7.12.2018

Why Can't Women Just Be Happy?

Recently, I've been full of happiness and love for my life. I've taken problems in my stride and really just tried to focus on the good things which in turn, made me excited for each day. Yes, even Mondays.



I started to get the old 'something has to go wrong soon', 'I don't deserve to feel this happy' feelings that we all know too well.

Why do we feel that way sometimes? Why do I always hit the sabotage button on my happiness?

I really got to thinking about why this is and Ive come to realise that while everyone gets these feelings, it's more common in women (from my experience and in my opinion). Why?

Some people are probably reading this and thinking it's because we have more active hormones than men and some women who are mums, feel guilty that they're enjoying themselves because it's as if they're not focused on the happiness of their children, which of course is a load of crap.

The real answer in my opinion, comes down to society.

We as women have been brainwashed into believing that it is our responsibility to make sure everyone is cared for and happy above our own wellbeing and happiness.

As an example of this, society tells new mothers that even if they are unwell or unable to, that breastfeeding is necessary. By society, I don't just mean Men. I have come across so many judgemental Judy's on social media and forums where women chastise other women for deciding against breastfeeding.

Another example is the protests against abortion. Some women choose not to have a child for a number of reasons. Physical health issues, mental health issues, financial issues, relationship issues and a whole load of other reasons that has puff all to do with society and everything to do with the woman. We're raised to believe that even if we are so unwell we cannot cope, that it's our responsibility to care for everything but our own wellbeing.

I'm a single woman who at 31 has more than felt the pressures of society to the point where I find it easier to give myself a hard time because I know that if I don't, I'll be frowned upon.

The constant questions about my relationship status, why I'm not married, why I don't have kids, why I'm not thin, why I don't drive, why I live at home, it's never ending and it's the real reason I stop myself from being too happy.

It feels like there's always a 'to do' list that we as women must tick off before we're allowed to be happy but that list will always be never ending. Take it from someone who never allows herself to be happy or content, do what makes you happy. Life is too short.

H x
7.11.2018

Summer Wardrobe Edit: The Jumpsuit

It's been a wee while since I did a Fashion post, mainly because I've been losing weight and wanted to 'save' them for once I'm at my goal weight, howeeeeever, I was very kindly sent some pieces from Boohoo's plus size fashion range which is why I decided to give my wardrobe a Summer edit, starting with this Jumpsuit.

https://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2319&awinaffid=222903&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.boohoo.com%2Fplus-eve-drape-sleeve-floral-wide-leg-jumpsuit%2FPZZ89248.html

This is the first jumpsuit I have worn in about five years. For me, I've always been worried that I look like im stuffed in a sausage skin but determined to shake up my summer wardrobe, I took the plunge.

When I'm looking for a piece to add to my wardrobe, I always have set rules of what is suitable. 

For jumpsuits, comfort is key. Everything I wear needs to have some sort of sleeve whilst also being airy (hello summer sweat) which is why a cold shoulder is ideal for me. This has a scoop neck and spaghetti straps with cold shoulder detailing followed by frilled sleeves which cover my bingo wings perfectly. 

The fact that this has buttons at the front rather than a zip also gets the nod from me. The idea of having to unzip this fully every time I needed to pee (which is a LOT in summer) gives me the fear, especially after a few strawberry daiquiris. This has some little buttons at the top which, even with acrylic nails on, are easy to unbutton and button. 

I have big legs that often swell in the heat, so these being wide legged is ideal for me. The jumpsuit gathers at the waist which gives it a flattering shape and the length is well proportioned (no camel toe in sight!)

The material of this is like cheesecloth. I wore this in 30 degree heat for the photos and I didn't once feel sticky or uncomfortable. 

The only downside to the jumpsuit is that it is slightly see through. Nude underwear is a must which is understandable with white clothing. 

Boohoo plus is available in sizes 16-24. In terms of how this sizes, Its true to size but does run a little long. Perhaps not ideal for shorter women but If you're 5,6+ this is your dream jumpsuit. 

For more information and to buy this jumpsuit click here. 

Holly x

*Contains affiliate links.
6.14.2018

Trying Boohoo Plus

As a lot of you might know (I've gone on about it enough on Twitter) I am off on holiday to Florida soon so naturally, your girl was on the lookout for some new wardrobe essentials.



