Category Archives: Plus Size

2015 in Review

Hello readers!

As part of the goals I set myself each year, I like to report back in my last post of each year to see how I’ve progressed and what I could have done better over the year. As I am aiming to start 2016 with a more focused approach to the blog, as well as writing more of a variety of content, the way I approach these goals for next year will be changing. However, here’s what I learned from 2015 in line with the goals I set:

-I have learned that health is a priority. This year, I’ve started to discover that my health is starting to stop me from doing things that I used to be able to with no problems. Any ideas I previously had about doing extended travel are pretty much impossible now due to my health, so I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I will have to do shorter overseas trips than I normally would hope to do. I also cannot really drink alcohol anymore (or as much as I could when I was younger) due to how much it mucks up my health in the days after. My levels of tiredness and fatigue have really increased, meaning I struggle to stay up late and attend social events. I’ve seen more specialists than ever this year, and after trying out an insulin pump sensor (where the doctors could not figure out why, even though I was taking all the right steps, my blood sugar levels still weren’t as good as they should be), my doctors have started me on Metformin. They hope that taking this will help my blood sugar levels stabilise, and help in dropping my insulin levels. I’ve always been afraid of needing to be on more medication than needed, but for a chronic immune disease I have to be accepting that this may be the case. My health has come in the way of a lot of things this year, but I have been reminded this year that I am still a strong, capable person and should be thankful for the health I do have.

-I have learned that it’s good to be flexible with plans for the future. I went into 2015 with no idea of what I wanted to happen with my career, plans for saving up for a house, my husband’s job and much more this year. Most of 2015 was pretty rough for hubby and I in relation to these: hubby made the decision to leave his career of teaching due to the lack of permanency and more (which I won’t go too much into on here), so he is currently trying to find a new job for 2016. His goal is to find something that allows him to pursue his passion for writing – whether it be part of the job, or outside of the job (ie. it’s a job where he doesn’t take the work home, and he has time to work on hobbies at home). It’s been quite a journey seeing his focus change over the year, but after what’s happened this year I can completely understand and support his decision. As a result, we’ll hopefully be closer to our goals of saving up for a house (something we’d never be able to do if he stayed in teaching). At the same time, I’ve spent the year trying to figure out where I wanted to be going career-wise, and have ended the year starting a one year secondment with a fantastic, supportive, positive team. This role will help me cross-skill and give me a chance to see what other opportunities are available, and it’s the perfect place for me to be for 2016. I’m really proud that I’ve taken the step to think outside the box and be more flexible in where I could be going for the future – stepping out of a permanent role for a year to try something new is quite a big change for me. However, I feel that it’s really going to help be establish myself career-wise and figure out the direction I’d like to take for the future.

-I have learned that being healthy is more important that trying to reach weight loss goals. After all the health issues I’ve had through the year, I managed to put on about 2 kilos this year. This was pretty tough for me, however in hindsight I really did have a lot on my plate in the year health-wise which would make weight loss and visual progress impossible. Looking at progress photos from where I started my journey in 2014, however, there’s still a massive difference thanks to muscle and toning. Nevertheless, I really struggled this year with the expectations of the gym to follow their meal plans and programs against what my doctors and health needed from me, as well as not seeing much physical changes in my body from exercise. The realisation that I need to get my health sorted before I can try and actively pursue weight loss was absolutely vital for me this year. Due to finances and needing to afford new medications for 2016, I have stepped back from following the gym’s meal plan program. Instead, I will be going into the new year making my own meal plan to follow: a hybrid of the plan I was on at the gym, filled with the required amounts of food and nutrients my doctors and dieticians have recommended, and taking lots of inspiration from Japanese bento lunches. My hubby and I are aiming to make ourselves more bento styled lunches and eating more organically (more grains, meat, fruit and veg and less processed things) in the new year. I also need to start not drinking soft drink anymore – something which has crept up again on me towards the end of this year. So, in focusing on getting my diabetes blood sugar levels in control, hopefully having less insulin as a result and following my own meal plan, I hope to get my health in order so that I’ll then start seeing some progress at the gym.

