ASOS, books, Charlotte Tilbury, Gin, July round up, lunch, Lush, Nars, REN, salad, Sheila Heti, Tatty Devine

Radio Silence

Radio Silence

I got a passive aggressive email from WordPress last week, informing me that it ‘missed me.’ While I was previously unaware that inanimate cloud-based blogging platforms were capable of feeling human emotions, it reminded me that I really should pull my finger out and get posting again.

While it’s no excuse, my July has been a little chaotic. I’ve left my job in London, been to a wedding with a mariachi band, necked red wine from the bottle on a street corner in Soho on the hottest day of the year, started a new (terrifyingly grown up) job in Manchester and discovered the ‘joys’ of having to get up at 5.50am every morning and apply eyeliner flicks on a Northern Rail train. TLDR; I’m skint, knackered and happy. I’ve also been unable to nab any decent pics of my (admittedly excellent) work attire, so until I a) figure out how to get my phone to do a full body selfie and b) find a disabled toilet somewhere in Manchester where I can achieve this feat, I thought I’d do a bit of a round up of things I’ve been enjoying recently.

  • Magical beauty products for manky Mancunian weather: While I have missed Manchester, I have not missed its ridiculous climate. My return back to the North has seen me singing the song of my people – ‘Seriously, it’s July and I’m wearing sandals. Can you stop bloody raining?’ The bizarre weather has also made a total mess of my skin – think dry patches, dark circles and a general sickly ‘Victorian orphan’-esque pallor. Two products have sorted me out – REN’s Flash Rinse One Minute Facial (which has left my skin looking firm, fresh and zingy) and Lush’s Ultra Bland cleanser (which smells like marzipan and strips every blob of make-up from your face in one swift swoop. It’s calming, soothing and great for eczema sufferers such as myself.)

Norman Parkinson's Vogue shoot with Jerry Hall

  • Make Yourself Beautiful: I can – and will – rave about Charlotte Tilbury’s make-up until I’m blue in the face, so it’s quite dangerous that my new office is a fifteen minute walk away from one of her concessions. Her new Norman Parkinson collection is out of sight, full of gorgeous bright colours and packaging featuring Jerry Hall in her prime.  For me, the stand out product is her 1975 Red matte lipstick. It’s £23, and it’s sheer perfection, a rosy coral with staying power, which puts one in mind of warm beaches and sipping cocktails by the pool.
  • Munchies: Now I work in an office five days a week, I am determined to be sensible and bring my lunch to work with me. It’s cheaper and way more satisfying than blowing all my £££ in Pret. Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas is on regular rotation – it’s satisfying, savoury and crunchy. Hollow Legs also posted a delicious sounding Sesame Peanut Noodle Salad last week which I can’t wait to shove into my lunchbox.
  • How Should a Person Be?: I recently read Sheila Heti’s fantastic How Should a Person Be? after reading an interview she did with Juliet Jacques for her book Trans. I’ll admit, I initially approached it with scepticism – every review I’d read of it made it sound like some awful hipster edict filled with selfish people. (It’s frequently been compared to Girls after all, which is – guess what! –  an awful hipster edict filled with selfish people.) In reality, it’s warm, funny and a brilliant examination of female friendships. It’s a book narrated by someone trying to navigate the world and her place in it, while also figuring out how to be a decent human being. Read it.
  • Gordon’s gets us drunk: I recently wrote a piece for Munchies on Liverpool, gin and Liverpool Gin. I had great fun writing this, not least because I got to drink a fair amount of G&T’s while writing it.
  • Oh look, it’s me: The lovely Holly at Gadgette recently called me one of the ‘top ten plus sized babes to be following on Instagram this summer.’ It was very unexpected but utterly delightful, particularly as I was described as a ‘tattooed temptress.’ I’m in some great company too, so check it out if you fancy following some excellent plus sized fitties on IG.

Nautical Christina

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ASOS, fashion, MAC, Nars, Outfit post, outfits, plus sized bloggers, plus sized fashion, plus sized summer dresses, Primark, Tatty Devine, tropical

Tropicalia

A word of advice – never bet. Or, to be more precise, never bet on the outcome of premier league football. Earlier this year, emboldened by wine and my own misplaced bravado, I made a foolhardy bet with Mr. McMc that if Tim Sherwood kept Aston Villa up this season, I’d buy him dinner. At the time, it seemed like a no brainer. Villa’s prospects were poor and Sherwood didn’t exactly excel as manager during his time at Spurs. Well, the gilet-wearing git only went and did the impossible. And, because I am a woman of my word, I decided to dress up all fancy last weekend and take my bird out for a slap up Tapas tea.

