PCOS, hormones and excessive facial hair

This post isn’t my most glamorous….

But for so many women around the world, including myself, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has many, many unglamorous downsides – including excessive facial hair.

I know my PCOS is going crazy when my facial hair starts to grow very quickly. It’s typically in the same spots; just under my chin and the sides of my face. I pluck, and wax, but within a couple of days the hair is back; and it’s angry. Even though it can be a lot worse it does make me uncomfortable and at times self conscious.

After many conversations with a friend of mine about hair removal for women with hormone imbalances, I decided to give electrolysis a go. Thankfully for me, she has been my (and our!) guinea pig. She has plucked, waxed, done laser and electrolysis; for her, the only treatment which stopped the areas affected by hormones was due to electrolysis. However, it is painful and expensive.

Thankfully my friend researches everything to an inch of its life and has recommended the Advanced Electrolysis Centre in Sydney.

I called to see when the next available appointment was and as I have luck on my side, they had a cancellation and I am going to visit them today. The next available appointment is in three weeks!

I will let you know how I go…..

A Tale of Online Dating: An Ongoing Situation

Dating has never been mentioned on this blog before. But, at the moment it’s a big part of my life, and this blog is about my life. So here goes.

In April this year I decided to join the world of online dating. I have been on it before, many years ago – several of my relationships have been from the online world.

This time, I joined because I wanted to add some further depth to my life. I have an amazing circle of loyal friends, I have a career but I also wanted to meet more men. Casual fun? Dating? Romance? To find the love of my life? Honestly, I didn’t know what I was after – most likely a mix of all the above. Lets just throw myself in and see what happens.

I started on eHarmony, where I met a fabulous guy who I was completely enamoured with. Charming, intelligent, successful. Out of respect for him, I won’t go into any details but needless to say it didn’t work out. Thankfully, he remains in my life albeit in a very small way.

Now, I am working Oasis. After being on it for a few short days/weeks I thought it was a site for booty calls. Essentially you review peoples profiles, you like them (or not), and if you’re connected, you start chatting!

I. Chat. A lot.

Luckily for me I’ve had some amazing dates from it. Interesting people, interesting conversation. I’ve learnt a lot about the process, communication, men and myself.

I’ve also come to the realisation I’ve never really dated before. I’ve been in relationships, sure. But not done the dating rounds and far out it is a hard gig. The world certainly does have some interesting characters in it! But other than that it’s relentless. I am sure there are many of you who understand what I am talking about….

But, the more I do it, the more I realise how much I don’t know. it has given me a better understanding of what I do want from life and a partner. And more importantly what I need. What does a healthy relationship look like for me? What makes me happy? What’s negotiable in a partner? And what’s not? What annoys me? The answers are not always what I originally thought.

I’ve also learnt the importance of hedging ones bets. Is this wrong? I find that when I like someone, I need to all of a sudden have a full pipeline of men to chat with and date – just in case in goes pear shaped.

Who knows if any of these suitors will work out but the only thing I can do is try to be open, honest and hope I meet that special someone. And if not, at least have a damn good time!

If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations about dating (or dates!!!) please drop me a line! I am more than willing to hear it.

From The Vault: Feeling good

As I am on an extended phone call with Optus about some billing and technical issues, I was looking through my drafts folder trying to find another post I started yesterday. I found the below blog post, which has never seen the light of day! It reminded me of how powerful I felt at the time – I felt I could take on anything! But, we all know nothing in life lasts forever; naturally this is both good and bad. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading it, and reminiscing, as much as I did!

“As I embarked on the Sydney Skinny swim, I never imagined that I would be sitting here feeling healthy as I do.

I have been pushed by Vision Personal Training Mosman which has seen me drop a dress size and feel so much stronger and fitter. But, I have also had some great help from Blackmores who helped make sure I get the right vitamins and minerals into my body for general good health.

About a month ago, I visited the Blackmores HQ and met with naturopath Kate. Firstly, what a gorgeous girl! She spent time with me going over my eating, exercise and general lifestyle choices. As a result, she recommended a variety of  vitamins and minerals which would help me be the best I can be during my swim.

Despite being a sceptic about pills and potions, I stuck to the plan given to me and am now at a stage where I am confidently going into the swim from a health and well being perspective.

One of my concerns, was a cough I developed after a 24 hour plane ride from NYC in November last year. After using it as per the instructions, the cough disappeared completely within 5 days! I don’t believe in miracles, but…..

So, here is a list of the products Kate, and Blackmores kindly gave me so that I am in best possible shape for the Sydney Skinny.

Alive! Women’s Multivitamin contains vitamin D, selenium and vitamin C to help support immunity and keep you well in the lead up to your swim, and B vitamins for energy.

Kaloba® to help you get over the last of your cough

CoQ10 antioxidant support for your training and helps to support energy production

Magnesium Powder magnesium supports muscle health, relieves tired and sore muscles, cramps and spasms. It’s also another energy nutrient.

