British Plus Size Awards – I made the shortlist for best new blogger!

I don’t really know where to start this post guys. I guess a massive, huge, enormous THANK YOU! You guys have voted for me and that means I have been shortlisted for the ‘Best New Blogger’ category at the British Plus Size Awards.

Like Woooooooooooooaaaahhhh!

You know what is the best part? I didn’t really expect that YOU would vote for me. This is such a cheese balls moment but it’s true. I love every single view, read, comment, follow etc etc… so a huge thank you for being a part of my last year.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, if you follow my blog you’ll know I am just under a year deep into my body confidence and self-acceptance journey.  I never realised my love of fashion, writing and meeting new people would turn into something so positive for myself and hopefully for others.

I don’t have all the answers, I don’t acclaim to be a style guru, I’m just me hoping that it makes you realise you are the amazing you!

Of course, the asking now begins… I didn’t ask before… but I am asking now. If you feel inclined please pop over to the voting page and tick my box.  2 minutes of your time would probably make my year. Life. You get the point.

On another note… I better get deciding on my posh frock. I feel a mermaid coming on!

Thanks again every one. Keep voting!

Hollie

x

Style Solutions & Clever Clothing With Fashion World

I think it’s great when brands reach out to their customers not only to find out what products they want but to also help them make the most of the products they already have. Before I embraced the way I looked and started my body confidence journey I looked for inspiration from the places I shopped… there wasn’t much and it can be really hard to know where to look. I totally get that although I now know there are plenty of fashionistas sharing their outfits via blogs and social media, maybe I didn’t quite realise this before I started the simple steps.

Some people need a point in the right direction, a little food for thought and style ideas. So I think it’s a great idea that Fashion World has created some really simple videos to answer some of their buyers’ style problems, specifically when it comes to adapting outfits quickly, simply and stylishly. You know the thing, day to night, work to play, beach to bar etc. They didn’t just make the questions up hoping they were being useful, they actually threw open a Facebook Survey and came up with some pretty useful solutions to their most common questions!

You can view all the videos on their website where stylist Zoe Pennick and the gorgeous plus size model Lucy Moore give their simple style solutions with the help of Fashion Worlds Clever Clothing. I thought I’d share a couple of my favourites with you.

The work to drinks style solution is a fab one. If like me you’re office based and need to do the smart but casual look it can be hard to do the Superman change into an evening outfit. Zoe does really well in this one. I love the blazer. In my opinion, you could do something as simple as adding a statement necklace plus some bright lipstick. I have to say that this clutch is so on my wish list now!

My second favourite is the beach to evening. The kimono dress is perfect for the beach and by simply shortening it an adding a belt it changes it up in the simplest way possible. Of course once again, accessorising with the clutch, shoes and even a statement necklace would easily change this outfit.

What do you think of Fashion Worlds simple style solutions? Do you have any of your own?

Connect The Style Dots

When you try on a piece of clothing and it makes you go wow?! Know that feeling? Well I had it with this Zizzi polka dot dress. If you haven’t heard of Zizzi, they are an awesome Danish label with a real edge to their plus size range. They have those sleek cuts, quality material and versatile but modern pieces that the UK plus size market is crying out for.

This dress really is a classic. It’s so simple, with raised monochrome polka dots that give it texture and it has the perfect amount of stretch to it. It’s a fit and flare style which is perfect for me. I have an hourglass shape but with a tummy, so the fit and flare literally dances over my tummy and hips. It’s so feminine and grown up. I wore it to work and was surprised at how many compliments I had, as in my mind I saw it as a basic dress. But when I caught myself in the mirror I did have a little double take.

I opted to match it with a fashionable leather style jacket and my gorgeous oversized fedora hat which is adorable! It creates a classic autumn look and matches the feminine vibe of the dress. Now the weather is changing, I can’t wait to wear this dress with my ankle boots and my patent riding boots. I’ve almost excited thinking about it. This dress is available in sizes 14 – 28 and is true to size with lots of stretch but with great quality fabric. By the way, I’ve had a sneak peak at the new collection and believe me when I say it’s WOW!

