Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#WeAreTheThey - Bringing Sexy Back



A couple of weeks ago a silly little pop star called Jamelia (who previously had failed to even register on my radar - yay me!) made some ignorant and ill formed comments about who she felt deserved to be served by the high street. This jist of her proposal was that people below a size 6 and above a size 20 should not be catered to by the high street as a way to shame and punish them for being irresponsible with their bodies. This person, who's sole qualification as public spokesperson is being kind of okay at carrying a tune, then decided to defend her comments by describing her fears for the health care system. Thank you Dr Jamelia.

The reaction of one particularly peeved blogger was to create a call to action. Debz asked women above and below this hallowed size range of Jamelia's to flood social media with images and testimonials, stating that #WeAreTheThey

How wonderful to see all the PEOPLE that Jamelia has lumped into the category of "too fat to deserve fashion". The faces, personalities and styles that are attached to these sizes.

For myself, I am a size 22 (most of the time) who loves fashion and shopping. And does not like to be told what I can and can't do, or what I do and do not deserve.

Debz had asked us plus size bloggers to do a post on the rules we break - I think she was thinking about fashion, but I kinda took it in another direction. It got me thinking of some of the things that I, as a fat woman have been told I can and can't do, or can and can't be. Thinking about the stories that have been told about fat women that I have internalised. There are many. Too many to list. Many of them linked to what I spoke about in this post.

But there is a particular belief that I have held for a long time that is in the process of changing, and that's the one I have chosen to share with you this evening.

Fat women aren't sexy.

A statemtn that western society, in general, holds to be true. Over a certain number on the scale and you are excluded from sexy. No sexy for you!

Plus size women are depicted in the media as grotesque. As the very opposite of sexy. As lucky to find someone as undesirable as themselves to want to have sex with them. If a plus size woman is portraying herself in a sexual light she is deluded. Alternatively she is appealing to some sort of fetish. 

To be sexually attracted to a woman of plus size proportions, something quite different to society's mainstream aesthetic, must mean some sort of kink or sexual deviancy. Because the general belief is that there can't possibly be as many different types of sexualities as there are people in the world. (Spoiler alert: there totally are!) Loving a plus size woman, wanting to have sex with her - this is shameful. Something you don't want you friends to friends to know. And for men who do find themselves attracted to a larger a woman - it must be in spite of her size. And because they are amazing enough to see past it.

I believed all of this. Honestly believed it was not possible for me to ever be seen as sexy. I could be cute (constant default position for fat gals), I could be pretty, I could be funny (obvs!), but sexy just was not on the table for me. Sexy was reserved for thigh gaps, and six packs, and movie boobies that stood up on their own. Sexy was for the girl who looked like she had walked out of the Victoria Secret catalogue or the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and had managed to make a sheen of sweat desirable. Sexy was not for me.

I don't know why I, a pretty open minded person, was so invested in this one version of sexy. God knows, I've found all sorts sexy, and most of them have not fitted into any sort of Cosmo does FHM mould. And yet it didn't really occur to me that someone could see me as sexually desirable. Not in a shallow, for the way I look sort of way.

Not seeing yourself as sexy - this kills your sexy. Not seeing yourself as desirable, sensual, dirrrrrty - well it means that when someone looks at you you're pretty much just grateful. Which you believe is as it should be because that's what society told you - be grateful if anyone wants to come near you.

So imagine my shock when I realised that all this is proper bullshit. Nonsense. Crap. Total wank! That totally normal and desirable men can, and do, find plus size women sexy. In fact every time a man hits on you on a bar maybe don't assume it's a joke because there are many men out there who want to be all over a girl like yolu. That decent lovely men bemoan the fact that a lack of confidence in plus size girls makes them harder to ask out - because they assume the offer is not genuine. Because they still think it can't possibly be true.

Previous to this startling revelation I actively avoided sexy. I was so scared that if I tried to tap into any sort of sexy the general reaction would be "wow that's embarrassing that fat girls is trying to be sexy" that I just didn't.

And so, suddenly in my late twenties, I found myself learning about my own kind of sexy. About the fact that I had it. And how I could own it.

And it was fun.

