On Saturday I had two parties to attend. One big event is enough to stress me out, so a 1st & 40th on the same Saturday had me more than a little worked up. I did actually manage to have fun & I think (hope) I pulled off two cool looks too.
First up was my best friend’s baby’s 1st birthday. I’m in still in shock that my tiny Madison is one already. I honestly feel like I’m living in fast forward. Anyway, she was an adorable birthday girl. Her party was incredibly cute & all the little people in attendance were a delight. Since it was a children’s event I went for a slightly whimsical outfit. All the colours & petticoat as a skirt was my choice.
Petticoat – Lindy Bop
Top – Asos
Cardi – Primark
I didn’t have much time to get organised for the next event. So, the plan was to change outfit, amp up the eye make up and reapply my lipstick. I somehow managed to create my dream grey glitter eye including winged liner. Unfortunately as it was a bit of a fluke it’s possible I’ll never recreate it. Thus, I intend to enjoy these pictures incase it never happens again. Clothes wise I settled on a dress I’ve had for years, but only worn once. The Toyboy thinks it looks like a gladiator dress & I’m very ok with that. I’m afraid I didn’t get a full length picture, but you can get a good look here. Another of my siblings turning 40 necessitated the drinking of many shots, which scuppered outfit photos. I did of course document my sexy smokey eyes & fun was had by all. Not least my big bro, who even took the dance floor.
Dress – Asos Curve
Shrug – Monsoon
Happy Birthday Kevin & Madison. Now I need the rest of the month off before I’m ready for the anniversary of my own birth.
This week’s celebrated woman is someone I have the pleasure of knowing. She is a bopo goddess, a thrifting maven, accomplished public speaker & possibly the bubbliest person I’ve ever met. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you Hayley Angell.
I met Hayley at a blogger event in Glasgow & was instantly impressed by her vintage look. I was also a little intimated by her polished confidence. I don’t find these events very easy. I have a lot of anxiety around new people & situations. I have even more anxiety about hiding my discomfort. The moment I spoke to Hayley I felt more at ease. Her sincere warmth allowed me to collect myself & have a good time.
I obviously immediately commenced following her on social media and have done so since. Hayley’s accounts are bursting with life affirming energy. Her honesty about her body positive journey; discarding control garments, trying new activities & generally enjoying her body is inspiring. She recently discussed her experiences as a plus size women taking burlesque classes. Despite outward proclamations of inclusivity she still felt it was assumed that fat women would be less assured. She got the sense that fatter folk were quietly ushered into the background. It takes guts to be open about this stuff. Even more to be honest about how often we convince ourselves that we belong at the back of class. Thus, she used her Instagram account to launch #stepforward a reminder to all plus size people that we are worthy of taking up space & being seen.
The Body Positive community has given me so much. I always want to say thank you to those who inspire me. I also want to spread their work because I know it can bring others happiness. Hayley is one of those fabulous women who can help you change how you see yourself. She is an insta must follow.
Bopo aside Hayley is, as I mentioned, a thrifting magician. Her Instagram is worth following for her second hand style alone. If you need tips on trawling the charity shops for fashion gold, Hayley is your woman. If you simply enjoy seeing a person enjoy themselves & clothes, she is still your gal.
I’ve only met Hayley in person once, but I would not be without her online presence in my life. For a shot of genuine self love, go press those follow buttons.
This week’s featured #ootd inspired by the lovely Becky Barnes. She relaunched her #fatpinspiration series on instagram. Basically she posts outfit inspiration from Pinterest & then lots of lovely fat folk post their take on the look.
I loved the idea the minute I saw it & luckily had the perfect outfit. I styled up a cute strappy summer dress with my lovely stuff denim shirt. On Saturday mornings I do some family stuff & spend time with my biggest nephew. Turns out this outfit was ideal for chasing our shadows and making our breakfast into dinosaurs.
Saturday evening held more adult pursuits in the form of date night. After a hectic week at the festival (last instalment of fringe posts coming soon) we opted for a chilled night at the cinema. I decided to take my outfit from day to night with a few switch ups. I wore my dress over my shirt, pinafore style. Added some big jangly earrings, a cute clutch & my faux leather jacket. I really liked the outcome.
Jacket – Simply Be
Dress – Forever21
Shirt – New Look
Clutch – Gift
It was my turn to pick the film & I choose Equalizer 2. I only recently discovered they’d made a film of this and watched the first one the other week. I loved it & was excited for the sequel. I used to watch the old tv series sometimes if my Mum let me stay up late, so I’m fond of the character. It didn’t disappoint. It’s exactly the kind of action movie I like. Proper goodies & baddies, you have to think a bit & it’s bloody without being too brutal. You’ll probably work out the wee twists, but you won’t mind. I love Denzel in this role.
‘I wish I had the guts to wear that’ is a phrase I’ve been hearing in one form or another since I started picking my own clothes. It’s not a sentiment I’ve ever properly understood. Putting on the clothes I like has never struck me as a particularly brave act.
To begin with I felt a bit sorry for people who said it. They would admire whatever item I was wearing before enviously making the proclamation. I pitied that they didn’t know they could wear whatever they liked. There was very little at risk. I’ve been called weird for as long as I can remember, but with very little negative impact. There really isn’t much people can do if you own the label the give you. You say I’m weird, I say I’m proud of it. There’s nowhere for that conversation to go. It’s hard to mock someone who isn’t ashamed of the thing you find laughable. I felt sorry for people who didn’t know that. Who worried too much about what other people thought to spread their wings & give it a try.