Zizzi plus size fit & Flare Dress

Plus Size Zizzi Dress and Oversized Fedora Hat

Oversized Autumn Hat

Zizzi Polka Dot Plus Size Dress

Zizzi is available at Navabi.co.uk and also at MS.SVG. Both have prices in GBP and ship to the UK.

LFW Street Style Trend Talk

London Fashion Week is within smelling distance which means every one who’s anyone will be trotting around London searching for the latest trends and the best street style. I’ll be popping along to London Fashion Week for a couple of days and I’ve been thinking about wearing something sleek, stylish but embraces the Autumn and Winter trends. It’s a tough ask! But I think I’ve cracked it.

LFW Street Style

1.Paper Dolls Snakeskin Pumps 2.  Over-sized Cobalt Blue Clutch 3. Crepe Hem Tee 4. Grey Peg  Trousers   5. Woven Stone Collar

As well as working with fashion bloggers over the next couple of weeks, Intellicig well be out and about capturing the the best street style there is. They have done a fashion post over on their website explaining what they are doing and giving you a little glimpse into London Fashion Week and they are also running a fab competition that you might want to jump into.

Just to get my juices flowing for the coming season, I’ve been given a few questions to answer to really get me thinking about LFW.

What has your favourite trend been from this season?

Well for spring and summer it was defiintely the pastel trend. All those fondant colours made me melt in the middle.

What are you looking forward to for next season?

As we are heading into autumn and winter it has to be the cobalt blue takeover. It’s my favourite colour!

Do you follow trends religiously or do you adapt trends to your own personal style?

I adapt trends to my own style. There is so much to consider from sizing to affordability and being comfortable but trendy. If I like it I grab it and mix it up. I try and add key pieces that will transtition through the season and are versatile enough to hit the fashion spot but work for me.

What do you think about the design of Intellicig?

It’s sleek, stylish and discreet, just like London Fashion Week.

Which trend is your preference from monochrome, sportswear, tailored and white wash?

I love monochrome! It can work in so many ways. smart, casual, dressed up and sporty. It can encompass so much and looks clean cut and put together. It’s also easier to mix and match as well as splashing in some colour to spice things up a bit.

How will you be watching LFW and what celeb spotting are you looking forward to?

I’ll be at LFW for a couple of days and when I’m not there I’ll be stalking twitter I’m sure. If I happen to bump into any celebrities, I’ll be getting a selfie or photo-bombing wherever possible!

London Fashion Week runs from 12th-16th September 2014 and you can keep an eye onIntellicigs street style campaign on twitter with #IntellicigStreetStyle

21 Years Of Designers At Debenhams – #DEBSMUSE

Designers at Debenhams celebrate their 21st Birthday this year. It’s a little scary right? I mean Debenhams is a household name that ticks the box for anything from beauty pick me ups to house hold gems. But to think they have been collaborating and show casing designers for 21 years, well, massive congratulations from me.

In order to celebrate the lovely people at Debenhams are hosting a competition in search for a ‘muse’ for some of their top designers,  Julien Macdonald, Ben de Lisi, Stephen Jones, Preen and Patrick Grant. They want inspiration from you… (or me!) for their new collections. You can find out more over at their  The Daily Debrief page and check out twitter for #DEBMUSE.

I thought I would have a look through the Designers at Debenhams and they really have come a long way in 21 years. A couple of things really caught by eye from the Betty Jackson. Black range and I thought I’d create a little mood board / wish list to really show some of the fab pieces she has. I’d like to think I’d be a great must for Betty Jackson. Simple cuts but with flowing prints that give it a little edge. I think the relaxed but slightly intriguing feel hits me straight on. I think the same fits with Ben de Lisi who has some beautiful pieces too.

Designers At Debenhams

Just look at that gorgeous floral shirt, so simple yet such a statement. It’s almost like a water colour painting and the colours could be embraces in so many accessories or other pieces. This has to be the key to a muse right? Next up are the patent leather slip on brogues. all I can about this is WANT! I thought the 3D flower statement necklace would be perfect under the shirt collar to add a bit of a sparkly edge to the look and really show off the large floral print. It also takes it nicely from a day to evening look.  Finally, some sleek but simple black slim trousers to complete the look.