I was really luckily gifted some pieces from Boohoo's plus size collection and I wanted to let you know what I chose, how I found the website and how I'll be wearing the pieces.

So first off, As much as I am proudly plus size, I'm human and get a bit body conscious especially when I'm out of my comfort zone. For me, that means covering up the tops of my arms and my legs with the exception of a bit of 'peekaboo' detailing.

I was able to narrow my search down to sleeve length, skirt length and styles on the Boohoo website which saved me time going through things that weren't suitable for me.

When I set out looking for items, the ideal pieces were to include cold shoulder detailing, a maxi of some sort and wide legged trousers, so I was being really fussy on what I picked.

In the end I opted for:

Boohoo Plus Jodie Button Front Maxi Skirt*

This is a thin linen & jersey type material which has a button front. I opted for the black skirt because adding colour to the top & with accessories would be easier. This has a slit up the front which comes just above the knee (meaning any anti chafing shorts worn underneath won't be seen!) This is fitted enough to be smart but loose enough not to be uncomfortable which for me is ideal.

This costs £15 and is available in sizes 16-24*.

Boohoo Plus Eve Drape Sleeve Floral Wide Leg Jumpsuit*

AHHH!!! your girl went off the scale with taking risks here. I normally never ever wear jumpsuits (someone once asked me if I was wearing a 'fat girl onesie' and it put me off) but in the name of risk taking, I thought I'd give this a whirl and I'm so glad I did.

This has cold shoulder detailing (yeeesss!) which means I can hide the part of my arms I'm least enthralled by. This also gathers at the waist before dropping into a wide leg which feels slouchy and comfortable at the same time as being bang on trend.  This has a ditsy floral print too which I am loving and I couldn't be more pleased with the piece as a whole

This costs £28 and is available in sizes 16-24*

Boohoo Plus Jennie Short Sleeved Wrap Tie Waist Top*

Wrap tops are my BFF's. you can wear them with skirts, trousers, jeans, shorts the works! This top is available in three colours - black, white & red. I opted for the White because again, I figured adding accessories with a pop of colour might look cute. For me, a wrap top is ideal for curvy girls because it means you can tighten or loosen the belt to suit your frame. I for example, have wide shoulders, a  medium sized bust and a short waist. I like something to synch in at the waist and not be too baggy at the bust which is why this top is ideal for me.

This costs £15 and is available in sizes 16-24*

Eh, did any of you lot know that Boohoo are doing their own beauty range? me neither! I chose a couple of bits to take away with me and test out.

Boohoo 3 Shade Highlighter Palette - £6*

This has three shades in it and comes packaged in gold with a mirror in the lid. I'm yet to try it out but I'll be sure to let you know my thoughts when I'm back from Florida.

Boohoo Illuminating Primer - £6*

I'm intrigued by this. Primer's for me are supposed to keep my base in place but this one is illuminating so I'd be interested to see if this makes my face shimmery or if it leaves an oily residue. Again, I'll let you know upon my return!

Have you tried the Boohoo Beauty range? let me know what you'd recommend! It's so affordable!

So there we have a bit of holiday shopping where I'm trying Boohoo plus. I'm excited to go away into the sunshine so I'll be sure to take lots of pics while I'm away to share when I'm back to make you all jealous muwahahahha!

H x

**Contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to earn a small % of sales made from my links at no extra cost to you.
6.13.2018

My Travel Checklist - Hand Luggage Edition

Going on holiday or travelling is always something to look forward to, but if you're like me and are terrified of flying, you're going to want to avoid any unnecessary stress by ensuring you've packed everything you'll need to get you through the flight.


For me, because I'm such a geek, I make endless amounts of lists with different categories of things I'm going to need, hence My Travel Checklist - Hand Luggage Edition.

ELECTRICALS

I always pack things I'm afraid of losing so that even if something happens to my luggageamily, I still have my necessities. No, I'm not 'obsessed' with my phone, but it's how I keep on top of work, contact family & most importantly check in on my two cats!

Here's what I pack (I've included some work things too incase you're a blogger like me!)

