Work Wear: Black, White, Stone

My obsession with Marks and Spencer continues. I know, I know….sorry! But, at there is some label variety in this outfit.

I had a full day meeting at work, so I needed it to look smart whilst being practical and comfortable.

I did consider a dress, but my legs were just too hairy (hehe) and I haven’t bought any stockings this season …yet!

Anyway, so I chose my favourite black pants from Maggie T. I bought them on sale during a recent trip to Bowral, and they have been the perfect addition to my wardrobe, They are 7/8 and ave this beautiful inlay pattern. Simple and elegant.

I matched it with simple long sleeve white top and an AMAZING linen jacket – both from Marks and Spencer. Matched with some black patent kitten heels to add a touch of occasion – PERFECTION.

I love the colours to this outfit, and because it is also practical and classic it will be a regular outfit.

The best part about this outfit, is all sizes can wear it and look polished. Exactly how style should be – for all sizes.

 

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Outfit Details:

Top: Longline T-Shirt With Modal in White, Marks and Spencer

Pants: Lace Jacquard Pant, Maggie T

Jacket: Linen Blend Nehru Collar Jacket in Stone, Marks and Spencer

Shoes: Corey Shoes in Black Patent, Diana Ferrari

 

Guest Post: A Story about Lap Band Surgery

Today, I am featuring my first guest post ever. This alone is very exciting, but the topic is a very serious one. A friend of mine, Ally, underwent lap band surgery to help her lose weight. Most overweight people have thought about this, and I know a couple of people who have undergone the procedure. Some have seen success, others not. 
To be completely frank, I have thought about it. But every time I do, I always come to the same conclusion. No. It’s major surgery and I would prefer to focus on exercise, good food and a healthy appreciation for me as I am. My father always discouraged me from even thinking about surgery for appearances purposes.  Surgery is serious and shouldn’t be something you consider lightly. I would complain about my nose, and he would retort “your nose is fine, you don’t know what a big/disfigured nose really looks like”. However, more commonly I would make jokes about liposuction which were instantly shot down and the jokes were no longer considered jokes but a serious matter to discuss. One day, we did seriously discuss lap band surgery and thankfully I made the decision to not proceed. My instinct always advised me against it and thankfully I listened. On reflection, I am confident that these discussions, and teachings, taught me to be naturally confident. It is probably one of the most important lessons a parent can teach a child.
With that said, I would never judge someone else decision for this type of surgery. I have been in incredibly dark places fuelled by an inability to fit in and I have looked at some pretty radical practices to help me achieve what I thought I wanted to achieve. Some people need to take drastic measures. The point is, whatever is going to help you achieve what you want. For me, I wholeheartedly believe in the beauty of diversity. And now, I understand I am part of that diversity. It’s something to embrace as opposed to reject.
I am still on my journey, I always will be. As will Ally, and most of you too. This snippet is only one part of Ally’s journey. I am so incredibly proud of her for writing the below. I know first hand that releasing very intimate beliefs and experiences about yourself can attract a lot of criticism, and it takes courage and determination to do what Ally has done.
I do need to advise some readers may consider this content as sensitive. I, nor is Ally, endorsing or ill advising people to undergo lap band surgery. If you are considering it, please go speak to you doctors and your loved ones.
Here we go….
“This is my story of a journey with lapband – and while it it wasn’t a successful one, this isn’t a angry bitter (guest) post just my story of how it didn’t work for me. Im 6 years down the track from having a lapband and subsequently revision and removal. My friend, Pip of @aquaintrellelife asked me if I would write about my experiences of the blog – and I was happy to put my story out there.
Ok, deep breath: lets start here….
For those unfamiliar with lapband – or gastric banding – let me Wikipedia that for you. 
“A laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, commonly called a lap-bandA band, or LAGB, is an inflatable silicone device placed around the top portion of the stomach to treat obesity, intended to slow consumption of food and thus the amount of food consumed. 

The inflatable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a smaller stomach pouch. This slows and limits the amount of food that can be consumed at one time, thus giving the opportunity for the sense of satiety to be met with the release of peptide YY (PYY). It does not decrease gastric emptying time. The individual achieves sustained weight loss by choosing healthy food options, limiting food intake and volume, reducing appetite, and progress of food from the top portion of the stomach to the lower portion digestion.[3]

According to the American Society for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery, bariatric surgery is not an easy option for obesity sufferers.[citation needed] It is a drastic step, and carries the usual pain and risks of any major gastrointestinal surgical operation.”

