Saturday, 31 August 2013

Style It Saturday #1 - Pretty and Punk

Hiya loves.

I've joined another fashion challenge.


Style It Saturday is a celebration of individuality which allows bloggers involved to showcase their own unique style. Each month there is a theme which we interpret to suit our styles and shapes, in order to share ideas and put our own imaginations to the test!

The brains behind the challenge are Bee and Emily and you can read all about it on Emily's blog here.

The challenge this time is PRETTY AND PUNK.

I decided to focus on the ethos of punk for this challenge as I don't have any tartan or heavily studded items that could pass for traditional punk. I'm a rock chick who likes the gothic aesthetic and was trying to do punk, so there's a bit of everything in here. I mixed my stompy New Rock boots with some DIY-ed leggings from a couple of years ago and a couple of different tops. There's VBO a-plenty and exposed flesh because I'm fat and no fucks shall be given on this day. This isn't a flattering outfit, and I'm OK with that. I'm the gurning bastard child of Siouxsie Sioux and Sid Vicious.
I love playing dress up!

Backyard Babies t-shirt, bootlegger outside a gig (14 years ago!)
Checked shirt, charity shop (it's the hubby's)
Mini skirt, Igigi (old)
Leggings, Matalan
Boots, New Rock
Grey punk t-shirt, Yours clothing
Belt, New Look (from a dress)
Studded hair band, ASOS
Lipstick, Barry M 37

I can't wait to see what the other girls have done and I have no doubts their posts will put the pretty in pretty and punk!

Do you like playing dress up?

Have a great weekend.


Friday, 30 August 2013

Junarose

Hello lovelies.

The last couple of weeks have been really exciting for plus size fashion because we've had two fab new brands launch, the first of whom I'll talk about today. 


Junarose do clothing for sizes 14-26. I'd like to see a more inclusive range, perhaps going up to a size 32. They are a higher end brand, with prices like £25.52 for this t-shirt (which I love), for instance.


This cardigan retails for £29.82 and is right up my alley:


I'm drawn to this unusual print dress, which is £46.89:



I think Junarose has quite a lot of unique pieces for the stylish person with a little more money to spend. It screams European chic to me.

Have a look at the Junarose website and tell me what you think. Is there anything you like?


P.S. This isn't a sponsored post. 

In a couple of days I'll be talking about the other exciting new launch, Pink Clove.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Writer's Workshop #2 - Katie's Balloon

Hi dolls!

Mama’s Losin’ It


I chose this writing prompt: Write a post that incorporates the word: balloon.

This is a piece of fiction which talks about the death of a child. Please do not read if you'll find it upsetting.

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I was ushered in by a mortuary technician who nodded at me and left. I wondered if he'd had to practice his solemn face in the mirror and if being around death all the time depressed him. I would have carried on with this idle train of thought if I'd not been faced with the task at hand: saying goodbye my daughter. It's as if I exhaled then and would never quite be able to get my breath fully again. I would always be missing something I desperately needed to survive.

She looked as if she were sound asleep, but she was cold to the touch. I clasped her hand and rubbed it, as it felt so wrong for her to be so cold. I wanted to pick her up and cuddle her, make her warm again. I was grateful her face wasn't damaged. It struck me as absurd to be thankful for anything, but I was. I don't think I could've coped with seeing her beautiful face spoiled. She looked so at peace, just like she did when I sneaked in at night to kiss her forehead when she was sleeping.

The teaching assistant said she'd suddenly run into the road to catch a passing balloon. Before anyone could react there was a thud, a squeal of brakes and the sound of the driver vomiting onto the tarmac. They were walking back to the coach in a chain after a visit to a museum. There was a teacher at either end and classroom assistants at intervals the middle, but 6 year olds are a handful, and Katie was always so full of beans. There was nothing anyone could have done. I don't know if that made it better or worse.

I took comfort in knowing her end came swiftly. She didn't regain consciousness after the collision, and she had her favourite teacher holding her hand and talking to her as she drifted from one life to the next. I hope wherever she is she's forever chasing balloons. She always loved balloons. I know she's still with me - she sends me fluffy white feathers on an almost daily basis. She's trying out her angel wings.

-------

Thanks for reading!

Flashback Thursday 2

Hiya pickles!

Here's another Flashback Thursday photo for you. This was taken in 2004 when hubby and I were on holiday in Great Yarmouth. We'd been to the pub and I was somewhat inebriated by this point so I was having a little lie down!


Thanks for taking a peek!


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Outside my Comfort Zone 14 - Wild Side

Hello loves!



It's OMCZ time again and this time it's very much IN my comfort zone! Yes people, animal print!

