Spring palms.

I love me some palm print. It just feels so summery while still luxurious rather than novelty. So imagine my joy that Monki’s current collection is full of palm print. This long, floaty dress hasn’t dropped on ASOS yet but a shirt dress and a sleeveless shirt have. I much prefer ordering Monki via ASOS as Monki’s shipping costs are an eye-watering £6, but if you’re keen for this dress and can’t wait to buy it elsewhere, keep an eye out for a free shipping code. I wore it with my favourite, perfect black leather biker jacket and extremely well-worn sneakers, but I’m really looking forward to floating around Zakynthos in it in the summer…

I’m wearing size M/L in this dress and know people up to a 24 who have bought this dress in M/L. Monki’s oversized dresses are a godsend but I really wish they would actually expand the sizes of their whole range to cater to the many, many plus size women who love it.

Dress: Monki
Jacket: ASOS (similar in Curve) (or similar design that isn’t sold out in most sizes)
Sneakers: Superga

 

Still spinning.

‘This is not about burning calories, this is not about being the thinnest or the strongest person in the room, this is about being the best person you can be while you’re here’

I’ve been going to spin classes for one year and two months and that, on Sunday, was the first time I had ever heard anyone, let alone an instructor, even mention the words ‘burning calories’. Nothing about Psycle has really been what I expected. I thought the instructors would be mean. I thought I would be encouraged to push myself to keep up with the fittest people in the class. I thought I would be made to feel bad for being fat. I thought the instructors’ motivational chat would focus on how many calories you could burn. I thought the male instructors would be especially unkind. I thought I would leave halfway through my first class and never go back.

Let’s take it back to my first class. A couple of people had recommended I try Psycle when I posted on Facebook asking for ideas for exercise to try after not working out at all for more than two years. There was an introductory offer so I thought it was worth a go. I was extremely intimidated and nervous and told myself that all I had to do was not leave my first class before the end. I didn’t have to go back. I just had to see one class through. And I did! It was horrible, I was so unfit and felt out of breath by the end of the warmup track. I felt close to death. I thought about the indignity of dying in a spin class. But… it was kind of fun, too. It was dark, the music was loud, no one was paying attention to what anyone else was doing. I struggled so much with the first class, and yet I went back and back and back. I knew  that a part of me had really enjoyed it, even if it was hard. And I can’t only do things that are easy, and more to the point, what exercise is going to be easy when a) you’re fat and b) you haven’t exercised for two years?

It was cool to look back a couple of months down the line and be able to see that from getting out of breath in the first track, I was able to participate fully in the first track, then the second, then the third… until I could basically do the whole class. It was important, though, to acknowledge that ‘basically’ doing the whole class was, realistically, as good as I was ever going to get. I would look around at these very athletic people in my classes who clearly spent a good amount of their time on exercise/fitness/health/whatever and remember that I’m a fat size 20 woman who exercises 2-3 times a week for about 45 minutes. I’m doing great just by turning up and taking part, and there’s no point comparing myself to people whose main motivator in life is physical fitness. If the class is aimed at people who are basically as fit as the instructor, then I’m never going to be the ‘best’ person in the class, all I can do is show up and give my best. Sometimes I go and I’m on my period, or I’m just getting over a cold, or I’m tired, or I’m in a bad mood, and I know I’m not giving it 100% and instead of beating myself up, I think ‘did you sweat? Yes. Did you have fun? Yes. So what’s the beef?’

No one at Psycle has ever given me shit or patronised me for being fat. Not one instructor, not one receptionist, not one customer. And believe me, I’ve been on high alert for it. References to burning fat, changing your shape etc are so entirely absent from instructors’ spiel that it’s really noticeable, and I’m assuming it’s some kind of company policy because body shape and fat loss are so ingrained in exercise culture. Instead, every class focuses on how great it’ll make you feel. And you do feel great. Knowing how nebulously euphoric I feel after a class is why I keep going. I mean, I enjoy all the benefits of being fitter (like running up the stairs in the tube rather than taking the escalator sometimes) but it’s that heart-floating feeling that makes me want to work out.

I am the fattest person in my class 99% of the time, and I’m ok with that. It would be nice to have fat comrades with me, but it would be so much harder if the environment wasn’t so completely neutral towards my body. I do understand, though, that a room of very thin, toned, athletic women in Ivy Park and LuluLemon isn’t the most welcoming environment if you’re already anxious about fitness spaces.

