Five Minutes on What Now...?

Trigger Warning - This post mentions fertility and motherhood

I’m going through this thing right now. An internal debate if you will. Not a particularly fun or fluffy one, so If you’re reading this post in the hope of clarity or a deeper understanding of a woman who has her life together READ NO FURTHER.

I saw a quote recently that really stuck with me - it said something about there being two kinds of childless women; A loving and caring Auntie type and the other a drunken old floozy. Luckily I can’t find the exact quote again because I’m in exactly the kind of mood where I’d find the Earth mother who wrote it and kick their face off... Child loss broke my heart, there’s no doubt about it. MPW and I went from knowing exactly who we were as a couple, to getting our heads around the fact that there would be new element to life as we knew it, to actually looking forward to having another little dude to knock about with and take to McDonalds. Despite this, as a couple who had never formally written the “Along came a baby” chapter into our book, it’s since been very difficult to work out what exactly it is we grieved for.
I'm sorry but has there ever been a more apt jumper for a blog post?!
Maybe Baby Jumper - Joanie Clothing
Polka Dot Skirt - Joanie Clothing
Not long ago, I watched a programme about millionaires going on holiday, built around what I know to be the standard reality TV format of “Good vs Bad”. One couple had a fairly typically UK family setup and were shown as hard, dedicated parents; working to provide for their family and, therefore, fulfilled in their lives. The other couple, had chosen earlier in life not to have children and as such were depicted as selfish and lonely; classing the cruise staff as their family and living an soulless existence. It left me feeling utterly empty. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great deal more self-belief than to base my life decisions around trash TV, this said, it does get you to thinking. The past two years have really mellowed me, I feel much more able to handle whatever is thrown at me and I'm sad that I'll never be in the position where I can prove this to the rest of the world.

I see my parents spending time with friends whose lives now revolve round their grandchildren. I hear friend’s mums talk about what wonderful mothers they have, in turn, become and as beautiful as this sentiment is, it also physically hurts me - Will I miss out on not only a wonderful bond with my own children but also a magical new bond with my own mother, wherein she can finally look at me and think “Yes, I’ve done a good job”? Will I never have that? And more to the point, is it just FOMO that makes me want it?
Then there's fertility itself; The pain, expense and distress that I have seen so many of my wonderful friends go through. 

Herein lies the issue with having children: It is not a decision you make lightly, you can’t just “have a go” at motherhood in the way that I’ve “had a go” at pilates, pole dancing and being a functioning adult. When you buy into this particular lifestyle, you buy into it HARD. Yes, I have choices, but I could be making the choice to lose my relationship, my career, my independence. I could be making the choice to raise the next prime minister, the love of my life, a lifetime of wonder and joy. Seriously, how do people make this look so easy?!?

I know I’m not alone in these thoughts, I’m also very, very, VERY fortunate to have some incredible women in my life who have made a firm decision to not have children and, beyond the pretty much constant irritation of people saying “OH YOU’LL CHANGE YOUR MIND”, they are secure, confident and most importantly; happy in their decision.

I just want to finish this post by, as per, recognising my privilege. I’m incredibly fortunate to be in a safe and loving relationship, yes I work very hard to have my own home and relative financial independence but I’m also very lucky to be a position where I have the emotional support of a lot of good people who I know will love me with or without children.
Em x

Northern Lights - Plus Size Winter Warmers

January can be grim can't it? It plays havoc with the weather, the light and more annoyingly our moods. My new job means that I literally don't have a moment to think about anything except all of the long words I need to learn (HELP!), but I'm still longing for natural light, warmth and a bit of extra brightness to my days. Hence this scarf.
Dress - Primark (Similar here and here)
Coat - Marks & Spencer (Similar)
Scarf - River Island
Ankle Boots - Dorothy Perkins
bought the scarf just before Christmas in a "Treat yo'self" moment on a particularly bloody freezing cold Yorkshire day and have worn it constantly ever since. I honestly thought it was green but I have since realised that it is definitely yellow. VERY yellow. It's also the softest thing I own and the perfect addition to an otherwise quite gloomy outfit. It certainly seems the case that wearing something flamboyant (even just a scarf) can really up my mood.
Dress - Primark (Similar here and here
The dress is a really cheap one from Primark, bought last year and worn very occasionally - I'm not sure how I feel about the proportions of it. In the past I've lived in vintage look mini dresses and ankle boots but I think my style and body shape are evolving and this dress may become a top very soon. I just feel more put together with a longer dress or trousers AND I NEVER THOUGHT THIS DAY WOULD COME. ALSO, I don't like flashing my knickers as much any more - This must be what being an adult feels like...

