My Interview with Natural Sparkle Magazine

I am honoured to finally share my interview with Natural Sparkle Magazine with you guys.  Unfortunately it is only published in print so I have taken a photo of it but for ease I have included the interview for you to read here..

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Kat, I’m a 34 year old mother of one (16 year old daughter; Mya) I work for a top law firm in London but outside of work, I am a plus size model, a co-founder of The Rubenesque Effect, a lifestyle and fashion blogger and a BOOSTfit fitness instructor which takes up all of my free time!  I am also a wedding singer; I come from a very musical family.  I went to the BRIT School of Performing Arts and I adore dancing.  I am passionate about promoting body confidence and spend a lot of time reaching out to women with low self esteem, I am also an ambassador for Ms Curvaceous UK; a modelling competition within the plus size industry.

Was this your first experience of the pageant world?
No, I actually took part in my first pageant in 2015, which I won.  I was crowned Ms British Beauty Curve 2015/16.  

I then went on to compete in United Kingdom Galaxy in March 2017, in which I placed within the top 10.

So you clearly have caught pageant fever, what makes pageants so important to you?
A lot of people don’t understand pageants. Many people assume that it’s all about “World Peace” and it’s all superficial but I couldn’t disagree more.  As cliché as it may sound, pageants have genuinely changed my life.  I was in an extremely dark place a few years ago and if you had ever have said to me that in 5 years I would be on a stage competing in a pageant, I would have laughed at you.  I have experienced such camaraderie; I have made unique friendships with people that I will most likely spend the rest of my life with. Women who are more than friends, some are like family.  Pageant girls want to make a difference in the world, we all have different platforms and every fellow pageant sister I have encountered is passionate and driven and seeing that inner beauty radiate out is wonderful thing. As different as we all may be, we all have a very common love for donning a beautiful gown and sashaying around a stage.

What do you love most about competing?
The dresses, oh the dresses!  I adore gowns...I am already planning my next gown!  I love the run up to the pageant, appearances are so much fun.  Getting to promote the pageant, talking to people about what you’re doing and spreading the word is a really important part of my pageant prep. With all that being said nothing beats actually being up on stage. Coming from a performance background I love being able to strut my stuff up there, it’s where I really come alive.

You have just recently been crowned with the title of Ms International Curve 2017/18, Congratulations!  What does it feel like to be crowned as one of their first queens?
Thank you, it’s not really sunk in yet to be honest, it almost doesn’t feel real.  It’s a huge responsibility to be one of the first queens. I want to use this title to reach out to women all over the world to get them involved in the pageant world.  I have two very important charities which I will be working with over the next year and I hope to launch my own body confidence campaign too in the near future.

Miss International Curve is specifically a plus sized pageant, why do you think it’s necessary to have pageants specifically for plus size ladies?
Women regardless of their size suffer with low self confidence.  Many plus size women seem lack the confidence to be able to compete in mainstream pageant systems.  I remember before I competed I felt inferior, like I wasn’t good enough to take part in something so glamorous.  Competing in a plus size pageant boosted my confidence tenfold, being surrounded by women who looked just like made me feel worthy.  For some women getting up on stage and putting on makeup and a dress is miles out of their comfort zones.  I have seen women with zero confidence emerge like a butterfly shedding their cocoon; it’s such an empowering thing to see.  Competing in a mainstream pageant wasn’t nearly as scary as I had imagined. The women were so beautifully inspiring and kind.  It was such an amazing experience to be welcomed into the pageant world with open arms regardless of my shape and size. However, I do think that had I not competed in Miss British Beauty Curve (which is also a plus size pageant system) I wouldn’t have had the guts to compete in Galaxy and that that is why I think plus size pageants are important too.  It gives plus ladies the chance to grow their own confidence and once they begin to love themselves they may find the mainstream pageant systems less daunting.

