Thursday, 15 September 2016

LondonEdge A/W 2016

Image credit:LondonEdge

Zombies? Check. Sequins? Check? Gravity defying platforms? Check!
Sunday 4th of September saw the start of the 34th LondonEdge show back at the British Design Centre in Islington. For me, a much better venue than the previous Olympia. The event is huge, and the spacious centre with lots of light coming through, it made the experience much better. Though it was on two levels so would require use of lifts for wheelchairs. Not to mention an onsite cafe with comfortable seating and reasonable pricing was another bonus over the uncomfortable steel chairs and extortionate food at the previous event. A much welcome respite from the busy day!

My day started with a surprise appearance from Tanya boarding my carriage who it turned out was also attending.

She was meeting Becky at Kings Cross. I joined Tanya for breakfast at The Parcel Yard while waiting for Becky to arrive. We took seats outside and waited for our meals. I started feeling like a bit of a celeb as we had a few people stop to talk to us and compliment our outfits, and even had a woman approach us claiming to be an artist and could she take our photo! Our Eggs Benedicts arrived and there was this excellent moment as we both munched down at the same time letting out a little moan, turning to look at each other. God damn, those were some delicious eggs!

It didn't take long to get to Angel, another bonus for me. The venue location meant much easier access from St Pancras. As I said the events pretty huge and covering every stall would be nigh on impossible-ok not impossible but that's gonna get a bit boring and time consuming, so here's some highlights for me.

Upon arriving our first stop was Woody Ellen. She's an artist who makes her pieces into gorgeous handbag sets. A wonderfully warm woman, who looked stunning in a beautiful sky blue outfit. She also gifted us with a purse of our choice and I got to pick from my favourite collection ' Blossom'

One exhibitor I'd been dying to see was Isolated Heroes. LondonEdge shared a dress of theirs prior to the event that had me gasping. The folks on the stall were gorgeous and super friendly. They're an amazinf indie brand who's sizing comes up to a 24 but I was told that they were happy to take custom orders! My favourite piece by a country mile was this sequin jacket.

LOOK AT THAT MERMAID SHIT. Ahem. Yes. Sorry. It's just so perfect.

Expanding my online shopping list as I went along I came across the most adorable stall from Punky Pins who carry amazingly cute and super detailed pins and patches.

I am absolutely going to be placing an order with these guys for my battle jacket when I get a minute to myself.

Another stall I loved was Dolly and Dotty. I love their classic retro looks, at a competitive price, but another great thing is that many of their items come in different colour combinations. I'm the worst blogger because I was so busy chatting to the amazingly lovely staff I forgot to take any photos. *Jean Ralfio voice* the woooooorst.
However one of my favourite pieces of theirs was easily this gorgeous cape in red.

It's just so cute and oh so soft I couldn't stop touching it. It comes in different colours too so you can make it work with loads of different outfits. They also had some cute jersey tops which, again, super soft and also nice and stretchy. This cape is absolutely on my to-buy list! Also how amazing does their model, Isabella Bliss, look??

Image credit: Dolly and Dotty

Iron Fist were knocking it out of the ball park with their amazing mermaid shoes too.

Look at them!! So shiny!! Heaven.

One exhibitor that really surprised me this time was Demonia. I've always had a soft spot for them in my early, shoe gazing gothy years and I own a couple of pairs of their big ole clompers but it's interesting to see how the brand has developed over the years. One of my faves for sure.

I little hidden jem was an indie company called Koolies Kreations. We had stopped by but the stall holder was out to lunch. We'd headed over to the cafe and she actually came and found us! She bounded over with her big curls, big smile, and big sparkly boots. She was super passionate and really great to talk to.

It wouldn't be a trip to London Edge without stopping by the Pin Up Academy stall. They offer complimentary hair styling and even had a little studio set up if you wanted to pay for a photoshoot. The ladies all have a filthy sense of humour and there was much cackling, particularly with Sinderella's little merkin.

We also managed to bump into fellow blogger Diana

After we schelpped around all the stalls we headed out for a quick bite to eat at Ed's Easy Diner. I must admit, as burgers go it was pretty awesome. I waved the ladies off as I hurried to check into my air bnb. I had enough time to freshen up and change before heading over to the Islington Metal Works for the after party!

The room looked amazing with the ambient lighting and the old tube train bar. 

I got chatting to the ladies from the Pin Up Academy, who were still doing hair styling! After an hour or so October downed her brush and slipped into the most incredible sparkly dress. I got chatting to Sam, who took me under her wing for the night. 

With the gorgeous Kita! 

