You do you.

What a huge week last week was! If you’re playing along on Instagram you will have seen last week I took some time off to spend with my darling #instaboyfriend. And what a week we had! From musical theater, to birthday present, the ocean to poolside cocktails; we really took the opportunity to relax, spend some quality time together, and plan some epic blog content. We spent four whole uninterrupted days at the gorgeous Santai Retreat, and it was possibly the most relaxing  and beautiful trip away we’ve ever had. The team at Santai were absolutely divine; with the staff being so helpful and friendly, and the venue looking so tropical and picturesque,  it really does make you feel like you’d stepped into your own exclusive paradise. I even had a friend ask on my return, was it actually as good as the pictures?! YES! It definitely was, there was not one thing that we could complain about or have wished to be better, even the rainy weather for 1 day was filled with baths, in house movies and cocktails.

In all honesty, I didn’t have this weeks blog content planned, and while sitting on our balcony looking at the ocean, sipping our freshly popped champagne and nibbling on cheese I got inspired. See, from our balcony, I could see a young couple swimming together in the pool, no one was around, so it was just the two of them enjoying each others company. After a while I realised this lovely young lady was swimming fully clothed, so conscious about her body, that she was in a big baggy t-shirt and knee length board shorts. Granted, perhaps this was just how she chose to dress and had no reflection on her self confidence. But the way she uncomfortably pulled the wet material off her body every time it stuck, made me think different. I decided it actually made me so mad, that she felt so bad about her self in a beautiful location like this, that society and the media had programmed her to feel self conscious and like she wasn’t worthy of swim wear because of her size. And it just got me to thinking, of all the things young women feel like they ‘can’t do’ or ‘shouldn’t do’ because of their size. The things that society says you have to be skinny to do, or to be worthy of – which let’s be real, is a huge load of bullsh**. So, in honor of that darling young women, I decided to put together a little list of all the things I did in the last few days that I’m sure mortified the haters, and made me feel better than ever.

1. WORE A BIKINI! Oh my lord, how offensive! That’s right, I rocked my size 18 body in not one, but TWO actual bikini’s! Not a one piece that covered my from head to toe, not with a pair of board shorts or shirt over the top, and not wrapped in a towel the moment I got out of the water. In fact I walked through nearly the entire resort, from the pool to my room, with my towel over my shoulder and my bikini body on display. And you know what, I felt fabulous! I had 2 new bikinis to show off and that is exactly what I did. With a little encouragement from #instaboyfriend (bless him), I even got down in the sandy ocean and rolled around in the water a little to take a few photos. Was my stomach a little bloated, yep. Could you see my cellulite, sure. But actually, the universe didn’t implode, my rolls didn’t start a world war, and actually, I don’t think anyone even looked at me twice.

2. WENT FOR A MASSAGE! Naked! You heard it here first. I got my whole kit off (got under a towel of course) and let a stranger rub me down, and it was totally amazing. I’ve had conversations before with women who are worried about getting their gear off, or even not fitting on the bed, but I can tell you that was the last thing on my mind about 30 seconds in. This was the most incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating experience I have possibly ever had. Sure, I had a moment of ‘oh she can see all my rolls and back fat’ and ‘oh gosh my hips are nearly wider than the bed’ – yes I have many moments of self doubt too. But at the end of the hour, I cam out of that room feeling more relaxed and at ease then I have in years, and knowing that these beautiful stressed and run down women miss out on that feeling because they feel their cellulite may offend someone, is basically a crime.

3. ATE ALL THE FOOD AND COCKTAILS! Does anyone else sometimes feel like every one else is looking at what you’re eating and judging you. Hands up, me! And of course, everything in moderation, but I was on holidays, and I sat there, in the sunken lounge next to the pool, testing the cocktail list and eating delicious tapas for hours, twice! In all honesty, people came and went the whole time we were there, but the food was so damn good I don’t think anyone looked up from their plate! It was one of my first Thai food experiences too, and it was absolutely divine! I’m pretty sure I am obsessed with Thai food now, something I would of missed out on! The horror! Life is about living, and enjoying yourself, and sometimes, that just includes food.

