Develop Your Personal Style: 3 Steps to Being Braver With Fashion

I regularly have followers ask me on Instagram about how I developed my personal style. I absolutely love fashion now, but I didn’t always. I used to see fashion as just another reminder of all of the things that were “wrong” with my body. I saw it as something I could never be a part of. Fashion and trends were for thin bodies and thin people. Not for my body or me. But all of that has changed for me.

Developing my personal style has become one of the biggest joys in my life. Nowadays, I use fashion to tell the world who I am. Every outfit is a statement. What I put on my body says who I am and what I stand for; a fat girl who loves herself unconditionally.

Two years ago I used to look in the mirror and see something ugly, undesirable and disappointing. But today I see something different. Today I see someone brave, daring, interesting and admirable. I see a god damn QUEEN. And I know that every single one of you can see that in the mirror too.

So, of course I’d love to share some tips with you guys and help you to feel beautiful and powerful in the skin you’re in!

  1. Find Plus Size Fashion Bloggers

Everyone needs inspiration sometimes. Especially when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone. Never is this more true than when you’re trying to be braver with fashion.

Plus size fashion bloggers are a great source of inspiration. By finding the right bloggers and following their social media platforms and blogs, it’s so much easier to figure out how to put outfits together, how to embrace bold new trends, how to style certain shapes and how to finally start having fun with fashion!

For me, it was really important to find bloggers who A) had bodies of similar shape to mine, and B) wore the kind of clothes that I had always wanted to wear. After a couple of days of searching the internet for just such a blogger, I stumbled across the Instagram profile of Grace Victory. And she’s been my personal style angel ever since.

Some of my other favorite plus size fashion bloggers include:
Curvy Roamer
Danielle Vanier
Callie Thorpe
Chloe In Curve
Bethany Rutter

  • Experiment With Your Style

I know more than anyone how scary it can be stepping out of your fashion comfort zone. Unfortunately though, unless you do you’ll never be braver with fashion.

Taking small, intentional steps to experiment with your personal style can be unbelievably fun too. I remember the first time I ever tucked my t-shirt into my jeans. It freaked me out! But I’d always loved that look, and it was something I really wanted to have the courage to do myself.

So, one day in the spring of 2017 I decided to experiment. I was taking the bus into Dundalk to run a few errands. So I set myself a challenge. I decided to tuck my t-shirt into my jeans for both the bus ride there and back. I still remember making my way from the front of the bus to find my seat, and feeling as though every single person on the bus was staring at me.

But what I also remember is the sense of achievement I felt when I got home that evening. I had done what I’d set out to do. For both bus trips, I had sat there, in front of all of those people, with my t-shirt tucked into my jeans. When I got off the bus I had quickly pulled my t-shirt out so that I could go about my day without feeling too uncomfortable. But I had been braver with fashion on that day than I had ever been before, and I felt like a fucking QUEEEEEEEEN because of it.

These days, you won’t find me in a t-shirt and jeans without it being tucked in!

Pushing yourself to experiment in small ways like this will help you to step outside of your comfort zone and slowly but surely break down the barriers you’ve built up in your mind.

  • Shop Around

You know what they say; variety is the spice of life. When I hated my body and thought of fashion as something for thinner people, I only ever shopped with one brand. This brand made lose fitting clothes in “flattering” cuts, specifically designed for women who wanted to hide their bodies, not flaunt them.

Sound familiar? The chances are, you’ve been that girl too.

But when my relationship with my body started to change, I began shopping elsewhere. I discovered and fell head over heels with Asos, Boohoo, Forever 21 and River Island to name just a few. I’m stil very much in this phase of developing my personal style and most recently I bought my first piece from Pretty Little Thing. Next on my list is In The Style Cuve. The possibilities are endless!

However, shopping around isn’t enough. In order to really be braver with fashion, you’ve got to open your mind to new shapes, new fabrics, new styles that you would never have considered wearing before. If you’ve always thought that bodycon dresses were only for thin people, it’s time to buy yourself a body con dress. If you never thought someone like you could “get away with” wearing dungarees, it’s time to buy some dungarees.

If you follow these three steps, you should experience the same kind of personal style journey as I did; one filled with excitement, nerves, joy and pride!