-I learned that keeping up the things that you’re passionate about is vital (and that exploring new interests is also vital). This year, I feel that I’ve let my hobbies go to waste – I haven’t actively given myself enough time for the things I enjoy. I’ve only really given myself two sewing projects (one where I only need to hem the dress before I can report on it on the blog), but I just haven’t been inspired enough to finish it off. My resin jewellery adventures went on the backburner once Summer ended last year, while I also barely managed to read any of the books I had in mind for my Goodreads 2015 challenge. This year has been rather serious in nature as a result, focused on sorting out finances, health and jobs. I feel I would have gotten through this year much easier if I had given myself more time to pursue my creative outlets. As we get closer to 2015, I now have my Shamisen – something I intend to share with you as my musical outlet. Hubby and I are also aiming to revamp our sewing area, so it is much more accessible and easy to use (I think one of the main things which makes sewing uninspiring for me is how messy our sewing area is!) And once financial plans are sorted, I’m hoping to get back into resin jewellery and maybe complete a workshop to bring myself up to speed. I really hope I can get these hobbies back on track, as I’d love to share them with you.

-I have learned the value of studying a course relevant to my employment and one that is very versatile for the future. I spent the first half of the year trying to figure out whether I wanted to get back to study: the course I was completing last year came to a halt when it was cancelled and all the distance classes on offer disappeared as a result. With my Asian Studies course no longer available, I decided to re-evaluate what I wanted to study. I have a love of learning, and I can see myself studying so many different areas in the future. However, I never really pursued academia related to my career – this year, I decided to branch out and make this happen. In starting a postgraduate business degree, I felt quite nervous: I was from a humanities background, and unsure as to whether I could be as concise and factual as a business degree required. However, my first subject was a fantastic introduction for me, and I can see just how relevant and useful this is going to be for me. I received a distinction for this subject (in fact, I was two marks off a High Distinction), and considering I completed this subject in my own time around full-time work, I’m suite proud of the result. I am hoping in the new year to try and do two subjects a session with the support of work, which would mean that I could potentially finish my Masters degree with a double major by the end of 2017 – years in advance of when I would complete it if I did it all in my own time. Studying a degree directly related to my career (which could also help me branch out into other areas if I decided to do so in the future) has been such a confidence booster for me this year.

– I have learned that I need to stop writing about certain parts of my life on the blog just to “have content” each week. As a result of this, I’ve made a conscious decision to stop talking about my job/work on the blog. Work is work. Last year, I felt that even though it was something I could provide an update on for the blog, it shifted my focus from using the blog as my creative outlet. Also, as I’m trying to differentiate myself from my professional/career through this website, I don’t see as much value in providing updates. I’m starting 2016 in a fantastically positive and supportive space for my career, which likely means I will have more energy and enthusiasm to working on some of my goals surrounding hobbies and outside-of-work pursuits.

Overall, I think that for 2016 I will continue most of the goals I had listed for 2015, but rather put them as overall goals. I think giving a year limit for the goals makes them unrealistic and makes the blog too rigid in the content I’d like to share. So, these goals will be more of a reference point for me to keep in mind when sharing ideas on here for next year onwards, but I’ll also focus on just writing and sharing more on here, and not being afraid of stepping outside the box of my usual content.

I look forward to sharing 2016 with you! Happy New Year 🙂

My Favourite Bloggers and Online Communities

As a casual/amateur blogger, I am always seeking to find inspiration and support through following some amazing people and communities. These blogs and websites continually motivate me to stay positive, be creative and also to go after what I am passionate about. I am so thankful for finding these incredible people, who I follow on a regular (sometimes daily) basis, and am happy to share them with you now!

In no particular order…

Frocks and Frou Frou

Image from http://frocksandfroufrou.com/

Image from http://frocksandfroufrou.com/

Frocks and Frou Frou is the very first plus-size fashion blog I ever followed (back in 2009!). From the moment I found the blog through mutual friends on Facebook, I fell in love with blogger Lilli’s classic yet unique and quirky style. Being an Australian blogger based in Melbourne, Lilli also provides some fantastic feedback on purchasing from some of the major plus-size brands, as well as some easy-to-follow DIY projects. Her style of writing is friendly, informative and easy-to-read, and she has a very supportive fan following. For any of my plus-sized friends, I highly encourage you to follow Frocks and Frou Frou!

