My “All Sizes” Project

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I know! I know!

It has been far too long since I have spoken to you all! But I really hope you can forgive me!

Before I go any further, I need to say how bowled over I was by the love and support I received after my last post; “My plus size grief”. It was such a hard entry to write, and the fact that it helped so many of you is a great feeling. Thank you.

N O W

Life has most been kicked up a gear for sure since I last posted as at the time of me writing this…my wedding is only 10 weeks away!!

My BEAUTIFUL gown from Edith and Winston has arrived and its AWSOME. My friend Danielle Stirling, (hey girl!), is sewing my custom-made dress for my Hen party as we speak, and my hair has grown back! (Don’t ask! Ha!)

Life is good! 😊

That being said; I am not here to chat about my wedding this time…

…10 Weeks. 😊 😊 😊 😊

Ok OK! I’m done!

*Serious face*

What I do want to briefly talk about is my new venture.

It has been over a year since I started writing this blog, and I get so many messages from ladies and gents (!) asking for advice.

Now hold on a second. Who am I to be giving fashion advice?! I really am not that presumptuous. What you read on here is my humble yet solid opinion conceived out of life lessons learnt. I am not qualified, there is no fashion degree or personal styling training to my name! But the one thing I do know is how looking good makes me feel.

The right outfit can do wonders for your confidence and is sometimes able to make more of a statement than any words you could say.

Note I didn’t say changing your style can give you confidence.

We all have our own personal style and aesthetic. This style does not have to change in order for you to feel better or different about the way you look.

Am I making sense?

Ok; hear this…

You can make you style feel fresher without even buying a single new item of clothing. A lot of people wear a particular jacket say, with the same dress and the same shoes…and why not? It looks good right? But what if you wear that jacket in a different way, with different shoes maybe? Or trousers instead of a dress? You have a whole new take on an Item of clothing you may have had for a long time! And most importantly, it is still you. It is still your style. And that is what is most important.

As you all know, I preach the message of body positivity. I am a firm believer of the mantra “Look good, feel better”; No matter your age, No matter your size, No matter your style.

All of that being said, allow me to introduce my new platform for this cause:

This concept includes styling and advice from myself and some of my (qualified 😊) friends that have small business in beauty and body image. This includes a seamstress, hair stylist, make up artist, lash and nail services.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a complete fashion over haul, some advice and services for a special occasion or you just want to join me in fashion appreciation, and simply feeling good…Be. is for one and all. Check us out on…

Twitter- @be_free_syling

Instagram- @be.free.styling

Be.

Because that is call you can do.

Fran x

My Plus Sized Grief…

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“Grief does not change you; it reveals you.”

  • John Green, The Fault In Our Stars.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.”

  • S Lewis

Life can be awful.

Like…really awful.

And unfair.

Really awful, and really unfair.

On the 19th January 2017, My Dad died.

He died a year after being diagnosed with cancer.

Nothing in this entire world can prepare you for that phone call. Trust me.

2 stone 5 lb.

That is how much weight I have put on since that day.

In my usual fashion, binge eating is how I dealt with my Dads death.  I would say ridiculous things like “Oh look! Ackee and Saltfish! Dad loved this! He would like me to enjoy it.” This may be true, Dad loved food and loved that we enjoyed his cooking. But I don’t need the oxtail, steak, dumplings, cake and puddings too!

Ladies and Gents; I was on a very slippery slope.

I had stop. I had to put. The. Dumplings. Down.

I had to take time out and examine myself. I started to do research into grief, and how different people and personalities cope.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Bargaining
  • Acceptance

Allow me to elaborate;

Gaining over 2 stone in weight was definite denial. Eating, and saying “this is what Dad would want” is past denial. It was delusion. It was a complete and utter error on my part, and I am still paying the price.

However, there is still a part of me that is in denial. I hear myself say “yeah, I’m ok thanks” when people ask me how I am. In a weird way, almost two years later, I am still in shock. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real. I have not yet had that moment of acceptance. That scares me.  I am horrified it will hit me at the worst time. Maybe on my wedding day, when I have a child? I am convinced it will hit me at a time in my life when my Dad should’ve been there, would’ve loved to be there…But won’t be there.