Remember, all bodies are beautiful. The fashion rules you’ve been taught all of your life are genuine horsehit. You can wear whatever the hell you like. And you damn well should!

Sarah x

Beauty and Mental Health

I’ve always struggled with the idea of being a beauty lover because, well, I hate vanity. I truly believe that what we look like is the least important thing about us. And yet, it seems to me that we’ve gotten confused at some point and started prioritising beauty above all else. Not wanting to associate myself with this idea, or give anyone the impression that I subscribe to it, I’ve always been wary of talking openly about just how excited I get about new lip colours, or about how trying a new vitamin C serum is much more appealing to me than a night out on the town with my friends.

 

In recent years, I’ve really worked hard on my mental health. The first half of my twenties were very much defined by mental illness. Not only was I suffering from a slowly but surely building depression which eventually left me suicidal, on medication and in therapy 3 times a week, but I was also battling with an undiagnosed eating disorder.

My mental health conditions stemmed from a deep seated belief that I was worthless, had no value, and was destined to only ever fail at anything and everything I put my hand to. At my very worst, I truly believed that my own daughter would be better off if I wasn’t around.

Now, I know that this is a little bit deeper and more philosophical than they kind of blog post you’d normally find on a beauty blog like mine. But that’s precisely why I wanted to write it. I think that while it’s absolutely great to enjoy all of the fun and creativity that makeup offers us, it’s vital to also stay grounded and keep in touch with ourselves, our mental health, and how makeup can affect it.

You see, makeup has the ability to transform. All you have to do is admire the work of MUAs on fantasy movie sets to see the real potential that makeup has to utterly alter the human face. On a more basic, day to day level, makeup allows us to add structure, contours, definition, light and shadows where there are none. It allows us to give ourselves stronger brows, bigger lips, wider eyes and higher cheekbones. When it’s done well, makeup can completely change how we look.

And while this can be enormous fun, it can be dangerous too. I have a weird analogy here, but stick with me. You know in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone when Harry discovers the mirror in Hogwarts that shows his parents standing beside him? I kind of think makeup is a bit like that mirror. As Dumbledore said himself, if we spend too much time with it we begin to confuse what’s real and what isn’t. Clever, right?

This is why I make sure to spend at least one day each week barefaced. I don’t want to forget the reality. I don’t want to start believing that I should look contoured with a winged liner at every moment of everyday. I want to keep my feet firmly on the ground and remember that it’s ok to have thin wispy blond brows and cheekbones that, aesthetically speaking, don’t exist.

When you’re a beauty lover like I am (and I assume you are or you wouldn’t be here) it’s easy to find yourself utterly bombarded with images of stunning makeup. Algorithms ensure that we only see what we like to see online. So when we like on picture that’s tagged with certain products and trend keywords, the algorithm sends us more of the same. Some people call this the echo chamber, when social media platforms only show us what they know we’ll love. It’s great in some ways, but it can be harmful in others. And here’s why.

When we see nothing but these images, which we should remember are created by the most skilled MUAs and edited heavily using sophisticated software, we start to become almost sensitised to bare faces. We find bare, acne prone skin more shocking than we did before. We see bare faces as incomplete, or missing something. This effect has been proven in scientific studies, and it’s a problem.

This is how we lose sight of reality. After years of this, the consequences on our own body image, self esteem and mental health can be extreme. Is it any wonder that eating disorder rates are through the roof and show no sign of slowing? Or is it surprising really that girls are now contouring and winging their liner at the age of 12 (compared to my generation who didn’t know what mascara was under the age of 15)? No. It’s not.

So, as a beauty lover who has experienced and recovered from two severe, long term mental illnesses (one of which was quite literally life threatening), I’m committed to balancing my love for makeup and the fantasy that it creates with a firm devotion to loving myself as I am, in the skin I’m in.

 

About Me

Hello!

My name is Sarah and welcome to my humble little corner of the internet. I decided it was high time I created a blog post for any newcomers that I could pin to the top of my blog, so that people can check it out and get a feel for what they might find here.

So, here’s 10 random facts about me!