The coat, however, is a different story. This is my work coat and I LOVE IT. The joy of having a coat that you can throw on over pretty much anything and still look smart is a feeling I can very much get along with. I bought this double breasted woollen coat at the end of 2015 in lieu of being able to find a camel coat that I felt strongly enough about, Marks and Spencer very much provided on the navy blue front (I've since bought a camel coat but it's not to be worn until my birthday - Yes I am just that skilled at depriving myself of joy).

 I would like to thank lovely Violet for sharing a rather lovely afternoon with me in Hull (My hometown and the UK City Of Culture in 2017 "YORKSHIRE! YORKSHIRE! YORKSHIRE!") and taking these fabulous pictures - Violet has just been named as one of the Yours Clothing Bloggers so you'll be seeing a lot of her in 2017 and quite rightly too!
 Em x

A Winter Hero - The Rollneck Jumper

Just a quick Sunday post from me to allow me to share my new found love for wearing rollneck jumpers underneath things. A public service announcement if you will.
Shift Dress* - Elvi
Roll Neck Jumper - Jette at Navabi
Tights - Primark
Ankle Boots - Primark
This particular rollneck is Jette from Navabi. Hilariously, I ordered it by accident (Yes, I am THAT stupid) but when it arrived, I thought I'd try it on... I've hardly taken it off since then. I must confess that I don't know an awful lot about Jette but Navabi have some of their office basics on their site at the moment and if they're even half as good quality as this jumper I wholeheartedly recommend them.

I had always thought that black rollnecks were for mimes or jazz musicians but actually they're an INCREDIBLY useful addition to any Winter wardrobe. I've worn this one with checked work trousers, under a plethora of pinafores and with my A-line midi skirt. I'm going to try the rollneck under some other dresses this week. in fact, it's that cold I may well be wearing a rollneck under another rollneck...

This shift dress is from Elvi, it's ideal over a jumper as it's loose fit (I'm wearing a 16 here) I do think Elvi do shift dresses well in that they're always a good length and have the attention to detail (Hems, raglan sleeves and pattern) that so many brands miss on basic items.

I've got an extremely busy week ahead of me, I assume I'll be wearing clothes but it seems unlikely that I'll be standing still at any point so it may be a quiet blog week, please accept my apologies!
Em x
* Denotes items gifted for review - All views are my own.

You Brought Me Violets - Scantilly Peek-A-Boo

I've got something a little different for you here - A lingerie post with pictures that haven't either been taken in a dusty mirror or by a harassed man shouting "WHY DO YOU ALWAYS DO THIS WHEN WE'RE GOING OUT?"

The wonderful ladies at Scantilly recently presented me with the Peek-A-Boo in black, which I utterly adore - It's so different from anything else I own in that it's not a full cup and it's ACTUALLY sexy. Even on me; the girl who laughs at the words "three-way" during conference calls. So when I saw it had been released in violet I became the literal heart eye emoji.
Peek-A-Boo Violet Bra* and Brief* - Scantilly
One of my favourite things about Scantilly and their sister brand Curvy Kate is that the bras are made to hold your boobs not merely decorate them. Both the band and the straps are wide and supportive, the mesh cup encompasses my full breast and the satin sits beautifully under my bust. It is ACTUALLY comfortable which I think is rare with an aesthetically pleasing piece of lingerie. I've come to realise how rare this is and am so glad that I have a brand in my life who recognise the need for support, comfort AND aesthetics.