- Phone
- Phone Charger
- Travel Adapter
- Laptop & Charger
- Camera
- Batteries
- Battery Charger
- 2 x SD Cards
- External Hard Drive
- Headphones

COMFORT

I don't usually pack a huge amount in terms of comfort - just a few things I can keep in my pouch in front of me that I can grab when I need. I pack:

- This Works Pillow Spray
- Eye Mask
- Micellar Wipes
- Anti Bacterial Wipes
- Bobbles & A Brush
- Lip Balm
- A jumper
- Hand Sanitizer
- Medication

FOOD & DRINK

I never eat any of the in flight meals because I'm surprisingly fussy, so I take food on the flight with me. I always pack two sharer bags of crisps (9 hour flight!), something with chocolate and a baguette (That I buy when I'm at the airport!). I also buy water and diet coke once I'm through security. I buy the water for when I arrive at my destination. (baggage claim is always SO hot and stuffy!) and the diet coke because it's my all time favourite comfort food.

BITS & BOBS

Other things I pack include:

- A new outfit (just in case something happens to my luggage & something I can change into quickly when I arrive at my destination.
- some makeup bits
- Sunglasses
- Contact lenses

So that's everything that I pack in my hand luggage to get me through my flight. I use a 4 wheel It Luggage cabin case (the 4 wheels make my life easier and it cost me £30 at Matalan).

Have I forgotten anything?

H x

6.06.2018

Daily Summer Essentials

When the sun is shining and the prosecco is waiting, the last thing we want to be doing is caking makeup on our faces. I don't know about you, but it's shower, suncream, perfume, sunglasses and out the door as quick as I can which is why I wanted to show you my daily summer essentials.

For me, it's all about convenience and speed (said no woman EVER... I can hear your eyes rolling....) which is why I have six products I use for a typical day in the sun.

My daily summer essentials include a lip balm, skincare, sun protection, sunnies, a dreamy hair treatment and even a summer scent.

When I'm spending a lot of time in the sun, I always ensure my hair is strong. I've mentioned this a million times, but for the newbies here, I lost about 30% of my hair a few years ago as a result of Psoriasis. Because of this, making sure my hair is strong and healthy is a priority. I've been reaching for the Evo Hair Mane Attention Protein Treatment* which contains 100% active ingredients but is free from parabens, sulphates, dea, tea and propylene glycol. This is designed to minimise hair breakage, helps keep colour vibrant and gives a lasting shine which is right up my street. You literally only need a tiny amount of this so it lasts a really long time. I know a lot of hair professionals advise against using hair treatments anymore than once a week to avoid build up, but I've been using this 2/3 times a week and haven't noticed any 'build up' or residue left behind. My hair feels silky and strong which is exactly what I need in the summer.

I also reach for a gel to apply once I'm out of the shower.  The gel I've been using is actually, to me, mre like a serum. The Pixi Beauty Skintreats h20 Skindrink* is lightweight, not overly sticky (though, has enough of a 'residue' to work as a primer - I've tried it as a primer 3 times and it's worked brilliantly) cools, moisturises and plumps the skin thanks to the Aloe Vera, Rosemary & Green Tea.  I was lucky enough to be sent this by the lovely PR's at Simply Be (Who knew they had so much beauty on there?!) and have been using it consistently over the past 3 weeks to properly test it. It's really lightweight and I can definitely notice a difference in how my skin looks (especially if I whack it in the fridge for half an hour before using it).

The most important product in my Daily Summer Essentials is the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Comfort Cream* with spf 50. I am one of those pain in the ass friends who is running (walking at a brisk pace..) around with a bottle of sun cream, preaching about the dangers of not using SPF. I've got my reasons, but long story short, I love the La Roche Posay Anthelios range as it has a broad UVA & UVB protection. This is non sticky too which is great because as you all know, I hate feeling sticky. They also have a mist too which I use a lot.

To get myself out the door quickly, I grab my sunglasses (these ones are from Monsoon last year - sorry! I've found some really similar round sunglasses for under a fiver from the Men's section at Boohoo. Click here*). I also whack on some tinted lip balm to make myself look somewhat put together and protect my lips from the hot weather at the same time. I've been using the Pixi Beauty Shea Lip Butter in 'Honey Nectar' (available at Simply Be*) which looks lovely and does the job (it doesn't have any SPF but I use the La Roche Posay SPF over my lips prior to using this).

