Wednesday, 16 August 2017

#BodyPositivity: Style Your Self Happy


Meet Jane

Stylist who encourages mums to find themselves again amongst the sleepless nights and dirty nappies.

Child negotiator (Jane has two under four!) and wife.


















The easy bit:

I wouldn't say I was ever one of those teenage girls who cared too much about their body or weight – I’ve always been slim-ish, and I think it was easier back in the early noughties not to enter into the comparison culture we have now, as social media didn’t exist. I've always been into sport, and I suppose you could say I was more of a tomboy, even though I was always into my clothes, I didn’t wear any kind of makeup till I was 17!
At the age of 24 i married my husband. I remember feeling so happy in my dress on the day, like every bride does, it was a magnificent feeling. If only we could bottle that feeling and have a dose when we need it, because little did i know how all consuming having kids would be.


The hard bit:

I only really started to think about my body when I fell pregnant – you can’t escape the fact that your body is changing! I’ll be the first to admit I had a pretty easy time of it. I put on hardly any excess weight and was back in my jeans about a week after having both babies. I did however lose myself somewhere along the way after having my daughter, to all the demands that looking after a toddler and a newborn bring, which I found really hard. I’ll be brutally honest here – sometimes it felt like I was trapped in a nightmare I couldn’t escape from, and my sole purpose had now become to keep two small beings alive! I stopped posting my outfits on Instagram, deciding that I didn’t need to bother anymore as I was ‘just a mum’, and that was that.

When things started to get (marginally!) easier, I wanted to regain that little bit of me again that I loved expressing through clothes and fashion. I started making an effort and sharing my style online, and I wished I had done it sooner! Although I was still being a mum everyday, I also had that part of me that was just for me.

I felt so strongly that styling and what we wear can have such an impact on every part of our lives, that I began training as a stylist and personal shopper last year to set up my own business focusing on mums who perhaps felt that they had lost their individual style along the way.



Styling and body image:

The big reason behind starting my styling business - Highstreet Stylist - was to show women that wearing clothes that suit them, their shape, their personality and lifestyle, can benefit them in ways that are more than just physical. I really believe that your body positivity starts from the outside and works its way in. If you feel happy and confident then that's how you will go out and face the day. Owning and loving our style changes how you see yourself in the mirror in a positive way, and over time will change how you feel about yourself, which is an amazing thing.


 I still have my many hang-ups (who doesn’t!), I feel like the excess skin on my stomach is painfully obvious when I wear tight clothing, and I’ve always been really conscious of my broad shoulders. What I do now is try to find a way to turn those into positives – my tummy grew the best two things in my life, and I wouldn’t be as good a swimmer without my shoulders!

A few months ago I decided I wasn't going to weigh myself again - and it's been the best decision ever! I don't have that disappointment when I feel like I've been ultra good for a week but the scales tell me I'm the same, or even worse, put on a pound or two. I pretty much eat want I want, I love food and cooking, and it's definitely easier to eat healthy if you do it yourself from scratch. Most days I exercise - swimming, running, tennis, and trying to contain a two and four year old!

What's important to me now is feeling good, strong and able to run around with my small ones every day – and owning my style while I do it - and I hope that I can still do just that in 10 years time.

And cake, cake is always good ;)

Find Jane posting daily outfit inspiration on her glorious Instagram feed
Her Website and 
Connect with her on Facebook


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Monday, 14 August 2017

Interview at The Image Consultancy Co

Ever wondered how i got in to blogging, how long i've been blogging and why oh why is my blog called Rachel The Hat?

Well the lovely Image Consultancy Co have asked me those and some more questions about my blogging career so far.

I would love you to have a read and find out a little bit more about me and my blogging journey!

