Wow, I’ve been blogging for 7 years

blogging for 7 years

I realised yesterday that I have now been blogging for 7 years this month.

What a lot has happened over the last seven years.

I first took to blogging to share what it was like being a mom of four and how raising a severely disabled child affected our lives. I mainly wanted to share how besides the difficulties how wonderful life could be. How Olivia loved life and lived it to the full. How our family motto was never say never. From iceskating to rock climbing we somehow found a way for our girlie to enjoy it all.

Yet only a month after my first post I was to write through the pain of losing my beautiful girl. How the darkness of grief strove to consume me. How in the depths of despair I somehow managed to find hope.

Writing my grief allowed me to feel less alone, from the comments to the messages so many of you walked along side me. Some never realising how often they were the ones that gave me strength to carry on, yes that’s you Kelly. 

I then shared my journey into fostering, my hopes and my fears but also the joy we felt when we had our first placement. How one little boy became part of our family at the first hello. As you know forever wasn’t going to be ours again and whilst our hearts were torn open and raw my words helped me find some semblance of peace.

On this blog especially I have shared the growing of my beautiful girls how they have stumbled through their teenage years into beautiful young adults, well two have my baby still has a way to go and of course a few more posts for me still to write.

Together we have celebrated their joy, cried with them through their sadness. We have laughed at their drama of which there has been plenty and you have sympathised with me through their tantrums.

This blog is part of my records of my daughters lives and how they have changed me in so many beautiful ways. Taught me patience, resilience and the meaning of pure love.

Through this blog I have had many wonderful opportunities from modelling to  reviews. It’s brought me many online friends who have wonderfully tumbled over into my real life.

This blog has also been a call to action, a place where I have fought for awareness for Rett syndrome and for disability rights. I’ve ranted on politics and so much more and of which I promise there will be many more posts to come.

Where I have written about injustice, screamed about discrimination and cried about tragedy.

This blog, these words are truly my heart in print.

Thank you for being my readers, my friends and for visiting me here in my virtual home.

Thank you for the last seven years and lets hope the next seven are full of love and laughter and plenty of words.

 

thank you 7 years

Style XL 2015, we came, we saw and we rocked it.

Last weekend was Style XL 2015 a plus size fashion event held in my local city of Birmingham.

Style XL is the brainchild of the wonderful Leah from http://www.leahxl.com.

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Leah is genuinely one of the nicest woman I know and someone who I owe a lot of my new found confidence too. It was only last year that I walked my first catwalk at Style XL 2014. This was thanks to the encouragement and support from Leah, this lady rocks.  Also a big shout out to her beautiful fiancée Clare who is truly lovely.

Seriously though I remember how much I shook with fear back there in 2014 I’m surprised I made it onto the stage.

Anyway back to Style XL 2015 how do I describe this weekend, two words “totally inspiring”.

The collaboration of plus size fashion brands and confidence building workshops created an awesome event.

Women from around the UK coming together to attend a fashion event where the size on your label is irrelevant.

Fashion brands showcasing the very best of plus size fashion proving that style comes in all sizes.

I had a blast.

I was excited to be booked to walk for the awesome Apples and Pears Clothing , Monroe Knows and Curvy Kate but on the day I actually also walked for Topsy Curvy and Lady Voluptuous too.

Five brands ooh get me.

This year was so different for me, although I was still rather shaky the woman who walked onto that catwalk was very different to the one from last year. I actually relished in the attention. I rocked my curves ha ha get me.

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Seriously Style XL was a great success.

Personally though for me Style XL wasn’t about the clothes (sorry brands). It was being surrounded by beautiful inspiring women.

Women that over the last year have become dear friends.

Woman working hard to empower others.

Building people up, encouraging, supporting.

My challenge  to myself this year was to turn the virtual hugs into real ones.

I am so confident behind my keyboard but this year I wanted to find that confidence in real life.

I think achieved this.

I got to catch up with old friends and make some awesome new ones.

I pushed all my boundaries, I introduced myself to people and I wore underwear on a catwalk ( don’t panic dad I’ve hidden the photos).

I achieved more than I could possibly have imagined and yes I may be having a little body wobble but I can see how far I have come.

Thank you Leah for having faith in me.

Thank you to the brands for allowing me to showcase your beautiful clothes.

I  want to end this post saying this, life is to short to wait to wear the clothes you want. Wear them now and celebrate who you are. Size is a number on a label don’t let it dictate how you live your life.

