You should go & love yourself.

There 2wks ago I donned my 50’s style Lindy Bop dress, put on my face, failed to pin curl my hair in a 50’s style do, and headed off in search of Collectif Clothing‘s store on Commercial St. I was heading to Abby Russell‘s (AKA Curvy Living) “Self-Love and Style” evening.

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me in Lindy Bop, apres hair do!

*Just to be clear, when I say “self-love”, I mean, like, love yourself for who you are not “manual self-love” ye dirty feckers!

I don’t think I’ve ever been 100% body confident in myself but I don’t think I’ve ever really let it affect me to much. I like to think I wear what I want, be it in fashion or not, if I like it I’ll wear it. If I’m suffering from a “bad skin on my back” day I’ll wear something to cover it and if I’m feeling fat then I’ll wear something that makes me feel less fat or covers my lumpy bits. If I feel comfortable and I’m happy wearing it, then why shouldn’t I? The choices I make, I make to suit my height and my shape, I make them for me. Of course I love people to say, ooh you look great or I love what you’re wearing, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you can’t win them all lads!  Obviously, if you’ve read my previous post Slima-marinky-mee! or follow my FB page you’ll know I’m a Slimming Worlder, so yes my weight did bother me but even when I was heavier, I like to think it didn’t affect my clothing choices to much, or made me feel like a bad person. Yes I do feel better that I’ve lost weight, but I wore a jumpsuit at my size 16 heaviest, I loved it, I feel like I rocked it, just like I love my new size 12 jumpsuit….my weight does not define me…it annoys me but it’s not the sum of me.

I was a little bit nervous as I was going on my own and so knew nobody. Normally I’d see an event like this and think well nobody to go with so not going, but as time waits for no man, one must seize every opportunity, and so I booked it. Thankfully I was greeted by a smart looking waitress with a glass of prosecco. Phew! At least I could just stand and drink…it would make me look like I was doing something. Anyway once I was in the door, armed with my prosecco, I could take in my surroundings. I’d never been in a Collectif shop before and I was obviously missing out, looking online is just not the same. Everything is so bright and colourful in store. So many colours, so many fab items of clothing….and sweet baby Jesus, there was a sale on!! It wasn’t only the clothes that were so bright and lovely looking though, there were amazingly dressed ladies of all shapes, heights and sizes everywhere and one cool sales guy. The outfits! The hair!! OMG the hair!!

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Myself & Abby…total babe!

As I was coming in there was a gorgeous blonde with an amazing figure and the biggest victory rolls I think I’ve ever seen greeting the ladies who came in before me, this was Abby, the hostess. It’s hard to imagine that this gorgeous lady ever had any body confidence issues…or any confidence issues at all tbh, I’m pretty sure her atoms are made of sunshine!

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Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, Moi & Ivory Lovelust

On walking around some more, I spotted Georgina Horne (AKA Fuller Figure Fuller Bust or as I like to call her, the woman who can work everything, she’s the shizz!). It was through her FB page that I learned about the event. There was another babe, with close cut hair and one of the few of us not wearing a dress, that looked so familiar, like you know when you feel like you know someone from somewhere but you can’t think where or how…turns out it was Miss Leyah Shanks, Mother of The Body Confidence Revolution #TBCR.

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Leyah

It was so weird, like meeting celebs, although I only know these people through social media, it was kind of surreal meeting them in really real life. I wandered about the clothes rails, making mental notes of what I obviously NEEEEEDED in my life, cos I have “NO” clothes and made conversation with a few people. Inside I might have been slightly nervous and wondering why I came alone, but I normally just suck it up and go for it, so I did, and nobody thought I was nuts. I really wanted to say hi to George as she’d helped me choose an outfit via Snapchat the week before, but I thought I’d seem like a sack so took a seat. As I watched ladies have their hair teased into retro up-dos, Abby made her way over to say hi. She was really sweet, we had a great chat about where we were from, work, the event and she suggested I go get my hair done too. So I joined the short queue and Abby introduced me to another girl, who’d come alone. Whilst loitering I went in for the kill and tapped George on the shoulder. I explained who I was and was delighted to find she remembered our snap convo annnd I just had to tell her her boobs were even more mahooosive looking in really real life….haaa #starstruck!