I started dressing in a way I had honestly believed previously was not allowed for me. I was breaking rules - my own and society's. I was being something that all media was pretty much screaming I couldn't be. A sexy plus sized woman.

And I started to believe that people out there might find me sexy. But something was missing - I didn't yet really see it in myself. Sometimes glimmers, hints, moments. But I still thought I was a bit meh when it came to sensuality. But then I went and had my photoshoot with Velvet...



And there it was. Proof. That apparently I can be as sexy as fuck. And it's not awkward. It's true. It's there. It's not a trick. It just is.

I'm still all the other things too. I'm funny and smart and opinionated and pretty and fat and dorky and sometimes really awkward. Sometimes I doubt it. Sometimes I stress that I am misreading signals or that someone who is into me is going to suddenly realise I'm not sexy. But then I remember that I know now. That plus size girls can be sexy (if they want to). There are loads of them going about there day doing it without even thinking about it. And now I'm beginning to feel like one of them...

Some other amazing plus size bloggers have written similar posts about the rules they break, so go and check them out...





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Monday, April 27, 2015

Come On Connie: Review of the Voodoo Vixen Connie Dress

I have long been eyeing out some of the fabulous fifties frocks in the Voodoo Vixen plus size collection. So when my darling mumsy asked me what I wanted for my birthday I knew I had to have one. It was tough to pick, but the Connie won out in the end, and I am so glad she did! I am in love!


Black braided belt - Primark
Black suede wedges - Primark

I wore this for the first time last week. It was a beautiful day in London and my lovely photographer Charlotte and I headed down to the river to take a few pictures. It was a little breezy so you can get the full effect of the beautiful full skirt, and the sun shows you just how wonderfully RED the Connie is. 

I ordered the Connie in a 2XL - this is described as a 20-22 which I would say is pretty accurate. It was a snug fit and at first I thought maybe it was a bit too tight but as the day went on, and looking back on the pictures the fit is pretty perfect. It did demand my usual shapewear (ginormous pants that come up under my bust) but I really love the shape it gives me. Makes me feel very hour-glasssy. 


The Connie sits over the knee on my 5'8 frame (hard to see here with all the wind). The cap sleeves are roomy so they fit comfortably which is my first desire in a sleeve, but cap sleeves are not my favourite style if I am honest. I am not the biggest fan of my arms, and usually am found sporting a cardi. However when it's warm enough I just think what the hell? They are just arms after all! 

The Connie is made of good quality stretch cotton, which looks like it will wash well (I am now at the age where I notice these things apparently - how I  miss the wildness of my twenties), and has a back zip - being a spinster I can't really use this to put it on but I am sure it useful to some. Ha!





The Connie has a lot of charming features which make it a really special dress. The print is really sweet - vintage glasses which make me think of Dame Edna (always a good thing) and is quite a striking print even from far away.  It also features (joy of joys) proper pockets! Whoot whoot! I am so unused to having decent pockets on anything I kept putting my phone in there and then frantically looking for it everywhere else - but no doubt I will get used to this. They are edged with black piping which really beautifully finishes them and makes a feature of them. 

And then the piece de resistance - that neckline! A sweetheart with a difference. It is just low enough to give a sexy little hint of cleavage, but the cross over feature means that it is quite demure and just fabulously unusual. Only drawback - not one for sitting in the sun unless you have some serious sunscreen on! The cross over is also edges with the black piping.



All in all, this dress is a total winner for me. I wore it to work, and in hindsight it is too special for work and perhaps a little too red (about six people said to me "You are SO RED!" All the little features means, in my opinion, it really warrants the £66.99 price tag. And I have been really impressed with the quality of the dress. Beautifully made and finished in good quality fabric. I am so excited to get to wear it again, and I have started looking into my next Voodoo Vixen purchase... 

I am torn between the summer garden party perfection that is the Tilly (modeled here by the lush Sarah H) and the rockabilly skittle sweetness that is the Alley Cat (modeled by my red haired honey Georgina Grogan). What do you think?





Have you tried anything from Voodoo Vixen? And if not, would you? Let me know in the comments. 