The Militant Baker

Image from http://www.themilitantbaker.com/

Image from http://www.themilitantbaker.com/

If you’re looking for empowerment and positive body talk, this is the blog to follow. When I first discovered the diverse and supportive community of plus-sized bloggers, this is the blogger that they all mentioned as an inspiration. Jess now not only pursues her body positivity on a full-time basis, but also runs some epic conferences over in the US, which would be amazing to attend one day! In particular, the first post of Jess’ which I read (my favourite too) is this: http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2013/03/things-no-one-will-tell-fat-girls-so-i.html

I highly recommend following Jess if you’re someone who is looking for a body-positive online community, as well as looking at how to love your body better: whether it be plus-size, average or skinny!

Offbeat Bride/Home

Image from http://offbeatbride.com/

Image from http://offbeatbride.com/

If you’re getting married, I am now introducing you to the Mecca of resources. Offbeat Bride was the only blog/medium (they also have a book) that gave me realistic expectations for my wedding, and helped me plan a unique, affordable, quirky-yet-beautiful wedding. After unsuccessfully getting any inspiration through common bridal magazines (seriously…I only found a handful of weddings under $20, 000 in these magazines, which was ridiculous), it was such a godsend to discover this website. The community is HUGE, and the forums are incredible for finding DIY inspiration, advice and ideas. However, this website doesn’t just stop at weddings – they also have a massive section dedicated to life/living/home in general. The posts relate easily to everyday life (especially if you’re a crafty/arty/creative person), and you can easily find yourself spending hours on their sites gaining more and more ideas for future projects.

Gorilla Wolf  (check out their TwitchTV Channel here)

Image from http://www.gorillawolf.com/

Image from http://www.gorillawolf.com/

My absolute go-to for anything gaming-related, Gorilla Wolf are probably the newest group of peeps I follow on a regular basis. Gorilla Wolf is run by Dom and James, who are aiming to make this their full-time pursuit. I discovered Gorilla Wolf through my husband when we started to watch video game streams on TwitchTV. After spending ages trawling through the channels to find an entertaining Zelda play-through, we found these guys doing such an entertaining job at Majora’s Marsk (they were terribly lost though, haha). What kept us watching these guys is their entertainment value, dedication to investigating and reporting on new games, and their massive commitment to making their chat and followers as engaging as possible. We watch their TwitchTV channel on a weekly basis, and are so excited to see where the future takes them. If you’re after good gaming commentaries and play-throughs online with a friendly fan following, check out these guys ASAP!

The Adventures of Modern June Cleaver and Amelia Jetson

Image from http://junebugsandgeorgiapeaches.blogspot.com.au/

Image from http://junebugsandgeorgiapeaches.blogspot.com.au/

June and Amelia, two best friends run an amazing website which follows their retro and vintage-inspired fashion adventures. These two are my absolute inspiration when it comes to perfecting the vintage/retro look. They are such friendly and positive ladies too, and are willing to help out fellow retro fashion bloggers – they are so supportive and active on Instagram! Whenever these ladies share their outfits, they always link to each piece in their outfit, making it so easy to track down. These lovely ladies also host giveaways on their website from some incredible brands such as Erstwilder and Deer Arrow.

Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing

Image from http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/

Image from http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/

This lady and her amazing blog have inspired me to try and re-start one of my favourite hobbies from when I was younger: sewing. When I discovered her blog, little did I know that she also had a book. Within minutes of discovering her blog, I also found myself purchasing her first book, and I now also own her second book based on casual vintage. Gertie has a way of explaining her sewing projects in an easy-to-follow manner, and always includes pictures in her steps (I tend to get lost when following sewing instructions, so this is hugely helpful!) Gertie also creates patterns sold through Butterick, and also shares these through her blog. Her passion for sewing, as well as seeing the projects of her followers, makes this blog a fantastic creative outlet for those wishing to get some much-needed inspiration. She’s made me start the adventure of sitting with my sewing machine and tackling some long-awaited projects!