4. DID A MINI PHOTO SHOOT! As a bigger girl I’ve spent years trying to make sure people aren’t looking at me. But if you’ve ever been to Santai Retreat you will understand that you can not leave that resort without wanted to photograph everything! Oh, the perfection! It really is like a mini paradise. And I couldn’t let that opportunity pass, so, I pulled out a few nice dresses I had packed and dragged #instaboyfriend through the resort shooting photos at the pool, against that wall, with those green plants, and sitting down, everywhere! At one stage I accidentally started posing just outside a family’s balcony, where their baby was quite amused in watching me. In another instance, I looked up and realised there was a woman peeking through her curtains watching me. That one hit me, I immediately stopped taking photos and felt stupid. Was she laughing? I don’t know. Smiling? Not sure. Making fun of me? Maybe, that’s how I felt. But that’s the point, why should I feel silly? I wasn’t hurting her, or anyone else for that matter. And if she wanted to watch on at my poses, then actually, that’s fine, maybe she wanted some pointers.

My point, is that you can’t let anything hold you back. Live your life. Go out with a bang, you do you girl. Your curves aren’t hurting anyone, and definitely aren’t offending anyone that matters.Rock that bikini, strip off (when appropriate), order another cocktail on your holiday. Just be.

Love,

kate

*Please note this blog post is in no way sponsored or associated with Santai Retreat or any othre associating company, this was a personally selected location and the views are my own.

It’s time to Share the Dignity

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to participate in a new collection photo shoot with some incredibly inspiring ladies for Adrift clothing. Just this morning, this collection has been released! Yay! (Get your hands on it here).

CaptureNot only was a absolutely thrilled to be involved with Adrift, but to be part of such a special campaign in support of Share the Dignity has been something very special. Share the Dignity is an Australian women’s charity bringing dignity to homeless, at-risk and women experiencing domestic violence through the distribution of sanitary items, and funding funerals of those killed as a result of domestic violence. “We believe all women matter and all women deserve dignity and justice.”  This charity is founded and spear headed by female power house Rochelle Courtenay, who I had the absolute pleasure of meeting during our shoot.

Rochelle is Share the Dignity’s founder and Managing Director; the title she is most proud of though is ‘Pad Lady’. This title came about and stuck  while she collected of over 750,000 packets of pads and tampons across Australia over two years. She learned of homeless women going without basic sanitary items during their menstrual cycle.  Most noteworthy, Rochelle decided the question was not “Why is no one doing anything” but rather “ What’s stopping me from doing something?” In March 2015 Rochelle took matters in to her own hands collecting sanitary items within her local community and distributing to local shelters. As a result, a simple idea of giving dignity to women, Share the Dignity has grown into a national charity.  Consequently, it has over 1,500 volunteers Australia wide, and most noteworthy, provides multiple initiatives aimed at giving dignity to women.

As soon as Adrift approached me about this collection I knew I had to be involved. As a victim of domestic violence myself (a story for another time), I could not feel more strongly about providing women and victims with support. This new stunning collection includes gorgeous prints and vibrant patterns, and proceeds from the sale of this entire Blush collection are being donated to Share the Dignity. The target is $9,000; this will go towards a pink vending machine for a school or public bathroom so women in need won’t have to make the choice between buying food or sanitary products. 

 

To find out more about Share the Dignity and their amazing cause, head to SharetheDignity.com Or to shop the gorgeous new Adrift collection, visit Adrift online.

Love,

kate

WARNING: Emotional Content

Warning: This post contains themes of women’s health, specifically Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, fertility and Diabetes. If this upsets you or make you uncomfortable, please do not read on, as that is not my intention. I am not a medical expert and do not have professional knowledge in these fields, this is simply my own experiences and my point of view, if you have health concerns please contact your GP.  