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

My Week In Outfits


Monday


Old oriental print dress - Monsoon
Leggings and black suede wedges - Primark
Black cardigan (old) - Marks and Spencer

An unusual shot of me as I am wearing my glasses. I actually wear glasses pretty much all day every day at work, but otherwise not very much. Mainly because I like my eyeliner big and flicky and don't want it covered up by glasses (ridiculous I know!).

This dress is one of my work favourites. It's a great shape and really easy to wear, and always makes me feel quite professional, but still totally my style. More dresses like this please Monsoon. 

Tuesday


Black braided belt - Primark
Black suede wedges - Primark

I splashed this Voodoo Vixen dress around on social media quite a bit last week, and I have a review on it coming out later this week. Suffice to say - I LOVE it! 

Wednesday


Brown leather heels (old) - Marks and Spencer

I have done a full review on this Scarlett and Jo dress before here. It's fast becoming one of my favourites, as it is perfect for work and after. In fact in June I am going to a Blitz party, and this (thanks to it's 40s vibes) might be a real contender for my outfit. What do you think?

Friday



Wide belt and black suede wedges - Primark

On Friday I took a wander in the gardens near work, which are blooming (see what I did there) gorgeous! Filled with tulips of all colours, it was the perfect background for my plain black Dolores Doll dress. 

Have a good week lovely people :)

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Week in Outfits


The first week of proper sun! London was looking ridiculously gorgeous and me and the girls from work took every opportunity to just get out in the sun. Sitting on the river, watching the world go bye is just the best way to decompress for an hour. I could feel my skin just light up with the warmth and vitamin D. Oh summer, you little tease, how we have missed you! 

Tuesday



Brown leather heels - Marks and Spencer (old)

The sun came out and so did my legs! Was wonderful to not feel all bound up in tights for a change and feel the air on my skin. It did feel a bit daring having my pale skin on show for the first time in 6 months, but I like the shape of my legs and it just made me feel so summery.

Wednesday



Polly Shirt Dress - Collectif
Mustard cardigan - Next
White and black striped vest - H&M
Black suede wedges - Primark

Another sunny day and more pins on display.I don't wear this dress often enough - every time I do I remember how much I adore it. You can read my review here.

Thursday




Ditsy heart print prom dress - Asos Curve (old)
White belt - stolen off one of my Lindy Bop dresses
  Red Freddie Cardigan - Collectif
Brown leather heels - Marks and Spencer (old)

This dress has a very special place in my heart. It started a wardrobe revolution, and yet of late has been lost at the back of my cupboard. I pulled it out on Thursday and felt as fabulous in it as I did the first time I ever wore it. I am going to be reviewing it soon because despite it no longer being on sale it deserves it's moment in the spotlight. LOVE! (Only in hindsight did I realise how similar this outfit was to Tuesday's - oops!)

Friday




Leopard print tank top - Asos Curve
Black cardi - Marks and Spencer
Black jeggings - George at Asda
Black suede wedges - Primark

I am trying to get better at casual wear, but I still have about 2 outfits that I would officially classify as casual wear. And this is one of them. Love me some leopard print, and this is my first foray in the world of jeggings. Unfortunately I am shaped so that while trousers, leggings and the like may fit my tummy, thighs and bum my skinny bloody ankles are often left drowning. This makes it really hard for me to get a true skinny fit. But the search continues for some decent skinny black jeans. Let me know your recommendations...


Saturday



Black leggings - Primark
Brown leather heels - Marks and Spencer (old)
Cat eye sunglasses - Accessorize

Still feeling summery on Saturday. This shot was taken at about 7pm and it was still sunny! That makes me so happy. I have reviewed this fabulously 70s dress before here

Sorry I was a bit late this week. Been a busy couple of weeks, with work and dating and trying to have a social life! Need to be slightly more disciplined about my blogging. Have a wonderful week cats and kittens! x




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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Confessions of a Reformed Body Shamer



I was a major body shamer. It is with great shame that I tell you this.

My primary victim was always me. My body. It has been endlessly harangued by my cruel inner critic. I have spent hours of misery picking it apart and bemoaning my fat, my shape, my skin, my eyes, my hair. Pretty much everything and anything at one point or another.

Looking back it is clear to me that this illness was never purely connected to the physical though because no matter how much weight I lost, what clothes I wore, how well my wild hair behaved, I always found a new flaw or a new level to aspire to - a new unhappiness.