In my opinion, lapband can be a great solution for the right people who have an issue with quantity. I once read a comment on a lapband forum where a lady remarked ‘my stomach was banded – but no one  banded my brain’ – and I will forever remember that comment as a lot of eating issues are psychological and hormonal. I believe it is rarely just physiology.
I have always been a bigger girl, since puberty. I remember my brother and sister teasing me calling me ‘fat gut’ for having a protruding lower abdominal portion – and they were both slim. Up to, and during this point I had competitively danced, played tennis and lead a pretty active childhood. My body started to balloon in a way that was very different to that of my brother and sister. My mum was kind enough to help me try and do something about my changing body shape and took me to a great nutritionist. I can’t remember exactly what I weighed, but I know it was in the 60kg mark and I had no idea what I should be – but I was bigger than I should have been. 
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Five year before surgery: Ally always struggled to lose weight but managed to when she exercised obsessively and calorie counted.
Cut to many years later, 101 kilos – and sometime around 2004 when I was 22 I had spent my life in a gym and weight watchers meetings and got myself down to 73 kilos. The thing was, while I could lose it, I couldn’t keep it off. I wasn’t drinking, going out and spent a fair amount of my time on the inside of the gym. If I wasn’t in the gym, I was thinking about how many points food items were…and how to maximise eating in the points I had so I wasn’t hungry. Weight Watchers was a great education on what foods were low and high calorie, but it was all-consuming for me.
Around the time in 2007, I met a man through work who had gone through loosing at least half, if not more of his body weight – his photos we were documented on his Facebook page so I asked him about his experience. I was looking into lapband and very curious to find anyone who’d had a personal experience. There was a lot in the media about the band being the magic bullet – and I really wanted to dig and research for myself. My friend had told me about his experience with having lapband, he’d shrunk incredibly – and to this day has kept it off.
He’d told me the good and the bad – and had told me of troubles two of his female friends has encountered. His story was balanced and certainly mirrored that of the research I had done. I knew I would have very small portion sizes – and trouble eating some food… and peoples experiences seem to wildly vary. It was generally unanimous that bread and pasta would be out – foods that didn’t bother me too much as I shouldn’t eat wheat. 
I went to my doctor – and honestly, pretty determined to get a referral. I wanted to go to the same surgeon that my friend had been to as he’d had a really positive experience. He was one of the original Melbourne surgeons and was one of the most experienced. He had a plethora of patients commenting in forums, and I had confident that this should be the person doing my surgery. My GP was satisfied that I had done the diet/exercise thing – and sent me with my referral. It took me a while to get an appointment with the surgeon – and I went to his office and waited my 4 hours to be seen. When I was seen, the surgeon went through my history – my issues with weight – could tell I was educated and had done a lot of research on the lapband so he booked me a surgery date.
The surgery was on the 8th of August 2008 – at a private hospital in Melbourne West. I had my boyfriend at the time and my mother (a nurse) there. When I awoke from surgery, I started howling like a injured animal – I was being painfully sick and needed to alert the recovery nurse as soon as possible. I had terrible pain and I knew I was going to be sick. I could feel a lot of pulling – ripping – at my stomach. I was terrified. I was giving a medication to stop the sickness, and woke up a few hours later. The surgeon came to see me – and as I was groggily still waking up – he asked me why I didn’t tell them that  had a small trachea, and that they’d almost had to abort after an hour of trying to get tubes down my throat. He was mad at me – but I couldn’t reply as I was still half asleep. As a side note, my boyfriend had told me at the time that he hadn’t heard anything – but confessed some years later that he heard the ‘animal-like’ yelling and knew something was extremely wrong. How right he was. 
In the recovery phase you go through the ‘liquids’ where you can only have liquid to let healing happen – then into the mushies – where food gets a little more dense but still passes through without too much drama. All of this went as expected, while you’re still learning what you can and cannot do. I started to see my surgeons ‘minions’ and not him, and as they started to fill the band and I was having more and more issues with eating – which does happen – its a learning curve. I started to notice that I couldn’t eat what others (banded) ate – and my food would strangely come back up. I knew something was wrong. 
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At a friends wedding post surgery: At this stage, she had only lost a couple of kilos and wasn’t able to eat anything at the wedding.
I went to my surgeons office a number of times, seeing his staff  – to be told to eat less, eat slower. My family knew I was doing as much as I could of what they told me – even to the point where my Mum was suggesting just to put EVERYTHING through the blender. I knew this wasn’t about living like I was 90. I was loosing weight, but it was fairly minimal. I was throwing up most of my food. I remember thinking that going to see the surgeon was like screaming underwater – you can scream all you like – but no one can hear you.