Nat chose the theme this time. The brief was: Unleash your wild side

Leopard, cheetah, zebra....... I hope that will join me in unleashing your wild side and show some love for  animal print! Shoes, tops, bags or be brave and go head to toe!


This challenge made me think of this song.



As you may know, I love a bit of animal print. 


Jacket, Evans (positively ancient)
Skirt, Primark (worn as skirt)
Belt, Simply Be (old)
Necklace, Peacocks (old)
Shoes, So Fabulous from Very

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Rock chick OOTD #2

Hi!

At heart I'm a rock chick, but because I don't go out socially so much any more I don't really dress like a rock chick often. This obviously needed sorting out! This outfit is SO me. You can see a previous rock-inspired outfit here.

The leggings are a nightmare. They're a size 26 but have almost no stretch and I can barely get them over my arse which means I'm constantly pulling them up. They're so lovely I feel I need to attach the top half of another pair of leggings to them so they're wearable.


Purple lace hair bow, Peacocks (old)
Tattooed lady necklace, gift
Dress, New Look from twin pack
Belt, New Look (from floral maxi dress)
Leggings, Tesco (last year)
Shoes, Mr Price

If you were to wear an outfit which most summed you up as a person, what would it be?

Thanks for reading!


Chronic illness challenge day 12

Hi pickles!

It's been a while since I've done anything with this challenge. It's harder than I thought - sometimes I'm so caught up with feeling ill I don't want to write about it.


Day 12 - Briefly explain to a healthy person what it is like to live with this illness. 

Well, I suppose the easiest way to put it across is to help you use your imagination.

Imagine life as it is now is humming along fine. You have a job you may love or hate. It tires you out occasionally but it's usually nothing a couple of early nights and a weekend off can't cure. You have a fairly active social life, love going out with your friends, making trips, having holidays. You consider yourself fairly fit and active and have a zest for life which others may envy.

Then one morning you wake up with a really sore throat. You shrug it off, thinking you might be coming down with a cold. A few months later the sore throat persists, and it has been joined by other strange things. Every time you look up or down you come over so dizzy you have to hold onto something for fear of falling. Soon you start to feel really tired, to the point where you haven't the energy to smile. Getting up in the morning makes you want to cry because you need hours more sleep no matter how early you go to bed. You have a really bad headache almost every day. Things are really starting to weigh you down and you have no idea what the cause of this is.

Soon enough you're dragging yourself home from work with limbs of lead and find by the time you get through your front door that you have no energy to do housework, or cook. Your partner starts to gripe that you're always miserable, and you try to explain what a shitty day you've had or how tired you feel but it doesn't register with them so you end up arguing, which tires you out even more.

You have to give up work, but you have no idea what ails you. You have to explain to a partner who has no idea how you'll cope for money that you just can't work right now. Your first few weeks off work are uncertain ones but you're sure once you've rested you'll be right as rain and looking for work. Except it doesn't work out like that. As time passes by, more things start to go wrong. About six months in from symptoms first appearing, suddenly you can't walk without being in agony. Every attempt to pull your feet off the floor feels like someone is sawing through your hip bone.

You go to see the doctor after the hip issue and he takes you seriously. Thank God! Except he sends you down a 2 year long dead end as he thinks you have a disease you don't actually have. You have chest X rays, ECGs, lung function tests, lights shone in your eyes and more blood taken than would satisfy a vampire. Still they have no idea what to do with you, so eventually the specialist you've been seeing dismisses you don't have the disease the GP thought you had. You KNOW you're desperately unwell but there's no name to call the beast. Do people think you're lazy, skiving, taking the piss? Do your family and loved ones doubt you, despite seeing the cuts, scars and bruises, the evidence of this unknown illness? Even worse, are you going insane? Are you imagining it all? You begin to doubt yourself and it's the loneliest and darkest time you've ever had in your life.

Finally, after things take another turn for the worse you go back and see another GP. Your 4th. By this time you've become an old pro at going to see doctors and have started to list all your symptoms, which go into over 3 A4 pages of bullet points. You are sent back to see the same specialist and are angry, sure it's going to be a disaster again. By the time the appointment comes around that person has left, and you're met by a kindly faced chap who really wants to help. The raft of testing begins again in earnest, and at the end of it, over 5 years since you first became ill, you have your answer. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The pain, the dodgy bladder and bowel, the migraines, the dizziness, the crippling fatigue, the mental health issues, the constant cold-like symptoms, the rashes, all of it explained.

Over 1500 days of doubt are over. Now you can concentrate on surviving this thing, which in itself is a full time job.

-------

That is what it feels like for me. That and so much more.

