2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks to everyone and anyone who’s visited me over the year. Hope to see more of you in 2016.

Happy New Year all!

Christmas Eve EVE

tumblr_nzm0c0H3DB1t3r740o1_500Or Happy Last Day of Work as I’m choosing to call it. I’ve got that Last Day of Term feeling, even though my Last Day of School was a hundred years ago and I can barely remember it.

I’m sure it involved a shell suit and bitchy comments from one of the Mean Girls, though.

Anywhoo, it’s also Christmas Eve Eve (as my Husband likes to holler, early in the morning) and I’m already slightly stressed out about the day, even though there is no pressure on me whatsoever. I think it’s just the natural state of things.

All presents are wrapped and placed beneath the tree, the turkey is taking up half our freezer space and I’ve even remembered to buy honey for the carrots (actually a lie, but it’s on the list). I’ve got this.

But still, worry worry worry. Maybe it’s the thought of all the cleaning I have to do before my mother arrives.

This post isn’t about complaining though or talking about how we have to fit a new toilet seat before tomorrow, in fact it’s about this year and all the fucking fabulous things I’m grateful for.

And I am grateful. I have a very nice life, full of love and brilliant people, what more could I want? ASOS packages come and go but these are the things that really matter when it comes down to it. These are the people you call when you’re anxious, the people who carry things for you when you can’t walk another step (Glynn and the Christmas Vegetables*).

These are the people who are there all year round in their little (and large) ways, making life worth living.

I am grateful for:

  • The aforementioned people in my life. My fit husband who is genuinely the kindest hearted human being I’ve ever met (with the cutest bum). My lovely Mum, who is just fabulous inside and out. My stinky brother and his divine wife, Maddy. My friends; my beloved Panda, the perfect Tatty (who gets me through each working day in one piece). Lovely Lauren, Beautiful Becky, Vegan Monkey. My work colleagues, my wonderful Blog buddies and every person I’ve shared an alcoholic beverage with this year.
  • My Job. Even though I suffer daily doubt about my job, I feel as though this year I’ve proven I’m not just the goofball who turns up every day but somebody to take note of. I’ve also received a couple of pay rises which is both flattering and surprising (and no, I’m not rich yet). Sometimes I just feel grateful for having a job at all and not having to work weekends.
  • Nip+Fab’s Dragon’s Blood Fix Cleansing Pads. These have made my skin look incredible! Anything that can do that is invaluable to me, I look very fresh-faced and wholesome RN, if I say it myself.
  • Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015. I’ve mentioned how much this means to me before but I still feel it warrants another mention because I love doing it so much! It’s opened my mind to a whole world of sometimes horrific movies, made me think more about what I love and brought me closer to one of the best people on this planet. ❤
  • My Step Son. Could have gone in the top section but I feel like he deserves a spot of his own, because what a kid. I know I won’t be having my own children ever but when people assume I’m a hardhearted cow with no soul, I want to tell them to fuck off because I actually do love a very cool child thankyouverymuch! Sure, he can be a know-it-all but who wasn’t at 11? And sure, we get the best of him mostly because he doesn’t live with us but he really is a funny, smart and shining little star.
  • My favourite local graffiti artist started following me on Instagram. Yes, I am a massive art nerd but I’m basically a Fan Girl for people with immense talent and this guy is amazing. And he seems lovely too, so win win. And yes, I’m still too shy to say anything when I see him in the street but you never know, maybe now he’ll approach me (lol).
  • Social Media. Just for connecting me to what’s going on out there. The news all over the world, of course, but mainly other people and their great attitudes, particularly to world issues, body image and fat acceptance. Yes, FAT.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Obvs. I’ll still walking on air having seen it.

So that’s a little insight into what’s making me feel all warm and fuzzy this festive season. I wish it was colder to be honest so I could snuggle up more guilt-free but I suppose I should just be happy that snow won’t stop all transport for the next few days and fuck up everybody’s plans.

Since I probably won’t be blogging in any significant way now before Christmas Day (bar December Affirmations, which I’ve queued up until after Boxing Day), I will wish all you lovely people a very Merry Christmas now!

I hope it’s a cosy, warm and loving Christmas for you all, and a big thank you for reading, liking and commenting throughout 2015. It’s fun to converse with new people, old friends and everyone in between.

