My Miss British Beauty Curve Experience

Taking part in MBBC has changed my life and I don’t mean that in any pathetic or half-arsed way. I honestly mean it.

Let me explain...

There I was a 30 something working mum with pipe dreams of taking part in a national pageant.  I had longed to don’ a sensational gown and take part in something so glam, but I had never thought I was “pageant material.”  I didn't have the right look, I was definitely not the right size or shape or dare I even say colour!?

It was only when I happened across MBBC; a pageant geared towards women size 14+ that I thought I would enter, with nothing to lose.  But at the back of mind I had no hope of ever being accepted. I had almost forgotten that I had entered, so you could imagine my surprise when I received an a email telling me that I had been chosen to compete.

So much to do so little time and I had no idea where to start.  Pageant fees needed to be paid, a small fee but an amount I didn't have to just pay out right away. I was gutted, I wanted to compete so badly but I simply couldn't afford it on my own. Then,  I had a brain many of my friends friends & family had expressed support, could I approach them for sponsorship? A small donation from many could help me collect my fees. I felt like a muppet chasing a dream and asking my loved ones to contribute was scary!  I don't know why I was so worried,  the response to my seemingly odd request was overwhelming.  Many of my friends and family made a small donation, meaning this Cinderella could go to the ball after all.

Now I knew the financial side of the pageant was taken care of I set to work on getting myself out there. I could potentially earn extra points for every public appearance I made wearing my sash & crown.  This may not be easy for many reasons; would they take me seriously? I'm a big girl, so will they assume I am promoting obesity? I'm not exactly 'pageant material' Would my skin colour cause a problem, my town isn't known for being very diverse?   I had nothing to lose by approaching local businesses and asking for their support. I didn't need their financial help as my friends and family had that covered, but I wanted to have the backing of some of   the local trade. I sent each business a personalised email, I approached local newspapers, radio, local event organisers, shops and charities. Many companies blanked me, some politely declined their support, some not so polite.

The first person to accept was our local papers' editor. He offered to meet with me to run a story.   I was nervous meeting Kevin but I had no need to be.  He was a very kind and approachable man and he made me feel at ease. His story was very true to word, which in the press is rather unusual.

Off the back of the story in my local paper, I was approached by Louise of Louise Bunny Hop Dance & Fitness. She felt like my story gelled with her ethos and was interested in discussing sponsorship. Through meeting Louise I was introduced to Susie ofStyled By Susie. Susie, is a personal stylist and she planned to share her styling flair with me and help dress me for the pageant. She became my second sponsor.

I was a guest on local radio station; Ridge Radio for their Coffee & Chat show with Karen & Mims
where we spent 2 hours chatting like old friends about body confidence, modelling and pageant prep.

I took part in various charity events; I did the Tower of London Run, a charity fashion show in aid of St. Catherine's Hospice, a pamper day for SANDS & ARC, I travelled to Dublin to paint cottages for a charity called Barretstown; who run a fun summer camp for children with life threatening illnesses amongst other things.

This was so much fun, my personal brand was growing and I was starting to get really excited about the big day!  Just one little problem...what the hell was I gonna wear!?

I needed 4 outfits; 

  • A red/white/blue dress for the opening number
  • Swimwear 
  • Fashion wear  
  • Evening wear

I needed Styling advice so off Louise, Susie and I went for pageant shopping on Oxford Street. We were given the use of the personal shopping room by the fantastic staff at Simply Be and Susie worked her magic on me. We had chosen my opening dress, fashion wear from Simply Be & shoes from Debenhams in one trip! She's a genius! I was struggling with swimwear, so I asked my bestie Sian to help me.  She pulled out this beautiful bikini from Forever 21 and I looked at her like she'd grown 2 heads; "Me? A bikini? I don't think I'm ready to wear a bikini in public!" If it weren't for Sian reassuring me that I had nothing to lose and the fact that I wanted to push my own boundaries I probably would've chickened out. I had one last evening gown.