THIS is why I can't do things last minute, no matter how much I want to. This is something my friends (without chronic illness) struggle to understand sometimes. They tend not to get it when I can't do things on a whim. I have to build up to leaving the house for days in advance. The act of pretending to be normal in public takes so much out of me. I need as much notice as possible to be able to do this. Recently I missed out on spending some time with my old school friends. They were in my town the day after CBT. I was mentally overwhelmed and I woke up the next day (after the walk to and from CBT, which is very hilly and had totally seized up my calves) in so much pain I could barely walk. Should I have gone out, hobbled about and cried a bit from the pain and made everyone miserable before going home early? That would be no fun for anyone, least of all me. Having to justify why I can't do things exhausts and upsets me so much so in many respects it's easier not to have friends. I'm better at online friendships because then I don't let people down.

THIS is why I can't cope with doing more than a couple of things a week. I just don't have the energy - physically or mentally. If I have to leave the house more than a couple of days a week I feel overwhelmed. At the moment I'm doing CBT which is so mentally exhausting that it's my one weekly activity. I don't get to have a social life right now. I have to live in this body, and right now this body is going through a month long extreme fatigue fest.

THIS is why I often feel like I'm under siege.

THIS is why I need so much alone time.

THIS is why the internet is my safe zone, as I can interact with people whilst in pain, whilst exhausted, whilst wearing tea stained pyjamas and no make up. 

I hope that has helped explained it a little bit? Gladly things are better overall these days now there are less demands on me than there used to be.

Thanks for reading.



Monday, 26 August 2013

A cruelty free alternative to Pantene Pro V?

Hiya loves!

To those of you in the UK, I hope you're enjoying the bank holiday! To everyone else I hope you're enjoying your Monday.

When I decided to try to incorporate more cruelty free (thus forth referred to as CF in this post) products into my beauty arsenal about this time last year, initially I focussed on make up, as I didn't want to overwhelm myself and give up. As time went on I started to think about other things such as skin care, toiletries and even cleaning products.

I've tried a few CF shampoos and conditioners which at first I thought were great for my hair, but ended up either drying it out or weighing it down, but now I think I've found THE shampoo and conditioner for me. Even better for me, it's totally affordable, kind to animals and easy to get hold of. I used to use Pantene before I knew it was tested on animals, and am pleased to have found a CF equivalent.


My hair is dry on the ends and tends to be greasy at the roots. I need to wash it every 36-48 hours to keep it tip top. I tend to suffer with lack of shine if I'm using a product which isn't moisturising enough and because my hair is fine it's easily overwhelmed with a build up of product if something is too moisturising.  

In the UK there are two well-known chemists - or as they call them over the pond - drugstores. Superdrug could be easy to overlook in comparison to the 'sexier' Boots. They don't tend to have the bright lights, swanky displays and dedicated beauty advisors of Boots, nor a lot of the big brand names which Boots attracts, but what they do have is an entirely cruelty free own-label range (and usually more affordable prices than Boots.) As you can see on the close up of the labels above on the right, Superdrug own label products are BUAV approved - which means they're certified cruelty free. I have long been a fan of Superdrug as I'm a tightwad bargain lover, and when I started to do my research and discovered everything own label is CF the love affair just deepened.

I bought the Silky Smooth shampoo and conditioner for shiny hair a couple of months ago for £2.29 each (for a bargain 400ml.) Not only has it made a vast difference to the softness and shine of my hair, but other people have commented on their use of it, too. When my family came to stay a couple of times recently I told them not to bring any toiletries as I have a stockpile. My aunt and cousin both have thick, coarse, wavy hair which became noticeably soft and shiny after using this shampoo and conditioner - so much so that they both mentioned it to me. A couple of months in and I'm barely half way into the shampoo so the value for money is immense.

It's important to me to be able to have hassle free CF products - which for me is animal-friendly products on a budget which I can get my hands on easily AND which do the job they're supposed to. These products tick all the boxes, so I can forget about it and just enjoy having shiny, soft hair. I don't want to have to think about CF or non-CF products and hope one day everything will be CF, especially since there's no need for animal testing at all these days, with in vitro testing etc.

Products - £2.29 each. Available from Superdrug stores and Superdrug.com. Also available in Daily Nourish for normal hair, Full Volume, and Hair Defence for people who heat style frequently.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. As ever we're all the boss of our own underpants and I'm going CF because of my love of animals. There is no judgement whatsoever about anyone else's beliefs and I share CF posts for other CF beauty obsessives, not to 'turn' anyone or preach. 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Lazy Sunday OOTD

Hey you!

Today I have a kinda slobby, relaxed look which has been jazzed up with a nice belt.


