Summertime Sniping

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Les chuchoteuses by Rose Aimée Boulanger in Montreal, Canada (via Google)

Last week at some point a horrible woman wrote a newspaper article about fat people. I won’t link to it, not will I utter her name because frankly, I feel like contributing to any publicity for her is what she wants, even if it is negative. At this point I can’t even bring myself to slag her off.

As my nasty ex’s great-grandmother used to say, you just have to feel sorry for people like that.

But. In her article, said woman calls out three “size 18, at least” girls for having the audacity to stand in front of her at the airport and not be ashamed of who they are. Oh, did I not point out that all three were “fat, not chubby” and seemed “unconcerned” about their apparent hideousness? I think they might even have been – whisper it – laughing together like they were happy.

Not one of them had the common decency to be covered from head to toe in black, instead choosing to rock a colourful Summer wardrobe.

Say whut?!

The Fattist let’s call her, for she is a ‘self-confessed Fattist’, seems to think that the world should fall in line with what she deems attractive. This to me is like throwing shade on every man and boy with a naked chin.

Apparently, TF has a weight and size restriction on the things she will tolerate and anybody who doesn’t fall in line with this will pay the price. By being slagged off in a national paper (if indeed you can call it that).

Anyway, she’s obviously just ‘being honest’ and speaking out of ‘concern’ for these poor, disgusting creatures right?

The thing is, she could be talking about me. I’m a size 18. Sometimes smaller, sometimes bigger but I’m that size generally. Should I be covering up for fear of upsetting poor souls like TF? Am I that revolting that I should be considering hibernation?

I hate the whole thing. Yes, it is okay for you to have your own personal tastes. Your opinion is yours. If you really feel that way and think that these abominations are seriously harming their health by eating badly and not exercising, fine. But keep it to yourself.

For a start you don’t know what these girls eat (besides the ‘I kid you not’ bag of crisps they munched while waiting to check in their luggage. On a holiday! The horror!). You sure as shit don’t know what exercise they do on a day-to-day basis. Not all fit people are thin and vice versa.

I’m hardly the template for healthy living but apart from cake too many times a week, I watch my calorie intake and workout at least twice a day for 30-40 minutes. It’s ignorant to assume things when you don’t know.

What seemed to perplex her so much more than the ‘dimpled thighs’ and ‘rolls of fat’ hanging over the tops of their vests was the fact that all three girls seem to be living life without being self-conscious. Again, how dare you, girls? Come on, now – self-hatred is the only obvious state for you, duh.

Personally, if the world were full of more people like those three and less like TF in her size 8-10 dress, I think it might be a better place.

And, while we’re at it, I’d give up the notion of ever being thin for genuine self-acceptance. I think we can all learn from these beastly rule breakers in their Summer gear, pissing off strangers without even realising it.

Now, hand me the motherf**king crisps, bitch!

Please note: I may have paraphrased a tad throughout this post but you get the gist.

To Drink or Not to Drink, It’s None of Your Beeswax!

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Photograph does not belong to me

For a long time I didn’t drink at all. I fended off no end of “You’re so boring” comments, dealt with the distrust of the drinkers around me – stayed clear headed on every night out I went on, despite the highly amusing peer pressure (turns out it still exists in your thirties).

There was no specific reason for not drinking alcohol. Not health, nor allergy or recovery. Definitely not because I was Straight Edge. I just didn’t want to.

People’s reactions to what I put in my glass were the best thing about it, that and the absence of hangover at all times.

But then, I started to drink. Again, for no good reason; simply because I chose to. That’s the beauty of it, it was only ever because I did or didn’t want to.

It’s really cute though when people are all “But YOU DON’T DRINK!” when I order Vodka. It’s like they finally got to a comfortable level with my drinking and now can’t compute that it’s changed again.

It will most probably change back.