Last week, I asked my IG community if they were interested in hearing my story and experiences dealing with PCOS and Type 2 Diabetes. I was met with an over whelming response to do this blog post as well as many private messages from women reaching out about their own experiences or asking for advice. As mentioned above, this is only my story; my experiences, how my body works and the struggle I have been though.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (or  – PCOS) is a complex hormonal condition. ‘Polycystic’ literally translates as ‘many cysts’. Women with PCOS commonly have high levels of insulin, or male hormones known as ‘androgens’, or both. The cause of this is unclear, but insulin resistance is thought to be the key problem driving this syndrome.

PCOS is relatively common and affects 12 to 18 per cent of women of reproductive age (between late adolescence and menopause). Almost 70% of these cases remain undiagnosed.  To be diagnosed with PCOS, women need to have polycystic ovaries and be displaying some of the most common symptoms: irregular menstrual cycles , amenorrhoea (no periods), excessive facial or body hair growth (or both), acne, scalp hair loss, reduced fertility (difficulty in becoming pregnant), obesity, sleep apnoea or mood changes – including anxiety and depression..

In January 2016, I visited to doctor with concerns of my missing period, at 23 and having been on the same contraceptive (the pill) since I was 16 this missing period had me slightly concerned (yes, I originally went to the doctors wondering if I was pregnant). After confirming that a) my period had been absent for at least 3 months and b) I was not with child and c) I  had put on a substantial amount of weigh in the last 6 months (around 20kgs) my GP took me through a list of questions and discussion that I can now see revolved around the symptoms for PCOS.

Had I been struggling with my weight? Did I have excessive hair growth? Hair loss? Acne? How were my sleeping patterns? Was I moody? My strongest responses were to weight, hair growth, and sleeping patterns (maybe I was moody, but I just put that down to my no nonsense attitude and intolerance for people’s bullshit). From this initial appointment I had months of doctors appointments, specialists appointments, x-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests, more poking and prodding then I have ever experienced before. And by June, after numerous visits to an Endocrinologist it was confirmed that I did infact have PCOS and that this condition needed to be monitored and supported with medication. Two weeks later I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

If I am honest, the diabetes diagnosis hit me harder than the PCOS initially. I specifically remember getting an email from my Endocrinologist at about 10.30pm at night confirming that I had diabetes. Boom. Diabetes. I was 23. Doctors assured me that I had Diabetes due to my PCOS and the effect that condition had on my insulin, that I was only ‘just’ diabetic, and that it was a easily manageable condition in my case.

I’ll admit it was nice to finally have answers to a lot of things. Although this wasn’t the end of the poking and prodding, particularity because of my Diabetes diagnosis there were more specialists to see and groups to attend. I went to a group on how to manage my diabetes in the first month, once a week, and I remember sitting there every week surrounded by people at least 40 years older than me just thinking “I shouldn’t be here”. I also started seeing a podiatrist (foot specialist), which then resulted in me seeing a HEART specialist, as we discovered the blood flow in my legs wasn’t ideal. On top of this I was seeing a Diabetes Educator, an Exercise Physiologist and a Dietitian. So by August, I was taking Metformin (for diabetes and PCOS managment) and Crestor (to open up my veins and promote blood flow). Due to the concerns about my blood flow it was recommended I go off the pill (to avoid encouraging blood clots), and find another type of contraceptive. Under the guidance of my GP & Endo specialist (Note: I do not have Endometriosis  but PCOS can effect fertility in a similar way) I had day surgery to inset the Mirena into my uterus to manage my hormones and use as a contraception.

The Mirena is quite a common form of contraception and you only have to switch it over every three years, winning right?! Eh. I am not so convinced. While it didn’t seem to cause me any extra trouble with my cycle (still no period since 2015), it did give me a huge bout of acne. Being some one who had never struggled with acne before (beside the random teenage pimple), this is something I really struggled with, like ‘didn’t want to leave the house’ struggled with. I have gone from some one with very clear porcelain skin, to someone with red angry skin across my entire chin, lower cheeks and jawline, and it has scared that way. Unfortunately the type of breakouts I have had don’t seem to be innocent teenage pimples, rather angry hard boulders that sit under the skins surface and scab all across my face. I’m not putting this reaction 100% down to my Mirena, but also, I am. (More on this later).