  1. I’m 28 years old and Irish.
  2. I was on The Late Late Show in January 2018 talking to Tubs about body positivity and fatness and other awesome things.
  3. I’ve suffered from acute depression, been suicidal, survived and recovered like the badass queen that I am!
  4. I really really don’t like olives and I feel uneasy about the people who do…
  5. I once fell off a treadmill in the gym in front of my #1 crush.
  6. I used to suffer from binge eating disorder (you can read about that here!
  7. I work in digital marketing writing stuff about things for people. I really like it!
  8. Sex is very important. This is basically my entire philosophy on life. If you disagree, you should probably leave now.
  9. I have an 8 year old daughter who’s very weird and cool.
  10. I’ve loads of mad things like… been on Mother of Pod talking about sex parties, whinging at Joe Duffy about fatphobic advertising and flounced around in a bikini for the Sunday Independent Life Mag.

I began my Instagram account in January 2017 as just another plus size girl desperately trying to love her body. Since then my account has become a source of inspiration to thousands of Irish women who face that same challenge every day.

I’m honored and humbled to be able to help women like me make peace with their bodies. It’s an incredible privilege! I blog about everything from fat shaming to self care, plus size style to mental health, and along with my Instagram account I now have my own website (no shit sherlock) Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as a following of almost 5k. I love the little family I’ve built around me and it’s a joy to see it growing every day!

Basically though, what it all boils down to is this:

My aim is to spread the message that self love and happiness aren’t exclusive to one body type, and that everyone and anyone has the right to feel beautiful and powerful in the skin they’re in.

If that’s what you’re here for then welcome, enjoy, and please feel free to get in touch!

Sarah x
 

The 1:1 Rule – My Self Care Hero

If there’s one thing that’s important for our mental health, it’s self care. Every day self care is necessary for keeping us physically and mentally healthy and happy. And if there’s 1 thing that really helps me to manage my self care, it’s the 1:1 Rule. This is a rule that I learned when I was in therapy and struggling to understand the difference between quality self care and just plain old self indulgence. And it’s a rule I want to share with you guys!

I think the difference between these two things is something that lots of us struggle with. I found using the analogy of a small child really helpful. Think of yourself as a 5 year old for a moment. Yes, self indulgence is important. It’s absolutely good to indulge yourself every now and again, just like you would with a small child. Treats are nice. I love treats! YAY for treats! But you’ve also got to teach that 5 year old some responsibility, right? It can’t be all treats all the time. What does the 5 year old learn from that? What skills does she develop? How does it help her to grow?

Instead, you strike a balance. You definitely indulge her now and again, and you encourage the 5 year old to do little jobs, teaching her things along the way.

Self care is pretty much the same thing. We definitely need to indulge ourselves sometimes. There’s no doubt about that. But we can’t forget about the things that actually really need to be done, like laundry and household admin and grocery shopping etc. If we don’t take care of those things, they build up and cause major anxiety and stress. That’s just not a good way to take care of ourselves is it?

But it can be hard to do those things. Especially since people got the idea that self care is all brunches and peonies and asos hauls. The 1:1 Rule is the perfect way to strike the balance between self indulgence and self care practice. I use it every single day and now I’m going to share it with you!

The 1:1 Rule works a little like this. Before you practice something self indulgent, practice some self care. Simple!

Here are some examples:

  • Before you flop down on the couch after a hard day at work, just pop the dishes into the dishwasher.
  • Before you go get the chocolate ice cream from the freezer, just quickly change your bed sheets.
  • Before you meet the girlos for brunch, nip into the post office and pay that bill.
  • Before you go to the cinema, remember to pop online and book your NCT.
  • Before you run that gorgeous bubble bath, give the sink and toilet a quick wipe.

Each time you do something you really enjoy doing, make sure to balance it with something you’ll be really glad you did.

You get the drift. It’s tit for tat. 1:1. It’s really important to remember that this isn’t a rewards system you’re setting up here. You don’t have to do a single thing to justify eating chocolate ice cream or buying something for yourself. That is very much, NOT what this is about.

It’s really just a way for you to manage your self care practice and ensure that you’re doing the things you need to do, just as much as you’re doing the things that you want to do. The wonderful thing about it is, when you’ve done something you need to do first, you enjoy the thing you want to do so much more!