Who do you look to online for inspiration? Feel free to share your thoughts 🙂

This post was polished by Page & Parchment.

Week 2 Update, 2015

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Week 2 of 2014! I can’t believe how quickly this year is going so far! Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past week:

-I’m pretty sure I’ll be posting my weekly updates on a Monday night. This is to ensure I can provide up-to-date results from my Curves Complete program (I have my weigh-in and coaching on Monday afternoons), and gives me more time to reflect over the week.

-My leg ulcer has been playing up big-time this week. I managed to roll my ankle when trying to walk to the gym (I ended up not going to the gym), and hurt my ulcer in the process. I haven’t been in this much pain from it for almost a year. Because of this, I think the pain is mostly because of the heat and humidity, with sweat and walking around so much putting a lot of pressure on my wound. Plus, having it become more painful from my tumble really doesn’t help. It’s pretty frustrating, as it means I’ve barely been able to get my step goals this week. But I have to listen to my body, especially if it’s obvious that I need to take it easy.

-As per the above, Curves Complete program progress this week was been very slow. As I injured myself, I had to take it easy this week. However, even though I haven’t been able to get my 10,000 steps a day or hit the gym as much as I had hoped to, I’ve kept to my water intake and stuck to the meal plan relatively well. I’ve managed to also gain some Fitbit friends (anyone with a Fitbit is welcome to add me!), who have been smashing their step goals, so I’ve got some inspiration once I am able to walk more regularly again. With all of the above, I ended up putting on a couple of hundred grams this week due to needing to rest my leg and not exercising. My coaches agreed that I made the right decision in taking it easy, as it’s important to ensure that “long-term me” has a healed ulcer and normally working ankle/foot. We’ve set some goals for this year, however, with the major goal being to stay healthy and keep my diabetes in excellent control, and an aim to try and lose 10 kilos overall (I got quite close to this last year until I got sick/got injured, so it will be interesting to see if I meet this).

-This week, I’ve struggled with staying positive on occasions. I’ve noticed that when I’m feeling bored or unmotivated (which has been happening a lot during the day lately), I tend to view it negatively. It makes me think that what I’m doing isn’t important or of value because I’m not feeling challenged or enthusiastic, therefore put myself in a spiral of feeling bad about myself. However, my husband suggested that rather than using this time to build up negative thoughts, I could try and focus on making it a positive: having the down-time to think of ideas, inspiration and goals. So, I’ve been trying to refocus at times where I’ve started to become bored or feeling useless, and using this time to think of ideas towards my positive goals that have been set for 2015. It’s going to take some time to adjust to using this time in a positive manner, but I’m going to work on it!

-I managed to complete reading Lena Dunham’s Not that kind of Girl this week. Overall, it’s a good read: I felt I connected well with the author, and it was very amusing and an easy read. It wasn’t as inspirational as some of the other books I’ve read recently, but it was a book I enjoyed reading. This week, I’m going to read the Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.

-After receiving some belated birthday present contributions, I finally took the plunge this week and did something I’ve wanted to do for ages: buy some vintage styled underwear. I’ve been eyeing off Rago’s longline bras for forever, as so many plus-sized bloggers swear by them for comfort and fit, and they also assist with posture (I have terrible posture sometimes thanks to years as a musician and an above-average sized chest area). They’re wire-free too, however seem to be known as having much better support than normal underwire bras…plus they’re the same type that the actresses wear on Mad Men and are so adorable. It’s going to be good to see how they go with my outfits, and I hope that I’ve gotten the right sizes as I had to order from the US!

