Category Archives: Lifestyle

Simply Be says ‘no’ to ‘New Year New You’

We’ve all been there. It’s early January. Payday is a looong old way away and everyone’s skint. The weather’s rubbish. All the Christmas decorations have come down leaving everywhere looking sad and bare. And not forgetting it’s back to work time too leaving Christmas and new year festivities a now distant memory. Boo.

So what happens next? An onslaught of emails, magazine articles, posters, websites screaming out ‘NEW YEAR NEW YOU!’

If we weren’t feeling sorry enough for ourselves already, we now get told that we are not good enough and need to start again.

Go running / go to the gym and eat more healthily (even though you’re broke, it’s freezing and your house is full of chocolate), get a new beauty regime, new hair and travel more (but start saving more money too), take on a new hobby, socialise more (but drink less alcohol), have a more active love life (but get more sleep), push to progress in that career – and don’t forget to reduce those stress levels!

It all starts to sound like Radiohead’s ‘Fitter, Happier’.

What’s worst is the wording. A new you. A whole brand new you, just chuck yourself in the bin and start all over again, because really, what’s worth keeping about the old you? Nothing at all!

Well you know what?

Simply Be says NO to ‘New Year New You’

new year's resolutions

Simply Be says: “out with the old and in with the new is for wardrobes not for women.”

You don’t need to become a whole different person because you’ve run out of pages on your 2014 calendar.

You are awesome as you are.

Just take a little minute to think about all the things you have done. YOU ROCK!

New year can be a great time to refocus on what you want to achieve for the year ahead. But also to look back on how far you’ve come. It’s great to have goals, whether it’s health, career, hobbies, whatever. But don’t be made to feel like you’re not good enough if you’re not doing it all.

You can’t do everything. You just can’t. There are only so many hours in the day, and so much energy you have to give. So don’t try to do what you can’t realistically maintain. And if you do try – please don’t beat yourself up if you can’t keep it going, it doesn’t make you a failure.  Nobody is perfect and not being perfect is just fine! It’s pressure we, as women, put on ourselves. So try being a friend to yourself instead of your own harshest slave driver.

If you want to make some resolutions this January, great! But focus on what will genuinely make your life better, rather than the need to try and conform to some ideal. If you want to make changes, think of them as another step in the awesome evolution of you; small changes on top of everything you have already achieved and become – not a whole new you.

Got good intentions but really can’t face it this January? Why take a month or two to just get used to being back at work etc and think about spring time to get started? January may be a new calendar year but it’s still fully fledged winter – while spring is a time for new growth and new beginnings.

Overwhelmingly for women ‘New Year, New You’ is about losing weight. If you want to go for it – go for it. But let’s remember:

1) You are still you whatever size you are. Losing weight does not make you a new person. Your size does not make you who you are.

2) If there are things in your life making you unhappy then they will still make you unhappy whatever your size.

So there you have it.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t set goals or get fitter this 2015.

We’re just saying - don’t let them make you feel you’re not good enough.

Join in the conversation using #awesomeasyouare


Dr Seuss

My #SimplyBeReal Moment: Bra Bloopers and Fits of Rage

By Naomi Griffiths

When it comes to putting women into categories regarding their body, I have a stern dislike of the term ‘real women.’ However, when it comes to the real, everyday women like you and me, we all have very real experiences and live very real lives. Tough moments, happy moments, sad moments, the high moments, the low moments and then there’s the funny moments. The moments when at the time you’re probably furious, but nevertheless end up laughing later, or the moments where you’ve laughed until you’ve cried mascara rivers of side-splitting hilarity down your face.  This is when I believe we are all ‘real women’ measured by moments not by our mass.

Naomi Continue reading

Micro Trend: Metallics

What better way to brighten up these dull winter days than with a bold flash of mighty metallic? From shimmering separates to glitzy accessories, we’re going for gold (and silver!) to relish the embellished this season.