ASOS dress body shot

One day I will post an outfit picture where I am not squinting, and where it doesn’t look as though I’m going to leap through the screen and beat you up.

ASOS sandals

I’d like to apologise for any trauma that readers experience after being subjected to a picture of my manky feet.

DRESS: ASOS

BELT: Primark

SANDALS: ASOS

NECKLACE: Tatty Devine

EARRINGS: Topshop

The dress is an oldie-but-a-goodie that I bought from ASOS last year after seeing it worn on the always glamorous George from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust. Sadly, you’re going to have to take my word about it revealing a tasteful amount of back, as it turns out it’s nigh on impossble for me to get a decent picture of my own back, even when I’m contorting myself in front of a mirror. However, the crowning glory of this tropical mess of an outfit is the sandals. I lost my head slightly during ASOS’s 20% off everything sale a few weeks back, and decided that they were just the shoes I needed to cut my feet into ribbons this summer. Like so many shoes I’ve bought in my lifetime, while they look gorgeous, they require a whole lot of breaking in. In a fit of ill advised vanity, I decided to wear them to a meeting in Manchester last week, and spent most of my time there waddling around like a duck as they rubbed on the sides of my feet. By the time I managed to hobble back home, my blisters had blisters. What can I say? I suffer for my art.

MAC - All Fired Up

I’ve spoken before about my deep deep love for MAC’s All Fired Up, but it has very quickly become my go-to lipstick. Perhaps it’s because it goes so well with my hair, or perhaps because wearing such a bright shade makes me feel incredibly joyous, but it feels like the perfect lipstick for summer. I rarely leave home without it.

NARS lipgloss

And because I’m such a generous person, here’s two selfies for the price of one, and a shout out to NAR’s lipgloss in Corsica which is just gorgeous. Purchased during what I am now calling ‘the great ASOS spree of June 2015,’ it’s an incredibly flattering shade of pinky-brown with just a touch of shimmer. It’s matt, isn’t sticky or gloopy and has real staying power (or as much staying power as you could ask for from a lipgloss.)  I’m not the greatest fan of lipglosses, but (like all NARs products) this one is a real keeper.

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ASOS Curve, Carmakoma, Evans, look what you could have worn, Modcloth, plus sized bloggers, plus sized fashion, plus sized summer dresses, summer dresses, white dresses, women's media

Look What You Could Have Worn: Emerald Street’s White Dresses

White dress collage

When you’re a fat woman, you soon come to realise that a lot of women’s media isn’t for you. On the outside, it looks inclusive, with its talk of wonderful books to read, delicious recipes to cook and expensive accessories to buy. But dig a bit deeper and you soon see that it’s designed with a very different (by which I mean ‘thinner’) woman in mind.

I snapped yesterday after seeing an email from Emerald Street which included details of five gorgeous white dresses, none of which I could buy because none of them went over a size 16. For a women’s media outlet designed to appeal to my demographic, they appear to be very reluctant to feature anything that a plus sized women can wear. I asked them about it, and I’m still waiting for a response. I’m not singling out Emerald Street here –  I’ve lost count of the amount of clothing edits I’ve seen on major women’s websites recently which don’t feature one item from a plus sized retailer, or an item which goes goes over a size 18. But it all feels incredibly exclusionary – and more than a little depressing.

Fat women aren’t some kind of homogeneous blob which you can appease with the occasional patronising article about how ‘fashionable’ we are. We want to be stylish and wear nice things, and lord knows that many of us are able to spend just as much on clothes as our thinner counterparts. So, inspired by other plus sized campaigns like Debz’s fantastic #hereswhatiwouldhavespent, I’ve decided that every time I see a list of clothing on a women’s website which doesn’t feature one plus sized option, I’ll put my own pick together. And, because I love a good Bullseye reference, I’d call it ‘Look what you could have worn.” In homage to Emerald Street, here’s five of my favourite plus sized white dresses.

