Diary Entry: Sunday 30th December

Hello Sunday - I officially dub thee #SelfCareSunday. 

I am in serious need of some decent pampering.  When money isn't an issue, my ideal type of R&R is a spa trip complete with massage, facial and pedicure.  Right now - I just do not have the funds to accommodate my expensive pastime so I have found a way to bring the spa to me!
First up; a hot bubble bath with a cup of Epsom Salts & Radox - Muscle Soak. I lit the candles (even the flameless ones and relaxed into the suds with a Spotify meditation playlist.
I gave myself a mini-facial. I always start with an exfoliant; Goldfaden MD Doctor's Scrub.  This little pot of heaven is one of the most expensive skincare products I own, but it is worth it's weight in gold as it has really rejuvenated my tired and dull complexion.  I have quite severe acne scarring and hyper-pigmentation and over the years I have tried hundreds of products in an attempt to clear my skin.  This product was originally recommended by my bestie Sian, who used to work at top beauty chain Space:NK and I am eternally grateful for the recommendation; my wallet however does not agree!  This 100ml container will set you back £65.00 daylight robbery - I know!  My first bottle was kindly gifted to me by Sian and at the time, I had no idea of the hefty price tag. I always knew it would be expensive, but not quite that much.  I was so impressed with the results that I haven't thought twice about paying for a new pot. 
Today I trialled a 7th Heaven Manuka Honey facemask which was meant to be a peeling mask.  I had seen people raving about these masks all over the net, so I was really keen to try it but I'm sad to say it didn't work for me.  The mask smelt heavily of honey, a scent that I am not that keen on and even though I set my timer for 25 mins to allow it to dry, it did not peel off.  I ended up having to scrub it off my face.
After patting my face dry with a clean towel, Yes pat, not wipe I spritzed my face in my second fave product; Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist.  This is yet another product which since Sian recommended it, I have been hooked.  This is another quite pricey product for something that is basically water but again I have found that this really gives my skin an instant hydration boost.  You can buy Jurlique products direct from them or through many online retailers. This little 50ml bottle is perfect for travel (as it's under 100ml) and it will set you back between £14-20 depending on retailer.
I finish off my facial with a botanical day cream from my favourite product brand; Garnier UK.  I use the Natural Rose Water Moisturiser for Sensitive Skin to massage some life back into my face leaving it feeling supple and revitalised.
Just like my skincare, I am very picky about my shampoo/conditioners, I once tried to follow the Curly Girl method, but I am both lazy and like to style my curls with heat products far too often, so I never stuck to it.  I do however always look for products with no sulphates, silicone or parabens.  I rarely stray from my fave brand with shampoo/conditioner.  I use their Ultimate Blends range for both, I have trialled many of the scents but always favour the ones with coconut in.  My fave combo is the Argan & Camelia Oils shampoo & conditioner, but it is so hard to find in stores these days!  I do still "plop" my hair when I am opting for my natural curls.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to straighten my hair so I didn't apply any product before plopping, I just wrapped in an old t-shirt rather than towel drying which really drys out my curls and causes unnecessary frizz. One curl clearly didn't get the plopping memo!!
Body lotion is a MUST in my world. My skin is usually quite dry, so when I found Garnier's Hydralock body lotion, I knew I would never use another body cream again.  Unfortunately, many shops have stopped stocking this product which makes me so sad, so I have to order it only and sometimes finding it can be quite tricky, I will persevere though cos this lotion is THE best body lotion I have ever tried, it doesn't leave your skin feeling dry even when it has fully absorbed, it really does lock in the moisture!
I finish off my self care ritual by sticking on my AromaWorks Electric Diffuser which I bought myself as my birthday treat. I adore the lemongrass essential oil scent, so I add a few drops to the water and bask in the relaxing smell.
What do you use to wind down, relax? Or what are your steps to self care?

I feel all pampered and ready to conquer the week ahead.
Nite nite world


Diary Entry: Saturday 29th December

Apologies, I have been rather waylaid today.  I have thoroughly #Hinched my bathroom, blitz my living room and did a deep clean on my bedroom. I have been a very very busy Kitty.

I am pooped - I'm pretty sure that if I were not fighting an infection I would have cleaned at a much faster speed, but I didn't rush; I took my time, took regular chocolate breaks and managed to conquer some major chunks of my to-do list. Well done you.

I didn't want to enter into a new year living in squalor and holding onto useless shit that I have neither looked at nor needed over the last 12 months.  A deep cleanse is good for the soul.

I threw away all the half used products that were cluttering my bath sides, I got under my bed and sorted through all my handbags, got a tonne of bags and odds & sods to take over to a charity shop tomorrow. I dragged every item of clothing in my wardrobe out to sort and refold to make space for my Spring '19 wardrobe.

I plan to give myself ONE task to tackle each non-working day to keep me busy until I am back to work full time;

  • I need to finish listing my mountain of clothes on Vinted.
  • I need to sort my coats & jackets cupboard - donate or sell what I am not using.
  • I have a pile of clothing that needs to be shot/blogged
  • I have over 180GB of images to sort through and rehouse appropriately.
  • I need to learn the new BOOST tracks and record them.
  • I need to finish choreographing my five new tracks, to send to Lou for her approval.
  • I need to pick 2 hours worth of music for my first show back at Ridge Radio (in our new location)

I am sure there are more jobs - but these are the ones that spring to mind immediately.