You are beautiful and don’t let anyone tell you different xxx

Ambition and ego in the blogging world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging the last few weeks and why I personally blog. I was started on this thoughtful path after reading a few comments from within the blogging world, comments which upset me. Bloggers arguing with each other and tearing each other down.

This doesn’t sit well with me, to be truthful I was rather emotional about the whole thing.

Then I realised something.

Not all bloggers blog for the same reason I do.

For me I write to free my head of my words. To allow my thoughts to tumble out through my fingers and onto the pages. I also enjoy sharing my dreams and my hopes. My heartache and my struggles. The words are mine, I don’t expect them to influence you in any way, its just me opening my heart to the virtual world. I’m documenting my journey though this crazy thing called life. Even my reviews are written from my perceptive on what I like or what I don’t like. I just like showing you my fashion choices, books I have enjoyed reading and so on.

Still these are my reasons for blogging and they are not everyone else’s.

Some bloggers have ambitions and aspirations for their blog and you know what thats ok.

The problem (is it a problem)? Is when something becomes full of ambition or desire then ego also starts to play a part in it.

Along with our beloved egos comes jealousy and I think this is what has been rearing its head within the blogging community or maybe its always been there and I’m just slow on the uptake <-this has been known to happen.

Now don’t get me wrong I actually don’t have any issue with ambition. In fact I am highly ambitious in my own way in a different field from blogging. I have hopes and goals that I want to achieve.

Blogging for some is a business and you tell me of any business that doesn’t thrive on ambition. Ambition is what feeds growth.

So I guess what I am rambling on about is this, I’ve realised I cannot view the blogging world with my rose tinted glasses anymore. I have to open my eyes and see it as the business, the trade that it is for some.

I have to accept that there will be underhand comments and hurtful things happening. But I don’t have to like it but I can stop it from getting to me.

I don’t have to be as naive, but I also don’t have to change the way I view blogging. Personally for me its about the words, the dreams and the amazing friendships I have made along the way.

I’ve enjoyed widening my experiences, challenging myself, pushing my own limits and I’m not going to let this change.

What I am going to do is work harder on encouraging other bloggers. Congratulate those who have achieved awesome things. Hug those who are struggling and be a better blogging friend.

This little piece of the internet has brought so much into my life and I am truly grateful. Yet I will be constantly reminding myself why I started writing and the core values I set for myself.

Be honest and stay true to me.

It’s a simple statement but it will be my anchor in this crazy choppy virtual world.

be yourself x

I promise

The beautiful Katt from The Curvy Cupcake  inspired the amazing  Debz at The Not So Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess to set us all a challenge, the #PlusSizePromise.

The challenge is to blog five promises that we make to ourselves this summer.

Here’s mine.

 

1. Get my legs out, I’m tired of being hot and bothered every summer. This year I’m going to get my milky white legs out and let them breathe.

get my legs out

 

 

2. Take time out for myself. This is something I really need to work on, I need to say NO a little more and give myself some quality time, to read, to enjoy a meal with friends, a nights of dancing and copious amounts of alcohol

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3. To not back out.  I can list you a million reasons why I shouldn’t do something. This summer is the start of me doing less of this. I want to be positive and believe in myself. I CAN DO THIS.

Icando this

 

4. Its not always my fault.  I am so good at blaming myself that it could be considered an art form. I’m happy to blame myself from anything from a squashed spider to a natural disaster.  But guess what it’s not always my fault and this is something I need to learn.

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5. More time for us. To spend some more quality time with my husband. After twenty years of being together we need to start carving time into our schedule for quality time. More romantic meals, walks, cuddles.

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So here are my five promises.

Why don’t you join in x

 

True beauty

If you have been on social media this week or have watched or read the news you would have heard about the remarks Loose women, ex pop star Jamelia as said regarding clothing brands and the availability  of clothes in sizes that she doesn’t believe to be healthy. How she believes that High street stores should not stock sizes below a 6 and over a 20 as ‘they’ should feel uncomfortable if ‘they’ are unhealthy.

So many wonderful bloggers have eloquently written about this and in a way that I couldn’t do it justice.