I had set myself a high bar.  I wanted my gown to be spectacular and fit the following criteria;

× Bright Colour
× Embellishments/Sparkle
× A train
× Complimentary to my figure without being to figure hugging or overly revealing 

After sampling many dresses from an array of shops from Birmingham to local shops nothing was dazzling me. I wanted the dress to impress me! A few ticked some of the boxes but none suited them all and I was being super picky!

I had begun to feel like all hope was lost when my fellow blogger friend; Tanya of Secret Plus Size Goddess offered to give me a dress that she felt might fit the bill.  She was travelling to London one weekend so we met up briefly so I could pick up the dress.  When I got home I tried it on straight away, Mya's reaction was enough to make the decision for me. She made a sort of squealy sound and jumped up and down clapping her hands with a happy and excitable grin. "That's the dress!" She said! I agreed, it ticked all the boxes and I felt like a million dollars too!!

Shopping complete, I was ready for the event.  I was excited about meeting all the ladies, I had heard fantastic things about the pageant experience with MBBC so was eager for the day to arrive.  

We were to arrive in the morning to the venue for rehearsals and then pageant prep. You're not allowed to bring anyone with you to do hair/make-up on the day, so I made sure I had an idea of how wanted to do my face and hair beforehand and had done a couple of trial runs at home too.  

The other girls in the pageant were all beautiful and vivacious women. Everyone was nervous but with all of us together those nerves were soon forgotten.   We practiced the opening number's choreography  (which was a very simple routine of steps and hand movements - don't be scared) we broke for lunch and then had our photos taken wearing an MBBC t-shirt and done a brief interview with the pageant director; Leah. I was dead nervous for that, she asked a few questions about why I entered and what I wanted from the competition, she's such a beautiful woman, with oodles of confidence. Leah is a former pageant queen herself so knows exactly what it takes to make it in the pageant world.    

Once all the formalities were done, it was time to get ready and the atmosphere behind stage was brimming with excitement. The ladies in the 'Ms' category were so kind and we gelled instantly. There was no drama or hate going on just a whole lotta love and appreciation for each other. I knew that if any of these women won the crown I would be honoured to call them a friend as they would each make fantastic queens.

I didn't get to spend much time with the  ladies from the 'Miss' category but from the time we did get to spend with each other was fun, I wish that we could've spent more time together.    

It was finally party time, each round went smoothly and everything was fantastically organised behind the scenes so that each girl knew where to be and what to do.  The changes between rounds were quick but there were 19 Misses and only 8 Ms' so we had a little more time to change.

My Closet dress from Simply Be - Opening Round
A few of the ladies had noticed that some of the awards had been announced in the programme; Miss/Ms Publicity and Best Application. I was quite honoured to have been awarded Ms Publicity, I'd worked my ass off for the last 6 months promoting both the brand and myself.  The other winners of the pre-announced awards were; Charlotte-Hannah Phillips; Ms Best Application. Emmie-Jade Hargreaves; Miss Best Application and Natalie Gilbert; Miss Publicity.

Each round was set to a fantastic soundtrack hand picked by Leah & Sam (Our Choreographer) each woman was called by contestant number and asked to take to the stage. Every lady though we were petrified, we smiled our biggest smiles and sashayed down the catwalk, trying our hardest to impress the judges and score the biggest crowd cheers.

Photo Credit: Josh Elms Photography (C)

The opening round was a group number and gave us all the chance to work the crowd and introduce ourselves. The second round was fashionwear. I was wearing a floral print jumpsuit pulled in with a black waist belt. A statement necklace, complimented by a splash of colour; a fuschia pink blazer and matching Roberto Cavalli pointed closed toe kitten heels.  This outfit was completely out of my comfort zone, I'd never worn a jumpsuit and when Susie suggested it I really wasn't sure it was me. Plus add that to the complete colour clash between my jumpsuit and blazer, I was nervous and I had to put all my faith in Susie's impeccable talent.
It paid off, I felt super confident stomping down the catwalk to Ed Sheeran's "Sing"
Photo Credit: Josh Elms Photography (C)

Swimwear was simply terrifying, for all of 3 seconds! We were walking to "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj which is quite a woman power tune.  I had planned to cover up Sian's bikini with a Saress (Cross between a Sun dress and a Sarong) and take it off mid walk. Now this proved to be a tad more difficult than I had envisioned, the second strap got caught under my chin and my shimmy for the judges practically choked me but I was determined to not let it phase me, I pranced on with a mega smile (whilst dying inside!)       

