Month by month…

There is a particular torture in waiting for your period to arrive when you wish it wouldn’t. Analysing every sensation in the run up to your due date. Trying to decide if your sore back is a period sore back. Being almost certain you kind of smell a menstrual type aroma, but also thinking maybe last week’s nausea was morning sickness. Counting the days. Marking the calendar. Trying not to hope & trying not to lose hope.

Each month is just a microcosm of life. Watching, waiting & knowing time isn’t on your side. Doing your very best not let this desire take over. Working hard to ensure not realising the dream won’t break you. Constantly weighing up how much more you can take.

I’m lying here kidding myself that the hot ache in my thighs doesn’t mean the blood is on its way. I’m reminding myself of all the wonderful things I have. Attempting to hang onto how grateful I am. I know how much worse life can be. You can be happy with the consolation prize. Almost is better than nothing. We don’t always get everything we want, right?

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Whatever gets you through your life…

I’m the kind of person who can be prone to feeling a bit too sad. Sometimes there are specific reasons for my sombre mood, others I’m blue without a clue. Obviously this necessitates developing sad day strategies. One of my most straightforward techniques is pop culture distraction.

Basically I immerse myself in literature, tv, movies or music that either soothe or swallow up my sadness. It’s a shallow technique. It has no chance of curing what ails me, but it can get me through a rough day. There are times when whatever gets you through the night really is alright.

My all time favourite tv show is pretty effective. Pick any random episode of Grey’s Anatomy and there’s a very high chance I will cry before it finishes. Select an episode that pushes my weepy buttons & I’ll have a mini breakdown. I can see why some may think this would be terrible viewing for a sad person. They’d be wrong. Crying is so incredibly cathartic. Balling your eyes over someone else’s pain, even more so. You get all the release with none of the troublesome self examination. I know, I know, you have to deal with your issues to solve them. However, when your issue is not entirely fixable & not even always knowable, Grey’s works. Throw in amazing uncliched female characters, very hot men, proper happy endings & your heart wrench is balanced. Need a good wail, but to still feel like there is good in the world? Meredith & Cristina are your girls.

Jane Austen serves the same, save me from drowning in melancholy purpose. She just does it in a very different way. Austen soothes me. I know those books inside out. I know I can trust Jane to guide me to a satisfying ending. There will be no traumatic twists. Manners will keep almost everyone in line. Characters I love will learn their lessons gracefully & reap their rewards. The baddies will get their just desserts, cads will rue the day. All with a dash of wit & a knowing wink from Austen. I know these novels have zero relevance to my life. To be honest that’s kind of the point. Ordered escapism is a marvellous distraction from messy feelings.

Lost in Translation combines both functions. It lets me cry whilst letting me believe. Unconventional happily ever after is the best kind. Meeting someone who can help you find yourself spoke to my deepest desires for a very long time. Now, I can enjoy the film safe in the knowledge that I managed it all by myself. All of those arty shots of Tokyo at night calm me. Bill Murray dispersing quizzical wisdom lifts me. Sad people finding there might be answers to their frustrated situations gives me life.

Which brings me to my ultimate sad girl medicine; Alan Bennett. Every single word he puts on paper is a tiny cure. His writing is both real & magical. His diaries reveal a decent man. His fiction & his life are built on a solid social conscious. Biting wit, cosy sentiment & articulate commentary somehow abide comfortably together in his work. I love Alan Bennett. I can lose my pain in his pages, sedated by seemingly effortless talent.

I’m grateful my bad life evolved into just bad days. It doesn’t always happen that way. Plus, when the bad days stack up it doesn’t always feel like they’ll fade away. We all need ways to temporarily escape. Those of us who’ve had a brush with crazy, even more so. These work for me. Perhaps they’ll help you too.

My week(ish) in pictures…

It seems like we are actually getting summer in Scotland. It’s been sunny every day for week & shock horror, we’re getting used to it. I’ve been taking full advantage of the weather (& my sister’s maternity leave) to get out & enjoy my beautiful country.

