How to be more involved in the #BlackLivesMatter movement

Cher Belle

The past week has been such an emotionally difficult week to deal with. I never believed that in 2020, we would still be fighting not only for racial equality, but for us not to be killed for simply being black. I am still coming to terms with that and still trying to gather up the strength I need to do my part in trying to make changes in this society. There’s always this narrative of ‘strong black woman’ and it is one that has to come to an end. Black women deserve to simply be women. We deserve moments of weakness when life is overwhelming, moments of fear when we are afraid, moments to cry when the weight of the world is on our shoulders and moments to just be women. To not have to get up everyday and fight. I am tired, I am scared and I am so…

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SELF ISOLATION | Things I Wanna Do After Lock-down

Hello my lovelies I hope you’re all doing well and are some how still coping in lock-down. We’re on week nine now, as if! For me it’s been so long but at the same time I can’t believe it has been that long. Anyone else or just me?

For many of us this period has been a time of realisations and discoveries of how we want to live our lives after we go back to “normal.” Not only on the grand scheme of how we’re treating the world but also how we want to personally make changes in our lives directly. Personally during this time I have had my eyes open to what and who is important in life and that we all really have no time to waste. If we want something we simply have to just go and get it. I think we’re all thinking of things we’d like to do after lock-down is over, so I thought I’d share with you what is on my list.

[CREDIT: EVERYDAYPOWER.COM]

The first one on my agenda and on many of yours I suspect is to see my family, friends, and Jake (boyf/ fiance), and his family. Apart from being at uni this might be the longest period of living at home that I haven’t seen any of them. But the crazier thing is how much we actually took that for granted without evening giving it a second thought. So I am incredibly excited for when I can actually see and spend time with them closer than a 2M distance. I know now in the UK the lock-down has been lifted slightly and you can go out and see someone from another household but again remaining at a 2M distance. And whilst I miss all of my family, friends, and Jake and his family for me personally I am so used to not seeing them now that if I was to go and see them and not be able to be close to them all and hug them and just be how we normally are together it would just damage my mental health and break my heart to be honest. So I’m ecstatic for when I can see them all and hug them and just be normal with them again.

I think you can all guess what the second thing I am most looking forward to is. Going to Costa, even if it’s just a drive through. Now of course I am not desperate, I have fortunately been able to enjoy my iced lattes at home with actual Costa coffee because the supermarkets sell Costa coffee pods and they also sell ground coffee bags as well. So there’s a great variety for all the Costa needs! But I am looking forward to going back to my second home with a delicious iced latte and my fave chocolate brownie! Right let’s settle the debate in the comments, are you a Starbuck stan or a Costa stan? Costa all the way for me.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

Something else I would like to start to do is plan more trips. I’ve never been that much of a traveller, I feel like a lot of young people; one of their main goals is to travel to loads of places and go on loads of trips. But I’ve never really had that urge to travel. I have a few places I’d like to visit if I’m lucky enough to in my lifetime but if I don’t do an insane amount of travelling I don’t feel like I’ll have missed out. Is that just me or does anyone else feel like this? I honestly feel like it’s just me. It could be because when I was younger my parents never really took me on holidays to places like Spain or Portugal or just anywhere with all inclusive resorts and 30+ degrees basically. We were mainly holidaying in places around the UK such as Bournemouth, Great Yarmouth, Devon etc. Speaking of travelling I really wanna go back to Devon for a few days soon, it’s been a long time since I last visited.

Although I’ve never had a desperate urge to travel all over the world I have few places that I definitely want to visit in my lifetime and then I have another handful that I wouldn’t mind visiting, I wouldn’t say no if the opportunity arises. If you’re also not really a major traveller or you kind of struggle with it perhaps, I do find it’s easier to start travelling around your home country before you branch out to a different country.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]
[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

In the UK I really want to visit Brighton and not just because of Zoe Sugg’s vlogs! It just seems like such a wonderful place to explore as they seem to have so many lovely independent shopping areas, lovely lanes and buildings, the gorgeous beach as well as the countryside areas. There just seems to be so much to explore in Brighton and it has a bit of everything so it’s quite a versatile area.

Plus I have a friend who lives in Brighton and for all this time we’ve chatted on Insta we’ve never actually met, so when Covid is all over it is definitely on both of our agendas.

Another area in the UK I am desperate to see is Edinburgh, and this is partly because of all of Zoe Sugg’s vlogs around Christmas time. Edinburgh all lit up in lights and festivities and the markets it all looks absolutely magical! Even this illustration looks magical! I’d adore to come here in the first week of December and just take it all in as you all know Christmas time is my favourite time of the year. It’s a magical and special time for me so I know I’m going to absolutely love it when I finally get the chance to see this gorgeous city.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

Another place I’ve wanted to visit for a while is Bath. Zoe Sugg has also been here and shown it in a vlog but that is not the reason I wanna visit. Of course it’s a roman town/ city and all of the buildings in Roman areas of the UK are so beautifully structured and such an iconic piece of history. Plus the whole vibe of Bath still feels very old town esk and it has the same vibes as my home town, my closest city which is Oxford, and has the same vibes as Chester does as that’s also a Roman city. So I feel like it will feel like another home away from home for me. I already know I’m going to love the whole vibe and feel. I think it would be really lovely for Heather, Chloe, and I all to visit here together and have a girly weekend away.

In terms of actually going out of the UK, this is definitely a place that every young person has visited for a long weekend and my need to go here is no different. Amsterdam is such a gorgeous place. The pictures you see almost don’t even look real. It looks like an artist moulded the buildings out of clay and painted them in beautiful colours and finer details.

Chloe and I chatted on the phone today about the potential of getting a big group of us to go as a friend and couples holiday etc. So honestly that would be loads of fun I reckon so we shall see what the future holds and what our future bank accounts can afford.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

At the moment the final place on the agenda and my main travel goal is to see the Northern Lights. If you’ve read my twenty three questions post, if not check it out here, then you will already know this is the main place I wanna travel.

I’ve always been a huge fan of nighttime, I still am, and the beauty of space and the stars, and constellations. Everything to do with sky is so beautiful and it reminds me how much more there is out there and how big our world really is. I find it so interesting that you and someone across the globe can be looking up at the same sky but be completely seeing different things and experiencing different emotions/ reactions.

Honestly this trip would be one of my biggest dreams, especially to go and stay in the igloos made of glass and you just lay on the bed and watch the colours merge and dance around the sky. Wow, a dream.

Also throughout my life I would never say no to going and visiting another country if I had the opportunity to go. Such as France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and also Australia and America. If I had an opportunity to go of course I would but I don’t like have that feeling of need or longing to travel to all of these places. Like I’m not desperate to travel but I wouldn’t say no. Anyone else feel the same as me or am I just in the minority category, haha. But do let me know what some of your travel dreams are/ what’s on your travel bucket list?

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

There will be a few of you who don’t actually know this and that’s mainly because I’ve only made the decision recently. Not to toot my own horn but I am really good at doing my nails and creating designs and just painting them and shaping them in general etc. Throughout my teens and young adult life I always have people ask me about them and many people are shocked when I say to them that they’re my real nails. I’m very fortunate that they grow very quickly and when my nails are looking good it makes me feel fierce. My family and friends always say I should consider doing nails as a career because I’d be so good at it so at last I’m finally going to listen and stop waiting around and take action.

In this past year I’ve of course been working but aside from that I haven’t been doing much else and I’m gonna be straight with you all. Have I missed my job? Not in the slightest. I’ve missed seeing my work friends but apart from that I have not missed my job one bit. Which I think proves that I need to take action and stop waiting around for the “right opportunity” to arise. I don’t think there ever really is a “right opportunity”, you can only really go off the right energies that you feel around a situation at the time. You can also only feel the “right time” inside yourself, if you don’t feel the push in yourself to do something when that energy rises then it’s not the time for you. But if you do feel that want and that need to push yourself then you’re mentally preparing for that next jump when the energy is there for you to grab. I feel that energy for me right now.

Lock-down has made me realise that the only person who can push me is me and I am the only one who can get myself from A to B. If there is something I want I’ve got to go out and get it and stop overthinking about it. I don’t know if this is just me but I graduated university two years ago this November. In the first year of leaving uni the majority of people from my year and friendship group of course moved home and got a job because we had no other option at the time. And now we’re here just over a year later still working in that same job we don’t really wanna be in but we recognise we need to earn our own money, as it’s actually more rewarding having your own money and doing what you want with it, rather than having to ask other people to help you out. But here we are over a year later in that same job still trying to figure out what to do and where to start. Which is absolutely fine, you don’t have to have it all figure out, but I feel like so many of us are just waiting for something to come along. Which again is fine as it does take time to figure life out especially when you’re out here swimming on your own.

But I have personally felt worried about straying away from what I studied. I don’t know if others of you feel the same but the performing and drama based industries, mostly for being a performer, it’s always been so competitive which is hard and I think it is why a lot of people despite loving it almost feel like they can’t do it even though they know how amazing they are and talented they are. As I personally feel like that and my friends and a couple of other people I have spoke to recently feel the same about the industry we studied in. Which is a shame that there is so much pressure to be amazing to perform and just work in the industry which is really hard. One thing that performers share is that we’ve all gone through periods of not feeling enough or going through mental health issues and body issues etc. Of course that isn’t just performers but judging from my uni course alone, many of us struggled with personal issues within ourselves, and of course when you perform you get to take yourself away from who you are. You can perform as who and what ever you want to be. Which is one reason why performing is so liberating. But when you end your studies and lose that net of being caught by people when you’ve done something wrong or have gotten a lower grade than expected. Of course it’s going to feel harder to pick yourself up because it’s only you who can push you, there isn’t always loads of people around you to help pick you back up again when it comes to learning and figuring out careers in your twenties.

I digress, but basically for the past year I have sort of been waiting around to figure out what to do with my degree and I still don’t 100% know. Who really does after they’ve graduated. I have a lot of areas I enjoy and want to explore that aren’t all just performing based. But lately I have been thinking about exploring other avenues that I am interested in. Avenues that I can do whilst I am living at home and figuring out where I wanna live and also I cannot drive yet so I can’t do anything that requires me to travel ridiculously far. So, I have been painting my nails since I was 13/14 and it was around the age of 15 that I really started to develop that further with nail art. I remember I’d come home from school on Friday and I would spend like 2-3 hours doing my nails ready for the weekend because when I was younger we weren’t allowed nail polish on at school. So I wanted to make the most of it, so it’s always been something that has been apart of me. I was actually doing nail art long before I’d ever properly touched makeup and started to discover how to do my makeup better. But I just didn’t do any nail art for a while as at uni I didn’t always find the time and I fell out of love with how it looked for a little while. But during lock-down I have completely fallen back in love and rediscovered my craft with it which is awesome. Lock-down has made me fall completely back in love with so many different elements that used to be a part of me, I know afterwards I can’t go back to what I was like before. I’ve got to keep my focus and keep up all these hobbies and interests that I just let go before. God this has been a ramble but basically I wanna do a nail course and get qualified so I can go and work in a salon as there is many in my town and also so I could do some freelance work around my town. Ideally I’d like for it to be like you go somewhere for a week or a couple of weeks to learn and do your assessments or you do part of online etc. But of course I wont be able to do this for a while because of the 2M social distancing rule as you can’t really social distance when you’re doing people’s nails. I’ve got a lot of research to do as I have the skills to paint the nails and do the designs etc, but as of right now I don’t know much of like the background of nail health and products and whatever else it entails. But this is definitely something I want to get into to open a new door for myself. Life is all about creating yourself and developing new skills after all. What job do you guys currently have and is it one you’ve been working towards or is it something you’re doing to pass the time as you’re working towards something you want to do etc.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

Fifth on our agenda is to consistently keep a balance after lock-down on all of my social medias and my blog. The main reason I find that hard is because my job right now is always hit and miss. For example one week I could be working 15 hours and then the next week I could be working 35 hours. You just don’t know in my job which is the joy and a curse of a zero hour contract. You would think when I’m working less hours that there would actually be more time for me to blog and do socials. But the reality is because my weeks are so unstructured I sometimes find even in a week when I am doing less hours I can’t seem to find the motivation because I don’t have that creative flow. Probably because my job isn’t very creative and it’s pretty unfulfilling. I sometimes think would it be better for me to have a more structured week. For example Tuesday-Friday working 10am-5pm and then having 3 days off to see friends and Jake, have a day to chill, and then have a day to work on my blog. The only reason I can’t really do that in my current job is because nothing is ever set. You can have set working days but not always those set working hours as it depends what our company give us and what we have to fill. Which is obviously expected with a zero hour contract, it’s always here there and everywhere. But perhaps I do need to get out of that structure in order to focus more on what I wanna do as we move forward. So if I can figure out a schedule when I do go back to work and get further with that, hopefully when I move on from my job to a more structured environment it should be a lot easier to transition.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST – EDITED SIZE IN PAINT]

The final thing I wanna do and need to do after this lock-down ends is to just be fearless and confident with everything I wanna do. In myself in general I do have confidence. You know I’m past the point of carrying about what other people think of me with the majority of the things I do and wear etc. But I think the fear is actually more inside of me not being good enough and “failing.” Even though you never actually fail you only learn and grow but I think it’s something inside my own head with certain elements that I can’t always shake off. I’ve always been someone that is scared to not be as good as everyone else is. I think it’s partly because when I was younger I was always told you’re not good enough to do this and you’re never gonna do that etc. So that definitely has affected me more (mentally) than I think I’ve ever realised until this past year. Of course you can be nervous and have that butterfly feeling with things you’re going for but I think I’ve let my internal fear of “failing” and not keeping consistent with things that keep me happy such as blogging and performing and continuing meditation and mindfulness and learning more etc.

I think I’ve let my mind get to a place of being scared to go for what I want. Which really isn’t a good place to be mentally, I know I’m more than capable of anything I put my mind to but I think physically doing whatever it is has become scary for me. I also think as well when you see so many other people your age figuring it out or looking at what they’ve achieved and then comparing what you’ve achieved when you work in similar areas or have similar interests etc. It can be a bit hard as I guess you think why are they doing so well and I’m not? Even though they’ve probably felt the same at some point in their life. So if you’re feeling like that I also feel the same sometimes, so you’re not alone! I guess it’s just remembering that we all work at different rates and things come our way at different times and we take jumps at different moments we feel. I guess it’s just reminding yourself that just because you have not yet done or aren’t doing what that person has done doesn’t mean you’re not successful and it doesn’t mean you don’t work really hard and that you’re not capable. We can all probably be our own worst critics sometimes, I know I am, so I need to stop allowing myself to think I am not capable of all I want accomplish. You guys are probably shocked that I think this way as you know me I am very positive and uplifting and I always support and encourage other people to just do whatever they wanna do. But sometimes I need to remind myself that I am also amazing and I am going to do amazing things wherever I go in my life. Trust the process and the timing of the universe as they say.

That’s me done for today lovelies, I hope you enjoyed. Let me know in the comments what do you wanna do after lock-down. I hope you’re all staying safe and are well, sending you lots of love as always. See you very very soon!

A Smile

If you’re looking for a smile/ cheer up today. Give my girl Sophie’s post a read!

Sophie Lou Blogs!

I’m writing this post feeling inspired to make someone smile today!

There’s a poem that sits in a frame on a windowsill at my Grandparents house and I’ve loved it ever since I first read it. I want to share its beauty with you today.

A smile costs nothing, but gives much,

it enriches those who receive,

without making poorer those who give.

It takes but a moment,

yet the memory of it may last forever.