The final round; Eveningwear. 

Every lady looked elegant and there were so many beautiful dresses on parade. You could tell that everyone had put in serious effort to find a dress that ticked all boxes. All the gowns were sensational.     

The Ms category walked to Rihanna's "Diamonds" a very apt song; beautiful ladies shining brightly as we showcased our beautiful dresses. There was no lack of sparkle on that stage.
Photo Credit: Josh Elms Photography (C)
We got the chance during the break to go out into the foyer and meet our family and friends. The vibe was buzzing, everyone was so proud and excited about who could win.  After plenty of selfies and we'll wishes we rushed back to our rooms to freshen up once more.

The entertainment took over while we patiently awaited the crowing ceremony.

There were a lot of awards to be won; Miss / Ms Best in Fashionwear, Miss / Ms Best in Swimwear, Miss / Ms Best in Eveningwear, Miss / Ms Congeniality, Miss/Ms Best Interview, Miss/Ms Best Model, Miss / Ms - 1st Runner Up, Miss / Ms - 2nd Runner Up and Miss / Ms British Beauty Curve 2015.

With there being only 8 girls in the Ms category, by my calculations, there were potentially enough awards to allow everyone to get something as all the ladies were so deserving.  Nerves were rising & the excitement was building.

We came on stage in our respective categories and watched four beautiful women, all previous queens from past years, including Emily and Yvonne reigning Miss/Ms, announce the winners...

They gave the awards to the pre-announced winners, so Charlotte & I picked up our placards. I was so proud to have won an award that I had worked so hard for. Charlotte was also awarded Ms Congeniality, I whole - heartedly agree with that choice, she had taken the time to buy each girl a small gift to give out on the day and took the time to get to know each lady. She is always kind and helpful, a true Ms Congeniality.

Photo Credit: Aar De Photography - permission to use given by Charlotte-Hannah Phillips (pictured)
Me & Stephanie
Ms Best Interview went to Stephanie Juliet Jaziri. Stephanie is a fantastic woman and she is always so confident and smiley, it's no wonder she won this award.
Tracey being crowned :)

Ms 2nd Runner Up was given to Tracey Haynes. She was so confident on stage full of life and daring in her beautiful outfit choices, so happy for her, totally deserved. 

Kim in her evening wear

Ms 1st Runner Up was given to Kim Ireland. Kim is gorgeous and she had in my opinion the prettiest dress of the night. She rocked the swimwear section, such a proud moment seeing her confidently take the stage even though she was so nervous behind the scenes.

Aisha in her evening gown
Ms Best Model went to Aisha Namurach. Aisha is a beautiful soul, she is such a kind lady with exceptional beauty. She totally stormed the fashion wear round in her handmade sequin jacket and catsuit.

Hearing my name being called to win Ms Publicity was more than enough, so to hear it called again for, Ms Best in Fashionwear, Swimwear and Eveningwear, broke me...I couldn't believe it, tears streaming down my face I was simply speechless.  I instantly felt a pang of guilt though, all these women in my category deserved to win too.  When they announced that I had also won the crown, I felt weak in the knees. Are they sure? Has there not been a mix up?  I walked forward to receive my sash and to be crowned by Yvonne. I was filled with pride, but not only for myself but for the other 7 ladies who shared the stage with me, I turned to them and gestured for more applause for all of them, this crown was for all of us really, we all deserved it.

