Monday, 5 December 2016

Big bodies deserve beautiful clothes

Big bodies deserve beautiful clothes.

For the past 4 years my body size has been increasing. As I grow older , and as a single parent my biggest gift to myself is delicious food. Being that I am a mother as well I need to be nurtured, so let's make sure it's tasty I say.

Having said that my love of handmade chocolates and wonderful cakes has seen my body grow in ways that once upon a time I would have been horrified by. These days the biggest disadvantage is sweating in a sub tropical climate and not having decent clothing options.

Now I know for a FACT that the majority of women on the planet are a size 14 and above. Magazines and advertising would like you to think otherwise and we as women (and many men too now) agonise about not being of the right size and shape. Now  I might be over weight , but seriously I have blogs to write , hats to make and a house to keep and right now I have lost my mojo on the exercising regime I used to have. I have onset early menopause- that's a whole other blog , but I will tell you now, energy levels and food cravings rage like a constantly hormonal teenager or pregnant woman. 

Now I might be subtropical but I do not live alone in the jungle or in an ancient tribe-therefore I need clothes like everyone else does. Hhhmm here lies the problem. I might have aged but my desire for nice/fashianble/gothic/interesting clothing has not waned. Up until recently I would have to dress like some one 30 years older than me , and I do not feel like embracing nanacore just yet. So where to go  , what to do if you do not wish to dress in unintersting clothes?

Now is you shop around you can find great clothes in independent shops in Lismore NSW Australia I came across 3 different shops that stocked up to a size 22. So it is always good to look around. Depending on your mood you might like to look in a store and when they start to treat you like a second class citizen , if you area cashed up babe , let them know you can take your money elsewhere and it is there loss. But for a purely positive experience....

Here's my tip. You can either get clothes custom made- difficult and often extremely expensive, or depending on taste you can shop at or .

Let's get into some details...Taking Shape (TS)  boutiques exist around the east coast of Australia. The range is quite diverse and these days more and more variety is available. I have a dislike for synthetic fabrics , they just make me sweat , as often I sound like my mother- but I do not cringe at this I realise the wisdom .
 TS has some wonderful cotton and linen in range now . Today I decided I could not wear the same two dresses or the 1 pair of shorts I bought from them 2 years ago that are starting to wear out. So I was delighted to have fun and helpful women to show me the range of tops, shorts and dresses. They even had my new fav bather top that looks like a wetsuit with the zip up the middle. Shoes and jewellery are there and they will look after you. The clothes are varied in price but the quality and style is great. If you get the right time you can pick things up for unto 60% off and like most retail they have their 40% or more sales.

The second link is for Atomic Cherry. If you like vintage 50's style this is an amazing online store with size charts so you can measure and work out the size you need. I did find a shop in Melbourne Swanson st that stocked Hell Bunny dresses that go up to  4XXXL and they are made of cotton. This was great to try things on and then be able to purchase online later on . In store they are more expensive and my online experience was I could get dresses up to 1/3 of the price . They also have skirts and tops, cardigan , bras and bikini's .

Now if I was able to sew I would get into designing clothes for us plus size ladies. We deserve after all to dress with our full IAGBAM going on . There are some answers for us here in Australia with class and style .

In America you can get super funky clothes from Tess Holiday She is taking it to a level I really like.

I am frustrated that to this day we who are the majority are treated like a diseased minority and the labels should stop projecting false realities and also would make more money if they actually produced clothes so that bigger women do not have to walk around in "fat jeans" and "shitty large t-shirts' 
 The other BIG issue that I wish to bring up is judgement about body shape. While shop[ing as TS I saw women who were and even said "hating "their bodies, different bits . he worst part was when a women said her daughter had told her she was too fat . That nearly broke my heart. I am so blessed that my 9 yr old tells that he doesn't want me to lose weight as he loves me how I am !! If only the rest of the world could be like that for everybody then perhaps it would be so easy to feel IAGBAM .

Ladies honour yourselves ,fellas sorry I can't help you as I don't know of the mens store equivalent - there will be some . 

Here's to a comfortable , stylish and even sexy future


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Travelling Single mum style Part 2

Every step on the planet I find wonderful. I have my eyes open , and every detail fascinates or excites me. I love it, and taking my son on this holiday I have to say I had expectations. Even tho I tell people all the time not to have any so as not to be disappointed . Still ,  I had expectations, more of what I thought my son would get out of the holiday , how he would react and what would happen etc.

