SimplyBe Lingerie Review

I’ve written several times about my search for a well fitting bra and just how important good underwear is to me. When you wear the kind of sizes I do, you simply cannot do otherwise! So when SimplyBe asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing some of their lingerie I jumped at the chance. Just not too high and not without support, lest I give myself a black eye ūüėČ !

I’ve used SimplyBe many times over the years. They are a wonderful resource for all sorts of plus size wear. For example I’ve bought everything from swimwear to dresses to (wonderful wide fit) shoes from them. But for some reason I’ve never bought underwear from them. I don’t really know why, when they stock bras in back sizes 28-56 and cup sizes A-L. I guess I’ve been buying my bras from specialist retailers for so long now (gone are the days when M&S can help me any more!) that it just never occurred to me to get them online instead.

I was intrigued.

I was fitted by a specialist store not that long ago, meaning I was pretty sure of my size, but wary. As with all clothes just because a size fits in one style/make, doesn’t mean it’ll fit across the board. And unlike jeans, an ill fitting bra can be a serious detriment to your health! Despite being able to exchange the bras free of charge if they didn’t fit, I proceeded with caution.

I was actually really surprised at the range of lingerie brands SimplyBe carries. And also really pleased that, unlike some specialist store bras, these didn’t seem astronomical in price. I chose two very different brands and styles to try.

Elomi

The first brand I tried was Elomi. Funnily enough I’ve come across this brand before. My wedding basque was by Elomi and was absolutely beautiful. As it happened I couldn’t wear it on the big day as my dress was cut too low, but I did wear it many times under strapless dresses and loved how supportive it was. I’ve also worn bras from Elomi’s sister companies Fantastie and Freya, so couldn’t wait to try something from their range.

I decided to go for a very functional, every day, full coverage bra from Elomi in my current size. And I can honestly say I have never worn a more comfortable bra in my life! Even the ones I already had, in the same size and had been fitted professionally don’t feel as comfortable as this bad boy!

Don’t¬†get me wrong it’s not the prettiest thing to look at (there is a whiff of military grade issue about it ūüėā) but if you’re like me and need loooots of support in this arena, you’d have to go a long way to find anything more comfortable. And I love the shape it gives me. Somehow it accentuates my waist, giving me a rather curvy, 50s vibe. And it really does look smooth under my Surrey Mummy uniform of striped Breton top!

Curvy Kate

The second bra I chose was from Curvy Kate, a brand I’d never tried before. A balcony style, in a sheer fabric, it was much prettier than the Elomi, but still the kind of thing I’d wear every day. The style also means it’s much better for low cut tops.

I have to say, compared to the Elomi bra, this wasn’t as comfortable. I mean it wasn’t uncomfortable per se, but I definitely had to adjust it more during the day and was very ready to take it off come the evening (other larger busted ladies will totally know what I mean here!)

But it was much prettier and still gave me a great shape.

I also loved the advice from CoppaFeel, the charity dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer in younger women, in the label. What better way to get that message across?

Thoughts

I have to admit I wasn’t convinced buying bras online would be for me. A professionally fitted bra is, in my opinion, one of life’s essentials. But I have to say, if you are pretty sure of your size, particularly those of you, like me, with a larger back and/or cup sizes, then I would highly recommend checking out the SimplyBe lingerie department. While they have a great range of affordable bras, they also stock all kinds of underwear, sleepwear and swimwear.

I know I’ll be revisiting for more Elomi bras. And who knows, I may even treat myself to matching knickers*

 

 

 

*yeah, I probably wont. What mama has time to match her underwear in the mornings??

 

Thank you so much to SimplyBe for gifting me these items for the purpose of this review.

I was not paid to write this post and as always all opinions are my own.

 

The time has come…..

I’m a sociable person (and by sociable I don’t mean a drinker I promise!). Some people find energy and focus in solitude. And I find mine in other people. I need other people. I guess I’ve always known that on some level, but it’s only recently occurred to me just how much. I’m guessing it might explain why being at home alone without Oscar has been so ridiculously hard for me. And may be why I seem to write better, more from the heart, when I’m with or have been with other people.

Admitting the truth of my needs has been longer coming than you might think. I seriously can’t remember how things were before Oscar came along, but I know since then, my needs have been totally subsumed. By him, by Autism, by getting through today, by planning for tomorrow. I don’t think that’s unusual. Parents, and particularly mothers, are often consumed by their children. Thing is, I didn’t think I would ever lose myself inside motherhood, but I have.