Skin Support contains herbs and nutrients to support healthy, clear skin.”

How To Be Truly Elegant ?

This is certainly not my field of expertise. Even though I didn’t highlight it in my previous post about my 2015 resolutions, becoming more elegant is something I always aspire to. Clothing regularly comes up in this discussion and through this blog, I wanted to show that plus size women do not need to choose the trashy, fast fashion clothing Australian retailers make for bigger women. Thankfully, there are some extra choices on the market, but we still have a long way to go. Many have previously told me that elegance is not specifically what you wear, but rather it’s an attitude – a way of life. As I continue to seek brands I can refer to for great quality fabrics, well cut clothing and well fitting outfits, I do regularly source extra learnings on how to improve the overall package. By nature, I am more of a rough diamond than a polished pearl, but that doesn’t mean I cannot aim to be better. If this is a topic that interests you, here is an article from Vogue.com.au, that I think you will appreciate. It is a generalist article, but a good starting point. I would like to do another blog post on this in the coming weeks.

My new, and old, hero

The last few weeks have been an absolute roller coaster. Some amazing opportunities have come my way (after a lot of determination and persistence!!) and something that has completely shaken me to the core. So much so it has forced me to question my personal identity. Unfortunately, this hurdle is also life changing. It’ so new, and so raw that even my closest friends will be reading this, and thinking ‘what the fuck…’. It will remain that way too.

But, tonight, I felt hope. The type of hope that doesn’t come from someone saying ‘it will be ok’. I watched a beautiful piece about Chrissie Swan on A Current Affair. Not a show I would typically watch, but this I wanted to see. It was her being open and honest about who she is. Choices she regrets and choices which changed her life for the better.

What shocked and amazed me was how closely my thoughts aligned with hers. We are both confident, fat women. We both have dreams, we are both motivated by fun and we both stare directly into the eyes of our haters and failure. We are both opportunists and love life. We both give it a go. We both live with openness and love. And there is no question that we both believe the size of our asses just doesn’t matter.

I’m not a religious person, but I do believe things happen for a reason. I believe I was meant to watch her tonight. I needed it to remind me who I am and what’s important to me. I’ve had a week of questioning myself and that’s enough in it’s current format. It is time to realign myself with what matters to me -persistence, hope, dreams, honesty and action.

I put on Facebook that Chrissie Swan is my new hero. But, I agreed with so much of what she said. She reminded me, of me. Isn’t the thought that my new hero reminds me of me, intriguing? I certainly thought so because it dawned on me that maybe that’s how I see myself.  She is my new hero. But, I have always been my own hero. To realise that is pretty powerful. A friend responded with “I would say that is because you are not aiming to be anyone other than yourself. That’s a wonderful thing.” What a shockingly stunning truth.

 

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!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customer service is still in vogue: Lafayette148 New York

Yesterday, I had the most phenomenal customer service experience which has blown me away. And, I am so pleased it was with one of my favourite brands Lafayette148 New York.

I ordered three items from the Lafayette 148 New York website last week but had some issues placing the order because I am based in Australia. Being an avid US shopper I knew to engage with the customer service team to help me process the order. The engagement was seamless and easy (as I would expect) but by the time we were ready to process the transaction the pants and jacket I ordered were no longer available! I was shattered. The jacket is a gorgeous caramel cotton twill double breasted jacket (below) which would be perfect in my wardrobe. It’s classic, stylish and practical. I cancelled the rest of my order because the hero item in my order was the jacket. I wrote to the customer service team and asked how this can be avoided in the future because I had my eye on the jacket for 3 months – I was even willing to buy it a size too small!!!

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What came next blew me away. The customer service team proactively asked whomever behind the scenes whether they could get the jacket and the pants MADE SPECIFICALLY FOR ME. There was material for the pants, but unfortunately none for the jacket. I am still upset the jacket isn’t in my wardrobe, but the pants (and a sweater) will be in three weeks time! And, they are only charging me the clearance price.

In a period where customer service is rubbish, I have been blown away by this response. The fact this person even had the motivation to ask the question is phenominal. I am not a major department store buyer. I am not even a customer who buys the entire range at full price. I have 10 + items (which I LOVE) but bought most in sales. And this is how Lafayette 148 NY treats its customers.

I have praised Lafayette 148 NY for over a year due to it’s stylish clothing for bigger women. The quality is always second to none and the material is to die for. The clothing is sophisticated, classic, feminine and stylish. I feel like a woman in their clothing and unfortuantely one of only a handful of brands which make high end clothing for bigger women.

With that said, I still encourage them to broaden its range for plus size women, particularly those who are young professionals and want clothing which is classic and elegant but also modern and funky. The petite and standard range still has a lot more variety – many items I would love to get my hands on (specifically talking about the cashmere range – AMAZING!!).

Lafayette 148 New York, thank you for understanding your customers and knowing how to dress women of all shapes and sizes. You have turned an already loyal customer into an advocate of the brand.