31 March 2015

Petty Little Liars

One thing that my mother has always said is that you have to have a good memory to be a liar. Whether it be a white liar, told for the good of another or a blatant lie with no regard for the truth; the lie that you tell takes on a life of it's own.  

Unlike the truth which speaks for itself, a lie requires a back story.  The bigger the lie, the bigger the back story.  Personally, I cannot stand a liar.  I would rather be cut to shreds with the truth than deceived with a lie.

One thing that I cannot understand is when a person tells a lie in order to impress another.  I recently read an article in the Independent about a recent survey that had been commissioned by Into The Blue about the most common lies that people tell in order to impress others.  The results were quite shocking to me and it made me wonder; just how shallow are we?

The survey spoke to nearly 2500 people asking questions about the lies that they have told in order to impress another, be it a work colleague, a friend or a potential love interest.

These are the top ten lies that people tell in order to make an impression on someone else:

1)      Skydiving – 45%
2)      Met a celebrity – 41%
3)      Attended a music event – 36%
4)      Bungee jump – 29%
5)      Being arrested/Spent time in jail – 25%
6)      School/University results – 23%
7)      Charity fundraising – 20%
8)      Attended a major sporting event – 19%
9)      Exotic travels – 17%
10)   Working in the forces – 15%

A further 8% of respondents confessed that they had lied about saving somebody’s life.  That goes beyond trying to impress, it is downright disgusting.  Apart from anything else, how do you support and maintain a lie like that?  

To quote Elvis Presley (I didn't expect this quote to be from him either):
The truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away.
According to the survey, just under a third had told a lie in an attempt to attract a romantic partner, with a fifth lying to people who were already their friends.  The thing is, that lie may attract someone at first or impress them.  But the truth always prevails in the end and you wind up looking at best disingenuous and at worst, a truly horrible person who deceives in order to attain their goal.

For me, if you lie to me then you are out of my life.  If I cannot trust you, what is the point in a relationship, whether it a friend or a loved one.  The closer the connection to someone, the more the after effects of a lie can hurt.  

I will leave you with another quote.  I do not know who said this but for me, it cuts through the truth about lying:

The worst thing about being lied to is knowing that you weren't worth the truth.

30 March 2015

The Kelly Brook Range

SimplyBe recently released the new Kelly Brook collection.  I spied a gorgeous yellow floral dress that I simply had to have and decided to buy it to wear on my birthday.  

I only managed to take one photograph of myself on the night so I have re-created the outfit this weekend for you to have a better look.

The dress is true to size and as it is a jersey fabric, there is some give to the dress which flows well and makes it comfortable to wear.  The length is 41 inches which hits me just below the knee.  I am 5ft 4 to give you an indication of how it would look on you.

The wrap part of the dress as you can see is just over the bust area.  Usually when I buy this type of dress I wear a slip underneath in order to accommodate for any gaping over the bra but in this case I did not need too.

I would normally end the review at this point but there is one thing that has happened recently in the press that I wanted to mention.  Kelly Brook's ex recently shared via social media some texts purported to be from Kelly in which she fat shames and slut shames other women.

Kelly is no stranger to fat shaming given her spat with Katie Price a couple of years ago when Katie called her a "heffer".  Kelly responded by saying:
"I’ve always been a curvy girl. I’ve got huge boobs. I’ve got a huge bum. I’ve always had that body.  Even when I was a teenager I was curvier than everyone else. That’s just the way I’ve been built. There’s nothing I can do about it and there’s nothing I want to do about it – it’s just me. I’ve learnt to embrace it, accept it and make it work for me"
Kelly therefore well knows the effect of fat shaming and it does not bare well for a representative of a plus size brand to say one thing with a view to selling clothes, yet think another.

The word fat is not an insult, but when used in such a way as Kelly purportedly did, it becomes harmful.  How can you design a collection for plus size women when you believe that being fat is something to criticise?