The downside: it’s incredibly expensive. Like, embarrassingly expensive. But I’ve tried to do other exercise and I don’t enjoy it. I took out a (much cheaper) gym membership and within the first month it became apparent it was not going to work for me. It just wasn’t fun like spinning was, and what’s the point in exercising if it’s not fun? I do this because it’s fun, not because I feel like I should exercise. I’ve just learned to ration myself and go to one class a week, factor it into my monthly expenditure and go after work instead of socialising.

If you’re in London and interested in trying Psycle rather than spinning in general, then my favourite instructors are Kaya, A.D., Kevin, Alana and Joe, and if you’re anything other than 100% up for this I would caution against going to Lemon’s classes as her ‘thing’ is to have the heating up high which, in my opinion, is vile torture. Everyone has their own style, so it’s a question of trying different people out and figuring who best reflects what you’re looking for in terms of music, composition of the classes, timetable etc.

what i really really want.

Hello friends! Over the past year I’ve got smarter at shopping. I buy fewer clothes and the stuff I do buy tends to work better with my wardrobe and my overall personal style. I’m better at buying for the person I actually am, rather than the person I think my clothes will help me become! Anyway, I’ve been cultivating a little wishlist of stuff I particularly love at the moment and maybe on payday I’ll buy a couple of things. I thought I would share it with you, not least to find out of anyone has any info on the sizing of Mango Violeta (hey, sometimes I can use my blog to inform me rather than inform you!) as I’ve never ordered from them before and would appreciate some intel.

I’m loving t-shirts at the moment, but they need to be playful and wearable. I think these are perfect and I already have the Brunch Club tee in blush. I think the grey could be a great wardrobe asset too. And I just can’t get enough of big ruffles: I find myself admiring every iteration of the huge ruffle trend every time I see it, and I feel like this sweet lilac sweat would be a great item to combat spring evening chill.

Ruffle sweat // Mom jeans //
Tropical dress // Brunch club tee //
Sailor tee // Lobster bag //

Fry-day

Thank God it’s Friday. I had so much fun at the Evans denim customising event yesterday I honestly believed it was the weekend already. But no. To get me through the last day of the working week, I’m wearing my latest obsession: this amazing top from Joanie. Since Joanie started, I’ve been a fan. I liked them because they interpreted vintage styles in a way that was so far beyond the usual insipid ‘pin-up’ styles that seem to dominate the plus size market. Their stuff, in sizes 8-22, represents a more creative way of interpreting that. Joanie have sent me stuff in the past, but this month I coughed up my own cash to purchase two tops- this one, and one that I’ll post next week. I’ve been feeling really uninspired by what’s on offer at my payday go-to shop ASOS and haven’t ordered from there for a long time, and I thought maybe I just wasn’t interested in fashion right now. But as soon as I saw this top, I knew where my payday shop would come from this month.

I’ve paired the top with my excellent new jacket I got in Gap at the Grove when I was on holiday. It was 40% off everything that day, so it was a total bargain and I’m already getting loads of wear out of it- it’s so light, it’s easy to wear, it folds up small so I can keep it in my bag when I’m not wearing it. Ideal.

Jacket: Gap
Top: Joanie
Jeans: Marks & Spencer

Lipstick is my new favourite red: Urban Decay in 714. I find it really hard to find reds that suit me, and I’m still reeling from the fact that my friend Anne bought me this without me trying it and it turned out to be perfect. She must be a genius.

a stroke of pink.

I decided to start using my blog for whatever I want (travel! Books! Personal news!), because I don’t always want to do outfit posts. But sometimes I still want to do outfit posts. Like this one! I wore this outfit to dinner with friends on Saturday night and I loved it. Monki dresses never let me down: they always look great and are so easy to wear. This shirt dress style is currently available in various prints, and I really wanted the green palm print pattern, but it’s not on ASOS and they had sold out in an L in the Carnaby branch. That’s ok though- the black and white brushstroke print is extremely cute and probably more versatile.


Jacket: ASOS (now only available in a 14)
Dress: Monki
Shoes: Evans

I stocked up on a fair amount of makeup while I was in LA, including a Colourpop order. Although they ship to the UK, shipping can be expensive and I know some friends have been stung badly with import fees, which is why I got my order sent to a friend there. Here, I’m wearing their Ultra Matte Lip in Mars, which is a really beautiful bright, strong pink. The collar chain I’m wearing is a very old ASOS purchase.