That’s about it for this week. Later this week, I’ll be putting up an article about my new-found obsession with tea. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Summer Shopping Lust List

Since celebrating Christmas and my Birthday, I’m now eagerly eyeing off some items to help vamp up my wardrobe (in an attempt to make my wardrobe full of things I’ve always wanted to wear, but never had the confidence to try). Here’s what is currently on my “to buy as soon as possible” list:

”1932” 1960s inspired silvertone pen necklace:

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(image from lifeinyellow.com)

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(image from http://www.1928.com/necklaces/vintage-pen-necklaces/1960s-vintage-inspired-silver-tone-pen-necklace.html)

 

I love Joan Holloway. She is my style icon, and I wish I could look like her…heck, be her. In fact, recently I’ve realised that with my administrative roles at work, I sort-of could be the “Joan” of our small team (this really helps me stay positive, believe it or not, haha). Ever since I saw Joan’s pen necklace, I knew I had to have one. Luckily the company that made the necklace she wore, 1932 has released a whole collection of pen necklaces. As goldtone stuff doesn’t really work with my skin colouring, I was overjoyed to discover they released a silvertone version. The pen actually works too, and you can purchase ink refills for only $1 USD. The necklace is only $20 USD, which is very affordable!

-Lucite/Resin Earrings and Jewellery

I can’t believe I haven’t gotten on board with resin jewellery sooner. Since joining Instagram, I’ve found some amazing individuals who create retro inspired resin jewellery. My favourite designers so far include Dazzalite, Glamourlite (an awesome Australian company!), Desperate Beatnik and the Alamo Basement

So far, these are the pair I desperately would like to have from Glamourlite:

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(image from https://www.etsy.com/listing/214725691/juicy-heart-earrings-in-ruby-red?ref=favs_view_10)

-More Erstwilder brooches and jewellery

If you’ve been on my Instagram at all this year, you’ll see that I’m usually wearing one of my Erstwilder brooches with outfits that I feature. I love how quirky and cute the brooches are, and how easily they can jazz up any outfit. I plan to keep accessorising this year, and hope to grow my collection of Erstwilder. Currently, these are the items I am obsessed about getting as soon as possible (you’ll notice that they’re all foxes…no coincidence, haha):

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(image from http://www.vintagepip.com.au/#!erstwilder/citb)

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(image from http://www.vintagepip.com.au/#!erstwilder/citb)

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(image from http://www.vintagepip.com.au/#!erstwilder/citb)

 

 

 

I would highly recommend purchasing Erstwilder through the lovely Vintage Pip or Coconette, as both are amazing sellers with great customer service and a huge range of cute products!

-A pair of vintage styled denim capris

It’s summer in Australia, and whilst I can live in skirts and dresses, I do need some decent pants/shorts. I have been eyeing off the capris offered through Tatyana Boutique and the Collectif Monroe jeans. I really can’t decide which of the two would look better…so I may have to end up getting both. Which pair do you prefer?

Monroe Cropped Jeans Blue

Collectif (image from (http://www.collectif.co.uk/denim-monroe-cropped-jeans-p-css140203-c-blue.html)

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Tatyana (image from http://www.tatyana.com/womens/bottoms/carpenter-capri )

-SHOES

I love shoes. Unfortunately, as someone with foot issues (thanks diabetes) including being quite flat footed, wearing orthotics occasionally and having wide feet, it’s hard for me to find good retro/pinup shoes which are comfy. I’ve had to settle for flats, or very expensive heels with a myriad of support in them. However, of recent, some of the amazing ladies I follow on Instagram have been showing off the shoes offered by the brands Miss L Fire and B.A.I.T and raving about their comfort factor. I am definitely now hooked on getting some shoes for my collection from these stores. At present, I am eyeing off the following sandals (I barely have any summer appropriate footwear!)

 

Cherry-Pop-black

(image from http://shop.misslfire.com/)

 

Heart of Haute Constellation Skirt

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Last but not least, I’ve been eyeing off some more skirts to add to my collection of “epic skirts to wear with a poofy petticoat” collection. I saw pictures of this skirt on Instagram and knew I had to get it. It was after finding where to buy the skirt online, I then discovered that the stars GLOW IN THE DARK. Therefore, the skirt is now on the top of my list of clothing items to buy. This is so epic.