Oof, are you still with me?

If you are, the next place I went was a Natroupath. There is a lot of conflicting information online with just about everything, and of course this was no different, but I personally am I believer in natural remedies coupled with medicinal so I wanted to give it a try. I went through the process with a Natroupath of trying to re-balance my system and improve my gut health for about 3 months, and I will admit many of the herbs I was drinking and vitamins I was taking did seem to be improving the symptoms like hair loss and my sleeping habits and energy levels. However, at one stage I was taking about 40 tablets a day (and this was quite a costly experience). This just wasn’t a solution for me. I couldn’t keep taking that many tablets and believing that they were all improving me THAT much, so I finished up with the Natroupath in hopes of seeing both how and if it had helped my body by comparison. Granted now that I am taking no herbal remedies I have been able to notice that a few things definitely did help (particularly with the sleep and energy levels), so I am in the process of looking into those again on their own.

In April of this year I took off on a 2 month holiday around Europe (which was amaze by the way). How is that relevant to my story, you may ask? Wellll. Remember the weight that I stacked on earlier? Yeah. Well it hadn’t been budging. In fact, working with a Dietician and Exercise Physiologist still hadn’t helped it budge. There had actually been times when I had put on MORE weight. Women with PCOS typically find it very easy to put on weight, and very hard to lose it (see earlier about my reference to insulin), and this had definitely been a massive struggle for me. The only thing, that I had found successful in trying lots of different diets and meal plans (under my Dietitians guidance), was meal replacement shakes. 3 shakes a day, equal to about 600 – 800 calories a day, was the ONLY thing my body was responding to in my weight loss effort. And if you have ever done any research on nutrition, that’s just a tad (about 1000) calories under the recommended intake. (Please note I am not in any way condoning this method for weight loss, I myself only do it for a week at a time under the guidance of a qualified dietitian.) But, I digress, the other thing that helps me lose weight… Europe?!

Yep, you read that right, I went to Europe for 9 weeks and came back 9 kilos lighter. Now trust me, if I could cruise through Europe drinking every second night, eating pasta and pizza till I exploded and having gelato every day for the rest of my life I definitely would. But alas, that is not my life, and those nine kilos have crept back on (plus 3, sigh). But really, the major change in my lifestyle when I travel is my activity level, I did a lot of walking the streets of beautiful European cities and climbing coastal Italian mountains, and I find this is the biggest thing that helps me lose weight. Exercise all day = weightloss… I’m working on it.

The other difference in this time was that I was very poor at taking my medication, and when I returned, my blood work was surprisingly promising (I have a diabetic test kit at home that I use for emergencies if I am feeling unwell, and I get blood tests about every 3 months at the moment). Because of that it was agreed that I could stop taking my doctor prescribed medication and I have been off all forms of medication for 4 months and just had my Mirena removed yesterday.

The next step for me is to go back to my specialist and check my blood again to see how my body has reacted to being off medication. The biggest change I have seen in getting rid of the medication is that my hair has started falling out A LOT. Luckily there is still some left on my head for now and this will be something I talk through with my specialist next visit. I am now also (with the Mirena out) putting no hormones into my body, which is something I would like to continue in hopes that my body will be able to balance itself out on it’s own after being on contraceptive for so long (since I was 16) and encourage fertility (in the future, calm down Mum). For those curious, because PCOS can effect your fertility due to it’s involvement in the menstrual cycle, I do very much want a family, and it was very scary (probably one of the scariest parts) to think that this might be effected by this condition. I am currently looking into more traditional therapies like acupuncture and Chinese herbs as this is another route that has been recommended to me and can be particularly useful in assisting fertility and preparing the body to reset itself.