 

160901013059_wmAfter having the opportunity to shop, try things on, get our hair & photos done, eat yummy canapes, drink prosecco annnnnd receive goodie bags, Abby asked us to take a seat. Herself, Georgina and Leyah all spoke about how they’ve all had issues with their bodies, their weight, their shapes, their confidence, anxiety and how the media has affected how we think we should all look. There were three totally different shaped ladies standing in front of us and I wanted to look like all of them, but at the same time why? There is only one of me, I am so rare I should be on an endangered list lads! There may have been somebody in that room wishing they looked like me! It’s so hard to remember everything that was said but one quote that stuck with me was from George, “try finding influences in YOURSELF that don’t make you feel sh*t”. We can look to others for inspiration and we can look at others in admiration but we still need to be us, not a copy. None of these women have said they are 100% happy with themselves every day, they have all said they have crap days where they don’t like what they see, as I think all of us do. What they are trying to say is what we see on the glossy pages of mags has been tweaked and airbrushed to Barbie-like proportions. For the most part it’s not what a normal woman looks like. For a start not “every” woman in that mag should be a size 6-8 and 5’7 because not every woman is a size 6-8. Most women will have blemishes, or scars, or stretchmarks or uneven skin tone…some even have tattoos, piercings and God forbid…..BODYHAIR!!! Nobody is saying don’t strive for YOUR version of perfection if it makes you happy but make sure you’re doing it because it makes you happy, not because it’s how society says you should look. Shur if we all looked the same it would be pretty boring eh?160901013332_wm

I don’t think I’ve said everything I want to say here but as this post is getting quite long, I need to draw to a close. I know that I came out of the Self-Love and Style event feeling confident, feeling positive but the whole time I was sitting there I kept thinking of how much somebody very dear to me along with one or two others could really, reeeally benefit from being here and hearing from all these really cool, stylish shapely ladies. Just to hear from people you don’t know, that you don’t have to be tall and slim to be beautiful. If any of you ever get the chance to attend  one of Abby’s events or an event like this, I’d highly recommend it.

I’ll finish by telling you about a conversation I had with a friend…. I sent her a couple of pictures of what I might be wearing to this event. She text back to say I look amazing and that she has no fashion sense. I replied saying, you probably do (have fashion sense) but you have convinced yourself you can’t wear something because of your shape. I told her about an epiphany I had whilst ironing a few nights before. If something bad happened to me where I ended up not dying but maybe paralysed but with full brain function, something where I was pretty much bed bound forever, I would hate to have all that time to think about all the things I should have done or worn but didn’t because I was afraid of what other people might think or say. Better I just do it now while I still can and not regret when I can’t.

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i just wanted to show you one of the dresses I picked up at the event from Collectif!

 

*I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my “epiphany”…it’s not intended that way.

Love
Donna xx

 

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Mr & Mrs’ Night Out (Oaka Review)

So if you follow my blog on Facebook and Instagram you may have noticed last Tuesday was myself and Hubster’s fourth wedding anniversary. Yep…4yrs as a Mrs! Wow! Still amazes me and don’t get me started on the small being that popped outta my loins following that…a Mrs annd a Mammy!

*Random fact… in case you didn’t know the traditional gift for a 4th anniversary is fruit or flowers…handy enough. The modern gift for it is appliances!!! Like seriously??? Can you imagine the consequences of hopping up a toaster or a washing machine to me on our wedding anniversary?? Lord God, the man would still be picking machine parts out of his butthole today! Luckily though, Hubster had sense and took me for grub!

Hubs brother offered to babysit for us….wohoooooo….on it like a car bonnet!! Our second grown up outing together since Small Monkey was born, we’re on a roll boys!! So I met Hubby after work in a local where we had one drink and then walked round to Kennington. We headed to Oaka on Kennington Rd, it’s only 15mins walk from us so handy if BIL gets a bit stressed babysitting.483749_125651497619784_908766732_n We’ve been here twice before, once when Small Monkey’s Godfather treated us for bestowing Godfatherly duties on him, and again when we took The Outlaws…well my Outlaws. 🙂 We’ve enjoyed it every time.

