I wanted to save writing this post until this The Curve Fashion Festival 2019 had been announced and then I decided to give myself a little break over Christmas so I apologise that this is almost two months after the event but here goes.
I was lucky enough to be gifted two tickets last minute for The Curve Fashion Festival 2018 in return for a previous blog post. Having only attended one previous TCFF (whilst heavily pregnant) I was super excited to attend and quickly made travel arrangements. I was quite apprehensive about travelling 3 hours on a train alone (and then 3 hours back) so soon after my op but I thought I’d bite the bullet and attend as I really wanted to go! I booked my train tickets and started to plan what I was going to wear. I was really lucky that Matalan were interested in dressing bloggers for the event and so I was kindly offered an outfit to wear for the day. I looked through the plus size offerings with excitement and settled on a boho style embroidered blouse and chunky cleated boots which I decided to wear with a high waisted button up denim skirt and a suede tassled shoulder bag which converts into a backpack.
All laid out!
Trying my outfit on!
My cousin kindly came over the night before and pincurled my hair for me and so I wrapped it in a bandanna to keep it covered and went on the train like that. In fact, the night before I went car shopping like that – zero shits given! I took my tangle teaser with me to do my hair on the train as I was heading to the train before 8am and didn’t want my curls to drop! I also took my makeup bag with me to do my makeup on the train so I didn’t have to get up even earlier!
I got a quick snap of my outfit (with added tassel earrings) and got in the car. Adam was dropping me at the train station before he headed to work so we were out nice and early.
I worried about my trains because of the strikes but my first one came on time and I found my reserved seat easily and got comfy for the journey. Once we were going I started applying my makeup and got it half done before it was time to swap at York. I used the stop over to grab a quick coffee, facetime Eleanor who had slept at my cousins house and I boarded my second train. Unfortunately on this journey I encountered an older couple who were taking the mick out of me putting my makeup on and making faces. I promptly called them out on it and they didn’t dare look at me for the rest of the journey. Half an hour before we arrived I took my pincurls out and gently brushed them in to place. They came out beautifully and I was in awe of how well the pincurls worked.
I arrived at Liverpool Lime Street and set off to find my friend Dawn. I met Dawn on the Team Topsy group which is a group linked to the Topsy Curvy business – however it has became a place of body positivity, friendship and self love. We have been chatting/facebook friends for quite a while and so I mentioned that I had a spare ticket and Dawn kindly agreed to accompany me.
The venue was literally over the road but there was slight confusion over how to get in but we eventually found a red carpet and a balloon arch. We actually thought it was a different event at first but I asked the security guard who told us it was the entrance. Of course I needed a picture in the balloon arch!
Once inside we were quite excited, but started to notice how the venue was quite restrictive. Straight through the door was a big set of steps to get in with only one lift. We were able enough to walk up but for those less able it must of been a bit of a struggle or they would of had to queue for the lift. We gave in our tickets and found our way to the main hall.
Inside was super overwhelming. The first row of stalls was completely packed with a tight walkway which was made even tighter by one retailer deciding to put their stock half way into the aisle which made a tight space even tighter. It took us quite a while to get through the first row and it was an uncomfortable squeeze to get through so many people. I felt like I couldn’t really stop to look at the stalls because there was constantly somebody pushing past or shoving me out of the way.
We eventually made our way to the middle of the rows which was wide and open however a lot of the retailers stalls were small and hard to access. They almost packed too many clothes into the spaces which made viewing really hard. I went with the intention of buying clothes but I came home with a set of underwear and a belt.
I made a beeline for the third row to find our babes at Topsy Curvy. I was so happy and proud to see their stall super busy with loads of people buying their beautiful stock. I of course got a picture with Jo & Nat and we had a good chat and I also chatted with some of the people shopping at their stall.
I also got this beaut picture with Nat and the lovely Dawn who was just a wee babe all day. I kept getting tangled in my bag and she kept rescuing me and also took photos for me too.
I then headed over to the River Island stand to ask why plus size clothing was being taken out of stores. I was told this had happened much earlier in the year due to lack of purchasing. I told them that their plus size range is poorly advertised as being available in store and not many people knew it existed. I was eventually fobbed off with a “it may be returning soon” and a free goody bag.
After a look around the stalls me and Dawn headed for some dinner at a Wetherspoons over the road. We had our lunch and headed back hoping it would be a bit quieter. We came into contact with a few people on our return who were fed up, upset and disappointed with the access in the venue. We learned that there was only one lift which was super busy and a bit out of the way and that the catwalk seating was small and uncomfortable. I was stopped by Georgina Grogan who was actually leaving TCFF early due to the poor accessibility. Georgina had spent a fair bit of money on hotel/travel etc but was leaving as it was just too much. She has written a post on the day which highlights a lot of the issues she faced.