Lots of pretty things to save up for, it seems! What are you eyeing off this summer (or winter, depending on which hemisphere you’re in)? 🙂

Week 1 Update, 2015

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Welcome to my weekly updates for 2015! I’m so excited about sharing this year with you all, especially as I’ll be posting a whole variety of things on here 🙂 That being said, these weekly updates may be slightly shorter to ensure I give myself enough time for writing up other posts. Anyway, without further ado, here’s my update of what happened in the past week:

  • This week, I celebrated my birthday, therefore am now officially a quarter of a century in age! On reflection, I’m at a really good place in life for someone who’s just turned 25: I’m married to my soulmate and living in wedded bliss, I have permanent employment in an area of work I really enjoy, I’ve been able to travel so much (especially over the last 5-10 years), I’ve been able to pursue my hobbies whether it be music, study, writing and more, I’ve had (and still have) some amazing friends and family to share life with, and I’m about to start saving with my husband so we can own our own home in the near-distance future. I’m so thankful for being on this great earth for 25 years, and am happy with where I am. I can’t wait to see what my 25th year will bring!
  • I’ve really been thinking about some of my goals for this year, especially in making/keeping some epic friendships of the female kind (particularly in women I find inspirational or very encouraging). Over the past week in particular, I’ve either taken the initiative, or acted on opportunities to take a step in this direction, and am booking in some great catch-ups/social events with some amazing ladies. I feel so driven to not only find, maintain and keep friendships with people who motivate me, but to also motivate and encourage them in turn (hopefully). As I’m now married, and the gap between people of my age who are in a different stages of their lives deepens (they’re still partying hard or still in high school mindsets etc), I’m so determined to start putting in mega levels of effort to have an amazing circle of female friends (sidenote: don’t get me wrong, male friends are epic too. Thanks to my husband, I have a great number of these now! However, I’ve always struggled to have a stable and consistent group of female friends, and really yearn to have this).
  • Today is going to be my first day back at the gym and the first day back on the Curves Complete program. I’ve used the past week as a relax/recharge/mental health for myself, therefore did not follow the meal plan, nor do amazing step results. As I’ve been on a plateau for some time now (even after working my butt off for the last few weeks of the year to change this), I (and my gym coaches) decided to have a break over Christmas and the New Year. Something I will address this week, though, is my coaching. I’ve been finding it a bit difficult at the gym lately as I haven’t had the same coach each week for my Curves Complete sessions. As such, I’ve received differing advice and varied levels of goals, which has made me feel less motivated and consistent in achievements. Don’t get me wrong; all of the coaches are fantastic, but I’m meant to have the same coach each week. It’s especially important for me to have a coach which understands all of my health problems, and has seen me at the gym since the start, so I’ll be seeing if I can get the same coach each week and if this will help with my progress.
  • I’ve managed to read two books since the start of the New Year: Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking (highly recommend, especially for those of my dear friends who are pursuing the arts and their passions) and Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS (recommend-ish, especially if you are wanting to own your own business/make a hobby your business…not as inspiring for those attempting to climb the corporate ladder). My reading patterns lately have shown I currently am on a binge-reading session of autobiographies/non-fiction written by strong women. It’s made me kind of question myself a little bit, though. Some of these women were already achieving greatness and success in their early twenties (even being courageous enough to go straight after their dreams)…yet what the hell am I doing?! I’ve been struggling in determining my success levels and value in a career path/academic path lately, so these books, whilst being very motivating also are a double-edged sword in making me feel slightly inadequate and unsure of what I should be doing. However, I have been motivated by these books to keep going after my pursuit to focus on my hobbies and passions this year, such as this blog. This week, I’m aiming to read Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.
  • This week, based on the revamp of my site, I took the plunge and decided to share my blog with my Instagram and Tumblr followers (hello to you all!). This blog used to be purely for myself as a journal to record my progress each week, however I then decided to open it up to my Facebook friends. As I received feedback and encouragement, I then decided to open it up even more and made it available to public view, and have now shared it with all social media sites I am active on. This is a massive achievement for me, as I am usually quite a socially awkward and anxious person. Thank you to everyone who has continued to motivate me to write on here and stay positive! Some individuals I follow on Instagram and Tumblr have amazing blogs and websites themselves, and I hope to do a feature post on my favourites soon. In the meantime, if any fellow bloggers would love to connect, please let me know, as it would be amazing to be part of an online community of bloggers who motivate and encourage each other (rather than so many who try to troll and bring fellow bloggers down).

