Beauty, Beauty Bakerie, fashion, Jewellery, jumpers, lipstick, Marks and Spencer, ootd, Outfit post, outfits, Primark, skirts, Toolally Jewellery

Pink to make the girls wink

It’s been a while.

For various reasons, this blog has been on hiatus over the past few weeks. I didn’t have the energy or compulsion to write about what I was wearing when everything around me felt like it was on fire. During this time, my Dad left hospital, got pneumonia, had to go back into hospital but is now home and back to WhatsApping me bad jokes on the regular. I started my own business, won some work and celebrated by dying my fringe pink. I ate a lot of cheese. I met some great cats. Life continued.

But I miss blogging. When you spend your whole day working with words, sometime it’s nice to just write for yourself. And it’s not like I’ve stopped wearing clothes after all.

pink-to-make-the-girls-wink

JUMPER: Marks & Spencer

PLEATED SKIRT: Marks & Spencer (old, but this is similar)

LEATHER JACKET: ASOS Curve

SHOES: Primark (old)

HANDBAG: Osprey London (old)

EARRINGS: Toolally (old – but these are exceptionally similar)

I’ve never really been one for convention and – despite his love of all things blue – I’d like to think that Yves Klein would have appreciated the coordinating ensemble I wore to go and view an exhibition of his work at Tate Liverpool last week. Not least because of this truly awesome Marks and Spencer jumper. It’s so delightfully femme – the colour of blushed cheeks on a cold day, super soft (pulling it on makes me feel like I’m wearing a hug) and, best of all, has some incredibly silly sleeves.

puffy-sleeves

An old selfie, but I just really wanted to show you how good those sleeves are.

Despite not really being one for frills and flounces, I was drawn to these sleeves like a moth to a puffy flame. They are ridiculous. They get into everything and they’re a bugger to wear with my leather jacket. Yet, they’re the type of frivolous design quirk that makes me brim with joy. To be honest, it’s nice to be able to see something that’s fun for people of most shapes and sizes and which doesn’t involve the dreaded ‘cold shoulders’ (probably my least favourite plus sized trend of all time.)

pink-to-make-the-boys-wink

I found these awesome earrings from Toolally on sale at my local branch of John Lewis and immediately snapped them up. As a lover of the 1960s – and gigantic earrings – I adore all of Toolally’s stuff. These just happen to go perfectly with my hair which is remarkably handy. Add a touch of Beauty Bakerie’s ‘Take me for Pomegranate’ and you’ve got a look which is guaranteed to make both the girls – and the boys – wink.

Standard
Comfort food, Food, food bloggers, food blogging, Pasta, personal, Recipes

Eating Your Feelings

spanish-chip-buttie

A Spanish Chip Butty from The Pen Factory in Liverpool. Unquestionably, one of the best things I’ve eaten this year.

I haven’t felt much like writing recently. I started 2017 with so many great plans and amazing intentions. This, I told myself, would be my year. But so far, things haven’t been going according to plan. Work has been slow and my many (many) hustling emails have mostly been met with a ‘no’ or – even worse – no reply. Numerous opportunities have fallen through. The sink is blocked. I broke a nail. I pulled my favourite necklace out of its box last week to discover that it had snapped in two. Trump is president and seems to be on a mission to cause as much damage as possible. And my Dad had a heart attack.

There was no prior warning, no prep time. Just an unexpected phone call from my brother one Friday night informing me that my Dad was in surgery. It’s not my Dad’s first medical emergency, or even his first heart attack, but no matter how many times you find yourself in this position, it still comes as a shock. As I write this, he’s recovering from a heart bypass and growing increasingly weary of being stuck in hospital. I can’t say I blame him. Thankfully, he’s recovering well. Hopefully, he’ll be discharged by the end of this week, but in the interim, I spend my time flitting between Liverpool and Manchester. The house I live in, the house I grew up in and the hospital adjacent to where both of my siblings were born.

fullsizerender

It would be a lot to deal with even if it wasn’t all happening during January, that long dark Monday of the soul. So, I cope with it in my own way. I switch Twitter off. I read. I go on long bike rides around the wild, ragged coastline near my house. I watch an unhealthy amount of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ (while simultaneously praising and cursing Amazon Prime). And I cook.