Living in Glasgow is amazing. The city is a hub of culture; great architecture, food, bars, shopping, museums. Oh & Edinburgh is almost as good & just down the road. Plus 30 mins drive from the city centre is the stunning Loch Lomond & loads of other equally beautiful places. We really do have the best of both worlds & I’ve been exploring them.

I’ve been taking in stunning views, soaking up the sea air & swanning around my city rocking my summer wardrobe.

ly h Kerr, Balmaha

ly h Kerr, bath st, Glasgow ly h Kerr, National Gallery of Scotland

There have been movies & yummies with my favourite people. My nails have, of course been killer. Obviously #projectpostit has been getting around with me too.

Project post it, Glasgow

ly h Kerr, the toyboy

ly h Kerr, Tarbert, Kilberry bay

Ringo came to stay, Bronan continues to be the perfect meow. My little people light up my life & make me laugh so hard I look like a walrus. There was also a tiny bit hospital fuckery.ly h Kerr, Ayr, seb

Light, sky light, bff,

ly h Kerr, Nail art

I even fitted in a wee stint as a luxury bitch. The Toyboy & I had a night in a fancy hotel. Plus some general lazing around. You gotta take it easy in this heat.

Cruelty free quickie (the Aldi edition)…

I didn’t intended posts like this to become a regular thing, but I just keep coming across lovely products that I want to share. I’ve never been a brand snob, so where a product comes from really doesn’t phase me. If it works & it is cruelty free, I’m happy. Thus, I bring you some more budget beauties.

Aldi would not usually be my go to for beauty shopping. However, a beauty & skin care expert friend tipped me off about their Lacura range. Their skincare range has the ingredients you’ll find in premium products, but for a fraction of the price. On that recommendation I decided to try some of the products about 18mths ago & haven’t looked back. I quickly fell for their Q12 serum. Like a lot face creams it claims to prevent wrinkles & smooth fine lines. I’m lucky enough not have much of a wrinkle problem yet, so I can’t verify the veracity of those of those assertions. What I can say is it’s an excellent moisturiser plus my skin feels softer & firmer. It’s also significantly cheaper and delivers much better results than the more prestigious brands I was using. I swiftly added Lacura’s Expert Intensive Care serum as a night cream & am equally pleased. In short my skin feels soft, smooth & my dry patches are a thing of the past. Oh & the both smell divine.

The Lacura eyeshadow palette was a complete impulse buy. In typical random Aldi fashion it was beside some light bulbs I needed. I brought it home & promptly forgot about it. That is until bloggers started to moan about it on Twitter. Apparently some beauty bloggers are sick of ‘dupes’ & just want us all to buy the real deal. Well, their distain reminded me that I had just such a faux & I promptly gave it go. Guess what? This palette is lovely. It’s a standard natural type collection with some neutrals & metallics. The shades are cool, the brush is nice & it it has staying power. I really don’t see what anyone is complaining about. If you need things to be from Urban Decay, go ahead and buy your heart’s desire. In the mean time I am totally behind these purse friendly versions that are also great quality. Not everyone has the ability to splash out on the big names; I love that there are now good options to accommodate that. For my own part, even when I do have extra to spend I have zero interest in rewarding high end brands for overcharging. If Aldi can create fantastic (& cruelty free) cosmetics for less than a tenner, anyone can. If you want me to pay you much more, you better be offering much more. I’ll definitely drop some cash on something excellent, but if its equal is in the supermarket, it’s going in my trolley!

Drink to that…

On Saturday I hit the Eaglesham Beer Festival with the Toyboy. The weather forecast was hot with thunder storms in the late afternoon. Not exactly the easiest weather to dress for, but I pulled it off.