So, before I go: What are you grateful for this year?

*There’s a cool band name for you!

Day 15: Shine

shine-theory2

I’d never heard of the Shine Theory until I saw this image on Twitter (above↑).

I fell in love with it hard and was even more overjoyed when it led me to Cattitude & Co, a blog run by Tara AKA Catstello. C&Co is one of my recent favourites (see Day 5) and I really recommend having a look for yourself.

Anyway, from the above, I found out that there’s a whole philosophy behind it. In my own words, the Shine Theory is the practice of eliminating rivalry between women, instead embracing each other’s successes, supporting and encouraging, and just generally looking at one another for inspiration, rather than throwing around the evil eye at those we deem glossier, richer and more awesome than ourselves.

We’re all on the same side after all, and haven’t we got enough on our plates smashing patriarchy on the daily?

Shining is about allowing yourself to be motivated by all the wonderful women out there in the world. Befriend them, love them, shout from the rooftops about how cool they are and embrace how that makes you feel too. Great isn’t it?

I know this is common sense and something we probably do anyway, we love our friends and we tell them that all the time, don’t we? But it’s not always easy. I can’t sit here writing this post without acknowledging that I’ve been the worst person for envying others. Throwing side eye at someone doing far better than I am, then looking at my own achievements in a newly negative light.

So I’ve been trying harder and it feels good. I’m surrounded by amazing women and incredible sources of inspiration and that makes me the most successful person, doesn’t it?

What makes you shine?

Day 5: Favourite New Blogs

photo-1427104227401-94b390b378b0

Day 5 and I thought I’d treat you to some of the new blogs (and a few old trusties) that I’ve been reading when I should be working.

First up, how’s your week been? Mine’s been up and down, but I’m here ready to embrace the weekend like a beloved old friend.

Feeling Christmassy yet? I think I might be, but until I’ve seen Love Actually, the jury is still out.

Anywhoo, I’m ready to share. You’re welcome!

Screenqueens – this blog is aces because it talks about feminism within film (and more) and tends to focus on exactly the kind of movies I enjoy. Recent posts include a closer look at Beautiful Creatures (2000), drug addiction and a film noir favourite. Run by a large staff of writers and art contributors from both sides of the Atlantic, I really recommend this if you’re into smart writing.

Fannie Frankfurter – I’m desperate to hang out with this woman. We share a common interest in graveyards but I also enjoy the candid style in which Fannie writes. I also enjoy her interest in the occult, intriguing architecture and recapping each week in ‘neatly organised sections’. My kind of woman.

746 Books – Confessions of a Book Buying Addict. Yep, that’s me too – I just can’t stop, especially Thrillers (too many thrillers!). Cathy named her blog because she has 746 unread books in her possession (maybe more) and has calculated that, at the rate she reads, it will take her about 20 years to finish them all. Now I’ve never counted my unreads (but now might) and I love the idea behind this blog. The challenge is not to buy another book until every one of these 746 has been completed. Cathy is also lovely and I love the reviews themselves! Might have a break and go read now…

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) – I’ve name-checked these Australian film dudes before but no matter, I love their work so it bears repeating. A mixture of reviews and opinion pieces, this blog focuses on new films as they’re released but also classics from a simpler time (Saving Private Ryan, anyone?). Sure, it would be impossible to agree on every film but Jordan and Eddie always make me feel excited about films I haven’t seen yet with their non-nonsense style. The blog also looks great. So, the question is, as the boys ask: Can the Force Awakens really live up to the hype?

Cattitude & Co. – This is a relatively new find but a great one. I was recently tagged by a friend in a Tweet where Tara appealed for contributors for her Feminist Film Club and I followed from there. I love the concept obviously and also love the film choices, including one of my neo-favourites, American Mary. There’s also a Feminist Book Club. The blog is clever, pretty to look at with lovely illustration and I expect to be a long term reader. Check it oooout.

Plus of course, I can’t talk about my favourite blogs without mentioning The Holy Trinity, can I?