I read this Bon Appetit piece yesterday about the joy that can be found in cooking for others. One paragraph in particular really leapt out at me. Mincing onions, making stock, kneading dough, and setting a table with care shouldn’t, and can’t, replace volunteering, protesting, and other forms of activism. But building and caring for community is absolutely vital right now. My hope is that this kind of nourishment—real food, made with love, for myself and for my friends—will better equip me to engage in the long fight ahead.’

I tell myself that I am cooking for the people I love – lunch for my husband to take to work with him, dinner for my Mum so she has something warm and nutritious to eat when she comes home late from the hospital. But I am also cooking to heal myself. I cook because cooking is an all consuming process. You follow these steps and (usually) something delicious will result in the end. I cook because cookbook writing is an art, and because a good cookbook can be read in the bath like a novel and transports you to places you never even knew existed. I cook because butter always makes things better. And I cook because in the hardest of times, we need to look after ourselves and others. We need to nourish our bodies and minds for the struggles ahead, to provide ourselves with comfort and strength when the obstacles feel almost insurmountable.

It is easy to dismiss thinking and writing about food as being a frivolous act when huge events are taking place in the world. But I place just as much importance in ensuring the people around me are well fed as I do in other radical activities. We still need full bellies and comfort food in dark times, whether that be brownies warm from the oven, an enormous plateful of Shepherd’s Pie, or just a giant bag of Doritos and hummus to munch on while watching your favourite film. Today, I will be heading over to Manchester and making a pot of bolognese sauce for myself and my Mum – some for tonight, and some to freeze for later when the thought of cooking from scratch seems like an impossible task. Food is good. Food is important. Sometimes it’s OK to eat your feelings.

Some Comfort Food recipes I’ve been cooking recently:

Standard
Anxiety, Eczema, It me, mental health, personal, tattoos

New Year, New You, New Danger

img_6787

I’m a bit of a sucker for a new start. I love the idea of each year being a tabula rasa filled to the brim with potential. I buzz off the excitement of new projects, the crisp lines of a new notebook, the opportunity contained within the pages of an empty diary. But, I’m also acutely aware that writing about new year’s resolutions is one of the worst lifestyle blogging cliches. And, before you say anything, I also know that reading about other people’s new year’s resolutions – many of which they’ll have broken by the second week of the year – is pretty boring. So, I’m (going to do my best) not to write about them here.

I’ve been thinking a lot about reinvention recently. I read this piece by Deborah Orr in the Guardian and was shocked by how much I related to her experiences of living with difficult mental health. Like too many people I know, last year wasn’t the easiest one for me. I was stuck in a job I hated (and was eventually made redundant from), experiencing some pretty nasty health issues, saw too many bad things happen to the people I love and – the cherry on top of this cake of shit – the return of the crippling anxiety and depression that has plagued me since my teenage years. At one particularly low point, I deactivated all of my social media accounts and almost deleted this blog because I was just so tired of seeing everyone else leading brighter, better, happier lives than mine. I hated the way I looked, I hated the way I felt and I hated logging on to discover everyone living it up while I was stagnating.

Of course, this is not a particularly rational way of thinking. Particularly for someone who works in social media and so should be totally aware of the glitter and artifice people sprinkle over their lives when discussing them online. Being alone with my thoughts only made them worse. I found it increasingly difficult to get out of bed and had to start working from home more to accommodate this. I was having panic attacks in my sleep and drinking too much. When I was at my office, I would repeatedly find myself bursting into tears and having to go and hide in the toilets. I had to finally face up to the fact that I needed help.

