……It was the worst of times – FEATURING the Paragon Hotel.

Hi all!

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful plus-size event called Style XL put on by one of my loveliest blogger friends – Leah Shafik. As much as I had a lovely time at the event, the venue was atrocious and it’s taken me a few weeks to calm down and be able to write about it in a frank manner.

The Paragon Hotel, Birmingham.

I was excited when I found out about Style XL, and even more excited when I found out the venue was a hotel. Being disabled AND pregnant, comfort is key and I kept thinking about how convenient it would be to have little rests through the day and be able to change shoes/items of clothing. I was a little disheartened when I read some reviews online, however after speaking to the hotel and telling them I was blogging about the event, they gave me a good deal and assured me we would be in an “updated” room.

The day came and we drove down getting stuck in slight traffic which can’t be avoided. Our first impressions of the hotel weren’t great – there was already a police van parked outside. Unfortunately this was’t the only time the police would visit in the 48 hours we were there. We then went to park in the “private” hotel parking which was basically an old, decrepit warehouse which was full of rubbish, old mattress’ and tons of beer cans everywhere. We crossed the glass covered road to the hotel and felt the sinking feeling of regret in our stomachs. We checked in after having to queue a short while and were told we had to choose between an updated room or wifi access. We chose the updated room.

Up on the third floor, we found our room (which oddly had a different door to every other room we passed and the most awkward key lock system which just felt unsafe. Upon entering the room, we had to way to turn on the electricity and so we then had to wait for somebody to come and jam a screwdriver in the slot in the wall. So what did we get for an updated room? We got a tiny cramped room which was as wide as the bed and two tiny side tables and we could barely move down the sides of it. Also in the room was a heater which hung off the wall, 3 windows (one of which had a massive crack down it) a desk, chair and built in wardrobe. It was all VERY basic.  The attention to detail was pathetic – my walls had dints, patchy paintwork and an actual plaster over a crack. The bathroom was slightly better but the flooring was very slippery and this wasn’t made any easier after a shower. The shower was annoying and you had to hold it as the shower head holder didn’t hold it and it fell on your head which was painful! The toilet was on an angle which made it annoying to use and they gave us half a toilet roll to use which is disgusting and unsanitary. The final straw with the bathroom was the postage stamp sized threadbare rough towels. .

We tried to make the best out of a bad situation after being informed there were no more rooms to swap into, and so we went out to dinner and enjoyed out night. We then went back to the bar which was a shambles. It was overpriced, badly staffed and the staff had no clue. The member of staff behind the bar was serving coca cola from litre bottles which had been sat out in the warm not in the fridges. For a pint of this warm, flat diet coke it cost £3. We then took to buying our own from the corner shop, this was actually colder and faster. We stayed up with some other guests who had various issues – including problems with the public toilets having no loo rolls and lighting issues in corridors. We finally decided to turn in after a long day as more and more drunken people passed shouting and screaming.

The next day we were rudely awoken at 6 to people running up and down corridors smashing lights and leaving trails of blood which were still there the next day when we were leaving. There was also homeless people sat outside among the trees singing and talking loudly. Through the next day, police had come another 2 times, the bar kept promising to open but didn’t open till late leaving hundreds of us needing drinks as the venue was absolutely boiling and the staff didn’t know how to turn on the air conditioning. Thankfully we had our handy corner shop and a bin full of ice to keep us in cool drinks. Being pregnant, I don’t think I’d of coped without the corner shop being there!

We went out for dinner again and enjoyed a lovely evening at Style XL but this was tainted when armed police stormed the building and wouldn’t let anybody move. There was also a car broken into right outside the hotel, the bar again ran out of the few drinks they had and there was some awful men hanging around the venue trying to hit on the girls who had been taking part in the event. They also kept running in our room to take food from our buffet which was annoying. We decided to call it an early night and headed to our room where we felt like we couldn’t relax because we didn’t know what was going to happen next.