Oddly enough, I am not angry about this although this is supposed to be the next stage. If I am being honest, being angry doesn’t make any sense to me. Who would I be angry at? It’s not like he was killed at the hands of someone else, like a car crash involving a drunk driver or something of the sort. If I was to be angry, it would be misplaced. I would end up taking it out on my family, friends and fiancé and that would be so unfair to them as all they have done is offer me comfort and support.

And before you ask; No. I am not, nor have I ever been angry at God for this. I have asked “why” during prayer, but I full well know that without God and my faith, I would’ve lost it and fallen head first into the next stage: Depression.

Don’t get me wrong, you get days that are hard to manage, but once I remember the good times, I feel fine. I have always been a straight talking direct person. And so was my Dad. I got it from him. This ability to roll with the punches and keep it moving has given me a “stiff upper lip” and “heartless” reputation. This has helped. Don’t get me wrong, it is OK to be sad, but I know Dad wouldn’t want it to cripple me. “Live your life Franchie” is what he used to say…And that is exactly what I am doing.

Even when Dad was having various procedures and treatments he was still my Dad through and through.

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Macmillan have really hit the nail on the head with this campaign. A person you love with Cancer (or any illness for that fact), is still the person you love. And even after they are gone, they will always be that person to you.

Devon Williams; here or not, will always be my Dad. Will always be the MVP.

Having experienced this grief, a lot of people reach out to you. Although they mean well, there are a few phrases that I can no longer bear.  The worst (and most common) is “I’m sorry you lost your Dad”.

Lost?

Lost?!

My Dad is not “lost”.

I know exactly where he is.

He is in my heart.

Even through the grief and hard times…

…We still slay.

Fran x

“The Dress”

Hey Everyone!

Firstly, may I apologise profusely for my lack of posts , and secondly for the lengthy, yet interesting post to follow 😊

It really has been a crazy few months! A lot has happened, the most exciting being that I got ENGAGED!

 

 

“Finally” I hear you cry! Yes, I am engaged, I am to be wed, intended, affianced, betrothed, spoken for…In short, you better get ready for a HUGE party!

As insanely happy as I am to be jumping down from the shelf, After living in my happy bubble for 3 months, I can now see the stark realisation through my haze of happiness.

A wedding. A whole wedding. For little old me. (and him too LOL) But lets be real, so much emphasis is placed on the Bride it can be over whelming! You would not believe the amount of articles and books I have waded through. This was a MISTAKE. Reading so many different things is SO confusing.

So that being said, I have decided to do away with all these books, and just follow a good solid timeline and my gut. And then when you finally accept that you are about to plan and pay for the most overpriced party ever you remember THE DRESS.

The most important dress you will ever wear. The dress, that if you make the wrong choice, will haunt your sleep and doom your wedding pictures.

A year ago, I would’ve said that anyone talking this way is dramatic, but lately, the enormity of this decision has become a reality in my life. Like it or not, your guests will remember and talk about “The Dress” long after the last glass of champagne has gone flat.

Here in now lies my dilemma: PLUS SIZE WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING.

Double the flab, double the trouble! But after copious amounts of research, and watching A LOT of “Say Yes to the Dress”, I managed to find a few stores in my area that stocked a respectable amount of plus size wedding gowns. (There were some shambolic establishments that claimed to stock plus size but only had about 3 gowns! I should sue for false advertisement! ANYWAY…)

So off I went with my Mum and Hannah, my chief bridesmaid in tow.

“Why start the search so early?” I hear you ask…Well, the logic I had was that because I will need a gown so specialised, and I refuse to settle for these tents with beads on that they shove some plus size brides in, I needed to start my search nice and early to give myself enough time to shop without panic, and without feeling like I have to settle.

So yes, off I went! I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the stores I went to. They were so accommodating and wonderful. I had appointments with Copplestones Bridal in Chester, The Bridal Suite in Stockport, and Edith and Winston Bridal in Knutsford.

Thanks to these wonderful stores, I was able to try on all the styles I liked, and all the samples FIT. That is no small feat! I would highly suggest all three stores for any plus size brides out there.

However, I fell in love with a gown from Edith and Winston’s. As dramatic as this sounds, as soon as I put this gown on, my whole being was altered. I became this amazing confident bride. I had never felt that beautiful in my whole life. I was experiencing the power of the perfect dress. I had been told by my married friends that this would happen, but its hard to believe until you experience it for yourself.

