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Head Above Water

Don't forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.
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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

THE STREETS OF COPENHAGEN.

Whilst I was in Copenhagen,, I did all of the shopping. It's safe to say that not only is it a truly beautiful city, but they just know what they're doing when it comes to fashion. (If you want to see everything I picked up whilst shopping, you can watch my YouTube video here).
One of the shops Jamie and I ventured in to was a favourite of mine, & Other Stories. And whilst we do have it here in the UK, I couldn't keep myself away.

Now bearing in mind this was 1 of about 40 shops we rummaged through, I thought I'd make the laborious task of shopping with a girlfriend slightly more fun for Jamie by setting him a little task...
I asked him to pick me an outfit.
Pick your jaws up from the floor ladies, I know, there seems to be an awful lot of trust going on in this relationship! But I think I'm cool with it.

Now whilst he's definitely a stylish chappy, it's not quite the same dressing someone else, is it? But nevertheless, I promised to try on anything he chose and much to my surprise he hit the jackpot first time.

So without further ado, his outfit debut...


I don't think I could've picked better myself to be honest.

I'm head over heels for all of it - from the marble print cropped tee with oversized sleeves and murky greys, greens and purples running through it, to the oversized, ridiculously comfortable ribbed bomber and last but certainly not least the insanely gorgeous bronzed shoes, which literally blow my mind every time I look at them.

Boy did good, no?

He certainly knows how to spend my money well, that's for sure ;-)

Now, I'd quite like to set you the challenge. To propose the same to your other halves, best friends, sisters or brothers. See what they come up with and how well they really know you when it comes to fashion. I'd love to see what you get, and if you do decide to do it, send me a little picture or link via Twitter so I can see!

I'll give you one pointer before you start...SET A BUDGET (unlike me...you live and learn *face palm*).

And if he'll ever be brave enough to show his face for the camera, I might even do the same for Jamie one day too! But until then, thank you JG, for styling me so beautifully - you good egg, you.


SHOP MY LOOK HERE:
SHOES | JEANS | TOP (sold out) | JACKET | WATCH

You can also get 15% off your 
www.danielwellington.com watch with code 'wonderful_u' at Checkout!


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Thursday, 28 January 2016

TO THE ONLINE HATERS.

Last night, a fellow blogger Em, who last year took the Internet by storm with her incredibly touching short film on online hate, starred as a presenter in a documentary. A documentary about online trolls. My Twitter feed blew up, in the most positive way - it was wonderful to see the support her and the show - Troll Hunters, received.

And whilst watching, it made me realise, we have our voice for a reason. And seeing someone as brave as Em tackle online hate in such a fabulous way, well, it's inspired me. 

So. 

To my online haters, 

I see you. I read the things you've said and the level of self righteousness that's gone along with it. 

I won't name names, purely because you don't deserve any more attention than you've already had.

But maybe you could stop and think for a second? What if I wasn't thick skinned? What if the words you spoke meant that I couldn't do this anymore? If they meant I was too afraid to blog? Too afraid to have a voice? Too afraid to be alive? 

Because that's a real thing, you know. People take their own lives because of trolls like you. Because they can't stand the thought of living in a world where they're not accepted. 

Recently I was put in a situation where I had to attend an event with one of the people who had been incredibly cruel about me. There is nothing constructive about: you're ugly, I hate your voice, you look like a clown. It's mean, nasty and unnecessary. I shocked myself at how anxious I felt about the idea of being in a room with her. But, I mean, where do you learn the skills in life to sit at a dinner table with someone that's been publicly bullying you online? I bit my tongue and took the moral high ground - In all honesty I wasn't sure what the best thing to do would be, I didn't want to appear a drama queen by speaking out, but at the same time why should they get to live their lives without any consequences for their actions? I kept quiet because I was unsure, but goodness knows if I'm ever in a situation where I can ensure that doesn't happen again, I will. 
As a collective, as women, we spend so much time, building each other up. It's amazing how quickly that cheerleading pyramid can come crashing to the ground when a handful of nasty people knock one of us out of our place. 

This isn't a dress rehearsal. This is real life. 

