About me, Body positivity, fat acceptance, fat positivity, It me, personal

Body Talk


A very silly picture of me I took on New Year’s Eve where I looked great and was trying to show off my ‘guns’.

Well, Happy New Year. After the long, hard, emotionally gruelling slog which was 2017, I know that I was not alone in feeling a huge sense of relief when the bells chimed at midnight on New Year’s Eve to let us know that 2018 had arrived. This isn’t to say that this year is guaranteed not to be a stinker – after all, I felt pretty positive about things this time last January too. But so far, I’ve been feeling relatively good about the state of the world and my place in it. I’ve been cooking delicious, plant based meals. I’ve been getting eight hours sleep a night. I’ve finished watching Feud, been to my first spin class of the year, started rewriting the Cattington website and even found the time to read a book. So far, so good.

That is, until it comes to bodies. As anyone with access to social media knows, January is a toxic slush of bad opinions when it comes to diet talk, exercise talk and just general blather from people who tell us that we need to forgo carbs, dairy and booze in order to become a ‘better’ person. Do you know what the first thing I saw on Instagram on Boxing Day was? An advert for a high impact exercise plan (quite offensive when you consider that the only high impact exercise I was conducting at that point was consuming all the cheese in my fridge.) Thankfully, a lot of this discourse is being counteracted by the growing ‘body positivity’ movement. While I have a few issues with ‘body positivity’- mostly because it seems to elevate voices which are white, cis, pretty, middle class and ‘acceptably fat’ – I’m still glad that it’s there fighting the good fight across my social media channels.

But it’s not easy. As someone who has long struggled with their self image, it can sometimes feel like body positivity is a magic trick performed by other people. So much of what I read about it makes it sound like the simplest thing in the world, like there’s a switch I can click in my brain which will allow me to transform all the shame and complex emotions I feel about myself into something wild, beautiful and wonderful. ‘Turn off the guilt!’ ‘Eat what you want!’ ‘Stop hating yourself!’ For those of us who aren’t quite at that point yet, who are taking baby steps towards feeling better about our bodies, this exhortation that if you feel occasionally feel bad about your body, you’re a traitor to the movement can sometimes make it feel like just another thing we’re failing at.

Sometimes I feel like being fat is an intrinsically narcissistic act. You can’t stop thinking about your body – the way it looks, the space it takes up, the clothing that you put on it – because society won’t let you stop thinking about your body. It’s always telling you that in order to fit in, you need to change yourself in some elemental way. And when you’ve been told your whole life that you are wrong, when it feels like diet culture has seeped into every nook and cranny of your being, it can just become exhausting.

I’ve been going back to this piece by Virgie Tovar a lot recently, where she discusses how hard it can be to practice self love. I like how she appreciates that it’s not an overnight process, that it can be difficult and incredibly emotionally gruelling at times. When the narrative about your body has been written by others for so long, it can be difficult to wrest back control of it and sing your own song. Appreciating your body – what it can do, how it feels, how good it looks in clothes – is a process and one which gets easier every day. Just so long as you keep putting the work in.

Because there will be bad days. Days when you go to the doctor and they’ll talk more about your weight than the actual condition you went in with. Days when you see a picture of yourself not looking your best and flinch. Days when someone will shout something abusive at you out of a car window, or snap a picture of you on their phone when all you’re trying to do is go for a fucking run in peace. On days like this, it’s OK to feel disheartened. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to rage against a world which seems to want to do everything in its power to make you feel like shit.

But then you have to pick yourself up, have a word with yourself, keep going. Some of the things which make me feel better when I’m having an off day are to surround myself with the wise, funny and fashionable community of fat babes I follow on Twitter. I might go to the gym and lift some really heavy weights or do an online yoga class (while I realise that this isn’t for everyone, I find that I always feel better about myself when I make the effort to move my body and appreciate the amazing things it can do.) I put on an outfit which I really love and wear an obnoxiously bright lipstick. I fake it – and will continue to fake it – until I make it.

Learning to love yourself isn’t easy. But I want to believe that over time it will become something I don’t even think about, as simple and effortless as putting one foot in front of the other. And on the days where it’s not, I will happy that there’s people around me who will pick me up, dust me down and tell me to keep going. Who will be with me – and you – every step of the way.  


About me, Beauty, Eczema, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging

Scratch, scratch, itch. What it’s like to live with chronic eczema

Wasn't I a cute toddler? You can see patches of eczema here on my cheeks.

Wasn’t I a cute toddler? You can see patches of eczema here on my cheeks.

Imagine waking up one morning and discovering that your hands were covered in tiny, painful blisters. You’d probably feel alarmed and more than a little freaked out. Now, imagine that alongside giant itchy red blotches on your face, chest and arms. These blisters and blotches become dry and flaky in the summer and get irritated by everything from dust mites to moisturisers. In the winter, your hands become inflamed and your fingers crack and bleed at the joints. Your skin is so angry and irritated, you think it would just be easier to bathe in a huge pool of antihistamine laced hand cream. This is my life with chronic eczema and it absolutely sucks.