Even though I had fallen in love with “My dress” as I am now calling it, I wanted to make sure I was not just being swept away with the “in the moment” emotion. So, I booked another appointment for two weeks later. I wanted some time to think and to make sure I was making the right choice.

Two weeks later, I put “My dress” back on and felt the exact same way I did the first time. There was no doubt in my mind. I left Edith and Winston with a dress that day, and I have not looked back. I have not had a second thought. “This Bride is not for turning”.

 

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Now as always, I don’t claim to be an expert, but having now gone through this process, I would like to share a few tips I have picked up. These tips not only apply for plus brides, but for all brides.

 

  1. Do not settle.

This is the most important dress you will ever wear. Period. If you are not happy, then keep looking, because the dress you have is not the dress for you. Give yourself enough time to shop around.

 

  1. Try on EVERYTHING

No really! Try on every style, length, cut, fabric, and colour. You will be surprised at what you like. The style of dress I liked when I started this process is the exact opposite to the dress I ended up with. Trust me, try everything!

 

  1. Surround Yourself with the right people

…And keep it small. To me, there is nothing worse than you bringing everyone you have ever known in your life to your bridal appointment. Too many opinions can cause arguments, confusion and cause you to be disheartened. Be careful who you pick!

 

I am only at the start of my wedding journey and I can not wait to see what is in store!Single, engaged, married or somewhere in between, remember, we SLAY Together!

 

 

Now you are all thoroughly updated, I would like to hear from you! Please share your Wedding Do’s and Don’ts with me in the comments! No story is too boring, too spicy or too embarrassing! We are all friends here! And I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

 

 

More to Love.

The car window was full of condensation.

Hot.

Steamy.

Close.

It was so hard for both of us to catch our breath.

I turned to him and said… “We are NEVER parking at the top of this hill again! That walk nearly killed me!”

We didn’t even have the energy to laugh.

Welcome to my “Plus Size Relationship.”

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Exhibit A

 

As most of you may know, I am in a very happy relationship, (see Exhibit A), but this has not always been the case.

Relationships can be cruel. More so when you may not look like everyone else.

The worst experience I had was while I was at college. The boy I was seeing, John, (As tempting as it is to name and shame him, I am obviously renaming him “John” to protect his identity.) img_0164  Well, “John” asked me out, we spent some time together and all seemed to be going well. On one occasion, John and I, along with a few others, all went to the cinemas. I excused myself to go to the bathroom, and on my way back I over heard one of Johns friends ask him “what are you even doing with that fat girl anyway?!” I froze. Instead of coming to my defence as I hoped he would. He laughed and said, (direct quote) “I am taking one for the team! At least I can say I’ve been with a fat one.”

“What did you do Fran?” “What did you say?!” I hear you cry.

Nothing.

I didn’t do a thing.

I just took my seat, let him hold my hand, and kept my mouth shut.

 

Not saying anything in that moment is one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made. And for those of you that know me well, that is saying something! I was only 17 at the time, and that was so detrimental to my confidence.

I keep thinking had I said something, stood up for myself in that instant, I would’ve shown John and all his little  friends that saying those things, and thinking that way is NOT OK. More recently however, I have thought that maybe he may have honestly found me attractive and liked me, but was too embarrassed to say so, and defend me to his friends. Needless to say, when I told him I didn’t want to see him anymore, I didn’t even give him the chance to explain as I never told him the reason why I was finishing it. I didn’t want to hear him trying to defend his awful behaviour.

After that incident, I found myself going into every potential relationship super paranoid, and with such low self esteem it was just not attractive. Don’t get me wrong, I am so much more confident now, and that is thanks to my friends and the man I have now. But I still do have my days when I really get in my feelings about it all.

I once went on a date with a guy that told the waiter I didn’t need a desert menu as I had had enough to eat.

Pardon?!

I couldn’t believe it! But being more mature and confident, I politely told the waiter, I will take the biggest desert you have and a glass of water. Thank You. img_0164

He would also repeatedly ask me to join him at the gym…

Seriously?! eyes_1f440

Why are you with me, if all you want to do is change me constantly? Now, I admit skipping desert and having a few days in the gym wouldn’t kill me, but it is the way you say and suggest such things. Furthermore, you have you want to change. It is much harder to force someone, than if they come willingly.