So that’s it! In my opinion, anything that helps us take better care of ourselves is awesome, and while something might work really well for me it mightn’t work so well for you. We’re all unique and that’s why building our own personal self care toolkits is so important for our individual self care practices.

I hope you give the 1:1 Rule a try and let me know how you find it. As always, please share any self care tips and tricks you have in the comments section below.

Sarah x

How To Practice Self Compassion

3 Reasons To Stop Using The Word “Healthy”

Health has become the ultimate trend. Far beyond the durability of our bodies and minds, the new idea of health is actually much more of an aesthetic one than a biological one. Do people really care about their health? Are they really in the gym training 6 days a week because they don’t want to have to get a hip replaced at 70? Or are they doing it because they want to be seen as healthy?

Far be it from me to tell anyone how they should take care of their bodies though. That’s up to every individual and I’m certainly in no position to judge anyone. We’re all just trying our best here – I get that. But what I do take real issue with is the way that we use the word “healthy” today.

Here are three reasons why I think we need to stop using it.

  1. It’s lazy and misleading. Health is such a complex subject. The factors that contribute to a person’s health are so vast and varied, scientists still know very little about why our bodies do the things they do. Saying a person is healthy or unhealthy (especially without conducting a detailed physical and mental exam) is such a blanket statement to make about something we still know so little about.
  2. It’s one dimensional. It never ceases to amaze me how often people continue to talk about health in a strictly physical sense. What about mental health? What about emotional health? Despite there being a real movement of mental health advocacy in the last five years, we still seem to talk about health in terms of the physical body only.
  3. It’s marginalizing. I honestly don’t know how this has happened, but somehow health has become a moral issue in recent years. We’re now led to believe that we are contractually obliged to be healthy, and that if we’re not putting our (physical) health above all other things in life, there’s something immoral about that. What about the people who will never and can never fit into the “healthy” mold? What about those with chronic illnesses or diseases? What about those with disabilities? By moralizing health, we exclude and marginalize those who don’t have a choice. Which is fucked up.

What’s The Alternative?

Instead of bandying around the word “health” in such a flippant and uninformed way, I’d love to see us moving towards talking about how we take care of ourselves.

At least that doesn’t pretend to be based on hard scientific facts and is holistic instead of one dimensional.

The idea of taking care of yourself also allows for diversity and the idea of what may look healthy for one person looks different for another.

Finally, the idea of taking care of yourself is based on a feeling of self love. It’s not harsh or punitive. It implies a sense of self love in practice, which is something we could all benefit from. Right?

What are your experiences of the word “healthy”? Do people use it as an excuse to body shame you? Have you ever felt bad for not being as healthy as your sister or cousin or colleague? Do you really believe people are that invested in health, or do you think it’s all just about staying on trend?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Sarah x

From Binge Eating Disorder To Intuitive Eating: How I Healed My Relationship With Food

Book Review: The Source by Judith Mc Adam

A few months ago I was contacted by a PR and asked if I’d like to be sent a copy of a new book written by Judith Mc Adam. When the PR explained the premise of the book to me, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it. At the time I was feeling a bit lost, out of sync with myself and I knew I needed to get back to the basics of self love and self care. The book couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

The Source is exactly what I needed. The idea of the book is that we all have our own innate power within us, but most of us live our lives without ever really connecting to that power. Until we connect to it we can never reach our full potential.

In the book, Judith talks about her own struggles, but also uses examples of clients of hers who’ve managed to achieve great things by connecting to their power through her guidance.

Some of my favorite things about this book include:

  • Her style. She writes beautifully, simply, and persuasively.
  • She’s included “diary pages” at the end of each chapter which act like a journal, and ya’ll know how much I love a bit of journalling.
  • She also includes a “toolbox” which provides practices that will help you connect to your power and stay connected to it no matter what’s going on in your life.
  • There’s a big focus on meditation which I think is absolutely essential to any kind of personal growth. Meditation was the foundation of my year in therapy. Having slowly lost my hard earned meditation practice over the past year, this book brought me back to meditation which I’m so grateful for.
  • Finding your inner child is one of the main principles of this book and I just loved, loved, loved that. I genuinely think every single person I know could benefit from reconnecting to their inner child.