Last but by no means least, what would my daily summer essentials be without a summer scent?

I've been reaching for the DKNY For Women Limited Edition Energizing EDT recently after finding it in my PR stash (Thanks DKNY!). This is the perfect combination of sweet & zest. It contains orangeflower, solar musk and a hint of vanilla which I had to google because I'm ridiculous at identifying scents. I just know it smells nice & fresh at the same time as being a bit fruity & flirty which is perfect for summer.

So there you have my six daily summer essentials. Let's be real, living in Scotland means sunny days don't happen too often. Get outside while you can!

What essentials do you reach for?

H x

**Post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to be paid a small % of earnings made from my blog without any extra cost to the buyer.
6.04.2018

Jane Plan - Non Scale Victories

Hey everyone!

I realise that over the past few weeks I've been talking a lot about how much weight I've lost but I haven't really talked about non scale victories.


To date I've lost 22lbs in 6 weeks using Jane Plan which I am SO pleased with. Last week I didn't lose anything for the first time since doing the plan and instead of being disheartened, I decided to try something else.

I went to my wardrobe and tried on some of my tightest clothes (you know, the ones we buy to 'fit into'?) - and they all fitted loosely. I then thought about things that were different with my body since I started Jane Plan, so got a measuring tape out and took my measurements.

I have lost 6.5 inches from my hips, 4.5 inches from my waist, 2 inches from my bust, 2 inches from each upper thigh, 1 inch from each lower thigh, 2 inches from each upper arm and half an inch from my neck. That's a total of 23.5 inches from my body which might not seem like a huge deal to a lot of you but to me, it's life changing and I'm not done yet!

Jane Plan has become a little 'repetative' over the past week or two but I'm due a new delivery on the 6th which includes a couple of new dishes to try out.

My favourite meals just now are:

Vanilla Porridge
Luxury Muesli (with unsweetened almond milk!)

Mushroom & Porcini Soup
Salmon & Dill Salad

Chicken Tikka Masala
Tuna Pasta Bake

I STILL love the dark chocolate bar AND it's the only dark chocolate I like.

I'm going on holiday soon for a week and I don't plan on sticking to the plan. I will however be doing a lot of walking and won't be going crazy but for me, the balance between reality and sticking to plan needs to be equal otherwise I won't stick to it. It's working this way for me so I'm definitely going to get back on it when I come back. I usually gain 2-3 pounds while I'm on holiday so I will let you know when I'm back.

Between then and now though, I'm going to be posting my first BEFORE AND DURING BODY SHOTS!! I'm really nervous about it but it's part of my journey and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you next week.

If you have any questions for me, let me know!

You can get Jane Plan by clicking here.

H x
5.22.2018

Jane Plan FAQ's

As you all know, I am doing Jane Plan. At the moment, I've lost 18lbs in 4 weeks and couldn't be happier with my progress!


I've been posting daily on Instagram stories and I've received (literally) over 100 questions about Jane Plan, which is why I'm bringing you some Jane Plan FAQ's.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The Jane Plan four month plan costs £199 per month. You can use discount code 'HOLLYFIRST' at checkout to save £25 on your first month and the Jane Plan website regularly has time limited offers. (I don't make any £ from the discount code by the way!)

ARE YOU HUNGRY?
In the first week, I was hungry. I was used to eating large portions of carbs and processed foods, so getting used to having everything accounted for took some time. Within a week, I had adapted to it and can safely say that the only time I feel hungry is when I'm PMS'ing.

HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU CONSUME DAILY?
If you solely eat the plan, you consume less than 1000 per day, however, it's recommended that you add fruit & veg to each meal so I always float around 1200. You'd be surprised how much veg you can eat for very little calories. I'm not a huge fruit lover so on occasion I'll have some watermelon or Pomegranate seeds. Aside from that though, I'm not too bothered.

WHAT DO YOU DRINK?
Prior to doing Jane Plan, Diet coke, white coffee with one sugar and a Disaronno with coke were my favourite indulgences. Now, I only have coffee with no sugar (or green tea! the Lidl's Peach one is beaut!), diet coke twice per week and NO disaronno. I instead have 3/4 vodka's with diet lemonade twice a month. I'm not a huge drinker so it's not something I feel like I need to 'sacrifice'.