One job a day is a SMART goal. It is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based.  Oh won't Vanessa (my therapist) be proud of me!

Small Child has a lift home from her party so for now - I'm off to eat a Sloppy Giuseppe, take a HOT bath and relax in my lovely clean flat.  All is right in the world.


On Wednesday's We Wear #PinkClove

This Candy Cane invite from Pink Clove UK had me gagging from the second I unwrapped it.

Of course I would attend their Pre Christmas Meal - I mean c'mon was there ever gonna be a reality where I declined this invite!?

The not-so subtle #MeanGirls tag lines reeled me in hook, line & sinker.  #YouCANSitWithUs and #OnWednesdaysWeWearPinkClove were just genius!

The invite even said "A Candy Cane for you and none for Gretchen Weiners...Bye" 

The dress code was #FETCH - so I just had to find myself the most #MeanGirlsesque outfit to make sure I was living my "Plastics" fantasy!

I found the cutest little check skirt from Pink Clove which is currently reduced in the sale down to just £10.99. You can grab it here. I teamed it with a blush coloured sweater and fluffy pink heels. 

We all arrived at the plush lunch venue in time for cocktails.  Rosso was decked in crisp white, silver and gold Christmas decorations in preparation for the festive season. It looked so pretty, I wished I could take pics all over this venue - but when it's crammed and people are there to eat and be merry it's not really appropriate to hold a mini photo-shoot (please - who am I kidding, like that stopped us!)

I asked the bartender to make me a sweet daiquri. Many people assume you want a frozen strawberry one, don't get me wrong I love that drink, but I fancied a straight. It didn't disappoint, it was made to perfection.

After a short delay we were seated at our table complete with crackers and a delectable menu.  Aww we even had place names and gift bags - the PinkClove Team have really pulled out all the stops.

All the other ladies had ordered this stunning little number. When I saw it had candy floss in it - I had to try it. You guys know I adore candy floss.  The "Hed Kandi" is originally made with Vodka, now as you guys may not know, I am allergic to Vodka. No I don't mean like, drink too many and it makes me sick, I mean full anaphylaxis - hives, throat closure, stomach pumped, full allergic reaction, so I asked the bartender to sub the vodka out and replace with some other spirit that would compliment the flavours.  He rolled with white rum - works for me. The drink was delish and I cannot recommend it enough.

Dinner was divine. Each course was cooked to perfection and well presented.  Portion sizes were perfect for me. The sign of a good feed is a well sated Kat.

I started with the Zuppa Di Porri - a creamed leek, parsnip & potato soup with crispy onions. Such a delicious fusion of flavours. Would have loved a bread roll to accompany it, but hey!

For mains I chose the Porchetta Arrosto - Slow roasted pork belly with chestnut mash and spiced
apple & mustard chutney. One word - WOW! It was cooked just right, even the crackling was tasty and I am not usually a crackling fan.  All the flavours gave just the right amount of Christmas zing.  It was truly a tasty dish.

Afters was a trio of bitesize desserts. Trionfo Di Dolce Alla Rosso - Spiced clementine & mincemeat trifle slice, Panettone dark chocolate truffle and Earl grey infused sticky toffee pudding. I didn't want that little plate of goodness to end, it was utterly to die for - especially that trifle slice!

After feeding it was time to mingle with the other babes, leaving plenty of time for selfies, Mean Girls trivia and quick fire Christmas questions.

Cracker time deffo called for Christmas Crowns - PINK of course! 

I had only met Ami beforehand so meeting the other ladies was a real treat. I had followed Laurie, Kayleigh and Joey on Instagram for a while so I was a tad starstruck and meeting Harry and Sophie really made my day. These ladies are such bad ass babes and I had a blast with them and the Pink Ladies. 
I want to extend a huge thank you from all of us to the #PinkLadies of PinkCloveUK for thinking of every little detail to make this day out so special.

I had the best time.

Merry Christmas Y'all


Diary Entry; Friday 28th December

Some days just do not go to plan. FACT. The real test is more about how you deal with that statement.

Yesterday I didn't do anything on my to-do list... not one thing.

It got to around 3pm and I figured that I needed daylight to do many of the tasks and seeing as the sun was due to set in less than an hour, I unwillingly accepted defeat.

Well done Kat, failed at life...again.

I retired to my couch in my Mickey Mouse Pjs, using my fluffy new throw to block out the world, while I ate far too much pâté and binge-watched season three of How To Get Away With Murder.

Keeping my mind busy while negative thoughts at present is easier said than done.  I couldn't shake the feeling that I had really let myself down, wasted precious time and let my negativity win. I found myself feeling really low, despondent and frustrated in myself.

I find that it's really easy to let those kind of thoughts win in scenarios like this. Especially at times when I am struggling with rationalising my thoughts and balancing my moods. In my rational mind (when I am not struggling) I can usually accept that some things just do not go to plan, accept that I am not a failure and plan to tackle my jobs on another day without beating myself up about it. The reality is that at the moment, I am struggling. There is no shame in that. I am not rationalising my negative thoughts very well at all.