So admitting I have a NEED for human interaction; that a lack of it was depleting my reserves was something of a really important epiphany. And it made me look at areas of my life I hadn’t considered before. The size of our house has always bothered me. We bought it, a two bedroom cottage, before we knew Oscar was on the way. We bought it thinking we had a decent size spare room and with thoughts of extending the ground floor. The spare room became a nursery within a year and the extension turned out to be more expensive (due to lack of access) than it was worth.

I could never understand why this bothered me so much. We have a wonderful garden and yes the house needs a bit of tlc (what period property doesnt?) but it does have charm. So I started to look objectively. To ask why having no spare room sat so heavy in my heart. Why having nowhere for a dining table made me so sad. I’m not a materialistic person. Yes I love the odd new gadget here and there, but I don’t measure my life’s worth by the ‘things’ we have. So I asked what would I do with all this extra room, what would it mean to me, to our life, to MY life? And the answers astonished me.

I want a spare room so friends and family can come and stay with us. I want a dining area so friends can come to dinner. I want a larger lounge so we can seat more visitors. Every reason I had for wanting more space was not about me. It was about other people. And then I realised it wasn’t about other people at all. It was speaking to my need to have other people in my life.

The house we have might fulfil our basic need for shelter and security, but I’ve come to realise our beautiful house no longer meets MY needs, on a very fundamental level.

And that’s quite a sad realisation. This was the first house we ever bought. It was Oscar’s first ever home. And it’s hard to accept you no longer fit into a large part of your life. Or more specifically a large part of your life doesn’t fit YOU anymore. It will always hold a very very special place in our family history. The memories we’ve created here will always be with us.

But the time has come.

Even though it means having to deal with estate agents and legal processes and finance and all things that are liable to send my anxiety levels sky high. Even despite all that it entails.

The time has come to move.

I’ll let you know how it goes…..

Time to move on….

Thai Cookery Lessons with Thaikhun Guildford

January. Christmas is over and the weather is dull. And cold. So flipping cold. And what better way to warm up a cold, miserable day, than with some warm, soul comforting food. I’ve spoken¬†on the blog before about the restaurant chain Thaikhun and when they asked me to come along and sample their new Thai cookery lesson at the Guildford branch I leapt at the chance. I couldn’t think of a nicer way to banish the winter blues.

We arrived to a delicious Mocktail and a bowl of spicy prawn crackers, while Map, our host, explained the structure of the evening. We would be watching the chef cook a two course menu, before having a go at preparing the same ourselves. All ingredients, equipment and aprons were provided and the chef was set up at a station away from the kitchen so we could all crowd round to watch.

This was fascinating, however I would mention that this course involved a lot of standing and watching. If you go, don’t do what I did and wear heels! Comfy shoes all the way!

Thai Vegetable Spring Rolls

The first course he, and then we, prepared was Thai Vegetable Spring Rolls. I love spring rolls and had no idea they were so simple to prepare! We shredded and cooked the filling, then wrapped the rolls and deep fried them. It was so obvious and the preparation so straightforward, but I would never have considered making them at home had someone not shown me how to do it!

Skills! Plus, I want a knife like this!

Watching the prep of the filling. Frenetic!

The cooking area was set up with four burners and prep stations. This was based on eight participants (the most the classes usually take), with two to a burner. This would make it a really fun activity for couples or a couple of friends to do. Unfortunately on the night I went I was the only lone participant in a group of nine. This was OK to begin with though as some other friendly bloggers let me muscle in on their rolls!

Then it was our turn!

Deep Fried!

Once the spring rolls were cooked, we sat to eat them, while the ingredients for the main course were prepared. It was lovely to sit and chat with the others in my group while we ate and it really broke the ice that we’d all just cooked the same thing for the first time!

I cooked those!!!

Thai Green Chicken Curry

The main course was Thai Green Chicken Curry, a real favourite of mine!¬†The chef explained the preparation of a real curry paste. However, due to time constraints (making a real paste from scratch, with a pestle and mortar, can take hours apparently) he was choosing to use a bought one. I was a little disappointed¬†at¬†this. I mean the paste was wonderful and gave a fantastic flavour, but it would have been fabulous¬†to see, and use, a¬†real homemade paste. Even a ” here’s one I made earlier” one.

Chef explaining the process of producing green curry paste and prepping the vegetables.

When it came to cooking the curry, the head chef took over. It was so interesting and fun to watch him work!

Then it was our turn. However, I didn’t feel as comfortable muscling in on another couple’s curry so I just watched.

