a regime change.

The day before I went on holiday to Tallinn, I looked around at my room and thought to myself: “something has to change”. I had way too much stuff, and it was making my pleasant, well-lit room in a nice flat feel oppressive, and a place I didn’t want to be. I had spoken on Twitter before about my desire to sort my life out and stop being such a messy troll, and various people had recommended me this book by Marie Kondo so I downloaded it to read while away. The weekend I got home, I had a complete clearout. I got rid of 2/3 of my clothes, either selling them via Depop or sending them to the charity shop round the corner, and so far, I regret nothing. I took on my clothes, makeup and jewellery, and have turned my room into a tidy, manageable space. I’m not saying the book is life-changing, but it really helped me single-handedly dispose of so, so many clothes that weren’t right for me anymore. I was able to clearly and quickly establish which clothes made me happy (whether because they were beautiful or they really suit me or whatever) and which didn’t, and to be able to dispose of those that didn’t guilt-free.

One of the most important side-effects has been seeing what I kept and what I got rid of, and using that to inform what I’ve been drawn to since then. I realised, for example, that I don’t have any use for more than one short-sleeved formal dress. I can’t wear short-sleeved dresses to conferences or meetings anymore because of my tattoos that I’ve got in the past year, so keeping one I particularly liked makes sense for nice dinners etc, but I don’t need any more than that. I also realised that I don’t have many casual dresses, and given I generally prefer wearing Sensible Flat Shoes (just bought a pair of cherry red classic Dr Martens with birthday money, for example!), when I want to wear a dress it’s probably useful to have something casual rather than a whole wardrobe of chic wiggle-dresses that would be ruined with those kinds of shoes.

So! I’ve picked up this month’s Elle because it has a 20% ASOS discount code and feel like I’m in a really good position to know what I really want that will make a difference to my wardrobe. I’m currently down to only one pair of black skinny jeans, which will simply not do- especially in winter- so decided on a new pair of ASOS Curve Ridleys (which are just perfect), and various cool, casual tops and skirts. I threw in the striped dress because even though I don’t need it and am not going to order it, I love the boldness of the print and how blatantly it says ‘hell no’ to the wisdom that fat girls shouldn’t wear horizontal stripes. I was originally going to save the code to use on the pink shaggy faux-fur coat that’s going to drop in Curve sizes in September, but realised I have a lot of outerwear I already really love, and there’s no point in just continually adding to it. So yes, it’s extremely cool and extremely me, but I think my $ is better used on other stuff. Such as…

 

Polo midi dress // Printed shirt dress // High-necked black top // Midi skirt // Split side maxi t-shirt // Stripe dress // Black skinny jeans // Leopard-print belt  // Denim midi skirt

Although I haven’t committed to it yet, I’m also obsessed with this playsuit. I’m DJing at a party where all the guests have to wear white, and even though the performers don’t, this really caught my eye!

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And knowing what my wardrobe / style interests are like, I would probably never buy this dress for myself, but it’s so gorgeous and such a beautiful colour that I had to show you lot, just in case anyone with a more ladylike dress sense has still got their 20% off code…

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on body positivity and weight loss.

I often feel like I hear myself saying “that’s not body positivity”, and while I think it’s actually perfectly acceptable to criticise something without having a concrete alternative in mind, I do have a pretty clear view of what body positivity is. Not just ‘my’ body positivity, but what it should mean at the very roots.

As I perceive it, body positivity does not mean you are positive about your body, or positive about some bodies, or positive about the fact you have a body and aren’t a disembodied voice floating in the ether. It means radically repositioning how and what we think about which bodies are good and important and valid and worthy of praise. It means doing more than reinforcing the worth and validity of white, thin, cisgender, non-disabled bodies with no body hair or scars. It means reinforcing the worth of bodies that do not look or function like that, and refusing to strive for goals that necessarily privilege those categories, and more categories on top of those- they’re just some that came to mind very readily.

This is why body positivity should, no, must be a weight loss-critical space. Weight loss does not fit with body positivity because it reinforces thinness as a goal for bodies and rejects fatness. Importantly: all of this is done by our culture anyway. Lose weight if you want, for whatever reason you want, but don’t tell me I have to accept it as body positive. Weight loss and discussion of weight loss as a positive thing pervades and permeates so, so many domains of our lives, especially as women. Is it not totally reasonable to state unequivocally that body positivity is one space where it’s neither useful nor constructive to include it? I very, very infrequently describe myself as ‘body positive’ and instead prefer ‘fat positive’ but I’ve realised that in order for body positivity to be an intersectional movement that has truly useful aims that go beyond platitudes for the most privilege, I have to be part of a movement that highlights the areas where it’s failing and try to reformulate them. Destabilising thinness as a common aesthetic goal means rejecting weight loss as necessarily and intrinsically good, and should be a key part of any body positivity. Don’t tell me I’m body negative because I think it’s more important to praise and uplift fat bodies than massage the egos of people who are putting their energies into reinforcing cultural norms.

For body positivity to be useful and meaningful, it has to find ways to move beyond the very, very arbitrary categories of beauty and usefulness that our white western capitalist cis hetero patriarchy has pushed on us, not reinforce them.

happy birthday to me.