I seriously love that shirt. It could easily be the statement piece of many outfits. The muse of my wardrobe if you like! I’m pretty impressed with the Designers at Debenhams range and I can’t wait to move this wish list from my screen into my daily outfits!

Don’t forget to enter the Debenhams Muse competition and remember me if you win!

Curvy Kate – My New Fairy God Mothers

A couple of weekends ago I travelled up to Leeds for the amazing plus size event that is Plus North.  I still need to put together a blog post for the event itself but I was a naughty blogger and had such a great time my camera got left behind and I just enjoyed being surrounded by beautiful women!

Some particularly beautiful women that graced Plus North were the Curvy Kate ladies. Representing underwear at its best, you should know these ladies are seriously awesome after the event I wrote about a month or so ago. You can grab a little reminder here. . I decided to have a follow up bra fitting as the last one I had was over a year ago and it’s so easy for sizes and shapes to change. Well, changed I had. I have stayed the same back size but gone up a cup size. Good times!

What I really wanted to stress is that not only did I get a great bra fitting and now what size I am but I UNDERSTAND what make a good fitting bra. I also now know that like anything, not every bra will fit the same. Regardless of size. A bit like dresses. Difference cuts, material, brands… the list goes on. But now I GET it.

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I also now know how to jiggle my boobs properly to get them into position and boy oh boy do I now have some new cleavage. Look, I’m going to float my own boat here as well as Curvy Kate. When I put on this Princess Bra I felt more like a queen! Curvy Kate are obviously my new Fairy God Mothers. I literally walked around stroking my boobs and I have to consciously not caress my new perky shape when I’m at work.

Curvy Kate Models

I love this instagram picture of me, and my fellow blogger baes Nicole & Lucie rocking our newly fitted Curvy Kate Bras.

Not only is the bra super pretty with ribbon detail and floral embroidery. It has a 3 hook fastening which I will now only ever wear as it really makes a difference to the support and comfort I get from wearing a bra. It’s a balconette style and really lifts up my bust creating a smoother look and I actually have a gap between my boobs and belly! (If you have a large bust you will know what I mean!).

I am now planning on getting my hands on the new luxe strapless bra as I’m sure you’ll agree, the hunt for a strapless bra that looks good is a long one. I will of course give you an update asap.

Another round of applause to the amazing Curvy Kate team. I am a new woman. (all over again!)

Curvy Kate offer a gorgeous collection of D – K cup lingerie and you can check out the stockists on their website.

So…?

A little while ago I popped along to the SO…? Press preview where they were showcasing their new fragrances and Christmas gift ideas. It was a very pretty event as you can imagine but I was seriously impressed by the new ‘Let the streets be your catwalk’ range. Not only does it pop with colour, but the new So…? Couture range smells delicious! I had a great evening, getting the chance to make my own perfume, eat some gorgeous macaroons and of course have a refreshing drink or two.

So...? London

I remember So…? From browsing the shelves in Superdrug’s as a teenager and thinking it was a bit naff. I have to be honest… my thoughts hadn’t changed until I actually gave them a chance and a spray. These body fragrances are just up my street. I am now a super fan of SO…? London. This of course makes me cool and creative.  (Honestly, I didn’t realise it was London until I just checked. You could end up being NYC, Rio or even Paris).

So...? Press Day

 I love the fruity punch that mixes with a softer touch of vanilla and rose as it settles. It now lives in my bag for any time I need a quick boost. I also have the habit of saying to people… ‘’oh smell this’’ and spraying them quicker than they can say So…?. Their comments are always the same… what IS that? I almost feel like I don’t want to tell them my little secret.

The secret is that a 75ml bottle of So…? Body fragrance is £1.99! *** ALERT – it is now available for £0.98 in Superdrug! ***

The range is available exclusively in Superdrug, if Santa happens to be reading this, feel free to pop a bottle or two in my stocking. I quite like the sound of Crisp & Confident NYC and Chic & Classic Paris.