I went back onto antidepressants and discovered one that worked for me (I had been wary of them since a terrible experience with Citalopram in my late 20s.) I started seeing a therapist who helped me to unpick some of my ways of thinking and examine them in a new light. Being made redundant helped me to realise that one of the reasons I was so depressed was because I was in a job which wasn’t right for me and it provided me with the impetus (and money) I needed to finally go it alone.

I’m saying all of this not out of a desire to make people feel sorry for me, but more because I’m proud of managing to come out on the other side. I did some amazing work in 2016 – both professionally and personally. I’m entering 2017 happier, stronger and with much better hair. I’ve also acquired some awesome tattoos, but that’s by-the-by.

img_7209

My noble steed

Like many people, I have big plans for 2017. I want to write more, both for myself and for others. I want to make my freelance career a success. I want to be more careful with my money, not just because I am acutely aware of the precariousness of freelance life but also because I want to find methods of self care which don’t just involve purchasing things that I don’t really need.

My friend James came to visit me over the Christmas break and was kind enough to fix up the old Raleigh Shopper bike which had been gathering dust in my hallway for a number of years. Last week, I found myself going on a 13 mile bike ride alongside the River Mersey, enjoying the feel of the wind through my hair and feeling so incredibly lucky to live in such a scenic part of England. I don’t know what will happen to me this year. But I know that if I continue to take pleasure in the little things, I’ll be OK.

Standard
Bbloggers, Charlotte Tilbury, dresses, gold, L'Oreal, lipstick, Make Up, metallics, Party wear, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, Primark, what i wore

Gold, Frankenstein and Grrr

‘That’s a lovely dress,’ said the woman at the till. ‘Off to the office Christmas party?’

‘Nope!’ I replied. ‘I’m a freelancer. We tend not to get invited to office Christmas parties.’

‘Oh. Well, that’s a shame love. Going to wear it to any other Christmas parties?’

‘To be honest, I’m probably just going to wear it around the house while watching The Sure Thing for the 100th time and drinking pints of Baileys’

‘Are you taking the mick?’

When no one else wants you to attend their party, the best thing you can do is throw your own. Which is what I did on Friday. In fine Christina McMc tradition, I donned my gay apparel, went for a slap up lunch, got my hair done and then sat around my house wearing this dress with a mud mask on and an Aperol Spritz. It was better than 90% of the office parties I’ve ever attended, plus I didn’t need a taxi to cart myself to bed.

gold-frankenstein-and-grrr

TOP: Marks and Spencer (old, but this is very similar)

DRESS: Primark

WATCH: Daisy Dixon (which was a very lovely gift from Yours)

EARRINGS: Accessorize

SHOES: Doc Martens

I didn’t mean to buy this dress. In fact, I’d only popped into Primark to pick up a pair of tights (‘I only meant to buy a pair of tights’ will probably be written on my grave.) But, then I caught it winking at me out of the corner of my eye, and it appealed to all my tackiest, most Magpie like instincts. I never could resist a good metallic item, particularly one with such a ridiculous split up the thigh.

As it is, this dress has turned out to be way more versatile than I initially envisaged. In the past two weeks, I’ve worn it for a wintry wander around Regent’s Park, to a friend’s birthday party and while undertaking a walk of shame through King’s Cross after the aforementioned birthday party. (NEVER drink absinthe readers. Learn from my fail.) Not bad for something which cost me a fiver.

gold-frankenstein-grrr-selfie

For my make-up, I kept it simple. Red lips, gold eyes, dab of highlighter. One of my greatest achievements of 2016 was finally overcoming my fear of eyeshadow. For years, I’d veered away from it as I could never make it look ‘elegant’. Turns out that all I needed was a decent palette, proper brushes (as opposed to my former technique of mushing it all onto my face with my little finger) and roughly 100 YouTube tutorials. Who knows? Maybe at this rate, 2017 will be the year I overcome my fear of false eyelashes. Merry Christmas everyone. 