Interview Here
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Friday, 11 August 2017

Shirt Dress Two Ways & #Passion4Fashion Linkup



What a busy busy week.. it still the summer holidays over here and that means trips out each day with my boy, and even the occasional date evening with the husband. Its been busy, busy, buys but good.. so so good.
I love having this time with Neo and i've been packing it full of things to do each day which does mean that yes.. no actual outfit post as such today (although its still an outfit post of sorts as i am still wearing clothes πŸ˜‚)
But what i wanted to show you all was this amazing little dress i picked up from Next a couple of weeks ago. Its an absolute delight to wear and something i shall be getting a lot more wear of through autumn too. As you allllll know, i love an item that can be worn lots and lots, and this ticks the box perfectly. 

On the first day i wore it as a dress (below), out for a date with the husband i felt lovely in my swishy shirt dress. I paired it with some tan block heels and my little straw bag for a relaxed evening meal with Salvatore. I removed the tie waist and added my own tan tassle belt to cinch in the waist.



Then a week later (above) i wore it to the play gym with my son* , where i undid the buttons to wear like a kimono/shacket. I tucked the collar under also to give the lines a more clean appearance and more kimono like. I added in my fav jeans, a plain cami and finished it off with my red comfy mules and a pop of yellow with the bag to bring out the yellow flowers.

And those aren't the only ways i shall be wearing it, come the cooler months i'm looking forward to pairing it with my tan knee high boots and a big chunky knit cream cardigan. 
Or even layering a thin turtle neck knit underneath and some tights and ankle boots. I'm yet to try it with black also, so maybe something worth dabbling with there too.

This dress really is one that keeps on giving, my favourite kind of dress.

Do you own any dresses that just keep on giving?



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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

#BodyPositivity – Learn To Love Your Body With Laurie of Vanity & Me


Meet Laurie
Creator and Author of 
Wife, Mother, Grandmother









Ladies, please drop what you're doing and read about this incredible ladies journey to the wonderful place she is today. No spoilers but trust me when i say she's has seen the extreme end of lacking Body confidence. Read on to hear about Laurie's journey


Hi Everyone
It’s my greatest pleasure to be here today sharing with you my journey (and it’s been a long journey) Gaining confidence and body positivity and learning to like, sometimes love myself a little.
Readers often think that because we share our photographs online sharing our passion for fashion and beauty that we are full of confidence and have a huge ego, when that is often not the case!
There are so many things that I would like to change about my body. Being taller would be top of the list. Alas not a lot can be done about that, and you will always find me in heels! But do let me tell you that I have learned through the years that trying different styles, I feel comfortable being titchy me.
The thing is about being a shorty is that even half a pound can make a difference and I do eat quite healthily.
Arms. I hate mine, I have tried weights, different types of exercise all to no avail. So, most times I wear a cap or short sleeve rather than no sleeve. It looks passable and I’m happy with that. It’s just trial and error finding resolutions if you can’t fix your problems.
Let me tell you about a journey I travelled from the age of Eighteen.
Even back then in the early eighties the pressure was there to have the perfect figure. OK, not anywhere near the amount of social media pressure that there is now, but you didn’t even have the fuller or should I say average sized female model back then. The skinnier the better in the media’s eye.
I feel sorry for the young girls of today. The pressure for them is huge. My daughter posted this on Instagram and I thought it really struck a good statement

