I’m not here to make friends…

This week Sam Smith has hit the headlines for being sexy in a music video; a thing a million people have done before. Why the outrage? Simply because they don’t fit societal ‘norms’.

In the current climate they are an easy target. A non binary, queer, plus size person happily expressing themselves was bound to push right wing buttons. Their faux outrage is expected. Waging their culture war with no regard for the actual lives their damaging. It’s disgusting, but sadly, no surprise.

The really sickening part is the crappy takes from people I’d expect better from. The same folk who usually embrace expressions of sexuality, raunchy content & playing with gender roles have no problem shitting on Sam Smith.

The reason for the different reaction is simple; fat queer people aren’t allowed to be loudly accepting of themselves. If you don’t fit neatly into a traditionally beautiful box you’re supposed to be ashamed. No joyful self love. If you’re not fading into the background, you’re pushing an agenda.

What’s more Sam has committed the cardinal sin of telling the truth. They have been honest about how ill striving to be thin made them. Also, very clear about how right it feels to have their correct gender recognised. They’ve talked about the hate they have received for simply existing as their authentic self. No one is really worried about a pop star dancing in pasties. They’re furious that someone whose body & identity they don’t deem acceptable is living their best life.

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Never ever…

I haven’t had a pointless rant in a while, but it’s a whole new year & there are things to bitch about! Sit back, relax & let’s see if we agree.

Cargo/Parachute Pants

I know fashion is circular; wait long enough and it all comes around again. Surely there can be exceptions? Maybe we could black ball a few key pieces. For instances these illfitting, pocket laden mistakes. The only people who ever looked marginally good in them were All Saints & even they would say ‘never ever’ to their return.

Nope

Dry January

I believe it originated from an alcohol awareness charity. I totally get the rationale. If you want reduce your intake or assess your relationship with alchol, great. Something about the way it’s become a joke about how much one drinks makes me uncomfortable. The memes, posts about not being able to get through a day or being shocked about how it feels not to wake up hungover give me a horrible ick. Oh & of course there’s the added diet culture bullshit. I don’t think it’s good for anyone to normalise that kind of reliance on alcohol. If a few days without a drink is actually a significant struggle you need help. I’m not sure that half the internet joking about it will give someone the impetus to move towards that.

Skinny Scarves

I’ve never understood the hold these had in the noughties. I don’t need to explain my objection. It’s a no. Don’t let me catch you encouraging this nonsense.

Slim white brunettes wearing t shirts & skint scarves.
Absolutely not.

Fat Phobic Thrifting

If you are a straight sized person, please stop buying up plus sizes & altering them to fit. There are already precious few larger items available in thrift/charity shops and a shortage of affordable, size inclusive sustainable fashion. Watching slim folk who can literally buy things everywhere grabbing them all up is infuriating. You already have a feast, why must you have our crumbs too?

Two slim white women wearing jeans that are much too big.

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Don’t do it…

It’s been a shitty couple of weeks and my patience is stretched pretty thin. Paper thin. So, when some random man started emailing pleading with me to get to know him there was no give left.

Variations of this happen all the time. To be a woman remotely online is to be seen as fair game. Wow, am I tired of it. Contrary to popular male belief the entire internet is not in fact a dating site. Men, I beseech you, please stop it. If you see an attractive woman online you don’t have to tell her. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we didn’t post that picture to lure strange men into our dms. Women do not exist to give you an opportunity to shoot your shot. We don’t want to know what you think of our bodies or what you’d like to do them. For the love of god, don’t tell us about your kinks.

Women do not owe you anything. You are not entitled to a chance, a reply or a second of our time. Listen to me, do not send that message. Don’t call us babe. Don’t type a bunch of kiss emojis and absolutely do not send a dick pic. No one wants to see any of it. What’s actually going to happen is immediate BLOCK. I mean this sincerely, take your creepy messages & fuck off.

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Supercut of me…

Last year was tough. Long covid/Pots really did a number on my already subpar health. It was hard to keep on top of even basic daily tasks. All aspects of my life suffered. In an effort to shake that not quite enough feeling I’ve raided the brain for my 2022 highlights.

I contributed to the book Rebel Bodies by Sarah Graham. It’s an incredible piece of work about the gender gap in healthcare. Sarah covers the intersections of gender, weight, age & disability whilst deconstructing the barriers women & non binary people face when trying to access appropriate medical care. I am so proud to share my story of medical weight stigma and be part of this book.

In April we took my Mum on a birthday trip to Salzburg. She had a big birthday at the end of 2021 & we wanted to do something special. Mum loves The Sound of Music & has always talked about going to Salzburg. This year, she finally got there and it was magical. We stayed at Schloss Leopoldskron, where the movie was filmed, took a private Sound of Music tour and had a generally amazing time. Salzburg is incredibly beautiful and taking Mum on her dream holiday was wonderful.