I just really like it in Oaka, it used to be a bit of an old man pub, not that old men pubs don’t have their own advantages (more open to lock-ins and a better choice of weirdos generally wander in and out for your viewing pleasure).482322_125651557619778_1346802254_n Now though, it’s light bright and airy, pretty much the whole front of the bar is floor length windows. Directly in front of you is the bar which always has a beautiful vase of fresh flowers on it. To the right, is more the lounge area, to the left is the restaurant area, with bigger group tables at the front and more cosier two seaters towards the back, which is where we were shown to. The lighting is low and not too harsh so you still look good after coming straight from work.581836_125651714286429_230313614_n The toilets are located downstairs, apart from the disabled loo. On the three occasions I’ve been in there, the loos have always been clean and tidy, and smelled nice. Dread when toilets smell of stale wee!! Yuck!!

It took us a little while to decide what to go for, but we opted for a 4 course set menu in the end and two forks at £29.50 a head. Here’s what it included;

Starter;

Tempura Veg, Heavenly Beef, Prawn cakey thingys, chicken satay and a selection of sauces for dipping.

Mains: Pt 1;

Crispy Duck with pancakes and black bean sauce.

Mains: Pt 2;

Indonesian Chicken Rendang, Sweet & Sour Prawns, Crispy Chilli Beef, Roti and Jasmine Rice.20150818_200034

Dessert;

Dessert of the day, which was Sticky Toffee Pudding.

OMG!! Everything was sooo nice. My fav fav bits were the Veg Tempura…. gorge and the chicken satay…mmmm nom nom. The Rendang was lovely, just the right amount of heat for me, Hubs found it a bit spicey but he loved the chilli beef. OMG!! The prawns!! GORGEOUS!! Not  little pitiful prawns either…big juicy ones! Neither of us had had a roti before either, it’s a bit like a thick pancake but it’s not stodgey, really tastey actually. And I lovvvve sticky rice, Hubby dreads it, not the taste but the stickiness…I don’t really get it either tbh! Now they had lots of lovely desserts inc cheesecake (my absolute fav) on the menu but our set one was Sticky Toffee Pudding, which I wouldn’t normally go for…ahem cheesecake…like hello!! Anyway the pudding was yum and it quite a lump too, served with vanilla ice cream. The extra good thing about this was Hubby doesn’t eat dessert so I got to bring his home ‘cos I’m classy like that and it was still yum the next day!

Anyway I think the price was fairly reasonable considering we can spend £25 sometimes on a chinese from the take away. I wish I’d taken more pics but I didn’t want to be snapping when it was meant to be our special night. We also had a bottle…well two bottles of Murphy’s Vineyard’s Chardonnay, which was kinda fresh and fruity at £19.80 a bottle.20150818_191936 Oaka also does lots of different ales. Their bottled beers start from about £4.60, ciders (Kopparberg…yum..from about £5). They also do cocktails which start at about £6, I’ll have to go back to try them though.

Enough about the grub, we had a really nice night throughout just chatting, planning and remembering our wedding day, the funny bits and pieces that happened. It really is true what they say, after all the plotting and careful planning of your wedding day it whizzes by in a blur, so make the most of it and try get out on your anniversaries to remember and laugh about it all again. Once we reached the end of our meal and got half way through our second bottle of wine though, we both kinda knew that was it. The Epic “we’ve got a babysitter, we’re gonna drink the shite outta this” anniversary was over. We were both to bloated to do anything else, we even considered getting a cab!! We were home at 9.30!!! Pulled on our pjs and rolled onto the sofa for the final episode of Supernatural (S9..no spoilers pls).

Now you might say that was an expensive night out for 3.5hrs but I’d pay it all again to eat fab food with my handsome Hubs!

Love Donna xx

PS All photos of Oaka outside and in are credited to Oaka’s own Facebook page.