me hat valencia

Ask anyone who shops plus size, and they’ll tell you that the vast majority of their clothes are ordered online because most retailers refuse to stock larger sizes. Certainly many have given with one hand and taken away with the other: launching capsule, more on trend plus collections, but moving all post-size-16 clothes to e-commerce. There are exceptions of course, such as Simply Be going from mail order/online to physical shops, Taking Shape opening around the country, and House of Fraser launching their plus size collection in stores very soon, but for the most part shopping away from their computers is damn difficult.

And if you let them speak for a few more minutes, they’ll also tell you what an absolute pain ordering online is. You pay up front. You can’t tell how anything will fit when you order it. And then they’ll tell you how annoying having to return items are, whether it’s trying to find the one Post Office left within five miles or waiting indoors all day for a delivery pick up that sometimes doesn’t even come. Gah! The emergence of Collect+ has been something of a godsend, but even so the bonding experience of being able to go shopping on the high street with your friends and get a second opinion is kind of denied when most clothes have to be tried on in your bedroom, on your own.

Recently at work I was told that Westfield had opened a CollectPlus lounge in their London centre (at Shepherd’s Bush) where you could have orders from Collect+ friendly shops (the mighty ASOS, New Look, Next among others) sent – it had it’s own changing rooms and helpful concierges who would take care of any returns for you. AWESOME. I really wanted to give it a try, and so myself and a few other plus size blogger pals went down to see what it was like.

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As it turns out, it’s a lovely little section and more than a bit luxurious. I particularly liked the offer of water or beer from the concierge team! We all hung out in groups and got to do what I imagine a lot of women take for granted: clothes shopping with your friends, which was really nice.

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I took home this gorgeous playsuit by Alice & You, and I was persuaded to keep the bowler hat although I’m scared to wear it out of the house! It is super cute, though. Right?

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Of course having a lounge like this doesn’t solve the issue of paying up front, but I found it really simple and quick to use. I don’t live or work near Stratford but if there was a lounge near my work, for example, I’d definitely send orders there and pop in on my way home as it’s so convenient!

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The bonus of having the lounge at Westfield though, is that you can really go all out, treat yourself and make a day of it. I was there with both groups and got a stunning hand massage from Jo Malone, champagne cocktails from Searcy’s, an absolutely EPIC Lebanese spread from Shawa (the spicy lamb wraps are so good) and a heavenly meal at The Meat Co. which is definitely in my top 5 restaurants ever now. A tip: get the BBQ beef ribs, but whatever you do, order a half rack. Hollie found this out a little bit too late. My giant steak looked miniscule in comparison!

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I genuinely think having the CollectPlus lounge is a brilliant idea and so helpful, especially for those who work nearby. I wonder if they’ll install one in Stratford City?


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Lingerie: Gorgeous range at Debenhams*

Those of you who have read my blog for a while might know how the biggest obstacle to finding peace with my body has been my breasts. It’s one thing to be fat, but unfortunately I didn’t get the typical fat girl pay-off in the form of big, full breasts. For years, I felt revulsion at the fact that I was a 44AA in a world of 42Gs, strapping up my boobs in whatever 3-cup-boosters I could find and despairing over the fact that I had more cleavage at my back than I did at my front (but that subject is a whole other post). I felt like a failure, and completely undesirable. How could I not? Desirable was a D+ cup and I felt like my own body just didn’t deliver.

When I first got measured by the team at Freya I was jubilant at discovering that a 36D was a closer fit, with their bras giving me as much of a boost and levelling out my silhouette as much as my Sainsbury’s bras held together with multiple bra extenders and willpower. It opened up a whole new world and imbued me with so much more confidence. I was a 36D. I could hold my head up high! I was an average woman!

Of course, nothing is ever that simple. Just as no two size 20s are the same, so too did my bra size fluctuate as I shopped around the high street for a new lingerie wardrobe. After huffing and puffing in Marks and Spencers when bra after bra didn’t fit, I actually cried (I was probably due on, to be fair). Maybe they got it wrong, I thought to myself. Maybe, after everything, I really was just a 44AA. The idea was too depressing to consider.

And then, a few months ago, I read a comment by an owner of a vintage shop who said that she made a point of asking women who entered her store what size they wore, not what size they are. And it blew my mind a little bit. How many times have we said “I am a…” with regards to our clothes or bra size? On the face of it it’s an innocuous piece of phrasing, just part of the english language that doesn’t need to be thought about. But there’s a deeper meaning: we are, literally, defining ourselves by what size we wear. Isn’t that silly?