The following morning we packed and left as soon as we could and were glad to leave. Since leaving, I’ve spoken to other people who stayed who had even worse problems so it turns out we were actually lucky with the shambles of a room we had.

I still had a pretty good time at the event and that was down to the amazing planning and would highly recommend Style XL as an event to anybody. Even Adam had fun!

FINALLY.

I’m up for the award of Best New Blog at the British Plus Size Awards and would love it if you could click here and vote for Fabulously Fat Fashion! It means the world to be nominated and to win would just be excellent!

Thanks!

Hannah x

It was the best of times…..FEATURING Style XL

Hi all!

So recently I had the pleasure of attending the wonderful event which was Style XL!

 Me and Adam drove down for the event the night before which was held in Birmingham at The Paragon Hotel. Knowing we were heading for a long journey I dressed casually in one of my ebay swing cami’s which I’ve been loving for my growing bump, leggings and flats. Oh and course the sunglasses made a trip out as the weather was beautiful!

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Adam wore one of his new shirts from Who? clothing which he got for his birthday…

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…Sadly this didn’t stay white very long and ended up with me scrubbing it with a baby wipe in a random lay-by on route to the hotel. We decided to head out for dinner, and I wore my Polly Grace Clara dress which I couldn’t get a decent photo of due to my room being tiny and without a light, but I’ve previously reviewed here. This dress has been a staple piece of mine during my pregnancy and has been worn time and time again and is still perfect. We had an “interesting” dinner ending in us leaving the restaurant and getting a takeaway instead and taking it back to our room. Later on we met up with some other bloggers in the bar and hung out until the wee hours!

The next day was the first day of Style XL and knowing it was going to be a long day with clothing changes, I went for this deep orange/red jersey midi dress from ASOS Curve

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I love this dress because it is super comfortable but can be dressed up/down as i need to.

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Me and adam enjoyed taking selfies at the bon prix stand!

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Adam was very sad that he didn’t win the coat – he looked rad!

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Even though I have crippling SPD, I managed to get up on stage and model for Monroe Knows (who are currently having a huge sale). I DID smile I promise. After a good few hours enjoying the event, I went back to my room and got changed for an early dinner before the evening event started.

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As before, I didn’t manage to get a decent full length photo in the hotel, and so here’s one of me from home! I did however ditch the leggings.

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I chose this dress because I knew it would be comfortable on my expanding bump but still look elegant and not like a generic maternity tent. It’s currently on sale here.

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A snap of me and Adam at the evening event!

We caught the end of Model XL and were super happy to see Sarah from Plus Size & Proud who picked up an  award for both Model XL Personality AND Model XL Charity!

After Model XL there was time for a buffet, dancing and socialising which I really enjoyed. It was a great night of women championing each other and empowering each other. I’m so used to going on nights out and being picked apart for my looks that it was so refreshing to go somewhere and actually be boosted by other people who all want to have a good time.

These events are so important to me and to others because for many of us – more so those of us who live far away from most other bloggers – this is one of the rare opportunities we actually get to spend time with other like minded people and feel like we ACTUALLY fit in to a community, because that is what we are. We, as bloggers are a community and this has built from us writing online and putting ourselves out there. This is why I am SO thankful to people like Leah who take the time out to put on these much needed and much loved events.

I went to bed that night with a newly charged feeling of self worth. I’ve been down lately and feeling frumpy/unattractive due to my body changing in pregnancy – however being around these fantastic people reminded me that there’s not a single thing wrong with my body and suddenly everything seemed a little brighter.

I didn’t manage to attend any of the workshops on Sunday as due to issues with the hotel we just wanted to leave, however I’m informed people had another excellent day.

Once again, thank you so much to Leah, her family and all those who volunteered and helped out for a fabulous day. I can’t wait for the next one!

Hannah x

My baby shower! Featuring Simply Be Lace Detail Swing Dress

Hi all!

