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

Body Talk

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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.  

 

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ASOS Curve, Beauty, coats, fat acceptance, lipstick, Make Up, Marks and Spencer, metallics, Navabi, personal style, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, Tarte Cosmetics, what i wear to work, what i wore, Work outfit, Work wear

The Brightest Bird in Bootle

Arched Eyebrow x navabi tag

When Bethany announced that she was launching her very own collection of clothing for navabi, I – like most of the plus sized world – did a little scream of delight. In the interests of full disclosure, Bethany is a good friend of mine. But even if she wasn’t, I’ve long been a fan of her distinctive style, and I knew instinctively that the pieces she created would be bright, bold and beautifully cut. When the collection was launched, it didn’t disappoint, providing a capsule wardrobe of simple, elegant clothes in an array of gorgeous colours.

One of the things I love most about this collection is its versatility. You could easily throw on the tapered red trousers with a simple white t-shirt to wear to a meeting, or do some serious colour blocking by teaming with it with the (gorgeous) pussy bow pink shirt. It’s a middle finger raised to the idea that plus sized women shouldn’t dress in bright colours or don’t want to wear tailored items. As someone whose personal style has veered away from the super femme vintage styles that seem to dominate plus sized fashion as I’ve grown older, it feels – and looks – like something that the industry really needs right now.

Somehow I managed to exercise some control and limited myself to three pieces – the hot pink blazer, the (immensely Instagrammable) gingham shirt and the tailored red trousers. All of the pieces will make an appearance on this blog over the next few weeks, but so far, my favourite of them all is the blazer, which I wore on a trip to Manchester this weekend. Popping it on made me feel like I was channelling Pat Butcher, David Byrne (in his big suit) and Don Johnson from Miami Vice all at once.

Pink jacket black t-shirt (full body)

JACKET: Arched Eyebrow x navabi

T-SHIRT: ASOS Curve

JEANS: Marks and Spencer

SHOES: Marks and Spencer

EARRINGS: Mango (old)

NECKLACE: Oliver Bonas (old)

Now, lets be honest. I will never receive plaudits for my ‘understated, effortless style.’ Everything about me feels designed to be obnoxiously large and loud, from my hair to my dulcet Mancunian tones. But throwing this jacket on made me feel even more vibrant, like I was made to stand out from the crowd. Everyone who saw it, loved it (in fact, my Dad loved it so much that he even tried it on for himself.) It’s designed to be worn with everything from casual skinny jeans to a tailored peg leg trouser and is sure to become a staple in my wardrobe (particularly when worn with my favourite gold mules.)

Selfie pink jacket

While I’m here, allow me to introduce you to my new favourite lip colour, ‘Fly’ by Tarte Cosmetics. Tarte are an American brand who I always see getting a lot of love on American beauty blogs and podcasts, not least because they’re vegan and cruelty free. I picked two of their quick dry matte lip paints when I was in Sephora in Boston and I love the pair of them. While they’re not quite as long lasting as my beloved Beauty Bakerie Lip Whips, the colours are out of this world. ‘Fly’ is a wonderfully vivid shade of fuchsia which I can see working on all sorts of skin tones.

After some extensive internet research (read: ‘doing a Google’), I’ve discovered that UK residents can purchase most of Tarte’s range via QVC. Seeing as I can’t be trusted around cosmetics, I’ll probably be doing a big splurge on their range soon (I’ve heard great things about their Maracuja Oil) and will report back. And if you know of anywhere else in the UK where you can purchase Tarte’s range, please let me know in the comments!

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Accessories, Bbloggers, Beauty, Beauty Bakerie, Beauty bloggers, fat acceptance, fat positivity, Glossier, Joanie clothing, lipstick, ootd, Outfit post, outfits, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, psbloggers, summer, what i wore, wiwt

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Yesterday Today Tomorrow

Two outfit posts from me in a week! You lucky, lucky people.

I’m currently coasting on the wave of happiness (and exhaustion) caused by the best weekend I’ve had in ages. It’s amazing how much of a tonic it can be to drink wine with friends, play with adorable dogs, dance to techno in sweaty clubs while watching hooded women dance with pyramids (long story) and then sit around drinking pints in dive bars with your favourite person in the world.