And then, I thought about how women use their dress and bra sizes as a source of pride or – more often – deep shame. How back in the day men judged women on their “vital statistics”, meaning they would literally get hot and bothered by… three sets of numbers. Sexy. More recently we had the hip to waist ratio, of which Kate Moss is apparently the only living embodiment of perfection. The more I thought about it, the more illogical it became. Why is this a thing?

Armed with this new insight and a kinder attitude towards my body I got measured again, this time by the team at Debenhams as part of their lingerie promotion. A few of us got to see the lovely Freya team give a talk on bras for larger cup sizes before having a nose at all the pretty bras. This time, changes in my body meant that for Debenhams’ own lingerie, I felt and looked best in a 38C. This time, it really IS like a whole new world – I came away with four sets of underwear that are ridiculously comfortable and I that I like how I look in with my clothes on – and with my clothes off.

I don’t feel any shame or apologetic in any way the way that I used to. A bra is something I wear and in some places it’s one size, and in another place it’s another size. There is no magic number that defines me. Maybe we should stop saying “I am” and start saying “I wear“.

Change starts with the small things: I am Lauren. I wear sizes anywhere from 16 to 26, depending on the shop. In Freya I might wear a 36D; in Debenhams, a 38C. And that’s fine. I am not my bra size.

And neither are you.


Dalmatian print skirt for Look x Simply Be
Skirt: LOOK magazine for Simply Be*
Shoes: Simply Be
Vest, Cardigan: Primark

Well, hello! I trust you’ve all been very well? It’s been a pretty crazy time at work recently, but for a good reason: I’ve been helping out with making two cute videos featuring some fabulous fashion and beauty vloggers for Westfield’s #editme site. Check them out: Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.

As well as work it’s been fashion PR season, with lots of companies events for press and bloggers to have a look at upcoming collections. One of the most exciting ones for me has been the LOOK magazine for Simply Be collaboration, and they had a posh dinner in central London (not far from my office, hooray!) where we got to look at what was on its way. Yay!

A few years back Carla and I went to the Look show (she’d won tickets and took me because she’s the best) and the most celebrated model there was Crystal Renn (before she shed her weight), with Laura Catterall and Hayley Morley walking too. As a result, I’ve always thought of Look as one of the more plus size friendly magazines so it seemed like perfect sense for them to have teamed up with a plus size retailer.

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As for the collection itself I think it’s great, although I will admit the majority of it isn’t my personal style. And that’s okay! Simply Be’s main range are absolutely killing it at the moment, with pencil skirts, multiple shades of pink and whatnot. The Look range is sporty, smart and tailored and while those aren’t words you’d use to describe my style, looking through the collection I could see fellow bloggers looking completely at home in all of it. I can’t wait to see Bets in her Look jumpsuit, for example!

As for me, I had to try the dalmatian print midi skirt. Only problem was, at 5’1″, wearing it at my natural waist would have the skirt hanging around my ankles! So I sized down (to a 20) to wear it high waisted. Very high waisted. And it still hits below the knee!

The skirt is really well made, fully tailored, and the fabric is thick and hangs really well. It’s an a-line shape as opposed to a circle skirt, but you can still put a petticoat underneath if you so wished. I went for a “swanning around the riviera” look – even though I only got as far as my own garden. Haha.

What do you think of the collection?


Well, that whole “hey I’m back blogging” thing lasted, didn’t it? Since my last post things have gotten quite hectic in all areas of my life, plus a lack of internet meant Pocket Rocket had to take a back seat.

However as of yesterday I am fully wi-fi-ed up, and I can finally get back to bloggin’ business! First up: my take on New Look Inspire’s floral trend, with pics taken by one of my best pals and now housemate, Charlotte!

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Image: Me, wearing a leather jacket, black and white floral shift dress, red shoes and a chartreuse handbag, standing in front of trees. It’s all very green.


Dress
: Ax Paris via New Look Inspire*
Headband: ASOS
Necklace: a birthday gift from many moons ago
Shoes: Primark (again, many moons ago now)
Jacket: Forever Unique
Bag: Pieces via ASOS (2013)

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Image: me, as before, this time sans jacket! You can see my heart headband a little better here!

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Image: Me, with the outfit as in picture one. This time I have my hand on my hip and am pulling a silly face. BECAUSE I’M HILARIOUS.

New Look have been looking to bloggers for ways to style their spring looks, and I was given florals. I actually went for something less like my usual style – I was tempted to go full on romantic but I thought, why not try to do something a smidge different? Florals don’t necessarily mean “pretty”, and can even be kinda badass depending on your take on it.