Once the temperature rises above 18 degrees I start melting, so I needed something that I wouldn’t expire in. Luckily for me I stumbled upon this cotton beauty on Friday. If you feel like you’ve seen it before, you have. I already fell in love with it’s red counterpart; it looked so cute in stripes that I couldn’t resist it. They have a few other colour ways, so don’t be surprised if it pops up again.

ly h Kerr

Dress – Primark

Kimono – Asos Curve

Jellies – Forever21

Anyway, it was perfect. Breathable, comfortable & adorable. That still left those pesky rain storms to cater for. Again I had just the thing, my hot pink super Mac. This was a rush, panic buy for my weekend away, but turns out I love it. In the end it only rained half heartedly for 10mins. I was more than prepared.

ly h Kerr

Rain Mac – Asos

I completed my outfit with jellies (the perfect wipe clean shoe) & my brand new necklace. I’m not even going to bother saying a single about it because it speak loudly for itself.

ly h Kerr

Necklace – Fuck the Tories

So, the sun shone & the Toyboy enjoyed his beer. I mostly lounged on bales of hay enjoying the music. Thumbs up to Street Food Putter Club for the tasty falafel burger & Let’s Get Eclectic for the tunes.

Five cruelty free products you need in your make up collection…

Today is a first for the blog. I love reading & supporting other blogs, so I am excited to introduce my first guest post. Madie is an awesome beauty blogger who can offer much more expertise than I could ever hope to muster. I hope you enjoy her tips for cruelty free must haves.

It is so exciting to see beauty companies making an effort to be cruelty-free! As an animal lover myself, it was not until recently I realized just how many products are tested on animals. In an effort to support a cruelty-free lifestyle, I have put together a list of my top five favorite cruelty-free products I can’t live without:

Tarte Shape Tape – $27.00

(Buy in UK here)

This concealer gives me incredible coverage and brightens up any area I place it. I like to use this under my eyes, on my nose, on my chin and my forehead as well as a spot concealer on my pimples and scars. I adore the doe-foot applicator as it applies the concealer effortlessly. A little bit goes a long way here so it truly is worth the money! Be aware, you can only find this (to my knowledge) at Ulta or on Tarte’s website.

Tatted tape @beyoutifulxm

Anastasia Modern Renaissance Palette – $42.00

(Buy in UK here)

Can you say, holy grail?! This is by far one of the best palettes I own! I was so nervous to invest in this palette but it truly has never let me down! I love to use this for soft and natural looks as well as bold and creative ones. The formula of these shadows is amazing and the pigmentation is nothing short of incredible! If you don’t have this in your collection, you need it!

Anastasia renaissance @beyoutifulxmAnastasia Renaissance @beyoutifulxm

Wet n Wild Highlight – $4.99

( Buy in UK here)

These are by far the best drugstore highlights I have found to date! The formula of these highlights is so creamy and soft. I really do cover my whole face in these– it’s so hard not to! If you’re looking for something inexpensive but still pigmented, these are for you!

Wet n wild highlighter @beyoutifulxm

Buxom Lip Gloss – $20.00

(Buy in UK here)

This lipgloss is so good! I use this almost daily as it adds not only intense shine to my lips but plumps them up as well with its tingly mint scent. My favorite shade to use is “White Russian” but all of them are stunning! This formula is extremely buttery and doesn’t leave too much of a sticky residue. But, I get that $20 is a lot for a lipgloss; if you want something comparable in pigment and wear, I would suggest the NYX Butter Gloss (also cruelty-free!).

Buxom lipgloss @beyoutifulxm

Colourpop Eyeliner – $5.00

( Buy in UK here)

Ah, Colourpop, how I love you so! Colourpop is one of those brands that you become instantly obsessed with as soon as you try their products! I am a huge fan of their glosses, highlighters, eye palettes and lippies; but, their eyeliners are really something special! At only $5, these liners come in tons of shades, apply effortlessly and are long-lasting– even in the waterline! And, if you buy $30 worth of Colourpop (trust me, it’s easy to do!) you get $5 off of your order.