A smile creates happiness in the home,

fosters goodwill in business,

and is a sign of friendship.

It brings rest to the weary,

cheer to the discouraged,

sunshine to the sad,

and its natures best antidote to trouble.

Yet a smile cannot be bought,

begged, borrowed or stolen;

For it is of no value to anyone,

until it is given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a smile.

Give them one…

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LIFESTYLE | 23 Questions Before 23 feat. GIN!

Hello lovelies and welcome back to another post! I hope you are all safe and well. If you follow me on my social medias (IG and Twitter) then you will know that tomorrow, the 7th, is my birthday! And if you haven’t guessed by the title it is my 23rd birthday this year. I feel like only five minutes ago I turned 20 and now here we are in the 3rd year of my 20’s. Time flies when you’re living in lock-down and your life is falling apart. I mean let’s be honest my life was falling apart before lock-down.

Anyway moving on, about a week or two ago I asked you guys to send me questions that I could answer before I turn 23, hence the name in the title. But thank you to you all who asked me questions and responded to my question polls etc. It was very much appreciated and I’ve had some great ones! So this is gonna be good. Also like the title suggests we are very much enjoying a gin whilst answering these. I’m answering these very off the cut as of course I’ve read the questions but I haven’t thought anything about them until now because I wanted my responses to be as real as possible without too much overthought. So grab yourself a drink, I’m personally having a gin to answer these, as some of them are a little deep, a little personal, and I think we’re also gonna have a laugh! So grab a drink and let’s go!

My uni experience was amazing. Honestly it was the best three years of my life and I have: A) gained a degree, B) learnt so many new things about my “career” subject, C) learnt many life skills, D) made some banging memories, but most importantly E) gained some incredible friends who I know are going to be with me for life. One of the most special things, if anyone of you have heard the saying: the best people are the ones you don’t see all the time or talk to every day but whenever you do it’s the exact same and feels like no time has passed. Those are the ones you need to keep close by; that’s what I have with my incredible friends from university. It is mad to think about, imagine if we all didn’t go to Chester uni, we never would’ve met and I honestly can’t imagine them not in my life. My uni experience would not have been what it was without all of them. Definitely who you are surround by at uni makes or breaks your experience in a big way I think. As those people become your second family as more than likely none of you have lived away from home, or been away from your parents for more than a week, so when you get thrown into uni it’s like such a brand new way of living and you’re all in the same boat. So there is no pressure as you’ve only just met all these people and none of you know anything about each other.

I’m aware everyone’s uni experiences are different but honestly I loved every second, even the hard times and all of the stresses, I would happily do it all over again for all of the best moments and the good times. And meet everyone all over again because looking back for me it was just so special. Plus it just went so fast, faster than any stage of my life. So if you’re at uni or thinking of going to uni, live and appreciate every single moment because I blinked and it was over just like that. In a heartbeat I would do it all again.

Such a classic question and honestly I feel like these are always hard to answer. I feel like dreams and goals are actually separate categories, only because dreams are what you think about whereas goals are something you’re working towards. But without that classic plan they’re all wasted. I feel like these change every single year for me, I think it’s no lie that as you get further into adulthood some things you once thought you really wanted you’re not so sure you wanted after all. For example, when I was younger one of my dreams and I’m talking BIG dreams. It was to win the XFactor and of course get famous and my winning montage song of the moment they’d told me I’d won would be Greatest Day by Take That. You could say I’ve thought about it. But as I’ve gotten older that “dream” is definitely not one of my dreams anymore.

As of my life now I would say my biggest dream would be to be a full time performer – on stage and on screen. I think when you do some kind of performance subject a lot of people like to assume if you don’t become some type performer after the course then you’ve failed. Which is wrong but the reason at the moment that’s more of a dream is because the way my life is right now I can’t yet imagine this being achievable. But that doesn’t mean one day it wont be. I’m never gonna say never.

But as of actual goals right now I would say my biggest one is to figure out what I want to do with my degree. I have a lot of interests but I really need to pin them down and really focus what to link with what and how to make whatever that is function. Honestly it’s hard, it’s really hard after university to figure things out but I do know some day soon it will all just fall into place and I’ll work it out.

Another big life goal of mine is to have children. I’ve always said since I was younger if I had to pick between getting married and having children, I would rather have children and if I do get married then that is just a lovely bonus. I’d love to be able to have three children, and I would adore to at least have one boy and one girl. However I do not want kids until I’m 30 or above ideally just because I want my twenties for me. When you have children that is a commitment for 21 years of your life at least and right now, I ain’t ready for that kind of commitment. I’m barely scraping by and looking after me right now.

Another not too distant goal (hopefully) is to figure out where Jake and I want to live together because until we discover that we cannot get any kind of mortgage or even look at places because what is the point. We both agree we don’t really want to rent anywhere because renting is a death trap, I’m sorry to any of you who are renting as some of my friends do too. Of course it’s lovely to be able to live with your partner or friends whoever you’re with, but you spend so much money on renting which in the long run means you can’t save anything or barely anything. And once you’re in the mindset of renting it’s so hard to get out of, and not to mention once you’re used to living with someone you get so used to it being your life together that you don’t want that to be disrupted by having to move back home as then you’re not living your life as you’re back in someone else’s space, not your space, you get me? So I totally get why people rent and no disrespect of course. Just for Jake and I personally it doesn’t seem worth it for us in the long run. I think we both know we don’t want to be too far from our families and I know Jake wants to live more in the countryside (kind of like the village I live in now) as he’s grown up in a city. Whereas me, I do love my home-home but I don’t want to be to be too far away from a town/ city. So we need to find somewhere in the middle and then not to mention we both need to find work near to or in wherever we decide to live eventually. *Sips big gulp of gin* god, being an adult is just chaos isn’t it.

Just realised I was 13 ten years ago, oh my god. *Sips bigger gulp of gin.*

God I’m shooketh by the above statement more than I thought. Am I really that old? Apparently so. Anyway, I got asked this question A LOT, so I figured it was wrong to not answer it. Hmm, what advice would I give to my 13 year old self? …

Right, over the next few years you’re going to go through a lot, like many teenagers, and you’re gonna have moments where you question your worth and your ability to achieve what you want. A lot of people who you thought were your friends are gonna treat you poorly and fuck you over and you don’t know why. But you’re gonna believe it’s your fault rather than some people are just dickheads. And there’s going to be a period where you feel so low and like nothing is gonna change but just persevere because it does get better. But despite all the chaos at school, you still know that you deserve better and eventually you’re gonna pick yourself up and from that moment on your life gets a little bit brighter. You’re gonna leave school and go to college where you discover who two of your true friends are and you’re gonna carry one another through life and help each other blossom and grow. Which is ultimately one of the most special friendships you’re ever going to experience.

There are hard moments in college within the course with people, but you get through and are ultimately one of the most positive individuals there. You’re going to learn a lot, grow a lot, and start to unfold all of your mental health problems from school and your mindset about yourself. Whilst discovering new hobbies and creating a platform where you share things you love and the things that you think. As well as influencing people along the way. College goes quickly and university is already here, which you can’t wait for and you’d be right because you’re going to have the best three years of your life. You’re about to discover what true friendship is and how much more there is to life than what was offered in your small hometown. You’re about to realise that you can do whatever you set your mind to and that you are important. People value you in their lives and you don’t have to constantly worry that people don’t like you because it’s shown from the people you meet and the memories you make. University is going to fly, so appreciate every minute. The good, the bad, the stress, the tears, the drama, the smiles, the people, and the memories. Now when you look back on your teenage years, as cliche as it is, you realise that you had to go through everything you do to make you stronger and to make you begin to blossom into who you are at 18/19. Ready to go into your new decade better, bolder, and brighter than you were in the past. Your teenage self would be so proud of who you’ve become and she’d be proud to see where you’re about to go and everything you’re set to achieve. Keep growing, keep going, keep shinning sis!

God, y’all just want all the advice don’t ya. Jesus as if I turned 21 two years ago, where is my life going? *Downs whole glass of gin*

Right advice for when you’re 21. Obviously it’s kind of dependent on whether you’re finishing uni or if you’re working – whatever you’re doing I think the most worrying thing for a 21 year old is ‘oh my god, what am I gonna do with my life, I’m technically an adult now and I have no idea.’ The main thing I would say is don’t worry about your life, focus on what you’re doing right now. I think school conditions us to think that we have to have an idea about our future career at 15/16 because of what you pick for your GCSEs which then affects what you decide to do at college and then dictates what you do at uni if you decide to go. Which I think is just wrong, at 15/16 you have no idea about the world outside your hometown and your family home because you’ve never experienced anything more than that. I feel like 21 and under should just be about experiencing life and trying new things whether that’s with subjects, jobs, sexuality, hobbies, lifestyle choices. Like at that age you should have freedom to explore and express whatever you feel like you want to. So if you are 21 and you feel like you’re stuck because you’ve reached the end of the safety net of education etc, I would mainly say to not stress about it. Figuring out your life is hard, heck I still haven’t figured it out either. Just go with the flow and if something comes your way that you feel like you need to follow or pursue just go with it. As somethings work out and somethings don’t, but it’s all a learning curve. So overall, don’t stress and just go with the flow.

God I love a ramble don’t I. Best get another gin before we carry on.

I find these questions so hard to imagine because I always just live for the moment right now but hopefully in five years Jake and I will have figured out where we want to live and either be moving into our house/ be in our house. Also hopefully we’ll both be in a happy place with a job that doesn’t feel like work. You know something where we feel genuinely passionate about what we do and actually enjoy going in to do. Hopefully we will have travelled a little and experienced new things together. I’d also like to be at a stage with our friends and families where Jake and I host big events and parties round our house. A bit like what Zoe and Alfie do in their amazing house.

Comparing that to ten years time hopefully we will still be doing the same as five years but on a more permanent level. Maybe we will be doing a few extra things career wise or hobby wise, whether that is together or separate. Maybe we will have gotten married by then and potentially have had a baby or I’ll be pregnant around this time. Who knows, who knows what way I’m gonna be taken.

I’m aware it seems most of my future stages seem to be with Jake, but of course when you’ve got a partner you’re ultimately working towards big life events together. If you’re not on the same page then what’s the point of being together. But just for me personally, in five years, ten years, twenty years whatever, I just hope whatever I am doing and wherever my life is at, I just hope I am happy and healthy and that I have no regrets when I look back on my life. Regardless of what you want in your life you should always be learning, and growing, and changing as life is all about experience at the end of the day. So I’m just gonna enjoy the ride whilst making memories and enjoying myself. And right now I’m enjoying my gin, *sips a lil more.*

As most of you know I’m the queen of positivity if I do say so myself. I’m a very optimistic person and I always find the good in life situations, I’ve always been like that ever since I was younger, even when I was going through some shit. Overall I was still very positive but don’t get me wrong, I’m still human and I have my moments of feeling low, but in terms of tips the only thing I can really think of is to be grateful for everything and everyone. Like so many things in our life are temporary without us even knowing and if we’re not grateful for what and who we have I truly believe you never experience happiness. I understand sometimes when you’re going through a tough time and that negative ball is consuming your head space it can feel like that’s all there is but you really have to work hard at shifting your focus. As the classic quote says, when you focus on the good the good gets better and honestly it does. I think the only “tips” I can really give you is to appreciate who and what you have, be grateful for the life you live, stop comparing yourself or your work to other peoples, and to always put yourself in full value; you a worth everything because ultimately everything you’re doing in your life is for you or if it’s not it should be. Remember there’s always brighter days to come, just keep going and focus and they will be here before you know it.

This one is actually quite a simple answer (for once), I started my blog in 2013 simply just because at the time I was using Instagram as a platform and my captions were so long as you know I love a ramble. So I figured it’s probably better to have an actual writing platform and that’s when the blog was born. Also because something I’ve always wanted to do has been to inspire people and I’ve been trying to do that for all this time through my blogging platform. Hopefully that does come across. if you’re a blogger, let me know why you started your platform in the comments.

This is a very interesting question so I had to include it. I’ve actually never been asked this so exclusive! I haven’t actually done any proper screen acting and I would love to experience it at some point in my life. But if you know me well and have seen me perform I would have to say stage. Like not to toot my own horn or anything but the way I perform and my personality and energy is made for the stage and the theatre. Plus performing on stage is so much fun and you get to know people in such a close-nit way that you become like another family. It’s just such a buzz and I really do miss it! Defo need to get back into stage stuff after all this corona business is done.

Treat yourself!

Having a rubbish day? Treat yourself. Having a great day? Treat yourself. Having a life crisis? Treat yourself. Having a big life moment? Treat yourself! It’s a universal phrase used for every kind of thing going on in yourself. Treat yourself responsibly though but do treat yourself when you feel you need it. Enjoy your life, treat yourself, it’s not all serious. Cheers, treat yourself! *sips more gin*

This quote to me feels very wholesome. As when I think of throwing confetti it reminds me of celebrating and happy times and good things with people who are important to you. Ultimately kindness is also one of the greatest things you can give/ show to other people and what you throw into the world it will throw it back at you. Maybe in this sense it’s confetti but the confetti is the kindness and the goodness you share and exude. I find that really lovely and special.

Oooo things are getting interesting! I really liked this question as it was so different to any of the others. I feel like this is so hard as I feel like you don’t know what kind of parent you’re gonna be until it happens. One thing I would never want is for them to feel like I’m telling them what to do with their life. I think sometimes parents add in their opinion when it’s not always needed. Especially when you’re a teenager, I think parents think telling their kids what they should be doing by a certain age is how it’s meant to go. I imagine for our generation when we have children it’ll be quite different to how our parents raised us. I would want them to just be whoever they wanted to be and do whatever they wanted to do. Of course within reason, like I don’t want them to turn out to be a murderer or anything. But I just wouldn’t want them to feel pressure or feel like they couldn’t talk to me if the needed to or if they genuinely wanted my advice etc. The only thing I would want them to be is kind to other people, respectable, caring, nice, and just not unnecessarily mean, or nasty, or horrible etc. It’s never a nice feeling to find out that your child isn’t being as good of a person towards other people that they can be. I imagine anyway as I am not a parent. *Sipping that gin.*

I’ve learnt a lot during these 23 years of life but I think the one thing that sticks out is to expect nothing from anyone. I think when you expect people to treat you exactly the way you treat them you’re probably going to be disappointed. Now of course this doesn’t go for everyone you meet or everyone in your life, but over my years I’ve had people who I’ve done so much for and that same level of energy isn’t reciprocated back to me. Move on from all those dead plants you’ve been watering. I have had to learn this the really hard way as when I was younger I used to do so much for people and gave so much effort towards other people because I thought that would get them to like me and to value me as a friend. If you’re in this boat, honey you gotta stop. I’m very attentive when it comes to people, the way people are around me, how their messages are with me etc, and whilst I still do a lot for the people I love and care about, I am much better now at knowing who is worth investing in and who is not. You can tell when an energy is off with a person or something has changed, you just feel it in your gut, and that’s the universe trying to tell you something. So these days I’m a lot better at telling the difference between people having an off day and people who aren’t really bothered about me. I’m at an age now where I’m over the drama of it and I just wait to see if they make effort and if they don’t it’s like cool, bye. I’ve got more people and things to invest my time in than a dying plant. So the hardest thing I’ve learnt has been to never have expectations on a person to be just like you are when it comes to them and vice versa.