Parenting tip 101- your child is their own unique being , even tho we try to make them like us whether we do it consciously or not.

My son has no real interest staring out the plane window. There are somethings that the digital age have now made not that interesting anymore. Instead of wanting to look out the window he can't wait to get the gaming system or the movies up ...sigh , expectation bubble popped. The wonder of flying thousands of feet above the earth and what the country side or sites look like apparently cannot compete with mind craft, sonic the hedgehog or whatever pixelated trend is happening...I did not introduce him to video games btw ! the joys of the ex partner *meh*

We arrive in San Diego around 7pm to get to Legoland. Now I have said to friends many times that google does not know everything, and in this case I was unfortunately right. There is no shuttle bus that takes you to legoland from the airport every 30minutes(google lie 1)There are shuttles that you can organise that will get you there. We have a reasonable distance from the airport - like everything in California , it's an hour or two apart from the other attraction you want to see!

When we arrived our checkout was fun from the very minute . Everything in the hotel is lego inspired or actual lego. The outside of the hotel looks like lego bricks, the inside lobby has huge lego installations and you are immediately immersed in the land of master builders ( inside lego nerd talk lol) . I could write about legoland for so long I  might lose the plot of this blog. I think I took 300 photos. I am , and always will be a lego nerd . The attention to detail for lego fans was worth  every cent that we paid for the hotel . And it truly is a half a minute walk to the front gate. So if you get the extra hour early in you can really get on some rides quickly and repeatedly . The  family restaurants were very American hotel fare and not of much interest to we Melbournians who are spoilt for great food options.However the Sky cafe food was great and the buffet in the morning was amazing choices and lego fun everywhere. If you get to try the "apple fries" inside the park they were fabulous btw, my son didn't like them -bonus all the more for me. Handy hint we did not know. You can trade with ride and food attendants all around the park. They have either mini figure name badges or trading points where you can swap eveything from hair , to legs to accessories. My son and I thoroughly enjoyed that and if there was to be a next time we would know to load up :) We scored a fabulous set on sale 1/3 of the cost of the set that never made it to Australia. So my advice pack light and be ready to shove that lego box into your luggage .
The park is fabulous and fun but you really have to be a lego fanatic to get the most out of it- one thing I was able to mould him into LOL . The hotel is kind of expensive , I made choices based on "the trip of a lifetime" experience . Also my child is not a big eater so I saved a lot of money on that part of the trip.

What I did discover was - I seemed to be the only single parent. I did not see a single parent in the hotel , in the park ...anywhere in the 3 days . What I did see was the extended family unit , which was lovely but bought up a lot of emotions for me. That was not what I expected. Suddenly I went from thinking we were going to have the most fabulous of times , to having emotions triggered in me. Once again I could not convey this to any other adult. I had one drink on  one night at the restaurant only to find myself a bit tipsy and up in the hotel room with my child asleep by my side at 9.00pm . Party ON !! It made me think about how privileged I must be as I am the only single parent here but how I was a little sad to be by myself.

Another day another shuttle...

So distance, yep once again there is no way but the shuttle way in L.A when it comes to getting around. I am not going to say what it cost in a taxi to get from legoland to Anheim but I will say it was the most money I have ever spent on a cab in my ENTIRE life. We probably could have had a limo and driver for the amount. There is no transport (without 3 hours of messing about) , there is no greyhound bus or anything that can get you to Disneyland from Legoland - FACT (google lie 2) . Most people hire cars- back home everything is on the different side of the road let alone driving in a state that has four times as many people as my own country.
My out the window fascination is once again not shared by my son. I am having a great time looking and talking to the driver about everything around us. My son after about 20 minutes is bored.  OMG EMOTIONS ABOUT TO EXPLODE - RAGE ALERT RAGE ALERT!!.  I point out that we are in another country- the cars are different , the scenery- he still doesn't care. Expectations of fascination seem about to be blown to pieces. The suddenly out of nowhere a place that is mentioned in some gaming Youtube tutorial - he is excited !! Thank fuck. Finally he starts looking out the window and absorbing. Great expectations fulfilled.