A few weeks back, I had my baby shower/gender reveal party for my baba and it was a wonderful day. It was held a lot earlier than a typical shower, however my best friend/babies godmum was heading off to go travelling around Europe for a couple of months and so I really didn’t want to not have her there! A huge thank you has to be said to my mum for organizing such a lovely day and for getting everybody together.

It took me ages to decide what to wear, and I actually went back onto my blog for inspiration and found a previous post where I had visited Simply Be to review some clothes and spied a dress which I knew would be perfect.

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I put a tweet out attaching the above picture and asking for peoples opinions of the dress for a shower, and Simply Be kindly contacted me and gifted me the dress for my shower which was so kind of them!

I decided to ditch the coat this time and glam up the makeup a little bit more and really loved how the dress looked. I sized up to a 26 to accommodate my bump and felt a million dollars!

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I added a black wig which looks like my usual hair (before I chopped it off for charity!), my usual flamingo handbag, little white shiny flats and a simple flower crown and I was ready to go!

The shower was held in a local pub important to my family – we have pretty much every event there so of course my shower would be there!

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My balloon!

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My very talented cousin Kelly made the cakes!

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The main cake had a coloured buttercream to surprise everybody and reveal the gender!

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And she’s a girl! We also revealed her name – Eleanor Bridie Lister.

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My mum threw a few games in such as pin the dummy on the baby, guess the weight and people decorated little onesies! Here’s my best friend Chloe hard at work!

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Some of the decorated onesies!

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Eleanor was well and truly spoiled! Thank you so much to those who bought us gifts and those who came from far and wide to be there – I’m looking at you Miki & Chloe!!

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Also super thanks for lip stain and MUA liquid eyeliner for staying in place even though I cried a LOT.

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My final thanks goes to these two beautiful ladies for doing me the honour of agreeing to be Eleanor’s Godmothers alongside Adam’s sister Sara. We’re very lucky that Eleanor will have such incredible, strong and wonderful women to look up to and to guide her through her life.

FINALLY.

I’m up for the award of Best New Blog at the British Plus Size Awards and would love it if you could click here and vote for Fabulously Fat Fashion! It means the world to be nominated and to win would just be excellent!

Thanks!

Hannah x

Time to say goodbye – A tribute to Geisha Wigs.

Hi all.

How do you say goodbye to a company who has provided you with so much more than just a product? Unfortunately Geisha Wigs has now closed due to the owner Maria wanting to pursue other interests and not having enough time to actually enjoy her life and I honestly don’t blame her. From the the time I followed it, Geisha Wigs grew and grew as a company until it became an almost snowball effect – constantly attracting more and more people which was a blessing and a curse. I wasn’t there from the beginning, but I was there for a very long time and watched the high points such as Willam and other famous queens wearing their Geisha Wigs and unfortunately I saw the low points as my friend just couldn’t take any more and missed her family.

I don’t know how to say bye to GW, so instead I thought I’d tell you about my journey instead and what the company and the friendships I made along the way means to me. I found Geisha Wigs by chance flicking through the “discover” pages and soon started following a few girls who wore them avidly. I started to really want to buy my first wig but didn’t know anybody who wore them and thought people might think I was a bit weirder than they already did. I followed GW online for about a half of a year, and then finally in December 2013 there was a flash sale on their Facebook page and I decided to take the plunge and buy my first wig. I figured as it was so heavily discounted it wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t like it. I never thought that purchase would spiral into what it became for me.

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My first wig was praline, a super soft split colour crimped wig. I fell in love with this wig and how easy it was to transform my look in seconds. I became an instant addict and began buying wig after wig. This got me noticed by owner Maria who asked me to be a sponsored model for her, and then an official blogger.

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Some of my modelling shots/shots of me using Geisha Wigs on the catwalk!

Along the way Geisha Wigs became so much more to me. I joined groups on Facebook and became part of a community which accepted me for the person who I am and who were always there for me regardless. I grew in confidence and wigs became a massive part of my persona and helped me to stick out as a blogger in a very over saturated market. Wigs helped me stand out and conferences and make friends when I was student president. They became my identifier and people would request I wore different colours and would try them on with me and it’s helped some of my strongest friendships to take off.