L to R: Ashish AW14, Isabel Marant AW14, Blumarine AW14, Isabel Marant AW14

L to R: Ashish AW14, Isabel Marant AW14, Blumarine AW14, Isabel Marant AW14

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10 of the Most Romantic Movie Quotes

Oh, we love a good romcom here at Simply Be HQ. Especially now that the nights are drawing in and there’s nothing better than cuddling up on the sofa with a good movie. As we prepare for a winter of snuggling in our PJs with good friends Ben & Jerry, we take a look at 10 of the best movie quotes to make us seriously swoon…

The Notebook (2004)

Noah: “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

The Notebook





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When Good Jeans Go Glam

By Olivia Watkins

Want to dance the night away without fear of flashing your knickers? Are there times when a dress just doesn’t cut it? No fear – we have the solution. Keep those pins warm in your fave pair of trusty jeans. No longer should they be relegated to the back of your wardrobe come party time, these versatile babies are your new BFF. Create a killer party look with a jeans and top combo or simply take your outfit from day to night with a few accessories. Remember – it’s all in the details.

Whether you’re a flare wearer or rock a mean pair of skinnies, we’ve put together three gorgeous outfits for those glam nights out.

Full of flare

Channel 70’s style in this uber-cool flares and wedges double whammy, with touches of gold for added glamour. But don’t forget what decade it really is – wear the must-have item of the moment, the kimono, for on-trend styling. Kimono? More like kimoyes! (Sorry…)

Full Of Flare

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The 9 Stages of Dress Shopping

1. Desk-Based Research

Big day coming up. Better check the ol’ wardrobe for an acceptable dress. *Knows full well that lovely, worn-once, floral shift would suffice but convinces self that new dress absolutely needed.* Check online for latest trends. End up buying PU trousers, weekend bag and tennis racket. All essentials.

Lizzy Mcguire






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Micro Trend: Scarlet Woman

By Olivia Watkins

See red this autumn – the colour of passion, lust and rage (wowza) is now the colour of the season.

Perfect for the party period (and just in time too), we’ve styled our favourite must-have pieces for AW14. So whether you go top-to-toe in splendid scarlet or showcase your sizzling style with subtle accessories, you’re guaranteed to heat things up.

Well red

Mix pretty and preppy for an understated take on this bold microtrend. Pair oxblood skinnies with these Catwalk Collection loafers and a peplum tee – an AW14 wardrobe staple – for a faultless laidback look. For a hint of glamour add a 3D daisy necklace – the ultimate in fun, feminine style.

Well Red

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Ten Niche Festivals That Won’t Break the Bank

Looking for something a little different than the usual festival fodder? Forget your Glasto and your Creamfields; up your festival cred with our selection of specialist music gatherings that don’t come with the mainstream price tag.  

Whether you’re a die-hard metal head, a hardcore raver, or prefer the sound of those bangin’ hip hop beats, take a look at our nine niche festivals from around the UK that won’t break the bank.


What’s that you say? A British festival without the dreaded weather fears? That’s right; Rebellion is an indoor event, which means – in their own words – ‘no need to worry about umbrellas or the great British weather affecting the festival!’ Held in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, music is of the punk variety, with punk rock legends Stiff Little Fingers and NOFX leading 2014’s line up.

Rebellion Festival







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Because Rules Often Hold Back Progress

Marie Southard Ospina (1)

The first homecoming dance of my high school career wasn’t particularly memorable, but I remember it nonetheless. The Top-40 playlist bashing from cheap loudspeakers was standard, the chocolate fountain unfortunately underwhelming, the cliquishness and subtle discrimination amongst my fellow peers typical. What I remember most has nothing to do with the dancing or the popular vs. unpopular warzone, but rather the reactions I got through the night, both at home and in the school gym where the dance was held, for daring to wear a form-fitting dress. At the time, I must have been a UK size 14 (U.S. size 10). I wasn’t particularly fat, but I did have fat on my body. Those around me were subsequently offended by me, for not choosing to wear something that would erase the existence of my belly, thighs and even arms.

Before stepping out of the house, mi madre made a comment about the dress I had chosen for being too revealing. The simple truth is that it wasn’t. Though the straps were thin and the cut slightly above the knee, it was a dress that any teen girl’s mother should have given an instant ok to. Form-fitting whilst still being the antithesis of night-club-y. Respectable whilst preserving a certain fun (lime green sequins set on a black fabric – a win in my mind). It wasn’t that the dress was too revealing in the traditional sense of the word, it was that the dress revealed that my body was one with fat on it. With its almost-neon sequins and flattering cut, it didn’t make me invisible and at school the stares continued, even from “friends.” Comments about how I should lay off the McDonald’s weren’t far behind. A particularly hateful girl periodically whispered “eww” at my ear through the night and one gentleman like fellow complimented my small muffin top in deep sarcasm – seeming genuinely insulted that I should trouble his young eyes with the sight of my unconcealed pudge.