Check them out here:

Camelia Ophelia – My work boo, real friend and inspiration. Check out Tatty’s recent trip to the British Fashion Awards for a pure injection of fabulousness, stay for regular outfit posts that don’t alienate you, or your bank account. ❤

A Stitch to Scratch – I can imagine a Christmas round Hayley Margaret’s, I bet it’s the cosiest, pretty environment ever, like Kirsty Allsop’s Homemade Christmas but not as annoying (my husband totally fancies Kirsty, I think she’s okay, I guess).  HM is the loveliest as well, another dream hang out. ❤

And last and by no means least, my radiant Blog Wife:

The Pink Panther Snipes Again – I’m obvs entirely biased here but I love Jillian‘s blog because it’s a) snarky and b) about films. You might notice a theme in this post, I just love the movies what can I say? Now, apart from Jill being a girl straight after my own heart, she’s also inspired me this year to step outside my comfort zone and explore film in my own style. That’s the beauty of humanity I think, taking natural cues from people who challenge and excite you. Our Film Collab has honestly been one of my 2015 highlights, so thanks for that Wifey. ❤

So these are my top recommendations. I hope you take the time to check them out and enjoy them for yourselves.

Which Blogs do you love and why? Always taking recommendations.

Hey Shorty, It’s Your Birthday

I’ve done this before on other significant birthdays (like The Queen, I have two: one for birth, and one for my blog*) and I wanted to mark today in a similar way, just for the sheer heck of it.

Yes, it’s my 38th birthday. Or my eleventh time turning 27, depending on my mood.

I wanted to use this post to shout out some major appreciation to a couple of fellow bloggers and important people in my life.

I shall do this via the medium of a fantasy dinner party. Oh yeah.

So, the guest list (which has evolved a little since my last virtual party), a mix of both IRL peeps and fantasy attendees:

PicMonkey Collage

Tom Hanks – Sorry, but Tom is always invited. No reason needed. In fact, he has his own front door key…

Justin Bieber – Because I’m a Belieber now and IDGAF, K?

Jillian – Not a celeb maybe but one of my greatest influences. Blog Wife, Movie Partner and fellow cat botherer (though I don’t have one at the moment). You’re the best, boo, I love you sooooo much! You can sit next to anyone you like as long as I’m on the other side…

Ilana Glazer – She’s just brilliant, you know? I’d want her to style me half way through dinner though, so we might disappear for a bit.

Hayley Margaret of A Stitch To Scratch – Or HM, as I’ve come to address her, because I’m linguistically lazy. This girl is so sweet and talented, plus just completely up my street, so she’s in. (I ❤ you, HM)

Gaga – I’m currently rocking a rather large Gaga crush so obviously that gets her an invite. I’ll just giggle whenever she speaks to me and make a fool of myself, it’s cool.

My favourite, Tatty Frankland – I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to do what I do without this peach. We sometimes have shitty, stressful days because of our shared environment, but this girl is my sunshine. Nobody is more stylish, generous or cool, tbh. (Love you, bb!).

And, I’ve just realised that there are only two men at my party. I’m cool with that but I’ve decided I’m also inviting Aziz Ansari because he’s cute and I loved Master of None. That balances things out a bit, not that it matters.

Aziz-Ansari-Netflix

I don’t know if any of my honeys have any dietary requirements but I’m proposing a lot of food; yorkshire puddings, Indian with all the trimmings, cake and masses of sweets. Good burgers, too. Oh, and pancakes, of every conceivable shape and flavour.

Can I get a pancake bar? You know what, it’s my birthday, so the answer to that is yes.

We’ll drink mulled cider and rum, and we’ll dance to two albums on repeat: Carly Rae Jepsen’s E·mo·tion and Bieber’s Purpose (the Real Bieber will refuse to perform while he’s off-duty).

Later, when it’s time to cry in the kitchen, we’ll put on Adele’s 25 and ruminate on lost loves and all the times we’ve fucked up our liquid liner.

Basically, this will be the greatest Birthday Party of my life. My husband will obviously be there too, but he’ll no doubt excuse himself and pass out on our bed by 10pm, as usual.

This is more than just a party for me though, it’s a party for those bloggers mentioned. A Thank You For Brightening My Day, Every Day Party.  A Thank You For Inspiring Me Soirée.

Thanks for being such funny fuckers, such sweethearts and such empowering friends. I hope you know what you mean to me.

What? I’ve got something in my eye…

*Does The Queen have a blog? I would read the shit out of it.

Getting Into Fall Spirit

tumblr_ni18ej13lS1rivnsyo1_1280

I’ve been tagged by Keeping Track to partake in a questionnaire about my favourite time of year. Cute, huh?