Sorry the poses are all same-y. I usually try to vary them but was obviously away with the fairies!


Top, via Leeds Fat Swap
Leggings, Matalan
Belt, ASOS
Hair flower, gift
Lipstick, Sleek MakeUP Russian Roulette courtesy of the lovely Lisa.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Sorry for the slew of outfit posts, I'm away and had a few scheduled already.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Minnie Red OOTD

Hello lovelies!

I hope your weekend is going swimmingly!

This is an outfit inspired by Minnie Mouse. In case you don't know minnie is a euphemism for vagina in the UK. Ha! I didn't feel like wearing a belt today, so I didn't. No woman (or man) has to belt themselves into something to look more flattering if they don't feel like it. I look square, but that's OK with me. I'm a big juicy SQUARE tomato! Hahaha.




The tunic is from Evans from 2011. About a month after I had my second ectopic pregnancy and was able to hobble into town my friend Julie took me on a shopping trip to cheer me up. I bought this tunic because the confident red called to me, even though I knew I wouldn't be able to FEEL like wearing red for some time. It stayed screwed up in the bag at the bottom of my wardrobe for about some time afterwards, but eventually I started wearing it.

It has POCKETS! Happiness! I need everything with pockets.

Everything in this post is old, I'm afraid. Sowwee!

Tunic, Evans
Leggings, Very
Shoes, Very
Minnie ears, eBay

Thanks for peeking, and I hope you're enjoying the shit out of this weekend!

Sleek Au Naturel palette EOTD

Hiya!

Here is a look I did from the Sleek MakeUP Au Naturel palette (click to see swatches.)

I used Nougat, Taupe, Conker and Regal.


Conker and Regal are very similar colours, but Conker is shimmery and Regal is matte. They make a great duo to use in conjunction with one another. I used Conker on the main part of my lid and Regal blended up towards my brow, because very shimmery shadows on my upper lids highlights my slightly scraggy eye area. I used Nougat under my brows and Taupe in the inner corner of my eye above the tear duct area.


There's no full face shots because on this day I had a lot of redness on my face. I get a burning red rash occasionally which is common in people with Fibromyalgia. It refuses to be concealed - it virtually glows. Ha!




I'm going to do an all matte look from this palette soon.

Thank you for looking.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Burgundy Floral OOTD

Hiya pickles.

Happy Friday!

This dress is one of my favourites but I haven't worn it for a while so it's time to pull 'er out again! It's about 2 years old and I think it was my first purchase from New Look Inspire.




Dress, New Look (old)
Leggings, Very
Shoes, Mr Price

What are you up to this weekend? I'm going for a family meal. Whatever you're up to, have a good 'un!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Micellar waters - high(ish) end VS high street

Hola lovelies!

Today I'm going to be comparing micellar waters by Bioderma and B., which is a range from Superdrug. The Bioderma one is for combination/oily skin. Micellar waters are waters with oil particles in suspension which make removing difficult-to-budge make up a cinch. Essentially they are cleansers without the need for additional water and you can use them all over your face, as well as your chest and back (if you have acne there.)


I needed to remove 3 coats of Benefit's They're Real mascara, and I knew from trying to remove one coat of it previously that my usual make up remover or cleanser wouldn't do the job without making my eyes really sore from constant rubbing.

Aha! It would be the perfect time to compare the two micellar waters I have - Bioderma Sebium and B. by Superdrug.

This is what I needed to remove - 3 coats of spiky 'orrid mascara.


I used B. micellar water on my right eye and Bioderma Sebium on the left, which is for oily/combination skin. I won it in a competition - I've got dry bits and oily bits and it seems to be fine with my skin. It's also available in Sensibio, which is for normal to dry skin and sensitive skin, and if I had bought it myself, the latter would have been my choice as it would suit my skin better.

Mascara be gone!
So, which micellar is my favourite?

The verdict:

First let's talk prices and availability. B. micellar water costs £4.99 for 150ml but is often on 1/3 off and can be found in Superdrug stores and online. The Bioderma costs £9.99 for 250ml which is out of stock but 2 other sizes are available on Escentual.com at the moment - 100ml for £4.50 and 500ml for £14.50. Availability is quite poor at the moment - demand is high because this is a cult product. It is also available on eBay - prices will vary, obviously.

Use of product - the Bioderma did remove product slightly quicker than the B. micellar, but not significantly so. However there is one massive difference between the two. The B. micellar makes my skin feel VERY sticky afterwards. When I first removed my mascara both eyelids felt sticky immediately, but the eye I used Bioderma on soon felt normal. However the eye I used B. on felt sticky for a long time, almost as if it was still coated in product. It felt like I needed to use a toner to remove the stickiness. Yuk!