There was no pleasing this bitch critic. I was always going to be ugly and by default unworthy of good things.

I of course would have the odd moment of feeling attractive, desirable, beautiful even. But as the rosy glow of that moment of self love faded the voice would be back telling me just how foolish that was. Shaming me by repeating my positive thoughts back to me with a sneer.

I wish I could say I was my only victim. That I alone bore the brunt of this callous side. But no. I judged others harshly too. And I never stood up for those who needed it, even when I knew better myself. I would laugh along with others at poor unfortunate fatties just attempting to go about their day. Aware of the total and utter hypocrisy of it and yet fearful that if I didn't share the joke I would look like a fattie that was no fun. A humourless fattie. Or for some reason be even closer to the object of derision. I never sent nasty comments, and I don't think I ever said any either but I laughed along with others. And I was judging in my head. And praying other people weren't seeing me with the same judgement and lack of compassion and empathy. 

I am getting better. I am kinder to me and everyone else. I know that all bodies are good bodies. That you can't tell anything about a person by looking at their shape or guessing their weight. That we're all worth respect. That we're all people ffs. And I've started to wonder why I didn't always think like this? Why was I so disconnected from my body? Why did I not see the disconnect between my lived experience and what we're taught to believe about fat people?

Endlessly gross out movies portrayed people who looked a lot like me as stupid, ugly, unclean, and just about the least desirable thing on the planet. Good old fat best friends who are lucky if a socially retarded asshole  looks at them by the end of the movie, portly boys in desperate puppy love with female leads. All shown to either be desperately dieting and failing, or giving into their dirty, immoral urges (please note heavy sarcasm) and eating.

Sometimes I think the reason I often laughed along with these portrayals was because deep down society had managed to convince me they were pretty much the only identity of an overweight person. They were only stereotypes because they were true. I BELIEVED this. With all the evidence that it was bullshit living in my very own life. It's not surprising that those who don't have a lived experience of being fat cackle away if even I (a fat person who is none of those stereotypes) can be swayed.

Look, I have an horrendous sense of humour. I laugh at all the worst stuff. If it's inappropriate there is a good chance I'm giggling. So, I'm not saying let's censor comedy. I like that it pushes boundaries. I like that it often says what everyone is thinking. Or exposes things that no one wants to think about.

But some comedic tropes are just so effing lazy! What I am saying is let's move past these narrow representations of fatness. Can we challenge ourselves as a society, as artists and creators, to see fat people in a myriad of ways rather than as something pitiful or the (big fat) butt of a joke? I think we can. Because fat people have stories - they can be heroes and have strengths and loves and lives. I think (hold on to your hats here ladies and gents) that fat WOMEN could be at the centre of a narrative. And not just because they are fat. But because they have stories and experiences (both related to and completely divorced from their weight) that are worthy of being told.

I went to see Caitlyn Moran speak a few weeks ago. I love her a lot. Like more than you really should love someone you don't know. I love her tales and the fact that they that are in her own voice. She was talking about speaking with your own voice. Realising that what you write doesn't have to be about someone else's experience. Some accessible tale we've heard a million times before.  The stories that need to be told are the ones we haven't heard before. Ones that diversify the cultural space. Those are the stories of women, of ethnic minorities, of fat people, of people with disabilities, of people with mental health struggles.  The stories about those who don't fit the aesthetics or the models of power we've become accustomed to.

So today I am urging you (and myself) to write your story. Write about your experience. Talk about your experience. Find people who will listen. Share. The harder it is to say or admit, probably the more valuable it is. But you never know who you might enlighten. Whose mind you might change. Or how good it will feel just to get it out there. To be honest. To change the conversation.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Dress For All Seasons: Asos Curve Cream Lace Midi Dress

Everyone has certain key pieces in the wardrobe that they can't live without. Those versatile items that can be styled a million different ways and seem to come back into fashion season after season. For me, one of those is a white or cream lace dress. I used to have a gorgeous smock style cream lace dress from Monsoon, which sadly gave up the ghost last summer. So when I saw this one from Asos Curve, and on sale too, I decided it was time to replace my poor dress.