God this is getting deep, time for another sip of gin and our next question is…


I feel like here a lot of you are expecting me to say getting engaged but I’m actually not going to say that. It’ll be a moment I remember forever but it’s never a moment I imagined happening as like I said above I’d rather be able to have kids than get married, but I think it’s partly because my mum and dad never got married and this year they’re celebrating their 30th anniversary. So you don’t have to get married to have a great relationship folks. Anyway back to the question, *sips gin*, I honestly think the best moment of my life so far has just been meeting all of the people that have changed my life. Like without all of my incredible family and friends and Jake life would be pretty dull and I know it’s such a cliche but I honestly do believe I am blessed with the best ones and I count my blessings for that everyday. You all know who you are, thank you always. Never change.

I feel like we’re all tempted to say yes aren’t we when we take a look back and look at all the shit we went through or the “bad” decisions we made but honestly I am gonna say no. Everything we do happens for a reason and if I hadn’t of done all of the things I have done I wouldn’t be the same person today. So no I wouldn’t thinking of it now.

This may sound like a shock to some of you but I’ve never like felt that major urge to travel. Of course there are some places I’d like to visit but I’ve never had that urgency of needing to travel. Anyone else have this or is it just me? *Sips gin* it’s blatantly just me isn’t, not in with the modern times of wanting to travel every 5 minutes *sips gin* I’m joking lovelies! No T, no shade, no pink lemonade! No but seriously I’ve got a few places I would like to see in my lifetime but I’m in no rush to see them. But my dream place to go is it to see the northern lights.

I don’t even remember at what point I decided I wanted to go here but it has been a dream for a very long while, I mean look how gorgeous that sky is. Then when I first met Jake he said he really wants to visit those as well. So that will be the trip of a lifetime for me. Hopefully we can have that happen in the next five to ten years.

Yes, it was when both my mum and dad got ill and they had to go into hospital. Of course they’re fine now and I am so thankful that they are. But before that sometimes I could be quite snappy with them and I was a little bit harsh sometimes. But when they did both have health scares it highlighted to me that one day they wont be here and I can’t even fathom how I am gonna be at that stage but honestly without my mum and dad I would be so lost ad I wouldn’t know what to do. When I was a teenager I think I really took them for granted, like most teenagers do, but really without them I don’t know what I would do or who I’d be. So I’m lucky that they’re still here and I’m thankful that they are.

Also a very interesting one this one. Um if I had all the money in the world I’d defo quit the job I have now, haha. So that I could put all of my time into content creating as well as doing my dream of being a theatre performer. As well as down the line creating my own theatre company/ performance kind of school or something. But also, potentially studying to be a university lecturer/ visiting lecturer. Which I still have as an option for a few years down the line in my life now but I’ve got a lot of figuring out I need to do before I begin thinking about that. Maybe even to own my own business of some kind or have a few different projects and things I’m involved in etc. I would like to help out people though, like do more for charities and donate more funding into our health care system as well as giving more money into our developments into global warming. Basically I’d just like to help other people and the world with the other money I have.

In terms of home I think it would be lovely to live somewhere that is close to everything. So you’re not too far from your main city, but you also have nice countryside close by whilst still being able to get to town in a short amount of time and not too far a drive from the beach. I think that would be the dream location I just don’t know specifically where that is in the UK. And in terms of my actual house I think I would want a detached house with a lovely big garden that I could plant lots of flowers and trees in. Also have a patio/ decking area to have a lovely outdoor table on and sofa area on etc. I think it’s important to have a decent sized garden when you have pets and children. A nice big kitchen and cosy living room with two bathrooms. One main bathroom and then a smaller one for like downstairs or something. As I’d like to have three kids we’d need at least four bedrooms and then a modern attic to store things. What I mean by modern is something that is made up like a room, I never go in my attic right now at home because it’s so open with bricks and many spiders have been found up there. Plus I’d want an easy way to get into the attic with either some fold down stairs when you open the hatch or just permanent stairs in the house. I like the idea of having a modern but rustic vibe house and I wouldn’t say no to an open plan kitchen and dinning room, but if the house didn’t have that it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Plus I’d love a house where I could have many many house plants. Isn’t that most young people’s houses these days? I think that’s mostly everything as of right now. You could say I’ve thought about it just a tiny bit… *finishes glass of gin*

I feel like one of the biggest that I am proud of is of course my degree. That piece of paper holds many memories and many hours of hard work as that is something I worked on purely for me. Plus it’s now in a frame on my wall after a whole year. We’re doing well, *pours another glass.* I actually can’t think of anything else I would say is the biggest achievement I am most proud of. There probably is more but getting a degree is definitely one of the biggest.

Hot chocolate. I was never particularly fond of hot drinks when I was younger, but mostly hot chocolate. I dunno why but I just couldn’t vibe with it. But now, now let me tell you! In the cold months she is a top beverage of choice for those cosy vibes on a winter day. God I do bloody love a hot chocolate, I could go for one now to be honest.

Hmm, this is a tough one as over my life I have overcome quite a lot. But the greatest one is probably comparing myself to people in every aspect of my life. When it came to performing, blogging, if I was likeable, if I was good enough. Just a ridiculous amount of things that I let consume my head space for so long. When I finally started to unravel that and just live and be me and show myself more self love, it gave me a lot more fulfilment and enjoyment with my life. When I was younger all I did was compare myself to people but I am not them and they are not me. I’m amazing just as much as they are, it’s much kinder for everyone to appreciate who we are as people without comparing ourselves to other people. Honestly feels so good to have finally let that go. Cheers to that lovelies *sips more gin.* If I’m not drunk by the end of this post I’ll be shook.

The best has definitely been 18 years and on-wards as so many great life things have happened ever since I left college. And the worst was definitely 14 years to 16 years, school life was just really tough and I went through a lot like you’ve discovered throughout this post and I was just really happy when those years of my life were over. I’m grateful for what those years taught me but that doesn’t mean it was enjoyable or easy, even during the good times I did have in those years. Cheers to now everyone, *cheers.*

I do think the person who has the most influence on your life is obviously yourself because only you can take yourself from A to B and only you can motivate yourself to get things done as it is your life at the end of the day. Like everything I’m doing now is for my future self and I don’t even know where she is gonna be and what she’s gonna be doing ten years from this moment now, but I hope she’s having a brilliant 33rd birthday, (god triggered again *definitely more than a sip now*) and I hope she is happy with her life.

But if I had to pick someone else that isn’t me it would probably be my mum. My mum is one of the greatest women in the world and of course I’m gonna say that because she’s my mum. But she honestly is amazing – she’s strong, she’s kind, she’s caring, she’s brave, she’s everything a mum should be. She has this way of suggesting things that I could do that I was already thinking of potentially doing and encourages me with everything I do in my life. We have a great relationship now despite having a rocky one when I was a young teenager and I wouldn’t change it. Cheers to you mum, thanks for everything you’ve done and are still doing.

Hmm, this is again a tough one but I really liked it so I had to include it. This may sound a bit materialistic slightly but I honestly think I’m gonna have to say money. Right, wait hear me out. Money does not buy happiness but how you use money for the purpose of memories like going on holiday, or going out with friends, buying gifts for other people for their birthdays or Christmas etc. Or the way you use it to bring happiness to yourself like grabbing a coffee, or donating to charity, or buying some nice new clothes if you’re feeling low. All of those things create memories which then attach to happiness. Money is a very subjective topic but the fact of the matter is without money I wouldn’t be able to do half of the things that I love and bring me joy. And I guarantee you all of you are the same as well when it comes to money. Now of course I’m not talking about a ridiculous amount. Just enough to live comfortably with a few treat yourself moments in each month. Growing up and being an adult is literally realising how much money dominates everything you would like to do and how much of a need we all have for it. But honestly without my own money I’d never be able to do half of the things I have done for the last few years.

My god here we are at the end! Honestly there was a point when I thought we weren’t going to make it. But cheers everyone, *downs gin.* Thank you all so much for joining me on my final day of being 22, I’m excited to see what 23 brings. Honestly can’t believe I’m already in the third year of my twenties. Thank you all for your questions I had so many great ones but I couldn’t pick them all, I really appreciate you all for helping me out. Hopefully you found out some things about me that you didn’t know or you’ve had some time over this post to think about these questions for yourself. But mostly I hope you treated yourself and enjoyed a beverage and had a bloody good time. If you know me well then you will know I say treat yourself all the time and I feel it’s very apt this year that my birthday is on a Thursday. Why you ask? Because it’s only bloody Treat Yourself Thursday ain’t it!

Wow this has been a ride hasn’t it. Again hope you enjoyed, if you wanna see what I get up to for my birthday tomorrow follow me on Instagram, @ katiej0hnson as I’ll be updating on my story throughout the day so you guys can see what I’m getting up to for my birthday in lockdown! Have an amazing evening you wonderful readers!

FASHION | Is Boohoo Curve actually for curvy people?

The curvy fashion queen has returned for your pleasure.

Hello my lovelies and welcome back to a long awaited try on haul! If you have been following me since I had my Blogger platform then you will know I did try on hauls quite often. I really enjoy doing them, I think they’re so much fun just to try all your latest bits on and play dress up in your bedroom and you guys always really enjoyed them! So I thought it was time to bring this quality content back to my new platform. But today I am trying a brand that I have never bought anything from before – Boohoo. Most online brands such as Boohoo, I never normally branch out to just because stereo-typically they don’t often cater to my group of sizes, which is size 20 and over. For example, normally online retailers will have up to size 20 in their standard range if they do not have a curve or plus size section. But there is never much difference between one set of sizes in standard ranges [6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20] because they’re trying to fit those into an all inclusive sized box of “typical” sizes and “typical” fits which typically is all catered on the smaller size across the board. So you could have a size 20 in the standard range and it will still be too small because that range is being typically filtered to an overall smaller category. If that makes sense; this scale could work both ways. For example you might have someone who is actually a size 8 or 10 but because they might have wider set hips or more muscle on their legs, they may have to go for size 12 or 14 due to the fact the difference in standard size ranges is so slim, it’s barely an inch, between one or two sizes. You may also have that on the petite scale too, someone might actually be a size 12 or 14 but because they’re shorter in height standard ranged items might be too long but the amount of material is correct for whatever weight that individual might be. But in typical petite ranges the clothing is taken up a bit because of a shorter height but is also taken in a bit. Even though “petite” doesn’t always mean smaller in body type and shape. It’s also the same with tall ranges, just because someone is taller doesn’t necessarily mean they’re slimmer, they potentially might have a lot of curve. I hope you guys know what I mean, I am going to do a further investigation in terms of this when I get back into Born To Be – my series that is catered to fashion and body image etc. Click here to give that read after this post if you haven’t already.

But I was surprised to find out that Boohoo actually has a plus size/ curve range on their website. I don’t know how long they’ve had a curve range but I know they create many adverts now with all ranges of women in (I’m unsure about the male side) and they don’t edit out things like stretch marks, cellulite, veins, skin marks etc. Which is brilliant and it does show how far we have come in terms of fashion adverts and the industry and the body positivity movement. I think as we move forward we can definitely do even more and I’m excited to see more brands follow suit with things like that for both female and male.

Okay, I think I’ve kept you all waiting long enough! Let’s get on with the haul, give this post a like right now if you’re excited!

DISCLAIMER:

You will see tummy, stretch marks, cellulite, marks, veins, bumps, lumps and more that makes up my size 20 – 22 body. But that doesn’t define how I look in my clothes and it doesn’t define how you look in your clothes either.

Also just to note, all of these items are from the curve/ plus size range so I do not know if all of these items are in the other ranges they do. You’d have to double check when looking on the website. And I do not remember all of the prices because everything when I bought these was on sale for like up to 70% off and I had a discount code (read until the end if you wanna know where to get your discount code).

I saw these on the website and I fell in love with this style. I try to buy pieces these days that I don’t have any thing like, or in colours I don’t really own, and styles that I will most likely wear. When I was a bit younger I used to buy clothing sometimes just because I liked it, which of course you should like what you’re buying. But in reality they didn’t fit that well or there was something about them that I wasn’t too sure about in terms of fitting to my body and in the long run I barely ever wore them or not at all. So now I work a lot harder to really think am I comfortable in this, will I actually wear it, do I already own something like it, will they be put to good use etc.

So they’re ruffle shorts but when you wear them they really look like a ruffled skater skirt. They have this extra under layer of material as you can see in the above photos which gives it a bit more protection in terms of how thin this fabric is. However in contrast to that statement I do like that these are so thin because they’re much cooler to wear in this current July weather in April.

When these arrived I was a bit worried that these weren’t going to fit because of an undiscovered zip that I didn’t realise they’d had. Even though these are from the plus size range normally any skirt or shorts or trousers that have a zip even when they’re made for curvier hips and legs never usually fit me or they fit but feel too tight to do anything in which isn’t what you want. When you’re wearing clothes surely the main aim is to feel comfortable that you don’t even have any anxiety about a certain area or a certain fit on that area, to look good for yourself, and to have no worry in what you’re wearing because what you’re wearing shouldn’t limit your day and anything you do.

I was pleasantly surprised that these actually fit, even with the zip down the side, and I have enough room to breath, sit down, and even do a work out if I wanted! Basically the fit of these is great. One of my favourite things is if I tuck a top into it I still have enough room and even if I wear them as you normally would they don’t fall down or feel too big either. The ruffle really gives them something extra than a plain pair of khaki shorts. The only thing that is slightly irritating is because the zip is down the side I really have to reach round to do it up and inside they’ve got those annoying loop tag things to hang onto hangers even though you would put shorts on clippy hangers. So they’re a bit annoying but I will just have to cut those off. But if you’re looking for a new pair of shorts for the warmer weather, I would highly recommend these ones.

Unfortunately I am unable to find this exact item on the website, and there is not a play-suit at all similar to this one.

I decided to treat myself to a new play-suit. I really enjoy play-suits as they’re easy to throw on in the summer with a jacket or a cardigan if it’s a bit chilly with some slip ons or lace up shoes and your outfit is done. So when you want something easy to wear on a warm day these are one of my go to outfits. When this one arrived I was a bit unsure because the material is quite thick, it’s that scuba material. But it redeems itself by being an overall loose fit on my stomach and around my legs. However although this material is thick it is still very much see through. As you can see in the first picture, you can see the lace trim of my underwear. So for sure I’m gonna have to wear peachy and pink toned underwear when I decide to wear this out.

I am not a fan of play-suits that are too tight or are quite fitted. I do own a couple of them but I will only ever wear them when I am having a very body confident day. I much prefer the ones that have an elasticated centre or like this one that has that over-layered crop type of top that is loose and flowy. As of course you can still see the outline of my stomach but because I’ve got that extra layer slightly over the top it gives the outfit something more and it makes me feel more confident.

I also really like the sleeves as you just tie them into little bows and adjust them to how you want them to sit on your shoulders. It does come slightly low sometimes as well dependent on how well you tie the bows up. But one of the main reasons I was so unsure about this item when it arrived was because the colour is not completely the same as it was on the website. And of course sometimes the lighting and the way they edit the photos can cause a slight difference in the cool tones and the warm tones of a garment overall. You can see it above in both of my photos, the further away I was the more peachy the play-suit looks and the closer I was to the natural light, the more blush toned the garment looked which is what it was advertised as on the website.

Of course I still like it otherwise I wouldn’t have kept it but the half blush/ half peach tone kind of causes it to wash me out ever so slightly. So I think when I wear this out in the sunshine and my skin gets a slight tan/ glow it’ll be all good. I did try to pair it with a little white tshirt and long sleeve top underneath but it did not look right. I think it’s due to the colour of it and the thickness of the play-suit itself. But it’s definitely a nice piece for the warm summer days, it’s just a small shame that it’s not a pure blush shade like it was advertised as. But most importantly the fit is comfortable and ultimately that’s the deal breaker as to whether or not I will wear an outfit.

