bad, but this challenge is to record those good days and to remember that confidence, at any size, is beautiful.

I am cheating a little with today's photograph as I have already shared this photograph on Instagram.  But the feeling I had when I took it is something that I wanted to record, to remind me.

This was me after getting ready for my birthday outing with my best friends (post on the dress to follow).

I had just finished getting my hair done by my lovely sister (thanks sis!!)  my lipstick was on and my dress felt right.  Normally after I finish getting ready I look in the mirror and think that I look okay, or nice or find something that I want to change. 
Today though I looked in the mirror and I actually doubletaked to check that the girl in the mirror was actually me.  I felt absolutely amazing.  Everything felt right and I think for the right time ever in my life I looked in that mirror and though "Wow you look really good".  This NEVER happens.
So in order to record for posterity here's the photo, to remind myself of that feeling.

14 March 2014

May Underwear Set

I was recently speaking to the lovely Sophie at My Curves and Me and she offered me the opportunity to review a matching underwear set for them.  Given my previous experiences in trying to find a bra that is both well fitting and stylish, I jumped at the chance.

I asked to review the May Full Cup Bra which came with the matching briefs as pictured below.

Here is me in the bra (I had to turn up the bravery factor to take these pictures!)

The briefs fit just fine and the bra is a brilliant fit.  I always seem to find that I can never get quite the right combination of back side/cup size ratio but with this bra the 46H that I chose fit just as I wanted.  It clasps you around the back just as I like in a bra but doesn't dig into your shoulders and is comfortable to wear.

This set is currently available at +My Curves & Me  for the combined price of £36.05 which for a beautiful set of underwear I don't find unreasonable at all.  I will definately be searching out new lingerie from this site in future.

Vicky xx

13 March 2014

Birthday Dress

Back in January I was participating in the "Just Another Blogging Challenge" and I was talking about a floral dress that I had managed to grab from +Very.co.uk for the bargain price of £17.00.

Sadly this dress is no longer available so this post is a little like "here's what you could have won".  Sorry about that!

Anyhow, this is the picture of the dress as shown by Very at the time:

This is the dress that I chose to wear for my birthday last Saturday and I can honestly say that I have not felt as good in something for ages.  I absolutely adored it.  I am wearing with purple tights from +Yours Clothing and shoes from +schuh.  I'm not sure where the black shrug is from as I have had it forever.

12 March 2014

Win a VIP Experience at Marisota This Weekend

In line with the launch of their Shapeology range and the new Ava collection with Mark Heyes, Marisota have set up a series of pop up shops across the country.  Here's what they have to say about it:
The stores have been designed to give existing and new customers the opportunity to learn more about Marisota’s Shapeology concept and see it in action. TV super-stylist Mark Heyes and his team of specially trained Shapeologists will be on hand at each location offering one to one ‘Shapeovers’. With ‘magic mirrors’ enabling them to capture their new look and share it instantly with their friends via Facebook, Twitter and Email. They will also be able to print out a copy to take away with them.
Each of the pop ups will feature a selection of fashions in sizes 12-32 as well as key accessories, swimwear and shapewear. Customers will be able to order items featured at the events in-store and will be given a special 20% discount AND free home delivery.
I already love this one!
The Shapeology Pop Up Shop tour launches in London (56 Wells Street, W1T 3PT) 13-16 March, before going on to Glasgow (Buchanan Galleries, 220 Buchanan Street, G1 2FF) 20-23 March, Bristol (23 Penn Street, Cabot Circus, BS1 3AU) 25-30 March and Manchester (Arndale Centre) 3-6 April.

Marisota have kindly allowed me to run a competition to coincide with the launch of the Central London pop up shop, offering 5 lucky winners a VIP Marisota experience.

The winners would need to be available to attend the event in central London on either Friday 14th, Saturday 15th or Sunday 16th March. They will be booked in for a Shapeover from our team of Shapology experts (led by TV stylist Mark Heyes). The sessions are: 10am-12pm, 12pm-2pm, 2pm-4pm or 4pm-6pm.

As an added bonus, the 5 VIP winners will also go into a prize draw to win a fantastic £500 worth of vouchers to spend at Marisota.

All you have to do to enter is email marisotaukpopupshop@gmail.com quoting my blog title www.TheCurvedOpinion.com and a contact telephone number to be entered.

Good luck!


11 March 2014

Confident Women

I heard someone say the other day that women were (and I quote verbatim) “Harping on about confidence and sexism all the time because they want something to moan about”.

For some it seems that because we got the right to vote, moved into the workplace and started to voice our own opinions, that we should somehow be content with our lot.  What I see however is a society that still seeks to control women, just in different ways.