ARE THERE SNACKS?
Yes! The plan comes with one snack per day for the month. I LOVE the bar of dark chocolate and the vanilla crunch biscuit. The Oatcakes with black pepper & toasted almonds are also beaut.

DO YOU HAVE A CHEAT DAY?
Saturday Fatter-day haha! On a Saturday, I have a jane plan breakfast (Granola), at lunch I have something semi-healthy (a chicken and roasted veg panini is my fave!) and dinner is my 'cheat'. Since I was little, my mum and dad prepare a buffet which has baked potato's, rolls and crisps etc so I have that. As soon as Sunday is here, I'm strictly back onto Jane Plan.

DO YOU DO EXERCISE?
For the first two weeks, my energy levels would rise and fall a lot. I went on a brisk 1.5 mile hilly walk on day 2 of my diet and really didn't feel good so kept exercising to a minimum for the first two weeks. After that, I incorporated more walks and generally getting outdoors more often. I also would challenge myself to do my walk a minute quicker on occasion to challenge myself. Using little wrist or ankle weights helps.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS?
throughout the week, I genuinely feel great. On a Saturday night/Sunday morning, my stomach is often not great. When you shrink your stomach and change the type of foods your body consumes, then when you have a cheat day where you go overboard it messes up my system. I have a nervous stomach in general so it doesn't take much to upset it. I'm combatting this by spreading out my food rather than eating all at once.

HOW QUICKLY DO YOU LOSE WEIGHT?
I lost 9lbs in the first week and it slowed down to a more stable average of 3lbs per week (some weeks I lost more, some weeks was less). I am really noticing a difference though. I feel so much more energetic and for the first time in my life, I feel genuinely proud of myself. I had someone on instagram send me a message saying I was 'cheating' by doing a meal delivery service but as far as I'm concerned, if I can make this journey easier on myself then why not? It's healthy, it's structured and it's what I needed. I am very kindly being gifted Jane Plan for as long as I need and I plan on using it as well as I possibly can.

Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below! I'm always happy to hear from you! You can get Jane Plan by clicking HERE.

H x
5.21.2018

The 'Go To' Dress

Hi everyone!

I don't know about you, but I have 'go to' clothes. I always end up going back to classic 'tried and tested' pieces that I know I can rely on. Whenever I'm going on a night out or a date (HAHAHA as if!) or even to a family event where I know I need to look nice, I whack on the 'go to' dress.




For me, the 'go to' dress is something I feel comfortable in, that highlights my best features (and hides my worst!), it's a dress that I've been complimented on and it's a dress I know I won't be over OR under dressed in.

Because I'm Plus Size, I try to dress to suit my broad frame. I have wide shoulders, average sized boobs, a slimmer waist and a big bum. I always look for something that will elongate my decolletage and highlight my cleavage slightly, drawing in at the waist, and skimming over my hips. I loathe my huge arms and tree trunk legs, so for me, a maxi dress with splits at the sides is 'sexy' enough for occasions but also can hide my legs when I'm not feeling it.  This dress has a mid length sleeve which hides the bingo wings and draws attention to my forearms rather than my upper arms.

I bought the 'go to' dress from New Look's Curve section in 2016 and I've literally worn it about 20 times. I've included a few pictures of different occasions that I've worn it so that you can see how versatile it is.

I know that seeing as I bought this in 2016, it's probably discontinued, so I've gone and scoured the internet to find similar ones in varieties of fits and sizes.

(affiliate links are marked with an *)

The ACTUAL Dress - Out Of Stock :(
Black Floral Wrap Maxi Dress from Choies - Short sleeves - Only 3 Sizes Available
*New Look - Sizes 8-18 - Short Sleeves
*New Look Curve - Red Floral - Sizes 18-28
Shopstyle - Tall Range - Sizes 8-14
Asos - Maternity Range - Sizes 6-20
CiChic - Available In USA - Sizes S-XXXL

I hope one of these makes you feel as awesome as I feel when I wear the 'go to' dress.

TOP TIP
Cut a pair of old leggings (mines were from primark and cost £2.80) just above the knee and wear them under maxi dresses to avoid 'chub rub'. I've been doing it for years and it's a live saver!

H x