Stocking Fillers For Girls

My mind has completely changed on the So…? Range. It really is trendy and smells great, but It’s affordable and great to get a quick refresh while you’re out and about.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some serious perfume, but I can hardly stuff a 5 inch class Daisy type bottle into my bag without there being some form of accident.

Perfume from So...?

Oh and while we’re talking about stocking fillers, So…? Have some cute gift sets available which are perfect for everything from fashionable secret Santa gifts to stocking fillers and start at a brilliant £4.99. If you want to splash out a little more, they also have some bigger gift sets including perfume body lotion and make up starting at £9.99.

Now no excuses for rubbish gifts people!

What A Difference A Year Makes

What a difference a year makes… but this past year. Well it’s been BLOODY EPIC!

 Roughly a year or so ago I started this blog and along with it a journey that I never intended on making. I was new to the plus size online world that exists but now a year on I am very much aware of the plus size community and the amazing people, events and opportunities that are in it. I was sent a picture today from Nicole who I met a year ago and she sent me a picture of both of us 12 months on. It was a pretty epic moment that made me think WOW. What a difference a year makes.

What a difference a year makes... Thanks Nicole! :)

What a difference a year makes… Thanks Nicole! :)  

In the past year I have made some amazing friends, a few of which will probably be around until the day I go to the catwalk in the sky. I’ve realised that it’s ok to be me, although it’s a never ending story and journey. I’ve also realised that chances are there, you just have to take them, work hard and appreciate it.

A year ago I felt like I should just give up on ME. Battling to lose weight, forgetting my social skills and losing my love of fashion and writing. But 12 months on…) I have seriously created something out of nothing and feel quite at home.

I’m ok with me just being me. Big, small, fat or thin. I’m still ME.

Let me just note a few things I have accomplished in the last 12 months… It’s kinda cool to do a little reminiscing.

BeFunky_1 year later.jpg

I have shared a cocktail with Gok Wan

Had more canapés then I care to mention

Found a love of ankle boots (Being big doesn’t mean heels are not my friend!)

Met some of my favourite fashion editors

Realised that fashion doesn’t stop at a size 16

Wore a bikini

And then saw it in the Daily Mirror

Learned to catwalk

And then put it into practice at the Miss British Beauty Curve Beauty Pageant

Realised that Muji storage had been missing all my life

Met numerous inspiring women 

Raspberry Lemonade is the way forward

#flawless is my moto thanks to Beyonce

All Women are Wonder women

Blogging is hard work but full of satisfaction

You can meet new friends at any age… just smile

I’ve held a BAFTA

Been taken to Leeds to film TV segment (although it hasn’t been aired yet I’ve been assured it bloody will be!)

Been given new boobs thanks to Curvy Kate

Learnt the art of fake tan

Discovered bright lipstick

Met Claire from Steps and interviewed Liz McClarnon from Atomic Kitten

That Press Days are a world of their own and Christmas really can come in July

Embraced statement necklaces like you wouldn’t believe

Had my legs out

Had my arms out

More than EVER!

I’ve cared about myself and not scolded myself

Been given clothes to review… can I pinch myself?

Realised that beauty really does come in all shapes and sizes

Jumpsuits are AWESOME

How to be brave

That there are more hidden hotels and spaces in London then I could even imagine

Words are words but how you perceive them gives them meaning

Beauty Boxes are evil but amaze balls

Kimonos are my friend, cardigans are not

Instagram is my addiction

Fallen in love with numerous plus size bloggers and bloggers in general!

Understood that not everyone will like you… and that’s ok.

Realised that people are actually READING my blog and coming back! Like….. HELLO!!!??!!!!

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And last but not least I started this as a creative outlet and I have found a part of me. Roll on the next 12 months…. And I hope you stay on the journey with me.