I have recently started my second course of CBT to help me cope with my depression & anxiety.  CBT really helped me back in 2012 when I hit my lowest ebb, so I was keen to see if it could help again. I am pleased to say that I think it really does help me. I get that it may not suit everyone but for me I find it extremely cathartic to be able to talk to someone completely impartial.  Talking to friends and family is sometimes just not as helpful as it may seem. I often find that talking to friends can actually result in me slipping into the role of the listener. That's not a bad thing at all, friendship is meant to be a two way street so I am happy to be the listening ear if a friend needs me. However talking to my therapist is different.  She just listens, without knowing the people involved or being present in the situations she is able to offer advice and support without prejudice or opinion which helps me rationalise the situation myself.

So using some of the tools that I learnt in CBT I managed to dig myself out of my funk. I figured that I could make a plan to tackle the jobs tomorrow (today).

I planned to get up nice and early... Check!
I planned to write today's entry.... Check!
I planned to try my hardest to do at least one job on my list... not just yet. It is early still. I have the whole day ahead of me and I am feeling good.

How do you guys rationalise negative thoughts?


Diary Entry; Thursday 27th December

Morning All,

Woke up with warm winter sun rays beating through my curtains, shining uneccessarily brightly in my tired eyes. Pretty sure my eyes are glued shut from all the nasty excess eyegunk that seems to accumulate when you're full of cold, but I can feel the rays nonetheless. It's morning...yay! *said with sarcasm* I'm still tired and I feel like a truck has bulldozed me in the night. I fight all urges to roll over and return to the land of nod. Bed sooo comfy and warm...outside mean and cold...

Get up Kat

No one else is awake. Small Child in true Kevin & Perry form is fast asleep and will only surface with the smell of bacon or the promise of McDonald's breakfast. The Boy is  stirring...he won't wanna wake up just yet. No need, he's still full of cold too thanks to "Sicky Vicky" (Small Child) who shared her lurgie with us all. Sharing a cold is not caring guys, FYI.

Poxy work phone is now making noises and The Boy stirs with every one. I reach over turn it onto mute. Less than 2 mins later the same inanimate object is yet again making noises. I just put u on mute...literally just 2 minutes ago why are u still making noise?

It's clearly some notification that bypasses the mute override function, meh I hate Apple products. On Android it does what it's told. Silent means SILENT. Stupid poxy work phone. I miss my BlackBerry. 

Oh man I hear the dustbin men clambering around outside. I'm pretty sure I haven't taken my food bin downstairs. What week is it? Is it black bin day or recycling day? What even day is it? Isn't it bin day Tuesday, I swear today is Thursday?!  Sod it, I ain't rushing around trying to catch the bin men, did I mention it's cold outside?? The bins won't die if they miss one rotation. I hope Mum No. 2 has done us a solid and took it down for us cos that bin reaks when it ain't emptied. *Mum No. 2 is my M.I.L, she lives in the same block of flats just the floor above us* Still not important enough to drag my arse outta bed to check. I will have to trust in good faith that she has.

Today's plan; Get up, Grab some brekkie and attack my list of jobs with a new found purpose. Who made this stupid plan? Lazing in bed sounds like a far more appealing option.
Urgh get thee behind me Satan, thou shalt not prevail today! I will get up...maybe not just yet...but I will at least make the effort to check one thing off my to-do list.

What time is it? Rah it's 10am already...No time like the present eh?

Wish me luck!!

I woke up like this *literally*!!


Start as you mean to go on...

As a child I religiously kept a diary. I wrote in it all my deepest fears, thoughts, secrets and documented my life in great detail. When times evolved, my diary became my LiveJournal, then a MySpace then my MSN live page and eventually I joined the book of faces rendering my diary useless.

In 2019, I want to get back into old habits. I want to use my blog to be more present in my day to day life, instead of just for the occasional post about clothing or products. I want to reconnect. Not only to myself but to you guys. I want to get to know you and in return I hope you will enjoy getting to know me.

2019 will be a busy year, I plan to travel lots, get back some semblance of normality and I want you guys to enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly with me.

I want to use this year to grow, in so many ways...hang on I have just scratched my forearm on a broken Thai Sweet Chilli crisp that I clearly dropped on my tummy earlier (don't judge me I'm lying here in the dark writing this to you...I totally just ate the culprit too. #wastenotwantnot). Apologies, I digress...I was talking about growth. I have had a hellish end to 2018 and I am ready to attack 2019 with gusto. Ewww there are crisp crumbs in my neck rolls, I would eat them too but they are mixed with Vicks vapour rub, so I will just leave those right there.

I'm not gonna make any grandiose resolutions which I know full well I won't keep but I will make a promise to myself to practice more self care and love so that I can get back to running on full steam but whilst I do that I need to look after my mental health too. I have taken a proper beating this year. I have been the lowest I have felt in a long long time and we all know that going back to Kat circa. 2012 would never end well.

Let's sum up my year just for those who don't know me well enough or those fake watcher types who just lurk in your "friends" list for shady, snakey purposes...

• Jan 2018 to Oct 2018 - I spent a great deal of the year being everywhere. I was crowned Ms International Curve in Oct 2017, so throughout my reigning year, I wanted to promote the pageant system in every possible way I could. I attended over 60 events, from red carpet to charity work. I literally threw my heart and soul into EVERY opportunity, I do not regret one second of it. I wish I could do it all over again.