Standard
ASOS Curve, Bbloggers, Beauty, Beauty bloggers, Charlotte Tilbury, Jewellery, Junarose, Make Up, Marks and Spencer, office wear, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, Tatty Devine, what i wear to work

Grey Sunday

I’ve been in a bit of a bleak mood recently. Blame it on the achingly cold weather, the lack of natural sunlight or the fact that every time I look at the news, I want to curl up in the foetal position and wail, but I haven’t really felt like my best self. But, I’m a busy woman and I have important shit to do, so vacuum sealing myself inside a pillow fort for the foreseeable future isn’t really convenient. So, I did what I always do when I feel like the world is a flaming skip fire. I slapped on some eyeshadow, threw on a snuggly roll neck jumper and treated myself to a rather fancy brunch.

grey-sunday-side-view

ROLL NECK: Junarose 

TROUSERS: ASOS Curve (old)

BELT: ASOS Curve

SHOES: Marks and Spencer

NECKLACE: Tatty Devine

EARRINGS: Accessorize

Despite the vast amount of #dealz filled emails hitting my inbox, I managed to be quite restrained on Black Friday. Somehow, I managed to limit myself to only purchasing a sweatshirt, a belt and the Junarose roll neck you see here in the ASOS 20% off everything sale. Not that I needed much of an excuse to buy this roll neck mind you, it’s been sitting in my ‘saved’ items for longer than I care to admit.

grey-sunday-front-view

Like all Junarose items I’ve purchased, this roll neck is simple yet stylish. I love the soft, neutral grey colour (the exact shade of a freezing December sky) and it’s shaped really nicely. While I will never quite avoid the dreaded ‘shelf tit’ effect that larger boobed women such as myself are prone to, the cut and fit of it feel – forgive me here – flattering. While I love my body, I also feel remarkably self conscious about having very large breasts so any item of clothing which makes them look relatively proportional to the rest of my body is very welcome.

I’m wearing a ‘large’ here, mainly because I found it impossible to find an accurate size chart on Junarose or ASOS’s websites. I do wish retailers would realise that people appreciate being given accurate size guides, rather than just having to pick a size at random and praying for the best.

grey-sunday-selfie

My birthday gifts from my (utterly wonderful) husband were a delightfully snarky Laura Callaghan necklace from Tatty Devine and a gorgeous Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow palette in Legendary Muse. One of the most rewarding things I’ve done with my look this year is to experiment more with eye make-up, and I feel it’s really paid off with the look I’ve created here using Legendary Muse. The golds and green tinged yellow shades blend together to make the green-blue colour of my eyes really stand out. I’d recommend putting it on your Christmas list if you’d like Santa to stick some truly outstanding eyeshadow underneath your tree.

Love this post? Then follow me on Bloglovin!

Standard
Animal print, Beauty, Beauty bloggers, dresses, L'Oreal, Leopard print, lipstick, Marks and Spencer, Monki, Plus sized, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, psbloggers, Topshop

34

I turned 34 last Tuesday. 34 doesn’t feel like a real age. It sounds far too grown up, the kind of age that ‘real’ adults are, rather than overgrown teenagers like myself. In my head, I’m still a scruffy 21 year old who mooches around in ill fitting clothes while attempting to make a living by writing overwrought features about post-rock bands rather than a middle aged woman who wears slightly better fitting clothes while trying to make a living by (terrifyingly) starting up her own business. It’s a lot.

Of course, being a proper grown up, I ameliorated these fears in a rational and adult manner. By which, I mean I went for a very fancy lunch, hung out with some cats, went to a gig in a cathedral and had a McDonalds on the way home. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.

34-1

COAT: Marks & Spencer

DRESS: Alexa Chung for Marks & Spencer

SHOES: Marks & Spencer

NECKLACE: Topshop (old)

EARRINGS: Monki (old)

HANDBAG: Kate Spade (old)

34-3

I was a bit devastated recently to hear the news that the clothing arm of Marks & Spencer is experiencing some difficulties. As you may have gathered, I absolutely adore Marks & Spencer. Their underwear is comfy, their jeans fit my weird hips and butt area like they were moulded around them and I know their stuff won’t fall apart after a few wears (unlike some brands I’ve encountered recently – River Island, I’m looking at you here.)