Going Longline For Autumn With Boohoo Plus

It’s that transitional time of the year that I love. That cusp between summer and autumn where the weather can’t really make up its mind making it even hard for me to decide what to wear! The other part of this transitional period that I obviously love are the new autumn and winter collections that brands bring out. Well Boohoo have released a cracker with their BoohooPlus range. In collaboration with Nadia Aboulhosn they have racked up an epic range of pieces that are dying to jump in my wardrobe! Key pieces such as capes, long line blazers and kimonos. Lots of texture and a super sleek take on the sports lux trend.

Boohooplus

Needless to say Nadia looks super-hot in the range and I took a little inspiration from her with this floral long line kimono. It’s perfect for a little extra cover up or for layering and the colours really encompass autumn. Navy, wine and cream in a pretty but basic floral design. I’m also a fan of the elbow length sleeves. Always a length I like to work with.

Boohoo Plus Size Long Length Kimono

It’s so easy to wear and while I’ve matched it with a simple black jersey dress and ankle boots, it would look just as at home with ripped jeans and a logo tee. It’s so versatile and just adds a punch to an outfit. Also fab for those days you want to cover up a little more but you’ve progressed from your old safety cardigan. (Obviously I’m talking about myself here!)

Plus Size blogger style

I thought I’d opt for Nadia’s seductive look and match it with darker than usual make up and somewhat sleep up do. There’s something about this long line kimono that just feels fierce!

Pretty Big Butterflies

Boohoo Plus is available in sizes 16-24 and you can check out the full range on the website including the awesome collaboration with Nadia. (Don’t blame me if you want it all!)

Classic or Contemporary – The Breton Stripe

What goes around comes back around. Fashion is a never ending circle of key pieces. I’m pretty sure you’ve had the conversation with an older relative. That one where you put on an outfit which you feel HITS the spot in the trend stakes, walk into another room and your mum/aunt/older sister/grandma says ‘oooh I had a top like that when I was your age’? Well, the likely hood is they did, and what’s even more likely is that in 30 years’ time, you’ll be saying the same thing.

I was given a little challenge by JD Williams  to recreate a look from a different era. ‘Classic or Contemporary’ is the clue and I was pretty excited about this one. I decided to take a classic style that had a contemporary twist. It’s the iconic Breton stripe.

Breton Stripe

The Breton top really came about in the 1910’s when Coco Chanel created her first nautical collection. Obviously, the icon that she is, she created a timeless piece that has been the staple of classic fashion. But for me, the Breton striped top really took its place back on the 1950’s. Audrey Hepburn championed the versatile striped top making it THE casual outfit to be seen in along with a pair of dark skinny jeans and basic ballerina pumps. So stylish but so simple!

Classic or contemporary fashion

Well, JD Williams have the PERFECT top that turns the classic Breton look into a contemporary success. The embellished striped top I am wearing is absolutely beautiful. It’s basically a striped Breton that is super comfortable. Its’ 100% cotton and feels lovely to wear. It moves with you so there is no restriction. It’s a classic piece and the embellishment at the top replaces the need for a statement necklace and gives it a modern twist. I really do love this top; it’s a longer length and shows that stripes are for EVERYONE!

Everyone needs a pair of black skinny jeans in their life and these jeans are super skinny, super soft and super stretchy. They are high waist too which makes for a pulled in tummy and a comfortable wear. A perfect match as history shows, to go with a Breton top.

JD Williams Plus Size Fashion

The thing about this outfit is that it’s timeless. But trying to find timeless plus size pieces is not always as easy as I wish it was. But this top goes up to a 32 and the jeans go up to a 26 so actually, JD Williams have done well at trying to bring pretty classic pieces to everyone.

Audrey Hepburn Breton Stripe

Now… I was going to recreate some Audrey Hepburn style poses, but unfortunately I don’t own the awkward delicate frame that she has and it didn’t really equate to what I wanted. In fact, I looked pretty ridiculous. I managed one which I deemed suitable and it really shows the pretty detail of the top.

So this was my classic or contemporary look. To be honest, it’s both. It’s a style that doesn’t need much thought or effort and I may even be able to hang on to these pieces for another 30 years… see you then!