I think that this is the trouble when you have celebrity collaborations with clothing brands.  The celebrities are just in it for the money and will say whatever is needed, whilst sometimes having completely different views.

The same happened with Gemma Collins who is plus size and happy when she has a clothing range to promote but then bemoans her weight and is unhappy about her body elsewhere.  

I buy a lot of clothes from SimplyBe and will continue to do so.  I made the decision some time ago however not to buy anything from the Gemma Collins range for the reasons above and I would have to think if I were to buy something from the Kelly Brook range again in the future.  

When it comes to celebrity collaborations I do not care if the celebrity is a size 8 or a size 28.  But I do think that they should mean what they say and not just promote body confidence for profit. 

27 March 2015

Spring Days

Although there has been snow in parts of Lancashire today, thankfully for once not on my doorstep, my thoughts today have been with Spring.  I see it popping up everything and it makes me yearn for those sunny days, sat out somewhere lovely in the late afternoon catching up with my friends with a glass of wine.

So today I am showing you a new dress that I recently bought from +Simply Be and have styled it for that perfect sunny day, hoping that it is not too far away.

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One thing that I am on the constant lookout for is that perfect evening bag that goes with everything,  Something classic and timeless and that can fit all the essentials needed.  I was recently asked by +Harvey Nichols if I would like to review one of their bags and I chose this DKNY bag * as it fits the bill for that evening bag I have been searching for.

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The bag is beautifully made and has the option of using it as handheld as shown above but also extends so that you can wear it on your shoulder.  I used it recently on an evening out and I can confirm that it holds everything essential, including my not small Samsung Note that I cannot leave the house without!

What things are you dreaming about for the warmer months?

26 March 2015

Asos - What I Would Have Spent

Debz from WannabePrincess came up with a great suggestion for a blog challenge, Here's What I Would Have Spent!

There have been so many times that I have been shopping online and have found the perfect item of clothing, only to find that it does not come in my size.  Whilst Asos has a brilliant Curve range, I can't help myself looking over the main range and wanting so many pieces.

So this month, I am looking at Asos and telling them what I would have spent my plus pound on!

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Floral Print Dress
Sunflower Print Kimono
Mesh Fit & Flare

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Bold Print Dress
Biker Jacket

If these items were available to me in my size, I would be buying all of them, but especially the floral print dress which is absolutely gorgeous,

Don't forget to check out the other ladies taking part in the #HeresWhatIWouldHaveSpent challenge

21 March 2015

Songs to Make you Happy

Just a quick post today.

I'm over on the Tombola Site today sharing my favourite Feeling Good song along with some other bloggers.

There are some great songs on there so go and have a look and brighten your mood up too!

Tip:  my song goes with this:

20 March 2015

PS Blogger Love

The lovely Debz from WannabePrincess recently decided to arrange a blog challenge where we are all given another plus size blogger to talk about, share stories and tell you why we love them.

I was very happy to be given the amazing Kathryn from MissKathrynsMisstakes

Although I had been reading her blog prior to, I first met Kathryn at Plus North 2012.  I arrived scared, on my own and very very nervous to be modelling that day.  I was wandering around with the lovely Nikki when she introduced me to Kathryn who unbelievably recognised my name and enveloped me in one of her famous hugs.   

Kathryn was there all day cheering everyone one and she definately gave me the confidence I needed to walk down the catwalk.

Like me with dresses, Kathryn is the cardigan queen and I love her fashion style.  Kathryn has a true voice and says what she thinks.  She also encourages the plus size blogger community to support each other and use our own voices.

I love Kathryn's body positivity and the way she is so supportive to others.  Kathryn is a fantastic blogger and a wonderful person and I encourage you to go check out her blog immediately!!

18 March 2015

The Right to Love

There are seven billion people on this planet.  Seven billion sounds like such a large number and yet, each one of those seven billion are unique to themselves.  There is no one else exactly like they are in the world.