A green curry paste and coconut milk base

It was a shame I didn’t feel like I could get involved, However Thaikhun were most apologetic and have suggested I go back another time to get the full experience and I’d love that!

As I hadn’t helped cook anything I didn’t feel I could ask to eat it either. So, rather cleverly I thought, I asked if the bowl¬†of curry the Head Chef’ had cooked was still around. And it was. I may not have got to cook it, but I did get to eat bowl of Head Chef prepared curry to make up for it. And boy did it! We all sat back down¬†together and were given bowls of rice to go with our curry. Delicious!

Thai Green Chicken Curry

All gone!

At the end of the meal we were given the opportunity to ask any more questions and given, what I thought, was a really thoughtful¬†gift bag, complete with a bottle of Fish Sauce, Palm Sugar and Coconut Milk, along with some vouchers for money off in the restaurant and printed recipes for the dishes we’d prepared. Lovely!

Thoughts

It really was a shame I wasn’t able to get involved in the cooking of the curry. Asking more than two to share a burner is never going to work, even if they were all friends. But as long as the numbers attending the course were kept low, this would be such a fun thing to do.

The restaurant have been these running cookery lessons for a while now. However, the Guildford branch is starting to host theirs from February 2017. They will be running them from 11am-1pm on the 2nd Sunday of every month. The cost is £50 per person and includes everything you could need, including ingredients, expertise and a full meal at the end of it. You can book the course on their website.

The course was so much fun and I learned a lot about Thai flavours. So much so in fact¬†that I’ve been totally inspired and have cooked the spring rolls and curry at home already. The rolls were so good. I may have to knock some up tonight as it goes.

Anyone want to come to dinner?

 

 

Thank you to Mapp and everyone at Thaikhun for a lovely evening.

I was invited to the course as a guest, however I was not paid to write this review. As always opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Signed L J Willson

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise¬†that I took to blogging. That I’ve been able to record both events and emotions with such clarity for three and half years. You see I’ve had plenty of experience. As a teen I was a diary writer. Or a journal keeper, which ever you prefer. And I don’t just mean”5.30pm, drs appt“, or “17th May – Great day“. I’m talking pages and pages and pages of detailed (although thank god it’s not as detailed as it could be. Some details are best left in my mind!!!) accounts of the day, coupled with the emotional turmoil of this girl’s (and her buddies) teenage years! And I know I wrote like that because I still have the diaries. Every one of them.

I have read and reread them over the years. It’s fun. It reminds me of times when things were very different (many of the entries involve missed phone calls to the landline.¬†Ahhh the days before mobiles!). My favourites¬†books are the ones from 1995-1996. I was 17. I was single. I assume school was going OK, it tends to only get a cursory mention! I tend to talk about my friends, my relationships with them and what we got up to. Oh and boys. Or should I say men. As a 17 year old, I didn’t date anyone from school. I had some very close male friends in school, but really, my romantic sights were firmly set on those older than myself.

For years I would never have dreamt of sharing these diaries with anyone from school, but recently I’m feeling old enough and strong enough and far enough away to no longer give a shit. Is that maturity? Holy crap does that mean I’ve grown up? Possibly. Now instead of reading them with wistful rose tinted specs on, they make me giggle. That young girl, I know she’s me, but really some of the things she says!! Instead of dying at the thought of anyone reading them now, I can imagine getting my crew from school round and reading them aloud, while drinking wine and having a good old remember and a good old giggle.

Except for one bit. One story line. For the first time ever, in all the times I’ve read it, I’m only just seeing it for what it was. And it’s making me furious.

There is a very clear theme in my journals. I was pretty desperate for a boyfriend. I don’t think that’s unusual at 17. And I never thought there was any more to it until reading the diary recently, and realising, what I was desperate for was actually someone to care about me. Someone to take care of me. To love me. And I was convinced this wouldn’t happen for me. Actually, I think I was petrified this wouldn’t happen for me. And yes before you ask, my parents are divorced. Sheesh my therapist would be having a field day with this!

Anyway that makes me sad. Sad in a “ahhh honey, hang on in there, you are worthy”. And in a “girl you are so much more¬†than you realise, a boy isn’t going make you the person you think you should be” way. But it doesn’t make me angry. No, the thing that makes me furious, for the first time ever, is my 17 year old self’s relationship with…. lets call him Nathan. Because that’s his name.