Photo Credit - Josh Elms Phtography
They announced the winners of the Miss category next and those awards went to;
Left - Right (Top) Emmie, Shirin, Lori
Left - Right (Bottom) Natalie, Rebecca & Emma

Miss Congeniality; Shirin Arabpour
Miss Best Application; Emmie-Jade Hargreaves
Miss 1st Runner Up - Lori Macdonald
Miss 2nd Runner Up - Natalie Gilbert
Miss Best Interview - Rebecca Argent
Miss Best Model - Rebecca Argent
Miss Best in Fashionwear - Natalie Gilbert
Miss Best in Swimwear - Emma King
Miss Best in Eveningwear - Lori Macdonald
Miss British Beauty Curve 2015 - Rebecca Argent

Every single one of these women exude poise, beauty and elegance. They are kind and inspirational women who empower women around them.

Taking part in MBBC was the best risk I have ever taken for many reasons; my confidence has grown tenfold by being surrounded by strong, confident and like minded women who inspire me daily.  I have made fantastic friends and hold so many memories. I won some fantastic prizes including my crown and sash, a Michael Kors tote bag, a pair of GHD curlers, goodies from Lisser Moi, Fake Bake and jewellery amongst other things. I have a title which I can use to inspire others to follow their dreams. What I think is cool is that many previous contestants re-apply, mainly because the experience is second to none.

If you are debating whether pageants are for you or if you should take part, my one piece of advice is...DO IT! You will not regret it!  The experience is heavily dependant on what you put into it, it can be everything you've ever dreamed if you let it.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment - I'd love to help you on your journey....

Applications are still being reviewed  >>>>  ENTER HERE


Wiggle Vs Flare - A Collectif *Review*

Vintage style clothing has never been my thing, that was until I tried these two sensational dresses from +Collectif Clothing.

I had always shied away from pin up styles & victory rolls as I always felt they suited a particular type of lady and I wasn't sure if I could pull it off.  I had admired the other plus size pin up beauties in my circle of friends and secretly longed to give it a whirl.  So when +Collectif Clothing gave me the chance to compare two different styles of dresses from their AW15 collection, I jumped at the chance to step outside of my comfort zone, donne these gorgeous dresses and be something different for a day.

The black number is the Penny "Flare" Dress.  This retails at £50 and can be purchased online via the Collectif website here.  They advertise that this ranges from a size 6 to a 22.

Both dresses are a size 18.

The Red dress is the Mel "Wiggle" Pencil Dress.  This retails at £40 and again this can be purchased online here.  This dress is also advertised as ranging from a size 6 to a 22.

Both dresses seem to be made of a stretchy fabric.  As per the website's description they are made of 50% Polyester, 30% Nylon, 17% Cotton, 3% Spandex.  This gives a little but both dresses run true to size. 

The "Wiggle" cut is made to fit snug, it's a figure hugging dress but the fabric makes it rather forgiving as it smooths over any lumps & bumps creating a perfect hourglass silhouette. 

The "Flare" does exactly what it says on the tin.  It's designed to accentuate the bust and flare out at the hips to create the perfect vintage style swing skirt.

The plunging neckline on the "Wiggle" is not too low but it shows just enough cleavage to make a statement.

The sweetheart neckline on the "Flare" gives fantastic cleavage too and the cross over halter neck strap is secured with two hook closures.  The halter could be a little looser in my opinion, it was quite restrictive.

How do these dresses make me feel?

The red dress makes me feel sexy and powerful.  A proper "Siren" style dress. I feel confident and fierce.

The black dress makes me feel sexy too but in a cutesy kinda way. It's a girly and fun dress whereas the red dress makes me feel like a woman on a mission!

Would I recommend these dresses?

YES YES YES!  The fabric & cut is so flattering.  The colour of the red is vibrant and the black could make for the perfect Christmas party little black dress!

You can shop the entire Autumn/Winter collection on their website.  I have been eyeing up their coats since they launched the line.  Make sure you check it out.

Hair & MUA: Kat Henry & Mya Henry
Photographer: QR Photography

These products were sent to me for review purposes.  The review above is based on my own opinion of the product and I own all creative content of this post.