Turquoise Cardi - Marks and Spencer (old)
Brown Leather Boots - Evans
Brown Braided Belt - very old

The dress is sleeveless, with a deep V neckline. Fully lined, it comes over the knee. Asos had already sold out of my usual size 22, so I order a 20 and was a little worried it wouldn't fit. This is slightly snug across the bust but not in an uncomfortable way and in fact I think the 22 might have been a little big so I think if you are on the lower end of your size you might want to size down. It's a cotton blend so it's nice and cool, but can be worn with layers for cooler weather.



I took my new dress on its maiden voyage to Brighton. It was a gorgeous day beside the seaside, so I was glad to have opted for a cardi instead of a coat. However, I was still in boots which I was thankful for as it's not that warm yet. Plus a love that 70s vibe of a lace dress with brown leather boots. I also added one of my favourite chunky leather woven belts which I think gives the dress more definition and creates that illusion of a waist while emphasizing the bust. I marched around Brighton all day in this outfit and was totally comfortable and it felt like a great transitional style - I wasn't at all cold when the temperature dropped later in the day but during the sunny peak of the afternoon I felt all summery. I think Asos still have a few in stock so if you are looking for a versatile, cross seasonal piece this is a good shout. 



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Friday, April 10, 2015

Lust List: My Top Picks from the Asos Curve Sale



Asos Curve is one of my favourite go-to brands. They manage to produce a happy blend of fashion wear and everyday items that I really appreciate, and I sometimes wonder what I wore before they launched?! They currently have an up to 50% off sale, and there are some gorgeous pieces to be had. I am pretty broke this month so sadly this will remain a lust list. Below are my top picks...


This dress is just so pretty and perfect for summer. I like the tie, and can imagine giving this dress an even better shape with a belt. I love the fact that the back also has a deep V - so often in plus size dresses the backs are high necked and I am not sure why as I am rather fond of my back. Especially in the summer it's nice to show a little more skin and this is a really classy way to do so. Stunning!




I am always looking for ways to improve my limited casual wear wardrobe, and these chilled out harem joggers are perfect. Can be dressed up or down with different tops, and will look gorgeous with some sandals. Yes!





This dress is super classy, and is a big nod to the nautical trend I love so much. Would pair with some red or some yellow to really make the blue pop. Love it! 




This skirt is some Breakfast at Tiffany's realness. Elegant and perfect for twirling, I love the fact that it can be paired with numerous items to dress it up or down, and it fits with my current monochrome obsession. Beautiful!





Come summer time I am a real sucker for a maxi dress, and I love that this one would be perfect for wearing out in the evening. The sparkles combined with the net overlay remind me of something that Helena Bonham Carter might wear. Such a lovely dress, and a total steal!

So those are some of my favourite pieces from the Asos Curve sale. Have you seen anything you like? Already taken advantage of the reductions? Let me know in the comments... 

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Living La Dolce Vita: Scarlett and Jo Red Floral Dress


Black suede wedges with ankle strap (wide fit) - Primark

Since I first saw this Scarlett and Jo red floral jersey dress I have been in love with it. From the La Dolce Vita collection, it has such an old school glamour about it. I tend to stick to the fifties with my vintage styling, but this forties flirtiness is just great.  


 I bought this in my usual size 22 and it fits perfectly. The dress is a pretty standard empire line cut, which sits comfortably under the bust with a tie to the back to give it slightly more shape. This dress would be fine on women much bustier than me as there is a lot of stretch in the jersey fabric. The jersey is good quality and medium weight. I did wear it with my usual shapewear underneath (basically giant pants that come up to under my bra) just to smooth out the lumps and bumps. The length hits me just over the knee (I am 5'8") which is perfect in this style and lets me show off my pins a little. I paired the dress here with flesh coloured fishnets and black wedges. 



What I love about Scarlett and Jo is that there clothes always have this little something extra. Little touches which make their pieces feel special, like you've bought something precious. This dress is made with some really lovely little attentions to detail. The neckline is pretty high, which makes it perfect for work if you wish, but the little buttoned keyhole cut out is a sexy addition (and very 40s) . The loose angel sleeves are flattering, and give cover without being hot or constrictive, and the thickish band under the bust gives the whole thing good structure. This is a brand that really understands how to make clothes for plus size bodies. 