Alice & You Lace Maxi Dress

Alice & You Lace Maxi Dress (£50.00)

You’d be right to exercise a fair amount of caution when you see the words ‘lace’ and ‘maxi dress’ together in a sentence. Get it right, and you look floaty, feminine and ethereal. Get it wrong, and you’ll end up looking like you’re wearing your Nan’s net curtains. This gorgeous dress is lightweight and casual, and the perfect thing for summer. You could easily wear this down to the beach, or to a wedding. The stretch waistband and v-neck neckline is great if (like me) you’ve got mega-boobs, providing enough stretch to keep them at bay, while showing just enough cleavage.

ASOS Curve Bodycon Dress with Mesh inserts

 ASOS CURVE Bodycon Dress With Mesh inserts (£30.00)

ASOS are the masters of bodycon dresses, and I love everything about this. It’s crisp, clean and minimal, meaning it can be styled as simply (or as OTT) as you like. You can jazz it up with a big statement necklace and heels, or with a pair of chic little sandals. It would also make a great summer dress to wear to the office (just try not to spill coffee down it on the train into work.)

Carmakoma Jersey Layered Babydoll Dress

Carmakoma Jersey Layered Babydoll Dress (£75.00)

Danish brand Carmakoma specialise in creating beautiful, minimal clothing and I love the unique shape of this Babydoll dress. It’s almost-but-not-quite a peplum, with a really interesting geometric design. If you’re not keen on the idea of getting your arms out, I’d recommend keeping it simple, and pairing it with a simple tailored blazer or leather jacket.

Collection Ivory Embellished Shoulder Layer Dress

Evans Collection Ivory Embellished Shoulder Layer Dress (£55.00)

Evans doesn’t always get it right, but when it does, it can produce some really beautiful items of clothing. This is from their Design Collective collection, which is comprised of more ‘fashion forward’ pieces than its usual array of ditsy dresses and butterfly prints. Just looking at this dress makes me think of summer holidays and sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere. The jewel embellishments on the shoulders add a nice bit of bling, meaning you can keep it simple with the accessories. I’d wear this with nothing more than a (big) pair of sunglasses and some sandals. If you’re not as comfortable with the idea of getting your legs out, it would also look great worn over a pair of black leggings.

Modcloth Tea's Company dress

Modcloth ‘Tea’s Company’ Dress ($104.99/£68.72)

One of the best things about Modcloth is its inclusiveness – most dresses listed on there are suitable for all shapes and sizes. The price of shipping to the UK can be a bit of a pain in the neck, which is why I’d recommend teaming together with some friends so you can buy a few items at once and split the cost between you all. I love everything about this Bettie Page dress, from the simple 1940s inspired neckline, to the subtle polkadot print of the fabric. It’s so wonderfully femme, and would be the perfect thing to wear to a summer wedding (hey, it would even make a good wedding dress if that’s your thing.)

Do you have a favourite white dress that you’re thinking of wearing this summer? Let me know in the comments!

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1950S, ASOS, Collectif, Lindy Bop, Outfit post, Plus sized, plus sized fashion, Vivien of Holloway, Wedding

Start Wearing Purple

If there’s one thing my family like, it’s a wedding. After all, it’s the perfect excuse to get dressed up AND get drunk. What’s not to love? So, when my brother Daniel got married to his wonderful fiancee Kathy at Manchester Town Hall last Saturday, it was bound to be one hell of a party. I was honoured to be asked to be a bridesmaid, along with my sister  Charlotte, and Kathy’s sister, Karen, and we carried out our duties with aplomb. We danced, we drank prosecco, we cried and (most importantly), we all looked really bloody good.

What a bunch of beauts, eh?

What a bunch of beauts, eh?

Bridesmaids

Kathy kindly told us that we could choose our own dresses, so long as they were purple. While it’s a bit of a cop-out for a fat woman to wear something in a 50s style when she wants to dress up (seriously plus sized designers, we’re not all femme!) I wanted to wear something simple yet swishy – if only so I could swirl around pretending to be Kate Bush in the Wuthering Heights video at some point during the wedding disco.

This ‘Grace’ dress from Lindy Bop was adorable without being too fussy (even if I’m not a huge fan of the black piping on it.) Plus, it has just the right amount of stretch to accommodate my mega boobs. You may laugh, but this is no mean feat.

Picture by Claire Legg Photography

Picture by Claire Legg Photography

DRESS: Lindy Bop

CARDIGAN: Collectif

PETTICOAT: Vivien of Holloway

SHOES: ASOS

EARRINGS: Etsy (vintage)

Doesn’t my make-up look good too? Praise be to professional make-up artists, MAC’S Russian Red and the dark arts of contoring. There’s something a bit gutting in the knowledge that this is the best I’m probably going to look all year. Maybe I should just wear false eyelashes more often.