Browing the dress section for the millionth time, I loved this 60s vs 90s shift dress. In person it’s really sweet and fits well (I got the size 22), however the length might not be as kind on those of you who are taller, which is a real shame. The armholes are also very big, but I find that with almost every plus size top/dress ever, so have gotten used to it over the years. If you’re between sizes I’d advise sizing up as it’s a thin cotton material and so doesn’t stretch.

I was hoping the sun would be out so I could wear some snazzy sunglasses, but alas the weather just didn’t wanna play ball. Harrumph!

There are some other dresses that I totally love, especially this one which I’m still hunting in my size – one day!

Thank you my lovelies, let me know what you think! xx


Hello my lovelies! Thank you for your lovely messages after my last post – I didn’t realise anyone had noticed my absence or anything. I’m really touched, you’re all so nice!

As it’s event season, I popped over to Anna Scholz‘s office along with other members of the blogging crew to check out her Black and White label collections, as well as her first lingerie collection with Simply Be. While we were there, a few of us got vox-popped for a wee BBC News documentary on plus size fashion, which you can see here. G’wan, Claire!

I’ve always had a huge appreciation for Anna Scholz. Her store is the first place I look if I’m after something extra special (and in a position where I can put some extra money towards clothes) – the price points are high, but it’s worth it if you are able. And even if you aren’t, her regular, more affordable collaboration with Simply Be always has standout pieces (still not over missing out on the maribou feather jacket *SOB*), and her sample sales have to be seen to be believed!

Anna Scholz for Simply Be lingerie

Anna Scholz’s first lingerie collection for Simply Be on the rail.

This season Anna launched her first lingerie collection with Simply Be, and it’s gorgeous. The chocolate & chartreuse pieces are my favourite. I mean, I doubt I’ll look as hot in them as Ashley Graham does, but I can pretend yeah?

Plus bloggers in Anna Scholz SS14

Myself and Gemma posing in some gorgeous Anna Scholz creations

Everyone was treated to a high afternoon tea, with petit fours, quiches and champagne, but the most exciting aspect of the night was being able to try on whatever we wanted, as all of the stock was right next door. Queue me trying on everything in sight in various sizes!

Anne & I in AS Black Label

Myself and Anne pose in matching Anna Scholz Black Label dresses

Bloggers try on Anna Scholz white label SS14

Ms Bartoz and Patricia: A vision in green!

Fat Pink Ladies in Anna Scholz

Anne, Rosie and I wear the Anna Scholz versions of the Pink Ladies jackets.

The embroidered bomber jackets were a huge hit with everyone – I have to admit they’re not my personal cup of tea, but that didn’t stop me feeling like a BAMF when trying it on with Rosie and Anne. Reckon we can start a girl gang a la Grease?

Anna herself was present and wearing her own gorgeous White Label dress.

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Ladies in red (and teal). I’m with Anna herself and George here wearing SS14 designs.

Ah, I’m so small!

Thanks so much to the Anna Scholz and Simply Be teams for letting me come along, I had an awesome time!

Anything you’re gonna start saving up for? I’m torn between the red and the green…


Hiya.

How are you all? It’s been a while! I unplugged from the blogging world for a bit to recharge my batteries and rediscover my love for it all.  I was beginning to get lost among all the politics and favours and competition, when really all this is just an outlet for me to talk excitedly about clothes. You know? Of course, I’ve chosen completely the wrong time to bring it back, as work has gone absolutely mental (in a good way), so we’ll see how it pans out. But for now I’ll talk about some cool stuff that happened this week.

First up: Cut For Evans. I saw a video floating around on twitter a few months ago and nearly fell off my chair. I’d practically been counting down the days until it launched since then! Evans had run a competition with fashion students to design a capsule collection, before eventually choosing print specialist Alice Farrow and knitwear designer Rebecca Partington.

Alice Farrow designs at Evans

Alice Farrow’s jumpsuit and shirt on the rack. Gorgeous.

The result is possibly the freshest, most imaginative – and, let’s be honest here – polarising – collection that I’ve seen in plus size fashion for a long time. The shapes and fabrics are fairly simple: tank tops, tunics, shirts and tube skirts. But in terms of colour and print? The shock factor is off the scale. People really like to be a debbie downer on Evans and what they offer but Cut shows how they CAN take risks, they CAN be bold, and they CAN show everyone else what’s what. It’s brilliant, and so exciting!