I was flaunting the rules out of desperation – having foods I knew I shouldn’t be eating (like smoothies) because of their calorie content, but honestly, I was so hungry…. and malnourished due to the lack of diversity. As a strong willed character, I rarely need ‘support’ people to come to medical type things with me, but I started taking my boyfriend of family members because I would get so frustrated telling them that there was something wrong, to only be told the ‘smaller, slower’ stuff again. 
At the one year point, I demanded to see the original surgeon. He immediately agree’d that something was wrong, and that I should have a gastroscopy. The gastroscopy had turned up nothing. Everything looked at it should be. He then did refer me onto a researcher – I will spare you the details – but through some not-so-nice means – they determined that I had a prolapse. It would usually be found on X-rays and gastroscopy – but it wasn’t until they added density to barium that they found the problem. Any ‘dense’ foods would sit and flop over the top of the band… until my body got cranky and forcefully ejected it out.
I was booked into surgery immediately, and the band was replaced. Due to already having one – and what i’ve though of as ‘damage’ a bigger one had to be put in. I started the liquids/mushies again. I should have mentioned earlier, that the band goes it was barely any, or no restricting fluid. It gradually gets filled to a ‘restrictive’ point. As my new band started to be filled – I could feel everything was different. I could eat ‘solid’ foods, but it slow, small quantities. I wanted to put the past behind me and give this thing and really good shot. 
One night I was out to dinner, and i’d ordered the salad. I usually had problem with salad leaves but do love a salad and wanted to keep trying. I ordered a glass of wine, and as I took a sip – I felt a strange ‘burn’. I didn’t know what was wrong, but that something was different. I tried to eat a little of my salad and not a thing was going down. Another sip of wine, more burning. I went home, hungry and worried. I couldn’t get down water. Each time I laid down, I would start to retch. After no sleep and night of retching – I went to Williamstown hospital where I knew staff had been trained to deal with lapband related issues. They found my stomach lining had swelled and that closed everything up. I was weak and tired in just a few hours. 
The same as above happened many more times over the next year as I bounced up and down in fluid in my band – they were trying to find something they call the ‘sweet spot’ but my band wasn’t having it. With restriction came swelling. At one of the incidents when I turned up to the ER – the triage nurse who asked what I was there for asked me flatly – within moments of meeting me – why I was still fat when i’d had the surgery. No one had blatantly said it to my face, but many people were wandering why – after surgery – was I failing? I started to deal with a lot of emotion around why I had failed at this, too, after so many diets.
I got tired of spending my weekends in the ER, waiting hours to see my surgeon or his staff – to go around in the same vicious circle. One of his staff suggested just retaining ‘minor’ restriction as going any higher in fluid caused issues. I was well over it, at about the 2 year mark – and just wanted to forget about it, the failure, the 8 or so newly acquired scars that hadn’t helped me. I asked about getting it taken out, but they said if they could leave it dormant, it was probably just better than going under a general anaesthetic again. 
I left it for 2 or so more years, only occasionally having issues – but when I decided to step my training up – doing a running bootcamp 3 times a week I started to be struck by a sharp pain in my abdomen. I was making excuses to my trainer – about having stomach problems. These sharp pains were stopping me in my tracks while running and working out, and started to occur just when I was walking in normal life. I tried to explaining to him the history of the problems – but he was a young, fit guy who’d been bombarded with excuses probably far too many times – and just looked at my like I was just a fat-girl who was too lazy to train hard. 
In a side note, in this time I had gone to get a second opinion, and I was going to get back on track with trying again… before all of the pain had started. It was with another surgeon – he wanted me to go get a number of tests and life, a house purchase and work took precedence. 
At a friends wedding, a sat opposite a fantastic couple – and during the reception we chatted. The husband had similar issues – and had his band removed. His surgeon had concluded that the band wasn’t the solution everyone had hoped for. He was thoroughly impressed by his surgeons work (his removal ended up being a day surgery) and suggested I get a consult. I found the surgeon to be equally wonderful – went through my history and issues, and concluded that he could take mine out.
I had mine out February 13, 2014. Its been a fairly horrible experience, but in my mind it had a chance of success. My weight is high (im too embarrassed to even say what it is) and I need to do something about it. I continue to cycle to work, play tennis, walk the dog and plan on getting back to my gym routine. Im cautiously considering reductil or some other ‘speed’ like weight loss wonder drug in the vain hope something, one day, will help.
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Living Life: Ally in Central Park NYC
 In the meantime though, I am working on trying to accept myself as I am – and appreciate that i’ve put my body through a lot. I hope my story helps educate anyone considering the surgery.. Good luck.”