If I’m honest, I don’t like spending my cash on something I can’t eat or wear. Spending £50 (even £20) isn’t an option for me of a Friday night. I’ll always chose something better than booze but… I like the odd drink.

I like a cocktail. I prefer Tea.

But what I really enjoy is the choice. To drink or not to drink, that is the question that nobody but me should care about.

Stop trying to label me, hardcore drinkers! I’ll do what I want, thanks.

Kiss and Make-up: A History of My Face

Photo via Google. Not me!

Following a chat with my team this morning about make-up, I thought it might be natural to turn it into a blog post.

A lot of you know about my relationship with nail polish – how obsessed I have been in the past with the latest products, trends and my own designs; how I had thought seriously about turning this into a business. How I still might.

But make-up on the whole has always been a part of who I am and talking about it this morning has brought back a lot of memories. I think the sensible place to start is at the beginning (right?)

My first memories of wearing my own make-up come quite late in the day, maybe around twelve or thirteen. My mum didn’t often wear it (though looking back she was definitely emphasising her peepers with super 80’s mascara), so there wasn’t much around the house. She had a small selection of ‘sensible’ basics that I had a good nose through but nothing too crazy.

So I didn’t really think about it much. I was a tree climbing tomboy though so it makes sense that I didn’t start looking at myself as a girl until adolescence hit.

Having said that my aunt, Sine has these red high heels that I insisted on putting on and clacking about her front room in for years. Until she gave them to me, to own, the best day ever! So I had some notion, I suppose.

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Click to enlarge

My first memories are of over using blue and brown mascaras and being rather heavy handed on the Coffee Shimmer. A metallic brown lipstick by Rimmel, I can’t imagine this shade particularly suiting anyone but yet there it was. Switched up with it’s subtler sister, Heath Shimmer pretty much all my lippy needs were covered.

I wish I had been more experimental with red. There’s a rumour that there’s a shade to suit every person (not going to limit this to just women), but I don’t know. I’ve always felt I look overdone every time I’ve tried a strong lip.

So I’m an eye girl. It’s all about that for me. As I shuffled into my teenage years I found black kohl and I’ll never give it up completely. It’s my signature and maybe it’s old, maybe it’s not cool anymore, I don’t care.

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The greatest compliment I have ever received from a stranger was, “You’ve got eyes like Bridget Bardot”. I credit my kohl for that one. I do know that it’s a strong look though and if I need to look a little less like I woke up in somebody’s bush (ding dong), I’ll skip it. I will never skip the liquid liner (also black).

As I’ve aged, I’ve learned that less is more. My mother always did say this would happen, as I caked my terrible skin in crud and layered on the spider lashes. She was spot on (pun intended).

I never really liked the feel of foundation on my skin, but it always felt like a never-ending battle. You were damned if you covered your face, damned if you didn’t. As I was growing into a woman, having bad skin made me feel inferior; less than a real person. There were times that I didn’t leave the house at all just because I felt so hideous.

Now I wear a primer, minimal concealer/foundation (thankfully I finally grew out of the adult acne of my twenties, I think it was down to stress), a subtle liquid flick and a coat or two of black mascara.

Kohl is optional but I only really leave it out of my routine if it’s mega hot or I have to lookEEMAbsoluteBlackLiner_tn smart. I will always love make-up, I think it’s an incredible tool for so many reasons, I’m just glad I don’t need to lean on it as much as I did.

So what are your favourite brands, products, styles? Do you remember Coffee Shimmer? Do you have any recommendations? Hit me up!

Hoop There It Is

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I’ve slowly become obsessed with my hula hoop.

After I first purchased her, she spent a considerable time leaning against the wall in our hallway. Ignored for the most part, I was too shy to actually try her out. Luckily, with the encouragement of a friend who has taken a hooping course and is magnificent at it, we had a group session during one of our lunch breaks at work and a gang came along.

At first I seemed to be the only one just not getting it, but I’m finally there and getting stronger every time.