Would I recommend this book to you guys? Yes. Absolutely. If you’re feeling out of whack, like you don’t know where you’re going or what you want, this book will help you to find your roots, your desires, and your purpose.

You can buy it here!

Want more reviews on books that will  help you feel beautiful and powerful in the skin you’re in? Check out my review of Body Positive Power, by @bodiposipanda here!

The Self Care Hack You Need To Know

I know that you guys are as into the idea of self care as I am. My self care posts get so much positive feedback and engagement, and you’re always asking for more.

If you haven’t already, check out my 4 Self Care Tips For When You’re Feeling Blue.

It’s so great to see so many people investing in themselves and their mental health through self care practices. Especially since it can be a surprisingly challenging thing to do. We’re all so busy all of the time. We’ve got so much on our plates. Finding 5 minutes for yourself can seem next to impossible. And as much ass we should all try to do it, saying no to people and putting ourselves first just isn’t as easy as it sounds.

But self care is necessary for us to be the best, happiest and most productive versions of ourselves, both physically and mentally. You can’t pour from an empty cup, right?

So,what can we do to practice self care every day when we’re spread so thinly? Here’s one of my favorite self care hacks that I think will help you to do just that!

Create A My Wins List:

I’m sure you’ve heard about gratitude journals. Well this is sort of like a gratitude journal, but it’s a little bit different.

This is ideal for when you’re on the go and short of time but in need of a little pick me up. A “My Wins” list can be created using the Notes app in your phone (I’m pretty sure that every single smart phone has one of those apps as standard nowadays).

Create a note and title it “My Wins”. Then, set a reminder for maybe four or five different times throughout your day. Each time the reminder pops up on your phone, add to the list. The list is for things that you’ve done that were good. Simple.

It doesn’t have to be “I saved a baby from a burning building” type stuff either. My Wins List usually consists of stuff like;

  • I got up early and made it to the bus on time
  • I threw some laundry into the machine before I left the house
  • I got a little bit more work done today than I did yesterday
  • I called my Granny to check on her
  • I took the dog to the beach
  • I cooked a homemade meal
  • I went to bed early and got a great sleep
  • I texted my friend to see how her exam went
  • I posted that form that I’ve been meaning to post

The point of the list is to remind you that you’re actually not as useless as you think you are. Every day you do things that are little wins, without even realizing it. We don’t count these things as wins because we expect so much from ourselves, but by taking note of them throughout the day, they can really help to turn our sense of self worth around.

This is a quick, easy and simple little hack that can become part of your daily routine. Once it does, you’ll notice a big change in how you feel about yourself!

Don’t forget to share you My Wins Lists with me when you do!

Sarah x

What to Do When You’ve Outgrown Those Around You

One of the most difficult things about personal growth of any kind is that it, more often than not, leads to the realization that some of the people in your life need to leave it. This can be particularly painful when the friend in question is somebody that you’ve got a shared history with. Maybe they’re an old school friend that you’ve known since you were a kid. Or maybe it’s somebody that you work with and have seen every day for years. Either way, cutting ties can be really hard.

The reason it’s so hard is because it pushes us outside of our comfort zone. We get used to having certain people in our lives. Even if we don’t particularly like them or enjoy their company anymore, we’d still rather have them there than not at all. Even if all they bring is drama, we’re afraid of losing them.

It seems like madness doesn’t it? But humans are such fans of comfort. We categorically do not like the unknown. Better the devil you know right? Maybe so, but all of this quickly comes crashing down when we start to work on ourselves and grow.

I have to say, I think this applies probably more to body positivity and self-love than to any other kind of personal growth. Why? I believe it’s because seeing you love yourself so bravely and so boldly only serves as a painful reminder to those around you of how little love they have for themselves.

This is tough. Especially given the fact that none of us want our self-love to hurt others. That’s not what self-love is. It’s not about arrogance. It certainly isn’t about making other people feel bad. But unfortunately, even if you’re doing your very best not to flaunt your newfound self-love in the faces of others, there’s no way to really hide that glow.