What tips would you give to someone who has never competed in a pageant but would like to try it?
Just do it... You won’t regret it.  Life is way too short to live life with “what if’s” If you want to try something don’t let anything or anyone hold you back.  Be yourself and let your inner beauty shine through.

Written by Emma Patrick for Natural Sparkle Magazine

Photo Credits to Miss International Curve, Nine Inc. Photography, Monsignor Photographic, HJS Photography and Nu-Perspective Photography

Introducing Marks & Spencer #Curve

Receiving an invite to the Marks & Spencer Curve launch brekkie at The Ivy Soho Brasserie was the perfect way to kick off 2018.  The Ivy Soho is such a vibrant venue oozing style and originality,  the decor offered a dose of sophistication which complimented the brand's own ethos.

Being in the company of a bunch of gorgeous and exceptionally talented blogger alumni and industry professionals really set the scene for a fabulous morning. 

All the influencers shared a table, allowing us to catch up over a heavenly breakfast of poached eggs, avocado and tomato on toast. 

After a short introduction by Jo Hales the head of Buying at M&S for the Curve range, Danielle Vanier gave us an insight into what inspired her collaboration with M&S to design two dresses for the range.  She spoke passionately about how excited she was to consult on this project, especially how she had grown up with M&S being a front runner for quality and on trend fashion staples. She recalls an LBD which she adored which came from M&S, so she took aspects of the dress she loved and used that as inspo for creating her two garments. She commented recently saying, "I have added some subtle sports details, like hard-wear on the waist and mesh layering for a contemporary feel; so both can be styled in really different ways. Whether you team with crisp white trainers for a chic take on daywear, or dress up with heels ready for the evening"

After brekkie we got the chance to get intimate with some of the pieces on display.  Now you know me, I never pass up on the opportunity to play dress up, I eye-up the rails to find my fave pieces from the collection and scurried off to a corner to change (Yes, I have no shame, but I was in good company as Olivia Campbell joined me in sampling the offerings) 

Shop the Trench

Shop this Biker Jacket
The collection has been designed with everyday in mind, providing quality infused basics such as soft and luxurious knitwear alongside faux leather jackets with jersey panels for comfort and movement. There is also a blend of occasion wear offering jumpsuits and dresses which are designed to skim and accentuate the curves. Using fresh pastel shades, and vibrant prints alongside the staple monochrome colours provide a versatile Spring wardrobe which can be accessorised to take you from day to night with ease.

The range caters for sizes 18 to 32, with most items being available in all sizes both in-store and online.

You can shop the entire range online here 

I picked up a few pieces to share with you.  I chose three pieces, two everyday staples and one of Danie's dresses.  

First up I give you this perfectly practical parka.  I have searched for a truly waterproof jacket that doesn't leave you totally saturated after a downpour.
I am pleased to say that this parka does not disappoint.  I wore it to a recent shoot and it was absolutely chucking it down outside, having this parka saved hours of potentially wasted time straightening the barnett and making me look all dolled up.

It's fleece lined, ladies! So trust me you will stay toasty warm, not a drowned rat in sight.

Shop this Parka
I love the fact that it's versatile enough to wear casually as well as over a posh frock. 

It features an inner drawstring at the waist.  This is a blessing allowing you to create waist definition creating a more feminine silhouette.

 The other staple I chose was this lightweight t-shirt, in my fave colour; mustard. 
Shop this T-shirt

The one thing that I adore about this top (other than the colour of course) is the very obvious quality of the garment.  It doesn't feel cheap or basic. It's a blend of viscose and elastane which leaves it feeling soft and durable. I've washed it once since purchase and there's been no loss of integrity or colour. I think this top is a winner and I would love to buy it in other colours to fill my summer wardrobe.
Shop Danielle Vanier's Mesh Dress
Danie's mesh dress caught my eye from the minute I saw her wearing it at the launch.  It's an unusual cut and that makes it very unique in relation to other mesh dresses on the market. Danie inspired me to rock it with box-fresh pumps for this look but I am looking forward to dressing this up for a night out on the town.