My weight is a constant struggle for me and I am constantly battling my own demons to try and over come that and make progress. For me, this blog is a big part of that journey, of showing that I’m not of less value because of my size or struggles. I hope that to anyone going through a similar situation, this story helps you feel just a little bit less alone. Again, this is just my experience, this is what I have done and the results I have had, every single person is different and you may find something that made me worse makes you better! I am very lucky that I have found a wonderful team in my doctor, endocrinologist and dietitian (although I have stopped seeing her as frequently) and am happy to share these with anyone who is wondering. In any case I hope that this little insight into someone else’s condition can help you handle yours, and if this blog has sparked any questions in you, always feel free to get in contact with me and I will help in any way I can.

Love,

kate

THE MEANING OF BLOGGING

So my IG post this morning (follow @prettyforplussize) said that I wanted to let you guys in on a few things, share some secrets and break down some digital walls we might have. Basically, I just wanted to have a chat a little more about why I’m here, what I am hoping to achieve and why I am doing what I am.

Obviously my IG page is my greatest portal right now, it’s where my passion and focus is. My original concept for P4PS was only an Instagram page, just to share my outfits and different looks with the plus size community. It was only after starting an IG page, that I realised, I had more to say than those little IG comment boxes would allow – hence the blog appeared. Don’t get me wrong, I am learning every single step as we go here, and winging it a lot of the time, but that is part of the fun!

The biggest idea behind Pretty For Plus Size was to break down the stigma that follows young women who fall into the plus size clothing category, that they don’t want to look beautiful or dress in nice clothes. We are seeing so much in the media currently about plus size models and runway shows and women coming into their own in the fashion industry, but as a 20-something year old who was dying to be trendy, I still felt such a gap. I can’t go shopping with my friends, or when I do, they wonder why I won’t try anything on (when they know how much I LOVE to shop). It’s because I know nothing will fit me, and I will do anything to avoid that embarrassment. There is approximately 1 boutique plus size store that slightly caters to women my age, that I will now venture into inside a shopping center, but other than that, I do all my shopping online. My realisation was that I am not alone in this predicament, that if I was struggling to find places to shop and buy new clothes, surely other girls my age were to! That’s why I have set out to share with you the brands I love to wear, styles I find flattering, stores I venture into and clothes that make me feel pretty and plus size! Along the way I’m hoping to even find some NEW brands and businesses that cater for my body type, and hopefully share those with you as well!

However it’s not just about the clothes and brands that I manage to get my hands on, I want to share  the other little things that I find help me feel pretty. There seems to be this odd misconception – built in the phrases ‘Oh you’re pretty for a fat girl’ or ‘You’d be beautiful if you lost weight.’ That we CAN’T be beautiful just because we haven’t lost weight, ah no. So along with the clothes, it’s about the details; my nails, my brows, when my make up looks good, all these things make me feel beautiful and good within my self. And at the end of the day that’s the vibe I’m trying to give off to you! So if I can tell you where to go to get your #browsonfleek or which salon is good for #nailgoals, then I’m going to do that as well.

I want to build you up, exactly the way you are.

kate

BEHIND THE SCENES

Hi pretties!

For those of you who follow my Instagram (which you definitely should –@prettyforplussize), you will have noticed that we did our very first photo shoot yesterday! I use the term photo shoot very lightly because a) I had no idea what I was doing and b) I have no other name for what went on. So for the purpose of this blog; please refocus your perception of the word ‘photo shoot’ where here, it applies to me awkwardly swinging my arms around in front of a camera while my poor photographer attempts to make the best of my flailing limbs.

Basically, the point of going and getting some real life professional photographs was to try and capture and highlight some of my absolute favourite brands. Don’t fear! Most thing you see on my IG will feature terrible lighting, awkward poses, bad self timer set ups and dark shadows, but there will be the odd occasion that I’ll be attempting a brand spotlight and showing you my curvy clothes in the best possible way.

We set off yesterday on our photo shoot adventure on the Gold Coast, with the most perfect day on display. I had the huge honour and pleasure of working with a local photographer – David Rowe. You can check out his IG @im_rowey and keep your eyes peeled on his upcoming website http://davidrowephotography.com.au/ David was absolutely incredible to work with for my first time in front of the camera, he provided just enough encouragement to make me feel comfortable and just enough direction to help me get the best photos – without making me feel like the awkward model I am!