At the very beginning of ‘22 I was a guest on the Anti Diet Club podcast. The pod creators Gillian Wilson and Tamsin Broster are dedicated to helping others divest from diet culture. I love the work they do and was honoured that they considered my voice worth hearing. It is such a pleasure to connect with others who are committed to fighting fat phobia.

This summer I got to revive a love from my youth. I thought festivals were a thing of the past for me, but thank to TRNSMT’s comprehensive accessibility accommodations I was back in the game. Watching bands, whilst sipping cider in the sun with my bestie & sister made me feel 22 again. Screaming along with The Strokes as the the sun went down was such a highlight.

This one might seem small, but felt significant to me. The Guardian journalist Martin Belam recommended me in his Friday Reads. Having a writer I respect enjoy my work enough to share it felt good. Especially in a year when my health has interfered with my creative output.

Last, but never least is of course being an Auntie. It is my biggest joy. I am so excited to watch all of my niblings grow. Last year they continued to surprise & impress. I am endlessly grateful to be part of their lives.

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Every inch of you is perfect…

Yup, you guessed it, it’s my obligatory ‘you’re body is ok’ post. With diet ads hounding every platform & the industry hacks espousing all the usual lies & misinformation. Just in case you don’t hear it anywhere else, I want to say it loud and clear; YOU DO NOT NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT.

You don’t have to work off any festive indulgence. Your liver & kidneys do all the detoxing your body requires. You can move your body in ways that you enjoy with no reference to size reduction. You don’t need an app, course or gym bro to monitor what you eat or how you live. You are wonderful and capable. Your body is incredible.

If the yearly onslaught is inducing a wobble or you are new to body acceptance here are a few basic, but effective tips.

STOP

Stop consuming anything that makes you feel bad. No, I do not mean food. You eat whatever your body needs. What you must cut is magazines, social media, films etc that give you the idea that you’re not enough. A little trickier, but important is to include people in this step. Create boundaries around weight loss/body critical talk. Enforce them. I cannot articulate how big a difference this made to my self esteem. When you are constantly bombarded with the message that there is something wrong with your size, it sinks in.

SWAP

Replace all that negative chatter with joyful body positive content. Fill your feeds with happy fat people living their lives to the max. Educate yourself on fat politics. Learning how wrong the things we’re taught about fat bodies is a revelation. As is witnessing people with bodies like yours succeeding.

DISCOVER

Explore your body. Look at yourself. Discover how you look in different clothes, in your undies, naked. Let yourself see what you like. Question what bothers you about the parts that you don’t. Practise being kind to yourself. Appreciate the magic of all that your body allows you to do. Touch yourself. Get comfortable with your softness. You will be amazed at how many aspects of your body you already already value.

Of course unlearning a lifetime of conditioning will take time & work, but these are tried & tested first steps. You are more than enough. Go forth & love yourself.

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All those chandeliers of hope…

Christmas is a funny old time. We’re all feeling sentimental and emotions are heightened. I struggled a little this year, but still had a beautiful Christmas Day.

I got all dressed up for Christmas with family & friends. We had lots of food, presents & excited children. I feel loved & grateful for having such wonderful people in my life. Especially that I am blessed with so many niblings to adore. I’m equally thankful that I can spend the post festivity stretch ensconced in jammies & cosy socks.

I know this time of year can be hard for a multitude of reasons. Xmas is all about children and I find myself dwelling on how different my life could be. There are so many reminders of what I have lost. If these past weeks have been arduous, I hope you were able to have as merry a time as possible. If merry is a stretch, then I wish you peace & a better new year.

Here’s to 2023!

Rocking around the Xmas tree…

It wouldn’t be Christmas time without some glittery nails. I may have hardly left the house, but my nails are always ready to get merry.

I eased into Xmas with some glitter tips. I’m actually not great at this, but they were still festive.

Then I decked the nails with bough of holly.

Added a little winter wonderland with frosty trees.

I followed that star with these purple, sparkly delights.

Rocked around the Christmas tree with this retro design

And now I’m going Xmas glam.

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The Home Front…

I joined my local Facebook group during the refuse strikes because I never knew what I supposed to be doing with my bins. I had mostly forgotten about it until recently when I noticed that folk were using it to help those in need in our community. I was so impressed with how tirelessly some people work to make sure no one goes without essentials.

I hadn’t considered this way of helping out before, but it really is incredibly straightforward. You can donate clothes & items that you don’t use. Little gifts, toiletries etc that will make a huge different to families who are struggling this winter. I don’t necessarily believe in the ‘charity begins at home’ mantra, but I do hate to think of neighbours being in dire straits. We all know that this year it’s harder than ever to make ends meet, it’s good to know that we can take simple steps to help.