Last night I spent 35 minutes in our yard hooping by myself. Salt n’ Pepa’s Greatest Hits provided the soundtrack. Sassy seems to be the way to do it, since there’s a lot of hip action involved.

It’s pretty sexy, once you get over what a tit you look. While I was out there I bumped into every single neighbour we have and the reaction was mixed. The older men looked bemused, while the young couple next door to us thought it looked cool.

That’s the biggest thing for me I think, having gone from being completely non-active to being into keeping fit; getting over myself and how I look to others. Literally nobody cares.

Any way, I’m planning on supplementing what I already do with hooping to tone up my middle. This morning I can feel it in my abs and legs and it feels great. I do want to lose weight but almost as important to me is toning up considerably, so I am feeling pretty good and happy at the moment.

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I think about how much I have taken on in the last three months and I think it’s very much a credit to the gorgeous women I work with. They’re all fit and healthy and incorporate exercise into their every day, whilst still enjoying cake.

I don’t think I would have found the transition quite as easy or fun if it hadn’t been for them. So thanks for the encouragement and all the love, girls!

 

Why I’ll Never Have Money

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I’ve taken steps to stop myself shopping. Removing my card details from all my favourite websites, hiding my credit card in my knicker drawer, that sort of thing. It’s was going okay, except for April and May being the most annoyingly expensive months.

I can’t deny that it’s hard. I like stuff alright? Sue me!

But despite all this, I know my life is a world away from how it was six years ago, when I hated it, wished something would intervene and take me out of it. I hated the man I lived with, was indifferent to the places we visited together (even though some were beautiful) and I despised wherever we were calling ‘home’ during that whole sorry period.

When life was not just lacklustre but unbearable, I would shop because that small high I experienced whenever something new arrived in my possession reminded me to feel something, however fleeting.

Like I said, a world away from now. My backbone is now fully intact and I would never allow myself to be brought down like that again, never ever. I was a victim of an abusive relationship and he never laid a finger on me, it’s that simple.

Now I shop in a much less frenzied fashion and buy things I love. Not to fill a gaping void that will never be full. I buy things to make me look awesome and dress for myself first, everyone else second.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t also want my husband to take a good long look at me and think “Dayum”.

All this said, I have started to see my debts get a teeny bit smaller and a particularly large one that hangs over me is starting to shrink. I’m by no means out of the woods but I can see a light there, waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. I’ll take it.

And poor or not, I’m in love with my life now and that’s so much better than all the stuff in China. Or anywhere.

Snark Week

tumblr_mxe1k65x7L1qei7a7o1_1280I’ve started this post many times and then deleted the lot. It’s one that is close to my heart hence the deliberation over whether to publish it. In the end though, I want my blog to be a happy place and I think honesty leads one to ultimate happiness in the end.

So I’ll try again.

These days I am about not snarking on people. Other people’s bodies, lifestyles, favourite hip hop record – none of these things are my business and therefore my opinion isn’t really required.

I slip up, of course I do, and in the past (even present) I have said unkind things about people, maybe about what they were wearing or their behaviour, if I haven’t necessarily agreed with it. I have been unkind and it’s no fun admitting that. Yes, I have been mean and ignorant at times.

I think most people have if they think about it. That doesn’t excuse me, I know what I have said or even thought, and I regret all of it. Sometimes, the things I have said have been born purely of my own inadequacies and say everything about me, nothing about the other person.

I think I have changed an incredible amount over the last two years. My core is the same but I like to believe that by stepping away from negative influences (again, not excusing myself), I have been able to work on the areas I don’t like about myself.

I’m not blaming these less-than-healthy connections for my behaviour, it’s more about how I felt about myself at the time.

I think I just want to go on record as a person who has learnt from her mistakes. I’m not suggesting I’m a former yob who’s bullied people and spewed abuse at strangers in the street – I would never and I abhor the cowards who do. I’m just very aware that I can be bitchy and I don’t want to be anymore, about anybody.