Cut for Evans designers and Brix Smith-Tart

Rebecca and Alice pose with Brix Smith-Start, who gave a rousing speech AND is putting the collection into her swanky boutique. Awesome.

To celebrate they had a launch in their Marble Arch flagship store, and we got to see the collection in situ and try it all on. I ended up buying three pieces, the Rebecca Partington skyscraper top and skirt, and the Alice Farrow tube skirt. All three have been worn in the following days (in fact I’m wearing the skyscraper top as we speak!).

I wasn’t invited to the launch but I was really cheeky and asked Bethany to see if I could tag along with her. If not I would have gone down to Marble Arch to see it anyway, but they kindly let me come down and I had a great night! It was so lovely to be back with the blogging crew. Now, to photos!

Three plus size girls in bright dresses.

Myself and two statuesque blondes, Ms Bartoz and Margie, test run Alice Farrow’s amazing tropical shift

Evans Marble Arch staff

The staff at Evans’ Marble Arch flagship store. What a bunch of stunners.

UK plus size bloggers

Too much babeliness for one image – almost. From l-r: Caroline, Rosie, Debbie, Isha, Hanna, Charlotte, Rivkie.

Designer has a giggle

Knitwear designer Rebecca gets manhandled by one of the Evans staff before her Now magazine shoot

Me and my heart print dress

It’s me, showing off my new heart print dress, replete with my dorothy-wannabe red shoes.

Dress: Alice and You, via ASOS Curve
Shoes: Primark (very old)
Rings: ASOS Curve
Brooch: Tatty Devine (sample sale)

And finally, here’s what I wore – a little bit girly and plain considering the subject but I had to be a bit businesslike for work! You know me, I’m all for cutesy prints so it was only a matter of time before I bought this. Didn’t realise it was quite so creased on Wednesday morning, though…

Me, twirling in my fancy dress.

An obligatory twirl shot, and we’re done.


HI GUYS! Well, admittedly I’ve been on a bit of a blogging break the past couple of months, and plan to head back off into the sunset for a while after this. But it’s for CHARIDEE. How could I refuse?

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Me (round face, long dark hair with a blonde streak, freckles and big plastic glasses) in a classic selfie pose. I’m wearing a mint green jumper with white bobbles, and a diamante Christmas pudding.

Westfield have been asking bloggers to post selfies in their cheesiest Christmas jumpers to celebrate Christmas Jumper Day, and for every post they donate some money to Save The Children. Which is pretty nice, isn’t it? I think whoever helped come up with that idea must have been AWESOME. *cough*

I plumped for this Christmas pud jumper from New Look’s main range – thankfully it was a baggy fit, because I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it! I kept it simple with a bodycon skirt from Yours, which was a bit scary at first as you could see my VBO. You’d think after five years of FA I’d be able to shrug this off, but I still get apprehensive. Ah well!

In work today almost everyone decked themselves out in Christmas attire and we all donated money as well. Obviously we had to take some group photos!

#Selfies4STC

Some of the gang, from left to right: Adam, Gurnie, me, Sarah, Hannah, Amanda and Letizia. Check out our cheesy grins and that massive SEO sign above our heads!

I should point out I’m not the only blogger in the office: Sarah has just started up a nail blog (she’s so clever and has claws to die for) and Amanda has just begun blogging about her dating escapades, which looks like it’ll make for a fun read!

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Image as before, but check out the blue steel Adam’s giving that camera.

#Selfies4STC

Image: Some more cheesy grins! From l-r: Letizia, Siobhan, me, Sarah and Hannah!

Siobhan is my payday record shopping partner, and runs a music site too: Skirmish. She knows her stuff!

Gonna disclaim this, obviously: as you know, my colleagues masterminded this bit of activity – but I’m posting because I want to give some extra cash to Save The Children!


Image: me in my black dress, mint cardigan and glasses overlooking part of the London skyline.

Dress: New Look
Shoes: New Look
Cardigan: ASOS Curve
Necklace: Fancy Lady Industries
Brooch: vintage

Last week for my friend Charlotte’s birthday a few of us took a trip up The Shard to see London in all its glory. Unfortunately, the weather decided to troll us – it was greyist, foggiest day all year. Ah well. In a way it worked, because it looked like doomsday. I took some photos with my fancy pants camera…

New builds in the city, featuring the CAR AND HUMAN MELTING Walkie Talkie, the gherkin and some I dunno the names of.

I recently read High Rise by JG Ballard – a brutal but brilliant book, in my opinion – and the skyscraper on the left is almost identical to how I imagined the block when reading. Spooky. Apparently, after all these years, it’s being made into a film. Interesting.