Sometimes we're told to ignore the hate, to rise above it - and to some degree I get that. But at what point do we say 'NO'? Because not everyone can just shrug this level of nastiness off. I think it's safe to say that when you 'put yourself' on the Internet, you're doing so with the knowledge that not everyone will like you. That's a given. But this is about so much more than that. The internet doesn't just exist for 'personalities' or a new generation of 'celebrities' - your daughter, your son, your best friend, your sister, they all use it too and even if it's on a smaller scale, with less people paying attention, it doesn't make it less real

You don't get a free pass to ruin someone's life just because you have a keyboard.

I'm so glad that programmes like Troll Hunters are shining a light on the negative impact online bullying can have on our lives. And I sincerely hope it means that going forward, we're not as scared. Not as scared to speak out if we're being targeted. I don't necessarily mean directly to the bullies. But tell your parents, talk to your teachers, confide in your friends, go to the police. Don't hide behind your emotions, try not to trap yourself behind a pane of glass that everyone can see through but can't break it down to reach you. 
I hope that one day we'll live in a world where if you've bullied someone online, you're banned from having the luxury, perhaps that's an unrealistic achievement, but we shouldn't just have measures in place to deal with death threats alone. More needs to be done - there needs to be repercussions for the actions of these people. 

They need help and so do we.

Photography by Alexandra Cameron.


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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

#SmearForSmear | SMEAR TESTS, TREATMENT & WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

Let's talk vaginas.

It is Cervical Screening Awareness Week after all...

Last year I wrote about my experience of going for my first smear test. I covered everything from putting it off for a year, actually attending, getting my results, needing a biopsy and receiving confirmation that I required treatment to remove abnormal cells on my cervix. If you'd like to read more about all of that you can read my blog post here or watch my super detailed video here.

Today's blog post will be an extension of that. I previously explained that I'd been booked in for a little operation on my cervix, called Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), performed under local anesthetic. I arrived at the hospital for my appointment, popped my legs in to the stirrups and tried to relax whilst someone stared at my vagina rather intently. 
She popped her head over the blanket after a few minutes of fiddling around up there and said:

'Nope, no can do'.

I immediately burst in to tears because: well, because being in that situation immediately heightens your emotions; you feel vulnerable, exposed, scared. And to then be told 'NO' without any explanation, well that wasn't quite alright with me. Not one bit.

Once I calmed down the doctor explained that in short my abnormal cells were covering a pretty large area and they were extremely close to my vaginal wall. Now neither of those things meant anything to me, as I'm sure they don't to you either - but she advised that basically the local anesthetic wouldn't cover it, I'd probably be able to feel what was happening and be in rather a lot of pain, which neither of us wanted.
She asked me to head down to pre-op because I'd need an actual operation. HOLY SHIT, is all I could think, I've gone from having a vagina that had a mild case of the flu to pretty much being told that the one I've got is broken? It was a bit of a shock to say the least. 
The operation would be exactly the same as the procedure they'd planned previously, just I'd need general anesthetic rather than local. It meant they'd be able to do what they needed to do without the risk of it hurting me, which I have to say I was a little relieved about. Pre-op booked me in for a few weeks time.

I hadn't been put to sleep since I was 4 years old, so I was incredibly nervous, but when the day came I felt nothing but support from everyone. 

I arrived at the hospital with mum at 7am and the system worked on a first come first serve basis. There were cancer patients on the same list and so they were seen to before anyone else and it was around 11am once I was wheeled through to the operating room. 

Prior to this the surgeon came and spoke to me as did the anesthetist, explaining everything that would be happening on that day in great detail. Because it wasn't an overly invasive operation there wasn't a need for me to stay over night. I just needed to bring someone with me to essentially take me home once I'd managed to have a wee and eat a biscuit an hour or so after coming round. 

I was petrified about being put to sleep - the thought of not waking up terrified me, but I have to say the pair that looked after me were wonderful. One chatted to me about blogging whilst the other inserted the needle and I felt a cold rush down my arm and that was it, I was out. 

Coming around afterwards was potentially one of the best feelings I've ever had. Anesthetic can effect people differently, some it can make aggressive, but me? I thought I was Beyoncé. I told the nurse that was sitting with me that I loved her because she had the same name as my Nan and I was singing Drunk in Love whilst being wheeled round to meet mum in my cubicle.
She said that everyone else that had been brought back in was as quiet as a mouse, but you could hear me from a mile away.