I’m also still buzzing over my new hairdo. It’s wild just how much more confident I feel with turquoise hair, like it’s opened up aspects of my face I didn’t know existed. I’ve experienced some major issues with my body image recently and while they haven’t been entirely eradicated, I feel like I’m becoming more capable of navigating the world with my best – and bluest – foot forward.

Yesterday Today Tomorrow (2)

TOP: Joanie Clothing

SKIRT: Joanie Clothing

EARRINGS: Topshop

NECKLACE: Little Moose

SHOES: Converse (via Office)

I’m also really digging this cute and casual outfit from Joanie. I’m always slightly wary of wearing anything with vertical stripes due to my gigantic boobs causing an effect which is akin to the cover of Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division. But this one was just too adorable to pass on, particularly when paired with their scallop denim skirt. As with everything I’ve bought from Joanie so far, I had to size up with both of these items. The top is quite form fitting, meaning it rides up over my tummy (I’m a fairly standard size 20 with a bit of a pot belly), therefore, I feel it works much better when tucked into something like a skirt or jeans. I finished the look with my beloved gold Converse – the comfiest (and coolest) pair of shoes I’ve ever worn. Seriously, I’ll probably end up being buried in these.

Yesterday Today Tomorrow selfie

My favourite piece of jewellery at the moment has to be this delightfully quirky face necklace by Little Moose. Like all of their stuff, it’s super cool, super unique and always makes me smile when I wear it. Add a swoosh of Glossier’s Boy Brow (they’re coming to the UK very soon and I cannot wait) and Beauty Bakerie’s (amazing) Cranberry Stiletto liquid lipstick and it’s impossible not to feel utterly charming.

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Accessories, dresses, fashion, fat acceptance, fat positivity, Marks and Spencer, Monki, Oliver Bonas, ootd, Outfit post, outfits, personal style, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, plus sized summer dresses, scarves, summer, summer dresses, what i wore

Feeling Myself

Things are still bad. But they are getting better.

I went to my wonderful hairdressers on Tuesday with the intention of getting my roots done. Seven and a half (!!) hours later, I walked out with bright turquoise hair. It is one of most daring, frivolous things I’ve ever done and I absolutely adore it. After a long year which hasn’t had many fun moments in it, doing something completely and utterly ridiculous just for myself feels remarkably liberating. It also happens to really suit me. Which helps.

Tropical

I’ve had a number of people ask me where I bought this (glorious) shirt dress from since posting this selfie. While it looks as though it should come from somewhere like Monki, it’s actually from Marks and Spencer. The print is bold and vibrant, the fit is just on the right side of generous and you’ll always get a compliment when you’re wearing it. It’s still in stock at the moment and worth every single penny of its £39.50 price tag.

Blue hair 1)

HEAD SCARF: Karen Mabon

EARRINGS: Topshop

DRESS: Monki

JACKET: ASOS Curve (old)

NECKLACE: Oliver Bonas

SANDALS: New Look

Speaking of Monki, I am 100% in love with this black t-shirt dress I purchased from them recently. I love really nice, simple, well made, just-on-the-right-side-of-baggy dresses, particularly during the summer when all you want to wear is something which circulates a nice cooling breeze around your intimate parts. I was inspired to get this after seeing it on the always radiant Bethany and listening to an illuminating discussion about sack dresses on the most recent episode of Call Your Girlfriend and wore it to go and see William Basinski when he played at the Manchester International Festival last night. While reapplying my lipstick in the bathroom, I caught sight of myself in the full length mirror and – for the first time in ages – felt 100% comfortable with the way I looked. Which is something I haven’t been able to say for a while.

Blue hair 2)

 

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and other stories, ASOS, Beauty Bakerie, dresses, fashion, fat acceptance, gold, Joanie clothing, lipstick, Marks and Spencer, metallics, ootd, Outfit post, outfits, personal style, Plus sized, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, plus sized summer dresses, psbloggers, spring, what i wore, wiwt

Hey there, Joanie girl

There’s a certain irony in me posting this outfit during a week where we’re forecast to have snow (!!!) in the North West of England (come on weather, get it together), but sunny days are a rare occurrence where I live at the moment. Sun does interesting things to the residents of my part of Liverpool. Deckchairs are pulled out of dusty attics and thrown into front gardens. Bouncy castles suddenly appear where there were no bouncy castles before. Barbecues get fired up and remarkably pale fashion bloggers decide to use it as an excuse to get their perilously white legs out in public.