Their recent Alexa Chung collection, where she revisited designs from their archives, has been a bit of an eye opener to my chubby self. Seeing as they stopped at size 18, I fully expected not to fit into any of her items. Hence why I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could easily fit into this size 16 shirt dress (which, according to a Twitter friend of mine, makes me look like a ’80s space dominatrix’) with room to spare. While I’m well aware that I’m being pandered to via some serious vanity sizing, I’ve never been pandered to so effectively. The only parts in which it falls down is that it creases remarkably easily and its silky fabric makes it a bugger to wear when you’re drunk as you’ll end up sliding off pub stools and onto the floor while mid conversation. You can probably all guess how I discovered this.

it-me-november-2016

I realise that this outfit doesn’t resemble the ones above, but I feel it would be a dereliction of beauty blogger duty not to mention L’Oreal’s Colour Riche lipstick in Blake Red. It’s the most perfect, carmine red I’ve ever found and knocks socks off pretty much everything else I’ve ever tried (and yes, that does include MAC’s Russian Red, a lipstick so matte it feels like you’re trying to drag a crayon across your lips.) It’s beautifully creamy, costs a mere £6.99 and stayed on throughout a challenging 2 hour tattoo session last Saturday. Frankly, it’s one of those bargain high street beauty buys that thrifty types like myself live for. Apparently, L’Oreal are discontinuing it, so I’d recommend buying it in bulk now, if only to provide a pop of colour in these increasingly grey times.

Love this post? Then follow me on Bloglovin!

Standard
Animal print, Autumn, Beauty bloggers, coats, Jewellery, lipstick, MAC, Make Up, Make Up Revolution, Marks and Spencer, metallics, Monki, ootd, Outfit post, outfits, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, psbloggers, skirts, Topshop, wiwt, Work outfit, Work wear

Luxury Witch

Recently, I attended a job interview where I found myself explaining the concept of a ‘Luxury Witch’ to a rather bemused interview panel. ‘Imagine a really well dressed Goth who takes Ubers everywhere,’ I exclaimed before informing them that crushed velvet and pleated skirts were really in this season. They’re yet to let me know if I’ve been offered the job.

Whatever happens with my employment prospects, I’m deeply happy to have introduced the concept of ‘Luxury Witch’ to a wider audience. And – if this term ever appears in the Oxford English Dictionary – you’d probably find a picture of this outfit underneath it.

luxury-witch-leopard-print-coat

COAT: Marks and Spencer

ROLL NECK: Marks and Spencer

PLEATED SKIRT: Marks and Spencer

BELT: Vintage

BOOTS: Topshop

EARRINGS: Monki

roll-neck

My love of Marks and Spencer’s clothing runs deep – I will go to my grave arguing that they make the comfiest underwear on the market – and they are really knocking it out of the park this season. Their stuff is chic, reasonably priced and doesn’t fall apart after a few rounds in the washing machine (handy when you spill as much down yourself as I do). They do great everyday basics and on trend pieces like this gloriously witchy metallic midi skirt and leopard print coat, both of which look far more luxurious than their price tags would lead you to believe. Plus, M&S remains the only shop I can pop into during my lunch hour where I can purchase moisturiser, a skirt and a sandwich at the same time. What a time to be alive.

luxury-witch

In the spirit of Halloween, I opted to experiment with my eye make-up and try out a more dramatic look. I used Make Up Revolution’s ‘Fortune Favours The Brave’ palette (an absolute bargain at £9.99) to recreate this gorgeous rose gold smokey eye look. I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to eyeshadow, but this is such a lovely (and easy!) tutorial to follow. While it’s not quite as elegant as Nancy’s,  I’m super pleased about how well it turned out.

I completed the look with MAC’s ‘Roxo‘, a limited edition blood red lipstick. While this particular shade is sold out on their website, I’m fairly sure that you could find lots of lovely dupes without searching too hard.

Love this post? Then follow me on Bloglovin!

Standard