My Scarlett & Jo competition win & trip to Home House

Back in April I won a #selfie competition run by +Scarlett Jo to win a luxury night's stay for 2 at the swanky member's only venue Home House in London.  To be totally honest looking at some of the other entries in the competition, I didn't think I stood any chance of winning. So when another fellow blogger reached out to me on FB to say congratulations for winning, I was very much like "oh I didn't win...I just entered" thinking there must be some misunderstanding.  I did a little google search and happened across Scarlett & Jo's blog announcing the winner - you can read it here

I was beside myself - I had admired S&J clothing from afar for sometime but had never had the confidence to try anything on for fear of it not suiting me.  It was only when I went to my first PS Bloggers event in Birmingham when we stormed Evans (you can read all about that here) that  I found the balls to try on these two dresses whilst in the company of other plus size babes.

I got in touch with Gifi Fields the brains behind the brand, and we arranged to meet for cocktails at Home House.  I instantly warmed to Gifi,  he is a very intelligent man and oozes charisma and a passion and drive for the industry that I admire.  He took the time to really explain some of the ins & outs of the fashion world and told many a story of his experiences. I was in awe and he has the most infectious laugh.  

Following my drinks with Gifi - I organised my date to go back to Home House for my overnight stay.

My other half Andy & I turned up at Home House on 30th May after a heavy night the night before. Andy had been DJ'ing so we had not got home until the early hours of the morning.  We needed some serious R&R.

The staff at Home House welcomed us with open arms and were fabulous hosts.  We were shown to our suite; a feature room named after "Lady Susan Thorpe"

We were greeted by a beautiful glass of champagne.

We took the time to relax & get ready for dinner at our leisure, Andy watched a little bit of football whilst I pottered around getting glammed up!

I had chosen to wear this gorgeous floral bodycon +AX Paris dress from +Simply Be 
I felt like a million dollars - this dress instantly became my fave dress, it really accentuated my curves & Andy approved #winning <3

We started with a few cocktails in the bar & followed by a delicious Thai meal in the hotel's restaurant.

Even though the Hotel has it's very own exclusive members only club which stays open till 3am, we were both shattered so retired to our room.

We had done a bit of research on the venue before hand and I have always wanted to take some lingerie shots, I feel most comfortable around Andy, so we seized the opportunity to use the ornate surroundings of the suite to do a pop-up boudoir shoot.

Take a look at some of the photos...

I am ever so grateful to Gifi & the S&J team for picking me to win such an amazing prize, I loved Home House and would jump at the chance to return one day.
You can take a look at Home House yourself here I would thoroughly recommend it for a night's stay. It's pricey but 10,000 x worth it!


Miss Plus Size UK - Behind the Camera

Miss Plus Size UK took place in the fabulous venue; The Mercure Hotel in Manchester on 19th September 2015.

I attended in the capacity of a photographer/blogger, so I had the luxury of experiencing the excitement behind the scenes as well as the anticipation of the audience as they eagerly awaited the announcements of who would be crowned Miss Plus Size UK 2015.

Backstage the vibe was buzzing, after a few rehearsals the contestants began their transformations from girl next door to beauty queen.  Each girl had her own station and most came armed with a Hairstylist/MUA to help them look fabulous. The room was a mass of glitter, make-up, hairspray & chiffon! I was in pageant heaven!

The ladies donned their fashion wear for the first round; Casual Wear. This was the round for each girl to portray their own style. Some girls wore pin-up style dresses whilst others went for a more casual look with pumps.  This round in my opinion showcased the ladies in their most natural state. The round in which they looked the most comfortable and confident.  Each lady smiled and strutted with pride. There was such a variety in this round; Helen looked relaxed yet stylish in her ripped jeans, converse & Simply Be Tee, whilst Kelly-Marie sauntered down the catwalk in a chic feathered dress from Elvi.