It was my 26th birthday on Sunday, and I decided it was the perfect excuse to dress extravagantly. I bought this wonderful blue velvet Beth Ditto for Evans dress off the super cool Amanda who was selling hers, and who also got me into my now-all time favourite perfume (Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle) so I have a lot to thank her for! This dress fits me perfectly, is a perfect shape and has the best [deepest] pockets I’ve ever had on a dress. I hope I get a lot of wear out of it for celebrations to come! For outerwear, I obviously went for my new(ish) Isolated Heroes jacket. You may remember my not-so-glowing review of the eye dress I have from there, and unfortunately I feel kind of the same about this. In brief, I think it looks great but there are just little details that mean I don’t 100% love it the way I should love a pink sequin jacket with a red Mongolian collar. Threads are coming loose, it doesn’t hang totally properly so when you’re wearing it, you can see a bit of the lining at the bottom on the back (which isn’t something I’ve ever noticed with any other jacket), the collar detaches itself from the jacket way too easily and I’ve had to pin it on with safety pins are a few issues that come to mind as I write this. I feel bad, not least because an accusation levelled at fat women is that we’re not willing to shell out and support independent designers, but to be honest, if this is the quality I get for my money when I go to an independent designer, then I would rather stick to ASOS… all of which is a shame, because look how bloody great the jacket looks on me!

Dress : Beth Ditto for Evans
Jacket : Isolated Heroes
Shoes : Evans

Lipstick is my new Charlotte Tilbury 1975 Red which I got for my birthday and I just adore. The packaging is incredible.

under the skin.

Before this year, I used cleanser and moisturiser. It wasn’t working for me. I had very dehydrated skin, especially on my nose, which drove me to distraction. So one day, I decided to do various research and reading, and figure out what my skin’s problems were and how I could remedy them. Now, I have a 5-step skincare regime for daytime which is totally working for me. Without makeup, my skin looks much better, but even when I’m wearing makeup, my foundation and concealer look miles better and when it wears off throughout the day, it fades evenly and seamlessly, rather than clinging to dry patches. I feel like I’ve sorted my skin out once and for all, and a few people have asked for a skincare-specific blog post, so here it is!

I’ve been using Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish for at least 7 years, if not longer. I’ll probably never deviate, because it removes makeup super well, has never given me any trouble, and it takes me over a year to use 2 bottles. I smear it all over my face and then wipe it off with a flannel. Top tip: I used the muslin cloths that Liz Earle make until a couple of months ago, and now I’ve converted to flannels, which I buy in bulk off Amazon.

I recently started double cleansing, so after I’ve used Cleanse & Polish, I get rid of any last scraps of makeup with Garnier micellar water. I don’t know how much difference this makes, but people seem to think double cleansing is important, and the micellar water is easy to use so I figure why not.

My holy grail product is Derma E hydrating mist. My skin is very dehydrated so I need all the help I can get to moisturise it, and this is The One. I spray this on after cleansing, and the lovely hyaluronic acid-rich mist acts as the first step in my quest for full hydration. I love it so much, and feel just makes a great base for my serum and moisturiser. It’s frustrating that I have to order this particular item from America, but also frustrating that I don’t know of an equivalent or even similar product that I can get here. If you know of anything, do tell!

As I only just started using serum this year, I figured I shouldn’t commit too soon and should try a few before deciding which one is right for me. My first attempt was Vichy Aqualia, which I loved. Once I used that up, I’ve moved on to REN Radiance Perfection Serum. I honestly can’t praise REN highly enough- everything of theirs that I’ve tried has been sensational, and if you order before Sunday night, you’ll get a free supersized sample with every order, which is perfect for holidays. REN have great offers all the time, which contributes to my desire to keep buying from them. But mostly it’s the quality of the products: I love the smell of this, and it really makes my skin feel super lovely. Once I’ve used this up, I’m going to try the Origins serum, then decide which of the three is the best one for me.

Another REN item! Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream has been a big hit for me, and I’m definitely going to repurchase this. It just makes my skin feel soft and hydrated, which is exactly what I want in a moisturiser. I like the pump packaging but WAY too much comes out- especially on a hot day when I’m feeling sweaty and it just won’t sink in. I’ve had to learn to be very gentle with the pump so I can moderate how much comes out, but surely the point of the pump is it dispenses the right amount? Perplexing.

I use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate a few times a week and feel pretty sold on its overnight effects. It just makes my skin look better- smoother, more glowy. I hate the pipette dispenser, but aside from that it’s a great product. It smells lovely, the bottle is nice, and a little goes a really long way, which is bloody good considering how expensive it is.

And, finally, more REN: once a week, I try to put Philip Kingsley Elasticizer on my hair and REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask on my face, both for 10 minutes, then wash them off at the same time. This is particularly good for when I’m going out and need that little boost, because I really feel the REN mask is a radiance miracle worker. I think this and the Derma E mist are my proper ultimate faves in terms of how impressed I’ve been with the results on my skin.

Something I don’t have but am planning to get soon is the Pixi Glow Tonic, about which I’ve only heard great things. And you know I’m a sucker for anything that’ll make me glow.

I know it’s all pretty expensive, but I’ve found it’s worth it for me, and I’ve accumulated these over time rather than all in one go. If you know of any good dupes for expensive skincare products, I would love to hear them.

the birds.

Hello friends! Today’s a bit gloomy but yesterday I took a lovely trip to the seaside on a sunny Sunday, and thought it would be a good day for a beachy/nautical look. My little ice cream cone earrings, a striped t-shirt, and, most exciting of all, my new silk scarf. Taking the most memorable scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds and transplanting it to the seaside, my great new Karen Mabon scarf is the stuff of kitschy dreams. I basically want all her prints (expensive object of my obsession: the stock market scarf) but figured this was a good place to start. I bought it for myself as a small item I’ve wanted for ages that won’t take up space in my newly-cleared wardrobe. A delight.

T-shirt : ASOS Curve
Skirt : ASOS Curve
Shoes : Evans
Scarf : Karen Mabon at HowKapow 

My adorable ice cream earrings are very old Topshop, and my lipstick is MAC in Please Me.