Leopard Print & Leather | Collab with Mode Plus

I was very excited when my beautiful friend and fellow Plus Blogger, Nefferth from Mode Plus reached out to me to do a collaboration. We discussed what our theme could be, and in the end we decided to do some inspirational autum/winter-friendly looks based on what's going to be big this year. We agreed to make videos, and links to both our videos are below!*

Leopard print and leather was originally my idea, even though it's outside my comfort zone. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with animal print. I sort of like it, on some other people, but I don't think it's something for everybody, and I wasn't sure if it was for me or not. Most people can pull it off in small doses, but this dress isn't what I'd call a small dose of animal print. Basically, I see animal print as hit or miss. In general, I always feel like I have to be extra careful with certain styles and overly bold prints, because I have such big features, (big eyes, very full lips, big body from head to toe, I'm tall, I have a big presence, etc), and it's very easy for me to look over done or OTT. Animal prints are quite a bold statement maker, especially in large doses, and I'm not really into exaggerated bold statement making. I have dabbled in animal print a few times, (CLICK HERE for example), but never from head to toe like I have in this post. 

Anyhow, I accepted the challenge with optimism and excitement. After all, how can I inspire someone to challenge themselves and their comfort zones, if I am not willing to go there first? So, I grabbed this opportunity to finally do a post on this leopard print bodycon dress that has been hiding at the back of my wardrobe since March 2012. That's two and a half years!!!

 I bought this Leopard Print Bodycon dress from ASOS CURVE because it was different to what I usually go for, and, it was on sale. A good discount always encourages me to take a risk when tempted! (I did a post on this purchase HERE in March 2012). Generally speaking, in my opinion, leopard print is one of those things that can look really elegant, sexy and glamorous on one person, but really cheap, trashy, and tacky on another person. I was afraid of looking like the latter even before it was in my hands. When my order arrived, I was thoroughly disappointed. You're going to think I'm an absolute nutter, but as soon as I tried it on, and looked at myself in the mirror, I thought it made me looked... well... let's just say that elegant, sexy and glamorous didn't quite come to mind.

A few months later, I randomly plucked up the courage to wear it. And guess where I wore it to... Mass. Of all places! (I'm weirdly eccentric like that). Nobody gave me any funny looks or anything like that, but I felt uncomfortable in it. So much so, that it ended up back in the back of my wardrobe again. Fast forward to this summer, and my life-long friend Cerise flew out to Madrid to spend a few days with me. This dress came up in conversation, and I tried it on to get a second opinion. This time I thought it looked OK on, and Cerise agreed. So I decided to keep it, and maybe even dare to wear it outside of my house. I guess I wasn't convinced to the core though, since I wore it with a blazer/jacket Cerise gave me, and it took a lot of courage for me to take the blazer off for these photos. The irony being, that I like the pictures with just the dress on its own better!

Leopard Print Bodycon dress - UK22 - Asos Curve
Blazer / Jacket with faux leather trimmings - UK 20 (A bit snug on me) - DEFINITIONS
Leather Boots - UK8/9 - Clarks (I've had these boots since I was a teenager)
Studded Faux Leather Clutch - El Corte Inglés

Curls - Babyliss Curl Secret
Eye Shadow - kauai - by NARS
Lipstick - KIKO
Mascaras - Christian Dior & L'Oreal
Blush - H&M

(No Foundation or fake lashes) 

It has been well over a month since I last posted anything on here. Two days after my previous post I was diagnosed PreDiabetic. It should really be called, Stage-1 Type-2 diabetes, but, they insist on calling it PreDiabetes, as if it has nothing to do with Diabetes yet.  In any case, I have been taking it very seriously, as I know of all the truly horrific things that diabetes can lead to such as blindness, leg amputations, and even death.  I have made serious changes to my diet and lifestyle since I don't want to loose my vision, my legs, or die. No food is worth putting my health on the line over! Besides, eating healthy doesn't mean eating like a rabbit or a budgie, or eating boring foods!

I won't go into my diet or health too much on this blog after today, (this post is about to get word heavy), but I do have a brand new blog called FOOD WILL BE MY MEDICINE. That's where I will be getting very personal, and writing about my new diet, my weight loss, my symptoms, and a few other things. So, if you think I look smaller, you're right. I do. I am about 10kg lighter than I was in my last post. If you are interested in healthy living and healthy eating, then please, by all means, join me and let's share tips!