I do love a wrap skirt even though they are partial to falling down so it’s a good job I always wear cycling shorts with them. I am a massive fan of polka dots / dot type prints which is probably what drew me to this. I am such a big fan of wearing monochrome outfits that are slightly miss matched. So for example the other week I wore this skirt with a bat wing sleeved over sized top that was also black and white but the polka dots were small and uniform whereas this skirts dots are bigger and scattered. So it’s like similar but not the same and I adore wearing outfits like that.

This skirt itself, the quality of it is kind of average. I’m not gonna lie to you, it is very much just like a piece of material that has been cut into a shape in order for you to wrap it round your body. Like the majority of wrap skirts it has the extra thinner bits of material at the side in order for you to tie it at the side and it was meant to come with a button inside however the button was not inside but the thread was still in there where it must’ve been. So maybe it got ripped off when packaged or if it was sent back by someone else before which isn’t the greatest if that was the case. However where to button hole was the skirt would’ve been too big for me like that anyway and I’m sure I ordered this one in my actual size so god knows why it’s as wide as it is. Again the material is so thin and it’s light which does make it great for summer and I think because it’s darker and a pattern it not see through compared the previous block coloured item you’ve already seen.

Despite the overall quality I love the pattern, I like that the material is lightweight, the length at the back is really good for my height, and I love the slit. I do love slit in a skirt or dress as it makes me feel sexy to get a bit of your higher thigh out but not all of the way.

Continuing the skirt theme I saw this white embroidered style number. I really liked it on the website obviously otherwise I wouldn’t of ordered it but I didn’t think I was going to like it that much on, especially when I’d tried on previous items in darker and brighter colours that were slightly see through. So I thought for sure I wasn’t going to be able to wear this but I was actually pleasantly surprised. This isn’t see through at all really because it has two layers of skirt which gives it that lovely scalloped trim waterfall effect, similar to the ruffle shorts. Which you know I love because it gives the skirt a little something extra to go along with all of that gorgeous detailing.

. Again it looks really lovely at the back as well because the skirt isn’t too short. For me personally because I have curvy hips and I am tall I don’t like it when skirts and dresses are too too short because they should at least cover your booty. I’m actually very excited to wear this on a lovely summers day.

On the website they had a top to match this but usually with things like skirts and shorts the matching tops are always tiny little cropped ones. Which is fine but matching co-ord types of outfits never usually work for me so I decided just to go for the skirt only. So I need to find a really lovely top to go with this white skirt, if any of you lovelies have a suggestion then please let me know. Overall though, I am very impressed with quality and the fit of this piece.

Unfortunately this style of item in particular doesn’t appear to be on the website anymore, so the link provided is all of the other styles of ‘Organza’ clothing they have in the plus range.

I saw this top on the website and I was intrigued by it but I honestly thought this was gonna be the one I would for sure send back because I could already tell from the model on the website that this was gonna be pretty fitted which isn’t always my favourite thing. I only really like wearing fitted tops with certain skirts and trousers that have a tie bit at the front, like in the images above for example. There’s also been a big trend of massive sleeves and I’ve seen a few tops that have been quite nice but the part on the sleeve was too big for comfort. So when I saw this one I quite liked how the netting almost goes up and down like a flutter, like a butterfly.

When this arrived I was honestly shocked at how much I liked it, no loved it on! I felt like an absolute queen in this, I was strutting around my mum and dad’s bedroom feeling like a million bucks just from a top. It is madness how fashion and clothing has such an overall affect on our mental health and physical appearance. So the overall quality is actually really good, it’s a bit like the scuba material but not as smooth. It’s got a bit of texture to it. It is fitted as I expected but not to the point where I feel like I’m going to be unable to breathe or uncomfortable when I’m out and about. The neckline is lovely as it elongates the neck without being really baggy and low. The sleeves are as I expected, big enough to make an impact on the overall garment and whatever club I’m’a strut into, without feeling claustrophobic up to my ears.

I love that lift on the sleeve as it gets to the peak on my shoulder as it gives that lovely fluttered out effect and it cascades down to the back beautifully. This is probably one of the top items that has been made the best and I just love it. I adore what I’ve paired it with, you know me and my matched but mismatched outfits. Can’t wait to wear this out for an evening sipping cocktails with the girls when corona let’s us live our lives again.

I’ve really grown to fall back in love with dresses as well as skirts over the last few years. I think there was a time period, obviously before the body positivity movement, where someone decided it was probably unsuitable for curvy people to wear dresses, skirts, short shorts etc. Honestly whoever that was I say, shame on you for making thousands of people honestly think they were not worthy or valued of wearing something on their body because they weren’t the “accepted” body type. But I’m sure we’ve all moved past that now. It has been so wonderful to fall back in love with wearing whatever I want to over the last few years and knowing that anything that I feel good in was made for me and was made to fit my body.

Right before I get carried away back to this dress. As you can see it’s a beautiful peach number! I really do love this colour of peach more than the play-suit’s half peach toned thing it’s got going on. I already knew this was gonna fit as, A) it’s a skater dress and B) I ordered it 4 sizes bigger than I am. Not for the purposes of fit but literally just because they only had this size left and I liked it so much that I was like well regardless I’m gonna have to have it. The material is extremely soft but once again is quite see through, you can see my lace trim of my undies coming out to say hello again. It’s extremely comfy, not only because it’s a few sizes bigger than I am, but mainly because it’s that soft cosy material we all know and love.

I’m in that lighting again where the exposure near the window makes the dress look very light. Which ironically compared to the play-suit, isn’t this dress’ true colour at all – it’s a much more deep orange peach/ apricot. I adore the sleeves on this dress, anything 3/4 length always looks flattering on my arms and I find always looks flattering with skater dresses. I also love the soft pleated floot they have as well which ties in wonderfully with the pleated stitched around the natural waist line. Really enjoy that about this dress, it is quite long for a skater dress but that could partly be because of the size I ordered it in. Also in real life you can kind of tell that it is a tiny bit big just in general as I do have a lot of room in there still. But I’d rather have more room than not enough.

Despite the see through fabric yet again the quality is saved by how soft the material physically is which means it is more comfy to wear and also the extra pleating details give it a little something more to please the eye. Another easy throw on dress to wear with white little flats and a denim jacket for a spring/ summer day out. I’m definitely going to get lots of wear out of this one.

Continuing the dress theme we have another extremely see through number. Honestly so far I would say this is Boohoo’s main issue, the quality of their fabric. I have to say this was probably one of the poorest quality fabrics in terms of the opaqueness. Like not only can you see my under saying hello yet again, but you can actually see my bellybutton outline and I don’t think I’ve ever had a dress that has had that quality about it. But at the same time I don’t hate it. I really like details on the dress and despite having to order this one also one size bigger than I am I was shocked that the wrapped boob area wasn’t too big.

Even though the overall fabric quality isn’t great I still decided to keep it as I still like it and I’ll still wear it. I’m just gonna have to wear identical matching underwear. I think if it wasn’t for the sleeve, shoulder, and neck tails I don’t think this would be worth keeping. I want to get some white cycling shorts anyway for my lighter coloured dresses as I only have black pairs and one grey pair. So when I eventually get some I will probably end up wearing those underneath this. But the colour is lovely, really nice pastel for spring and summer. You could definitely dress this up or down, I might wear this on an summer evening date night in the future with either some nice sandals or heels. It fits comfortably but the overall quality of this item isn’t worth your coin.

You honestly haven’t seen see through until you’ve seen this lounge wear set. I mean you can see it already how much of my skin colour peaks through the black colour. So there is a bit of a story to this outfit, the reason I wanted this was because I have seen so many gals on my Instagram wearing such lovely comfies that I wanted a cute set too. When I ordered this on the website this was branded khaki and unless suddenly I have gone colour blind this is not khaki! My hypothesis is either they ran out of khaki and sent a black one instead however if that is the case they didn’t bother to email me to ask if I would be okay with a black one instead. Or their editing for their website is a massive lie as khaki and black and two completely different colours.

Even though it’s not the colour I asked for I still like the overall concept of the outfit. I like the look but I didn’t realise the top was quite as short as it actually is. I don’t like tops where I move my arms slightly above my shoulders and my whole bra is on show and that is exactly what this top does, so I’m not the biggest fan of that. But I’ve made the executive decision that when I wear this I’m just gonna have to wear either a black bodysuit underneath or a top that’s fitted and black that I can tuck in. So that is the major see through issue resolved and my bra constantly popping out whenever I move.

As you can see when my arms are slightly stretched the top automatically raises itself as clearly my boobs wanna say hello. I really like that it’s wide legged, it is the main style of trouser I buy now because I like the loose fit on my legs and it gives me a nice airy swish which I enjoy. Plus, major comfort which is always a win win. However I could never wear this out because it’s just too see through for comfort and the cut for the top is also too short for comfort. I think it would be better if the sleeves under armpit cut weren’t acting as the bottom of the crop top. You can see in the shot above where I’m on the side and lifting my arms up we have that triangle shape; I think it would be more practical if the crop top was slightly longer and if it didn’t connect all the way up to the armpit. I know it is still lounge wear but if you’re not comfy in lounge wear which is designed to be comfy then what is the point?

But honestly the main thing that lets this piece down is the see thoroughness and the fact that this is branded as a size 24-26 cannot be right because it’s honestly not very stretchy. It’s not uncomfortable around my waist but I can definitely feel that it’s clung to my waist very well. I think one of the reasons this outfit might be as see through as it is, is because it has to stretch over certain areas of my body. Such as over my hips, waist, bum, stomach etc. However it is still very comfy and I’m only wearing it in the house anyway. But if you’re gonna do a dark colour like black, please take extra care when formulating the colour on the fabric you’re gonna make it with.

So what are my overall thoughts? In answer to the main question of this post is Boohoo Curve actually for curvy people? I would have to say yes. Everything from this haul actually fits my body and isn’t uncomfortable to wear in terms of the fit of the item itself. So that is a major plus because I have bought a lot of clothing in the past from different clothing stores that have been classed as curve or plus size and my actual size doesn’t even fit nicely. So the fact that everything from Boohoo Curve actually fits comfortably bar a few design hinders is actually such an achievement. Boohoo have a great range of styles, sizes, body type representations, patterns, basics, etc. I honestly spent hours browsing on this website because they just stock so many items.

However I do think some of the items were not worth the original price they were retailed at before the sale and before the discount code I had applied. As the quality is quite hit and miss in terms of the texture and the standard of colour pigments in their fabrics of the majority of the items I ordered. With that said, most of the items were pretty cheap and cheerful but I will go as far to say if you want slightly higher quality for a similar range of prices you’re better off buying from New Look or Primark.

But will I shop on Boohoo again? More than likely yes and when I do I will do another one of these so we can compare my first impressions to round two.

Right lovelies, thank you ever so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this. If you’ve got this far and have seen some bits you like there is clickable links to the majority of the exact items on my photos. Now for the discount code that I know you have all been waiting for; one of my good blogging friends called Megan, she currently has a discount code for 25% off everything on the site because she is apart of the Queens on Campus scheme that they do and anyone can use this code! Even though everything on Boohoo is 25% off and more right now anyone, this code will still apply to all of those items that are already discounted! So firstly, you should head on over to Megan’s Instagram and drop her a follow as she’s all about body positivity for mid/ average size girls and she is honestly such a wonderful human being full of light – such a beautiful soul. Plus her feed is absolutely stun!

So if you want her exclusive code for 25% off everything, head on over right now to: themeganedit

I hope you’re having a wonderful day and I will chat to you all again soon!

SELF ISOLATION | Creation and Discoveries

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

Hello my lovelies and welcome back to another post in these uncertain times, I hope you’re all having a productive or relaxed week. If you’ve read my last post then you will know I said I wanted to create a post where I share with you what I’ve been up to and my thoughts and discoveries during this time. As you’re reading this I have been in isolation for 3 weeks and I really feel like the time has just flown. Whatever I seem to do every day just flies by whether I’m being productive or I’m just relaxing. And this self isolation period seems to be no different.

I mentioned in my previous post that a list made up of all of the tasks and activities you need, want, and like to do is the best place to start. I think in this time it’s important to remember that things on your list they don’t have to be groundbreaking. I think a lot of people are feeling the pressure to make use of this time and are feeling guilty for not sorting their lives out or not doing something creative or career savvy or making groundbreaking discoveries. When really during this time your main priority should be you. We’re in extraordinary circumstances and whatever you feel is beneficial for your mental health and well-being just do that. As long as you’re happy and whatever you’re doing brings you joy that is all that matters.

One of the only things I can’t stress enough right now is learning to let go of things we can’t control. This situation is on a ginormous scale but if you’re stressing or worrying about it you’re probably infecting your mental state more by doing that, feeling scared, constantly checking the media and news channels for updates. It is a toxic vicious cycle and if you’re finding yourself caught up in it just simply stop. Close your eyes, take a breath, and relax all that tension in your brain and throughout your body which you feel is consuming you. And now say in your own head or out loud my own worry is not beneficial, my own stresses are not beneficial, my constant fear and anxiety is not helping. This ball of negative energy is causing me grief which has been/ is building pressure on my mental state. Taking another breath and as you exhale say to yourself I am ready to let go of what I cannot control. Hold that ball of negative energy, take another breath, and as you exhale, throw that ball away. Depending on how heavy what you’re carrying is you may find you need to repeat the task a couple more times. Or if you’re someone who carries a lot of anxiety and stress you might want to do this task or one similar to this every morning or every night to help you get through each day.

I completely understand that it’s really difficult to accept there’s nothing else we can physically do other than stay at home right now, especially if you’re someone who likes to be in control a lot. I’ve been watching Miranda Hart’s IGTV’s recently as she’s doing a series called Chatty Rambles related to the current situation we’re living in. And she’s doing research into our purposes as a race and our reasons for doing the things we do the way we do. It’s very open and really connects into our higher ways of thinking and it’s giving me a lot of clarity about life right now as well as reflecting on my life in general. I’d recommend giving them a watch as I’m finding them so interesting. I’m really into spirituality and higher vibrations of thinking when it comes to lives and purposes and why we’re here and what we’re here for etc. If you’re into all of that I would recommend giving Miranda a follow and a listen to her take on things. But in one of the first couple of videos she’s done she talks about how we have no control over anything in our life and this pandemic is evident of that. I’m very aware that for some of you the idea of not being control of anything in your life can be quite scary but it does make a lot of sense. I’ve always believed the universe knows where I’m meant to go and what I’m meant to do and who I am meant to be. Therefore on the grand scale of things it makes perfect sense to me how us as beings have no control over our life because we can’t control the outer universe: space, the stars, the planets. We are just one tiny speck of what makes up the universe. But the universe is going to do, what it’s going to do. We also can’t control our personal life outer universe: our family and friends’ intentions, the scale of our jobs beyond our control, the relationships we experience throughout our life. Miranda goes on to say when you step back from those elements and say it’s okay I’m not in control do you feel like a weight is lifted off of your shoulders?

