Editor Linda Koch
Artwork & Design Contributors Emily Cummings Annaleigh Koch
Betty Pamper Nicky Rockets Christopher Wheatley Matthew Wheatley Bethany Churcher Verity Brown Melanie Cohen Ally Woodward Danielle Jurd Aijannah Di Nisci Georgina Pritchard Cleo Peacock Georgina Hawes Mark Singh Sarah Martindale Hannah Nicholas Dani Coles Mark Bradley-White Theresa Booker
1052 Christchurch Road Bournemouth Dorset BH7 6DS
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www.bgpmagazine.co.uk DISCLAIMER: All text and layout is the copyright of UK Plus Size Events. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the magazine has endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at the time of going to print, prices and availablilty may change. This magazine is fully independant and not affiliated in any way with any companies mentioned herein.
Now accepting applications for 2014 at
in this issue
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Top 5 Festive Movies Our favourite feel good festive movies!
Bethany Churcher How Bethany changed her life in just one year
Miss Plus Size International 2013 Review Judging Miss Plus Size International Mark Singh talks about the pageant from his view
Meet the Winners 2013 The Miss Plus Size International winner’s stories
Definition of Size - Art Exhibition Review Betty Pamper’s 5 tips on being a plus size Christmas Cracker It’s time to Party - Fashion A quick guide to our favourite party wear buys
The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide Everything you could possibly need to buy gifts
Festive Treats - Recipe Feature Add some sparkle to your outfit Confessions of a Plus Size Knicker Drawer Out in the Open - Sarah Martindale talks honestly
Welcome to our Christmas Issue 7 of BGP Magazine. We are all very excited and looking forward to the festive season. We have tonnes of new things on the agenda for next year, we have been really busy here at BGP headquarters. We’re looking forward to making 2014 a year to remember on the plus size calendar! In this issue, you’ll get to meet the beautiful Verity Brown, crowned winner of Miss Plus Size International 2013, along with the very deserving runners up - Ally Woodward, Aijannah Di Nisci, Danielle Jurd, Melanie Cohen, and not forgetting the finalist choice for Miss Congeniality, Georgina Pritchard. We introduce the stunning and talented Bethany Churcher, read all about her journey back from the brink of death – what a difference a year can make to this inspirational young woman’s life. Not forgetting our massive Christmas gift guide, to help get you in the festive mood, including Betty Pamper’s article on how to be a Christmas Cracker! Party wear, Christmas recipes, we’ve got it all. Confessions of a plus size knickers drawer by our very own Cleo Peacock is a very interesting read. If anyone fancies writing in our next issue, please get in touch by emailing us at email@example.com. In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I hope to see you all at the first Big Girls Paradise event on Saturday 18th January 2014, for more information on this event please check out www.biggirlsparadise.com.
Linda Koch x
ith the Winter fully underway, nothing quite beats curling up on the sofa with a warm drink, a few treats and a feel good movie to warm your heart. BGP Magazine reveals our top 5 favourite feel good, festive movies!
1. Itâ€™s a Wonderful Life (1946) This is one of the best films of all time, without a doubt. We challenge anyone to watch this film and not be touched, and if you can, you have no heart! James Stewart brings to life the complex character George Bailey, a man on the brink of suicide, who embarks on a wonderful journey to rediscover the joys of life at Christmas. Itâ€™s a Wonderful life is truly a beautiful film, and is one of the few that you can watch again and again, and walk away with the same glowing feeling as you did the first time you saw it.
2. Elf (2003) Elf is pure, unadulterated, charming, Christmas cinema at it’s finest. Bringing you a wonderful cast and plenty of laughs, Elf is the perfect movie to watch with any age group. Comedy genius, Will Ferrell, plays Buddy the Elf, who finds himself leaving the Northpole on a mission to New York, to reconnect with his father. Plenty of mishaps and a little mayhem occur, but overall, Elf will leave you feeling festive and humming Christmas tunes for the rest of the day.
3. Home Alone (1990) Home Alone is arguably one of the most loved Christmas classics of the past century. When the young Kevin McCallister, played by the oh-so-cute Macaulay Culkin, is left to his own devices during the Christmas period, a string of events happen that will have you in stitches. Yes, the story may be entirely unbelievable, but who cares. It’s funny, charismatic and a firm family favourite. It wouldn’t be Christmas without it!
4. Miracle of 34th Street (1994) Whilst a lot of people prefer the original of this Christmas classic, the story itself is grounds for awonderful festive experience, and quite simply, Richard Attenborough will forever be Santa Claus in our eyes. Miracle on 34th Street tells the tale of a family who have lost all faith in the magic of Christmas, and the man who reinstalls that faith is none other than the man-in-red-velvet himself. Magical!
5. A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last century knows the story of Scrooge, thank you Mr. Dickens. Whilst there are countless renditions of the Charles Dickens classic, our personal favourite is A Muppet Christmas Carol, featuring Michael Caine as the best Ebenezer Scrooge ever. We adore the Jim Henson puppetry, the merry songs and above all, the nostalgia of all our favourite muppet characters in one, fabulously festive film.
BETHANY CHURCHER PHOTOGRAPHY BY EMILY GALVIN AND ANNALEIGH KOCH
hen the excitable Bethany Churcher arrived on set, with her make up done to perfection and her hair flowing perfectly, BGP Magazine instantly knew that the shoot was going to go well. Bethany is absolutely stunning, but there is much more to this girl than meets the eye. Here, we find out about Bethany’s incredible journey and how she became the woman she is today.
What inspired you to become a plus size model? People had always told me that I should consider plus size modelling but I never really considered myself ‘pretty’ enough by modern standards, therefore I didn’t try to pursue it. As I lost weight and became more comfortable with my figure, I started to gain more confidence, so when earlier this year I heard about the pose plus casting day, I decided to go for it and attend, with a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude. I attended after just having fractured my skull
but the girls were amazing and so accommodating, and I left feeling really beautiful. From that day forward I decided ‘you know what, I am beautiful’ and I wasn’t going to let anybody stop me. When did you first start singing? I have sung for as long as I can remember. I first properly sang in public when I was 6 years old, changing the lyrics of an ABBA song to sing to the teachers at my school. After that, nobody could get me to shut up, and it became my
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dream to be a professional singer and recording artist. Who are your musical inspirations? BeyoncĂŠ would probably be my number one. I love the fact that over her career she has developed as an artist, and she has reinvented herself so many times. I also love her ability of incorporating fashion into music, and making it not just about the voice but about the persona. She also acts which is another passion of mine. Adele would also be high up there in my musical influences, I love the fact that she is a plus size woman, but she owns it! She has dealt with a lot of stigma in the past about her weight, but now people have sort of given up on that and let her amazing talent shine through. With Adele, nothing matters but the voice and the emotion in her performance. We couldnâ€™t agree more. Do you enjoy writing music and lyrics? Sadly, I do not play any instruments, so I find it hard to write my own music, but I often write lyrics and make up my own songs. I would love to link up with a guitarist or a pianist and write music together to record, I have so many ideas I want to put down on paper! Who inspires you? My Mum. My mum is my hero. She has shown me that women can be independent and still have time to support their friends and family. She is the strongest person I know, and I like to think she has brought 10
me and my siblings up to be strong, well-grounded people. If I can turn out anything like my mum, I will be happy with that. Tell us about your illness and what led to you having surgery? I had a brain condition called intra-cranial hypertension, where the pressure builds in the brain and the fluid pushes on the optical disks and can cause blindness and eventually brain haemorrhage. It mainly happens in young, overweight women so it became very important at this point for me to lose weight to stabilise my condition, I also had a mini stroke in February 2012 and it became obvious at that time that my extreme morbid obesity would kill me if I did not do something to change it. Did your family support you? Yes, my family have been brilliant, I am lucky to have such supportive parents and my brother and sister are
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My long term dream is to set up my charity to help young people who have the same issues I had as a child.