Image credit: LondonEdge

We headed over to watch the entertainment; an awesome swing band Dick Dynamite and Doppelgangers followed by some incredible dancing from a swing troupe called Swing Patrol
Then you had the opportunity to do some swing dancing yourself! I didn't brave it myself. I think I would have melted into a puddle in the London heat but kudos to those of you who did, you did amazing!

We were then treated to an incredible strip tease from Banbury Cross. Partway into her routine she slunk over to the crowd to tease us and of course came over to me causing me to blush very hard! Quite impossible to take pictures when there's steam rising from your face. Utterly gorgeous and dangerously seductive. Amazing!

Photo credit: NeverNotOut

Soon it was time to crawl into my bed ready for another day at 'Edge. This one would be shorter but I really wanted to catch the seminar from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. For those of you not familiar it was a charity set up in the name of a young girl who, alongside her boyfriend, were brutally assaulted simply for dressing alternatively. Sadly Sophie died from her injuries. Sylivia Lancaster, Sophie's mother, has worked tirelessly to end this kind of discrimination, earning herself an OBE, and garnering support from celebrities and people all over the world. 
The seminar was, at times, haunting. Recounting the event, describing in detail the injuries sustained, and the the painful journey to justice for the family. But hearing how the charity began, and the incredible support it received was uplifting. They now work in schools, prisons, youth centres, and anywhere that education is needed with their resource packs and training. They have also worked to have Sophie's murder treated as a hate crime, and through this 11 police authorities now recognise subculture attacks as a hate crime. 

Follow the link for more information on this amazing charity and ways you can support them.

As my time in London was drawing to an end I stopped by the Pin Up Academy stall one last time and treated myself to a photo session with the lovely Simon, being coached by the gorgeous Sam, who makes it all look so dang easy! 

Thank you London Edge for another amazing season! 

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Another bopo bore.

Body positivity seems to be the new media buzzword these days. Gosh, that sounds cynical of me doesn’t it? Bear with me.
It’s no secret that our media promotes the insidious message of thinness being the archetype of beauty, success, and worthiness. This ultimate goal affects everyone who tries it: be it those who seek to attain it, or those who fight to maintain it. Every which way there is a problem for people to fix; trying to measure up to body types that, realistically, don’t even actually exist thanks to the power of Photoshop.

Everyone out there is battling with this toxicity that surrounds us. We’re all trying to come to terms with who we are and what we want for ourselves. But here’s the thing: some of us experience vastly more oppression and discrimination than others. That’s not to say that the expectations thrown at women are not harmful and painful for many but the oppression and discrimination levelled at fat people far outweighs that of thin people.
Body positivity, as a movement, is virtually unrecognisable anymore. Where it was once a tool to create spaces for the marginalised; be it fat people, disabled, POC, trans folks, and other groups, now it is a means for brands and media to appear to be sympathetic without having to actually acknowledge or cater for those marginalised groups.

Campaigns like #iamallwoman use the token call of body positivity to appear to give the middle finger to body policing while simultaneously upholding beauty ideals by using models who are typically attractive and –you guessed it-all thin.
Any criticisms levelled at these campaigns us met with disbelief, as though these meagre crumbs, that do not represent us are supposed to satisfy us. Promises of more inclusions to come, as though the radical inclusion couldn’t have just come in the first place.
This isn’t the fat community demanding that it be all about us, or that thin woman can’t be involved, but rather they, for one minute, take up the least proportion of representation. There are so many groups that can and should be represented that simply never are.  This is a movement for all but has now been co-opted for those with greater privilege to hijack a movement that doesn’t place them at the centre and call it unfair.

We are sick of being told that our turn is coming when it never does. 

Sunday, 14 August 2016


The #droptheplus debacle reared its head briefly again on Twitter and now my eyes have stopped rolling so much to focus on my laptop screen I’ll pen some thoughts.

My most prominent issue with this is that this campaign is being spearheaded by a person who can comfortably shop in most stores, both plus size and non-plus size. Therefore the outcome of this campaign wouldn’t affect them in the way it would someone like myself, a size 26 whose option are vastly more limited in comparison to other smaller fats. Not even taking into consideration that stores that carry my preferred style of clothing that also carry my size are limited to TWO stores and even then I don’t have access to their full selection of wares, I have an overall limited base of around an additional 3 stores within budget.  Two of which have brick and mortar stores, one of those has just pulled the majority of their plus size range out of stores.