[CREDIT: GOOGLE IMAGES]

I believe that you only have control over yourself in the moment that you’re living in. For example, when you’re caught in a situation with negative energies with an object, yourself or someone else. Only you can decide how you act and react in the situation at hand which will always be subject to change dependant on your relationship with the object or the person in front of you. I think often the memories we have with the object or the person does cause us to think that we have to stay to hold onto what we’ve got because if we let go it will be gone forever. But that right there is your answer. Let go of one sided relationships, one sided friendships, one sided effort, anything where you feel you’re doing the most to hold it together and on the other side that is not reciprocated. Let it go. It is not longer worth your time, no longer worth your anxiety, no longer worth your effort, no longer worth your love and your kindness. As myself I’ve always known those things but during this self isolation it has just been highlighted to me that the only activities worth my time are what bring me joy and the only people worth my time are the ones who invest in me as much as I invest in them. The phrase walk away from what and who no longer serves you couldn’t be more relevant right now. If you’re someone who feels like they’re caught in this cycle only you know what is best for you, but wouldn’t you rather value your time with the things you enjoy and the people who value you with their time.

It doesn’t mean you should stop being kind to people or stop spreading love or being a good person towards others. You don’t cure hate with further hate, simply let go of whatever in your life that is making you feel heavy. Whatever you decide to say goodbye to is for you. It’s not about the object or the person as everyone is at a different stage of their growing process. As the cliche says, if something or someone is really meant to orbit around your life then they will. The universe will put that into place for both parties. When we’re going through tough situations everyone always says it all works out in the end. Even when we don’t know what that end is but we know at some point it will come to a natural stop. Which again proves we aren’t in control of situations and people because we can never say how something is going to play out until it has and then it’s in the past. And the way things end, no matter how hard they can be, it is all for us as humans to understand each other, understand ourselves, and reflect, learn, grow, and to be better as we move forward. To then hopefully deal with it [thoughts, emotions, feelings, empathy, pain etc] – better in the next life situation we face.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

There’s no denying right now that the state of the world is a mess. But it was already a mess before Covid-19 even took shape, I think finally people are starting to wake up and realise that we need to make multiple changes after we’ve dealt with this pandemic. If the government’s and the huge companies and corporations don’t take this as one of the biggest signs we’ve ever had in our current lifetime that the world needs help then we are living in the most ignorant era of politicians and world leaders we’ve ever had. Ever since we all stopped living our “normal” lives as we know them to be, the world has healed. It is crazy how this small period of time when the world has near enough stopped it’s finally breathed and that brings me so much joy and happiness. But it also brings sadness to know that we as human beings have all caused that in some way or another when this planet accepted us for this to be our home and we’re treating it so awfully. Don’t get me wrong so many incredible companies and organisations have done a lot for global warming and the well-being of the Earth and people suffering and struggling. But this pandemic only highlights that we need to do more. The fact that there are multimillionaires and billionaires throughout the world and we still have massive global warming issues, massive debts across the board, third world countries, poverty, homelessness, tiny amounts of funding for the NHS which is undeniably the most important organisation in the UK, as well as the lack of funding for so many other important organisations that help so many peoples lives and families every single day. And yet we still have problem after problem because so many people still lack compassion and kindness for others. There are certain types of people who could do so much more for this world because they can afford to and they don’t. I believe everyone should do what they can to be a decent human being but if you can afford to do more and offer more out of the kindness of your heart I don’t see why you wouldn’t.

All of those points I’ve shared above are highly important and whilst I hope all of these things have the recognition and the push for change as move forward. Right now we all need to focus on staying at home, protecting the NHS and other health systems around the world, supporting all of our key workers, and of course coming together as a unit to stop the further spread of this virus. So the quote above ‘I am learning to find joy right here in the mess of things’ is very relevant to all of our lives right now. I think this time in isolation highlights to us all how much we truly take for granted every single day. There are some things that you know are luxuries, for example being able to go on a dream trip to Bali, or going on a world wide adventure for 6 months, being able to do your dream career and more, being able to afford your perfect house. All of those incredible things are lovely but we often forget that not everything is automatically given to us. A small example, having a shower and a bath – in my boyfriend’s house he only has a shower whereas in my house I only have a bath. I personally always prefer bath’s to shower’s but my boyfriend’s view is the other way round and imagine that’s because we’ve grown up with just one and not both. Whereas I feel like these days we’re given so much for doing so little because we expect to have the things that everyone else has just because they have it. It seems that 90% of the time people can’t just view other people’s successes or other people’s attributes without comparing it to their own. That needs to stop because it damages both parties involved; I’m not a saint when it comes to this, in the past I have been so hard on myself. Constantly comparing my worth and my success and my career and my look and my weight and my confidence and my followers and my likes and my views and my popularity and my value from someone else’s view and my talent and my importance to someone else’s life. I could go on, but I’m so tired of constantly never feeling enough for myself. I am just me and whatever I do should always be for me and whatever you do should always be for you. But we all need to remember that no one is who we are. No one else is you and no one else is me which is why us all as individuals we will always be important and enough and valued because we allow ourselves to accept ourselves. If you’re able to accept someone else for all they are, you can do that for yourself as well.

But I think as I’ve been growing up I’ve been letting go of so many things that don’t bring me joy and don’t bring me happiness and I’ve let go of people who don’t bring me joy and happiness. Like what I said earlier on, let go of elements and people that make you feel heavy. I think all of this time where we’re all spending most of the time on our own, it’s gonna be highlighted to a lot of people how much they’ve been holding onto that’s actually weighing them down. And if you let go of something or someone and you don’t feel sad or torn about it then you know you’re ready to let that go because your emotional attachment has gone. It doesn’t have to be a big drama or a big emotional thing, sometimes we just grow out of love with certain things and people and that’s okay. Zoe Sugg once said, elements or people are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime and it’s honestly so true. When you’re in a positive place mentally and physically you shine so much brighter and people notice it so much more. So finding the joy in the everyday and the little things that amount to the big things is so powerful. Your heart will be full of so much gratitude for the elements we usually take for granted, and if one thing this extraordinary event in our history will teach us is the power of gratitude, kindness, and love is far greater than anything money could buy you.

I’ve only been in isolation for 3 weeks and I already feel like I have done and discovered so much so I imagine it’ll be even more when I reach 4, 5, 6, 7 weeks – however long it takes. I have so much more joy and appreciation for the small things in my life.

I could’ve listed a lot more but those are some prominent ones right this moment. But I find more things to appreciate everyday. What are you appreciating today?

One of my favourite things has been having all this free time to do whatever I want to do. There is something incredibly liberating about engaging in activities just for the pure joy of doing it, with no expectations of yourself or from someone else. I think too often we’re all really hard on ourselves when we can’t do something to a “high” or “acceptable” standard – in the eyes of who though? Our own or someone else’s? – the first time we do it. Even though all the skills we currently carry we couldn’t do from the first moment we attempted it. I read a post once that said, when babies are learning to walk for the first time and they fall over, when they fall we don’t criticise why they fell. We clap and cheer because of what they achieved, so why don’t we do that for ourselves? I’m very bad on myself for this and I will happily admit it. As humans we’re really bad when it comes to any mistake we made or something we feel we didn’t do our best on. We think about it for days and wonder what everyone is thinking of it, when really those people you’re worried about are probably overthinking something in their own head and not even thinking about what you just did. Conclusion = it’s a cycle and we’ve all gotta stop it!

I think one reason I’m so judgemental on myself is because for a lot of my life I never felt good enough or talented enough to do anything I wanted to do. Partly because of the way I was treated in previous friendships and relationships and I think those kind of things fuck you up more than you realise. But at the same time, because I’ve been at such a low point of feeling worthless I’ve never wanted anyone in my life from that point on-wards to feel as low as I have. So when I see someone on my Instagram or Twitter or one of my friends isn’t feeling their best or feeling low I always want to step in and try to give clarity or a be someone who helps them think about the bigger picture. I’ve always wanted to be a positive force and someone who gives people something to benefit them and to make them feel empowered and make them inspired etc. I really feel like I’m doing that at the moment with everything going on in the world and it’s a special feeling. It fills me with that tingly feeling knowing that something you said, or something you posted, or something you offered has the power to change someone’s whole outlook and mood and confidence and way of life. I’d like to be able to do that for the rest of my life for other people. Because at the end of the day we all wont be remember for how many followers and likes we had on Instagram or how many sell out singles we had or how much money we had or how big or small our house was. We’ll be remembered for our kind hearts, our aura, our good nature, how caring we are, how thoughtful we are, how we made other people feel when they were around us. They’re the things that count in the long run, never forget that as it is so easy to let those points slip your mind.

In this decade I want to do more of that like I already am. But I also know I need to do more for me. I need to just go for opportunities and believe in myself and believe that I am enough to achieve whatever it is that comes my way. If the universe didn’t think I was capable then it wouldn’t throw these chances and challenges my way. Last year I lost a lot of passion and drive for the things I used to love and wanted to devote my life to. But without having that blip you guys probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post today. I’m grateful to the universe for steering me off course so that I could get back in that car and turn the wheel back around. Now I just need to keep driving down that road and going forward, enjoying the views and experiences that come my way.

During this time I have thoroughly enjoyed doing activities like colouring, organising, cleaning, blogging, creating fresh content, reading, having at home coffee dates, Facetiming friends, catching up on Netflix shows that I’ve been saying I want to watch for the last year, playing around with makeup again, getting back into nail art. I know it is a struggle right now for a lot of people, but I do think finding a new hobby or interest is really beneficial right now as it gives you an escape from the real world even for a minute. Another note is regardless of what’s going on in our lives and around our lives, time doesn’t stop. It still keeps going and it rolls on, so whatever you’re doing or not doing the concept of time is still happening. But whatever you are doing with your time right now, just live it and enjoy it and appreciate it.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

I hope you all enjoyed this post and can take something away from it as we move forward in this process. I know we’re all in different mindsets and at different points in the growing process of this unimaginable piece of history that we’re living in and experiencing. But just know that we will get through this and one day all of this will become a distant memory, so as hard as it may feel try to appreciate what this event is teaching us and hopefully all of the good outcomes that will come from this in the long run. Remember to be safe, stay at home as much as you can, wash your hands, stay positive, be mindful to others, and spread love and kindness. I am sending you all nothing but good wishes through this time and I will be back again very soon.

LIFESTYLE | Let’s Catch Up

Hello my lovelies, I hope you’re all well. Since my last post on my old blog a lot has changed in my life as well as the world itself so I figured it was time for us to properly catch up and for me to start regular posting again now that I have all of this free time.

First things first, Coronavirus. It’s a big elephant in the room right now isn’t it and regardless of all of our thoughts and opinions and conspiracy theories on the matter. Right now we should be focusing on preventing the spread by self isolating and working from home if possible. I started self isolating from Tuesday last week as my work finally decided to shut, which means as I’m writing this I’m on day 11. So far I have been coping very well and I think that’s partly because I’ve made a long list of things I need to do, want to do, would like to do more of, or start doing which has actually been really beneficial as it’s meant I’ve had activities to focus my mind on.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

For example so far this week I have been reading Breathe magazine, my mum and I have done some baking, I’ve started doing yoga and meditation more often, I’ve been posting so much more on Instagram, I have been developing my nail painting skills as I want to take a nail course to get qualified and potentially work in a salon or do some freelance work etc. I’ve also been watching shows on Netflix again, and as we move into the coming weeks hopefully I can create some great blog content to get us through isolation. If you’re feeling bored or a little bit lost right now then I would suggest making a to-do list of things you need or want to get done and also things you’d like to get into or do more. I think a lot of people during this period of time are going to realise how little they actually do. What do we do the most? Go out for lunch, go out for coffee, go out for dinner, go out for drinks. Despite how much you feel like you stay at home, humans are social creatures so we crave that interaction and emotional connection you get from those interactions. And now because we’re not allowed to go out unless necessary I think it definitely will/ is affecting people’s mental state. I’m a very social person and I enjoy going out, even on my days off for a coffee and a shop around etc. So surprisingly I’m actually okay at the moment which kind of highlights to me that most of the time when I go out I just go out because I can. But I would highly recommend making a list if you haven’t already.

However we’re going to look on the positive side of life and remember you can always find more positives in one negative compared to more negatives in one positive. Now before all this madness and chaos in the UK as it feels like it all sprung out of nowhere. At the start of the month we were all enjoying our days going out, going on holidays, getting our weekly shops with ease and now all of sudden it’s come crashing down and we’re sat at home on the 1,74938574 day of isolation thinking every day is a Sunday, but at least we’ve all got a constant supply of snacks. If you’ve stockpiled those, well, same. But before all of that, in the first couple of weeks of March I had a lovely start to the month. If you have all been keeping up to date with Instagram then you will know that I have a boyfriend! Jake and I have been together almost 9 months and we have almost known one another for 11 months and we met on Bumble. Again, if you’ve been keeping up with Instagram then you will have seen we went on holiday to Wales and something absolutely crazy happened.

We got engaged!

I am still in complete shock that this has happened, I never imagined I’d have a boyfriend at 22 let alone a fiance at 22 too. So as you can all imagine I’m very much still on cloud nine. However right now we can not afford a wedding in the slightest, so it’s not going to be happening for a long time coming and that’s okay. I think there is a lot of pressure when you get engaged; it seems expected that within the next year or two you’ll be married and from the minute you get engaged you should start planning there and then. But Jake and I both know that we want to live together first and sort our “careers” out first before we even think about actually getting married. I’m taking it as a promise for now and what I mean by that, it’s a promise that you’re the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I use that term loosely as none of us know where we’re going to be in a year, let alone 10 years, 20 years, 30 years etc. Which is why I always say you have to live for what you’re doing right now, especially with everything going on in the world right now. So far this has been the biggest event of 2020 for me and I imagine it’ll be one of the main life events I remember about 2020. Let me know in the comments if any of you guys have had big life events happen so far this year. Whether that’s getting engaged, getting married, moving house, new careers, getting pregnant, having children etc. I’d love to have an update from all of your lives as it’s been ridiculously long since we last caught up.

Despite the drama and chaos of the Coronavirus at the start of the year I was feeling very positive about 2020 and the decade to come. And I still am feeling very positive as I think it’s going to be the decade when a lot of my generation (young to mid twenties or GEN Z as it’s better known now) actually make big moves. I don’t just mean in the sense of getting your dream job, your dream house, your dream car etc. I mean where we all step up mentally and physically and we start to really reflect on what we’ve done and where we’re at and what we’ve achieved for ourselves. To then take our next steps, whatever they are and wherever they lead, to be better and bigger. I’ve been really struggling with my “career” since leaving university partly because I still am unsure what path to start working towards. But also because you see so many young people that seem to have it all together or they’re doing their “dream job” or just a kind of job that could build them a career.

This is probably going to sound like I’m stating the obvious but I just want you all to know that you don’t have to put pressure on yourself. I think the pressure of having to do something with your course you did at uni is actually quite prominent because you finish uni, you graduate, and then unless you’re doing a follow on to your degree like a masters or internship or apprenticeship type of thing, more than likely you’re going to have to move home and find a job. Which is what I had to do when I finished uni as have a lot of my friends from uni and my friends from home who went to uni. So if that’s you or you think that’s probably going to be you, do not feel upset with yourself because you’re having to move home and get a job within your home town compared to some people who might be about to have an amazing opportunity to advance in the sector they’re wanting to work in. Every one of us will have our moment that will then lead onto bigger moments like a domino effect. Once you find your focus that you can then run wild with and really create something special with you will just know that this is what you’re meant to do or work towards. You’ll feel it in your gut and if you haven’t felt it yet don’t worry because I’m certain I haven’t either. I have things lightly sparkling in my brain but they have not yet grown and I’ve not made the connections in order to make those ideas work and develop. Someday in the not so distance future something will click in your brain and from then you’ll be away with passion and drive.