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“Life is short, go out there and do the things you want to do and don’t let anybody bring you down.”
really proud of what I have achieved, we may have our moments but I know they are there for me no matter what. That sounds tough. What kept you going? The support of my family and friends and the strength in my heart, telling me I was better than this and I had something more to give to the world. What are your hopes and plans for the future? To live my life, and live it to the full. I have had to deal with some pretty horrific things in my life and it has taught me that life is short, go out there and do the things you want to do and don’t let anybody bring you down. I want to establish myself even further and have
a full time career as a plus size model and singer, and my long term dream is to set up my charity to help young people who have the same issues I had as a child. Tell us about your charity? I want to set up a charity called The B.O.O Foundation (battle on obesity) to help young overweight people to deal with their weight issues and help to put them on a plan to get them more healthy, I also want to set up a buddy system so that they can feel like they have more support in turn helping them feel happier and healthier. What has been your biggest achievement to date? Performing at Miss Plus Size
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International/British Plus Size Awards. this was my first big performance after my three year break from singing, and after such a tough few years, I stood on that stage and sang a song with so much meaning to me (BeyoncĂŠ listen) and put all my emotion into it, in front of so many important people, and my family. It changed everything for me and I think it has been a focal point in me feeling confident and proud of the person I am today. Do you have any other hobbies and interests? One of my passions in life is fashion, I love my fashion and it has always been very important to me to be a plus size woman but still look stylish and well presented. I would love to have my own clothing range for women to celebrate different shapes and sizes and bring high fashion into the plus size world. I also love to dance (though I may not be good at it), and you can always find me dancing everywhere I go, and at BGP parties I am always on the dance floor!
GOING GLAM FOR THE BGP SHOOT
BETHANY WITH HER FAMILY
IN THE RECORDING STUDIO
CURVY KITTEN AT BIG GIRLS PARADISE
PERFORMING AT MISS PLUS SIZE INTERNATIONAL 2013
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BGP MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE
MISS PLUS SIZE INTERNATIONAL 2013 Grand Final M
iss Plus Size International is a beauty pageant for plus size ladies to showcase and celebrate that there can be beauty in all sizes and that life does not stop at a size 18. Accepting women size 18 and over, this larger than life event is very inspirational. This year after beating over 1100 applicants, 23 beautiful women were chosen to come together to compete for the prestigious title of â€˜Miss Plus Size International 2013â€™. We had applicants from all over the world from as far as Brazil and New Zealand, from the Netherlands, Romania, Wales, Northern
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Ireland and Scotland, not to mention all over England. The Grand Final of Miss Plus Size International 2013 was an extremely successful, fun filled night held at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London on Saturday 23rd November 2013, one of the most sought after venues in London. There were three rounds for the girls to showcase their beauty, casual wear, swim wear and evening wear, we saw 23 examples of just why big is beautiful, with intelligent, confident, glamorous women strutting their curves down the catwalk and posing for the cameras that flashed form every angel of the room. Each
BGP MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE
Size Events, Mark Singh – a longterm business associate of Linda, Derrick Locker – a long-term business associate of Linda and entrepreneur who works in developing motivational schemes with disabled children and young adults. Nina Blakemore – The first annual British Plus an established plus size model, Leanna Grant Size Awards were also held – Editor of Curvaceous Inc. Magazine, Anita on the same evening at The Bellamy – founder of ‘Plus Size Confidence in Grand You’ and Velvet D’Amour – Plus Connaught Size Model and founder of Each and every Rooms in Velvetography Photography. conjunction with Miss Plus contestant shone that Size International 2013. After MPSI bootcamp which evening, making the was held in June in Somerset The night was full of glitz, Judges’ decision even it was hard to predict who glamour and the entrance would win as all of the girls harder than previous had unique and equally was donned with the infamous red carpet! We important personalities and years. saw many celebrities and talents to bring to the table, executives from well-known although on the night, judging plus size brands coming to collect their awards on the performance of the ladies and how and watch the show. The esteemed judges for they conducted themselves all year, there Miss Plus Size International 2013 were Linda were some clear options as to who the judges Koch – Founder of Miss Plus Size International might choose. The winner of Miss Plus Size and British Plus Size Awards part of UK Plus International 2013 was Verity Brown from and every contestant shone that evening, making the Judges’ decision even harder than previous years.
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Birmingham, UK (as seen on the front cover). When Verity’s name was announced as the winner she burst into tears on stage and was encouragingly hugged by the other the finalists – No strops or animosity, just love and support for their fellow competitors.
No strops or animosity, just “love and support for their fellow competitors.
The runners up were: Ally Woodward (1st runner up) from Carmarthenshire, Aijannah Di Nisci (2nd runner up) from London, Danielle Carmen Jurd (3rd runner up) from Winchester, Melanie Cohen (4th runner up) from Glasgow. The winners had their first official photo-shoot, held in a studio in stylish Canary Wharf in London. The atmosphere was electric; all our winners were buzzing with excitement, being pampered and polished by the wonderful Seventa hair and make-up team. The beauties expertly posed for the camera as they had been trained for the last nine months leading up to the pageant and as you can see from the images these girls are all very deserving winners. We have to say a huge thank you to the fantastic hairdressers and stylists who were the very funny and unforgettable Mark Bradly White who kept us in stitches, and Teresa Booker, not forgetting the make-up artists also working their magic Kristy Prince and the lovely Marina.
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British Plus Size Awards 2013 T
he first annual British Plus Size Awards were held on 23rd November 2013 at The Grand Connaught Rooms in London, held in conjunction with Miss Plus Size International 2013. The night was full of glitz, glamour and the entrance was donned with red carpet. We saw many celebrities and executives from well-known plus size brands coming to collect their awards and watch the show. The Winners were: BEST CELEBRITY FEMALE – Adele BEST CELEBRITY MALE – James Corden BEST ONLINE RETAILER – ASOS Curve BEST HIGH STREET RETAILER – New Look BEST MODEL – Chloe Marshall BEST SUPERMARKET – Asda BEST PERSON IN BUSINESS – Anna Scholz BEST DESIGNER – Gemma Collins BEST ACCESSORIES RANGE – Accessorize BEST SPORTS BRAND – Nike BEST MAGAZINE – Curvaceous Inc BEST ENTERTAINER – Dawn French BEST BLOGGER – Fuller Figure Fuller Bust BEST STYLIST – Gok Wan BEST FASHION EVENT – British Plus Size Fashion Weekend MOST SUPPORTIVE NEWS PUBLICATION – The Sun CREAM CAKE AWARD – Katie Hopkins BEST ACHIEVEMENT – Lisa Riley
Has anyone stood out or done something worthy of recognition? Have your say on who wins an award next year. We will be accepting nominations for British Plus Size Awards 2014 on 13th January 2014 at GMT 18:30.