Before the operation, the surgeon asked me if I'd like a pain killer whilst still asleep - basically this meant did I want them to shove a pain killer up my bum that would work faster than regular ones. I said yes, but good god I don't even want to think about how it got in there. I enjoyed it whilst it lasted, because within an hour I was in a considerable amount of pain. I immediately felt groggy and exhausted and my stomach had a dull ache that felt like someone had punched me repeatedly. I had a bit of a cry, because: hormones, and then we were on our way home.

They advise recovery time is 4 weeks, which in my case was pretty accurate. It was a hellish first few weeks, what with constant murky discharge, persistent aching pains, subtle bleeding, fevers, chronic exhaustion - I mean, it wasn't pretty lets put it that way. I think a lot of the poorliness post op was due to the anesthetic, it knocked me for six and took every last ounce of energy I had. I just took ibuprofen and paracetamol, had a constant hot water bottle and got as much sleep as possible.

I checked in with Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust because I was worried I might have an infection due to a constant temperature but they reassured me that all my symptoms sounded normal and to wait it out a little longer.

Everything cleared up and I can safely say 4.5 weeks after my op, I was 'back to normal'.

I then received a letter in the post, confirming that my results had found what the biopsy showed and that I would just need to go back for my repeat smear in 6 months time to double check they'd got it all.

6 months flew by and before I knew it I was being examined again. Now during this time, I had experienced some quite serious pain whilst having sex, along with a few occasions of bad bleeding afterwards. Obviously this was a worry and my GP examined me a few times to find nothing shady going on or any infections.

When I went back for my smear my GP had asked the hospital to take a closer look to see if anything else was up and the doctor confirmed that I had some irritated scar tissue and on contact, my cervix was bleeding. He reassured me that over time the scar tissue would heal and become less sore, meaning I'd just have to deal with a bit of pain during sex for the time being (not the end of the world if it means I don't have cervical cancer) and that the tenderness of the cervix would be down to the operation also, so he applied a solution across the cervical wall to help with this. Since then my bleeding has completely stopped and pain is only a fleeting visitor every now and then.

I also received my results a few weeks ago confirming that I HAD THE ALL CLEAR!

I don't need to go for a smear test for another 3 years, which is absolutely amazing.

I know that this is the longest most rambly blog post ever, but I just wanted to give you all of the information. Yes, there are parts of this process that haven't been rainbow pooping unicorns but each hurdle has been so worth it to come out the other side healthy and more knowledgeable about my body.

So with that in mind, help me spread the awareness for Cervical Screening Week. You can do this by uploading a selfie with smudged lipstick like mine to Twitter or Instagram using the #SmearForSmear, share my latest video that went live this morning promoting the #SmearForSmear cause or even pass this blog post on to your nearest and dearest ladies!

But most importantly, if you haven't already: GO BOOK YOUR SMEAR TEST.

It saved my life and it could save yours, too.

Putting it off wont save you; being brave will.

You've got this.


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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

VELVET DREAMS.

There comes a time in every girls life where she needs to own a pair of velvet dungarees. 

That's a thing, right?

Right.

I picked these up whilst I was in Copenhagen after about two months of lusting after them in my local Urban Outfitters store.

Now I know, they're not your standard piece of clothing...I mean, dungarees, that are velvet, with culottes? 'Okay then Megs' I hear you say. But they needn't be such a scary thing.

Before I get dressed every morning my first thought is: what will be most comfy?

And I've never owned a piece of clothing that screams 'I'M NOT PYJAMAS BUT I FEEL JUST LIKE THEM' quite as loud as these.

So how can you style such a unique piece?

I mean for starters, it's such a statement item that you can pretty much just let it do the talking. In this outfit, I've opted for simplicity with everything else. My DM's for comfort, a slouchy off the shoulder tee to show off the style of the dungarees, my usual tote bag and my favourite, but understated jewellery from Daniel Wellington (check below for an exclusive discount code!) and Oliver Bonas.