I was starting to feel a bit more comfortable at this point as the crowds had thinned a bit. I kept heading back to the Topsy Curvy stand which became my safe space but I also browsed the stalls too. Here’s some of my highlights!
I met up with the gorgeous Kirsty who is just a wee babe!
I braved the first row and got my boobs measured by the wonderful Weir Wonderful Fit. She measured me at 2 back sizes smaller and 2 cup sizes bigger than I was wearing.
I found the most beautiful rose wall at the Pink Clove stand!
I met Gemma Collins at the Boohoo stand who is a total sweetheart in person!
After a final look around it was time for me to head for my train home. My Matalan boots remained comfortable all day which I was super surprised and glad about! I settled in for my train home which would take me all the way to Darlington and I would only have a short train back to Thornaby after that. Unfortunately the strikes caught up with me and they cancelled my second train and Adam had to drive over and pick me up. It was a cold and annoying way to end the day but thankfully the wonderful Team Topsy ladies kept me company as I went live in the group to keep me occupied.
Finally home, I curled up on the sofa and unpacked all my goodie bags to see what I had gained. Most confusing was the random mash pots given by one brand – however I have eaten them when I was poorly and couldn’t be bothered to make food and so maybe they were a genius idea. I also loved the free mirror from Pretty Little Thing! I love a little pocket/handbag mirror and I’ve already used this loads.
I opened my free goodie bag from River Island which I later found out was given out when people made a purchase rather than just given out. I feel like she gave me one to silence me when complaining about lack of plus sizes in store – however I’m not complaining. I’ve worn those hoops loads and I’ve worn the necklace and even used the eyeshadow palette. There was also a green lipstick but I rehomed that to Jo who took a shine to it.
I actually did an online order or something I’d seen at TCFF. I ordered this totally boujee and beautiful robe with matching romper from Boohoo. I got it 25% off and I was glad I swooped in when I did because they sold out super quick. I like to swan about my house in the robe or just sit looking at it hanging in my bedroom. ROBE. OF. DREAMS.
I am extremely lucky that I had no physical accessibility issues this year however if I had attended in a wheelchair like I did previously I would not of coped at all. The first row of stalls were hectic and busy and I was super annoyed at that brand for causing an obstruction with their clothing rails which was most of the issue. I kinda hoped there would of been more brands and I felt there should of been more refreshment options. The cocktail bar was a cute idea but it was super busy and so we didn’t get anywhere near it and we had to leave the venue to find somewhere to eat.
THAT BEING SAID.
I still had an amazing day. It was just wonderful to be around so many inspirational, beautiful, unapologetically plus sized humans and I loved seeing more and more trendy clothes filtering in. I was in awe of some of the gorgeous outfits that people were wearing and got inspiration from so many people. I went home wrapped in a self love bubble with excitement for the next year. After all the complaints/comments/posts about the accessibility this year the TCFF have already confirmed a venue change and have promised they will be working hard to make sure it is accessible for all. I have so much faith in the team and the fact they have already addressed this and the fact that they are working so hard to make the appropriate changes is amazing. The venue for next year is The ACC at Liverpool docks which I have previously been to for a huge conference and can confirm is a really excellent choice for the venue. I’ve already booked my hotel for the weekend and I’m hoping to take Eleanor and Adam with me and make a weekend of it. Loads of the Team Topsy members have booked the same hotel which is so exciting – I’m hoping for an after party, maybe dinner with friends or just a hang out! TCFF18 has left me wanting more and I’m already counting down the months for TCFF19.
If anybody is considering going to TCFF19 – DO IT! It’s such a positive day full of the best people and with all the changes being made this year I feel like it’s going to be the best/most accessible one yet. Tickets are already on sale and can be found here ! I’m waiting to buy mine as I can’t decide on regular or VIP. There’s more to be announced about VIP so I’m waiting to see if that sways my decision.
I wanted to finish this post with a few thank yous. Thank you to Dawn for coming with me! Thank you to Jo & Nat and everybody who stopped and chatted with me on the day and took pictures. I love the community that Topsy Curvy have built – it’s truly amazing. However the biggest thank you has to go to The TCFF team for all the hard work that goes in to putting on such an incredible event. It must take so much organising, so much effort and must be exhausting in both the run up and on the day. You are amazing and should be so proud of yourselves!
Are you going to TCFF19? Let me know below!
Thanks for reading.