I met Nathan in a local pub. He was nearly 10 years older than me and over the course of a few weeks¬†I became obsessed. Yeah he was pretty, he had his own car and he was much older than me (and therefore exotic), but I’d had other crushes like that. No, this was more than a crush, Nathan blew my mind. And I never really knew why. Until I re read my diary recently. Nathan was very charming. And an accomplished liar. And very good at keeping people exactly where he wanted them. He was in Sales after all. He knew how to manipulate me. And it’s taken a much more mature pair of eyes to look back on that and realise what was going on. I was head over heels for him and he knew I was. He said things and did things that gave me hope. Hope for something real. He gave me his carphone (remember this was 1996 people!) number and insisted I call whenever I wanted to. He would call me at home and sometimes come over “after squash”. We had numerous serious conversations about how nothing could come of the relationship, then he’d kiss me and insist we still saw each other.

You see, as I later found out¬†he was married, something he very conveniently (purposely) forgot to tell me when we met (I only actually found out months¬†into the madness when a friend saw his cheque book). I knew there was someone in his life, because he’d told me he was living with someone and they were breaking up. And that to me was hope. There’s that hope again. Not quite, but not not.

It was all bullshit, from the start. I see that now. But the thing that makes me angry is not that I fell for it, or that I let him manipulate me. It’s not even that no one stopped it, I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. It’s that he did it at all. I was fucking 17, you prick. What the hell were you thinking? Every entry I read about things you did or said make me want to slap you. How dare you take advantage of this beautiful girl whose only mistake was to be so desperate for love, that she let you dangle her like cat toy. That and taking 20 years to realise what the fuck went on.

I’m not sure why he did it. I’m guessing the adoration of a beautiful young girl is a huuuuuge ego boost. Maybe he was so lacking in self confidence that having a plaything like me was the way to make him feel like a big man. Who knows. I do know I was used. I also know, through the local grapevine, that his marriage didn’t last. And that doesn’t surprise me.

I still have hope. Hope that he didn’t do the same, or worse, to anyone else.

And hope that he’s ashamed of what he did.

Are you ashamed Nathan?

Because you should be.

 

Halfords Black Friday Giveaway

Oscar’s Autism meant that he didn’t start using language in any meaningful way until he was 3 and a half. And yet every day since then it seems like he learns another word, grasps another concept, answers another question. For me it’s thrilling. Only last night did he described his book case as a “library”! Asking for things has also been slow to arrive. We focused for the longest time on getting him to express his needs, which he still sometimes struggles with to be honest. So you can imagine, asking for things he wants, verbally, hasn’t been high up on his agenda. Until recently. Suddenly he can tell me when he’s hungry and two weeks ago he told me he wanted a bike. And when your child, who has only just (at four and a half) learnt to sit for long enough in order to learn to pedal, asks you, with words, for a bike, you start looking for a bike. Believe me.

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll have seen I asked my lovely readers where they’d recommend when looking for a first bike, particularly one that was good quality but also value for money. The answer from almost everyone who joined the discussion was Halfords. To be honest I’d completely forgotten Halfords did bikes but I had so many recommendations for them, I couldn’t not check them out online. I had no idea how much a child’s bike cost. Looking around the internet it would appear you can happily pay whatever you like. Bikes are one of those things I think. So I was pleasantly surprised to find the ones at Halfords weren’t crazy expensive.

162994

Now I don’t know about you, but I love a bargain. I’m the kind of person that takes great pride in finding something I want in the sale. However, I’ve never really got involved with the whole Black Friday thing. The images of people trampling each other to get a cheap telly always left me cold. There’s no bargain on Earth worth that kind of behaviour. But then¬†I saw that, this year, Halfords are having an online Black Friday sale on 25th November. Not a trampling in sight. They are discounting things every day until the main event on 25th and I’m keeping my eyes on the site but I think I’m going to wait for the biggie, the main event on 25th, to be in with a chance of a really decent discount.

Now I love a bargain, but what’s a bigger bargain than free? Alongside their Black Friday discounts Halfords are also running a Black Friday Giveaway. You can enter any time up until 22nd November to be in with a chance of winning one of three prizes of either ¬£2000, ¬£1000 or ¬£500 worth of Halfords goods. That’s a lot of Christmas pressies right there! I’ve put a link to the Halfords Black Friday Giveaway page in the image below.

black-friday-2016

I’ve entered. And you’ve got until 22nd to do the same! Good luck!

Right, back to looking at bikes. I only hope Oscar doesn’t ask for anything more expensive. Like his own private jet or a Ferrari. If he asked me with words, I’d probably get it for him!

 

This is a collaborative post.