That’s it for the week in passing’s updates, however I will be putting up a post later this week (the first of many) about what is currently on my summer fashion wish-list. Thanks for reading 🙂

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2014 in Review

So, as you would know, I set up this blog (initially) as a public motivation to work towards goals I set myself each year. A place where I was held accountable to report in each week and to monitor progress over the year. It was an added incentive when dear friends and new friends began to read each week, follow progress and provide lots of encouragement, which I’m so incredibly thankful for.

Therefore, without further ado, let’s see how I’ve gone with meeting my goals for 2014:

In 2014 I:

-Will strive to keep this blog updated at least once a week

I’ve finally made writing a weekly habit, with the occasional extra post here and there over the past year on topics of interest. What matters more, however, is that rather than just writing up each post in one sitting, I take the time to plan out each post and report back on the goals I’ve set over the year. Next year, I intend to post (hopefully) at least twice a week, with more than just updates on my goals for the year. 🙂

-Will refuse to be defined by how much I weigh or what medical conditions I have.

This year has brought a lot of challenges regarding how I perceive myself and my confidence. However, I feel this year I’ve definitely become a lot more accepting of myself and my physical/medical state. Whilst both have been the main cause of feeling low self esteem at times this year, I’m starting to see how I can appreciate and love myself for who I am. There’s many worse things that someone can be instead of being plus-sized, and I could be a lot worse of medical-conditions wise. Whilst both are part of what shapes my identity, I don’t solely view them as what makes this up, and don’t view them as a form of setback.

-Will get married, and start to develop a marriage more beautiful than our wedding. We’re aiming for five-ever (as it’s more than forever, hahah!)

Hell yes, I got married. IT WAS AWESOME. IT STILL IS AWESOME. And, whilst our wedding day was exactly what we had dreamed and hoped for, I actually find myself loving married life so much more than the wedding day we had. We also had our amazing honeymoon across Japan, South Korea and China, where we hope to return to in the near-future for more adventures. This year, we started (officially) our “family life” as a connected unit. From sickness to financial worries and working on anxiety and stress, my husband has proved to me over and over again this year that he will always be by my side, and that together we can achieve anything. I cannot wait to see what 2015 bring us.

-Will aim to keep my mind open and constantly learning by reading. I hope to complete a new book at least once a fortnight.

Unfortunately, life around planning and having a wedding, honeymoon and starting postgraduate study means I didn’t get to read a book once a fortnight. A positive from this was that I started my postgraduate studies and am on track to complete a qualification sometime in the next year. However, in 2014 I have found myself instead doing a lot of research in other mediums, particularly through the internet. From academic journals (for study mostly), to discussions via Tumblr and posts on Instagram, I feel I have expanded my mind in not limiting myself to just the printed medium. I have discovered some amazing scholars, thinkers, activists, bloggers and authors this year, which in turn has given me a massive (yet exciting) reading list for 2015. 🙂

-Will no longer be a slave to the “plus-size” fashion industry by staring to make my own clothes (and hopefully learn to sew quite well by the end of the year).

Unfortunately, like the above goal, life got in the way of this goal being achieved. I have, however, been able to start preparing to make this a more realistic goal for 2015. I spent 2014 gathering supplies such as patterns, books and fabric. Over the start of 2015, my husband and I are planning to set up a “craft space” for me, where I will able to make this a reality. In fact, I am working on another creative goal for 2015 (which I will mention when I post my 2015 goals on here shortly). I am thankful that, due to a missed opportunity this year, a huge positive is that I will be able to have some time set aside to work on my creative hobbies.

-Will try to stress less by seeing that very few situations are a crisis.