Anyway, back to my story!
When I was Eighteen, I was really on the heavy side. One day a family member came for a visit and commented on how large I had gotten. I can still remember that moment clear as day. Totally upset, I vowed to starve myself until I was the perfect size.
And that’s what I did. Starve myself. I won’t go into all the details of how I hid it from my parents. I would be writing a book if I told you the whole story. But after about six months of barley eating anything the weight started to fall off. The compliments started rolling in and I felt amazing. What happened next you ask? I wanted to carry on feeling amazing and for the comments to continue rolling in, so I carried on starving myself, thinking that a decent meal would make me look huge again!
I can’t tell you when the point of no return began. I often think about this, but for the life of me I can’t remember. The whole starving myself disaster completely took hold of me.
To shorten the story, I ended up hiding myself in baggier clothes to hide my wasting away frame. I knew and that’s all that mattered at the time. My little bird like skeletal body now weighed 5 stone 9lb. I ended up collapsing and of course my parents inevitably found out. They helped so much to try and get me to recover, but I still had a lot of days struggling with just trying to eat. I just thought they wanted their “fat” daughter back and decided to become Bulimic instead. Terrible huh?
My turnaround for me came when one day I was having to take so many laxatives the pains in my stomach were just too much to bare. Just like that lightbulb had lit up to start my Anorexia another lightbulb lit up for me to stop.
But that’s not the end. And a lot of the time I did still eat like a little bird, but I started to get ill. From my stupidity of not eating for so long I totally broke my immune system and started to get allergies. Foods that I had eaten all my life I could no longer eat. I have spent many years I’m 54 now and still each year I have to see different specialist about my allergies that grew and grew and grew! Touch wood, it’s been two years since my last new edition which was Aspartame.
I got my payback! Now I can’t bloody eat anything! I got what I wished for basically. Something I have to live with for the rest of my life all because I was a silly girl trying to be what the media say’s we should be.

If I could eat all the pies I would. And I’d be sticking my fingers up to anyone that was to judge me! There are so many things that I would do differently if I could, but getting on to the body positivity, you’ve just got to let go and learn to love yourself. Eat healthily, exercise a little, learn what accentuates your good bits and hides your bad bits. I now have my own fat rolls and flabby arms, but I’ve just learned to do the above. I make do the best I can and I love myself more now in my fifties than at any other time in my life. I too did the MandCo body positivity challenge with Rachel a while back. Sticking my fingers up to society and telling the world that I’m loving my time in my fifties and not scared to show off my body. (It was hard but very liberating!)

It’s funny because I have never written about my time of being anorexic on my blog! When Rachel kindly asked for my input, it just seemed right. Sorry Rachel!
I may not have the perfect body, but I have learned to love it.
Thank you so much Rachel for having this time on your blog. I will leave my media links below, just in case they want to visit an over 50 woman trying to make the most of herself!
Find me at:


RTH: Laurie please don't apologise, the more we talk about these things the more we enlighten ladies on the journeys we all go through daily and how we should learn to love ourselves just the way we are.
Thank you for talking about your extremely personal journey. Its been a privilege to have you here and i think i can speak on behalf of everyone when i say, Laurie, you look absolutely gorgeous!!
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Monday, 7 August 2017

Transitional Dresses: A Must Have :: With Laura Ashley


Transitional dressing. Its a phrase you will be hearing a lot from me as summer has decided to end already and i am allll about making pieces work hard for me. So anything that will work now when its still fairly warm and then also later come the colder days, i am all over it.
And so i cordially invite you to come check out the full post over at Laura Ashley featuring this absolutely PERFECT dress.

I would love you to pop over and see my tips for making it work now for summer but also for autumn.

<<Full post click here>>
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Friday, 4 August 2017

WIN a Pair of Hunter Wellies (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

Oh I know, you don't generally think 'Wellies' when it comes to summer footwear now do you, but the reality of it is, Wellies are an actual must-have throughout the year.
Whether it be for dog walks, festivals or just splashing about in the summer rain, my Hunter boots are an absolute life necessity for me.
Of course mine are bright red, as they are the ultimate pop of cheery colour on a grey rainy day, i just add in my trusty Seasalt raincoat, a breton top and i am good to go. Dog walking in style 😁

These bright red beauties are via Cloggs Footwear who i have had multiple, multiple pairs of boots from.