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Beauty. Elegance. Fabulousness! Photoshoots by Nicola Grimshaw-Mitchell LSWPP
Judging Miss Plus Size International WRITTEN BY MARK SINGH
he Grand Connaught Rooms in London on the 23rd November 2013 hosted the final of The Miss Plus Size International Beauty Pageant. An evening that only be described as full of glitz and glamour, celebrating everything plus size beauty has to offer, culminating in the crowning of Miss Verity Brown as the winner of Miss Plus Size International 2013. This year’s pageant is the third time I have been asked to sit on the judging panel, a job I take very seriously, which comes with a lot of responsibility but is equally very rewarding and satisfying. Being a judge allows me to share many memorable moments with all the contestants, watching them all blossom and go on to become beauty queens. Offering the occasional words of encouragement and advice along the way gives me the feeling of contributing to their success. 24 - BGP Magazine wwwbgpmagazine.co.uk
The journey began back in January and following the success of the previous year which was part of a BBC documentary; hundreds of girls came to the first round auditions which were held in London. I remember walking into the venue to see so many beautiful women wanting to enter, the nerves and tension amongst the all was visible to see. I was one of five who were judging on that day and we all met each of the contestants. Over the two days, I quickly realised that this year’s pageant was going to be the toughest one yet, as the contestants all had something to offer. It was very difficult choosing a group of girls who were going forward to the final. Once the group had been
All of the girls were “worthy of wearing the winners crown. ”
selected, the journey to the final for these girls had began. The next 11 months was very interesting for myself and others involved and was full of fun, laughter, a few tears and not forgetting many drunken nights of partying at BGP. What was also surprising for myself to see was the camaraderie developing within the group, they all supported and helped each other. The friendship that had developed between the girls was very nice to see and this would prove to be important in the months leading up to the final. I also developed a very close bond with all the girls and helped and supported them all along the way. In July, all the contestants and judges were taken to a country house in Somerset for a weekend, where
the contestants would be given media training, catwalk training, make overs and photo shoot. I also gave a public speaking and confidence class, which the contestants found very positive and useful. Over the weekend it was clear to see that all the girls starting to come out of their shells, the confidence amongst all was growing rapidly and they all started to blossom. We knew that choosing the winner this year was going to be very difficult, as all of the girls were worthy of wearing the winners crown. The day of the final was upon us and the girls had arrived for rehearsals, surprisingly they all looked very calm, relaxed and confident. If there was any anxiety or nerves they certainly werenâ€™t showing it. As the evening drew closer the glitz and sparkle of the Grand Connaught Rooms was ready to host the final of Miss Plus Size International. Family, friends and VIP guests started arriving the atmosphere was tense yet excitable. The moment had finally arrived. I felt and overwhelming feeling of pride and emotion as each of the contestants came on stage in their casual wear, beachwear and evening wear. Seeing the girls all looking stunning, confident and full of self-belief, enjoying their moment on stage was very rewarding and satisfying. Each of the judges had been asked to come up with a list of five contestants they wanted to be considered for a prize, before we sat down to deliberate. Sitting next to me on the judges table were two professional models,Velvet Damour and Nina Blackmore, who also struggled to choose five girls, their selection kept changing after each round. To hear positive comments from two established plus size models showed, the standard of the contestants was extremely high and an excellent job was done in preparing them for the final. When the judges sat down to deliberate and choose a winner, we all went through our individual selections and discussed them amongst us. All the judges pointed out that choosing five proved to be very difficult, as the each of the girls in their own way were deserving
of a crown. After a lengthy discussion, we finally decided and agreed on the winners and the time had arrived to announce this to everyone. As the contestants gathered on stage the nerves, tension and anticipation was visible for everyone to see. When the runners up were announced there was applause and cheers from the audience and tears of joy from all the contestants. As I presented the awards to runners up I also struggled to hold back my emotions. It was finally left to announce the winner and there was a sudden silence in the hall, the winner Miss Verity Brown was announced and the whole place erupted in cheers and all her supporters gathered around the stage. She was presented with the crown and there more tears of happiness from all around her, she went on to make an emotional speech. The winners got together on stage and photographs taken by supporters and press whilst all the other contestants were stood in the background applauding. All that was left now was to enjoy the after party but there was a sense of sadness amongst all involved that the journey to the final had come to an end. But I can feel proud knowing that I have contributed in turning a group of girls into confident women, full of self-belief who will go onto show the world that plus size beauty is here to stay and society needs to accept it. www.bgpmagazine.co.uk BGP Magazine - 25
WINNERS 2013 BGP Magazine meets the inspirational winners of Miss Plus SIze International 2013
VERITY BROWN Winner 2013 he atmosphere in the room was electric. I stood on the stage. My palms were sweaty. A wave of nausea replaced the waves of excitement that I had previously felt walking out onto the catwalk. My head was spinning. Four runners up had been crowned along with one Miss Congeniality. Did I stand a chance of winning? Had I missed out to one of my beautiful fellow contestants?
When I heard my name, I clasped my hand over my mouth in disbelief. I could not stop the tears of joy running down my face. All I could see through my blurry eyes were the ecstatic faces of my friends and the continual flash of cameras at the end of the catwalk. I’ve tried to think of one word to describe that moment and the word that I have finally come up with one. Euphoric. My pageant journey started in December 2012 after watching Britain’s Biggest Beauty Queens on BBC Three. The documentary credits were rolling on the screen. I was inspired. I was 37, a single mother, divorced and still had a desire to chase a long burning dream that hadn’t been extinguished.
I’d had the chance to do modelling when I was age 15 and a size 12 but didn’t pursue due to GCSE’s. Then I started to get bigger so thought I had missed my chance. I never lost the desire to be a model. As a young girl I loved watching Miss Worlds and dreamed of sashaying out onto the catwalk wearing a beautiful gown.
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So, I decided to apply and have never looked back! The past 12 months have been amazing. I’ve met so many beautiful and inspirational women, had the chance to tick many things off my ‘bucket list’, such as appearing on TV and radio. I’ve made so many new friends and realised who my true friends are. I’ve also been welcomed warmly into the UK Plus Size Events family. So many times throughout my life I have put off things because of my size. This year I finally learned to love me. All of me. And once you learn to love yourself, life is much easier. I fell happy. I feel content. My memories of when I have been bullied, ridiculed or taunted for my size I now look on fondly as those people and instances have brought me to where I am now; a fully fledged beauty queen. I’ve never wanted to be treated
differently. Just accepted for who I am and not judged on my size by others. Society has such a misconception of plus size people and I am on a mission to try and re educate. So, what does the future bring? I want to be a plus size ambassador and show everyone what plus size women can do. I am tired of seeing ‘fat bashing’ in the media and I want to continue to challenge the perception that society have of plus size women. To anyone thinking of entering the pageant, it is the most amazing experience! Life changing. But only enter if you really, really want this, if you are prepared to take this seriously and want to be a plus size ambassador. I am so proud and honoured to have been crowned Miss Plus Size International 2013 and full of excited anticipation at the next 12 months ahead. In the words of Walt Disney, ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.’
“I’ve never wanted to be treated differently. Just accepted for who I am and not judged on my size by others.”
