My Career history and How I got into Blogging.

On a recent Instagram post, I asked you, my readers for a little bit of help. I asked for some blog post ideas as I lacked in inspiration. Boy oh, boy did you guys come through! The post had hundreds of fantastic, inventive ideas below it and it ignited something inside of me.

I have mentioned before that I worry about my writing capabilities, but it's time I just shut up and got on with the task at hand. I CAN write, I CAN articulate myself and let's not forget, I am in charge of what goes on this blog, so I need to suck it up and get typing!

One of the ideas shared, was for me to write about my career prior to blogging as well as how I got into blogging. This idea stuck out to me because it was something personal and it meant me sharing a side of me that I haven't touched on before. I am an oversharer, and I find it very easy to do this face to face with people, why not bring that over to my blog more?

As I have progressed with my blogging career, it has dawned on me that people are inherently nosy and love to learn things about my life, how I choose to live it as well as the type of clothes I like to wear.
If I end up helping even just one person with my words, to feel inspired or less alone; I will be happy. 

My writing is never going to win any awards, but it's not a competition is it? I just have to keep reminding myself why I started this blog and how you're all here to support me and to ignore the niggles in my brain that tell me I'm not good enough or that others say things better than I do.

This is me, like it or lump it!

My Career History

Anyway, onto the focus of this post! Let's start at the beginning... (a very good place to start). When I was at school, I was atrocious in the sciences, maths and pretty much anything that wasn't arts based. I excelled at Art and Design and decided I needed to harness this talent I possessed and apply for a Foundation Course. I wanted to move to London. If I was going to go to art school, it HAD to be in London. Luckily I got accepted onto a Foundation Course at Chelsea College of Art and Design which is part of The University of The Arts London. I was made up! I moved to London, got stuck into my Foundation Course and was in my element. I came to the decision pretty quickly that I needed to study an applied art. I didn't have the confidence or motivation to study Fine Art, so I applied to do Textile Design at Chelsea. I passed my Foundation and got accepted onto the Textile degree, and after having a taster of stitch, print, knit and weave; I decided to specialise in print. I felt like this was a very natural path for me to choose as it would allow me to draw/paint and bring my drawings to life in print form. After a tumultuous three years of hard work, excessive partying, a near breakdown, the beginnings of a chronic pain condition and a dyslexic diagnosis; I passed my textile degree with a 2:1 and wow... I didnt think I'd get there.

For my Degree show, I designed jungle themed, unisex bomber jackets and luckily these attracted the attention of some of the team at H&M who came to look round our final degree show. The Head of Print Design called me a few days after the show, I went in for an interview and bamn! I was offered my first ever job in fashion, straight out of Uni! I started off working for H&M in the UK office, before moving to their Swedish HQ in Stockholm.

Working for H&M was an eye-opener. I had previously been used to just getting by at uni, I hardly even knew how to use photoshop and wasn't used to being creative on demand for a commercial brand. It was very different from having the creative freedom of being at university. I half loved living in Stockholm, and half hated it. I loved Sweden in the summer, but come winter and -21 degrees; I wasn't as enthused. During my time at H&M, I designed printed textiles for the lingerie dept, kidswear, their plus size dept (which was called BiB back in the day) and also for their maternity range. I have to admit, I really struggled. I had a lot of responsibility, and I struggled with stress a lot. I also missed my life in London, my friends and family and I knew I'd never stay there forever. 

While I lived in Sweden, I started to become very unwell, and this is where I believe I first started to see signs of Fibromyalgia. I will talk more on this in another post, but I went undiagnosed for the whole time I was living in Sweden, and it made my decision to move back to London, a lot easier.

After working for H&M, I then moved back to London and was lucky enough to get another print design job for Monsoon. I have to admit; I absolutely hatedddddddd this job. Wow, I could write an entire post on this but let's just say, I hated every aspect of the job, and as I continued to show more signs of having a chronic pain condition, I really struggled. After a year and a half of designing prints for Monsoon Kidswear, I HAD to get out of there.