This is (crazily) only my second ever purchase from Scarlett and Jo, and I adore it. So easy to wear, and I would be happy in it at work, out on a date, or for a few drinks in the evening. Are you a Scarlett and Jo fan? Got anything by them? Let me know in the comments.
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Monday, April 6, 2015

My Week In Outfits


Tuesday


Mustard cardigan - Next
Brown leather boots - Evans

Clearly it was pretty windy on Tuesday. My lovely friend Priya, who frequently gets roped in to do my #OOTD posts was patient, but these were the best we got. But to be honest I kinda like them. They are so real and more than a little amusing.
When this dress arrived, I was suprised to find it was scuba fabric. It's my first scuba dress and I can see the appeal as it is cool and airy, and is quite substantial and not very clingy at all.  I really like the bold print on this Asos Curve dress, as well as the neckline, however I am not mad about the large box pleats on the skirt. I caught myself in a few mirrors during the day and I felt like they made me look bigger and bulkier than I an actually am. The jury is still out on this dress.


Wednesday

 

Maroon spot print Estella dress - Lady Vintage London

You can read my full review of the lovely Estella dress here. Alas, I think I have put on a little bit of weight as this one (always the snugger of the two I own) is now feeling rather tight... 

Thursday




Really love this outfit. Always love the combination of red, white and blue and with the tank under this Rosetta dress (clearly it can't be worn without) I think it's totally okay for work. 

Friday




I realise that this is pretty much the worst OOTD shot ever. But I like this picture so I decided to include it anyway... That wall paper is just too great! But yes, another day wearing one of my beloved Dolores Doll dress, paired here with a thick Primark waist belt.  

Sunday





Black suede wedges with ankle strap (wide fit) - Primark

I am reviewing this dress later in the week, but suffice to say I love it! It's very forties and made me feel really pretty and feminine all day. It twirls a little, but is a nice departure from my usual full skirted fifties look. 

I am on leave all this coming week, which I am obscenely excited about. I intend to do a lot of lounging and quite a bit of catching up on culture and with friends. Hope you all have a lovely week x

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Self Care: Learning How to Look After Yourself



In a departure from my usual subject matter, I'm gonna talk a little bit about self care today.

I have lived with anxiety and depression for a very long time. Like most people with mental health conditions I have ups and downs, good patches and bad patches. Sometimes I can slip into a bad space for no reason at all. Other times circumstances start pushing me towards the darkness. It's never clear what will or won't trigger it but time living with my condition has meant I am better at recognising the onset. And I am better at fighting it.

My reaction to those early warning signs can vary. Sometimes I calmly and bleakly resign myself and sink without struggling. But usually I feel the familiar desperate scrabbling of anxiety as I fight against it. But this post is not about describing my struggles with mental health issues. That's for another day, maybe. What this is about is some of the small coping strategies I have learnt after years of trial and (a crapload of) error.

When I start getting depressed I basically want to eat junk food, sleep 18 hours a day and watch box sets for the other 6 hours. Avoid contact with all people. Stop going to work, stop turning up at social occasions. Stop washing my hair. Only wear pajamas. Not leave the house. I hibernate, and when I'm not sleeping, even in the middle of the best box set ever, I am just constantly thinking anxiety racked negative thoughts. On a loop. As you can imagine it's just excellent.

So, that's one course of action. How do I go about choosing life? Part of staying well is just going through the motions of normality. I take care of myself. I try to give myself what I need. And generally it's small gestures that get me through. Here are some of the things I try to keep on track.

Sleep:
Like Goldilocks, I need my amount of sleep to be just right. Not too much and not too little. I need a solid 8 hours. That may seem so obvious, but my sleep has always been a thing of extremes. During the week I never get enough, at the weekends I have way too much. The temptation when I am down is just to avoid all the feelings by staying in that dream space but it leads to feelings of lethargy and uselessness I just don't need when I am attempting to vanquish my demons. So here are my top tips for getting some good sleep:

  1. Routine is really important for me when I am struggling, so I try sticking to a standard bed time every night, and to getting up at the same time every morning. Building a pattern means my body starts to know when it should be getting sleepy which helps when I am not sleeping so well. 
  2. Clean linen, clean PJs and a bit of lavender linen spray make going to a bed a real treat. It's like falling asleep in a fragrant little cocoon!
  3. This can be a real tough one for me, but putting my phone on flight mode and leaving it on the other side of the room is a good trick. I am sucker for checking notifications, or quickly googling something if it is taking me a little while to drop off, and before you know it you've spent an hour or more pinning crap on Pintrest or reading about every cast member of Orange is the New Black... 