[CREDIT: PINTEREST]

As we move forward through the pandemic as well as general life regardless of beliefs, religions, sexuality, gender, your job, your status, how much money you make etc. None of that matters because all that matters is the kindness we give, the positivity and love that we spread, the goodness we share with others, and the pure joy we will feel from those three things will be magical. If we all show a little more appreciation for what we have and realise that we don’t need everything that we think we’re automatically entitled to then our world will be a nicer place to live. I truly believe this pandemic is to wake us all up and in this period whatever it makes you realise will be different for every person. I imagine as you’re reading this you might have already been woken up to something in your life that you didn’t even know you needed a reminder of or a push to open your eyes to. Don’t ignore that, it will more than likely mean you need to pursue it further, change your direction, or cut it off and start a fresh. But only you will know what the answer is. More than likely those realisations and subject matters will come at different rates depending on the individual. As I know some people have been in isolation for coming up to a month because of working from home as well. Whereas others of us have only been in isolation for the last week or two. So it’s subjective to every person. But then when you think about other countries such as China, America, Spain, Italy, France just to name a few, they’re coming up to like a month / matters of months in isolation and I imagine for them, they’re at a completely different stage in this growing process which is to come for us. If any of you reading live in any of the countries I’ve listed or others I haven’t mentioned, get in touch and let me know what life is currently like for you. I’d love to hear your side of things and how your journey through all of this has been going.

I’m pretty sure that’s mostly all I’ve got to say. As apart from my big life event and the big scale life event of Coronavirus there’s really not been any room for much else to take shape in my life at the moment. Of course I’ll be back again very soon now that I have all of this free time. But I think for my next post I’d like to share activities and thoughts and feelings during self isolation. I know a lot of other bloggers have been doing like their tips for self isolation but I don’t think I’m really gonna call them tips as each person is different and will vibe with different things. So I guess it will be more like sharing ideas for you to do that I’ve enjoyed exploring during the last week and a half.

I’ll be back with you all very soon. Keep distanced, stay safe, and radiate all that positivity I know you have.

BORN TO BE | Chasing “The Ideal” – But What is it?

Hello my lovelies and welcome to the launch of my brand new blog and the relaunch of my series Born To Be. If you know me from another little blogging site called Blogger then welcome to my brand new platform. If you guys have been following me for a while you will know in the last couple of years my blogging content has been quite sporadic (mostly 2019). Go and check out my final post on katielouisejohnson.blogspot.co.uk if you want to know why I’m switching platforms and everything, as well as a whole range of incredible posts from the past six years of my life, then go and have a look over there in the mean time whilst I work on getting this blog up and running.

Over one whole year ago I announced I’d be creating a new series that would tackle the concept of body positivity and body acceptance because at the time (as well as now) people of all shapes and sizes have been embracing the fashion industry. Breaking down the invisible barriers of what society decides we’re “supposed” to wear depending on our size. Then and now, people are wearing whatever the hell they want which is how it should be! My aim was and still is to create a series on my blog, this platform, to inspire people to feel good in their own skin as I’m still learning to feel good in mine. Also to remind people that as long as you feel good, that is all that matters.

The driving force for this project; I set myself the task of going into high street fashion retailers, try on a range of different outfits, and share my honest opinion: how it looks, fits, feels, how I’d style it etc. I realised early on that the whole premise of body positivity and acceptance is such a huge concept to tackle and just my opinion and I wasn’t going to work. No one is exactly the same size or has exactly the same body type. I decided to include the opinions of my dearest friends and fellow blogging friends to get the overall conses and outlook from real people, just like you and me. If you’re not the “idolised” body type (whatever that actually is) in our society it seems you’re not worthy or valued when it comes to the fashion industry. This is something I wanted to and still want to challenge throughout the relaunch of this series.

I chose Born To Be as the title of this series because it is open ended. It relates to the premise without being solely focused on the fashion industry because this isn’t just about the fashion industry. It’s the driving force for this series however it is not the subject that will shape the whole series. The phrase Born To Be will get you to think about what you are born to be. In my opinion you are born to be whatever you want to be. It will transform through your life as you change and you grow which is something I hope we all do through this series. Through the information shared, concepts presented, opinions expressed, and how all of that can relate to our own life and our own development.

As this is the relaunch of this series and the launch of my new platform, I figured a good place to start would be back at the beginning. The very first post this series ever had before I create any more of this series. To remind you guys where we’re at as well as remind myself and also to help me get back into focus with this subject area. I hope you enjoy re-immersing yourself in it or if you’re about to read for the first time, I hope it sparks a passion inside you to feel included and valued.

*DISCLAIMER*


Before we delve into this series I just want to make clear this is not to offend anyone or upset anyone. The reason this series is being made is to inspire you guys and to teach you about accepting yourself and why self love is important. I’m not a teacher or a professional on those two areas or any of the other subject areas I am going to be discussing for that matter. This series will discuss issues of mental health, body positivity, self love, acceptance, fashion and style, fashion and bodies, body positive movements, social media, self-esteem, confidence, and probably many more that I can’t think of right now. But I just need you all to know I am not an expert on any of these things. Everything I will share and be discussing has come from the research I have done, the opinions of the collaborators I have asked, and my own personal experiences.

I know a lot of people don’t like shopping and I understand the reason why because it can be a very traumatic experience. You go into a store looking for something specific, you find something gorgeous and it’s better than you imagined in your head, you’re literally pulling the rail out of the wall to find your size, and god forbid they don’t have it. You walk away sad and disappointed and think I’m never shopping in store again and end up buying things you didn’t even come in for. Such as more makeup, socks, or a handbag because in the words of Sarah Millican, ‘You’re never too fat for a handbag.’


Or your other scenario. You go in the store just for a browse and you find something you like that is actually in your size and you’re thinking it must be fate because this never happens. You decide to be sensible and try it on because the effort of coming back to return it is a real struggle. You get into the changing room to try it on, you’ve got the item on and you’re already shocked or even if you don’t get it on properly, you look in the mirror and you’re thinking ‘Oh my god, what the hell is this? Why is it riding up like that, why is it so tight there and why is it so loose round there? Is this actually my size? Should I try a bigger size or a smaller size? It doesn’t really suit me but I really like it, it’s not flattering at all, but the pattern is cute, but if I got it I know I’d never wear it, why does it look so good on the model and not on me?’, you hand back your item and leave the changing room even more sad than when you originally couldn’t find an item in your size. 


Let’s be honest, we’ve all been in that kind of situation regardless of what size, shape, or body type you are. Some how despite all of that I do still like to go shopping. The experience of shopping in store is very different to shopping online because in store you can look at an item and more than likely know if it will fit you or not. Whereas online something might look great in the image and then you get it and it’s not what you expected looks wise and then to top it all off it doesn’t fit right either. And regardless of what situation you’re in, you’re thinking ‘Am I too fat to wear that? Am I too thin to wear that? I’m not curvy enough to wear that, I’m not slim enough to wear that, I’m not tall enough to wear that, am I not good enough to wear that?’ 

And to be honest the whole experience leaves you feeling really downhearted and dejected. I’m not saying every shopping experience you have is that upsetting but I’m sure everyone reading this has experienced that feeling at some point. So we’re all not alone. I personally have experienced that quite often. There are a lot of items I wish I could wear but I physically can’t because they don’t fit right or they’re not made in my size (which we will discuss throughout this series) or they’re made for the unrealistic bodies of women regardless of your clothing size. 

Over the years and this year especially clothing brands have been bashed for not taking into consideration the sizes of real people, you know the people who are actually going to wear the clothes. I said this in my announcement post and I’ll say it again. If you’ve got a Victoria Secret model body for example or you’ve got the “idolised body” that is now in our society, i.e. slim-curvy with big boobs, a tiny waist, big hips, and slim legs. If you’re one of those body types I’m not stating that your body is not real. Your body type exists and we know it exists; your body is important and valued because people are important and valued. But for the majority of individuals, both women and men, if you’re not the idolised body type in our society it seems that you are not worthy or valued, especially when it comes to the fashion industry. Which is why I felt the shopping experience segment of this series would be an interesting way to truly test this theory out. 


Once again, I am aware I am only one individual and the opinions I will share with you will not be the way everyone feels about certain clothing items. Or if you’re the same size as me and a similar shape to me, if you feel good in a certain style of outfit that I don’t, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel good in that item because fashion is all about personal preferences. I’m also sorry that I can’t do very much for any of you who are males that read my blog hence because I’m not a man. But I hope to any of the men reading you can still take something positive from this. 


As this is the first post I thought we would start with a high street brand that we all know and love and we all shop in, whether that’s on the regular or every so often, and that is

I have shopped in Primark for so many things over the years and it is still one of my favourite brands to this day. I started these undercover shopper (okay, that’s officially what we’re gonna call this now) and try on sessions whilst I was still in Chester and I honestly couldn’t even tell you how many times I went into my local Primark at the time. The staff were probably thinking ‘God this girl is back again but is she gonna buy anything? Oh look no’ as I’m walking out the store. But if you’re an avid Primark shopper then you will know that every time you go in there’s always something new in the store. I don’t know how but there is and I think Primark is bigger now than it ever was when I was a teen. The fashion game has upgraded massively over the past couple of years so of course they were first on my list to try out and test. 


I tried on a lot of different styles of clothes in every retailer, some that fit my style and some that were items I’d never even think of trying on let alone wearing out in public. But in order to get a grasp on the clothing outlet as a whole I knew I needed to try out a whole range of clothes otherwise there’d be no point doing this element within this series. 
In Primark I usually fit comfortably in a size 20, I can’t really get away with size 18 in this store very often.

I own a lot of jumpers from Primark so to be honest I had a strong feeling this was going to fit and honestly one of the comfiest things I’ve ever put on my body. If you know me well then you’ll know that things like this are my casual everyday style to a T. I love the colour, it was comfy and soft, really well made, it was also comfortable because the hem around my hips/ stomach was a loose fit, it was soft inside which means it’ll keep you warm. I feel really good in this because it’s comfy, anything that is comfy is always an instant win. I think this jumper fits really well for my size and although it’s slouchy and oversized it still gives my figure some shape and makes me look nice without being too clingy and unflattering. Also the tie up front actually looks good on this as sometimes it can make tops and jumpers be too tight. This would be perfect to wear on those days when you just wanna feel comfortable in your own skin and throw something on and know you’re gonna look good. I would probably just wear this with a pair of jeans/jeggings like these ones here or a pair of leggings. Really simple, really easy, really comfortable, but still super cute. I’m actually really gutted I didn’t buy this at the time because I’d be down to wear something like this right now. 

Now on the other end of the spectrum we have this. I feel like this had potential to be really great but this honestly just let me down. This is another one of those that looks great on the hanger and then you try it on and you’re stood there like ‘What the hell is that?’ 
So this blouse had a long string on the outside that was attached round the back and then a smaller bit of string on the inner part of the top. Presumably you tie those together to get that wrap around effect. This has been quite a big thing from the summer, especially wrap around dresses and I think it’s appealing to the eye but honestly not the most practical. In the two pictures down the left side it might look like I’ve figured it out but honestly it just looked like a mess. I’m sorry but if any outfit is too hard to figure out how to get on, I am not going to bother with it because I don’t want to waste half my life trying to figure out how to get it on. I actually got so frustrated with this I decided to just let the strings drop which you can see in the image on the right and I honestly thought it looked better and 10x more flattering than the original design. But I have no idea where you’d even put the strings if you wore it like that. Also because it’s a wrap top it was all open at the front because it’s meant to wrap across your body, a part from a bit of stitching at the cleavage. I loved the sleeves and the neckline and I did like the pattern (it was actually green in real life) and if I were to wear it out it’d probably be with black jeans as a smart-casual outfit on a night out. However this did not fit. It didn’t sit nicely around my hips or stomach when it was wrapped around and tied together. It’s hard to tell on a wrap around item whether it’s true to size or not but I think the top half definitely was and the bottom half wasn’t. Overall though I did not feel my best in this piece therefore it’s a massive thumbs down.

Here we have another one that is a bit of a fail. Again I feel like this had potential but it just isn’t right. I like the pattern and I like how it goes in at the waist as it makes my waist look quite slim. But I’m not going to lie that’s about it. I know wrap tops and dresses have been really in this summer but honestly I’m over it. I’ve tried on so many items in this style and it’s just not for me. It doesn’t look good on my body personally, I don’t feel comfortable in it, I don’t like how there’s always that extra awkward bit of material that hangs down weirdly just like you can see here. To be honest there wasn’t anything wrong with the fit of this, it did actually fit my figure quite well but this style is just not for me and because of that I don’t feel good in it nor do I feel comfortable in it. But if I were to wear something like this out I’d probably wear it with jeans/ jeggings or potentially even some type of trousers. I think you could dress it up or dress it down to be honest. 

Okay now we all know trousers have been the hot topic this summer. Any type of wide leg trouser/ flare, you name it we’re having them and we’re obsessed with them. That trend is also carrying on into autumn and I’ve got a few funky wide leg trousers I’ve got my eye on. 


But I am in love with these trousers. Primark have a whole bunch of these in different colours but something I have learnt over the course of these weeks doing all these undercover shopper esk things is plain block coloured trousers (unless they’re black) do not look good on me. I personally don’t want to wear anything that accentuates how big my tummy is. It is not flat at all my stomach is round and it doesn’t have rolls when you sit down it is just one massive roll. But I’ve found that anything that is a block colour and not patterned just does not look good on my stomach. So I saw this style of trousers around a lot and I really struggle with Primark’s trousers because the majority of them don’t fit right around the crotch area properly. You always get that awkward flap of material that doesn’t know where it is supposed to go. But I tried these on and I fell in love with them. This is another item that I wish I could’ve bought at the time. That top left corner photo, I am living for how slim and flat these make my stomach look. You can’t tell in these trousers because they’re complimenting my figure so well but I assure you my stomach is not flat at all. I am honestly shook at how good these look on my body. I think the contrasting patterns and the tie up front really do me favours here because it gives the eyes something else to focus on other than a specific body part (my stomach). 


I love the pattern, these are honestly so comfy around my stomach and my waist, really airy light material, so freeing on my legs, super flattering on the legs as well – the extra tie bit of material really slims your legs down, these are more figure complimenting than figure hugging. I am obsessed with how much I love these and how good these make me feel. I feel confident, I feel happy, I feel powerful, I feel sexy. It’s crazy how much an item of clothing can do that to you. Styling these I honestly think you could wear these with anything because they’re black and grey/white and you could wear these on a night out, casual day out, if you’re just relaxing. I love love love these! 

I also ended up finding these in this really pretty pinky red tone with gorgeous pink flowers on. I remember when everyone said red and pink doesn’t go together well I’m telling you now you’re lying. Look how gorgeous these are together! And even though these are not contrasting like the first pair I still love these just as much. Again they’re super comfy, the pattern is really flattering for me, I feel like this pair kind of make my legs and hips look wider but not bigger but it could just be the way I’m standing. You can also see the detail better of how these tie at the front and how that extra bit of material sits and is attached onto the trousers. I’m so gutted I didn’t buy these ones either at the time. I love these – super comfy, super flattering, super fab quality, again light and airy material, comfy on hips and stomach, the cut is all exactly the same. Which actually proves that the cut of these are true to size because sometimes you buy one thing and it fits perfectly and then you get another pair the same or in a different colour and they don’t fit and you’re like ‘Sorry what?’ but these didn’t do that. Double thumbs up.