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ALLY WOODWARD 1st runner up 2013 Age: 27 Location: West Wales Occupation: Business Development Executive live with my fiance in West Wales, and work for a charity covering environmental conservation. I love writing, which is something I am lucky I get to do with my job. I’m an event manager by trade, and would like to think I could bring even the craziest of events together with a bit of magic, sparkle and creativity! I love running and sport, and ran the Cardiff half marathon in September. I love beauty and fashion and really pushing the boundaries of what I feel I can wear, because let’s face it - we should wear whatever we want, right! I am a bit of a comedian at times (naturally I think I am hilarious, although my friends may disagree with this!), and like to think I am kind and caring, but will always stand up for what I believe in - even if I think it won’t be well received. That was a quality I used to worry about, but you should always do what you feel is right.
What inspired you to apply for Miss Plus Size International 2013? I have been asked this before and in all honesty I applied for a laugh, thinking I wouldn’t get anywhere. That is probably reflective of my confidence at the time, and a friend telling me I should go for it. But after finding out I got through, and meeting the other finalists, I felt a surge of confidence - being ‘up against’ so many beautiful, intelligent and inspirational women was a huge compliment, and for a girl who didn’t go out or look in a mirror for a good few years, it was a key turning point in my life! What makes you a good role model for plus size women? If I can win the battle against my body demons, anyone can. I am a reformed self hater, and listen girls, when you start winning that battle, your whole outlook on life changes. I want to show women how I won that battle, and support them in theirs. Women should stick together, we face discrimination every day, from the shops that only go up to a size 16, to the comments we get from strangers - and if you can learn how to deal with them in a positive way, you can achieve anything. 32 - BGP Magazine wwwbgpmagazine.co.uk
“If I can win the battle against my body demons, anyone can.” What was your favourite part of the MPSI experience? I’m going to be a little selfish here and say the confidence I was given. The catwalk lessons we had with Fabia Cerra at bootcamp turned me into a model and gave me the confidence to feel like I genuinely was a model - and not just a big girl that had winged her way into the finals of a modelling competition through sheer luck. The friends I made along the way are an additional bonus. I am very blessed that 2 of the girls are now women I consider to be my best friends, and will walk down the aisle with me in May as bridesmaids at my wedding! How did it feel when your name was announced at the Grand Final? I think disbelief came over me first - and maybe I had heard my name, when in fact it was someone else? So
should I step forward? I remember being stood near Laura (Gentles - amazing woman) who just looked at me and screamed, and I stepped forward to meet Jeff Brazier who looked at me and said congratulations. Then it felt real. I also remember having this urge to grab the microphone, which I did - I knew it was probably going to be the only chance I would have in front of 600 people and a film crew to thank my family and friends for supporting me, and somehow I managed to say a thank you to everyone, and I could see my mum crying in the audience which naturally started me off too! To stand up in front of everyone and tell them how I’d gone through the hardest 2 years of my life, and lived to tell the tale - through the support of my family and friends, was possibly one of the best ways I could show my gratituity! I also think I had a giddy moment and shouted to my fiance about how I couldn’t wait to marry him, naturally just to ensure I did something embarrassing that I would be reminded about for years to come! What are your hopes and ambitions for the future? I am studying and working full time at the moment and will be getting married in May so 2014 is set to be a huge year for me. I have been offered modelling work with a large retailler and have some catwalk work lined up for 2014 too (saying that feels surreal!). I will continue kicking my body confidence demons arses and supporting other women in their journey to confidence. So let’s just say I will see what happens, life has it’s ups and downs, and after years of being on a downward spiral I am looking forward to riding the highs! What would you say to women who are thinking of applying for MPSI 2014? What have you got to lose? You have so much to gain from applying, just do it. I won’t sit here any babble on about why you should do it, just ask yourself why you shouldn’t...
AIJANNAH DI NISCI 2nd runner up 2013 Age: 22 Location: london Occupation: Residential Childrens Worker ell, I would describe myself as a fun, bubbly person who is often described as mad individual. I really enjoy baking, cooking and love watching films.
What inspired you to apply for Miss Plus Size International 2013? Watching Britiain Biggest Beauty Queens last year on BBC three. I felt so inspired after watching the show and thought hey, maybe I could do that. It looked like a lot of fun and here I am, one year later! What makes you a good role model for plus size women? The fact that I am comfortable with the person I am, I’m comfortable to let others see my fat bits and myself with make up. I’m out spoken and have no issues with voicing how I feel. I am passionate about body confidence and learning to love yourself. What was your favourite part of the MPSI experience? Bootcamp was my favourite part. Just meeting all the judges and having all the girls there together in one location was lovely. It was a fantastic experience. How did it feel when your name was announced at the Grand Final? At first I wasn’t sure it was me, because my name was said wrong so I stood there like a seal just clapping. Loads of the girls were looking at me and gesturing for
me to go, and then I realised they had meant to say my name! As soon as I realised, I walked forward and was so incredibly happy. Only once I was crowned and had the trophy did it really sink in what I had accomplished. I was fighting back tears of joy, pride and acheivement at the end of the runway, where pictures were being taken of us. What are hopes and ambitions for the future? I hope to open and run a centre for young girls with body dysmorphia, and tackle the issues young women face with the problems they have with there bodies. What would you say to women who are thinking of applying for MPSI 2014? I would tell them to go for it, the journey is incredible and I’ve made some friends for life!
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DANIELLE JURD 3rd place 2013 Age: 20 Location: winchester Occupation: chef y number one priority in life is my immediate family and friends. Anytime that I have outside of work I spend with them. I work very hard but try to make sure that I always make time for the important people in my life. I love a good weekend away with the girls or my fiancé and am a sucker for a girly day at the shops or a romantic meal at the weekends. It makes it all worth while!
What inspired you to apply for Miss Plus Size International 2013? My partner put my application form in for me online and then told me about it. My confidence was so low at the time that I was actually annoyed with him for doing so, but when I heard I had been accepted for the audition I was overjoyed! I have had such an incredible journey this past year and have grown in confidence so much. I have made amazing friends for life and they have inspired me to fight for body confidence and to spread my message of loving the skin you’re in. What makes you a good role model for plus size women? I believe I could be a good role model for plus size women because I am an active, happy and healthy 20 year old girl with a beautiful fiancé, fantastic friends and an overall very fun life. I want to show plus size 38 - BGP Magazine wwwbgpmagazine.co.uk
women everywhere that you can achieve this as well. Don’t hide away, don’t let anyone put you down. I can’t believe that just 1 year ago I was lacking in confidence, never went out, barely had any friends and look at me now? I chose to believe in myself and it has got me so far. We can achieve anything we set our minds to. What was your favourite part of the MPSI experience? My favourite part of my MPSI experience was meeting the other fantastic finalists and our boot camp weekend. It was truly an amazing and inspiring weekend. We had a fantastic photo shoot with the beautiful model and photographer Velvet D’Amour, amazing burlesque training with the fabulous Fabia Cerra, public speaking training with the fantastic Mark Singh and so much more. It was truly an amazing weekend in an idillic location. It’s something I will never forget.