Please check out local community, facebook groups etc if you are having a clear out or can afford to pick up a few extras this Xmas season. There are undoubtedly families close by who’s Christmas would be greatly improved by these little acts of kindness.

Kid’s Out provide Xmas gifts for children in refuge. You can select & pay for a gift online.

Alternatively, you can’t make online donations to a the following groups.

The Trussel Trust is the UK’s largest foodbank group. You can donate online to support their work of keeping people fed this winter.

Refuge have an option to buy a Xmas dinner parcel for a family of various sizes. You can help provide a happier festive period for families feeling domestic violence.

Indie Xmas 2.0…

If you’re still on the look out for original gifts read on. I have more glorious independent businesses & creators for you to explore.

Flamingosaurus Rex is a gorgeous gallery in Edinburgh. They showcases talented artists & always have the most covetable art. You can buy digital prints & funky stationary on their site or drop into the gallery if you’re local.

Topple and Burn make radical, left wing apparel & jewellery. I have so many pieces already and I will undoubtedly buy more. Their ‘Fuck the Tories’ Xmas jumper is an absolute dream. Topple & Burn practise what they preach by supporting excellent causes. You can’t go wrong with a purchase form here.

Juniper & Friends is an animal rescue & rehab. The women behind the store does incredible work with foxes, possums, skunks & more. She rehabilitates injured wildlife & gives a home to animal that cannot be released into the wild. I have been following all the amazing wee creatures in her life on Instagram forever. Watching these animals grow & thrive is wonderful. You can support this incredible work & get yourself some adorable items at the same time. Juniper & Friends have merch ranging from tees to art work created by the animals. These would make the perfect gift for any animal lover.

I will never stop singing the praises of Wilde Mode. Their pieces are size inclusive, gender free and zero waste. All staff are paid a living wage and materials are ethically sourced. They have the most diverse ad campaigns and of course their products are amazing. Their knickers are the comfiest I have ever worn. With an extending product range, there is something for everyone. Go shop!

Finally we have Fugly Plates , recycling old crockery into sweary works of art. I love eveything they do. Re using old things that no one wants is always a good thing. Even better when the final product is so cool. If you have a foul mouthed friend this the place to shop.

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Friday Quickie…

I am by no means a beauty expert. In fact, I doubt I would even qualify as a novice. I’ve never been able to keep up with the big thing in beauty. Nor have I ever had the patience for 12 step bedtime routines. I’m a basic beauty bitch.

It’s mostly cleaning, moisturising & spf in this house. Throw in the a face mask whenever the mood or a break out demands it and you have my whole regime. At 42 I’m beginning to think about the old face a little more. I’m wearing pretty well so far (luck & good genes). I am however a tint bit obsessed with my pores & would like to keep it fresh as long as I can. So, I thought I’d share a few things I have rated & one I didn’t like so much.

Right off the bat I’m a dupe girl. I’m down for all the befits at a fraction of the price. I have also found that supermarket/high street brands are more likely to be cruelty free too. Which, begs the question, if they can do it, why can’t he big boys?

I’ve been using the Lacura Rose Toner from Aldi for a really long time. I love the scent and it makes my skin feel super soft. The Healthy Glow is a new buy, I like it for when those pesky pores are acting up. Both are of course pixie dupes. I used to use the pixie toner and I honestly find these to be the exact same. I like easy and whapping this on with some cotton wool as just that.

Two bottles of Lacura toner

Talking about those pores, am I only person who is addicted to those little blackhead extracting tools? Well, in a effort to reduce my time at the magnifying mirror I bought The Ordinary Salycilic Acid 2%. It gets rave reviews everywhere, but I couldn’t get along with it. I have an aversion to anything that feels oily or greasy & this is oil city. I gave up after a few uses, I just couldn’t stand how it feels. I can’t speak to its efficacy because I didn’t give it time to work. It’s not for me.

The ordinary salicylic acid

In the ordinary’s place I picked up Primark’s Salicylic Booster Serum. This one I like. The serum feels much nicer in my skin. I use it every other day and I am already noticing an improvement after 3ish weeks.

My skin always gets dry at this time of year, I think because the weather is harsher. Anyway, it seemed like a good time to try out a new moisturiser. When I saw this Drunk Elephant dupe in the magical middle aisle, I grabbed it. I haven’t used the original, so can’t compare. I am enjoying the Lacura version, though. Super hydrating and soothing. I know nothing about all the varied ingredients and claims. Only that it takes care of the wee dry patches & it feels gorgeous on my face.

Last up is L’Occitane Body Ice Gel. It was a gift from my Mum that is definitely going to become a staple. It’s mint & verbena which are two of my fav scents. It has the most amazing cooling & refreshing sensation when applied. I use it on my hands constantly. At the end of a busy day it also feels so good on my feet. Apparently it is also a fantastic after sun if you bung it in the fridge. I’m sure my ghostly skin will appreciate that next summer.