Now again I am a fortunate soul , I have been to Disneyland before with my parents. I also went with my EX husband who nearly ruined it for life. So I definitely needed to go back lol. Now luckily with a bit of we got an affordable hotel a 15 minute shuttle away from the happiest place on earth. Is it? yes it is . the first day we walked for 10 hours , mainly due to the monorail and the train that usually go around the park being closed. My son didn't complain , he was now truly taken with all the amazing sights and the rides, that  are really so magical .  I did think of the elderly and disabled who really would have had their time there restricted. And really Disney pretty poor planning to be having your diamond celebrations and getting around is a bit crap. Anyway I digress,  Tomorrowland is filled with Starwars  rides and activities- my boy got to fight Darth Vader and that was awesome to watch and an experience of a life time. How many kids can say they fought darhtvade!! And even tho it took up 2hours of our "magic hour" morning it was so worth it as that may not be there in a year(they do rotate the activities to keep it fresh ) . The detail and humour in these attractions is so great I laughed for the 3 days we were there. I must say I am a big kid at heart

Adventureland had amazing new rides and some of the old amazing rides where still there too. Did I expect to get Did I get triggered? YES! . OMG NOOO!!! Once again I seem to be the only single mother/parent in this place , which by the way is packed with around 20,000 even on a monday!! However I must say that after witnessing a  few moments where couples were  arguing and stressing out with each other and the kids, the triggers soon faded into some hologram on the Star Tours as my son and I laughed and laughed. Aaah , breathing happily again , in the happiest place on earth where nothing can upset me .We did three days and could have done more . There is really so much to see and yes there are queues . If you play your cards right and get a fast pass where possible and can skip the line it really made packing in more adventures possible. You can go to rollercoaster parks and carnivals , but if you can ever do it, truly the magic of how things happen had my son astounded even with the original rides - Enchanted Tiki Room , Alice In wonderland, Pirates of the Carribean and splash mountain are still fantastic rides and considering they were made in the 1960's it was a wow.

We left full of the magic of Disney and once again , yep you guessed it -shuttled our way up close to the airport. Two more days of shuttling around got us to universal studios, a hollywood tour and some random adventuring on our last day.

Now Universal studios these days is a trip into 4D adventure rides. I love rides , but I must say that most of these rides can leave a person almost having an out of body experience that in many ways is not that pleasant when you are hurtling along at great speeds with Megatron or Dementors in your face. The best thing really here is the tram tour that takes you around the lot and the "Animals in action" show that bought out many of the wonderful creatures we see in movies like Harry Potter. I personally found that unless you want your picture with Bumblebee from Transformers , expectations blown again - I thought my kid would want to , but no only the child like mother wanted too,  there really is a lot of average food and over priced souvenirs to purchase. This can be the day wrecker....of course if you are 8 you want a want from Harry Potter , but the prices really were , for a piece of plastic shaped liked wood, ridiculous.

For what we saw on the other shuttle out to Manhattan beach and Venice Beach I would say spend time seeing those parts of L.A . It would have been wonderful to spend another week going to parts of  California that are so beautiful and amazing , that I have seen with my parents. But as a sole parent there was only so much fairy dust I could muster before we had to come back to the land of Oz and see if the good witch can give us some magic from over the rainbow ...I shall keep clicking my little red shoes.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Travelling single mum style part 1

It is not often single parents get to take their kids on a whizz wow holiday...I did I survived and bought the kid back alive!

I think everyone should see the planet , it's an amazing place and children learn so much from seeing other places on our magnificent planet.

If it had not been for the amazing skills of my father to leave me some money I would not have been able to go. Most single parents know we are under the pump to just get day to day expenses covered. My son is 8 and with my father passing away  just before christmas I really felt the need to get a breath of fresh air and honour the way my parents raised us. I love travelling as much as my father did.

So I decide on Hawaii, it was one of our favourite holidays and I loved the place. Full of culture and spirit. since Australia is so far away, a trip to L.A to finish off with a bang.

We are a pretty awesome team my son and I . Of course any parent knows  you can have moments but all in all I was confident I could pull this off . The week before hand tho I started feeling really nervous. Anyways, I am going to give you some low dows on the great places and the expereinces we had.