â€œI feel so proud of myself for getting this far.â€? How did it feel when your name was announced at the Grand Final? I was truly shocked. To be placed at 4th runner up and 3rd place feels incredible, the other finalists are all so beautiful and it must have been a very tough decision. I gave the final my everything and even built up the courage to sing when answering my question! That is something I would never have done a year ago. It just shows how much my confidence has grown. I feel so proud of myself for getting this far. I want to show women everywhere that it is okay to be who you are and love the skin youâ€™re in. You really can achieve anything! What are hopes and ambitions for the future? My ambition for the future is to be a plus size ambassador, promoting confidence in all women regardless of their shape, size, race, age, disability or height. I would love to start a blog for women to read all about body loving, plus size clothing tips and spreading confidence! I would love to model plus size clothing to show women of a similar size that they can rock it! What would you say to women who are thinking of applying for MPSI 2014? I would say go for it! You will make such a positive change to your life and boost your confidence forever - take the plunge and believe in yourself. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to! I have made the most beautiful best friends in this competition and I am so grateful to everyone in the MPSI team for making my dream come true. 40
MELANIE COHEN 4th place 2013 Age: 46 Location: glasgow Occupation: plus size model y hobbies including cooking, but I adore eating out! I love travelling, it’s my absolute favourite thing to do, especially warmer climates. I’ve travelled to a lot of places across the world but there are still lots of places I’d love to visit. I love spending quality time with boys, they’re my everything! I also love to do charity work, behind the scenes, for the Autistic Society and Women’s Aid. I also love movies, dancing and meeting new people and socialising.
What inspired you to apply for Miss Plus Size International 2013? Definitely watching last years tv programme and seeing all the big, beautiful, confident women. I was completely inspired, so I decided to enter! What makes you a good role model for plus size women? I can show women how I have grown in confidence over the past year, and learnt to love my body. Confidence has definitely helped that. I have SO many ambitions and plans, that I will follow through to help all the men and women who need a voice within the plus size industry. I have been exactly where many of these people have been, so again, I know what and how they feel day in, day out. What was your favourite part of the MPSI experience? I’ve loved my whole journey in MPSI, but I’ve got to say, bootcamp was incredible! Not that I’ve ever been on a reality show, but the closeness with everyone, and making a few amazing life-long friends, learning all our catwalk, media training etc, looking back now is so surreal... But my special moment was all the filming/ interview with Grayson Perry. When he was sketching me! Also, going to as many BGP party nights has also given me a lot more confidence. It’s lovely to meet some of the people who have been supporting me throughout this incredible experience! How did it feel when your name was announced at the Grand Final?
When my name was called out, I can still hear it in my head now like an echo. It might sound a bit cliche, but I honestly wasn’t expecting it. I was absolutely ecstatic and just extremely emotional. It’s a difficult feeling to describe. I just remember thinking, “I did it!”. My life changed overnight completely. This whole experience has defined my purpose in life. What are your hopes and ambitions for the future? I have many ambitions in this industry, I have some excellent contacts that I want to approach within the “High Street”. I would also love to hold seminars to talk with people that were exactly like myself. I’d love to do some modelling as I love the camera! Some “tastefully nude” to show that us Big a Beautiful Women can look damn gorgeous too! Hopefully travel a lot as loads of my fans have been asking for me to model overseas. What would you say to women who are thinking of applying for MPSI 2014? Don’t even think about, do it! I’m a 46 year old single mum of 2... And it’s been the “BEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE!!!”
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GINA PRITCHARD miss congeniality 2013 Age: 21 Location: Staffordshire Occupation: art gallery assistant What inspired you to apply for Miss Plus Size International 2013? I entered Miss Plus Size International 2013 because at the time of applying I was feeling a bit down about myself. I had no body confidence or self confidence, and I saw the TV show of last years pageant and thought it seemed fun, hoping to meet new friends and get the confidence back. What makes you a good role model for plus size women? I am a strong women who believe all women are beautiful it does not matter what size they are. We should stop judging people for what they look like more on there actions. As a young woman, I have had the nasty comments from school to the present day, I still get remarks from family members who think they are helping. We are smart, strong, beautiful women and donâ€™t let anyone make you think otherwise . What was your favourite part of the MPSI experience? Bootcamp was a brilliant weekend, I got meet all the finalists and have a great laugh and learn how to walk down the cat walk, and we had amazing class in burlesque by the wonderful Fabia Cerra. How did it feel when your name was announced at the Grand Final? It was amazing but all a blur, and just the thought that the other finalists had voted for me to be Miss Congeniality is just great feeling. Every time I see them I say big thank you. The trophy really made me realise what I had accomplished. I was fighting back tears of
joy, pride and acheivement at the end of the runway, where pictures were being taken of us. What are hopes and ambitions for the future? I have so many! One is to own my own art gallery, or to become an actress on the stage and to travel around the world, thereâ€™s just so much I want to do. What would you say to women who are thinking of applying for MPSI 2014? It is one the best things I have ever done. I have met so many new friends, new experiences, new everything, this year has given me so much, and I had chance to wear a ball gown!
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P LUS C ON FI DE NC E I N YOU
ART EXHIBITION WRITTEN BY GEORGINA HAWES
This exhibition was the creation of Anita Bellamy. Anita’s vision is to use the art of photography to carve out a niche in the fashion industry and society. She is hoping that through the visibility of elegance and beauty from all walks of life will help to promote body confidence in all sizes. The event and launch was held in a private bar in Camden. As soon as you arrived you were greeted with warmth and a lovely glass of wine. The tickets for the event was £10 in advance or £15 at the door. I have to say that I received so much more for my money. A lot of these events you leave feeling that the publicity and hype was more than what you experienced but this event was the exact opposite. We were given opportunities meet and greet and also network with others before the revealing of the art exhibition. This enabled me to find out a bit more about the project and the people involved. In attendance was two of the models used for some of the art work. They shared with us all how amazing the experience was. One of the models, Terri, was actually stopped on the street by Anita and is very excited to be one of the Faces used for the launch. There were beauty vendors, fashion stylists, bloggers, free refreshments and food, also great raffles, live entertainment and a great DJ for the after party. On the whole, DEFINITION OF A SIZE ART went very well. Throughout the whole event people interacted very well, many exciting discussions about fashion, art and general body confidence. Anita has revealed the theme for her next exhibition, and I for one cannot wait to attend.
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The visibility of elegance and beauty from all walks of life will help to promote body confidence in all sizes.â€?
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ressing for a special occasion especially a Christmas party can often give even the most confident plus sized hottie the fear. A lot of party wear over a size 14 can be quite hit and miss. Too much glitter, not enough natural fibres and shapes that make you look more cube than diva. Christmas is nearly upon us and I have a few fail safe rules that always ensure I feel fabulous when I need to get my gladrags on.
Tip No. 1 Don’t panic buy
Dressing a curvalicous body shouldn’t be rushed. Big boobs, soft tummy’s, chunky thighs these deserve to look their absolute best so if you have a Christmas event coming up start looking for your outfit NOW!
Trying to pull a size too small black Lycra monstrosity over your sweaty head at 6pm as the shops are closing will not give you good results. Factor in a few days of store hopping and Internet browsing so you buy really well fitting lovely clothes. The tinterweb is the chubby chick’s best friend. Use a tape measure
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(never go off the label sizes) and allow yourself enough time to return if it doesn’t work or you need a different size.
Tip No. 2
Trust your own style Parties and special occasions are a fab opportunity to add a bit more sparkle, bolder colours or extra glam but if you are usually a roller derby chick who lives in jean and a tee chances are you will feel uncomfortable in a very frilly dress. Likewise if you are quite a girly girl wearing a chic black trouser suit
brocades and jewel colours. It’s tried and tested so I know there will be no pre night out tantrums where I throw every item I own on the bed and cry.