I love that things like #honourmycurves and #effyourbeautystandards are becoming prevalent on Twitter and Instagram. I have recently read horrifying accounts from people I love and respect about the things they have endured at the hands of horrible bullies and I hate it.

I’m absolutely with them on their right (and mine) to walk down the street without being stared at or abused. Purple hair, big thighs, Gothic attire or two heads, it’s nobody’s business.

We all need to be nicer and we all need to work on acceptance – of ourselves and of others. I know it’s an idealistic view that we will one day stamp it all out but it can happen. It’s a long old road but I want to be right there when it does.

And to anybody I’ve ever upset with a flyaway comment, I’m sorry. In the past I might have said something behind your back because I have made assumptions about you or because I was being judgemental (or was ‘concerned’ about you) and this is probably worse. I’m sorry.

I’m working really hard on that and won’t be doing it again.

 

I’m as Fine as the Wine in Summertime

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Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Phenomenal Woman ~ Maya Angelou

Today my Queen quietly passed on from this life, aged 86.

I fell in love with Maya when I was a teen and we were studying I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I was not what you would call the academic type and I’m still not, but that term as I was falling under the influence of Ms Angelou and her beautiful words, I fell in love with the English language too.

It’s my longest love affair to date.

In addition to what she awakened in me, she was a great poet, an activist and a goddess of the highest order. I’m so glad she got the graceful ending she so deserved and I’m just terribly sorry there will be no more from such a gorgeous wordsmith. She leaves behind an army of women (and men, I’m sure) who have been inspired and moved by the things she did and that isn’t too shabby, is it?

If you’re not aware of her work then I urge you to go searching, you could never regret it.

I’ve included an excerpt from my favourite poem above. You can find the rest of it here. And honestly, what else is there to say about it other than “Yes!”. As far as I’m concerned, it is perfect.

*This blog title is a quote from Maya given in an interview in 2009 about why she was unwilling to retire. How wonderful?

Specs Appeal

glassesgirlMy friend Sammy has a gorgeous young daughter named after my favourite season (Autumn). I don’t know Autumn personally, but from what I have gleaned via my chats with Sammy and the wonderful world of social media, she is a sensitive, thoughtful girl with a beautiful smile. She also has good t-shirt game and happens to wear glasses.

The other morning Sammy posted an update that said she had been showing Autumn pictures on the internet of actresses, princesses and pop stars who also happen to be spectacle wearers. This had come about because poor Autumn had come home upset that she “isn’t pretty and doesn’t look like the other girls at school”.

Well, we all know I’m not the most maternal woman in the world, but for some reason this damn near broke my heart. Lovely girls at this tender age shouldn’t be feeling that way – ever, really – but certainly not as they embark on their first days of school.

As they navigate the thorny pathway through friendship and independence, wouldn’t it be nice if these things never came up? But, of course they do. Most of us have felt different at one point or another and I think any woman who says they haven’t felt uglier than their counterparts at least once is probably fibbing.

When I was around the same age as Autumn, my family and I arrived in England from Canada. One of the first memories I have is of putting up my hand in my new class to ask if I could use the bathroom. The teacher said I could, but first I would have to come up to the front and read something out to the rest of the class. Well, let’s just say when you gotta go, you gotta go and for a long while I was simply the kid who wet herself in public.

It didn’t get better for a while. I didn’t have it as bad as most, I wasn’t the Smelly Tall Girl (Samantha) or the Poor Kid Who Always Puked on School Trips (Janette) but I was ginger and clumsy. Somehow the combination of the two meant I was less graceful than some of the ‘popular’ girls. The Kellys and the Gemmas and the Michelles.

My self-consciousness was further compounded the day they cast Hansel & Gretel for our year and I, along with another poor super-ginger was thrust into the limelight as one of the doors to the gingerbread house. Yes, my 15 minutes of fame were spent giving my all to the role of door.