Everything from our physical appearance, the way that we dress, our personalities; our views; our political leanings and our likes and dislikes all come together to shape someone who is one of a kind.

In turn, the ways in which we choose our prospective partners works in a similar way.  We are complex creatures and we all want different things, be it purely on a physical or a deeper level.

Beauty however is only skin deep.  You may meet someone who ticks every box when it comes to the physical aspects that you find appealing, but when you learn their personality, their character traits; this can change your original opinion completely.

I could meet, for example, the twin of my celebrity crush George Clooney but if he was a member of the English Defence League, I would be off running in a different direction.   Because someone like that is not my type, regardless of how they look.

Physically, we are all attracted to different things.  Tall, short, average height, blonde, brunette, red head, long legs, large breasts, small breasts, broad shoulders, lean, a great smile, tattoos, piercings, fat, thin; the list could go on forever.

Given that we all like different physical traits, different personalities and opinions; can you imagine how ridiculous it would be if we did try to impose our preference choices on others?  Not only would it not work, but what you would essentially be saying is that everyone apart from your own preferred type did not deserve love.

Sounds absurd doesn't it.  Yet it happens every day.   Because girls grow up being told that in order to "get a boyfriend", in order to "be attractive", in order to be loved, they have to be thin.  If you are not thin, you are the booby prize.  You are the one night stand they will never admit to.  You are a fetish. Men who like you are labelled chubby chasers.

Can you imagine it happening to any other physical characteristic?  "Were you drunk last night?  You pulled a girl with brown hair".  Sounds ridiculous doesn't.

Well enough is bloody well enough.  I've had it.  People and their narrow opinions can quite frankly stick themselves and their bigoted asses where the sun does not shine.  I  refuse to be told that I am not "good enough" to be dated, that I do not deserve to be loved because I am fat.

The shape of my body may not appeal to some but it does to others and guess what?  That works the same way for everyone.  BECAUSE WE ALL LIKE DIFFERENT THINGS!!!!

Fat, happy, deserves love and is damn well going to find it.
Screw you Daily Mail Readers.

17 March 2015

Tips & Tricks

Recently I have had a few people, both friends and someone on Twitter asking me about how I went about setting up my own blog.  What to do, what to write; how to do it etc etc.  So I thought that I would do a little post:

5 simple tips for creating your first blog

Have thoughts that you want to share? Want to make your voice heard online? Well, writing a blog is one way to do it.  Whether you are using it as a business, a diary; somewhere to share your photographs and images, having a blog is a great way to put your thoughts and content out into the world.

1. Choosing the right host

There are plenty of free services that will host your blog, like Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress and TypePad. Take a look through them all and pick the one you’re most comfortable with using. There are lots of tutorial videos out there that will show you how they work.

I tried a couple but for me, Blogger worked best for what I wanted.  Have a look around and see what works best for you. 

2. Sounding like yourself

I read many blogs before I started my own.  The danger when you start blogging is trying to be/sound like everyone else.  The trick is simple.  Be you.  Write what is in your heart, let your own voice speak for itself.  You started this blog to enter into your own particular niche so let people hear your voice.  Blogging works best when it is about something the blogger knows about and is passionate about. Don’t try to fake it. Readers will quickly lose interest and move on to something genuine. 

3. Letting people find you

So you have your voice, you are posting content; how do you get people to read your blog?  If you want to interact with other bloggers and let your work be seen, try joining Twitter. Chat with other bloggers, join in on the bloggers talks.

Try out the #FBLChat (Tuesdays 8pm) or maybe the lifestyle chat and beauty bloggers chat on Wednesday.  Whatever your niche is, find others and get chatting!

Try to leave comments on other people’s posts and join in on some blogger challenges, there are so many out there and it is a great way to share your blog with people who would be interested in reading what you have to say.