“If an outfit doesn’t sit up and wipe its own face in the “this makes me feel amazing” stakes, walk away.” might make you feel a bit plain. You already know what suits you, perhaps you already have a few outfits that always make you feel great. Look at the cut and design of them and use these as your template. I know a 1950’s swing dress is the perfect shape for me. It covers my tummy, pinches in my waist and makes me feel great. For parties I seek out this style in satins,
Tip No. 3 Be prepared When trying on party clothes take items with you so you can quickly see how the whole look will pull together even in the changing room. Throw a pair of heals in your bag, wear black tights and take a cardigan. It allows you to see what your outfit look like overall and takes out the guess will work and silly standing on your tippy toes. Even if you plan to buy a new shrug/ shoes/bag by taking things that are a similar shape or cut you will make much better purchases as you can instantly see if it works. Don’t delude yourself that with the right accessories something will look better. If an outfit doesn’t sit up and wipe its own face in the “this makes me feel amazing” stakes,
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walk away. Better to recycle an old faithful that you know makes you sizzle like a fajita than buy something not quite right and feel like the bad Christmas fairy all night.
Tip No. 4
Try it all on properly in advance Once the outfit of your dreams is purchased, take it out at home and spend half an hour trying it on again with every element. This will ensure you know which bra works, if you want to wear some shapewear and also allows you to plan your jewellery and make up. Once all these decisions are made hang every element up in a garment bag right down to the right knickers (many a good night out has started out badly with a scramble through the washing basket for your best push up bra)
Tip No. 5
Hope for the best-plan for the worst Feeling amazing is not just about choosing the right outfit. You need to ensure you are physically comfortable too. I know that a whole night in high heels will see me whimpering away from the dance floor after only a few hours of doing the funky chicken and whilst I adore shapewear I always choose brands and styles that allow me to breathe. Taking a pretty pair of ballet flats in your handbag is an absolute no brainer, even if its only to wear whilst you stand at the taxi rank and whilst I’m a fan of shapewear I know that anything other than a pair of
“Feeling amazing is not just choosing the right outfit.” magic knickers will make me feel too restricted so I no longer subject myself to the all in one bodysuit of pain. Not sure what your threshold is? Spend the night walking around the house in your heels with your control underwear under your dressing gown. If you are still feeling perky after a few hours, it’s a winner, if you are about to pass out and have bleeding heels, have rethink.
Now revel in the knowledge that
you have Christmas style licked so have just got time to make a very dry martini, dance around the living room to Whams “Last Christmas” confident that your killer curves are looking rather awesome.
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Betty Pamper writes a daily plus size fashion blog www.pamperandcurves. blogspot.com and is a self confessed party dress addict. All photos by Nicky Rockets.
MODEL: LISA RILEY IMAGE PROVIDED BY EVANS WWW.EVANS.CO.UK
It’s that time of year again! The office Christmas party is fast approaching and you’re thinking about who you’ll be seen under the mistletoe with, how many drinks is too many and whether to bring sausage rolls or leave the catering to the pros, not to mention what you’re going to wear. Alas! Do not fear, for we have done the hard work for you! From jewellery and dresses to shoes and handbags, here’s a delightful little guide to helping you with looking your best at any Christmas party, be it with the neighbours, family, friends or colleagues. So sit back, flick through and choose your path to looking beautiful this Christmas.
Textured Glamour Clutch bag from Dune GBP 85.00
Sequin jacket from Evans GBP 65.00
Embellished maxi dress from Evans GBP 59.50
Pencil skirt from ASOS Curve GBP 32.00
Bodycon Ribbed Dress from Fashion World GBP 65.00 Glitter clutch bag from Quiz GBP 16.99
Jewelled clutch bag from Itâ€™s Vintage Darling GBP 35.00 Mary Jane shoes from Fashionworld GBP40.00
Studded heels from Curvissa GBP 32.00
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Peep toe shoes from Evans GBP 35.00
A VERY MERRY
CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE
STOCKING FILLERS UNDER ÂŁ10 Flamingo Bag from Accessorize GBP 10.00
Love Hate mugs from Dotcomgiftshop GBP 10.00
Star Wars Mints from Sainburys GBP 4.00
Journal from Paperchase GBP 10.00
hat was once an orange and a piece of coal in an old sock is now a firm, festive favourite amongst adults and kids alike. Get creative with your stocking fillers this year, here are some of our favourites!
Hot water bottle from Oliver Bonas GBP 8.00
Word Puzzle from BHS GBP 8.00
Street Eats from BHS GBP 9.00
Candle holder from Heatons GBP 1.00 Shoe shine kit from BHS GBP 7.00
Gingerbread man from BHS GBP 6.00 Money box from Paperchase GBP 8.00
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For children BABY
LED watch from RED5 / GBP 9.95
Snow Suit from Sainsburys / GBP 8.00
GIFTS UNDER £10
Hippo warmer from BHS / GBP 8.00
Monster truck from Wilkson / GBP 20.00 Gift box from Mothercare / GBP 25.00
GIFTS UNDER £25
Sequin dress from M&CO / GBP 34.95
Neurosky MindFle from RED5 / GBP 39.95 Quilt from Mothercare / GBP 49.99
GIFTS UNDER £50
Luggo Owl from RED5 / GBP 34.95
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9 1. Silk Scarf from Accessorize / GBP 25.00 2. Double Heart Frame from M&Co / GBP 8.00 3. Benefit Set from Debenhams / GBP 35.00 4. Purse from Dotcomgiftshop / GBP 3.95 5. Woodland Bag from Accessorize / GBP 45.00 6. Lindt Chocolates / GBP 12.99 7. Gold earrings from Cold Lillies / GBP 84.00 8. Candle holder from Dotcomgiftshop / GBP 6.95 9. Vera Wang Be Jewelled from The Perfume Shop / GBP 54.50
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1. Armani Eau De Nuit 50ml from The Perfume Shop / GBP 48.50 2. Penguin Leather iPhone case / GBP 17.99 3. Dancing Robot Speaker from RED5 / GBP 24.95 4. Knitwear from Blue Inc / GBP 16.99 5. Biscuit tin from Heatons / GBP 9.00 6. Headphones from Primark / GBP 7.00 7. Whisky from Sainburys / GBP 35.00 8. Travelcup from BHS / GBP 5.00
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1. Travel quiz from Oliver Bonas / GBP 10.00 2. Travel journal from Paperchase / GBP 8.00 3. Travel card holder from Radley / GBP 18.00 4. Travel bag from Cath Kidston GBP 75.00
5 1. Street eats chinese kit from BHS / GBP 18.00 2. Jamieâ€™s Ministry of Food from Woolworths GBP 16.37 3. Oil set from Next GBP 12.00 4. Electric mixer from Debenhams / GBP 55.00 5. Gift hamper from Sainsburys / GBP 20.00
Star Wars clock from Woolworths GBP 30.00
Superman belt from Blue Inc GBP 12.99 X-Lapse 360 Movie Maker from RED5 GBP 19.95
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FESTIVE TREATS arm up your kitchen by baking some of these delicious festive treats, perfect for family gatherings, Christmas parties or just simply as a treat for yourself on a cold winter night!