We can vote, but the right to our own bodies is in question.  We can be confident, but that also makes us a bitch.  We can wear what we want, but that we also mean that we are “asking for it”.  We can have a career, but are judged for not staying home with the children. 

One thing we cannot do is be whatever size we want, and dress how we want without the media, trolls on the internet, even total strangers telling us that this is not how we are meant to look.  The ideal must be conformed too.

Society in one form or another is constantly telling us how to be, how to look, how to dress, how to behave.  The quest to look perfect has never been more prevalent then it is now.   It isn’t just men telling us how to look either, the pursuit of the right way to look has gotten so huge that women are doing it to each other.  That’s before you even get into the subject of trolls.

What I have noticed however, over the past year especially, is women pushing back against these constrictions and fighting against them.  Everything from the celebrities who speak out against being airbrushed in magazines, to the #notbuyingit campaign against the objectification of women in advertising, to bloggers of all sizes and shapes sharing their images online and being confident in who they are and what they look like.

I have seen the start of so many confidence journeys in the past year and to watch as their confidence grows is awe inspiring.  Seeing somebody who was previously insecure and under confident blossoming into someone who is sure of herself and happy is a privilege to watch.  There is a message that women are sending out which is gathering speed and is getting louder and louder.  You cannot tell me how I should look.

The 20th century saw women gain the right to vote and step out from the kitchen.  Maybe the 21st century will be remembered for women gaining the right to be able to look how they want and be themselves, not the image of what they are told they should be.

10 March 2014

Month in Instagram

I can't believe that another month has passed since my last Instagram post.

This month has seen the start of my new challenge to myself of embracing my tooth gap, so brace yourself for a few toothy smiles and after my birthday, a few cocktails!

9 March 2014

Maylash Lashes

I was recently contacted by Olivia of Maybeauty asking me if I wanted to try out their Maylash serum product.

The serum is to be applied to your lashline every night for approximately three months and over that time, your lashes will become fuller and longer!  Check out the video Maylash have produced for further details.

Tonight will be my first use of the eyelash serum but I have some images here of the growth you can expect to receive:

As I say, I have not tried this product yet so I cannot endorse the results as yet, but after using it for three months I will be doing a further blog post showing you how I went on.

In the meantime though Maybeauty have kindly given me a discount code for readers which is active for the next 10 days, giving 30% off the regular price.  Just use the code opinion30 on checkout.

Looking forward to seeing the results!

8 March 2014

For All the Women

Just a small post from me today but I wanted to mark the fact that it is International Women's Day.

To the women who fought to enable my right to vote, to the women who are a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves,  to the women who shout back against prejudice and not blend into the shadows, to the women I read on a daily basis who enabled me to step out from behind my own shadow, to the women in my life that I love:

Thank you.

My body is my own, it will not be governed by others. My thoughts are what I choose them to be and are not what I am told what they should be. I will wear what I want and will not accept your judgement of me.  My head is high and I am worth it.

My mission today is to make another woman feel good today. Compliment each other. You are amazing.

5 March 2014

Ethnic Print Jersey Dress

Morning all!

I was recently contacted by the lovely Stef of +Bonmarche and asked if I would like to review something from their new in range.  With an eye on the approaching Summer I chose the Ethnic Print Tab Front Jersey Dress which is priced at £29.50.
I really love the print on this dress and the colour of black, pink and cream works well.  The dress is comfortable to wear and bang on with sizing.
I have gone quite simply with the styling of a statement necklace and some sandals from +Dorothy Perkins (last season).  I am looking forward to trying out different looks with the dress too, such as toughing up the look with a leather jacket and ankle boots or really going out there with lots of accessories.
I can see this dress being a great go to for the upcoming Spring/Summer as it can easily be dressed up for the evening or thrown on for a wander around the park in the afternoon (yes I get dressed up for the park too).

Check out the New In section as they have some great pieces for the Summer.

Vicky xx

* This item has been gifted to me however all opinions are my own.

4 March 2014

The Cosmo Challenge

Claire from A Monkey Fatshionista recently came up with a challenge of answering the recent Cosmo article questions.  I really wanted to do this as I found it totally puzzling that they would feature full and frank answers, and yet name the women in the article “A” and “B”.

But I was scared.  The questions frankly terrified me and I didn’t get involved in the challenge.  I have regretted that ever since so I have kicked my ass today and have answered, as below!

How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?

Depends on the context really.  If it is a stranger or acquaintance complaining about feeling/being fat I just let it go over my head.  Their issues with their own bodies are exactly that, their issues not mine.   When  it is someone I know, it does tend to bug me; particularly when they are implying that fat is the worst thing they could be.  I want to say get a grip, but I never do. 

How has your body image changed since high school? College?

I have been a bigger girl my whole life.  I was a chubby child but I also started to grow breasts at the age of  10/11 so I guess that was the first time really that I was marked out as being different from others around me.