A rare plus size in-store section near you

If brands dropped their plus size labelling I would be forced to scroll through pages and pages of clothes that were not available to me, but I would only find that out after actively searching the size options for a particular item. Time consuming, utterly demoralising, and heart-breaking.

That’s the practical side of things. Then there’s the overall issue with dropping the term as a concept. The only reason any one would have to want to drop the plus size is if there was some shame in being plus size. As a fat person I resent having someone who has privilege over me deciding how brands should make my shopping experience. Our experiences, as a size 16 and a 26, differ vastly, and this campaign merely seeks to make my life, and the lives other fat people, that much harder.

What we need to be focusing our efforts on is removing the stigma associated with the term plus size. Labels (in this instance) are only as bad as the stigma attached to them. Plus size, for me, is a way to cut out trawling through websites that don’t care to cater for me. It’s a means of me finding media with bodies that represent mine, their experiences similar to mine. It’s a means of finding community.

Breaking that stigma, fighting for fat people to be treated and catered for equally, is where the effort should be. Not pandering to people who don’t represent fat people in the first place.  The only way this ill-thought campaign would actually work is if they got all brands to cater for all sizes, and priced them equally. Until then all you are doing is making plus size people feel more unwanted than ever before. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Classic looks with Simply Be

As much as I love colour and patterns I'm also a really big fan of simplicity. Having bright hair and tattoos can sometimes be all the accessorising I need for an outfit.

I love this capsule skater dress from Simply Be because it's such a classic LBD  and it's so easy to dress up or down. I'm also a big fan of the skater dress as a larger fat because it's an easy look to create.

Simply Be, skater dress, plus size, plus size blogger, alternative blogger

Having long sleeves this is probably going to be best worn in the coming cooler months but the material is really light and comfortable so I don't feel too weighed down. A heads up: the dress came up really short on me, I'm about 5"4 but I'm all belly, so I'd say maybe some leggings or just bare you chub rub shorts if you're feeling saucy.

As I said you can dress this up or down. Here I teamed it with this amazing jacket, also from Simply Be, for a casual rockabilly look.

Simply Be, skater dress, plus size blogger, alternative blogger

Simply Be, skater dress, plus size blogger, alternative blogger

Simply Be, skater dress, plus size blogger, alternative blogger

I completed the look with some adorable polka dot pumps from Asda but you could just as easily wear some Converse, or some Dr Martens. Or something with a bit of a heel and some fancy accessories for a more 'evening' look. It's super versatile.

How would you style it?

Outfit deets: Dress and bomber: Simply Be
Pumps: Asda
Headscarf: Dotty and Dolly
Necklace: Suger and Vice

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

My Tattoo and You: The Opinion No One Asked For.

I've been part of the alt-scene since I was about 14 years old. I haven't seen my natural blonde hair since I was 15. I got my first piercing at 16, much to my parents disdain, and my first tattoo at 18. 

It's a phase, you'll grow out of it.

I turned 30 this month and it seems I'm still waiting to grow out of it.

Being a mosher in school caught me a lot of grief from bullies. My friends and I were often threatened or teased. Once I was followed from town to a friends house and had stones thrown at me the whole time. 

During the 90's there was a huge divide between 'moshers' and 'chavs', and the tension was often dangerous and in some instances fatal, like the tragic case of Sophie Lancaster. Sophie and her boyfriend were attacked by a mob of people in a park simply for being goths. As Sophie protected her unconscious boyfriend she was repeatedly kicked and stomped on the head, causing her to fall into a coma from which she never recovered. 

As with everything trends and cultures shift with more 'alt' fashions and music becoming more commonplace. Remember a couple of years ago when you could buy cross covered goth stuff in New Look? 

However, just because something is more commonplace doesn't mean that its wholly accepted. Tattoos are more popular than ever but you'll still struggle to find work with visible ones and hooooboy do people like to tell you how they feel about them. 

Women in the subculture have always been subject to derision by the masculine gatekeepers of extreme music and the tattoo subculture. It seems implausible that women would attend gigs because they enjoy the music and must surely be there either a) because their boyfriend is there or b) they are looking for a bloke. 

Like most of our culture it is dominated by men: film, music, sports to name a few. When women are seen participating it must be under mitigating circumstances and always open for criticism. The alt-scene is no haven from this, despite what some might lead you to believe. A friend of mine published an article calling for an end to the accepted rape culture and brutalisation fantasy within extreme music. She received a number of rape and death threats for it. 

Women are often mocked for their tattoo choices, with such ludicrous phrases like "tramp stamp" used to humiliate, with nothing said for the poor choices of their male counterparts. Woman in tattooing have to work extremely hard to be taken seriously. 