I ordered all three items in a size 20. Where I am between a size 18 and a 20, size-wise I could have sized down on both the parka and the dress for a more structured fit. I wouldn't personally size down on the tee, only because I like a t-shirt on the loose side.

My overall opinion of the Curve range is that M&S have succeeded in staying true to what they are best known for which is high quality staple pieces that can be worn in all circumstances.  They have not sacrificed anything in their designs, they have created garments that showcase our figures as well day to day basics, offering a whole range outfits which give you the calibre of clothing that you expect from M&S as well as on trend pieces that have been carefully designed with the insight of over 2,000 plus size women.

Small touches like the jersey panels on the faux leather jacket and shirts that don't gape with their "no-peep" button technology all really show that they took the little things into consideration. Many people in the blogger sphere have dubbed the collection as drab and sack-like, this is simply not true. The collection is true to it's word, it caters to its market.  Some women don't have the confidence to rock fully fitted dresses and they are looking for things that "flatter" their figures, others prefer to flaunt what they got - there's something for everyone here.  Let's be honest, on a day to day basis we all need good quality staples, so I would be far more inclined to check out M&S and pay a little extra for decent pieces that are durable rather than scrimp on the pennies and get something of a lesser quality. 

In short I thoroughly recommend you check out the collection. You always get a better idea of how a garment will look when you actually try it on, so get yourself in store and try some pieces on, then take a tonne of pics and tag me in it cos I bet you will look damn fabulous in them!

Why don't you try some of these for a start?

Shop the CURVE collection

 The review above is based on my own opinions of the products.  
Photos by QR Photography


#BeTheBlogger ~ the highlights of my year with Yours Clothing

Working so closely with Yours Clothing over the last year has been so much fun. It has allowed me to grow as a blogger, whilst learning about collaborating with a large brand. The experience has been challenging but also incredibly rewarding too. My content has improved, my engagement has increased and I have developed a routine of blogging regularly. 

The last 12 months have flown by from my first post and looking back over my year brings back some fond memories.

Pink Infusion 

The best thing by far has been the friends I have made throughout the experience. Working alongside Gloria, Laura, Charl and Violet has been such an amazing experience. I have learnt so much from each of them, which has helped me fine tune my own blogging style. These women are powerful, independent women with oodles of sass and style and I have spent so much of the year being in awe of the fabulous content they have produced. Spending time with them and getting to know them more at meet-ups and other social events has made me realise that these women are not just the #YoursDreamTeam but they are now girlfriends. Women who I can not only share my highs and lows with but also women who inspire me to think outside the box and broaden my horizons. I am so grateful that we were all given this opportunity together as I have found friends for life in you.

I have had challenging tasks which forced me to think outside the box, improve my photo content and in some ways change the way I blog.  I do feel this experience has really helped me develop.
My fave outfit by far was this ensemble. The shirt and crop top were from the Limited Collection, which in my opinion is like Yours Clothing's cooler, younger sister. The LC offers the freshest trends and whenever I did my monthly Yours haul I always made sure I picked a few pieces from the collection.

I loved this meet up the most. We took a trip to The Botanist in Sheffield.  We ate some delish food, sampled the cocktails in this botanical oasis. We totally took advantage of the surroundings making sure we got loads of insta worthy imagery!

I was so lucky to have been involved with the #TakeThePledge campaign with Laura and Hollie. Have you taken the pledge yet?

My fave experience by far was heading up to Yours HQ for a blogger photoshoot where we shot images for the website and even got to shoot a spooky Halloween look too.

Plus seeing my face on the Loose Women Ad every day was the perfect swan song.

The year has been a tonne of fun and I'm actually gutted that it has come to an end. I hope to continue to work with Yours in the future as one of their official brand ambassadors.