4.  Finding your look

One thing that I did when I first started to blog was trying to do too many things too quickly.  Having a personalised header, going self hosted, finding the right background, using the right apps.  You don't need to do all of these things at once.  Take your time.  Get comfortable with blogging first and then have a play.  You are not in a race.  Your blog will become like your baby, and just like a baby, it needs to grow at it's own pace.

5.  Tips & Tricks

So, you have found your voice, found other bloggers, started to get readers and your blog is looking the way you want it.  What next?  Well first of all, keep doing what you are doing.  

Secondly, find things to make your blogging life easier.  A lot of bloggers I know, like myself have full time jobs, try to juggle work and childcare or have children at home to take care of.  All of these things can sometimes leave little time for blogging so here are a couple of things to help you organise.

Buffer is an app that you can use which automatically tweets your blog links out several times a day.  Useful when your day time life is hectic and you don't  have the time to go online.

When you start to get really adventurous you may want to start contacting companies/magazines and websites to talk about your blog.  One problem: the more emails you find to contact, the more likely that a decent proportion of them will be fraudulent addresses. If you’re sending out a litany of emails to fake accounts, you can end up getting penalised. Use regular email verification to stop this happening to you.

Evernote is an app that you can use on your phone.  Ideal for jotting down blog ideas or drafting something up when you have a spare five minutes.  It can be linked with your laptop and really saves time.

If you have been reading blogs for a while and would love to start your own, I hope that some of these tips assist!

* In collaboration with Brite Verify

16 March 2015

It's All in the Jeans

Today on the blog I have a new outfit for you.  Now I don't want to overly shock you, but I am NOT wearing a dress,  I know right?  What happened?

Well the truth is that I do wear a dress every day, but now and again I also cannot resist that classic jeans and a jacket combination.  It is comfortable and can look just as stylish and evening/afternoon out appropriate as a pretty dress.

When the lovely Cecilia told me about the new +Fashion World  360 Fit Bootcut Jeans I was intrigued to hear about their new fit philosophy.  Ever on the quest for jeans that actually fit properly, I wanted to know more.  Here is what they have to say:

Achieve a 360 degree fit with our amazing new four-way stretch bootcut jeans. This revolutionary denim has been expertly crafted to fit perfectly to your curves wherever they may be – and stay that way. Thanks to great-recovery fabric, you can say bye bye to saggy jeans and hello to long-life, on-trend denim 
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+Simply Be Tux jacket - reviewed here
Jeans from Fashion World £38.00 from here

One of the reasons that I rarely wear jeans is because of the fit.  I buy them and at first, the fit is perfect.  Two washes later however and that fit is gone and I faced with either wearing a belt or having jeans that are practically falling off me.  It has happened so many times before.

For this reason I really wanted to review these jeans properly in order to give you an accurate perspective.  I have worn these jeans several times now, have washed twice, and the pictures below are from the last time that I wore them, this weekend.

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I chose my usual size and would say that the fit is pretty much spot on.  I am used to wearing jeans that you squeeze into the start, and then wait for them to "settle" within the next twenty minutes.  Not the case here.

These jeans immediately clung where I wanted to them to cling without being tight and felt very comfortable.  The fit didn't change over time, wearing more than once and survived the multiple wash test with ease.

In short, I would highly recommend!

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* The jeans have been gifted to me, however all opinions are my own

15 March 2015

I Feel Good

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.

For today's post I am embracing my tooth gap.  Some days I like it, other days I don't.  This is the usual type of photograph I prefer of myself.  The never ending pout!

The tooth gap may be all the rage at the moment in the modelling world but I am yet to fully embrace my own.  But a smile on my face, tooth gap and all, is the more frequent expression they see from me; so bring on the tooth gap selfie!

11 March 2015

Evolving Style

Although I have been blogging for around five years, under difference guises and about different subjects, my blog The Curved Opinion turned two years old a couple of weeks ago!

Although I really hate the word "journey" when it comes to talking about your progress in life, this blog charts the way I started dressing when I decided to do away with my black clothes.   I decided to have a look back at some of my old posts and you can really tell the difference in me between now and then.  As a person, in the colours and patterns that I choose and my confidence in posing in front of the camera.