The gist is to answer 19 questions about Autumn and then tag 10 fellow bloggers to see what they have to say. I might not get to ten whole nominations, but I’ll definitely pass on the questionnaire.

So, to my questions!

Favourite candle scent? I’m not great with artificial scent, unfortunately. It tends to do my head in so I rarely burn scented candles. However, around Christmas to impress visitors, I might go for something spicy and cinnamon based, maybe a French Vanilla.

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Tea, all day, every day. Strong (2 teabags), no sugar, splash of milk. It’s true what they say, never accept a badly made cup of tea.

What is the best fall memory you have? Autumn in Vancouver has been my most memorable to date (2008). I was living alone again, having come out of a bad long-term relationship, had just had a wild  summer and I was falling in love long distance with my now husband, who was in the UK.

My fondest memory from this year was all the walking I did with friends, supping on hot chocolates, meeting my best friend David after work to write in a cafe most evenings, and pumpkin carving with his family for the very first time.

Best fragrance for fall? I don’t wear perfume ever, so nothing.

Favourite Thanksgiving food? England doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving so this tradition is not part of my year, however my mouth salivates at the thought of anything pecan/pumpkin flavoured.

Most worn sweater? Plain grey sweatshirt, a la Jennifer Beals in Flashdance.

Football games or jumping in leaf piles? Leaves. I hate football.

Favourite type of pie? Anything, but if we’re talking sweet, how about cherry or traditional apple?

What is autumn weather like where you live? Wet and miserable usually. That’s the great British summer/autumn/spring/winter. I dream of sunny but cold, crisp days with crunchy leaves underfoot and if I’m lucky I might get a few.

Which make-up trend do you prefer, dark lips or winged liner? I’m all about smokey eyes every day. Black Kohl is my staple, I’m terrible at the winged liner though. I’d like to be more ambitious with my lips as well, and prefer berry hues.

What song really gets you into the fall spirit? Can I have November Rain by Guns N Roses?

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype? Fuck yeah. But not the horribly sweet stuff we get in the UK. It’s all about the Pumpkin Spice you get in the US/North America.

Favourite fall TV show? I like the American Horror Story series. And Scream(TV Series) has just appeared on Netflix, and that’s quite good. Anything you can snuggle up to under a fleece blanket will do in the Autumn.

Skinny jeans or leggings? Leggings under a dress or massive baggy tee/cardigan combo. Skinny jeans/jeggings aren’t what you want for lounge wear.

Combat boots or Uggs? DMs. Obviously.

Halloween – yay or nay? All the yays. Except a lot of people here are terrible at it. We’re getting better and personally, I love it. Not sure who I’ll be this year yet.

Fall mornings or evenings? Evenings. I like it when it’s dark straight after work. I like to be warm and snuggly.

What do you think about Black Friday? Again, being English it’s not as big a thing as in the US. It’s started becoming bigger, but I avoid it. I think it’s a bit pointless and indulgent.

One fall 2015 trend you love? Big gorgeous jewel coloured coats. Dark nails. Thick knits. Boots. I’m not sure these are strictly 2015 trends but I love these things every year for A/W.

Here are the bloggers I tag:

What are your views on autumn?

Show me your broken heart and all your scars, I’ll take you as you are

I will write my own post today, don’t worry.

I just wanted to share this post by Belle of the Bluegrass, as it’s a powerful one. Take the time to have a read if you can, it’s a relevant topic no matter your size or gender.

Plus, stick around for Belle herself, she’s reet good.

Belle of the Bluegrass

Scrolling through Instagram, admiring all the beautiful people and their enviable lives, I came across an account that had posted a screen shot of an article written for Vice. The title grabbed my eye “How to come to terms with your attraction to fat girls“, if you, like I, are a fat girl I urge you to read this article. It is honest and insightful, in fact I urge you to read it no matter your gender or dress size.
This well written, no woe-is-me post had me interested immediately. As a plus size woman I have often felt marginalised and fetishised. When I was a teenager and even into my early twenties, no one wanted to admit to fancying the fat girl. We are perceived as taboo. Something you wouldn’t tell you mates you searched for on the internet let alone be someone you willingly wanted to…

View original post 640 more words