• I took part in a campaign with Yours Clothing; #TakeThePledge where, Hollie of Pretty Big Butterflies, Laura of What Laura Loves and I stripped down to our pretty undies to be sketched live by some extremely talented artists.

•  I literally bore all in a daring interview for BBC Three called The Naked Truth. You guessed right...I was NAKED and no I don't mean like implied nudity, I was as starkers as the day I was born...in front of the world.  It was quite a liberating experience, not gonna lie! If you haven't seen the show it's still available on YouTube so take a little look-see down below;

• As a result of the BBC Three documentary, I went on daytime TV to talk about it with two of my co-hosts, Jo & Sophie. We met Eammon & Ruth on ITV's This Morning.  If you missed it you can watch our interview right here. We also were interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live.

• I was extremely lucky to be able to model for some amazing brands like Yours Clothing, Viva Voluptuous and Sierra Blu Fashion. I took part in catwalk fashion shows and I even hosted the Ms Curvaceous UK grand finals.

• I stripped down once again and then rolled my fat ass in gold glitter paint and frolicked through the fields with other glittery fat babes for #VivaGlitter 

• I launched my own project called "The Yes I Can Initiative".  Due to ill health the project had to be halted mid launch - but this will resume once I am back on my feet.

• I took on my own segment at local radio station Ridge Radio. 

• Towards the end of Oct 18 my health took a nosedive. I have lived with auto immune diseases for many years and my immune system gave up on me and as a result my body has really suffered this year. I'm not gonna go into detail regarding my health in this post because I'm gonna do a separate one about that soon as I feel that it deserves its own time to shine!

So as you can see I have been blessed with some amazing highs (although there seems to be a recurring naked theme going on here) but I have also struggled through some really harrowing events. Most of which none of you will know about. That's not because I haven't told anyone but because I am such a busy person and I do everything with a smile on my face, people assume everything is gravy! Truth is...what goes on behind the scenes is not always what people show on social media.

One thing you guys will very quickly learn about me is I hate to feel like I am a burden on others. I hate letting people down and as such I often over promise/over commit to my own detriment. I like to be there for others and be the one they can depend on, as a result it often means that I don't have anyone to lean on when I am struggling and this year...when I have needed it most I have found that a lot of the people that I have helped over the years don't have the time to return the sentiment. It's been eye opening to say the least. I've done a lot of soul searching and decluttering both my living spaces, head space and most importantly my friends lists from the toxic "friendships" that I had made along the way.

I have re-prioritised my life goals and made list upon list of what really matters to me and what I literally have zero fks left for in my fk budget!

I am making more time for ME.
I am focusing more on ME and those who matter to ME.
I am doing the things that make ME happy.
I am removing the things from my life that bring ME down.
I am #ReclaimingMyTime 

I would love if you guys would join me on this little adventure called "living" I plan to live my life to the fullest and I'm really looking forward to sharing it with you guys.

Keep in touch x

You Have The Right To Remain Fat: A Manifesto - By Virgie Tovar - Review

What a title! 6 words, so simple yet as a statement it packs such a punch, especially in this judgemental world we live in.  Author; Virgie Tovar hit the nail on the head with this book.

Virgie is an American author, activist and an expert on fat discrimination and body image. She started the hashtag #LoseHateNotWeight which is such an important message to convey. A philosophy to live by if you will.  Virgie stated; "Dieting and obsessive thinking around food and exercise create stress, and stress worsens your mental health as well as your physical, sexual, and spiritual health"  I could not agree more, Society is way too judgemental and we have allowed people to share their negative opinions each other hidden behind a veil of false concern for others health and well-being. The never-ending reminders that FAT is BAD and the constant pressure to conform to societies warped standards have become commonplace and Virgie is here to eradicate that bogus thought process and prove that there is more to life than just dieting to achieve happiness.

The whole book is laden with examples of times when Virgie has been subjected to Fatphobic behaviours.  She tells of her fears and feelings surrounding those circumstances and some of those examples hit all too close to home.  She elaborates on and highlights how detrimental the oppressive pressure of diet culture has altered women's perception of how they view themselves in today's society.  

Virgie considers Fatphobia to be a new language of classism and racism.  She's right; just think of the modern day portrayals of fat folk in films.  Just think about how characters are portrayed for a second, I'll give you an example; Princess Fiona in Shrek, why is the Fiona in her Ogre state portrayed as hideous, fat and grotesque.  Whilst ogres are commonly depicted as hideous creatures, why must they be fat?  Because that is what some people actually feel we look like.  Fat people are undesirable, unloved and not worthy of respect or happiness in life.  We are so often portrayed as clumsy and slow characters on TV or in film and more often than not we are given the funny role, the role that can only be accepted because it brings the "lol's" to the show!  If this is so easily portrayed and so easily visible is it any wonder that children growing up are brainwashed to believe exactly what they are being shown.  Children are sponges. My niece who has grown up around people of all shapes and sizes has started primary school. She came home recently after associating with her peers with new names for people and has now started to associate the word "fat" in a derogatory sense. We tried so hard to raise her to understand that the way people look does not define them and that all bodies are good bodies, but all that hard work has been scuppered by other children who have obviously not been taught the same and their pre-conditioned negative opinions of the word "fat".  Soon diet culture will overcome her tutelage and she will be conditioned to believe that fat people are unwelcome thus fuelling the divide between fat and thin.  We are under-represented as normal humans, just like people of colour, people with disabilities and trans people.