I decided to share a few of the photographs in this post, charting my fashion and confidence journey, can you see the changes?  

I actually love this photograph as it is one of my first blogging pictures.  Definately a little "rabbit in headlights" but I felt amazing.

You can practically see a thought caption over my head saying "Oh crap oh crap!!"

I LOVED this dress,  But I was too scared of wearing it and unfortunately ended up selling it.  Now I miss it a lot!

It's fashion, not torture, get rid of that forced smile!!

Another lovely dress, but another forced smile.  Come on woman!

What's that?  A genuine smile?  Are we getting there now?

Taken at Plus North.  I was so happy and it showed!

A real smile and a bright outfit - now I can see a girl I recognise

Happy and smiling.  Out of my comfort zone with a shorter dress and not a care to be seen.

I've come a long way really.  Roll on the next two years!

3 March 2015

A Slippery Slope

When life gets busy or times get stressful, taking care of yourself can often be at the bottom of your list, if indeed you even make the list. You feed and water yourself and live your life on basic instinct, but often do you feel stop and take a minute to assess how you are feeling?

Neglecting yourself emotionally can be just as damaging as anything that you can do to your body physically. If you already have existing issues such as anxiety or depression, it can be a dangerously slippery slope if you do not look ahead.  You can find a psychologist online.

This is something that I have realised recently. These past six months have been rough; but my mental health is not something that has been on my radar. Actually when I say that, I am lying. It has been on my radar, sometimes with a very large red flashing warn sign, but I have ignored it; choosing to focus on bigger issues.

Sweeping aside these feelings has not really worked out for me so well.

I like stability. If I can make a plan, I am happy. Whilst I have a habit of making snap decisions sometimes, you had better bet that the outcomes are planned to the nth degree. I have my coping mechanisms for my anxiety and I know how to hunker down during a dark day. Unplanned issues and long term uncertainty do not fit well with who I am.

These are core aspects of my personality, hardwired in and hard to change. When things out of my control mess with my hardwiring, I am sent into a tailspin.

My unconscious way of dealing with that was to withdraw inward. I stopped calling my friends to catch up, I rarely went out on a weekend and my ability to say yes to invitations was practically non-existent. My blog also suffered, my motivation and inspiration were just not there anymore. Aside from going to work, I just wanted to be in my house and not go anywhere.

Can you see where this is going yet? Because I didn't.

Over the Christmas break, I had managed to book holidays from work meaning that I had around 11 days off. Nearing the end of my time off, during which I had only been out of the house once, I had event planned. Nothing major, just drinks and a catch up with friends at someone's house.

The day of the party arrived and suddenly, unexpectedly; I was terrified. It was not that I did not want to go, I was really looking forward to it in fact, but I did not want to leave the house. My safe space. My head was spinning, thinking of excuses that I could use not to go. My anxiety levels were spiking and I felt like I was in sheer panic.

It was at that point that the lightbulb went off in my head and I realised that my self preservation mode had lead me to a very dark place. A place where going outside even seemed like a bad thing.

I forced myself to go that night from sheer will, a will that has gotten me through many things over the years. I have started to say yes more and am no longer scared to leave the house; a feeling that I did not even know was there, until it reared its ugly head.

Today I am happy. My life is returning to more of an even keel and I am planning outings and events as much as I can. It is my birthday this weekend and have two fun nights out planned. I am back to my old self.

It is a while since I have shared something so deeply personal here. But I feel that it is important to do so because it shows just how close you can come to the edge, without ever realising that you are balancing on the edge of a precipice, where only you can pull yourself back.

No matter what is going on in your life, take the time to take care of yourself. Look for warning signs and do not ignore that red flashing light on your radar. It is important for us all to take care of the people around us, deal with bad situations well and look for that silver lining; but just as important is to take care of ourselves.