Brunching in Autumn

The weather in Sydney at the moment is beautiful. The sun is still shining but it is definitely getting a little bit cooler. So there is no better way to enjoy it than to go out for breakfast/brunch with those you love.

As I hadn’t caught up with my dad for a while we decided to go to The Grounds in Alexandria, however, as my phone died and I got lost we ended up at another favourite of mine, Reuben Hills in Surry Hills.

Laying is key to this type of weather, as is breathable fabrics to help keep you warm when the temperature drops and rises as the day unfolds and the temperature rises.

So, I chose my new favourite pants, the navy jeggings which you would have seen before, and a gorgeous flower print sleeveless top. The pants are fitted so they emphasis my derrière and legs while the top is loose fitting and feminine. I am not a ‘flowery’ person, but this top is the perfect blend of colour, simplicity and elegance.

To keep the cooler weather at bay I added one of my favourite new seaters of the season – a gorgeous tan coloured woollen sweater with a beautiful golden weave throughout it. My dad is not one to notice the details, but while we were sitting some light touched it at the right angle and he noticed the golden weave flickering. He mentioned how lovely it was. Such a compliment is always a winner!

To round it off I added my tan ankle boots. They are well loved and find add the perfect casual, polished look.

I hope you enjoyed Sunday morning as much as I did!

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Outfit Details:

Top: Classic Collar Botanical Print Blouse in Coral Mix, Marks and Spencer

Pants: Plus Super Skinny Perfect Shaper Denim Jeggings in Indigo, Marks and Spencer

Sweater: Boatneck sweater in Tan, Lafayette148ny

Shoes: Ankle boots in Tan, Diana Ferrari

 

Casual and sophisticated: Work Wear

My love affair with Marks and Spencer, and pink continues.

Can you see a theme at the moment? I actually don’t know what has brought on this theme, but I am loving it. I hope you are too….

You might think I calculate what I am going to wear, how I am going to wear it and what I am going to pair it with. Wrong. I look in my cupboard and see what is clean and then match that with how I am feeling. And today, I really wanted to wear a new long sleeve light pink top. I wanted to wear it because it’s not fitted, and (I think) very pretty. Simple and clean. This would look amazing with white pants or shorts, but knew I wanted to pair it with my navy jeggings. I will do a standalone post on jeggings, but trust me when I say these pants are AMAZING. They highlight my best ass-et without being too inappropriate.

I specifically like this top because the fabric is light enough for a variety of seasons but isn’t so light that you can see the bra underneath! I was wearing a beautiful pinky lace bra, but was originally worried everyone will see it through the fabric. Fortunately, you couldn’t see it at all which naturally adds to the sophistication. Visible bras do have a place, but not at work!!

As mentioned before, if I wear something loose, I like to match it with something more fitted. All items too tight, or too baggy doesn’t do my figure any favours. And remember, it’s about making the most of what you’ve got!

So far, it’s a comfortable outfit. But, I’ve been feeling quite softly feminine so I instantly knew my beige heels, and pink jacket would match, and finish off, the rest of my outfit.

I put it on, and was digging it. I felt great which is the most important thing! And it’s such a simple outfit.

Over recent months, I have been focused on rounding off an outfit with a jacket. I find it looks a lot more polished and also keeps me warm while travelling to and from work.

But, I typically don’t continue to wear my jacket while inside, so I chose my new cream coloured jumper with a fabulous coloured paisley print on the front. It added a bit of excitement to a very basic (but lovely) colour scheme.

So, below is a range of selfies – I hope you like it!!

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Outfit Details:

Top: Long Sleeve Boho Blouse in Blush, Marks and Spencer

Pants: Plus Super Skinny Perfect Shaper Denim Jeggings in Indigo, Marks and Spencer

Jacket: Plus Insert Collar Open Front Jacket in Nude Pink, Marks and Spencer

Jumper: Paisley Print Jumper in Oatmeal Mix, Marks and Spencer

Shoes: Beige pumps, Target

 

For the love of pink pants

Not many plus size women like to wear colour. They don’t like to me noticed. I am the opposite. I love colour, and I love to be noticed.