They see it, no matter how much you try to hide it from them (which, by the way, you absolutely should not do because self-love is all about living authentically and being exactly who you are in every moment), and it reminds them of how insecure they are, of how much they hate their bodies, of how they don’t feel like they’re enough and of how much they need to put on a constant and exhausting act to convince the world otherwise.

In this situation, what can you do? Try to ‘fix’ them? Try to convince them to see the light? You want to spend your life converting the world, be my guest. But I would just give you one little warning; you cannot convert those that don’t want to be converted. It can’t be done. All that will achieve is the draining of your own energy.

Maybe the time has come to say goodbye to this person. That doesn’t have to mean a big dramatic conversation with them while you try to explain to them that you’ve outgrown them and sound like a patronising asshole. It doesn’t have to mean any specific conversation at all. Maybe you just make a conscious decision to drift. Stop taking their calls. Don’t make any more plans. Always stay friendly and polite but create a distant and maintain it.

They may confront you about this in time and demand explanations. If they do, you have two choices; try to explain to them how you’ve been feeling and that, even though you’ll always care for them and cherish your memories together, you don’t feel you belong in each others lives anymore, or make up some bullshit excuse. The choice is yours. Neither is right and neither is wrong.

When we have the right people in our lives, we flourish. When we’re surrounded by people who are on the same wavelength as us, the sky is our limit. But when the opposite is true, we’re stuck. Yes, connections and history and memories matter. And there’s no denying that cutting ties is hard. But this idea that true friendship lasts a lifetime only applies if you’re willing to be the exact same person for your entire life, never changing, never growing and never evolving. And that’s just not us is it?

Body Positivity and Sex Positivity

If you’re following me, I’m guessing you’re familiar with the term “body positivity” and what it means. You may even BE body positive yourself… Yay! But are you familiar with “sex positivity” and what that means? In honour of Masturbation Month (yes, that’s a real thing and it’s happening right now) I thought I’d get stuck into sex positivity on the blog and share my feelings on it with you guys!

Sex positivity is all about sexual liberation. It’s about masturbating with no shame. It’s about exploring your fantasies with no shame. It’s about engaging inn casual sex with no shame. Essentially, sex positivity is about freeing yourself of all your sex-related shame and embracing your sexuality once and for all!

Sex positivity.jpg

This is actually quite tricky. I don’t know where you’re reading this from (I recently had a somebody based in The Philippines follow me!) but I’m living in Ireland, as you know, and in Ireland we’re still pretty backward when it comes to all things sex.

I think the long-lasting effects of a strict Catholic history are still very much present in the Irish mindset when it comes to many things. We may have legalised same-sex marriage, but we’re HUGELY divided about abortion. Nowhere is this lingering conservativism more obvious than when it comes to sex.

self love

As a teenager I was completely shrouded in sexual shame. I remember masturbating and feeling INCREDIBLY guilty about it, as though it made me dirty and disgusting. I never spoke to my friends about it. I’d have sooner died than admit it to anyone.

I started having sex quite young. I lost my virginity when I was sixteen (it was with my first “serious” boyfriend and actually quite a nice experience on the while – no regrets there thankfully but had been fiddling around with boys and their penises for a while before then. Fiddling really is the right word. I wasn’t a particularly big fan of it really. But of course, I hated my body and believed handjobs were the way to a man’s heart.

As I moved into my twenties and started having more casual sex, I was no less ashamed of my sex drive. I settled for indescribably unsatisfying sex with the men I met and used porn as a way to explore my fantasies. Of course, I did this in secret because GOD FORBID a woman should watch porn. I mean… can you actually imagine? *insert sarcastic tone.

It wasn’t until I became body positive that my attitude towards my sexuality and sex in general began to change. I think the reason that body positivity naturally leads to sex positivity is rooted in the belief that actually, everything about me is exactly as it should be. From the stretch marks that decorate my soft and squishy tummy to the fact that I’m REALLY into older men in positions of authority, it’s all just as it should be.

I definitely think that sex-related shame is an issue for most women in Ireland (and probably to a similar extent abroad), no matter what your shape or size. But I do think there’s an added element for fat girls who are CONSTANTLY told by society that they’re undesirable. If we feel we’re not pretty enough or beautiful enough or sexy enough to be desired, then we feel we have no right to expect it.