Have you tried dieting? What happened?

I have been on various diets at different points in my life.  Sometimes I lost weight, then it would go back on.  There are certain things I could change about my diet but then I don’t sit around stuffing my face all day either.

Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?

I don’t know to be honest.  I think it is just me.  It is the way I have always been.

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people have assumed you are unhealthy?

I am more of a carbs person than a sweet person and I would like to reduce the carbs a little.  I don’t eat breakfast which I probably should and I could exercise more than I do.  I have quit smoking though for which I feel a lot healthier for doing.  I have always have a good blood pressure and am rarely ill with anything other than a cold.  I have never had someone say to me that they think I am unhealthy although a work colleague did ask me once “You do eat a lot or is this just the way you look”.

Are your parents both supportive of the weight you’re at? Have they always been?
My step dad never says anything one way or the other.  My mum used to mention diets occasionally and is always on one herself, but I think now that now she is accepted me for the way I look.  She doesn’t mention it anymore.

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people?
By remembering that plus size people like fashion too.  We want to be able to wear whatever we like without being told that “You can’t wear that”.  Make clothes in the bigger sizes too.  Acknowledge that just because you think a fat person shouldn’t wear an item of clothing doesn’t mean that you can make that choice for them.  Give us the choice.

Do you think plus-sized women are judged differently to plus-sized men? How?
I don’t personally know any plus size men so I don’t know what their experience is.  Women are treated more like sex objects than men and the presumption that we should have to look a certain way is focused more on women.   I want to say that it is much harder for plus size women but as I don’t have the other perspective, that would be wrong. 

Do you think there is an assumption made/stereotypes that exist about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?

There are the usual assumptions made of course.  Lazy, stuffing your face, work shy, etc etc.  I don’t respond to other people’s assumptions of what a fat person is like because if they can’t be bothered to overlook the stereotype then they are not people I wish to know.

Do you think there’s ever a right way/time to express concern about someone’s weight?
No.  It is nobody’s business but your own.  A GP will do it, but I think that the excuse of weight is palmed off on illnesses that have nothing to do with it. 

What are the worst things people have said to you about your weight?

I tend to banish these sort of comments from my mind.  The worst one, which I always remember is “You will always be alone looking like that”.

How did you respond?

How do you respond to something like that?  I can’t remember.  It was a few years back now and all I remember now is how much it hurt and the feeling that I would never be good enough.

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?

I have had compliments on my eyes, and my breasts.  I get told that I am pretty, but sometimes I do get the feeling that they it is being said as “You are so pretty but……”  I wear a dress every single day and that is something that gets commented on in a positive way which I like.  I like to make a real effort every day when getting ready.

Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
My best friend is actually at the opposite end of the scale to me.  She was always told that she was too thin and needed to put on weight when in reality, it is just the way she is naturally.  None of my others friends are closer to my size but it doesn’t bother me.  There would be something wrong if it did. 

One of the things I loved about going to Plus North was meeting people of a similar size to me and seeing their confidence, which massively inspired my own.

How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all?

When I have had a relationship in the past, not too much.  Once I get to the point where I am comfortable with a guy, I am ok.  Ish.

When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?

A lot.  One thing I am still working on is the fact that when it comes to men, I don’t feel good enough.  In my logical head I don’t mind if somebody doesn’t find me attractive, that’s fine, but my irrational head tells me that no one will want me. 

I’ve been single for such a long time now and it is only recently that I have began to realise that this is mostly my own fault.  I have so many dating/relationship opportunities that I have backed away from, purely because of the constrictions in my head. 

This is getting better, just on a slower rate.  I am good enough.  I won’t let anyone else dictate to me what I should look like in order to be worthy of someone’s attention. 

Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?

For me that wouldn’t be comfortable.  I don’t want to be anyone’s fetish.  Similarly though I couldn’t date something if they liked just my personality.   I want to be wanted for me, as a whole.  Now I just have to actually let someone do that.

Do you feel weird if he’s only dated slimmer women before you?

I don’t think so no.  It would easier that if they had only dated larger women before.  As long as it wasn’t as I have said above, wanted for my personality but not finding me attractive.

I have had about a million run away and hide moments answering these questions.  I wasn’t brave enough before, in fact I was downright terrified.

The thing is though, you never improve if you don’t confront what scares you.  I want to emerge from my label as the fat girl and my own self imposed constraint of not feeling good enough.  I just want to be Vicky.  Happy. Confident. If you find me attractive fine, if you don’t, that’s fine too.  I want to feel good enough and I will.  Sooner rather than later I hope.
I have tagged below the other women that did the challenge.  Although I wasn't involved in the challenge, other's perspectives on these questions is interesting.