Exercise:
I know this is not something that works for everyone. And to be honest it tends to be the first bit of advice given to depressed people which can be really annoying. Sometimes making the time to go the gym can be an honestly impossible task. However, if I can manage do it, it is so worth it. Using that physical energy makes me tired, which means I sleep better. Going to the gym or doing any sort of exercise, is like a sneaky short cut to feeling good. We all know it releases endorphins, and it also gives me a feeling of smugness. I never really enjoy it while I am doing it, but afterwards I always feel great. This comic strip pretty much sums it up.  My tips for getting your quota of exercise in:


  1. I often like to imagine I am going to get up in the morning and go to the gym before work. I am pants in the morning. I am an evil zombie bitch. It's never going to happen. So, I say plan to go to the gym when you actually have a chance of making it. That way you don't start the day feeling a failure.
  2. I try to stick to what I like doing in the gym, especially when I am first getting back into it. I like the bike, the cross trainer and the weight machines so I focus my time on the stuff I enjoy. I am not a big fan of the treadmill or the step machine so I don't force myself to do what I don't enjoy. It makes going a much more enjoyable experience all round.

Pampering:
When I wake up with the swirl of anxiety clouding my senses I want to numb myself with TV and eventually drift back off to sleep.In the depths of depression I stop wearing make up, move permanenly into pjs, go two weeks without washing my hair. And every time I catch sight of myself in a reflective surface it's just a reminder of what's going on inside my head.
Clean hair, manicured nails, face masks, neatly plucked eyebrows - all of these help me to feel a little more in control. It's the same effect wearing a beautiful dress has on me. I think dressing myself nicely and looking my best is a part of my way of showing myself that I am valuing me. I am physically communicating with myself that I am important and worth caring for, even when inside I feel that the opposite is true.


  1. Makeup immediately gives me a little bit of a boost, so I make sure I give myself enough time in the morning to put my makeup on properly. Getting up in the morning and putting on my make up immediately boosts my confidence. This is not a solution for everyone, but it makes me feel stronger and more able to deal with whatever the day has in store. 
  2. I try to schedule things in, like doing a face mask every Monday, doing my nails on a Sunday, giving myself a monthly coconut oil hair mask, and exfoliating twice a week. It just feels like I am pampering and taking care of myself.

Quality time:
Life is busy and fast. Sometimes living in London, working full time, blogging and trying to have a social life means I just rush from one thing to another. This can become exhausting, so when I am feeling burnt out I try to make sure I prioritise what it I want to do and make sure my time is used wisely. 

  1. Sometimes I just need a day off. Some people save all their leave for holidays and trips away, but I like to add the occasional day onto a weekend and just give myself a little bit of a time out. Sleep late, watch a good movie, drink copious cups of tea and catch up on my laundry. It doesn't feel like a wasted day of the weekend, and makes me feel like I am a little more on top of everything. 
  2. I can sometimes just want to retreat into myself and not leave the house. But I always feel better once I have spent time with family and friends. I am not saying say yes to every social engagement, but sometimes when you really don't feel like seeing people is when you need it most. Seeing my friends and getting out of my own head a bit can be really good for me, and offer some light relief and much needed perspective. 
  3. Make sure you make time for what you actually like doing, whatever that may be. Whatever fills you with purpose, happiness, contentment - do that!  For me, one of those things is this blog. And reading the blogs of others. I also love literature and listening to music.
So...those are some of the ways I take care of myself. I know it is a little bit of a departure from my usual fashion posts, but I think it might be helpful to some people, as all of this has taken me a long time to learn.

How do you look after yourself? Are any of these things you do to keep yourself together? Let me know in the comments... 




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