MINCE PIES >> CUPCAKES >> COOKIES >> LUXURY HOT CHOCOLATE >>
MINCE PIES Serves 12 350g/12oz high quality mincemeat, preferably homemade 200g/7oz plain flour, sifted 40g/1Â˝oz golden caster sugar 75g/2Âžoz ground almonds 125g/4Â˝oz unsalted butter, diced 1 large free-range egg, beaten milk, to glaze
Step 1: Lightly butter a 12-hole pie or patty tin. Tip the mincemeat into a bowl and stir so that the liquid is evenly distributed. Step 2: Place the flour, sugar, almonds and butter in a food processor and process briefly until resembling breadcrumbs, then slowly add the egg through the feeder tube. (Or rub the butter into the dry ingredients by hand and stir in the egg.) Step 3: Bring the mixture together with your hands, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour or so. Thinly roll out the pastry on a floured surface. Cut out 12 circles with a fluted pastry cutter, large enough to fill the base of the prepared tin. Press gently into each hole, then fill with the mincemeat. Step 4: Cut out another 12 slightly smaller discs and use to cover the mincemeat. Press the edges together to seal. Make a small slit in the top of each, then brush lightly with milk. Chill for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Step 5: Bake the pies for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and serve warm.
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CUPCAKES Serves 12 5 oz/140g Self Rising Flour 6 oz/170g Caster Sugar 6oz/170g Soft Butter 3 Large Eggs 1 oz/30g Cocoa Powder 1 Tbs Vegetable or Sunflower Oil For basic buttercream: 140g/5oz butter, softened 280g/10oz icing sugar 1-2 tbsp milk few drops food colouring
Step 1: Preheat the over to 180C/Gas 5, or 160C/Gas 4 for fan assisted ovens. Place the sugar, butter and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Step 2: Sift the flour and cocoa powder and beat into the mixture. Stir through the oil and leave for 5 minutes to rest. Place 12 muffin size cupcake cases into a deep fill muffin cake tin. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cases and bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned and spring-like. Step 3: Leave the cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack. Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Stir in half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk, beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in extra milk, if necessary, to loosen the mixture. Add food colouring until well combined. Step 4: Decorate your cupcakes! We chose a festive theme using a combination of chocolate and vanilla buttercream. Most supermarkets will sell premade festive cake decorations, but for a quick and easy Christmas cupcake, pipe green icing in a high swirl and decorate with silver balls. OUR TOP TIP: Donâ€™t be afraid to experiment! Once you have your basic icing made, you can add all kinds of flavourings and colours to get your desired results. Why not try add peppermint essence for an extra festive touch?
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COOKIES Makes 18 5 oz/160g Plain Flour 6 oz/200g Caster Sugar 4oz/113g Soft Butter 1 Large Egg A large handful of glacier cherries 6 oz/200g Rolled oats
Step 1: Preheat the over to 180C/Gas 5, or 160C/Gas 4 for fan assisted ovens. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar until fully integrated. Add the egg and beat until mixed. Now is the time to add any extra ingredients, such as vanilla essence, almond essence or cinnamon. Step 2: Stir in the flour until partially mixed, and then add the cherries. You can also add raisins, chocolate chips or whole nuts at this point. Finish the mixture by stiring in the oats until you a firm but workable dough. Step 3: Drop rounded mounds of dough on ungreased cookie sheets, and sprinkle with salt or brown sugar if using. Flatten the dough mounds slightly before baking. We recommend batch baking 6-8 cookies at a time. Step 4: Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden on the outside. Leave the cookies to cool and then enjoy with a warm cup of luxurious hot chocolate! OUR TOP TIP: Donâ€™t be afraid to experiment! Once you have your basic icing made, you can add all kinds of flavourings and colours to get your desired results. Why not try add peppermint essence for an extra festive touch?
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LUXURY HOT CHOCOLATE Serves 4 2 pints of Semi-skimmed Milk 4 tbs Quality Cocoa Powder 4 tbs Icing sugar 1 tbs Corn flour For the topping: Whipped cream Marshmallows Grated chocolate Cocoa powder for dusting Step 1: Place the milk in a large pan and slowly bring to the boil. When warmed through, add the cocoa powder, icing sugar and corn flour and whisk whilst bringing the milk to boil. Step 2: Leave the hot chocolate to stand for 2 minutes. Once ready, add to a tall mug and serve with whipped cream, marshmallows, grated chocolate and dust with cocoa powder.
1. NECKLACE - DAISY & EVE FOR EVANS GBP 1500 WWW.EVANS.CO.UK
3. NECKLACE - DAISY & EVE FOR EVANS GBP 1500 WWW.EVANS.CO.UK
2. RING - EVANS GBP 8.00 WWW.EVANS.CO.UK
4 4. EARRINGS - GLITZY SECRETS GBP 14.00 WWW.GLITZYSECRETS.CO.UK
ith the festive party season upon us, why not add some sparkling treasures to your Christmas party outfits and transform them into gorgeous, glittering gowns? From earrings to necklaces and everything in between, this collection has so much to choose from, youâ€™ll never go without them again!
7. BRACELET - GLITZY SECRETS GBP 28.00 WWW.GLITZYSECRETS.CO.UK
5. EARRINGS - DIVA AT MISS SELFRIDGE GBP 19.00 WWW.MISSSELFRIDGE.COM
Top Tip W statement jewellery, can
earing jewellery, especially
not only add glitz to a less than sparkly outfit, but also helps draw attention to the key parts of your body. Balance is key. Keep it co-ordinated for a polished look.