Now, if sacky isn't your style (that's my term for wearing clothes that barely hug my bones) then you needn't follow my lead quite so closely. How about a fitted long sleeved top or tee? Striped tops are always a winner when it comes to wearing dungarees - and a handy little tip, the narrower the stripes the more slimming they'll be and on the other side if you opt for wider stripes, this will help broaden your shape. Dungarees are such a versatile piece, anyone can wear them - you just need to seek out the right style for you. Be it high-waisted or low-rise, skinny jean fit or loosey goosey like me. It's certainly not slim pickings when it comes to choosing.

This outfit in particular feels like a steady, albeit slightly morbid, transitional outfit from super cold winter to a slightly sunnier spring. It's still pretty nippy out there, but these dungarees can pack a whole lotta heat, they're thick, heavy and just long enough to keep your pins warm too.

What are your thoughts on velvet? Or dungarees for that matter? Can you bring yourself to allow them to creep back in to your wardrobe after all these years?

It's certainly not a decision I'm regretting...
photography by my favourite lady, Tami.
Shop my look here:



You can also get 15% off your 
www.danielwellington.com watch with code 'wonderful_u' at Checkout!


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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

HOW TO SHOP THE SALES.


Shopping the sales.

It should be simple - but it's just not, is it?

Your favourite stores will usually be out of stock of all of the good stuff and instead you're left with the white t-shirts that have make-up round the collar and footprints on the back from where they've fallen to the floor. 

That's just not the case when it comes to Oasis. Picking an outfit from their site was a absolute dream - with most sizes still available, new lines being added every day and a wide selection of styles it was a walk in the park. I have to admit Oasis isn't usually my first point of call when shopping for clothes, but if they're bringing the goodies when it's sale season, well then I'm interested. I'm very interested.

And so today I wanted to share with you my top tips for shopping the sales. Because if I can do it, well then you can too.

1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.
How many times have you found yourself online, browsing the sales, adding random bits and bobs to your shopping basket just because? 

It's. Not. Practical.

If you make a list of what you actually need (or in more cases than not want), then at least if they don't have it you're not frittering away £40 on a leather satchel, just because it was £80 before and 'what a bargain!!!'

2. PERHAPS OPT FOR AN OUTFIT.
Over the years I've learned buying one off pieces of clothing isn't always the best way to spend my money. Yeah I picked up an 'investment' piece for £200, but actually, it doesn't go with anything in my wardrobe and ends up just looking pretty on a hanger rather than on me. 
That's why the sales are so good for investing in a new you. Pick up an entire outfit for the price of that one investment piece and you're on to a winner. 

3. ONLINE OVER IN-STORE.
I always find that I land myself with the best sale picks shopping online instead of in-store. There's no pressure when you're sat on your sofa with a cuppa casually browsing. It beats being shoved out of the way like Monica in Friends for the wedding dress - no whistle blowing or marching orders here. Yes, the stock may differ, but you have time to actually think about what you want to purchase, rather than an impulse buy because it's the last size 10 and what will you do if someone else picks it up whilst you're still looking around?! Eliminate the fear purchase!

So with that being said, I applied my own tips and this is the outfit I came out with. 

A beautiful long-line stripe coat. So on trend and with a blend of striped colours it's going to stand out from any of the others.

Velvet jeans. I KNOW. With a skinny fit and a low-rise they're relevant to the here and now, but with a velvet touch? You're bringing back the oldies in the best possible way. 

High neck, woven panelled tunic - which looks like it's straight off the Chanel catwalk, not your typical high-street store bargain. And for TEN POUNDS I mean, nothing else needs to be said, does it? No it doesn't.

A triple cross body bag, that has poppers so that you get three bags in one (uh huh), and some seriously glossy and fabulous chelsea boots to match - teamed together or individually, you can take each of these items from day to night.

And there you have it. This is how I shop the sales. And I have to say I'm mighty impressed with what Oasis have to offer. With the coat of dreams, a top that makes me feel a million bucks and jeans that make me stroke my legs constantly - I think we've got the sales nailed, no?

Shop my look here:


COAT | TOP | JEANS | BAG | BOOTS | WATCH

You can also get 15% off your 
www.danielwellington.com watch with code 'wonderful_u' at Checkout!

This post is in collaboration with Oasis. However all views are my own, as always :-) 


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