With the weather cooling, many people start to bring out the dark colours – black, navy, grey etc. I am one of those, but I don’t limit myself. Why would I when colour is FUN!!!

So, when I was trawling through the Marks and Spencer website, (because I am literally obsessed with M&S at the moment) I originally noticed the chinos featured in this post. But, not only did they have the navy, they had them in HOT PINK!! Interestingly, several of my non plus size followers saw them on Facebook (A Quaintrelle Life Blog)  and Instagram (@aquaintrellelife) and went gaga for them….and rightly so.

in addition to my gorgeous pink chinos, I paired it with a fantastic white linen shirt featuring a pink print. See a pattern? Despite hating pink as a little girl, I love it now.

As the pants are intense, I normally wouldn’t pair it with anything too crazy but the pattern on the shirt isn’t too loud so they pair nicely. As I wore some pink weaved ballet flats, I wanted to cut up the pinkness of the outfit with a new blue and white scarf. Even though the patterns on the shirt and scarf are different, it works really nicely. In the office, this keeps me warm. However, to and from the office I wear my favourite black trench – also from Marks and Spencer. This entire outfit is from M&S.

Not only is the clothing comfortable, but it looks good and stands out from the grey around us!!

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Being silly at work

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Night time selfie!

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Awkwardly trying to show you the cool belt which comes with the chinos

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Just chilling at home with my beautiful flowers

 

Outfit Details:

Top: Pure linen geometric shirt in mixed pink, Marks and Spencer

Pants: Roma rise chino straight leg trouser in hot pink, Marks and Spencer

Scarf: http: Modal blend light weight lace and butterfly print, Marks and Spencer

Jacket: Black trench, Marks and Spencer

Shoes: Coloured weave flats, Diana Ferrari

Bag: Navy and Green reversible bag, Marcs 

 

 

 

An obsession with Marks and Spencer

I do have some favourite brands – many of which you know about: Saks, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Jones New York, Lafayette148ny and the list does keep on going.

However, a few weeks ago I was randomly googling other plus size options. I was a bit bored with what was available and I needed some classics. To date, I had really only had success with US based retailers and brands. Apart from a couple of designers, I didn’t have success with UK retailers. Until now….

I was looking at Marks and Spencer and noticed they had a plus size range. I originally bought a few items from it but as UK sizing is different to US sizing I was shooting in the barrel a bit.

Surprisingly, most of the clothes I bought were too big. For tops and jackets I am normally range form a US 18 to a US 22. Thinking the sizing was two bigger, I bought a size UK 26 jacket. It is a tad big but I wear it ALL the time. In fact, I haven’t worn a jacket so many times, in such a short period of time, for a very long time.

I also bought some boyfriend jeans in a size UK 28 and they were literally falling off me. I later bought them in a size 26 (also too big), and now I have settled on a size 24 in some excellent navy chinos. I may have bought those in pink too….

Another favourite is a black trench which I have posted photos of here. Again, the quality is good, especially for the price point.

But, what I found most impressive, was clothing unto 24 wasn’t restricted to the plus size section which goes up to a size 28. Some items only go up to 16, others 18, 20, 22 and 24. The vast majority of the clothes I have purchased (of which there are many!!!) are not form the selection of clothes in the plus size section. Frankly, that’s how it should be. Available for women – not petite, ‘normal’ or plus size, but WOMEN.

I have many outfit posts coming up and most of these are from M&S, so watch this space!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect work outfit

Today, I wore an outfit I LOVE.

In Sydney it is starting to cool down and I wanted to wear something which was comfortable but still looked professional. I work in PR so I don’t need to wear a suit each day, which allows me to be a little more creative.

I chose very basic colours – black, white and pink. But, you know I like to keep it simple.

So, I chose my favourite black 7/8 pants, white ballet top, pink scarf with horses all over it, black and white ballet flats and my black trench coat.

Outfits like this make me feel very feminine. But, it also proves that plus size women can dress well!!!

This is definitely one of my favourites, but I would love to know what you think!

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Outfit Details: 

Top: White ballet faux wrap, Maggie T

Pants: Black 7/8 pants, Maggie T

Shoes: Black and white weave ballet flats, Diana Ferrari

Scarf: Pink horse scarf (not sure where it was purchased from, it was a present!)

Jacket: Black trench, Marks and Spencer

Bag: Navy and Green reversible bag, Marcs