Colour pop eyeliner @beyoutifulxm

I love that beauty brands are finding other methods of testing their products. There is no sense in a helpless animal suffering in order to make a lipstick, am I right?! What are some of your favorite cruelty-free makeup products? Do you make a conscious effort to shop cruelty-free brands? Let me know with a DM or a Tweet.

Hi, Everyone! My name is Madie and I have been writing this beauty blog for just over three years now! I am from Chicago, IL, USA and work full-time while managing my blog. While it gets hard and sometimes I fail, I ultimately love this blog, and the blogging community, too much to give up. So, if you want to follow me on my blogging journey, click here to subscribe so you never miss a post! I also am active on Twitter and Instagram. I even do live GRWM’s on Instastories!

Thank you so much for reading! XO

A plus size guide to thrift shopping…

I’m a girl who loves a rummage in a second hand shop. Thrift shops are amazing if you want to save money, reduce waste or just snap up some amazing vintage find. Thrifting is even better when the shop in question is an ethical nonprofit like my go to consignment emporium Glad Rags.

I also know there is a myth that see plus size gals can’t do this kind of shopping. Well, I’m here to tell you different. It can take a little more dedication, but trust me, there are plenty of fat sized gems to be unearthed. Here are my top tips for finding them.

Ignore the label & try everything

Sizes are anything but standard. We all know we can be a variety of sizes depending on the brand. If you’re like me you will have clothes in your wardrobe that technically should never fit you. When you thrift the nonsense of sizing is amplified. The clothes can be anywhere from a season to decades old; sizing has changed. Clothes can also have originated in a whole other country (a US12 is not a UK12), so basically, the sizes don’t necessarily mean much. If you like it & it looks like it might fit on your body, try it on. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Check for a plus section

A really quick way to scope out your size is to check for a plus section. Most thrift (& even charity shops) are organised into sizes. If you don’t have much time or don’t want to try everything, heading straight to your size is a good bet.

Get to know the staff

I’m lucky enough to have been able to build an excellent relationship with the guys at Glad Rags & a few of my local charity spots. Not only is it nice to meet lovely new people, but it aids my fashion foraging. If you are friendly with the folks in store they’ll point out things they think you’ll be interested. They may even keep something aside if you become a valued customer.

Take your time

Second hand shops are completely reliant on what patrons donate. They simply can’t maintain stock in every size. If your plus you might have to play the long game. Keep checking back to see if new stock has arrived. Try setting aside a day for thrifting; then you can hit a number of shops & really devote some hours to the search.

Utilise Social Media

I follow my fav spot on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. They post new stock, events & special offers. If you see something you love don’t be afraid to shoot them a message. If you can get into store fairly quickly there’s a really good chance they’ll hold that dream item for you.

Shop the menswear

Or women’s wear. Basically forget gender roles & rules. Check out everything & if you like it, buy it.

Consider alterations

Lots of clothes can be altered if they don’t quite fit. If you find something that you don’t want to live without, grab it & head off to the nearest alterations place. Most thrift shops will be able to point you in the right direction in their location. You will be amazed at the magic a seamstress (is still the right term???) can work without breaking your bank. On a similar theme…

Consider repurposing

Lots of items can be repurposed or customised really simply. A men’s shirt can easily become a cute tied crop. An oversized t shirt dress can become just tee a on a bigger body. Sometimes a wee bit of thought can go a long way.

Know your measurements.

If you know your measurements you will be able to see at glance if some garments fit. Lots of proper vintage & menswear items will only feature measurements on the label. If you want to be able to grab & go this is a great tip. It will also come in handy should you want to have anything altered.

So, there you have it. Thrifting is for everyone. I hope these tips may give first time fatties the confidence to explore the second hand world. I assure you there is nothing like the thrill of finding your heart’s desire for mere pennies. When you’re helping your community too, your cup will indeed runneth over.