The reason I cannot find the words is simply because Jamelia’s statement stole from me. They took away a feeling of self confidence that I had finally found only after the last few years. She made me feel like

a) a burden on society

b) someone who should be ashamed

Thankfully the amazing Debz from The not so secret diary of a wannabe princess decided to do something about these remarks. In her words

 ” I feel that by saying ‘they’ should shop in specialist shops and ‘they’ should be made to feel uncomfortable it is all very anonymous. It is easy to say that a bunch of blank faces (and bodies) should be treated a certain way, but what Jamelia (and anyone who agrees with her) needs to realise is that WE are real people. We have REAL feelings, REAL jobs, friends and families. When you say that people should make ‘them’ feel uncomfortable you are encouraging them to treat US differently.. US as in real people.
So, Jamelia and anyone who feels that ‘they’ should be made to feel uncomfortable 
‘WE ARE THE ‘THEY’

Then Debz encouraged women of the sizes that ‘Dr Jamelia’ doesn’t believe are healthy to take to social media and share photos of themselves
Using the hashtag #wearethethey

I cannot tell you how this hashtag has moved me over the last two days. Beautiful women size 20 and over and equally as beautiful woman size 6 and under celebrating their bodies as they blooming well should.

My own journey with body acceptable has been hard, from a teenager full of self loathing and self harm I only finally loved my body once it started to grow a child. When I could throw away all the falsehoods and realise what an amazing thing my body truly was.

I  actually don’t remember a time when I didn’t think I was fat. When my body was the size that Jamelia  considers acceptable I hated it. Living on a diet of cigarettes and vodka scared to eat. Hating my body for what it was, punishing it daily left me with a body that was failing and my mind, well let’s not go there.

I actually dread to think where I would be now if I hadn’t met my husband and got pregnant with my first born when I did.  Knowing that a life was forming inside me changed me. I finally understood what true beauty was.

Now it would be wonderful if my mind set had stayed in this place but 4 children in 5 years left my body rather ragged, but thankfully being able to be active with the girls and teaching dance my body was in a place that I was happy with or I could accept.

Then to cut a long story short I was attacked and beaten and then due to complications was left with an immune system that was failing.

10 years later I am left with a health issue that effects every part of my life. I take numerous medicines and my ability to do physical things is sorely limited. I also live in constant pain.

Now this had changed my world from one were I was a fit dance teacher to one where for a while could barely walk.

I had to find a new kind of normal.  I also had to face a changing body and one I hated . The old self hatred rose it’s ugly head. I struggled, clothes became a non issue, a uniform of jeans and baggy clothes became my wardrobe. Never did I wake up excited about what I was going to wear. Photographs of me disappeared, I became the photographer never the photographed.

Then thankfully a few years ago I came across some plus size bloggers, women who were actively shouting I’m here and I want to look good. Women who advocate that fashion should come in all sizes.

Women who changed me.

Now I look in the mirror and like what I see, yes I’m overweight but my diet is good. It’s certainly a lot better than it was back In the days of cigarettes and vodka.

I’m swimming each week, raising 4 amazing children and working  full time as a foster carer to children with special needs.

I love life and I’m really living.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this Jamelia I am not ashamed of who I am.

How dare you suggest I should be made to feel uncomfortable anywhere.  I am a beautiful, incredible woman and I only hope that one day that you will realise that beauty is not found in the number on your label and that health is not always something you can see.

Please consider your position as well, consider all those women who you destroyed with your words. Opinions are like assholes we all have them, yet when in a position of privilege in this case being beamed into thousands of homes around the UK please think before you speak. The shit you spew can and I can assure you has damaged someone.

When the world stops judging people’s value on appearance then the world will finally see true beauty. 

 

Weekly wish list

My weekly wish list my wants, needs and must have’s.

 

My first choice is this beautiful leather jacket I have admired this for a while from the Asos curve range and I just love it.

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Staying with the leather theme I have this gorgeous bag from Dr Martens on my birthday wish list.

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I love this simple but stunning Black Lace top from Yours Clothing.

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To complete this rock chick look I really really need this aptly named eyeshadow palette from the fantastic Charlotte Tilbury range. I have just brought a number of her products and I love the quality of them.

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Memories cherished as memories are made.

I have just returned from a wonderful week in beautiful Wales.

I have loved every minute of it, from the beautiful sunsets to the endless beaches.

Its been a truly wonderful week.

It was a week I so needed, time to recharge and refresh my mind.

Time to allow the words to form and the passages to write.

I am feeling stronger that ever.

My heart and mind are on the same path.

This holiday was the first time I have gone back to this area of Wales without Livvy.

I honestly believed that it was going to have to be another first without her.

Yet it wasn’t because as I have enjoyed the views, cherished the sunsets and loved the ocean I have felt Livvy everywhere.

Memories cherished as memories made.

Dogemals 2015 Newquay 2015 west wales 2015