Sunglasses on

SUNGLASSES: ASOS (old)

EARRINGS: And Other Stories (old)

DRESS: Joanie Clothing

SHOES: Marks & Spencer

I’ll be honest, I’ve only worn this dress from Joanie Clothing once since I purchased it in a moment of potential-heatwave-frenzy earlier this month, although I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it as soon as the weather gets warmer. Despite becoming increasingly weary of vintage recreation brands, I’ve heard lots of good things about Joanie since their launch last year. I’ll admit, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on their website making wish lists of all the lovely items I’d like from there.

Smiling

I was super impressed by this Poesy Paris Print Dress from there. The materials are high quality and it’s lined which was a nice surprise (I’ve bought a number of vintage recreation dresses in the past for a similar price which look great on the website, but turn out to have the texture of paper when you put them on.) Two things to be aware of though – it does come up a bit short (I’m 5ft 6 and it reaches just above my knee) and if you’re blessed with large boobs, you’ll need to size up. I’m a fairly standard size 20, but sized up to a 22 here. From my own research, Joanie’s sizing can differ from person to person (e.g. another top that I bought from there in my usual size came up quite short), so I’m glad that I asked around prior to purchasing this dress as wearing my usual size would have made my tits looked like they were trapped in a vice.

A few other things to keep in mind when purchasing from Joanie is that they don’t do exchanges. As a new, small business, I’m sure that they have good reasons for this, but it would be nice to know what they are as it does make the purchasing process slightly more frustrating than it needs to be. If you’re in between sizes, or you’re not sure how an item might hang on you if you’re larger in some areas than others, I’d strongly recommend asking around or sizing up to be on the safe side. While the returns process is free and relatively simple, they take a long time to process –  approximately 14 days from receipt of the item for the money to appear in your bank account. So don’t splurge on lots of different sizes if you think you’ll be strapped for cash later in the month.

Joanie’s items did initially go up to a size 26, but since their launch, they’ve reduced their range of sizes to stop at 22. It’s slightly disappointing that a brand that really seemed to want to support its plus sized customers has stopped doing such a broad range of sizes (although this may change in the future) and I really hope they reconsider this as their business continues to grow. Particularly as there are so many cute items on their website which I know would look banging on a number of chub babes that I know.

Hey there, Joanie girl

I paired this dress with two of my current favourite accessories – Beauty Bakerie’s lip whip in Cranberry Stilletto and a pair of amazing gold mules from Marks & Spencer. I received an email from M&S earlier this month which showed Danielle Vanier rocking a very similar pair and I knew they had to be mine (thank you for being such a fashionable enabler, Danie!) At only £19.99, they’re an absolute bargain and I can definitely see myself buying a pair of these in various different colours to go with my summer wardrobe. Now all I need is some sunshine…

 

 

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1970s, and other stories, Beauty, Beauty bloggers, fashion, fat acceptance, fat positivity, H&M, lipstick, Make Up, metallics, Monki, Nars, ootd, Outfit post, outfits, plus sized bloggers, plus sized blogging, plus sized fashion, plus sized summer dresses, psbloggers, summer, summer dresses, what i wore, wiwt

Springtime for McMc

It’s a cliche, I know but I am so so so happy that spring has arrived. Earlier this week, I walked through a sunny Kings Cross wearing stupid sunglasses and clutching my first (overpriced) iced coffee of 2017 and nearly burst into song (well, I was listening to this.) After a fairly rancid winter, I’ve been dying to flounce around in frills and bright colours and – as always – Monki have delivered in grand style.

Voluminous

SHIRT: Monki

SKIRT: Monki

EARRINGS: And Other Stories (old)

RING: Bloody Mary Metal

BOOTS: H&M

I’m sure that there’s some unwritten fashion rule about how larger boobed women shouldn’t wear obnoxiously bright, frilled blouses, because God knows mainstream fashion loves to penalise women/nb folks for being of a larger shape and size. But – if any of my mega titted brethren are reading this and wondering if they should invest in this shirt, allow me to reassure you that you a) totally should and b) do it now. I’m wearing a L in this picture and it more than covers my GG-size-20 chest with only the slightest bit of gaping. And even that’s alleviated if you just pull it down and fasten it securely with the waistband of a very silly printed pleated skirt.