Hunter wellies always wear so, so well for me, they last an absolute age and are a joy to splash in muddy puddles with. 
For me its always about the dog walks, my dogs are always happier if they can get out and have their daily walkies and i'm happy to oblige as long as my feet are dry and i don't feel soggy and sodden by the time i get home. In fact when i wear my wellies, i always feel that bit more adventurous then when i'm in trainers, like walking through the stream or climbing up the plodding up the wet grasslands or just being happy to walk for longer, wearing the hounds out and leaving me in peace to work all afternoon. Everyone wins😁

And so do you!
Fancy winning a pair of Hunter Wellies of your own?
I KNOW RIGHT!
I've teamed up with the fabulous people at Cloggs Footwear to give one lucky reader a pair of Hunter wellies of their choice from Cloggs vast selection.
Click on the rafflecopter below to get entering ladies as these really are a life must have.











 Outfit Details:
Wellies thanks to Cloggs Footwear: I'm wearing the Hunter Tall in Military red
Seafolly Raincoat
Skinny Jeans
Breton Top


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and Conditions
 No purchase necessary. All entries must be received by 23.00 11/08/17 
All entries will be verified.
The winning entry will be selected at random. The winners will be notified via email. If we receive no response from a winner within 7 days of notifying them we reserve the right to select another winner. The prize is a pair of Hunter Wellies from the provided website, of the winners choice.
The prize will be posted free of charge to the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man address of the winner’s choice. Sorry, the prize cannot be posted overseas. The name of the winner will be published via our social media channels and on the blog that the competition was entered on, once they have responded to us to claim the prize. No cash alternative.

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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

#BodyPositivity Why I've chosen to not conform and 'Summer Diet' for the Perfect Body


So every year rolls around, and on social media you see ladies hitting the gym/workout dvds and gobbling up salad and smoothies in order to become lean mean summer machines for when that sunshine arrives and we inevitably have to expose more flesh.

I've done it every year, April/May rolls around and i realise, i've eaten my way through winter like a hungry hungry hippo.
This winter i put on 10 lbs. What started as a couple of pounds after birthday and Christmas proceeded in to a few more come my anniversary and then resulted in 10 whole big ones by May.
The lack of exercise hasn't helped my cause much, and being a fair weather walker means i limited myself.
As i started to get out some of the skimpier pieces from last summer i felt the dread come over me,
"How am i going to expose flesh"
"My thunder thighs will look horrendous"
"Bingo wings are never fashionable"
and so on and so on.
I sat there on the edge of my bed having just weighed myself, and sat amongst my summer clothes basically feeling like shit.
I wrote off wearing shorts completely, deeming my legs too disgusting to get out in public. I was this close to donning a full burka all summer long.

Why though?
Social media was yelling that Summer is coming, hit the gym now to be in your best shape yet!
Adverts are filled with slogans like

"Get Summer Body Ready"

I even had emails offering reviews for coffee drinks to loose weight to be bikini ready.

Seriously though.. what the eff?
Why??
Why can't i just accept who I am.
Yes i may be 10 lbs heavier than last summer, but does it really matter on the greater scheme of things?
Am i less of a person because i'm heavier? (Actually no, there's more of me so if anything i'm more of a person, lol!)
I'm happy, i'm extremely healthy (Hi I'm Rachel and I'm a vegan in case you didn't know!) and i walk most days with my dogs).
This year i donned a bikini for the first tie in 8 years. Im not in 'peak physical shape' but
I'm Happy.

Cant we just embrace our bodies just the way they are? Yes my mum tum is ever present, no i don't have a thigh gap, but on the greater scheme of things, does it really matter?
Bodies of all shapes and sizes are what makes this world a glorious place filled with diversity, my god, it would be so boring if we all looked exactly the same.

I'm choosing to not deprive myself this year, forcing my body in to 'diet mode' just seems wrong.
I'm choosing not to compare myself to gym bunnies with six packs and rock hard thighs, as that is their choice (and good for them too!!) not mine. That doesn't make me less of a person, uglier or generally not as nice.

I'm choosing to love this body just the way it is, belly rolls, curvy thighs and all.