Oahu is the "hollywood" of the Islands to me. It is the closest to the main land of USA . It is very focused on shopping and it caters really for all. from cheap souvenirs to amazing cultural experiences the choice is yours. You can get everything from tiki key rings to louis Vitton here.

We stayed at The agent said it was family friendly and it truely was. Right on the beach I mean RIGHT ON IT. We arrived to a fabulous tropical drink a cool hand towel, fantastic check in expereince. From our room we could see the beach and the mountains and each morning were greeted with a rainbow over the skyline- might sound cheesy but it's realy true ! Waikiki waters are warm and we had the pleasure of swimming with sea turtles right behind us a good little surf break that had my son hollering it was his best beach day ever (joy) . The services at the hotel were great . Live music every night , tradtional hawaiin music and contemporary. Their were childrens activities and the knowledge of things to do from the activities desk was great . The onsite food was affordable and good.

My son saw a magic show he wanted go to. This was a FANTASTIC show , funny and AMAZING you would not be disappointed. You can do dinner and a show but we opted for a fantastic food truck experience and then wandered down. Here is the link for this ...I have never seen anything like it and it was the source of our own little fun jokes throughtout the holiday and even can't put a price on that .

We went to the Polynesia Cultural centre which I had gone with my parents and was really looking forward to it. After a bus trip centrally located to the Waikiki area we had a beautiful drive out seeing a very different climate on this part of the drive and many places were pointed out where films Like #50 first dates , #Jurassic Park and others had been filmed. The centre is a great place for education and the day is filled with music . We couldn't afford the Luau so we had a little extra time to check out the wonderful cultural movie about elders , stories and the islands- I had tears rolling down my cheeks( I am always over joyed by nature btw) it was wonderful. we saw little lizards and time to explore and find out that the Seventh Dat Adventists had funded the centre to maintain culture .

HOWEVER , my expereince nearly turned to disaster when my son decided to have a sooky meltdown about going to one of the island shows rather than looking at Rapa Nui display. It took a a bit of motherly stern conversation to get him to pull it together.. I was feeling heart wrenched "how could he ruin this ?!!" We got over it ..if you have seen the movie "inside out "-anger and disgust were close by at this moment. So I explained that this is a holiday for both of us and he better get it together. We then see the lagoon parade, he is  unimpressed and I have to just realise I am me and he is him and maybe he hasn't got the awes and wonder I do about cultureat times.
We stop island hopping around the centre and go look for lunch. They had a few food trucks and this is where I would reccomend going. Try new things , that is what travel is about for me, local food I think is bettter that western hotel food. So we tried Pu Pu chicken(little boys love that name) and we really liked it. It's not overly spicey and had it's only little groovy flavor.

THEN -I want to watch the Hawaiin village display , but he's not that interested. Feeling very "single parent overwhelm" I wonder how am I not going to explode. Lucky for me a "nuclear family" behind us is having the same problem and the mother hisses at her child " you will watch this and sit here and shut up or you get nothing for the rest of the holiday " job is done for me..I look at him and say - "what she said' and he sits patiently as we learn about origins of the hula , ukelele and history. It was wonderful, I years to come hopefully he will look back at the footage i took and appreciate it, or use it for a school project. Check out the somoa village show the presenter was drole and hilarious , more memoires for us together. This is a very long day so be prepared for that. If you had a heap of money then of course the Luau and other things like buying heaps of things at the little stalls would make the day really awesome for chidren. Single parents were no where to be seen , there were times where I felt extremely vunerable.

Nature is awe inspiring on all the islands , But let's say you can only afford Oahu. With a little help from my palm box (iPhone) I find that there is a snorkling experience we can do via shuttle bus from the hotel approx $30 US that got us there and back including equipment(i had life jacket in our luggage). It was a quick 30minutes from the hotel district and we had nearly the whole day there.  ... is a beautiful place . There is an education centre with alot to learn and gives children the chance to learn the importance of coast care. We had never snorkelled before and this was perfect reef as it is right at the shore line. I felt like we were in Finding Nemo...we never found him but we thought we saw Dory. The waters were abundant with amazing fish ,it has set us on a mission to do more.  Be aware like all places their is a gift shop that the children will want things from . I choose to buy the book on the fish so we could study from it and one tshirt . There was food available and lockers . We took our own lunch.