We are pre-judged at every juncture, constantly forced to reinforce our validity in society.

This book is a must read - without giving away too much, I urge you to take the time to read how Virgie articulates with impeccable wit and wisdom the struggles of being a fat woman in society, she speaks of the things that we all feel but cannot put into words.  

Well written, Virgie - I thank you for all your hard work and being the voice for us - the unsung.

Grab yourself a copy of "You Have The Right To Remain Fat: A Manifesto

This book was gifted to me to read - my opinions are my own.

Meet the Young European International Queens - a YEMI Teen London takeover

Hello and welcome to the first blog takeover on 'The World Through Kat's Eyes'. I am Mya, known to many as 'Small Child' but here in Pageant Land, I am your Young European International Teen London.

Today Marks 100 days till the 11th of November where I, along with a group of young women will strap on our Tippy Tops and strut the stage for the chance of winning one of 5 'Young European International' crowns. YEMI is in it's third year, with its finals in Dudley, Birmingham. The 5 winners will then jet off to Texas in June 2019 to compete in 'Young Miss International' with the hopes of bringing back a YMI crown.

I have had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the reigning YEMI queens, giving us the opportunity to get to know them a little bit better. As well as the queens, I also got to interview both the YEMI Director, Jeyanne and the YAMI director, Sabrina.

First up I have Mia, the first Young European International Junior Miss, who was also the first Junior Miss from the UK - at the age of 9 she brought home an international title 'Young American Miss International Supreme Congeniality'

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
I am most proud of organising the collection of lots of goodies for all the kitties at the Cat's Protection, I even had some donations all the way from Mississippi! It also got me nominated for a trailblazer award at the YAMI finals in Texas for my hard work!

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
All of my big sister queens & director Jeyanne have inspired me to work hard &
give it my best shot at everything I do. They have all supported me in my charity work & given me lots of helpful tips & advice for on stage! Then in Texas meeting my director Miss Sabrina & all my sash sisters from across the US inspired me even more to keep trying hard & being the best me I can be!

What is your must have item for pageant day?
On pageant day my must have item is SNACKS! Everyone who knows me knows I like to eat all the time, so I always have a mini backpack filled with dairy free goodies to keep me going through the pageant day!

Any advice for this year's contestants?
My advice for all the YEMI girls this year is to make sure you smile, sparkle & have lots of fun! The finals goes past so quickly so just make sure you give it your best shot & enjoy every minute of it, you will make lots of new friends that way & tje judges like to see people having fun!

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
The most exciting part about competing at YAMI in Texas was...EVERYTHING! I got to spend a whole week with my big sister queens & Jeyanne & we went have a pedicure & I had my make up done. I made tons & tons of new friends who I now have as  penpals & of course I got to wear super sparkly outfits & go on stage.

Next up is Macie; your Teen Queen. After winning the title of 'Young European Miss Teen International' the Welsh Born brought home the International title 'Young American Miss Teen International'

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
My proudest moment during my reign as your Young European International Teen Miss was the crowns and gowns walk in aid of the Ronald McDonald house.

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
The pageant motto aspire to inspire is something in which I’m am able to treasure as an ethos, it has told me to never give up and always be confident. The person who’s inspired me the most on my pageant journey is my biggest fan my Pageant Nan, (Lea-Anne) She inspires me every day and always tells me to never give up or let the crown slip because as of the day you are crowned whether you’re in your crown and sash or PJs you should always act accordingly and try your hardest to represent the system to the best of your ability.

What is your must have item for pageant day?
My must have pageant item is hairspray! I mean what can you do without it? If it weren’t for hairspray I wouldn’t have my big bouncy curls which I fall in love with each time, no matter how many times I have them.

Any advice for this year's contestants?
The best piece of advice I can give to this year’s contestants is always have fun and enjoy yourself because that will make your personality shine on and off stage and you never know who’s watching and when!

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
The most exciting part about competing internationally was the “all glitters gold party” this was a party which allowed us to let our hair down after the competition and dance all night! We had dance offs, raffles and extra crowing moments! Everyone had a ball and it was the most perfect party to end the most amazing competition of the year! It makes me super excited for next year!
Next is Miss Atlanta McBride. She competed in YEMI two years in a row, bagging the 2016 Beauty before representing West Yorkshire and becoming your 'Young European Miss International'. The hard work seemed to pay off for Atlanta and her sass on stage also saw her bring home the 'Young American Miss International' title.

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
Coming from the North of England, I live in a very rural environment in the Yorkshire dales. Yorkshire is well known for its friendly and tight knit community with everybody knowing everyone! I owe my community so much that I can’t quite put it into words, without their support from sponsoring me, to allowing me to hold various charity events my pageant journey would lack some of the best experiences I’ve had. Being awarded the charity gala queen for my community involvement is one of my most prized moments to date. I am so pleased the pageant motto is “aspire to inspire” and that we are judged on our giving and commitment over our exterior beauty. Inner beauty to me has always been the most important aspect of competing and I am glad I found this system as many lacks the ambition to achieve more and get everyone out there and make memories that will last a life time. Community work will always be important to me, so being award my home towns Gala Queen for my hard work in the community whilst being YEMI West Yorkshire, is my proudest moment. Here’s to more memories with my Young American Miss International title.