Designing prints for the commercial sector actually killed my love of designing/drawing. I felt stressed and uncomfortable any time I went to design, and I hated that working in this field actually made me want to run away from my skills and never draw again. I plucked up the courage to hand my notice in and during my time of unemployment; I decided I needed to try a change in career. 

Through a friend, I started on the journey of training to become a social worker. I started off by volunteering at a care home for teenagers and this lead to me studying for an NVQ. I loved the change of pace, I loved working with the kids and learning an entire new skill base, BUT my health got in the way so badly; I had to give it all up, move home to my parent's house in Devon and quit my London life for a few years.

1. *Trousers | 2. Puma T-Shirt | 3. Bag, similar here | 4. Trainers | 5. Earrings

How I got into blogging

While I lived at home and I underwent a proper diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, I came to the decision that I wouldn't be able to hold down a typical 9-5 job. My Fibro symptoms were at their worst, and a lot of the time, I was immobile, very sickly and very depressed. My parents and I did everything we could to get me back on track, but it was hard.

The one thing I always loved doing while I lived at home, was sharing my outfits on Instagram. I have been plus size since I was 13 and after becoming obsessed with plus size bloggers like Gabi, Nicolette and Stephanie Zwicky; I decided I wanted to be like them! I wanted to help inspire women around the world. Growing up, I didn't have anyone, who looked like me, to look up to and wanted to change that. I wanted to show women that no matter what they looked like, no matter their size; they could still look and feel great...and dress bloody amazingly!

Instagram connected me to so many bloggers across the globe and most importantly to the UK plus size blogging community. I shared my outfits with gusto, tagging brands and using hashtags and making online friends with fellow bloggers. The next step for me to take was to start a blog.

Looking back, I'm not sure why I chose Tumblr as a platform to host a blog, but that's what I did and so began my blogging career!

In 2013 after posting on my Instagram and blogging on my Tumblr, I was invited to my first ever blog event. Oh my god, I was so excited, and I remember this event like it was yesterday. I met lots of the friends I had made online, including my BFF Callie and even though I was in pain for every minute of the event; I knew this was a world I wanted to be part of.

That blogger event, hosted by Evans ignited something in me. I returned home to Devon and tried my hardest to grow my blog. Even though I was ill most days, (and I still am to this day) I tried to build my online presence and shoot my outfits, travel up to London for events and make it in the blogging world. As the months went by at home in Devon, I knew that I wanted to be a full-time blogger.

Throughout the two years that I lived back home in Devon, I focused on getting my Fibromyalgia under control (where possible), and my long-term aim was to move back to London and become the best blogger I could be. I worked hard, networked my ass off, collaborating with brands and got my name out there. By the time it was time for me to move back to London, I had, in my opinion, secured myself as a strong contender in the plus size blogging world.

From the moment I moved back to London and was able to meet more brands, attend more events and work with even more companies; my career took off at a nice pace. I was able to support myself and went full time. Fast forward to 2018, and I CANNOT believe the opportunities that blogging has given me. It blows my mind that I can now call myself a blogger, designer and consultant.

Photography by JKGPhotography

Shop my Look

If you've read this post and it's given you the boost you needed to start a blog; then gurllll, do it! It was by far the best choice I have ever made. From a dark place, I managed to crawl out of it, and I now have the best career I could have. I am very privileged to be able to rest when I need to, work when I can and take things at a pace that is manageable. I feel fortunate and in all honesty, it's time I thanked all of YOU for allowing me to have this career. If it weren't for all of you guys, I wouldn't be where I am today. All of your support, likes, comments, content sharing... it's all so appreciated and means I can put food on the table, Aperol in my glass and raid ASOS on a regular basis.

Cheers to that! P.s I feel very on brand with this Aperol coloured outfit ahahahahaha...

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