And now were back on the downward spiral. This again had potential but just doesn’t fit right. I think it’s pretty evident that it doesn’t fit on my boobs properly because the button is popping at the seams. It was also really tight around the whole bust, even around the sides of boobs so it wasn’t very breathable. That’s the only real problem in terms of fit. But I hated how much this dress highlighted my stomach, to some of you it might not even look that bad and when I look at these photos back I admit it doesn’t. But how you feel about yourself in an outfit, no matter how much someone tells you how great you look, if you look at yourself and don’t feel good then that opinion from whoever will honestly not stick in your head. It’s really sad but it’s true. But at the end of the day if you don’t feel good, happy, or comfortable then you shouldn’t try and force yourself to be. But I was disappointed because the length of this dress is great for me because I’m tall and the material of this dress was so soft and felt really nice against the skin. But overall this was still a miss for me it didn’t fit completely right, I wasn’t comfortable, it highlighted the areas I didn’t want highlighted. But if I were to style it and wear it would probably just be a casual summer dress with some white sandals or slip on shoes. Maybe a denim jacket if it was a little chilly. 

Finally we’re seeing the light because I love this skirt. I saw this on the hanger and the mannequin when I went into the store and really liked the look of it. Thought it was different to any other aline skirts I’ve seen mainly because it isn’t denim. I love the denim ones but I cant wear any of them because denim is not giving fabric, it doesn’t stretch, so if something is denim be that jeans, skirts, shorts etc. If it doesn’t fit my body (which is 9 times out of 10) then I just have to accept that it doesn’t fit. So because of that I steer clear of anything that is pure denim because I already know it is not gonna fit me.

 I’ve got big hips, big legs, a big stomach and usually with skirts like this in this material I have a big problem with them always coming up too short at the back and because these are so figure hugging you cant wear anything underneath aside from your underwear because it’s already sucked onto your curves. The way you see me wearing it now is how I comfortably like to wear trousers, shorts, leggings, skirts etc. For those of you who don’t know you have a natural waist and a lower waist. Your natural waist is just above your belly button and your lower waist sits under your stomach. A lot of things in fashion now are always high waisted and thank god because I don’t know how I’d’ve cope in the 2000s with everything being so low cut. I prefer to wear those items on my natural waist because it sits there comfortably but with being tall it does mean that shorts and skirts can sometimes come up very short at the back. So it’s not an issue for me but just something I have to watch. 

I was surprised at how much I liked this. It definitely is very fitted and I think you can tell that and you can see it highlight my stomach slightly but honestly I don’t even care because I really love the style of it. I’d would probably wear it with a top like this that you can tuck in or a crop top or some kind. I only wear crop tops with high waisted items. Also I feel like you’d have to with this because of the top where it ruffles and the tie up bit at the front. Honestly though I think if it didn’t have the tie up bit it might’ve been more of an issue, just like I said with the tie up on the trousers, it takes away that boldness of having a whole body part highlighted by a colour. I would say this was true to size as it did fit very well, the material was thick and good quality, I did feel comfy overall but if I bought it I know I’d have to watch how much it rides up through the day, I’d say I felt content. Like I’d be happy to go out in this if I was really feeling like I want to get my legs out and wear a skirt. As I say I’d style it just like this in the picture, maybe with some sandals or some slip on shoes. I think you could wear this casually or even on a summer night out. Overall, I’d give this one a thumbs up. 

Speaking of denim here we have probably one of the worst items in the whole selection of shops that I tried on. Now firstly let me just say I do not believe that this can be a size 20. I’m sorry but this is absolutely ridiculous. Now obviously this is denim and I literally just said that denim things don’t stretch which you can evidently see in these photos. So I did not have high hopes for these.

But you know what trying an item on in your size and it not completely being for you or not fitting exactly how you’d like is one thing. But trying an item on in what you believe to be your size and it barely even going over your thighs is actually awful. These I couldn’t even bring the material together to do the zip up let alone the button. 


I don’t even care how unflattering these pictures are. Yes you can see my stomach and my stretch marks and you can see how the line on the legs is literally cutting off my circulation. 


The fact that brands think this is okay is just so wrong. I don’t even think these would fit someone who is a size 14 or 16 because these were so ridiculously tight. Now with Primark I am on the cusp of things not fitting me as size 20 is the largest size they do which again is even more infuriating because it says to people who are above a size 20 that you are not allowed to wear our clothes because your size isn’t included in our store. And honestly that pisses me off so much the fact that most brands these days only stock to size 16 and that is without a plus size range which is even worse. Even if they do stock up past that it is still only to size 20. I understand the argument could be they only stock clothes when they look at the amount of the most popular clothing sizes sold across the whole store. But if you do not stock clothing past a certain size you are limiting all those other size ranges and all those other sales and most importantly limiting people to feel good about themselves because you decided to put a stamp on what size you’re “allowed” to be in order to be stylish and fashionable.
These shorts are a big fat no. No amount of cute embroidery could make me change my mind. They don’t fit, they make my weight look like it’s bursting at the seams, just a mess all over the shop.

Next on Primark’s agenda we have another one that again is a bit of a fail. Last year everyone was on the crop top hype and now this year everyone is on the bralette hype. The upper half of our bodies is being covered by less and less material every year. Next year we’ll all be going out in just nipple covers, you just wait. One thing I have learnt over the course of this whole series is bralettes in popular high street stores are not made for girls with bigger boobs. If you wear bralettes and have bigger boobs, where are you getting them from?! I have tried on so many and they all do not fit at all. The look of this bralette is deceiving because you might be looking at it and thinking ‘But Katie it looks great?’ I wont lie, my cleavage looks awesome in this. But this bralette is a tie front – no buttons, no poppers, no hooks. This all relies on your knotting skills and I’m sorry but that is too risky. In the two pictures with the green trousers if you look closely at my boobs you can see where the knot is and underneath you can see where my bra sits. So there’s no way you can wear a bra with this top but get this. I even tried this on without a bra and it still didn’t fit properly. It was still took tight around my boobs, what the hell? Honestly I am too self-conscious to go out without a bra on. I don’t like the feel of it, I don’t like how my boobs look under tops without a bra on (unless its pyjamas), and it’s just not for me. So even if this did fit without a bra I’d still have to give it a no because I’m just not comfortable not wearing a bra out.

Even though it is a no, I did really like the look of these outfits together. I think the top with the skirt is more flattering on me personally as I’m unsure on these trousers. I don’t know if I like them on me or not. These two styles of outfits are really popular at the moment and to be honest I actually do not hate them on me. But I know I wouldn’t be 100% confident wearing them. Perhaps if the top fitted me properly and the trousers were a bit more flattering then I would potentially say this is okay. The overall style is fab but I wasn’t 100% comfortable, it didn’t fit properly, and I just know I’d never have the confidence to wear it out. So this bralette is a thumbs down.

I’m in two minds about these. Ribbed trousers have been a massive trend over the course of the summer because they’re so easy to wear and they’re quite lightweight. I think Primark were one of the first stores on the high street to bring these out and then when they became really popular I saw a lot of other brands bring them out as well. I feel like ribbed material is really iffy on my body. On the item of clothing it gives a bit of texture like you can see on these trousers but I’m unsure whether or not if that is flattering or not. I do have a ribbed playsuit which I really do like but it is a tiny bit more fitted than I am used to but I loved the overall style so I let the ribbed style go for that one. But I just can’t click with ribbed material in trousers and I think it is because of the inner thighs. As a bigger girl my thighs rub together, it ain’t no secret. But due to that sometimes when there is extra material around the crotch area it sits weird on my legs. If you look at the crotch area it almost looks like they’re highlighting the shape of my vagina. Don’t get me wrong vaginas are great but it’s not really the vibe I’m after in a pair of trousers. We’ve already established I find block colours hard to work with but I feel like really light colours, white, baby pink, lilac, baby blue, pastel yellow – any colours like that don’t look good on my legs. I don’t have the slimmest legs and I just feel like lighter colours make them look massive which really doesn’t do the best for my confidence. The saddest thing about this item is this is the first item that I feel like I’m not able to wear whatsoever and not because it doesn’t fit. These do fit and they’re quite comfy but they just physically do not look right on my body. But I would say they are true to size and they’re very comfy, but for myself I don’t feel good in these because there’s just something off about this style for me. It just doesn’t feel right on my figure or my body therefore I’m not confident in these. The obvious way to style these is with a matching crop top in the same material and colour (co-ords have been a super popular style this year) or a t-shirt tucked in like I did with this one here. Or maybe just some kind of standard crop top or crop jumper. So I’m gonna have to give this a thumbs down. I would probably just wear these casually but you could definitely pair this with a pair of heels to dress it up. 

Okay, we’ve had a lot of thumbs down in this undercover shopper experience but I tried this on and my faith was restored. I am in love with this. I love playsuits, but I have to have soft cotton fabric ones with an elastic waist because otherwise they’re either gonna be too tight, not fit, and make me look like a whale trapped in a net. But I tried this on and I cannot get over how beautiful this is. When I tried this one on I was actually with my friend Tash and we both tried it on and loved it. She actually bought this she loved it that much. This is more crepe material so it’s a tad more textured but still extremely comfy and super flattering. You can see where that band is which brings in my waist and then goes out slightly underneath so my hips look nice and round. I love big blow out sleeves, especially belle sleeves. I just think they look so flattering on everyone and they’re much more freeing to wear. This pattern is gorgeous, I love this neckline, it shows a bit of cleavage but not too much. You know what, Primark you’re getting a clap for this one, well done. This has the perfect balance of classy but cute. This one was 100% true to size because it fit Tash perfectly as well and she is a couple of sizes smaller than me I think. I am 100% comfortable in this, I could go out in this at any point and I’d be happy and comfortable. I feel so good in this, this looks bomb on my figure to me. I think you could honestly wear this on any occasion. Out in the day time, a night out, an evening meal, even a wedding or a christening. Honestly I feel like this piece is so versatile. I would probably wear it casually and potentially as a night out outfit with some white sandals or slip on shoes. By far one of my favourite things out of the entire store that I tried on. Well done Primark. 

Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Katie you were just complaining about ribbed material and now you’re showing us something else with ribbed material… you okay girl?’, I know it’s crazy but let me tell you guys let me tell you. Primark are bring their A game with this one. Okay so ribbed material on the legs for me, a big fat no. But over my boobs, hell to the yes. Anything to make the girls look good because I love my boobs. The difference with this ribbed material is because it is in a knit dress, the material is thicker and I think with ribbed clothing that looks a lot more flattering for me personally. But what I love about this dress is it’s ribbed at the top and then the skirt part is just plain material. I love the long sleeves because it makes it extra snug and cosy, the length on this is fantastic because I don’t wanna be flashing my arse to the world. I love the colour. Oh my god I just love it. This is obviously apart of their more autumn to winter range and I desperately want to go in and buy it. They have a bunch of different colours in these and you guessed it, I want them all. Also, can we take a minute to talk about this little mustard jacket. I was quite feeling it paired with this I wont lie. I really like this jacket because it’ so soft and it’s got silky/ satin material inside so it’ll keep you pretty warm. However I hate what this jacket looks like done up but open just like this looks fab. You could defo wear this jacket with pretty much anything I think. As for this dress I would most likely wear it with tights or leggings and boots of some kind with a jacket depending on how cold it was. 

Another thing to note, this dress was actually a part of Primark’s new and improved size range which I haven’t tried a whole lot from. They mainly brought out these dresses and a massive amount of jumpers in this range and I really want to try it out. I sadly didn’t try on anything else in that range for this section of the series but I might go in a some point and fully test it out to see if it really is new and improved. But overall love, love, love this. I feel so comfortable, so happy, massive thumbs up from me. 

Continuing the green theme here we have another one that is a bit of a fail. I feel like it doesn’t look as bad in the pictures but in real life it was horrible. The main reason I actually wanted to try this on was because I saw Zoella wearing it when she did her release of her Botanics range and we all know how big palm leaves and banana leaves have been this year. On Zoe it looked so good and when she said it was from Primark I was thinking as if and then I tried it on and I was like ‘Sorry what is this?’ 

Again this had potential but the fit is all wrong. The top part of the material is overly loose and you cant adjust the straps so it kept falling down. The middle part where the top overlaps the trousers is meant to be flattering but I feel like on me it’s just not. The trousers around my hips and stomach was too tight and it was a bit restricting on my legs. So I’m gonna go a head and say that this wasn’t true to size, I don’t know what size 20 body they’re making this for honestly. Despite that I didn’t feel bad in this but I didn’t feel good in this. It was just a bit of weird piece but then again jumpsuits are always a struggle for my body type and you’ll see that throughout this series. But if I were to style it as it’s an all in one the work is pretty much done for you. I’d probably just pair it with a jacket of some kind and some sandals. You’d could probably wear this casually in the day or on an evening out or night out etc. But overall, thumbs down. 

Primark sell a lot of trousers at the minute and as you can see I’ve been trying them all on. At the start of summer everyone went a bit obsessed with rainbow things and especially because of pride, people now love the pattern even more for what it is associated with. I love this pattern. I think it is so different and so cool, they also had this pattern in a jumpsuit and a dress which I would’ve loved to have found in my size and tried on. I loved the pattern and the material, it was very silky, but I’ll be honest that was about it. With these I had an idea of how I wanted to look and it just didn’t match up. Which is kinda sad but I can’t lie to myself or to you guys. I’d dislike these more without the tie front bow because you can see the shape of my stomach so clearly in these. And to make it worse it’s got that material sitting really weirdly around my crotch area. I think these are really cool and really extra but they’re just not going to work for me. So sadly these trousers are a thumbs down. But I’d probably wear these casually with slip on shoes. Not sure what specific top but definitely not this one. It’s worth noting this top is not a size 20, this was a 16 I think because I tried these trousers on when I was with Tash but I didn’t have a top to try as I was in a dress so Tash threw me this one to just throw on with them. I like the colour of it but I just really don’t like the style. It is the weirdest crop top ever because it’s got an elastic band around the bottom which just feels weird for how cropped it is. Honestly just a no. 

Our final item in testing Primark’s clothes is another bloody wrap top, my favourite thing ever (can you hear the sarcasm in the words?) 

I think you can see pretty evidently that this was an even bigger fail than the last one. I love the pattern on this, I don’t have many orange coloured clothes so I thought it’d be nice to try and mesh that into my current wardrobe but it is not happening with this item. Okay so on the hanger this look very nice. The sleeves are nice and large and this bit of material you see hanging down at the front was tied together to make a loose bow at the back I think. But to get it on you have to undo that piece of material. One part of that material is on the outside and the other is on the inside and some how your meant to tie those two bits around you and make a bow at the back. Judging by this photo you can tell this didn’t work out. I’m sorry but why have clothing brands got to make their items so complicated?

As if that wasn’t a massive fail alone this also didn’t fit properly. It even had a little loop at the bottom to put a button through but honestly I don’t think it would’ve made a difference. There was not enough material to fit this round my boobs. They are literally right out to say hello in this top, you would not be able to miss them. I love the pattern but hate the fit, hence because it didn’t even fit, as I said I’m so over this wrap top, wrap dress, wrap bloody everything trend. It’s not practical, the items never fit, it needs to go. Brands just stop. But if I were to wear this it would probably be with jeggings or shorts and with sandals or slip on shoes. Most likely casual but could potentially wear on a night out. 