This is nothing new to me. Growing up within this subculture I saw the roiling misogyny that continues to plague it. But what I have noticed is, with the popularity of tattooing on the rise, the still evident pervasive attitudes towards people with tattoos, and specifically towards women, outside of the subculture.

An example of this recently was some vitriolic comments aimed at model Georgina Cox of FullerFigureFullerBust. Posing in a bikini on Lilly and Lime's Facebook, Georgina was subjected to rude comments about her body and her tattoos, and when trying to defend herself was accused of being rude. The hypocrisy.  Another example is a Facebook group I follow dedicated to vintage style I've seen instances of ladies sharing outfit photos only to have people's rude comments about their tattoos because it doesn't fully fit into the twee vintage aesthetic and also people have some really outdated and toxic assumptions about the type of people who get tattoos. 

We seem to be caught in this limbo of tattoos becoming more mainstream and still subject to moral criticism from previous generations where it was more taboo. 
It's just another means to view women as public property and to pass our opinion and make decisions about their bodies that in no way affects or involves us. Topless photos of David Beckham covered in tattoos wouldn't get anywhere near the same level of nasty comments as the incidents I mentioned previously.  People feel so entitled to their opinions, to women's bodies for consumption, that they feel so affronted when they don't fit the idea they had in their minds. 
If you don't like tattoos, don't get one. People with tattoos don't care, or make assumptions, about people that don't have them. 

These kinds of incidents are not just shaming, they're misogyny at work. You have no right to tell a woman her choices are disgusting when they affect no one so take a seat

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Discovering I'm a Tinglehead: ASMR and me.

If you're like me and you struggle to relax at night, or you feel anxious at times, this post might help you. I can't say for certain but I know that it's something that has helped me in recent times.

I often feel like I don't accomplish enough in the day, and I feel almost like a sense of guilt in that, then my mind races and plans things. It's like I struggle to let the day go and worry about what the following day may bring. I often need a kind of distraction, and when I was single and living alone I would often fall asleep listening to music.  

I recently discovered ASMR, or rather I found out the name for what I felt, recently from a friend on Facebook. She shared a video and out of sheer curiosity I watched it and found it really helped me to relax and even fall asleep. Looking into more videos I became pretty hooked. I found some that I didn't enjoy and some that I watched again and again.

What is ASMR? 

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. According to Wikipedia: "It signifies the subjective experience of 'low-grade euphoria' characterised by 'a combination of positive feelings, relaxation, and a distinct static-like tingling on the skin' (wiki)"

What is ASMR? by GentleWhispering

Knowing now what I do I think my first proper "tinglehead" moment was watching a hair treatment video when I was researching the brand I use. At the time my hair was in a right state and was having regular treatments to help repair it . I could imagine how it felt having hands gently massaging my scalp, the gentle warm water running over my hair, and for some reason watching the video helped me recall those feelings and I found it immensely relaxing.  

I've been exploring ASMR videos on YouTube, finding my 'triggers', finding out there are some things I don't like. I've realised how much I tap my nails on things when I pick them up, how much attention I paid on the way other people handle things with their hands, realising how much I truly benefit from gentle stroking on my back to help me sleep. 

Discovering these videos, this community, in such a short time has been so helpful in getting me to relax. It's an opportunity to remove myself from everything for a little while as it often requires me to watch and listen, as some triggers are visual as well as aural.

These are a couple of my current favourites. I find Ally's voice so lovely and soothing.

Whipped Sleepytime Rub DIY ASMR by ASMRrequests

The Herb Shoppe Binaural ASMR role play by ASMRrequests

ASMR videos really can be anything. Some are role play, as demonstrated above, some are literally just someone sitting and making sounds. The possibilities are endless and it's interesting discovering what your 'triggers' are. 

Life can be really hectic and shit sometimes and I think anything that helps you relax and feel good is worthwhile, no matter how bizarre or silly it might initially seem. I guess, for me, it's been a really effective form of self care, and knowing that there are people out there who feel the same way, kinda makes it really nice too. 

Do you experience ASMR? What are your 'triggers'? 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Birthday Wishlist

It's the big Three-Oh for me on July 4th. I've already been treated to a wonderful week away in Gower, and my mum is coming to visit me for a week. My first visitor since I moved down here! I'm also looking forward to it because I haven't seen my mum in over a year because the last time I went home for a visit the floods had destroyed the road so I couldn't get to her.

Birthdays usually entail gifts so here's a little birthday wishlist of stuff I've been fawning over.

A girl can dream, right?