That being said, I am now in the most amazing relationship I have ever had and I am so happy (See Exhibit B). Even thought we can’t sit next to each other comfortably on public transport, and our date nights aren’t about where we go, it’s which restaurant because all we do is eat out! Ha!

We are also hampered by the fact that he is a chef.

A real. Life. Chef.

Its heaven!

This has only gone and sealed my fate to stay shackled to this plus life forever! Ha! #ChubbyBuddies

img_7203Exhibit B

*cue soppy violin music*

The bottom line is this; after struggling for a number of years, I have found this wonderful man, and I didn’t have to change. Like I always say, don’t use that as an excuse to do nothing if you really want to change…But sometimes it isn’t you, it really is “them”.

 

Stay Slaying

Fran xx

 

Are you in a plus relationship? Is your partner slimmer or bigger than you?

Share your views and experiences with me!

Leave a comment and I will get back to you!

 

 

One Size Fits All?

Not being able to walk for 5 minutes without being convinced you have accidentally stumbled into the Sahara desert.

Buying outlandish amounts of talcum powder.

Taking multiple showers a day just so you can maintain an acceptable level of human hygiene.

Boob sweat.

Bum Sweat.

Back sweat.

Well; sweat everywhere really! Yes folks, we have come to the end of another summer living this plus size life. Congratulations! 🙂

I have faced many a plus summer, so all the above erm…”complications” are now second nature to me. Although I am used to them, it doesn’t make them any easier to deal with.

However, I find the biggest problem for summer is CLOTHES. I have so many, yet I always seem to struggle more in the summer. I am trying not to use this as an excuse to buy more clothes….OK, maybe I might be, but after many years I have realised two things.

  1. It is not WHAT you wear, it is HOW you wear it.
  2. In this case, size does NOT matter.

Allow me to elaborate frankly.

For a start; I am firm believer in “proper underwear”. I personally prefer a full brief. This is because it covers my tummy(s), is more comfortable, and gives a smoother look if you are wearing something that is a little closer fitting. But ladies, please; as a plus person, if you feel deeply compelled to wear more exotic underwear make sure that the whole road can’t see it. Frankly, it does us no favours.

Unfortunately, this may offend some folks, but I am here to deliver my version of the truth as promised in my very first blog. It is better to hear it from one of your own than to be talked about behind your back. AMEN?

You know the saying “age is just a number”, well I am a firm believer that the same goes for clothing sizes. Why are we so obsessed with the number on our dress label? We are obsessed because society tells us that we should be. THIS. IS. WRONG.

Picture this, I have a friend that is quite slim. She wears a size 16, but because her boobs are so big she has to wear a size 20 top. That is a whole two sizes bigger than she could be in. Is she bothered? No! This is because she knows she will look and feel better wearing the bigger size.

I personally have no problem in buying a size or two bigger in my clothes if it looks better than trying to squeeze my body into the size I think I should be wearing.

I would rather look like this

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Than like this

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Wouldn’t you?

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That being said, It isn’t always easy to shop as I have noticed that sizes differ from one shop to another.

In my opinion, ASOS Curve have the best online plus size store. Period. However, they do have different brands within ASOS curve that can trip you up. Brands like Club L Plus, Alice and You, and Junarose are the ones to watch for coming up smaller in their sizes. I always buy a size up in these brands.

Boohoo.com have a good plus range, but i do find that the quality can sometimes be questionable.

Then you have your exclusive plus shops such as “yours” and “simply be”. Simply Be are very good at designer brands. They have a “Coast” plus size range which is excellent. The only downside is that Simply Be can be very pricey, and some of there clothes start at size 14. This is something I have never understood. But aside from that, especially if you are looking for nice or “special” underwear or an outfit for a special occasion, Simply Be is the place to go.

Ladies and Gents; I am sorry (not sorry), to be ranting like this, but you must understand I am so passionate about this! I am proud of myself, and of all of you. I just want us to SLAY like I know we can!

Please feel free to communicate with me! if you disagree, have something else to add, or if you just want to say “Hi!”

I would also like to hear from you if you can review any more stores, or have another suggestions about where to buy plus clothing from.

Leave a comment below and I will get straight back to you.

 

We STAY together, We SLAY together.

Fran x

 

 

 

 

Humble Beginnings…

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Hello Again!

This is my first official post, and I feel it is only right that we start where any good story does; the beginning.