That is it for the Primark shopping experience. Wow I never thought we’d make it. I did actually try on a few more things than this but I picked the top ones I had the most opinions about because we would’ve been here for centuries otherwise. So overall opinions on Primark. For me personally I feel like it’s really hit and miss and you have to take it with a pinch of salt. Weighing up the clothes there were 7 pieces that were thumbs up and 9 pieces that were thumbs down, which includes the ones I wasn’t 100% on. If you’re not 100% on an outfit you shouldn’t try and force yourself to be.  Primark is just one of those stores that makes an insane amount of clothes in all different styles, patterns, fits etc. Which is great as it gives you variety but I feel like particular styles are made for particular body types even though the majority of their clothes go up to size 20. So for example, the majority of their trousers – those green ones, the rainbow ones, the lilac ones etc. They fit but they don’t look good and the way they’re cut doesn’t look good on my body personally in my eyes. Whereas their jumpers are mostly oversized and have a bit more space so they actually fit and are a comfy fit. But because these trousers have the tie fronts and they’re wide leg styled and they have particular textures I feel like I can’t wear long loose fit tops with these because it just looks weird to me. I don’t know it just doesn’t look right. Which means I’d have to wear them with crop tops or tops you can tuck in. That’s fine but sometimes I’m not in the mood to have an item of clothing that accentuates my round stomach because it’s always been a bit of an insecurity of mine. So when I wear crop tops and jeggings or some kind of trousers and skirts or a playsuit that show off my stomach some what just know I’m having a really body confident day that day.

So overall is Primark true to size for my size I’m actually gonna go ahead and say no, it’s not. But am I going to carry on shopping here? Yes because Primark is one of those stores where you just have accept that not everything is going to fit you but you don’t know until you try it on. Which I think is pretty evident from the entire experience. The quality and the price in Primark these days is pretty much on par with New Look if I’m being honest. Not everything is as cheap as it used to be but it’s still not like over priced for what you’re paying for. I’d say the quality of Primark is average to good, again depends on what you’re buying. I’d say Primark is in the middle when you take everything into consideration but I will definitely still shop there in the future.

Carrie Pendle
Gina Ellis
Lauren Morton

During my research I discovered that your body image can change in just two minutes. Yes you read that right, two minutes is all it takes. 

Have you ever looked at yourself in a full-length mirror and wished you looked more like the beautiful people who grace the covers of glossy magazine? If so, you are by no means alone. (Brooks, K, 2016). Body dissatisfaction is more dominant in our society than ever and has now become more known as normative discontent. Which suggests that the majority of men and women, women in particular, accept that dissatisfaction with ones circumstances is “normal.” The majority of people affected by this actually think they are heavier than they are and is a phenomenon know as body size misperception. Which means your mind creates a misunderstanding or interpretation of the reality of what your body is. Too much exposure to this way of picturing yourself could potentially lead to body dysmorphia which is the abnormality in a shape or size related to a specific body type, again dominated by your mind. 

Lucy Densham

In a recent study participants were asked to view images of people that had been digitally manipulated to appear lighter or heavier than they really were. The participants were asked to decide whether these images looked fatter or thinner than “normal.” After just 120 seconds of exposure to these images, the original-sized bodies looked abnormally large compared to the digitally enhanced thinner images, which to the participants were rated as “normal.” The opposite was also true. Exposure to digitally enhanced heavier bodies made the original body sizes appear as skinny. This is where the statement of “chasing the thin idea” comes into play. 

It’s no secret that many individuals are affected by the thin, supposedly ideal images propagated by the media. The connection between social pressures to be thin dictated by images used in this study for example causes feelings of body dissatisfaction. This then increases the risk factor for developing eating disorders such as anorexia. This was first theorised by psychologist Hilde Bruch in the 1970s. Ten years later a study showed the measurements of Miss America contestants and Playboy centrefold models between 1959 and 1979 – these were decreasing due to the media’s movement of “thin is beautiful” rapidly spreading. Kate Moss, one of the worlds most well known English models once stated, ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ which is one of the most damaging things I’ve personally ever heard. Not only is that damaging for individuals in general, but for anyone who is aspiring to be a model and looks up to Kate Moss, it clarifies from her line of work that to be a successful and worthy model you should be skinny and that to me is disgusting. If any of you reading this are aspiring to be a model, no matter what your size, do not let the closed mindedness of individuals diminish your dreams and your passions. Diversity in models is valued in today’s society so much more because were pushing for self-love and acceptance. And one of the best things to see in 2018 is brands not just sharing the unrealistic bodies of women and men in their advertising. 

Megan Owens

Despite developing research which confirms the link of social pressures from manipulated images in the media creates risk factors for certain disorders. There’s still very little understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying the perception of our own bodies in relation to what we see on the TV, in magazines, and most recently on social media. 

Since the time of Aristotle it has been known that prolonged viewing of certain stimuli can cause after-effects that alter the perception of subsequently viewed objects. The after-effect often produces an appearance that the neutral stimuli are in a sense of opposite to the original stimulus which the observer was overexposed to. 

In this clip you will experience movement in a particular direction, downwards the motion of a waterfall, this can cause the stationary rocks besides the waterfall to appear to move in the opposite direction that is upwards.

A similar motion of movement is experienced in this clip. The conflicting movement of the spinners forces your brain to refocus on the different movements at different points as you stare at the centre. Afterwards when you’re shown an image of a storm cloud your brain identifies that the image is moving because of the visual illusion you just experienced from the motion of the spinners.  

After-effects are accompanied by a reduction in responsiveness of neurons in the visual areas of the brain. Modern theories propose that the change in brain activity serves to tune our perceptual systems to the environmental conditions. Our perceptual systems are apart of the way we use our brains from when were children. In children, learning occurs from when they respond to a certain set of stimuli or information. In other words a child will always possess a particular perceptual thinking pattern which results in productive learning. This leads to learning through different formats and this develops throughout our lives. This benefits our perceptual memory by giving us the ability to interpret incoming information by reconsigning individuals, categorising them, and by noting the relationships between individuals and those categories. All of this gives our brains a frame of reference for what is normal or expected as determined by our visual diet through our lives. 

Early studies of these affects focused on simple stimuli like movement and colour but recent investigations have shown subjects such as body size and shape can cause similar after-effects. These after-effects could actually transfer others’ bodies to the perception of ones own. This is from viewing the abnormally thin versions of other people’s bodies which caused participants to see themselves as heavier than they were and vice versa. It is likely that these after-effects are the physiological basis of body-size misperception. However, whilst that observation fits nicely with the narrative connecting media exposure; in the real world it also suggests mechanisms mediating the perception of one’s own and other’s body size and shape are overlapping. 

One thing we do know is body image is a complex construct, but a better understanding of these mechanisms will open up a new avenue for a fuller understanding of body-size misperception. A piece of advice for us should be that whilst a healthy lifestyle brings many benefits, a strict diet will not correct the misperception of one’s own body size. Instead the person you see in the mirror may be more effectively beautified by changing your visual diet. Visual stimuli is food for your mind and in this case seeing the unrealistic bodies of men and women should be viewed in moderation, this is key. And of course variety in relation to shape and size is the spice of life. 

[Source: How Your Body Image Can Change in Two Minutes]

Over the weeks of research I asked 18 women to answers 10 questions I had pulled out from that research in relation body confidence, confidence when it comes to wearing clothes, their opinions on their own bodies, their opinions on social media, how they feel about the current self love and body positivity movements, their opinion on the way society views individuals when it comes to fashion and bodies, and how they’ve learned to accept their own bodies. 

In this instalment we’re going to discuss and analyse the questions: 

Firstly, what’s your body confidence out of 10? The answers I received create an average of 6/10 for generalised body confidence in the young women I asked. 

One thing that is interesting to me is all these women in my eyes seem so confident and have incredible figures. But it’s crazy how different someone’s own perspective compares to someone else’s. 

From doing my own research and reading through all my collaborator’s answers I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes people confuse body confidence with the confidence to wear absolutely anything and get parts of your body out which I really don’t believe is the case. In my opinion I would say it’s about feeling confident in your own skin – physically and mentally. There are definitely things you can do to improve your body confidence over time such as spending time with yourself and your body by doing yoga, being naked in your own space, have a pamper session to treat your skin. Just really look after yourself from head to toe – you’ll feel better about yourself. Even if that feeling is only for a short period of time it will eventually rub off on the way you look at yourself. For myself, I’ve been doing a lot of pamper nights recently to treat my skin which has made me feel so much more confident about myself and has started to help me enjoy parts of my body more than I have in the past.

One thing this research does prove is it doesn’t matter whether you’re a size 8 or a size 20 (as all of the women I interviewed range from sizes 8-20) body confidence has nothing to do with weight. Melanie Murphy and Jessica Brennan are two YouTubers and are also sisters who are very real on their channels. They talk about sexuality, anxiety, depression, periods, sex, relationships, confidence, and many other different topics. They have a series they do together called Teenage Vs. Twenty Something where they discuss similar topics as said above but from two different perspectives because they’re quite a few years apart in age. In that series they did a whole video dedicated to body image and body confidence and one thing in particular they debate is how your body confidence does not latch on to your weight. 

Someone could be so thin and you could be thinking they must be so confident and that they’re so lucky and so healthy. People seem to think if you are over weight you must be so un-confident and you hate your body etc. Also, a lot of people want to change their shape in certain areas of their body and not their overall body weight but you can’t do that because that’s not how each individual body is made. Plus when you exercise or try and lose weight you lose that weight all over your body. You can’t focus it on one area no matter how much exercise you do. 

[Source: Body Image and Body Confidence – Melanie Murphy and Jessie B]

Secondly, does your body weight, type, shape etc make you less or more confident when it comes to wearing certain clothes? The overall consensus is less confident. 

In my opinion fashion is very subjective depending on the person. But there is an issue around this idea of ‘Am I too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too curvy, too petite to wear that?’

Fashion items such as bralettes, crop tops, jumpsuits, playsuits, mini skirts, certain dresses etc spring to mind, just to name a few. Obviously not every single style in these categories of clothes is going to suit everyone and you wont feel good in every single one of them and that’s okay. You can’t force yourself to like a piece of clothing on yourself no matter how much you liked it on the model, hanger, or mannequin. This outlook of am I too this and that to wear certain clothes is definitely down to the brands themselves. The majority of high street brands still do not stock a wide variety of sizes, I cannot believe in 2018 there are still some stores that only stock up to size 14 or 16 and that is without a plus size range. Whilst that’s infuriating enough what’s more infuriating is some brands don’t show models who are above a size 8 wearing their clothes. But the most infuriating thing of all has got to be when brands use size 10 or size 12 models and claim they’re “plus size.” I’ve seen so many brands do this throughout this year and it makes me sick. It is not only damaging for all women in society, it’s damaging for the woman who is doing the modelling, being branded as plus size when she is clearly not. With behaviour like this being accepted in our society it is not a surprise that the majority of women feel so down about themselves, especially when it comes to their clothing size.

Emily Senatore

I mentioned fashion is subjective; I have items in my wardrobe that I love as a whole but I do have days where I look at my clothes and I think, ‘God no, I’m not wearing that today.’ Even if it’s usually an item I adore wearing. Some days I’ll be loving life wearing a crop top and skirt and then the next day I’ll hate it and want to wear nothing but leggings and an over sized t-shirt or jumper. Therefore confidence when it comes to wearing certain clothes definitely depends on how you feel on that specific day. 

On average I am 50/50 as the way I feel is always subject to change when it comes to wearing clothes. I even have days where I hate the look of a pair of jeggings and a t-shirt and that’s when you know it’s gonna be a bad day. With that said your overall personal style does not completely change. So for example 90% of the time I’d say my personal style is comfy, feminine, and pretty. You all know I’m really into floral patterns and lace detailing. That other 10% I would say is still similar but it’s a little bit edgier, bolder, and consists of more dark toned colours. That 10% is when I fully embrace the sassy queen I am when it comes to feeling good in what I wear and I love it when I’m in that frame of mind. 

It’s important that you shift your focus away from attaching the way you physically look onto your weight because once you distance those two concepts you’ll feel a lot better about yourself. It’s so sad to go through your whole life hating your body because your body is your home. Your body is where you can be at your most wholesome and it’s important to make peace with that because it’s what carries you throughout your whole life. Everything you experience, every triumph, every downward spiral, every good day, every bad day, every smile, every tear, every life changing moment your body experiences that with you. It does incredible things to keep us alive every single day so we can live the greatest life we all possibly can and I feel like we forget about that because of the way our brains tell us that we should value the opinions of other people over our own when it comes to our own bodies. I imagine we all fall victims to this, I know I have and I sometimes still do, but that concept of your body is made to do incredible things for you to the live the life you want to gives me great comfort. I’ve never been super skinny or slim but being the weight and shape I am has never affected my ability to do anything. The only thing that has ever affected me in that way is my mind because of people’s opinions about how you should be, and how you should look, and how you should act, and who you should be. When you’re exposed to all that for a long time eventually your mind believes what it’s being told. You go through this point of where you say to yourself ‘Well everyone is saying that about me so it must be true.’

We all need to stop being so judgemental of one another but more than ever we need to stop being so judgemental of ourselves. This whole idea of “an ideal” or the “thin ideal” isn’t actually real. The ideal for one person will not be the same ideal for another person because everyone is different which means we’re in a constant cycle of wanting what we can’t have. We all need to learn to appreciate each other’s beauty without devaluing our own self-worth and I know that’s hard. That is really hard to do when we’re constantly surrounded by images and opinions of people telling you who you should be, how you should be, what you should be, and what you can do. We always say that people should be allowed to do what they want and wear what they want but then we go and judge people when they do. I’m not going to sit here and say that I haven’t done that because I have. In the past I have judged people for their choices or the way they handled a situation or for an item of clothing they’ve worn, and I’m sure all you reading this have done that as well at some point in your life. But that is not a reflection on them. That’s a reflection on myself and yourself for the way we both view ourselves in relation to all those factors. This doesn’t make you a bad person because were all only human, we’re not built to be perfect. You just have to be aware that everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with that. 

The way we think and feel, our beliefs, our wishes, how we deal with situations, how we get along with other people, how we disagree with certain people, our views about ourselves etc. All of this counts to our mental well being and all of that can affect what we wear and how we feel when we wear it and how we feel about our physical appearance and how we feel in our bodies. Which is why we have to stop chasing an “ideal” whatever that ideal is. 

Have I ever “chased the thin ideal”? I think I have but when I really think about it I don’t think I was chasing the “thin ideal.” When I was younger, probably 14 – 17/18, I think I was chasing for anyone who wasn’t me. I’d always say ‘I wish I was skinner’ because all I’d ever see in magazines were tiny models and female celebrities were always thin. All of the good looking guys in school and college would date girls who were slimmer than me and I think all of that did some damage to my mental health and how I view myself. Obviously at the time I was pretty oblivious to all that because self love and body positivity wasn’t really a thing in my teenage years. And sometimes that way of thinking and those thoughts still creep back into my head which clarifies that whatever affects you mentally, doesn’t ever 100% leave you. But as your grown and you change the point is to acknowledge that those feelings are there but to not let that dominant your own perception of yourself. 

In the next chapter of BORN TO BE we’re going to be discussing, debating, and analysing Reality Vs. The Instagram Age with lots more research to discuss, we’re going to be delving into another beloved brand on the high street and this brand is by far one of my favourite places to shop – leave your guesses in the comments below. More outlooks and opinions from my collaborators, and of course lot’s more inspiring quotes against pretty backgrounds. 

Get ready as from this post on-wards this series is about to get a lot more intense. 

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you next time.