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
I often get asked who my biggest role model is and why. In pageants it’s often the norm to have that one queen or performer who inspired you to get up on stage and show the world what you’ve got, but I am quite the opposite. In my first ever pageant interview I was asked, “who is your biggest role model, and why?” I believe people are role models for a reason. They’re unique. The main reason any one is a role model is because of what they’ve achieved through multiple platforms. If everyone strived to be that person we would never be a role model ourselves just a mere mirage of someone else footsteps we follow in. To truly be a role model you must break the boundaries and become someone people notice.  The meaning of a role model is, ‘a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated’. I do not aim to imitate, I aim to become a role model, a leader and to set an example not to be a follower of someone who took the courage to go out there and become something. I strive to be a role model by being totally unique and following my own ideas and concepts not only whilst being a title holder but in my everyday life. I have a full-time job whilst being in education and buying my first house and mixing in my pageant life. I give up my time and weekends for others and to be a better me rather than focusing in the chaos of my life, I focus on how lucky I am to have my life compared to those who have nothing and how I can make help. It is important to me to be someone who makes a difference that people can take example from as I pride myself on my community and work ethic. YEMI/YAMI’s ethos is the main reason I joined the system, as it is a platform for me to flourish and showcase my skills to the younger generation and to set an example for people to look up to and say, she Is my role model!

What is your must have item for pageant day?
My must have item would have to be my phone! Even though I love living in the moment I have watched the Young American International Miss pageants live stream every day since I came home! I am enjoying seeing my strengths and weaknesses - a must have for learning in pageants!  When I was in Texas I got to know so many wonderful people who I wanted to have on my social media straight away to connect with and share memories! I took so many photos that my storage warning was permanently on my screen and it was too hard to delete anything, as I loved the moments I had captured. Although having my phone on me is a must have at the best moments, it is always a must have at the harder times, to speak to family members when the self-doubt kicks in before going on stage, or to speak to people about how the pageant is going, I love connecting with people so my phone is my must have for the fun, the best and the difficult times.

Any advice for this year's contestants?
My advice to this year’s contestants is that being a title holder is BIG responsibility as well as their own representation of themselves. Having a title and a platform puts you in a place of power and in the public eye, so the way in which you represent yourself and your system is a huge responsibility. Having a title is a full-time role, the way in which you conduct yourself can affect you and those around you. Setting an example for years to come is something all title holders should do. You should aim to make a positive change or act/movement that will be remembered for years to come that inspired people, after all we all have our own personal favourite title holder that have achieved and inspired us to do more. Being committed to a title is a responsibility that must be up kept with professionalism; the way in which you interact with people offline and online is also very important as well, you must stay true to yourself but stand back from the negativity that comes forward on social media, see your online profile as your personal CV. When thinking of your title as a job you change the way in which you present yourself and your mannerisms which is vital when doing your system justice. I believe that when being a title holder you hold the responsibility of aspiring people that they can be anything and do anything they want to be and do. I would aim to break stereotypes that women and young adults have placed on them. Being a title holder means you are also a motivator and role model, something I hope all our constants aim to do and conduct themselves on.

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
Having competed internationally in China and America before I already knew the feeling of pressure and overwhelming excitement when competing Internationally. This was my first time visiting Texas and what better place to go other than the capital, Houston. Outside of the competition days were fun filled action packed hours spent with my sister queens, or as I like to refer to us, “The Dream Team”. Not only because are they the BEST group of pageant girls I have ever had the company of being with, but because we were all there with the same goals the same aspirations and the same dream and we worked as a team from the get go! I think our favourite YEMI crowning moment was my sister queen, Hannah fixings Dawn’s crowning making sure they were straight for the photos and make sure our memories were caught without any flaws. I shared a connecting room with the funniest and out going people we all showed compassion shared secrets and it had a “slumber party effect” on our mood, the laughter never stopped, even now we still talk every day and reminisce. My favourite part of competing internationally was the bonds I have made and the most exciting is knowing in just 4 months’ time I can see them all again and pick up where we left off with all the girls and our new queens, knowing I can crown the next girl gives me such a sense of joy and pride, I’ve worked my title to the bets of my ability and I can’t wait to be the one to give another girl this feeling.

The next fabulous queen is Hannah Golding. Hannah won The title of 'Young European Ms International' in her 2nd year of competing, she also did this while pregnant with her beautiful daughter; Penelope - who within her first month of being born won Baby Miss International. Hannah Competed in YAMI this June, taking 2nd Runner Up to the title.

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
I have many moments that I am proud of during my reign, of course winning the pageant whilst I was 5 months pregnant and then going to America 8 weeks after having a traumatic birth to compete internationally is always going to be a high point in my pageantry reign. Bringing Penelope into the world was an amazing achievement and she gets to share the journey with me, from being my bump whilst I helped a massive nationwide collection for the homeless, travelling to various events throughout my reign but most recently being able to become a baby patron of my Patron charity, The Beni Bear Club who finally have their charity number!