I consoled myself with the thought that eventually high school would end and adults would be more tolerant to my somewhat larger body. Through the years though, I gained more weight and the criticism did not diminish, whether I was at university or at a family gathering or even shopping in a store. Articles telling plus-size women what we should and shouldn’t wear permeated most of the women’s lifestyle sites and magazines I visited, even the supposedly “plus-size friendly” ones. If it wasn’t a human telling me that I had to be a certain way, dress a certain way, think a certain way to my face, it was a human at the other end of a computer screen doing so. The rules were and are, endless. Don’t wear bright colours, don’t think about horizontal stripes, avoid tight clothes at all costs, hide the belly, never leave the house without shapewear, patterns are NOT for you.

While I am aware that “do’s and don’t’s” of fashion exist for women of all sizes and body types, there is no denying that they have become an almost inherent part of writing, with fashion tips geared at larger women. The mentality that we are somehow inferior, somehow unattractive and in need of guidance to hide and deny our bodies, has become so customary that is has infected the minds, the self esteem, the confidence, the self-love of plus-size women everywhere. We are so constantly told that we have to diet and tone and hide until the “perfect body” is achieved, it’s no wonder we begin to believe it. I certainly did and for years I followed the rules as I was told, I crash dieted until I was dangerously ill and I remained veiled under layers of shapeless, baggy fabrics. There is nothing wrong with favouring loose-fitting clothing, if it’s a personal preference but to feel obligated to wear loose-fitting clothing because you have been shamed and made to feel an outcast is fundamentally wrong.

When I started blogging almost two years ago, a new reality formed before me. By this point, I had moved away from home, spent time living abroad in what I perceived to be a far more body-friendly environment and even begun to fall in love. I was in one of the happiest head-spaces I’d ever been in, and with that, my confidence and sense of worth began to increase. I immersed myself into the world of plus-size blogging. I followed women who were of similar sizes to myself, and seemed to relish in breaking the rules that the mainstream fashion had set for them and I yearned to do the same. I wanted to rock the sailor look in a cute little horizontal striped bodycon. I wanted to wear neon pink and not feel on display. I wanted to wear flower prints and psychedelic patterns and tartan everything. I wanted to exist as I wanted to exist – without rules marking my every outfit choice and ultimately one of the most basic representations of my personality.

Marie Southard Ospina (2)

I still gravitate toward brands that want to break the rules. If I click on a website and feel drowned in advertisements going on about how “tummy-tucking” or “thigh-minimizing” or even flattering something is, I’m quick to turn away, because I cannot fathom why our principal goal as fuller-figured women must always be to pretend we are not fuller-figured women.

With that in mind, I’ve fallen in love with brands like Simply Be, who bring together a plethora of designers who want to be unflinchingly bold and innovative and participate in the creation of something women can feel beautiful in. Anna Scholz, for instance, loves experimenting with audacious patterns and cuts. Her tropical print dress remains one of my favourites, for its body-hugging cut and charmingly obnoxious pattern. AX Paris Curve is all about showing off the body proudly, their jewel print piece being the ultimate emblem of that. The new LOOK Magazine collection is full of massive flowers and traditionally “straight-size” items (like jumpsuits), proving that plus-size women can look and feel just as amazing in a style as anybody else. And everything about Grazia says, “This is me and I will not be invisible” (their oriental style dress still has my heart). Simply Be is amongst the few brands I think are truly dedicated to trumping the rules and cultivating confidence and happiness because at the end of the day, all women and all people are deserving of such emotions. More often than not we will still be told to stick to the rules, to the antiquated doctrine; to the status quo – but that is what, makes breaking those rules all the more satisfying. They are born from intolerance; they are born from hatred, but breaking them will only breed self-acceptance and love.

AX Paris Jewel Print Bodycon Dress Look Floral Print Jumpsuit Grazia Floral Print Dress