(There is a Polaroid of this somewhere in my mother’s possession and it is epic).

My point is, I had a thing that made me feel different and it has taken me several decades to come to terms with the fact that my hair colour is actually pretty great.

I am also a proud glasses wearer and have been for two years, ever since I finally admitted to myself that it’s so not cool to be squinting and accidentally ignoring people in public.

Some days I miss seeing my whole face but for the most part, I love my glasses. I feel they add something to my look and are part of what makes me me.

But back to Autumn and her own bespectacled adventures. It seems she felt better when she discovered an image of Jessie J rocking awesome spectacles and is coming around to the fact that being one of the only ones wearing them makes her special, not ugly.

On the topic of successful celebrities who wear glasses, I compiled my own list of favourites. Any excuse to include a picture of The Goose, right?

PicMonkey CollageFrom L-R, Top to Bottom:

  1. Mindy Kaling – Actress, comedian, writer
  2. Tom Hanks – King of the World
  3. Rashida Jones – Film & TV Actress, screen writer and comic book author!
  4. Anne Hathaway – Actress and Academy Award winner
  5. Tina Fey – Actress, comedian, writer, producer; babe
  6. Lauren Conrad – TV personality and fashion designer
  7. Dallas Green – Musician (City and Colour) and all round hottie
  8. Leighton MeesterBlair Waldorf, yo!
  9. Ryan Gosling – needs no introduction…

So if you ever read my blog, Autumn – you will see how proud I am to wear glasses and250720_10152083754445018_181621175_n how much I admire other people who wear them. And you know what else? Not only are you completely adorable, you will also grow up to be sensitive to other people because you understand what it feels like when you feel different. And different is ultimately a great thing.

As for me, I feel like this has given me pause for thought when it comes to the younger people in my life. It’s all well and good to be talking and thinking a lot about my own self-esteem project but what am I doing to make sure they know that they are absolutely fine just the way they are? Not just fine, but pretty bloody wonderful? From now on, as much as possible.

Thanks to Sammy and Autumn for letting me talk about them.

NB: Some names in this post have been changed to protect the innocent. Not you, Popular Girls. 

Wellness & Wonder

1969397_10153971044655018_1247624656365560236_nI don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but all the exercise and eating well and singing lessons have been part of a bigger picture for me.

I’m calling it ‘Project Me’ but I’ll work on the name,obviously, as part of the whole wellness thing.It’s pretty lame, I know.

Project Me is about making myself better in small ways.

The diet and exercise is a no-brainer: I’m looking to, if not become Miranda Kerr by the Summer then at least be a more toned, confident version of who I am already.

I’m truly not that interested in being smaller, although it would be nice. I’m just looking to whittle my waist back in and not feel like a stranger is walking too close to me only to realise it’s my own bottom behind me. True story.

I like the idea of being a fit fatty (saw it on somebody’s Twitter bio) but this will only work if I can ensure I’m healthy and right now – newsflash! – I’m not as healthy as I could be.Don’t get me wrong I don’t have any health issues, I’m just thinking of the evil BMI, etc (I know it’s a guideline).1610070_10153971065235018_654938086982862426_n

The running has been a huge part of the project, and it hasn’t being going that well. The thing is, I know I get better the more I do it, but I don’t do it as much as I can. And although I have been public about my desire to be a runner, and I want to succeed, I’m still not pushing myself enough.

But this is not just about the physical. I’m working on my inner strengths and mental health too. Hence the singing lessons.

I’m still terrible and although I’m getting more confident as we go along, I still suck. I love it though and my teacher is great.People keep asking me if I’m planning on performing. Erm, no never.

It’s not about anything like that for me, it’s just about doing something I’ve always wanted to.

So, Project Me is about treating my body like a temple (you take cake into temples sometimes, right?), moving as much as possible and trying to enjoy it; and being more positive.

It’s a work in progress.