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
I love the motto Aspire to Inspire because it is very fitting to a lot of people's pageant journeys. Through running my own pageant page of Sparkles and Rhinestones, I have heard so many inspiring stories from across the UK and it has really inspired me to be the best I can be. I don't have a rolemodel as I believe that my fellow pageant sisters insire me, give me strength and make me so proud of everything they have achieved! YAMI and YEMI are a sisterhood, we all inspire each other and I am going to be so sad when I have to hand over my crown!!

What is your must have item for pageant day?
A lot of people will have make up or hair things but my most have item is food!! Pageant days can be so stressful and it's filled with lots of rehearsals, interviews, getting your hair and makeup done, and people forget to eat!! This means later on stage you could feel faint and you won't enjoy it as much. I always make sure I have breakfast and have  plenty of fluids, sweets if I have literally no time and need a sugar rush but I am the pageant girl that always brings snacks!!

Any advice for this year's contestants?
My advice would be to enjoy every single moment with that blue sash before the
finals, don't second guess yourself or compare yourself to others because you are doing simply amazing being you. You don't need to spend hundreds on
outfits, my winning red, white and blue wear for both national and
international cost me under £30! Also, if you end up not placing or winning,
try again the next year! Both Atlanta and I won on our second attempt at YEMI and Atlanta won the overall YAMI title! 

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
Competing internationally has always been my dream, and it's another world! The best part overall (apart from the food and everywhere having DR Pepper on tap!) was to be sharing the experience with my sister queens, we had adjoining rooms so in the morning could just open the middle door and see each other! It was great to bond and it  was like having a girls holiday. Texas is beautiful, I would go again in a

Now we have the beautiful Dawn, who was the first Young European Mrs International, She is a seasoned pageant queen and took home the 1st Runner Up tittle in America.

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
I'm proud of how far I've come and what I've achieved in such a short space of time. The fact that what I've done inspires women to be themselves and gives them confidence and encourages them to go for their dreams.

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
The motto 'Aspire to Inspire' was what really spoke out to me. It's what I've always done and aimed to do and use my platform for. I entered beauty pageants much later in life than other beauty queens and I have a lot of people constantly messaging me saying what an Inspiration I am to them and how they want to be like me and follow a journey of their own. I'm happy to give advice etc to them when they ask, but feel privileged to be thought of in this way as I literally do live by the motto and always aspire to do more and inspire others to as well.

What is your must have item for pageant day?
I have two 'must have' items for a pageant day. The first is my Younique Epic mascara! I never leave home without it! I'm a Younique presenter and constantly flashing it around to my friends - but I love how it makes my eyes look big and sparkly. My other must have in between rounds is my (sssshhh don't tell anyone)
flip flops! Yes that's right - even beauty queens need comfy footwear after
strutting around in heels!

Any advice for this year's contestants?
My advice to this year’s contestants is to be yourself and to enjoy every single minute! Seriously - it's nice to have something or someone to aspire to, but you need to show the real you at all times. Otherwise you're cheating yourself out of an amazing experience. Yes have a role model to look up to but let your personality shine through and the judges will see that. YEMI is all about real person within and what they do to inspire others. It's an uplifting pageant system and creates
many friends and happy memories.

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
The most exciting thing about competing internationally is just being there and being part of it all, as well as meeting your International sister queen finalists. We've all been in touch before the finals but it was so lovely to meet them and spend time with them too. Everyone was made to feel so welcome and it was the best pageant experience ever. It was also exciting to think that I'd won and been given the chance to compete on the American stage. So for me, it was about realizing my dream had come true. It’s a fabulous opportunity that I will cherish forever and will never forget.

The final Queen is the gorgeous Sara Zakaria (who's name is so much fun to say, but hey I'm a simple girl!) Sara won the title of Young European Ms International in 2016, she was then awarded the 'Queen Of Queens' title, giving her the opportunity to fly back out to America, and compete again. Sara brought home the title of 'Young American Miss International Supreme Beauty'

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
During my reign I am very greatful to have been involved with many charities and to help fundraise and raise awareness for so many causes. I have also been involved with some projects/ events that I am proud to say that I arranged myself. I have recently started a new job and arranged for us all to have a ‘dress down Friday’ where we all pay £1 and then we can come to work in casual clothing on the Friday. I am really glad that I could bring my fundraising and community work skills into the work place and now make a difference for our chosen charity every week. I have also been working on a project to knit blankets for babies in my local NICU and getting others involved with this also. I really wanted to do this as it is the unit that looked after me when I was a premature baby

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
Well Jeyanne is going to think this is really funny and a little cringe but she is the person that has inspired me the most in my pageant journey! Having seen Jeyanne’s pageant journey and all that she has been involved with and achieved she’s definitely inspired me the most in my own pageant journey! I remember seeing the photo on facebook when she won the Supreme Beauty title in the USA and thinking I want to be like her! It makes me so happy to think that I went on to win the Supreme Beauty title at Y.A.M.I just a few years later!

What is your must have item for pageant day?
For pageant day I don’t have a must have item as such however I must have spares of each outfit for stage! This can seem a bit extreme and does mean that I will always have a lot of luggage but I guess it’s always good to be well prepared!

Any advice for this year's contestants?
In order for me to feel prepared I will always make a list of everything I need for pageant weekend! I believe that Preparation is key and by doing so means that I can relax and be myself without worrying I’ve forgotten anything! I would also say to all contestants to have fun and enjoy the experience! YEMI is such a brilliant pageant system to be involved with and I know that we have a brilliant weekend planned for the finals in November!