I used to suffer from waves of imposter syndrome mid-sex when I’d suddenly think “omg who do I think I am doing this”. I never really trusted in the idea that a man really WANTED to be in bed with me. I always assumed he was just SETTLING to be in bed with me, because he had no better options at the time. And that kind of thinking really doesn’t help to get the juices flowing.

So, it’s no wonder really that if body shame exasperates sex shame, that body positivity would lead to sex positivity.

sex positive.jpeg

These days I feel entirely comfortable with my body and with the idea that the man I’m in bed with sincerely wants to be there. In fact, my general assumption is that he’s only feckin THRILLED to be there and that he’d rather be there with me than anywhere else in the world. In terms of exploring my own fantasies and desires, I’ve made big strides in asking for what I want and downright demanding things like oral sex that girls are too often denied. Why? Because I know I deserve it. Cos I’m awesome! YAY!

I think as a parent this whole experience has really informed my approach to how I want to raise my daughter. I’ve thought a lot about how I’ll handle sex education from home (because God knows the schools can’t be relied upon to do it justice) and what kind of values I want to instil in her in relation to her own sexuality. I’ve already begun by introducing conversations around periods and general bodily autonomy and consent. And I think I finally have a strong feeling of direction in terms of where I want to go with those conversations over the next few years.

All in all, I’m determined to raise a girl who values not only her self and her body, but also her orgasm in a way that I never did.

Have you gone through a journey of sex positivity yourself? If so, please share in the comments section below!

Sarah xo

female masturbation

 

What’s in My Plus Size Capsule Wardrobe

In a recent post I talked about how I plan to buy less trend driven, fast fashion pieces and instead opt for timeless stylish pieces that I’ll wear season after season. You can read that post here! 

I decided to share with you guys my plans for said capsule wardrobe. I’ve put quite a lot of thought into this. I’ve written lists of key staples for each season and organised them in order of which ones I want most. I’m sure that this list would look differently for everyone, but I’ve drawn on my love of color, slight androgyny and simplicity to figure out what I really want.

Spring/Summer

  • A brightly colored cocoon coat
  • A good quality camel trench coat
  • A lightweight denim jacket
  • A really nice fitted long-line blazer in check
  • Two or three pairs of Birkenstock sandals
  • A pair of boyfriend/mom style white jeans
  • Some Adidas/Nike sliders

Autumn/Winter

  • A borg lined denim jacket
  • A good waterproof puffa coat
  • A long black belted wool coat
  • A pair of real suede block heel ankle boots in black and in tan
  • Some really warm and cosy, brightly colored, high-quality wool scarves
  • Some Adidas/Nike trainers

That’s pretty much all of the stuff I want to focus on stocking my wardrobe with. They’re all pieces that I think I’ll get the most value from and the ones I want to invest in. Of course I’ll always love wearing fashion-forward, on-trend pieces. I love to make a statement and pushing boundaries by wearing clothes that fat girls typically shy away from. That’s a really important element of my own personal style that I’d never want to lose. But I want those fashion-forward, on-trend pieces to comprise a minority of my clothes, not the majority. By styling them with the classic pieces which will make up my capsule wardrobe, I can ensure that I’m true to my own style while using my money in a way that makes sense.

Here are some great images of some of my favorite fashion bloggers wearing examples of the pieces on my list!

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This bright blue cocoon boat on the beautiful Bethany Rutter. 

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These monochrome striped Adidas sliders on Asos Lottie.

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These bomb boyfriend jeans on Curvy Roamer.

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This gorgeous blazer on Daniel Vanier.

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This really cool lightwash denim jacket on Sarah Hanrahan.

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This borg lined denim jacket on Curvy Nyome.

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This beautiful lambswool scarf on Callie Thorpe.

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These sick Adidas Originals on my go-to fashion inspo, Grace Victory.

What are your plus size wardrobe staples? Comment below and share your ideas with me!

Sarah x

3 Tips For Body Positive Parenting

One of the topics that I get asked to write about most often is how we can parent our children in a way that encourages them to grow up into self-loving, body positive adults. Body positive parenting is something very close to my heart as I try to raise my seven-year-old daughter to really love and accept herself and her body just as she is.

