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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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.

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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:

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

New Year, New You, New Danger

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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