There are plenty of cheap trolleys to get around if you don't want to hire a care. Being from Australia I didn't want to try using the opposite of everything in a foreign land. The trolleys are open air and the driver tells you information along the way. If you want a large shopping experience go to the has everything from high fashion to lego stores and it is open air. My son loved the huge pools of Coy fish. There were free cultural performances and if you were cashed up you could spend a fortune...The lego shop was enough to satify my boy (phew) I had to restrain myself from wanting high fashion hand bags and Andy warhol converse runners .

The flights between the islands are very quick. Our early morning flight had 8 people on it. This started me thinking about wastage and the opportunity that could be given to single parents for cheap flights. Or they could go back to how they used to and have small carriers. Super friendly staff and the planes are compfortable and reasonable prices flights. If you can take a small carry on and you will save money too.

The "Big Island"is not as popular to go to but I realy wanted to take my boy to the volcano. It turns out "Pele" the goddess of the volcano is not so active at the moment...I think she went over to costa Rica lol. So the only way to see the lava is by helicopter. This is where things start getting really pricey. I opted to go to a "timeshare" presentation and that got us $240.00 off our flights . Once again it showed me thedifference between those whohave more money, these time shares would be awesome if you had a lazy $70k hagning around. I chose the 2hr flight for the whole island but you can do just volcano for alot less too. We went with they have state of the art helicopters and you really are part of the experience . Everyone can communicate with the pilot and ours was local with expert knowledge of the island and extremely handsome YAY , again if you have seen "Inside Out" you will get a chuckle out of that . Once again I wept at the beauty of the tallest waterfall, the area is untouched as you cannot get their by land. Their are many operators and some are cheaper . We got to buy the dvd of our personal flight and it was a really special experience.  This was the first time I met another single mother so the four of us with our sons has a great time. Don't eat a big breakfast before hand either , just sayin.

If you want a great  resort experience go to it was not expensive considering that there are so many things on site. The pools have slides and spas, a boat or light rail takes you around the hotel , there is art everywhere 1800 pieces to be precise ,free dvd movies and games to rent and a kids club. I thought the kids club would be included but  I guess this is how Paris Hilton affords all her shoes lol. The lagoon had us swimming right beside a turtle and fish tho no where near as plentiful as in the ocean. A great variety of food was onsite and we chose to eat by  the dolphins often. I would honestly say DO NOT do the swim with dolphins...this is was a rip off. We got to touch them twice and paid alot of money for it...I think this is how Paris affords to have all her jewellery ( no lol on this one) . I also felt that this was a huge money spinner and also cruel to the dolphins as they are in a small area. There was a trolley to take you up to a market area, was not alot there but we had great ice cream and watched all the coy and met lovely people on the trolley.

My favourite island was Maui. It was once the actual capital of the islands. The air is a little less humid and the nights are a little cooler ( at least in April). We stayed at the The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel was perfect. They give the children a passport and then  they visit various places and do cultural activities in the hotel  each stamp gave them a new word for their "passports" and a gift. My son loved it and once again we were right on the beach. This is Maui's longest running cultural hotel and most night you could watch a performance of hula and history and the band were great. The dusk ceremony of traditional chant and fire torch lighting was beautiful. The food in the main resteraunt was AMAZING . Be prepared fo rsome crazy surf , the currents make it a pretty good boogie board spot.

A bus ride away took us to fabulous Front street , with the ocean right beside the historic Bunya tree this is must if you are on that side of the island.There are stores of every type. including Maui's own surf brand . Funky art galleries and plenty of tourist shops line both sides of the promenade. We found the and discoverd salt water taffy too. I had never had it , it rocks .
My son and I love art and had a wondeful time inside gallery . There is an interactive game tablet for kids to paint on , wonderful , stunning, amazing art and books and the women were kind. On arrival we were offered water or wine :)
When you check out of the hotel they sing a prayer and give you KuKui lei's lei's ,

I found this very moving and special.  Once again I seemed to be the only single parent , but this island had no meltdowns, magic memories and I left tears streaming down my cheeks thinking of my parents now departed.

All the islands have cheap little souveniers - give your kid $20 and they can buy stickers and fridge magnets and t-shirts if you find the right place.

Part 2 - fun and frolicking L.A style coming soon