The briefs I'm wearing here are the full briefs but you can also go for a thong, suspenders and my personal favourite; the bare face cheek brief which is EXACTLY what it says on the tin and which, on the website, makes me both aroused and giggly. I have to say that the full briefs are equally as sexy though - with alternating satin and mesh panels you can show off your peach whilst still maintaining a tiny bit of modesty (YEAH RIGHT)

Disclaimer: If you're concerned about my nipples in these pictures (OF COURSE YOU ARE) I have airbrushed them away so as not to be arrested for committing the crime of "Being a woman who has nipples". I'm wearing a 34FF in the balcony bra and a L in the brief and can confirm that they are very much in line with the usual Scantilly/Curvy Kate fit (Where you see a bit of bagging in the mesh of the cups, this comes from the difference in my own personal cup sizes). 

The Peek-A-Boo is also available in chartreuse and red so if you have a partner who thinks that red satin is a religious requirement of Valentines day (SIGH) then point them in this direction so as not to be disappointed. As always, Scantilly ladies, I love you, I love what you do and I love the shapes you throw. Keep up the good work <3
Em x 

* Denotes items gifted to me by Curvy Kate - This in no way influences the words I've written - If I say I like something it means I genuinely really like it!

A Fine Romance - The Joanie Valentina Dress

Guys, there are only 36 days until Valentines Day. This means only 36 days until Morrisons, sausages, chips, sachets of ketchup and a formica table with my beloved. As such, I'd like to take this opportunity to show you one of Joanie Clothing's romantic new frocks: The Valentina.
Valentina Dress - Joanie Clothing 
Isn't it lovely? It's giving me serious garden party vibes, despite the impending snow in my part of the world... If you look closely at the print, you'll see some lovely little chickens, because there is nothing more romantic than chickens. In all seriousness though, aren't the print and colourway stunning? Coupled with the full skirt and bow detailing to the waist, it's an incredibly sweet dress without being cutesy.

I think I'm wearing a 16 here but I can't guarantee it as my inclination is to size up x1 with fitted items at Joanie. I can, however, tell you that there is no stretch with the Valentina but there IS a zip at the back and the sleeves are proportional to the size - PRAISE BE.

I can't wait to see more of what Joanie have to come this year - What I've already seen is stunning, and with models like Sade and Harriet it's impossible not to be besotted <3

Em x
Photography by Tanzaro Creative

Windswept - Hayley Hasselhoff x Elvi Collection

I feel like plus size collections have come a long way in the last twelve months. With retailers like Navabi bringing classic fashion to our fingertips, I've personally been able to go from spending a fortune on fast fashion to investing in timeless, well-made pieces which will last me years, a fabulous example being these pieces from the Hayley Hasselhoff x Elvi collection.
Longline Knitted Coat - Hayley Hasselhoff x Elvi
High Neck Dress 
- Hayley Hasselhoff x Elvi
Black Boots - Primark
I'd been eyeing up this for a VERY long time. What. A. Statement. Piece. I feel incredible when I'm wearing it, such effortless glamour. It is made from a thick white/navy herringbone knit and is fully lined (I know how much you guys like this). 
A word to the wise - The coat is LONG, utterly perfect for me but if you're under 5"9 you may need to think about having it taken up unless you want to collect every single leaf, crisp packet and stray cat on your street.

This dress is simply perfect - I love a high neck and coupled with the tailoring and waist high splits, you have a dress which will work equally as well over leather look leggings and high heels for a night out as it would with wide legged trousers and sandals on holiday. I have to specify, I AM wearing underwear below, you just can't see it. I'm not in the habit of public indecency at public beauty spots.

I've actually met Hayley a few times in real life and can honestly say that she is one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen. She literally glows. Not only this but she has clearly put a lot of thought into this range and I get the feeling that she would wear every single piece herself; describing the range as "Sophisticated, minimalistic, tailored and timeless" - I really couldn't think of a better way to put it.

I bought both items in the Elvi sale, meaning that the coat was just £59 and the dress £29, absolutely phenomenal for such high-end pieces.  The new Hayley Hasselhoff x Elvi collection is out later this year and it is STUNNING - the longline silhouettes and luxe fabrics are still there with the addition of mixed textures and incredibly versatile statement pieces - Keep your eyes peeled!

Em x

Five Minutes On You Are Perfect.

Trigger Warning: This post mentions diet culture negatively. If this is something which may cause you upset or trauma at this point, please skip this post, do what's right for you and take care of yourself you lovely person.