I want to thank Yours Clothing for the fabulous opportunity and I cannot wait to see what else 2018 has for me in the Blogosphere!
Thank you to all of you for the support over the last year, I couldn't have done it without you.
So for the last time....
Peace out xx

 The review above is based on my own opinions of the products.  Written in collaboration with Yours Clothing UK as part of #BETHEBLOGGER


Get your Sexy on with Yours Clothing

With Valentine's Day round the corner, there is SO much gorgeous lingerie on the shelves.  

I personally don't think you should reserve your sexiness for one day of the year, I say unleash your inner kitten all year round. I love finding little lingerie sets which make me feel amazing. A matching set can really improve my mood and the right undies are the foundation of any awesome outfit.

I scoured the Yours website for the most delectable sets for you guys to feast your eyes on.
Shop this set: Bra // Knickers

This first set, I wore for the recent #TakeThePledge campaign.  The floral print against the black offers a slice of girly charm whilst the cut of the bra offers fabulous cleavage whilst still maintaining a decent amount of support.

The next set is a pretty little red & black lace combo that I have fallen in love with and I cannot wait to buy it.  Lace undies are a fave of mine and I would love to team this as suspender belt and black stockings to amp up the sass.
Shop this Set: Bra // Knickers
The next set is my ultimate fave.  The floral print instantly caught my eye.  The print is the same as the black floral set I showed you earlier, but the red makes it look striking.

Shop this Set: Bra // Knickers
I threw on a pair of stockings and some heels just for you ;)

Oh I do love lingerie!  

Whatever your lingerie needs - don't forget to check out the selection at Yours Clothing, I'm sure you will find something to tickle your fancy 


Written in collaboration with Yours Clothing UK as part of #BETHEBLOGGER

Photos by QR Photography

Happy Birthday Mumma ~ with Yours Clothing

Mama loves clothes just as much as I do, back in the day she was quite the trail blazer fashion wise, I mean just look at her... She was a proper hottie! I need that white ensemble in my life!

When her birthday rolls around I often buy her bits to wear mainly cos after this many years of birthdays I cannot keep buying her household appliances that she will never use and I will only end up stealing and using myself!

My Mama isn't as able bodied as she used to be, she suffers from many illnesses and as a result she is practically bed bound and uses a wheelchair.  Over the years her body shape and size has fluctuated.  She is currently wears clothes ranging from a size 28 to a 32 depending on shops and styles.

I gave her a little mini make-over to boost her mood and as she was all dolled up with no where to go, I made her throw on the two tops I got her for her birthday recently so I could take some snaps to share with you.

Mama is conscious of her tummy and prefers a longer top which covers her bum and tum.  Despite me banging on about embracing your body, I would never force her to wear something fitted as she would never be comfortable in it.  So I opted for two long-line tops which are cut differently but are both long enough to conceal the areas which she is conscious of whilst providing a flattering cut for her apple body shape.

Shop Judy's top
We got this top in a size 30-32. My mum is 5 ft 6" and this top falls below the knee on her. It was a tad see through so we whacked a black cami underneath as she was wearing a white bra.  The material is a fine knit and it has a purple metallic sparkle to it.  She teamed it with a pair of black leggings, a pair of silver chunky heels and a silver necklace.
Shop Judy's Top
The next top was Mum's fave, she preferred the cut and feel of this top but wished it was a little less wide across the shoulder width as it tended to fall slightly off the shoulder. We got this in a size 30-32, we could have probably sized down one in this top to stop the shoulder dropping but it may have been a little too fitted for her liking on the tummy.
Shop Judy's Top
The ombre effect she found really flattering and loved the colour and embellishment offering a little sparkle.

Mum loves shopping with Yours Clothing, she usually goes for long tops and is rarely disappointed with her purchases. She loves the variety available and how versatile the clothing is that someone who is older can wear trendy garments like this and not look out of place.