Therefore my favourite product of the two is the Bioderma, because it performs slightly better and doesn't leave a sticky feeling.

Other - Bioderma isn't cruelty free and B. is, so once the Bioderma has gone and until I discover a better cruelty free micellar, B. will be my product of choice. The B. product has no discernible scent and the Bioderma has a very subtle scent which I don't find at all bothersome.

Have you tried micellar water? 

There are quite a few around now so if you hate that draggy feeling you get when trying to get rid of a stubborn or waterproof mascara, micellar water is the way to go. I can't help but wonder how many eye wrinkles I would've saved myself if I'd had this product 20 years ago!

Thanks for reading!


P.S. It might be time to explain my ethics as to cruelty free items, because it may be confusing. If I win items in a giveaway or competition which are not cruelty free I will use them (or give them away.) If I get a magazine freebie which is not cruelty free I will use it or give it away. If someone gives me a gift which isn't cruelty free I will use it. When it comes to spending my own money (which is the case 99% of the time) I prefer to buy cruelty free items because I don't want to financially support companies who test on animals (especially when it's so unnecessary these days!) I still have a huge amount of non cruelty free items in my make up and toiletry stash to work through. As much as I'd love to give everything away and start afresh, I can't because I'm not in the financial position to do so. However when it comes to buying new things, I always endeavour to buy cruelty free. This is just my thing. I don't expect anyone else to do the same as me, lest I come over all judgy-judgy. We're all the boss of our own underpants and live by our own rules.

Writer's Workshop: Random Photo

Hello lovelies!

I've been reading about a writing challenge which Mary has been taking part in on her blog Brown, Party of Chaos for the last few weeks and thought I'd like to join in. You get five prompts each week and you choose one to write about.

Mama’s Losin’ It

I've been thinking about writing again for a while. I don't think it matters what I write about, the important thing is to write when I get the urge. Constantly writing and editing has got to help the end result. Up until a few years ago I used to write regularly - poems, fiction, erotica - you name it. When I was at school, I constantly wrote, both for pleasure and for my English homework. From a very young age I wanted to be an author, and I was never without a pad and pen. I even had a typewriter for many years. I was so happy when I got it. Everybody knew I was always writing stories when I was younger and I got asked to tell them a lot.

When I was in my last year at junior school I got to leave lessons on a Friday afternoon occasionally to read my stories to the first years. The headmaster Mr Brock was lovely and he saw something in me. When I was getting ready to leave the school he told me many times I would always be welcome back for a visit, but I never went back. I don't do revisiting the past unless I'm writing about it.

I guess this is me dipping my toe back in the water.


I chose this: Open your picture folders, close your eyes and pick a random photo to share and write about.
-------

I opened my photo albums with my eyes closed and when I opened them, this was what I'd picked.


As soon as I saw it, I knew what I'd write about.

I was lucky enough to go to a grammar school, but we didn't have our own tennis courts. In the 4th and 5th years of school in the summer time we'd be led by our PE teacher on a 5 minute walk along to some private grass courts near our school. They were tucked away down an alley way between houses and had I not been taken there, I would never have known they existed. We were often left alone to play tennis for an hour. I don't know why we were left alone or where the teacher went - I don't even think we questioned it. The main thing was we were left alone, and it was divine.

Sometimes we actually played tennis, but most often we took the opportunity to sunbathe and gossip about boys until someone watching out near the gate yelled that the teacher was coming back. My friends and I used to lay on our backs and watch the clouds scud by, waiting to see if a cloud formation resembled anything like a dog, a house or a penis. That's teenagers for you, not that we'd have recognised one from anything other than an illustration in a biology book!

There's something about laying outside during an English summer - the distant drone of a plane overhead off to even sunnier climes, a lawnmower a street away, the chirp of crickets nearby. Combined with the summer heat shimmering over our bodies in waves (oh for the days when we got proper summers!), the smell of the grass we were laying on and the blue sky above it was magical.

Every time I look up and see blue sky and fluffy white clouds I'm transported back to the days when everything seemed simpler, when we bunked off tennis and gossiped about the boys we fancied. Of course rose-tinted specs come into play as I was going through a really tough time at home then but even so, I'm still fond of my school days as there was a certain freedom and innocence about those days. 

This song really reminds me of this period of time. I was mad about Bon Jovi at school and New Jersey was on pretty much permanently. My teenage self fancied the arse off Jon Bon Jovi, and watching this video again makes me realise I still have a penchant for men with poodle hair.



What reminds you of your teens? Which sights, smells, music and films take you back?

Thanks for reading.

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