I’ve suffered from atopic dermatitis (the medical name for my eczema) for most of my life. My parents have mountains of baby pictures of me where my cheeks are flushed bright red with irritation. When I was 4, I got impetigo which meant my hands practically had to be sewed into mittens so I didn’t constantly scratch myself (which made for some great ‘furious toddler Christina’ moments.) In the pictures I have of my 21st birthday celebrations, I’m wearing a tonne of foundation because I’d used a face mask which made my skin flare up. Possibly the worst moment (or best if you’re amused by gigantic bodily appendages) came when I was in my last year of university. I was trying to write my dissertation when one of the cracks in my skin became infected. This caused my right hand to swell up to three times its normal size, leak pus everywhere and was swiftly proceeded by a trip to King’s College Hospital’s A&E department.

At the moment, I am suffering from a particularly nasty case of perioral (mouth), peri-ocular (eye area) and atopic (hands & chest) eczema. My skin looks like a giant red dot-to-dot puzzle, my eyelids are two masses of dry skin and my lips are constantly chapped. My hands are usually sore from blisters and skin wounds and my entire body boils and itches. At one point, I was forced to cover my hands in an evil smelling petroleum ointment and sleep with cotton gloves on so I didn’t claw at myself during the night. I only stopped when a private dermatologist informed me that I’d been given incorrect advice on how to apply it and that using it without the aid of a special spatula would actually cause more eczema.

A recent picture of me. You can see quite a large patch of eczema on the side of my face.

A recent picture of me. You can see quite a large patch of eczema on the side of my face.

I have become addicted to reading skin care blogs, hoping that one of them will lead me to some magical product which will make me feel human again. While I feel like I’ve tried every wonder cure going, that’s still not stopped me spending an eye watering amount of money on various emollients, steroid creams, face masks and other skin soothing lotions and potions. At one point, I was caught by a rather concerned looking SpaceNK assistant holding up a bottle of expensive face oil and whispering to it please fix my skin. I just want to feel pretty and when you’ve got a face covered in scaly red blotches, it can be very hard to feel pretty.

Living with such visible eczema makes you incredibly self conscious. On bad days, I look in the mirror and see nothing but wrinkles and cracks, all covered in a patina of dry white flakes. In a world where women are frequently praised for their fresh, bouncy, line-free skin, I feel like I’m failing somehow. I drink lots of water, I double cleanse, I use a really-fucking-expensive serum, so why am I not glowing like a sunbeam?

I win daily battles with my skin – fighting the infections, soothing the soreness, lathering myself in steroids, powdering over the blotches – but it is relentless. I am at war with my body, and it feels like I am losing. I’ve lost count of the amount of hours I’ve spent in doctors and dermatologists offices this year crying because nothing is alleviating my symptoms. Earlier this month, I went back on antidepressants with one of the triggers being how depressed and anxious I felt about my skin. While I’m no longer waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks, that hasn’t stopped the slow, insistent creep of blisters across my palms.

While I may moan on here and on Twitter, I know that I am lucky. I have an understanding partner who supports and comforts me when I feel at my wits end. I have an employer who provides me with private health insurance meaning that I can see a private dermatologist. I earn enough money to pay for all the various treatments my skin needs. I have been referred for patch testing – an exhausting and stinky process which will require frequent trips to the hospital and not being able to wash for seven days – which means I may finally be able to discover what triggers my eczema (alongside the cold, the heat, soap, exfoliants and myriad other factors.)

I want to say that I have learned to live with my eczema, but I don’t think I ever will. It will always be a part of my life. I just don’t want it to be my life.


About me


Christina McMc

For the past few years, I’ve been writing a food blog. Then, at some point last year, I fell out of love with blogging. Partly, this is due to the fact that I’m lucky enough to have a career which involves me talking about food on the internet for money, and writing about restaurants and recipes on my blog (when I could be watching Broad City instead)  just felt too much like work. Also, I just wanted to blog about more elements of my life than simply what I was having for my dinner.

As an immensely greedy person, food will always play an incredibly important role in my life (seriously, I have a giant rolling pin tattoo on my right arm in case you doubted my commitment to this.) But I’m also incredibly vain, and have long wanted to start my own fashion blog showcasing my outfits, lipstick choices and collection of oversized necklaces. I briefly started a Tumblr with this lofty aim last year, then I got annoyed because I was trying to write two blogs when I could barely be arsed putting the effort into one, and because fiddling about with Tumblr is the worst. I have neither the time or patience for that nonsense.

On a more personal note, I am a 30 (something) fat woman, and many people tend not to view us too kindly. It’s getting a bit depressing listening to the news each day and hearing that fat people are destroying the NHS because we’re worse than ISIS. Fat is a radical issue, and while I’m inspired each and every day by a huge range of fantastic, amazing, inspiring fat babes, I’ve decided (for better or for worse) that 2015 is the year I speak up that little bit louder. Documenting the outfits I wear and the food I eat is my way of acting out, as well as showing that plus sized women over the age of 30 can do yoga, eat kale and wear leopardprint while looking totally bitchin’.

Food, fashion…and a little bit extra. Welcome to Kitkeen.*

*The name’s my childhood nickname btw in case you were wondering.