Springtime for McMc

It’s hard to see in these pictures, but the cartoon print of this skirt is an utter delight. I never knew I could be so charmed by having the word ‘LOL’ positioned directly on my crotch. Shout out to these gold H&M boots too, an utter bargain which was I was alerted to by my exceptionally fashionable friend Fong. I saw these on her shoe rack when I visited her flat recently, she informed me that she’d bought them for £10 and before you could say ‘what a bobby bargain,‘ I was the proud owner of a new pair of gold boots. Fashion enabling never looked so shiny.

Springtime for McMc selfie 2)

I’ve been favouring heavier, darker eye make-up over the past few months and strolled into Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar (aka ‘my happy place’) on payday looking for something which wouldn’t clash with the pink streak in my hair. NARS came to the rescue, as they so often do. Their ‘Sugarland’ eye duo is a winning combination of apricot and orchid pink. I can see this replacing my stalwart MAC Corduroy as my everyday eyeshadow as we move into the warmer weather, although I might add a dash of glitter if I’m feeling fancy. When paired with my Tom Ford lipstick in ‘Cary’, it makes for a warm sun kissed look which makes me long for picnics in the park and lazy beer garden nights. Hiya spring. I’ve missed you.

 

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ASOS, ASOS Curve, fashion, fat acceptance, look what you could have worn, plus sized fashion, Representation, The media

On ASOS and plus-sized representation in the media

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Being a fat woman on the internet exposes you to a lot of fuckwittery. It feels like every day, there’s some egregiousness that the plus-sized community (or, at least, the people I follow within the plus-sized community) are getting up in arms about. Most of the time, this seems to come from plus-sized brands. You’d think that the people who were so keen to take our money would be the ones who understood us best. Unfortunately, if I had a pound for every time I’ve seen a plus-sized brand put their foot in their mouth, I would probably have enough cash to start my own collection.

The latest example of this is ASOS. Before I get started, let me say that I love ASOS. 80% of my clothes come from their Curve collection which stocks some of the best plus-sized pieces on the market. I’ve really like how they’ve used plus-sized model Felicity Hayward as one of their stylists and their Autumn/Winter 2015 look book with blogger Gabi Gregg was absolutely gorgeous. So, when their recent magazine landed on my doormat, I looked forward to seeing their newest selection of on trend plus-sized pieces. I mean, they have one of the largest selections of plus-sized clothes available. Surely, they’d feature them in a magazine they send out to thousands of subscribers?

Well, no. I did a full audit of their magazine and it featured nothing from their Curve collection. Not one piece. In fact, the only place where I saw a plus-sized woman featured in the magazine was in a cartoon from Cécile Dormeau on the last page. I asked ASOS why this was the case, and didn’t get a reply (although to be honest, I didn’t expect one.) What’s most galling about this is that this edition was devoted to representation in the media and inspiring women. How can a brand claim to be committed to representation when its magazine excludes a large section of its customer base?

It’s not just ASOS who are guilty of this. Too many magazines, websites and TV programmes which claim to speak for women have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to anything plus-sized. Yesterday,  I saw that Navabi had launched a #moreplusplease campaign, dedicated to helping larger women gain greater representation in the media. They surveyed 12 magazines and discovered that only 8% of weekly magazines featured plus-sized women. This fell to 2% in editorials in monthly magazines. The media may be getting excited about size 14 Ashley Graham being featured in Sports Illustrated, but let’s be clear – she is the exception, not the rule.

It’s a sad fact of life that many plus-sized women can’t boycott ASOS because in doing so, they’d be boycotting one of the few places where they can buy affordable, fashionable clothes (particularly if they’re over a size 24). But if brands are so keen to earn the plus-sized pound, they have to work harder for us. It’s not enough to pay lip-service to fat women while refusing to stock their plus-sized ranges in their stores. And we’re entitled to get angry when we see so few media outlets featuring plus-sized fashion. So, ASOS, raise your game. And brands, if you’re fed up with fat women talking about how they feel under appreciated, just think how tired we are of constantly having to say it.

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