7 6. STATEMENT NECKLACE - FREEDOM AT TOPSHOP GBP 80.00 WWW.TOPSHOP.COM
THE COMPLICATED CASE OF THE
PLUS SIZE KNICKER DRAWER WRITTEN BY CLEO PEACOCK
It was that time on a balmy Friday afternoon when you’re already contemplating the weekend tretching out ahead of you like a two day school holiday; full of possibilities. A few office buddies were heading out for drinks, so I decided to go along. Just for the one of course. My friend and colleague Jo also decided to come with and asked if she could stay at my, much nearer but significantly smaller and dingier, flat to avoid a late night trip back to her place. “Yes of course” says I “spend the weekend if you like. But you don’t have any of your things with you” (forever the practical voice of tedium). Her brow furrowed. She seemed baffled by the thought that this was an issue “No worries, I’ll just pick up a few bits on our way back to yours”. So, this is exactly what she did. We stopped in a well known supermarket chain and duly picked up pajamas, a tshirt and a couple of changes of underwear for less than a tenner. No wonder this had not seemed like a problem. All of that for less than a tenner! Not only was it ridiculously good value, but the very first shop we swanned into had catered for all her size 8 needs. Arguments about the vagaries of disposable culture aside, this was a foreign and mysterious land to me. I’ve long been used to the idea of ‘sourcing’ clothes. Making military style assaults on the shops and world wide web in the hope of finding new apparel that won’t make me puke at it’s ugliness or cry at my now cavernous, empty, echoing pockets. Although still not a rich and fertile landscape, plus size women do get a bit more clothing choice nowadays. Even compared to a few years ago. You can, however, still expect to pay more and get far less choice in some items. I think we know what I’m referring to. I’m talking knickers. Who amongst us hasn’t felt the pang of jealousy when passing the £1 pant display in Primark (on your way to the handbag department, because they’re the only thing we can be sure will always fit)? I mean, sure we all know they’ll fall apart by next Tuesday, but maybe for once I’d like to buy some new underwear without having to sell a kidney. Also, maybe I’d like some choice. Colours, patterns, styles, a sliver of gorgeousness even. Maybe, just maybe, I’d like to put on a pair of knickers, confident in the belief that they will still be in the same place half an hour later. Don’t pretend that you don’t know about knicker drifting, it’s happened to the best of us. So, here is my brief (pun intended) and intensely unscientific guide to plus size knickers. I have not scoured the high street and the internet, I have scoured my own pant drawer and the memories of knickers past. > wwwbgpmagazine.co.uk BGP Magazine - 69
Red and black lace thong / GBP 6.00 / Pink bow floral shorts / GBP 4.00 / French lace knickers / GBP 6.00 All from Miss Difusa Lace overlay satin full brief / GBP 7.00 / David Emmanuel velvet lace / GBP 7.00 Mesh lace shorts / GBP 4.00 Both from Bon Marche
BON MARCHE www.bonmarche.co.uk
K, you’re going to be surprised at my first choice, but bear with me. I had never set foot inside Bonmarche until I moved into a new place a few years ago. I had a branch on my local high street. More to the point; on my local high street right by the bus stop where I would wait many an impatient hour. It wasn’t that I had anything against Bonmarche, it had just never occurred to me as an option. Did you know that they don’t even call their clothes plus size until they’re over asize 26? Yep, their plus range is 26-32 and everything else come in all sizes up to that. Including their knickers. I’m not going to lie to you, as a store that aims mostly at the more mature customer, you’re not going to find many fluorescent gstrings here. What they do have is an amazingly wide range of full, high leg and shorts style briefs. Lots of classic colour choices, often with a little something lacey and well thought out about them. In fact, in a store with a younger audience, a lot of these timeless styles would
be labelled as vintage glamour. Not for Bonmarche. They carry on quietly selling excellent value knickers to the discerning 50 something lady and now to you too as their secret is out. Bonmarche seem to have an ever running offer on their, already excellent value £4 knickers, of 3 for £8. They also have multipacks starting from £7 for 5 pairs, which is frankly unheard of anywhere else on the plus size high street. My current favourite from their range are the Mesh Lace Trim Short in black. Not only do they fit beautifully, cost a snip at £4 (and fall into Bonmarche’s 3 for £8 deal), but they are really quite glamourous. Glamourous enough even for that impromptu Thursday evening out when you wonder whether or not you’ll be going home alone…
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handpicked selection of goodies from knickers to tights and leggings. All items that are so hard to find on the high street! www.missdifusa.com Their range is not extensive, but is excellent value and has been I was first introduced to sourced especially for you by this brand by a BGP Patty. Patty has a great, BEST CEO colleague who was, cheeky sense of style and FOR frankly, waxing lyrical this comes through in all about a great new her items. My current underwear supplier favourite in this range is the found at a plus size Red and Black Lace Thong, event. She had bought simply because it does exactly a few pairs of knickers and what it says on the tin. A steal at was amazed to find that not only £6. Why save the racy underwear did they look great, but they fitted for best, at these prices you can incredibly well too. Miss Difusa wear them every day and they’ll fit are an internetbased shop with a beautifully to boot.
FIT & STYLE
Hot deals We love the Miss Difusa range so much that we approached them to sponsor Miss Plus Size International 2013. For a limited time, you can still take advantage of a free gift with orders from Miss Difusa. Quote ‘MissPlus’ when ordering to bag your complimentary goody, but hurry as stocks are running out fast!
MY CURVES AND ME Rosie full brief / GBP 16.50 Dina short / GBP 16.50 Pure lace short / GBP 14.50 All from My Curves and Me
www.mycurvesandme.com beautiful fabrics and contemporary, My Curves and Me have an trendled looks. One of my current extensive range of lingerie and swimwear available in a generous favourites (and on a website with so array of sizes. They really are the many options this is a tricky choice) is experts, covering everything from the Dina Short from the Sculptresse range Like so many of their daily basics to more items, it forms part of a specialist items, such coordinating set. I dare as maternity bras. BEST you to take a five minute Their knickers FOR THAT wander around the My can, in some Curves and Me website instances, and not find at least wander up to the OCCASSION three things you think £30 mark, but do are cutmyownarmoff start from as little gorgeous. Also, It’s coming as £10. Plus they up to Christmas, so you could frequently have amazing discounts. More to the point, with always leave the website open on their higher ticket items, you can people’s computers and a postit note see exactly where every penny has saying ‘hint’ in permanent marker stuck to the screen. been spent. Exquisite detailing,
We love the My Curves and Me website and it’s amazing ranges of gorgeous goodies so much that we approached them to sponsor Miss Plus Size International 2013. Until 24th December you can get 20% off and free UK delivery when you quote ‘MISS20’ on your next order. Go on, treat yourself! wwwbgpmagazine.co.uk BGP Magazine - 71
BGP MAGAZINE REAL LIFE
How I destroyed a year’s work with a single bad decision... W
hen I was selected as a finalist for Miss Plus Size International 2013 I felt so excited and proud of myself. I had never entered a competition like it and the idea of showing other plus size women that being big and being beautiful are not mutually exclusive seemed to me like a dream come true. I worked very hard throughout 2013 to promote that message and get myself prepared for the pageant; enlisting sponsors, fundraising for my friends to buy tickets to the Grand Final and promoting the competition and its philosophy. It’s no secret that there were occasional moments of friction between myself and the organisation team but the competition was hugely important to me and had become such an enormous part of my life, as the Grand Final drew closer I became more and more excited. Then, in early October I made a terrible mistake which was completely out of character. I stole from a friend. I can’t justify it or defend it any way, nor do I want to. I did a bad thing which I deeply regret. This mistake was to cost me dearly, as two weeks before the Grand Final I received a phone call from Linda Koch informing me of my disqualification from the pageant. They had been contacted regarding the theft and my disqualification had been demanded. 72 - BGP Magazine wwwbgpmagazine.co.uk
Of course, the organisation could not be seen to be condoning my actions and as such they had no choice but to disqualify me. To keep me in the competition meant risking the reputation and credibility of both myself and the pageant as a whole which was not acceptable, and understandably so. The pageant wasn’t the only thing I missed out on; I also lost most of my closest friends as they felt they could no longer trust me knowing what I had done. To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement. I cried for days and days over the lost opportunity to walk with my new friends on the catwalk, representing plus size women everywhere and promoting body confidence in such a real way. All my hard work had been wasted, along with the work of those who had helped me along the way. Even though, in the end, I didn’t get to participate in the Grand Final I am still proud to have been a finalist. I have achieved so much this year in terms of my own
self-esteem and in improving the confidence of others. I have promoted body confidence and founded Body Confidence Week on Twitter, started a fat acceptance group here in Liverpool and written dozens of articles on the subject for various online publications. Best of all I have met some incredible women in my fellow finalists, women with whom I will remain friends for life. I am so unbelievably thankful for that. I may not have walked the catwalk at Miss Plus Size International 2013, but my journey to promote body confidence won’t end here. As the late, great Elizabeth Taylor once said, ‘There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.’ “I think that everyone deserves a second chance and that is why I have given Sarah the opportunity to have her say to explain why she was disqualified. As we all know, she is devastated and I wish her every success in the future. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” - Linda Koch