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
I absolutely loved competing internationally and the whole week in the USA was great! It was really nice to spend time with my sister queens and directors and everyone was being so supportive of each other. I think the most exciting part of competing internationally was being in the ballroom waiting to compete and cheering everyone else on!

What has being crowned ‘Queen of Queens’ meant to you?
Being crowned Young European International Queen of Queens was such an honour! It has meant that I have been able to continue within the YEMI system and to keep working with charities and causes whilst spreading the ethos of ‘aspire to inspire.’ As queen of queens one of my goals is to help my sister queens as much as possible by promoting the work they do with their charities and I have really enjoyed being involved with and learning about so many different causes. Being crowned Queen of Queens also meant that I had the opportunity to go back to compete at Y.A.M.I which was brilliant and where I won the Young American Miss International Supreme Beauty title!

Jeyanne is the Director of YEMI, she has successfully brought the amazing pageant into its third year. She was also a previous pageant competitor herself before becoming a Director.

What does ‘Aspire to Inspire’ mean for you as a director?

For me personally aspire to inspire is being the best possible role model
not only for my queens but contestants too. I like to think the advice I give
is the advice I also live by and when I do things or act a certain way I
remember that there are a lot of younger girls following me and so I want to be
able to point them in the right direction and hopefully aspire them to make
good decisions.

What made you switch from pageant girl to director?
It felt like a natural transition for me. I’d competed internationally a
few times. There were no Pageants in the UK I felt I fitted into but I knew I
didn’t want to be completely out of pageantry. I have always had a knack for
running events. My mum says it’s because I’m so bossy 🙄

What are you looking for in your next queens? 
I have a thing where I always say that my next queens don’t have to follow
in the footsteps of their predecessor because they’re their own person with
their own journey and own path to take. I just want someone who builds a strong
platform, Represents me and my system well, stays true to herself and above all
aspires to inspire.

Who is your pageant Idol/Inspiration? 
I have a lot not just one. I like to take lots of different qualities from
different people and use that to inspire me. Especially ex queens who then use
their platform to really make something of their lives like Priyanka Chopra. In
everyday life Nicole Harris is one of my closest friends and also a very
inspirational queen and person. She works so hard and will literally help anyone
she can. She’s just amazing

What's your biggest tip for the contestants?
Sounds cliché but be yourself and enjoy every second of it because it goes by so so quickly and you don’t want to miss it. So when I was given the opportunity to run an amazing system with the best international director by my side I knew I couldn’t say no. I wanted to give girls the same experiences I’d had in pageantry if not better. I wanted to give a pageant that helped girls with their confidence. That felt like family and home to everyone. I wanted YEMI to be known for being open to everyone no matter your history and to really be the true essence of pageantry which to me is friendship, charity, kindness and truly inspirational queens.

Young American Miss International is ran by acclaimed pageant contestant, coach and director Sabrina Hubbard. In 2019 the Internationals will be renamed to Young International Miss. The YAMI Franchise has been run by Sabrina since 2016 with the motto of ‘Aspire to Inspire’.

What does Aspire to Inspire mean for you as a director?
“Aspire to Inspire” for me as the owner and director of YAMI means having integrity, being there for my contestants, queens, and community any time. It means inspiring those that come in contact with me and YAMI to want to wake up each day and do something meaningful for the community and themselves. For me being able to inspire those around me is such a blessing. I want everyone that comes to YAMI to walk away having an amazing time, knowing that they count, and that they will always have a place with the family.

What are you looking for in a YAMI queen?
There is actually several things I look for but I like to see that person as an overall whole. To me naming those things would just be pin points for someone to master. I want to see the overall you. The queen that aspires to inspire daily, for that person that puts forth the extra effort in all they do. Having a YAMI title holds great weight for me not just in America but Internationally as well. There are kids and adults all over the world that see our system and recognize our queens. For them to be able to be in position as queen is pretty amazing to me because of the impact they could possibly have on the world.

What do you think about the 2018 YEMI contestants?
I don’t know too much about them honestly just from what I see online. Normally, I don’t see that much before the pageant but this year I am impressed that I have seen much much more from them. YEMI is a force to be reckoned with. They brought it this year so it’s for sure a tall order to fill. I have the utmost respect for Jeyanne and for YEMI and I know many more amazing things are to come

 What’s your best tip for the pageant girls?

Everyone always says be yourself, make a memory, or have fun as a tip and to me that should be a given. Let’s face it everyone is there for the crown but being apart of the YAMI and YEMI family is just that, you are family no matter what. If I could give one single tip that would be be hard so here is a few:

-Take the stage as your own personal runway. Rock it like you are at home, or how you did as a little girl pretending you’re a super model. Show your sass and you will shine on stage. 
-Always listen to your directors 😉
-Ask questions
-Go out of your way to introduce yourself to fellow contestants, Queens, and directors. It makes you memorable and that’s something that is great to be.

A massive Thank you goes out to the Queens and directors for taking the time out to answer my questions and another massive thank you goes out to my Mumma for giving me this opportunity and letting me see my visions through.

Remember, chin up, smile and Aspire to Inspire,
Your Young European International Teen London
Mya Henry