There are significant dates in life you will always remember. For instance; the date you have a child, the date you get married…For me, it was the date my love of food began…Saturday 15th December 1990. Yes, that is the day I was born!

The pictures you can see is me at 4 years old. (Once a thunder thighs, always a thunder thighs) !!!

From that blessed day until now, food has been a huge part of life, and I know I am not the only on here who feels that way. How many times have you heard:

“I’m coming over; you got food?”

“You’re having a party? Will there be food?”

“You broke up with your other half? Let’s eat!”

“New Job? Let’s eat!”

“Lost your job? Let’s eat!”

“Wedding? Lets eat!”

“Funeral? Lets eat!”

“Bored? Let’s eat more!!”

We have all fallen guilty of, and been subject to using food as an instrument of comfort, consolidation and celebration. I also believe that in my instance, this is cultural. Speaking for myself, and from what I know from friends and family, Black and Asian cultures seem to be guilty of this more than anyone. And if your childhood was anything like  mine, I used to spend a lot of time at my Grandparents’ homes.  As soon as you walk through the door they want to know if you have already eaten!  And woe betide you if you should refuse! It was better to accept the food and keep the peace…well, that’s my excuse anyway! 🙂

 

However, that is something that has always played on my mind. Maybe if I didn’t eat so much as a child, would I be this big now? Where did it go wrong? Or am I just “big boned?”…A delusion so many of us like to proclaim.

In all honesty Ladies and Gents, I, for one am not here to make excuses. I am here because I LOVE FOOD. It is no ones else’s fault. But how many of us are willing to be this honest?

Yes, I know there are some that have genuine issues with health and mobility that then cause us to live a plus life, (we will touch more on this in blogs to come), but ultimately, I am here, you are here, because we have made that choice.

DISCLAIMER: If you are surPLUS and it is actually making you unwell, you should listen to your physician and get yourself well. I do not t want you to tell your Doctor that Fran said it was ok to live my Plus life.  I do not want a lawsuit. Thank You J

But “Slim” does not always mean healthy either. For example; take those folks that have eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. They are literally 5 times slimmer than me, but they are NOT healthy. And then take me, who has always been big. I was one of the fastest girls over 100M in my high school. I, who has always played netball since school, also played for my high school and university. This fat is a façade! I am a plus girl that can…And so can YOU!

If you look up the word “Health” in the dictionary, you get this definition:

Health: (noun)

“The state of being free from illness or injury.”

 

So ask yourself; is your plus life causing you illness? Is your plus life causing you injury? No? Then trust me; you will be OK.

As I have said before, do not use this as an excuse to live over the top in the way of food, and if you are plus and feel like you aught to loose some weight, then go for it! I will back you all the way! But know that even though you may not be what society perceives as “perfect”, you may not even like what you see when you look in the mirror, it is ok. We have all been there. That is exactly what this blog is all about. We are taking this self love journey together.

In entries to come I will be looking at fashion, relationships and modern living. And also exploring the mores sensitive issues such as health, culture, combating stigma and everyday problems that arise as a plus person. I would love to hear your views, anecdotes and feelings on the above issues!

We are here to share. If there is anything you want to ask me, say to me, even if you want to disagree with me (!!!) feel free to comment.

 

We STAY together, We SLAY together.

Fran

X

 

 

 

Welcome…

Hey everyone!

It’s great to finally be here and blogging! My Name is Francessca, (Fran for short), and over the next few months I look forward to getting to know you as I share my world with you. We will laugh together, cry together, but most importantly; WE WILL LOVE OURSELVES AND SLAY TOGETHER! 🙂

Over the next few months I will be giving you insights on living in this day and age as a bigger or plus size person. NO, not just what the media portrays the life of plus size ladies (and gents!) to be like. For example; I watched a well known modelling show, and the hostess said they were having a plus size series. Well, this made me excited as I was hoping to see some REAL women portrayed in a beautiful way! I was thinking YES! Stretch marks, cellulite, bat wings…But no. What I got was a size 14 claiming “she had never fit in”.

In my opinion (and that’s all it is), that kind of thing does not help. An inaccurate view of plus size. I bet none of those girls have gotten up in a restaurant and tried to move between tables and had their bum in someone’s pasta because the tables are too close together! Or had someone ask “Awww! When is the baby due?”. No, they haven’t, because this ladies and gentleman is the life of a real plus size person.

Welcome to my world, and enjoy!

X