Helicopter flying towards Canary Wharf. I love how apocalyptic this looks.
The dirty, scuzzy London skyline, complete with poo brown river Thames.
The birthday girl and her bf Chris. Don't they look cute?
Nadia and I looking REALLY REALLY EXCITED BECAUSE WE'RE HIGH SO HIGH

In that last picture you can see a hint of my ASOS handbag, which is a lime green fake leather jobby. I love it so much because it’s equal parts ladylike and ridiculous – pretty much how I want to look all the time. The cardigan as well I love to bits, although the day, despite the fog, was actually incredibly warm so kept taking it off. At one point in the pub I had both my cardi and my bag on the table, when this conversation happened:

Chris: Lauren, your cardigan is great, but whenever I look at it I just think of Sully from Monsters Inc…
Lauren: I did think that when I bought it – Sully cuddles!
Ben: *something about Mike Wazowski*
Chris: Ben, why are you talking about Mike? It’s Sully the cardigan looks like.
Ben: Wait – I’m confused. I heard you say “it looks like Monsters Inc”, clocked the bag, and thought of Mike!
Lauren: …Oh jesus.

Yep. I had come dressed as one of my fave Disney duos. Triples, if you count the fact that since I’ve worn plastic glasses I get compared to Roz all the time. How embarrassing! Or cool, depending on your view…


Me wearing a yellow patterned dressagainst a graffiti backdrop

Dress: Cutie for Simply Be
Shoes: Primark (old season)
Bag: Primark

Hi all! This was an outfit that I forgot to post – oops! Better late than never, eh?

I was so excited when this dress came out – I’d seen similar dresses in various charity shops over the years, but they were always too small for me. So even though this is new,  I snapped it straight up as soon as I had the money. It’s gorgeous, fits like a dream and makes me feel like I’m close to how I want to look in my head – if that makes sense? I don’t feel I’m compromising the style I want at all with this outfit. It’s awesome.

I wore this to head out to the Gogo Philip store launch off Brick Lane, which was fab. That said, despite looking how I want to look, the other bloggers there looked SO COOL I was a teensy bit intimidated – me in my nice dress and my nice shoes and whatnot. I’m always acutely aware that I’m the uncoolest person in any room, haha. Ah well.

I’ve always loved Gogo’s tacky outrageous jewels. They’re such decent prices, as well, it was difficult not to raid the whole shop. Here’s what was happening there:




I bought myself a pair of gorgeous ruby drop earings, which I can’t wait to wear out to a fancy ‘do!

Afterwards Bethany and I headed down to my favourite curry house on Hanbury Street. We got a bit of a treat as we left – an artist was busy painting a mural on the wall opposite:

It turned out that artist was Alexis Diaz, and you can see the finished article here – it’s incredible. What an honour!


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Image: Me in my garden wearing a black dungaree dress, blue top underneath, red shoes and a red shoe necklace

Dress: ASOS Curve
Top: ASOS Curve
Necklace: Birthday present (but it’s from Tatty Devine)
Shoes: Peacocks (years ago)
Glasses: Specsavers*

Hi all! I hope you’ve all been well? These photos were taken a while ago but I’ve not had time to update until now! The past week has been slightly hectic (by my standards, anyway), so I’ve celebrated today by doing absolutely nothing.  It’s great!

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Image: me, as before, in a slightly different pose (looking down instead of at the camera)

I know everyone has been going absolutely mad for dungarees lately – something I didn’t think I’d ever find myself wearing again, because as you probably know I don’t EVER wear jeans (or indeed anything denim) any more. So when I saw mentions of a dungaree dress my thought process was pretty much “oh I’ll go onto ASOS and have a look and s- OH MY GOD THAT IS SO CUTE I HAVE TO BUY IT CLICK CHECKOUT MINE YAY”

I also checked out with this gorgeous blue broderie anglaise crop top, as I thought they’d go excellently together. I wasn’t wrong: they arrived, I tried them on, ripped out the tags and went straight to work.

I love it when a plan comes together, don’t you?

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Image: a close up of my glasses and ruby slippers necklace on a black lattice iron table. I really should remember to clean my things before photographing them.

Of course, I have to chat about my lovely new glasses! I was very fortunate to get whisked off to my local Specsavers for a pair of specs to review, and I plumped for these gorgeous Red or Dead ones – though I came very close to purchasing these bad boys, and might well do later on. I loved my last pair dearly but they got quite badly scratched, and I love how much softer theese new ones are. So hooray, thank you, Specsavers!