In April 2014, I was wearing wigs so much that I had the confidence to shave my hair off for a local children’s charity – raising over £1000 which was much needed in such a deprived area.

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And in July 2014, I took part in Miss British Beauty Curve – with a different wig for each round of course..

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I was totally robbed that I didn’t win swimwear….

I think that at the last count, I had over 60-70 wigs. It definitely became an obsession which I still don’t understand. I think it was the thrill of being able to change you image in just seconds and being into fashion, always having the perfect hairdo to finish off an outfit.

The most important thing which I got from Geisha Wigs, was my friendship with owner Maria. Maria has become so important to me, and is somebody who I speak to every day without failure. I love that what started as a business relationship has become such a strong friendship – it shows the power of blogging and the friendships that you can gain.

Maria – Geisha Wigs may be no more but you will be a life long friend of mine now and I thank you so much for all you have done for me and how much you support me.

Hannah x

Plus size & Pregnant – Minimal spending on maternity wear.

Hi all!

I’m currently 22 weeks pregnant now (I know, It seems like I’ve been pregnant for absolutely forever now, and I’m still only just over halfway there! With being plus size, I’ve faced a ton of difficulties in my pregnancy such as patronizing midwives, pushy doctors and dietitian’s…who aren’t very slim themselves. I’ve changed my eating habits quite dramatically for this baby, cutting out sugary drinks and bars of chocolate and limiting the amount of juice and crisps I consume. I’ve also been making the effort to actually eat breakfast which is a meal I’ve generally skipped for a number of years. With all these new changes I’ve barely gained any weight and had only really gained a smallish bump which had made clothes buying/wearing tons easier.

This is all changing now as the baby starts to grow more rapidly and I find myself looking for cool clothes for the summer. Here’s my list of my summer saviors which have been essential for me keeping cool and calm in this heat.

1 – Longline Cami’s

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I bought these cami tops from ebay for around £6/7 and they have been a great purchase as Ive gotten loads of wear out of them with various skirts/jeans/leggings combinations. The top dips in and out which still shows I have a a figure but still skims gently over my bump. There’s plenty of room for my bump to grow and these will be still great and comfy to wear once the baby has arrived.

2 – Maxi Dresses

Maxi dresses are so easy/cheap to pick up these days, with most supermarkets even having a good range which often go’s up to a size 22/24!

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I’ve been practically living in this one from Polly Grace which is the Clara dress. It’s so comfortable and easy to wear and hides a multitude of sins. It’s currently on sale, and if you use the code hannah20 you can get another 20% off anything on the site – including pieces in the sale!

3 – Swing dresses.

Swing dresses have been another excellent/cheap purchase. I’ve picked up a few from ASOS (which is constantly having good sales) in a size up to accommodate for maternity to be comfortable, I’ve managed to get some from other bloggers having sales and I already had a few. The shape is excellent because it still stays fitted at the top, but the swing style allows for the tummy to grow without feeling tight and restricted.

4 – Sandals.

I’ve never been a heel wearer anyway,  always choosing to wear dolly shoes instead of more “proper” shoes. I definitely couldn’t imagine tottering around in this heat in heels and so sandals are the way to go! I got some Birkenstock style sandals from Primark for a few pounds (rather than £40-£50) and they are glorious on my feet. They are nice and wide with ridges that cup your feet gently. The suede bottoms also help as you don’t start slipping around on your own sandals which is great.

I’ve managed to get quite a lot of bits to see me through my pregnancy and kept myself on a budget. Ebay, depop and blog sales have been my best friends – not everything has to be new considering it’s only going to be worn for a few months! This way I’ve had more money to spend on the baby.

Hannah x

P.S,

I have been nominated for the award of “Best New Blog” at the British Plus Size Awards. You can vote for me here by selecting “Fabulously Fat Fashion” and then vote!   Thank you!

x