My Body Experiences – School, Being Bullied and the Bully and Overcoming All This to Embrace my Curves!

As a request, I’ve been asked to write about my experiences with being big at school and how I overcame it to be the confident-ish girl that I am today.

I say confident-ish, because truthfully, I still have my low days. Days when I honestly wish I could slip out of my skin and emerge to be this size 8 gym bunny. And I know that through dieting, a change in lifestyle and a consistent weight-loss, this is an option that if I wish to do, I could achieve in a few years time. But the majority of the time I quite love being the happy size 14 that I am, and that I do have curves that can sometimes look almost comical.

But at school I was never this confident. I wasn’t curvy at school as such, but just… big. Big, round and dare I say it, fat. I had a moon face with spots, my eyes seemed to disappear into my fat, my stomach was massive and my legs were like elephants. And this isn’t just me being cruel and self-reflective. There are photos of me back then that I look back at now and think ‘god I was big’. And it didn’t help that my school was pretty late in embracing healthy eating, or that I had no clue about doing such a thing. I also had the other bit of growing up in a pub, so cheap and filling gastro food was my meals most days. But, I don’t like putting blame of other people. I could have not got a whole box of cookies everyday after school and eaten them on the short walk home. I didn’t have to get McDonalds every weekend, and I didn’t have to devour countless chocolate bars and crisps and just other fattening things.

I am entirely guilty for my weight back then.

But I am also responsible for my weightloss too. 

At school, I had my share of bullying. Some about my size, when I would be called a ‘whale’, or ‘disgusting’ or just ‘fat’. But some about silly little things like the shape of my mouth the fact I wore glasses, (four eyes, nerd, geek etc), and the fact that I had, and still do, crooked teeth. And from this, in my own unhappiness, and want for power and acceptance, I started to become a bully. And, now I’m so ashamed to say it, I began to bully people in my friendship group, just because I could and I felt that they would forgive me. So it was a vicious cycle of the bullied-becoming-the-bully.

So, how did I change? How did I change my eating, weight and life to become healthier and happier?

Well, it started after a family funeral. One that came as a shock to all of us. And whilst at this funeral, when I was surrounded by my much smaller cousins, something clicked. And I thought ‘I can’t go on this way’. Now, I was never at risk with my health. But I was going towards that if I kept my eating patterns the same way as I did.

So, I began exercising – a story which I will go into more detail in a later post – and began eating salad, good proteins and less processed fat. And I was so surprised. I began sleeping better, felt happier and had more energy. And my mental health rapidly improved, so I was overall a better and happier person.

So that’s what I say to you, reader. If you want to lose weight, then do it. But it has to be to make you happy. I am well aware that there are some people who are perfectly happy being bigger, and being plussize. And I completely respect them, and am a keen supporter in body confidence of any size. But making sure you’re healthy, happy and above all, content with yourself is the only thing that is important in your life.

And if you want to ask me any questions, then please do. I’m not a skinny of a fat shamer. I’m a body confidence lover. And that’s no matter what shape, size, height, whatever you are.

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My before and after – Before was Halloween 2013 After is March 2015.

-Alice x

Colouring Books for Grown-Ups? A Review. 

Firstly an author’s note here.

I must state that I am, in no shape or form and in any lifetime, an artistic person. Creative, yes. Artistic, no. As a youngster, I would be rather found reading or writing my own stories rather than painting, drawing or colouring. And as a 21 year old student, my skills have barely progressed past stick figures and doodles of roses. But, when I heard about the new craze of adult colouring books, I found myself drawn to them.

And was immensely pleased of what it unlocked in me.

Now, not only are the books themselves beautiful, but they have mental health benefits that I could not believe. Psychologists say that because the act of colouring is such a absorbing task, it calms the mind and takes the focus away from worries and stress, alongside stimulating motor skills, senses and creativity!  And, as omebody who deals with depression, OCD and paranoia day-to-day, I thought that owning one of these books surely couldn’t hurt.

IMG_0964And now, I’m a proud owner of two equally stunning books, and a sore hand from colouring for hours at a time.

The two chosen books – The Art Therapy Colouring Book by Richard Merritt, Hannah Davis and Cindy Wilde, and The Time Garden by Daria Song, are both significantly different.

Song’s book brings both a
story of a young girl, and illustrations that you can colour in. The story is sweet and innocent, and with the addition of the brief words on every couple pages, the text does not overcrowd the pictures, but gives the illustrations chance for you to read the story through them. Song’s illustrations are also highly detailed, and for first time colourers, this can be slightly overwhelming. But, the finished product is completely worth it.

The Art Therapy Colouring Book is larger and doesn’t have a story attached to it, but has hundreds of different pictures that are all completely indepedent of each other, but each one is as detailed and beautiful as the last. This book also features a doodling section in the back of it, with half-completed pictures that you can fill up with your own pictures, or words if you want to. The Art Therapy Colouring Book also draws from nature, buildings, cultures and patterns from all around the world. And they are such beautiful pictures that you could even take them out of the book and frame.

I work on these books as often I can, but with a full-time job and a bustling social life, I do find it difficult. But the best thing about these books is that you can leave them, and with a spare five minutes you can pick up your pencils and just do a tiny section. These tiny sections eventually add together to make something beautiful. And with the market just teeming with different styles of books – from nature ones, tattoo inspiration and stories like The Time Garden – there is also a host of pens, pencils and watercolour pencils that you can chose and select from. There is no limit to your imagination either. You can do a girl with blue skin, or a owl with purple feathers or whatever you decide.IMG_0965

As I said before, having OCD and paranoia can be overwhelming at times, and despite counselling and CBT sessions, there are periods in my day when I feel at a loss. But the instant I pick up one of these books, go back to my current picture I’m working on, I feel a lot more relaxed. And instead of sitting around, moping and not doing anything, I’m keeping my mind active and I always feel productive after just half an hour of doing it.

As for millions of people around the world, Sunday is the last day off before you get back to the 9-5, Monday to Friday grind. So I’ve spent the day just relaxing. And you can bet that blogging, colouring and finishing off pictures was on the top of my list.

Also, for all you guys who are on the go constantly, yet want to experience this colouring revolution, there are postcard versions, with a variety of different designs. These ones can be easily slipped into a bag, along with a small selection of pencils. And, if you’re sending them out to friends and family, they add a little something personal and thoughtful that the recipient would love.

So yes, colouring is not just for children. And I know that I’ve been sitting in different cafes around town, and whip
ped out my Art Therapy Book with a few chosen colours, and just found time to unwind and get my mental health in check for a little bit.

-Alice x

Links –

The Art Therapy Book – Waterstones/Amazon

The Time Garden – Waterstones/Amazon

The Guardian on Adult Colouring-In Books – Click here.