I think the reason why people are so keen to learn about body positive parenting is down to the fact that we all remember too well the hurtful and harmful things our own parents said or did while we were children. Whether your lasting memory is of your mother encouraging you to lose weight as a ten-year-old, or your Dad commenting on your fat belly as a young teen, or simply remembering hearing your parents complain about their bodies and harping on about diets every day for years… we all remember. The things that our parents said and did shaped us. And now we’re so conscious of what we’re saying and doing around our own children, and how that might shape them.

The most important thing to remember is to be compassionate with yourself. Parenting is hard. There is no right or wrong way. It’s not a competition. We all have our own circumstances to wrangle with. So, before you set off on Project Bopo Parenting, remember to be kind to yourself and remind yourself that as long as you’re trying to do right by your kids you’re a damn good parent!

With that in mind, I’ve narrowed down my top tips for parents to three simple things we can all do, starting today, at home that will bopo-ify our homes, our minds and our children’s futures!

1. Body Shaming Be Gone

How many times has your daughter/son heard you complain about your body, or shame somebody else’s body? How many times have you absent-mindedly commented on how much you’d kill to have X Persons long lean legs, or Y Persons flawless skin while your kid(s) were present? Does your child regularly see you grimace at your reflection in the mirror, or notice how you take twenty selfies in twenty different poses before you finally choose one that’s just right?

Stop it! Your kids see and hear EVERYTHING, and while you might say or do it in passing with little or no thought for the consequences, they are storing that brief memory away in the folder titled “Why I Should Hate My Body”.

This isn’t as easy to do as it sounds. Remember that you’re someone’s child too. And you’ve been conditioned your whole life to believe the things you believe and behave in the way you do. So, don’t expect yourself to do a complete turnaround overnight. But start trying. Start noticing what you say and do. Start how often you say or do it. And start trying to slowly but surely phase anybody shaming out of your home.

2. Ditch the Diet Talk

We’ve all been raised to believe that it’s a parent’s responsibility to feed their children healthy nutritious foods and keep them fit and strong, right? There’s nothing wrong with that idea at all. There is something wrong with how we’ve been executing it though.

The focus we’ve been placing on health has created the idea that some foods are good foods and some foods are bad foods. Even worse than that is the association this creates in the minds of our children that if they eat good foods, they are good people and vice versa. This is HUGELY problematic.

As we keep hammering this idea of good foods and bad foods into our little ones, is it any wonder that the average age of a girls first diet has dropped to just EIGHT YEARS OLD?

So, what can you do in practice as a parent to stop that process in its tracks and save your kids from the ever-increasing risk of eating disorders?

Be careful how you talk about food. Instead of talking about healthy foods and unhealthy foods, try talking about how some foods are great for our bodies, and some are great for our minds. Make sure to emphasise the importance of looking after both. I often talk about how our meals make our bodies AND our minds happy by including foods that are packed with nutrients AND taste delicious. This is a much healthier way to raise our kids as they grow up believing not that food is their enemy, but that it’s their friend.

3. Create Conversations

We’re all so afraid to have real conversations with our kids. We want to wrap them up in bubble wrap and protect them from the harshness and complexity of the real world, don’t we? But are we doing more harm than good by sheltering them too much?

I think that it’s impossible to be a body positive parent without creating body positive conversations around the dinner table, during bath time, or just while cuddling on the couch in front of the telly.

When an ad for the latest beauty product comes onto the screen, talk to your little one about how they use special computers to change what models look like and make them look “perfect”. Talk to them about the very idea of the “perfect” body. Ask them what they think. Ask them if they think it’s important to look “perfect”, or if it’s maybe more important to be kind. Talk to them about how there’s no black people in wheelchairs on the program you’re watching. Ask them if you think that’s good or bad.

I was very nervous when I began having these sorts of conversations with my daughter. I was worried she wouldn’t understand what I was talking about, or that she’d have no interest. But I was amazed by how clear her understanding of it all was, and how strong her opinions on topics related to body positivity are. I quickly realised that she was well able to think and talk about beauty standards, diet culture and mental health, and I can see the positive impact it’s having on her already!