I don't often write about this topic because frankly, I find it dull. Dull and infuriating. This said, I just want to take the time to interrupt our regular January schedule of "Please self-loathe in order to buy this crap" with some of my own thoughts. These are thoughts which my body positive friends regularly share in the hope that they will dilute the nonsense you are being bombarded with, you may have read them, shared them, maybe even ignored (as I did a million times over in the past) under the assumption that this doesn't mean you, that good things are only going to happen for you when you eat that thing/subscribe to that place/deprive yourself of that pleasure because you are somehow different and you do not deserve to love yourself.

But I would like it if you could read this post from me and please at least consider making this about you. Even if just to keep me quiet for another year.

I've been reluctant in the past to describe myself as Body Positive. I am without a doubt positive about other people's bodies, but here's a secret....
Sometimes I am not positive about my own body
 "WHUT?!?" I hear you cry, "How can someone who likes all bodies not like their own?!?" Well here's an even bigger secret, if not THE biggest secret:
Everyone has body confidence wobbles. EVERYONE.

This is my body - Right now I like it. Very occasionally, when it looks EXACTLY the same as it did when I liked it, I don't. In the past I've gotten into debates with myself over this; "If I was this/that/the other I'd be happier/richer/more popular...." But here's the crux of the matter: If on the Monday the scales said one thing and on the Tuesday they said something else I am still exactly the same, wonderful person. Changing my appearance will not make me love myself. 

So what? What WILL make you love yourself? Well, that's a tricky one. We're all different, but I can certainly tell you some of the things I do to lift myself up, to bring myself back and to ultimately enjoy my life to the absolute best of my abilities
I never, ever, EVER compare myself to other people:
The quote above has become my mantra and trust me when I say that it works. 
I do know that this one can be difficult, I'm lucky in that I'm not competitive in the slightest. However, I have been guilty of negatively comparing myself to other people - It's very easy for me to lift others up at the cost of my own self-esteem and this simply won't do. I now make a conscious effort to praise others without mentioning myself in any way. I also listen when people compliment me - It's the next level up from simply accepting compliments and provides me with a list of nice things to say to myself when I'm not feeling it. 

I have a look at myself:
I have a big mirror in my attic. I want a bigger mirror in my attic. Even when I'm lacking in positivity, I can guarantee that looking at myself in the mirror brings me back to the real world. I'm not saying that a golden light shines, angels sing and I go straight to the top of the "Top 100 babes" list BUT I do remember to acknowledge the parts of myself I love; My long legs, my juicy bum, my ability to contort my reflection into a mirror designed for someone under 5"6... 

I think about what I value in other people:
I value honesty, integrity, humour and optimism. As long as I strive towards these values then why wouldn't I love myself? Give it a go: List your top four qualities in other people and think about what they might value in you - I highly doubt that it's a flat stomach and lunchbox full of lentils...

I speak to my friends:
If your friends make you feel bad about yourself; They. Are. Not. Your. Friends. 
If this is the case, the likelihood is that they have problems of their own - This is not your issue. Please do not allow yourself to be someone's verbal or mental punchbag, you are worth more than this.
We all go through periods of our lives where we realise that we've outgrown people, I have friends from various stages of my life who are wonderful, strong people and who know me incredibly well. Some of them are into lentils and high intensity training but they are all intelligent and interesting enough to know that these are their choices. I've also left people behind, generally people who have a very narrow view of what life should be and what role I should play in it. Life's far too short for that and I'm far too busy enjoying it.

I live in a bubble of wonderful women:
If you talk about dieting on any one of my social media feeds I WILL DELETE YOU. This doesn't mean people sharing pictures of delicious-looking colourful food or magnificent weightlifting accomplishments. This is more about people who are willing to make money from the body positive label yet have such an obvious disdain for their own bodies. This, I cannot get along with. The world I choose for myself is based around strong, tolerant and diverse people who likely have the same body confidence wobbles as me but who choose to combat this with thinking rather than self-punishment. 

All of this is my opinion, I am a 32 year old able-bodied white woman at the privileged end of the acceptable-fat scale. If you're struggling to take my word for all of this, please have a read of some of the following blogs which help me out on a daily basis:

If you want to make some changes in 2017, consider changing your way of thinking, you'll be glad that you did, and remember that when it comes to being yourself, you are already perfect and you cannot improve on perfection. 
Em x