It was so refreshing to see women of all different shapes and sizes portrayed in this pageant. Starting from a size 18, I loved seeing women representing the larger end of plus size, up there flying the flag for all. These ladies did not come across as shy or insecure, these were big personalities; outgoing and confident women.

The swimwear round allowed the ladies to embrace all their curves and show that everybody is beautiful. Some women wore one pieces while others dared to bare more in bikinis. Three ladies stole the swimwear show for me; Leah as she powerfully took to the stage in a beefeater coat and hat along with her risqué swimwear, add to that her awesome dance moves topped off with the splits at the end of the catwalk & she stole my heart! Kim sauntered down the runway in a one shouldered one piece with mesh panelling. She teamed that with a floppy sun hat and killer red heels; she meant business and she looked absolutely banging!! Michelle, hand made her mermaid outfit and you could see that that was extremely proud of her creation and so she should be - it was fantastic!

The final round was evening wear.  This round offered an abundance of glitz and glamour.  Every dress complimented the contestant, accentuating her figure and enhancing her beauty.  Each dress was a show-stopper and each lady beamed as she glided down the runway to a melody of "ooh's" and ahhh's"  There were a few notable gowns which caught my attention;  Roberta opted for an Indian themed sari type dress, in a beautiful shade of green.  This outfit choice was unique and showed Roberta's versatility and ingenuity to step outside of the normal pageant box and try a different style. It was risky but it paid off.  Jo's black gown had a rather unique element, it was quite "Black Swan"esque, complete with black feathers.  She stood out from the crowd with that gown and had a radiant smile to match.

This round also gave the girls the chance to share what being the pageant meant to each of them.  All gave heartfelt answers but Sophie, Elizabeth & Jodie's words touched home.

The whole show was presented by statuesque beauty; Mary-Louise Chandler. She confidently compared the show, never seeming flustered by any last minute changes.  A true professional.  She looked sensational in her hand-made gown courtesy of Gifi Fields of Scarlett & Jo.

The night was complimented by some fabulous entertainment; Blobby Williams (Tony James) No. 1 Robbie Williams tribute act, Amy Mottram (X Factor Contestant - who made it to judges houses in James Arthur's year), Singer, entertainer & sound technician extra-ordinaire; Joey James & Russell Jones (Britain's Got Talent contestant - member of Only Boys Aloud).

The judges on the night; Linda Koch, Mark Singh, Bishamber Das, Nicky Rockets & Maria Bates even with their collective knowledge of what it takes to win a competition of this calibre, still must have found it insanely difficult to chose their winners. I do not envy that job. Every single woman on that stage deserved to win, there were no clear winners in my eyes, any one of those ladies could've landed that crown. I had even asked a few of the crowd & staff in the intervals if they had any favourites and not one person said the same girl. It was anyone's competition!

When the winners were announced emotions ran high, there was a lot of supporters cheering proudly for their girls. 

When it was announced that Jodie's Folley had won the title of Miss Plus Size United Kingdom, one side of the stage erupted, her family were ecstatic. The pride was palpable and you couldn't help get warm fuzzy feelings inside when her son clambered up on stage to hug his mama. I'd wager there wasn't a dry eye in the house

So proud of Jodie for winning - she looked sensational and is gonna make one hell of a queen xx

The other awards went to;

1st Runner Up - Sophie Wilson
2nd Runner Up & Miss Personality 2015 - Jo Frost
3rd Place - Leah Deacon
4th Place - Elizabeth Bowman
Miss Photogenic & Miss Congeniality - Roberta Wilson

The red carpet paved the way for some amazing displays of plus size fashion. Here we have (Top L-R; Sian, Helena & Laura and Bottom L-R; Bishamber, myself & Chiara)

You can see a full round up of all the photos taken by PK Photography (c) below
All in all I had a fantastic evening and I would urge anyone who thinks that they would be interested in taking part to get in contact with Miss Plus Size UK -  They will be accepting applications for Miss Plus Size United Kingdom 2016 from late October.  You can email them at for more info.