I feel that I’ve improved my stress and anxiety levels in leaps and bounds this year (outside of work, at least). Well, it was pretty stressful planning a wedding and honeymoon, but especially over the past few months, I’ve become a bit more carefree and realistic about what is worth worrying over. I’ve had quite a few bumps in the road work-wise this year, where I’ve been justifiably stressed and anxious. However, I’ve worked hard to maintain a positive attitude for the end the year, and having hope and optimism for what the new year can bring.

-Will persevere at my quest towards being more healthier and in control of my health.

Thanks to my gym, Curves, the Curves Complete program, supportive family and friends and a great team of my diabetes doctors, I have worked very hard to maintain this goal in 2014. Not only do I currently weigh less than I did this time last year, I am also the fittest I’ve been in what I count as my “adult life” so far. My diabetes levels have improved dramatically, which I’ve been trying to achieve for almost 10 years. I also managed to see physical changes to my body, as did others. Whilst diabetes, being quite sick this year and having my NLD on my leg can cause me to plateau with progress throughout the year, I still am in a better place than I was last year. I’m so proud that I’ve shown such initiative and stuck to this goal in 2014. I cannot wait to see what I can achieve for myself and my health in 2015!

What a year! Thanks for sharing it with me, and I can’t wait to share the adventures of 2015 with you all. Happy New Year! 🙂

I am not a Beached Whale: How I’ve started to accept my “beach body”

Today, I did something that I haven’t done for about 15 years (at least). I went to the beach without wearing some form of shorts/cover-up based clothing. Instead, I opted for a retro styled one piece:

We even took a pic at the beach, and no one cared. Added fox tail for authenticity, haha.

We even took a pic at the beach, and no one cared. Added fox tail for authenticity, haha.

This was a massive achievement for me, as I’ve always struggled with body confidence at the beach. Not only do I burn so easily (no joke, hubby and I spent 30 minutes putting on sunscreen), but I’m extremely self conscious about being seen in a swimsuit for many reasons. Firstly, thanks to almost 20 years of needing insulin injections (thanks Type 1 Diabetes) in my tummy area, my stomach is quite weirdly shaped due to what is known as an “insulin belly”: a build up of tissue/fat from so many years of injections. Unfortunately, trying injections and insulin pump sites on my thighs and bum didn’t really work for me, so I had to stick to using my stomach area. So, I’ve never been confident to wear anything remotely close to my skin to the beach, and was luckily able to use my excuse of getting sunburnt so easily as a reason to cover up.

Secondly, thanks to my NLD scar on my leg, I’ve felt very self-conscious about showing this scar around the beach too (even if the salt water is actually quite good for it).

However, the main reason would be due to being plus-sized. Due to my larger frame, I’ve naturally felt scared to hit the beach…thanks to years of teasing and harsh words from others at school swimming events, excursions and parties. Yes, I have been called a “beached whale” before.

Today though, hubby and I decided that we’d give the beach a try. We’re pretty certain that we’ve actually never been to the beach since we’ve been together, and after a hard day’s work at home, we wanted a summer reward. I trawled through my swimwear, feeling pretty awkward and worrying about how I’d look after the past week of eating yummy (but not gym-friendly) food. In the last second, I managed to find a retro black one-piece (brand new) which I picked up on an op-shop run. After deciding to try it on, hubby was very quick to tell me how beautiful I looked and, even before I suggested putting on some board shorts to cover up, that I could rock the one piece. Here I was, getting anxious about what others would think…others who I didn’t even know and would (likely) never see again. Why should I care about what they think, when the person whose opinion matters to me most thinks that I’m beautiful?

So, without further ado, we headed off to the beach. We’re very lucky to be surrounded by beaches within 5 minutes of our place, so we decided to hit a quieter beach (it’s a dog friendly beach, so having cute dogs everywhere was a plus too!). Once we got there, it was evident that because of how long and spacious the beach was, the people who were there were doing their own thing and not really caring about everyone else. We got our own little section of the beach to ourselves, and I jumped in the waves like the big little kid I am.

And you know what? No one cared that I was in a one piece swimsuit that showed my thighs and my body. No one!

I felt confident and happy, and still do. It was awesome, and I can’t wait to hit the beaches again this summer. Hopefully I can bring some friends along 🙂