Of course if you want to loose weight, do it because you feel your body needs it, not becasue you want to be summer ready or because the media implies we should look a certain way.
I lost 3 stone 4 years ago because i was heavier than my frame and height should be. I was overweight and uncomfortable, sluggish and lethargic. I lost the weight for me and nobody else, so i know how it feels to not like how you look. I still struggle daily but I'm learning to love how i am.

I hope you'll join me in ditching the mindset of how we should look and just love how you do look.
Over the years SO many ladies have said to me when out shopping,
"Oh I'm going to size down in that as i'm going to loose weight and i want it to fit me then" or "I'm keeping this because i plan to fit in it by xxx"

This is just constantly reiterating to yourself that your body isn't currently worthy, like this magnificent thing that carries you day in day out isn't good at all and that you strongly dislike it.
All you are creating is more negativity for yourself.

So please, learn to love yourself just as you are, not how you think you should be, or plan to be.
Just be you, this you, here and now.

Choose happiness and your
 body and mind will thank you for it.



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Monday, 31 July 2017

Gingham Dress with Yellow Shoes



It took me a while to jump on the gingham train. I think it may be because it reminds me of my early blogging days when i was majorly in to retro 60's styles and i was very 'twee' for a long time (if you want a laugh and see me literally growing up through my twenties on the internet check out my cringe worthy archives!.. shudder..πŸ˜‚). But there's still a place in my heart for the checked, gingham print, and it really can work and be a useful little number.
I hope this will represent a slightly more grown up take on gingham but still rather fun.

This dress was originally bought for a Social Brunch Meetup, which it would have worked perfect for, but sadly the ol' British weather decided it was not meant to be as it was rainy and chilly on the day (so i went for the red jumpsuit instead), but it turns out that the dress could be useful for a number of occasions. I wore it for an evening out last week to see Grease Live in Cardiff and drinks in the bay, it was lovely and light and comfy to be sat down all evening in too. 
I'm thinking paired with some tan sandals this would work great for even just a day at the shops, or add some red block heels and perfect for an evening out.

The neutral colour means its pretty much is a blank canvas when it comes to mixing in accessories, which is great as it will allow lots of remixing potential.


Also did i mention? Tremendously comfy. Light and floaty can do no wrong in my dress loving eyes.

Have you flirted with gingham this season? Are you a fan of the print?













 Outfit Details

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Friday, 28 July 2017

Bright Red Jumpsuit & A Hit of Gingham (& #Passion4Fashion)

 You know when you see an item and you just think "Yes! That item has my name written all over it!" Well that totally happened with this jumpsuit and i picked it up then put it back down.
Of course i couldn't stop thinking about it then and so when the weather forecast wasn't great for an event i had planned on wearing a summer dress to, well i decided to go back and buy it.
Lady luck was on my side as there was a very depleted rack of jumpsuits and just one size 10 left.
For a £22.99 jumpsuit the fabric falls beautifully, skimming and not clinging and doesn't crease too easily.
The colour is definitely siren red and i would say you won't exactly blend in to the crowd in it, but hey, you only live once eh? Why not be loud and proud is my motto.
I like that you could really dress this up with some heels and a statement necklace or like here, dressed down but smart with some little gingham sandals.
I love how the pattern breaks up the mass of red and adds a quirky bit of interest to the outfit.
I wore this last week to a fantastic meet up in Bristol where i was asked to give a small talk about my blogging career.
It was a huge privilege and i enjoyed every second of it and i would say red is most definitely a confidence booster. I felt comfy and great in this jumpsuit.
This will also work incredibly well come Christmas (sorry.. yes i did just go there), pair with some gold accessories, a fancy clutch and a black high heels and you are looking very merry and bright indeed.
For now i'm looking forward to wearing it again this summer with some tan sandals, a cream cardigan and a tan cross-body bag to make it more casual again.
But yes, needless to say I absolutely love it and i'm happy to have it in my arsenal of clothes and highly recommend this little red number to anyone after a versatile yet bold piece.

Jumpsuit Options

{The first Warehouse one is my favourite!}










Outfit Details:




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