Picture by Claire Legg Photography

Picture by Claire Legg Photography

A charming picture of me and my sister

A charming picture of me and my sister

Picture by Claire Legg Photography

Picture by Claire Legg Photography

It was a wonderful, beautiful day, and I was so happy to be a part of it. Congratulations Dan and Kathy. Here’s to many many years of happiness.

Picture by Claire Legg Photography

Picture by Claire Legg Photography

 Many of the pictures in this post were taken by the amazing wedding photographer Claire Legg. 

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Leopard print, style icons, sunset boulevard, vintage

Style icons: Norma Desmond

Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond

On Friday, I had a day off work, a ‘night at the darts’ induced hangover, and a stinker of a mood. In such circumstances, there’s only one cure – to boil up a pan of Bailey’s spiked hot chocolate, curl up on the sofa and watch old movies. I’m currently making headway through all the classics I can rustle up on (American) Netflix; All About Eve, Mommie Dearest, Of Human Bondage, Mildred Pierce and the most meta-old-Hollywood film of them all, Sunset Boulevard. 

If you’ve never seen Sunset Boulevard, drop everything and watch it now. Seriously. This blog post will still be here when you get back. Not only is it one of the most brilliant film noirs ever made (the body in the swimming pool! The monkey funeral! That final scene!) but it features the magnificent Gloria Swanson – titan of the silent screen, stone cold fox and all round bad-ass. These brilliant Scandals of Classic Hollywood pieces goes into great detail about why she was so legendary, but tldr; she owned a gold plated bathtub, had six husbands and spent $10,000 a year on lingerie. If that’s not aspirational, I don’t know what is.

Norma Desmond smoking

Norma Desmond, the doomed heroine of Sunset Boulevard, is undoubtedly her best role. Clad in oodles of jewels and leopard print everything (even her car features a leopard print lining), she is a glamorous spider luring the naive Joe Gillis into her web. Her style throughout the film is utterly flawless, always skirting the edges of being over the top yet jaw-droppingly glamorous. These are the outfits you wear when you want to command a man or a room. If you fancy unleashing your inner Norma, here’s an outfit you can wear so you’re always ready for your close-up (Mr. DeMille.)

Etsy Leopard print turban Lipsy Animal Print Heeled Sandals Lindy Bop winnie-vintage-vamp-40s-50s-style-dress-with-leopard-print

ASOS Handmade Acetate Cat Eye Sunglasses Bill Skinner Gold Plated Leopard BangleEbay cigarette ring

TOP ROW:  Turban, Etsy. Shoes, Lipsy.  Dress, Lindy Bop.

BOTTOM ROW: Sunglasses: ASOS. Bangle: ASOS. Cigarette holder: Ebay.

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Animal print, ASOS, ASOS Curve, Black Heart Creatives, Leopard print

Leopard print is a neutral

Leopard print is a neutral

Seeing as I have worn nothing bar big jumpers and jogging bottoms so far in 2015 (what? I’ve been on holiday!), I thought I’d kick proceedings off by showcasing one of my favourite outfits of last year. And my bathroom. Because everyone loves a classy bathroom selfie taken on your decrepit (and quite possibly haunted) smartphone.

I bought this ASOS Curve animal print pencil skirt for my birthday and have worn it practically every week since then – it’s gone on dates, to client meetings at work and to visit my parents – and it’s elicited lots of compliments. The only (minor) flaw with it is that it’s cut slightly oddly, meaning you have to be careful when you sit down so you don’t accidentally flash your crotch at passing strangers. It’s on sale at the moment, and I highly recommend purchasing it if you feel that there aren’t enough leopard print items of clothing in your wardrobe.

Special mention should also go to the crushed velvet Chelsea boots I’m wearing here but which (unfortunately), you can’t really see. Take my word for it when I say that their ridiculously high heels makes you feel like a glam rock superstar. Whenever I put them on, I feel as though I should be forming an all-girl Sweet tribute band. They’re also incredibly strokeable, meaning that my colleagues have taken to caressing my ankles during meetings whenever they’ve seen me wearing them.

TOP: Marks & Spencer

SKIRT: Asos Curve

BOOTS: Asos

GIANT DOUGHNUT NECKLACE: Black Heart Creatives

SHOWER FITTING: Model’s own

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