I think you look smashing Mama, Happy Birthday xx


Written in collaboration with Yours Clothing UK as part of #BETHEBLOGGER

Photos by QR Photography

Why I choose to move - Collab with JD Williams

The whole "New year New Me" thing just doesn't work for me.  I see the perks of choosing the start of the new calendar year to be the time to embark on something new but in my opinion that should not be the catalyst to shed any weight you may have put on over the festive period or to begin any drastic fad diets or to set yourself unacheivable goals that you feel you must bust a gut to attain, simply because society tells you that the way you are is not good enough in some way.

I don't make resolutions, I set myself goals.  Goals that I know will positively change my life in some way.  Goals that I can control and achieve. Goals that make me feel better about myself.

This year I set myself a list of goals which I will be posting all about soon but for now we are gonna talk about the two that I am most excited about.

- Move more
- Love myself a little more

As you may know I am a BOOSTfit Fitness Instructor.  I am also overweight.  I am strong and able. I love dancing. I exercise because it means I get to dance.  I dance because it makes me happy. The more I dance the more I move. I move more to increase my fitness levels.  I exercise to improve my breathing and endurance. I do not move to lose weight.  I don't exercise to lose weight. I enjoy moving my body.  I love my body. I like seeing my body changing and becoming stronger. I am not the picture of perfect health, but I am not unhealthy. You cannot judge my health by looking at my photo.
Shop this T-shirt from JD Williams
 The two goals I have set require a level of commitment to maintain, they are both life choices. Choices which will in fact be boosting my own happiness and in turn helping me listen to my body and learning to love it a little more. Allowing myself to care more about the fabulous vessel that I inhabit and to care more for my mental well-being by choosing happiness overall.  

To move more I have chosen to increase the amount of times I go to class whenever I can.  I plan to also increase the intensity of my workouts when I do.  Not drastically, just take things a little higher, dig a little deeper, jump a little more and push a little harder.  When one embarks on such a journey and one is a fashion blogger, one should treat themselves to snazzy new active wear. (Hey JD Williams...wake's your time to shine!)

Adidas Sports Leggings
JD Williams made my day when I found out that Adidas sell plus size active wear!  These Adidas Linear Tights are perfect for working out. I got these in a size 20 and they fit like a second skin. I have washed and worn them several times and they have not lost shape nor lost colour or started bobbling. The fit is not restricting and the material is breathable. They kept my legs cool through out classes too.

These leggings have all sold out but they have many other similar styles available online (Shop HERE) and as far as I can see these are available up to a size 24. It's not a full size range but for a straight size fitness brand to recognise the desire from us plus size folk to have stylish and durable active wear and to deliver at an affordable price point, it's progress. Hopefully this will spur more brands to follow suit and also to extend the range to incorporate more sizes.

I love this Pineapple Dance hoodie, it's so warm and comfortable.  Unfortunately this hoodie is now sold out but JD Williams stock other Pineapple active wear some of which goes up to a size 30.  I sized up with this hoodie and went for a size 22 as I like to wear my hoodies nice and oversized.  

Elomi make fantastic sports bras that offer support for larger cup and back sizes.  They are my sports bras of choice. This is a size 38GG keeping me nice and secure for all kinds of movement.
Shop Elomi Energise Sports Bra
There are so many brands available via JD Williams like Glamorise, Panache, Shock Absorber and Freya all catering for both larger cups and back sizes. Make sure you check them out.

I am fully in support of anyone who chooses to lose weight, as long as they are doing it for themselves and not to conform or because others have told them they have to. You have to live your best life. That being said I am fully in support of anyone who chooses to live their lives exactly the way they want to and if that means that they are happy in the skin they are in then that makes me happy just as much.

However you choose to live...whether you choose to move or not. Promise me three things;
  • You will make a conscious effort to love yourself a little more.
  • You will try to believe that you are stronger today than you were yesterday and with hard work and perseverance, tomorrow can be even better.
  • If you choose to move - do it in style and start your active wear shopping with JD Williams


Written in collaboration with JD Williams

Photos by QR Photography
**Special Thanks to Natalie S**