Weight loss was never my number goal to get my health back, but it's a side effect of completely healthy eating. I never thought I would ever loose weight again, and here I am, shrinking in size. I'm not on a diet. I'm on a healthy lifestyle journey. For life. I don't go anywhere near unhealthy foods at all anymore, and now I eat constantly, all the time, as well as drink lots of water. Before, I was getting by on just one meal a day, going hungry on a daily basis, drinking lots of fruit juices and fizzy drinks, as well as water, and barely sleeping. Believe it or not, I was often too busy to eat. I almost never ate breakfast or dinner, and lunch was often whatever I could eat whenever I could eat it. I used to think I was being healthy by mixing the good with the bad, but the fact is, that by mixing healthy with unhealthy, we're just being unhealthy. That doesn't mean fat, it means unhealthy

I am not depriving myself of anything. I am replacing unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives, and adding things in. I don't get cravings for anything I shouldn't be eating, and these days I'm never hungry like I used to be. I no longer eat sugar except for those found naturally in fruit, and since I also have high cholesterol, I only eat good fats. Fried foods have never really agreed with me, but fried foods aren't the only sources of bad fats. I have yet to know if my cholesterol has gone down, but my Blood Sugars have certainly gone down, and so has my weight in that process. Loosing belly fat was (and is) one of my main goals, but you can't loose fat in just one area, and whatever your problem area is, (which in my case I'd say is my tummy), is usually the last bit to really go down. So if I want to burn and loose belly fat, I have to burn and loose fat everywhere else as well. Apple shape bodies are apparently more likely to develop things such as diabetes and heart problems, because our body fat is mostly concentrated very closely to our internal organs, and that can have negative health consequences. But like I said, weight loss isn't the overall number one goal for me, so I'm being patient with my body. As long as my sugars are under control, I'm happy, and that's what keeps me motivated to eat right. Not eating the way I do now, literally makes me feel sick - both physically and emotionally. So healthy glucose (sugar) levels are the number one thing I need and want right now. Everything else is just complementary. I am not an expert. I am learning as I go along, and doing tons of research, so tips, advice, suggestions, etc, are all very welcome!

Stabbing the tips of my fingers several times a day with a needle to measure my Blood Sugars, can be daunting, and sore finger tips are no fun, but it is necessary, and a small price to pay for what could happen if I don't take control of my situation from now. Seeing healthy Blood Glucose readings excites me the most, not the weightloss. This whole journey has made me realize just how much I have learnt to love my body unconditionally. Like I said, I'm not in any huge rush to reach a particular weight or dress size overnight. I am just keen to be and feel healthy again, by treating my body kindly and respectfully. I am really listening to it once again, and my body is rewarding me back for it in so many ways! I don't think about calories. I only take into account the nutritional value of everything I eat, and so far, it seems to be working for me. My body seems to be repairing itself, and good health is all I ask for right now, after months of having one health problem after another.

If anyone is wondering, no, my views on size acceptance haven't changed. I'm still a big believer in health and happiness at every size. I have met many big people who are perfectly healthy, and many thin people who are not. A person's weight is not always a reflection of their health. Everybody's body is different, and there are people out there who have terrible eating habits, but they remain thin, and vice-versa. Yet everyone assumes the thin person is healthy and the fat person is not, because there is this massive propaganda machine that simplifies health so dangerously, by limiting the measure of health by the measure of weight alone.  This leads to much bigger problems than simply being overweight does. And going on fad diets are the worst thing anyone could do to their body! Healthy eating and exercise is really the only way to go if you want optimum health. That said, I haven't joined a gym, and I don't have a fixed exercise routine yet. However, I walk a lot more than I used to (and I was a walker already), I take stairs instead of the lift, and that sort of thing. I'm not working right now, but I do have a few job interviews lined up for next week, so hopefully I will be working again soon, and maybe be able to afford to join a gym. If not, there are plenty of YouTube videos you can work out to for free, and I have invested in some exercise toys, so I have options!

Going back to food, the more research I do on all the hidden nasties, the more I realize how difficult it is to make completely healthy food choices. Unhealthy eating isn't all about consciously making bad choices. Everyday I discover something terrible and new; and I was pretty clued up on the subject of foods since my mother is a diabetic, and I know how she needs to eat. Some days I wish I could just set up my own farm or something on a bit of land that is completely 'organic', to be sure that I am eating food that hasn't been pumped with chemicals and hormones. Shame I'm not quite cut out to be a farmer, I guess!

Like I said though, I am not going to go into my new diet and lifestyle on this blog too much after this post. This is still going to be my little space where I share my fashion choices with you. If you're curious about my health, my diet, and general well being, for whatever reason, then it's the other blog you need to go to. My Instagram will be a mix of everything, although right now, it's being taken over by my food! 

Last but not least, please CLICK HERE to view my video for this look, and CLICK HERE (Coming asap) to view Mode Plus's video! Hope you like our looks! 


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