As a plus size girl, I find myself taking A LOT of selfies (which yes, many of my friends mock me for), but when it comes down to it – I take selfies because that’s the only way I can control the photo: by picking the best angle and hiding all my lumps and bumps that I don’t like with a good filter. I find myself looking at photos taken by other people of me and being so mortified at the angle, or the way I was standing, or how big I look in comparison to my friends, that usually I avoid photos at gatherings and I am quick to ‘un tag’ many unflattering photos on Facebook. So to do this shoot was basically just as big of a step for me personally, as it was an achievement for the blog!

One of the biggest things I found throughout the day was how to use my best angles and assets to generate photographs that I actually liked the way my body looked in them! Not to mention show off all the dreamy clothes I had. We probably spent about 4 hours in total shooting different outfits and by the end of it I definitely had a little bit of ‘model’ sass happening.

Knowing that I have had these body dilemma’s on my own, I can only assume that I am not alone out there! So girls, I am voting GET IN THE PHOTO! Work out what angle you like your face on, that your left hand looks best on your waist and your right ankle should be tucked behind your left; because at the end of the day we all want those photos, we all want those memories. One of the best thing you can portray in a photo is confidence, and your personality, you will definitely find that my photos lack a certain sexy or serious vibe; I laugh a lot, I smile a lot, and there is a lot of hair flicking and showing off my nails, I do things that make me feel good about myself.

I spent a lot of the day laughing at myself, and how ridiculous I am sure I looked, but at the end of it we actually managed to get some cool photos! Through the next few weeks I will be sharing my featured outfits from this shoot, with clothing pieces from Little Party Dress, City Chic, Target and accessory features from Novo, Lovisa, Myer and more!

I’ve really aimed to share styles and outfits for every budget and size, and of course show off how we can be #prettyandplussize

kate

PRETTY FOR PLUS SIZE

Firstly, thank you for joining me!

So, I want to be honest with you all, because this blog is all about the hard side, the unflattering side, the upsetting side, of being a plus size girl; and of being me. It’s my first time. I’m a first time blogger and this is my first time sharing my thoughts and photos unashamedly with a wider audience. I want to show and help those in a similar situation to me that you can be #prettyANDplussize, and that being Pretty for Plus Size is not even a thing. You are pretty, and intelligent, and valuable; not despite the fact that you are plus size, not because you are plus size. As a matter of fact, being plus size, it totally irrelevant. Which may seem contradictory to the title, however knowing that I’m both pretty for a plus size girl, and pretty for a regular girl too is only just a recent realisation for me.

I’m sure I am not the only one, who has been told “Oh, you’re so pretty for a fat girl.” Or “Wow, you’d be so beautiful if you lost some weight.” Unfortunately these comments come from absolutely everyone, the media, strangers, sometimes even the people closest to us. Even more than that, a lot of these people believe that those statements are true, and that can be so detrimental to our own mental health. So I’m sort of here to try and help build you up, encourage, support and empower you, and hopefully create a community of like minded women to get behind you as well!

Being someone who enjoys fashion, shopping and selfies, and being a 20-something girl who like to go out with friends, go on dates, go to bars, and generally be social; I have always found myself struggling to find stores that provide younger plus size girls with attractive options, if any options at all! I find that many plus size stores are catered to older women, or assume that ‘bigger’ girls don’t want to wear things that hug their figure! (Hell no! My body curves like the coastline of Amalfi, Italy, everyone wants to see that!) So I spend a lot of my time trolling websites and online stores that sell clothes that are both flattering to my body shape and appealing to my eye and personality. The recent social surge in businesses on Instagram certainly makes my life a lot easier to do this, so I wanted to share the stores, their clothes, as well as my own tips and tricks on putting together a bangin’ look, with you! Along the way, we’ll probably talk relationships, design (I’m a graphic designer by trade), food and PCOS as well,  but hopefully, some of that will strike your interest and you will keep coming back.

Until next time, make sure you follow me on Instagram for daily outfit inspo and general life hacks!

kate

#prettyforplussize