I got older, experienced more of life & understood their fear a little more. I never felt the need to conform in my life decisions or even my sartorial tastes. I did however learn the weight of societal judgement. Getting fatter proved just how much the world wanted us all to live up to it’s expectations. I spent too many miserable years feeling the need to hide my too large body. I added scars to the mix & the pressure to keep it all under wraps increased. I finally got what all those people meant when they said they lacked the courage to wear an eccentric outfit. They were just trying to fit in, trying to be good enough. They were simply straight jacketed by a different societal standard. That’s when those comments started to make me mad.
I wasn’t angry at the person saying it (well sometimes I was, occasionally it’s just a bitchy back handed compliment.). No, I was pissed off at all the ridiculous standards we place on each other. Moreso, I was angry at myself for falling for it. You see, I had been right. My original theory of pleasing myself & laughing in the face of judgement was spot on. Having since applied that approach to the areas of my life (& body) that I was taught to dislike, I realise it works. Just as I didn’t have to be ashamed of being the only vegetarian in class or the only kid who wanted to wear tartan tights, I also don’t have to feel bad about my flabby bits. I can wear what I find beautiful & be who makes me happy. Those who seek to bully me still have little impact because I don’t think their idea of beauty is more valid than mine.
This realisation bought my freedom back. With it, an even greater desire to break the stupid limits society places on us. Fitting in is not they key to happiness. Being authentically you, is. I have never lacked friends or adventures. You will always find your people if you hold tight & refuse to compromise the important parts of yourself. Some people will try to attack your willingness to be different. As I already said, it’s really difficult to tear you down when you stand on rock solid ground.
All of which has brought me full circle. I don’t understand why so many people squeeze themselves into boxes that don’t fit. I’m angry that we continue to be taught to conform. I’m desperate to create & consume anything that crushes the idea of rigid norms. And, yes, I still feel sorry for anyone I hear doubting they are brave enough to wear really big glasses or a crop top or head to toe sequins because it really doesn’t require bravery. Nothing very bad will happen if you wear the thing you love. The worst you can expect is a double take from a stranger or an online idiot leaving a comment. Trust me, the joy of having the stunning thing on your body is very much worth it.
So, next time you catch yourself thinking I love it, but I can’t pull it off. Stop. You can. You’ll look amazing. You’ll feel fantastic. You will learn to laugh at fools who try to deride you. Life is too short & the world is too full to limit yourself. Screw the trends. Forget what’s cool. Fuck flattering. Wear what you love & be who you are. You’ll thank me when you feel free.
Day 2 of the fringe was a well thought out affair. We had selected (bickered over) which shows to see & carefully scheduled the day. With potato scones in my tummy & a truly excellent outfit we headed out.
Despite all that diligent planning we still managed to miss our first show, mainly because I just can’t move very fast. Thus we found ourselves with time to kill & an abundance of options. We took a punt on Super Sonic 90’s Kid. Me because I’m always up for anything 90’s & the Toyboy because he had spied that it involved gaming. Sooz Kempner spent the 90’s playing Sonic the Hedgehog & the like. She’s now wondering if her 90’s experience had long term impact. The show is a feminist gaming nostalgia fest. Throw in some on the edge one liners, an empowering theme & impressive belting of show tunes and you have a winner. I don’t think I’ve ever played Sonic & I still enjoyed it. If Sooz hits your city I’d definitely recommend buying a ticket.
The TB rushed me to the next venue so quickly that I didn’t have time to check what we were seeing.So, when I found myself in dark room before a spangly gyrating medieval knight I was a little taken aback. Boogie Knights was a hilarious disco infused theatrical romp set in a world where boogie knights must defeat an evil rock king. It’s ridiculous & cheesy & fantastic.
After lunching on some amazing falafel on South Bridge (or as we now call it, falafel st), we got back en piste. Robin Ince was recording Book Shambles sans Josie Long, but plus really cool guests. The afternoon that we caught featured Kiri Pritchard McLean & George Egg. Both guests were insightful & interesting. Robin was, as always, the perfect facilitator. I picked up a few book recommendations & I’m dying to catch up on Kiri’s serial killer podcast. There were giggles & thought provokers in equal measure, which is my ideal fare.
We marched up yet another incredibly steep hill & paused for more dreaded #ootd pics. I got a lot of lovely compliments on my attire in Edinburgh. I’m not going to lie it feels good to be praised from top to toe. So, I was feeling pretty good as we arrived back at the Voodoo Rooms for Mandy Knight’s The Dark Knight. This was another ad hoc pick as we couldn’t get into the show we planned to see. It ended up being one of my favourites. Mandy’s show is a decidedly dark, but humorous look at her life. A dead Dad, experiences of the care system & abortion don’t seem like immediate funny topics, but she had the audience in stitches. Her suggestion that her husband requesting she iron his shirt was the first step on a slippery slope to spousal abuse spoke to my deep ironing phobia. Her unexpectedly happy ending spoke to the damaged crazy girl in me. Oh & we were sitting next to Alan Davies (our one & only celeb sighting) Dark Knight was a big hit. I’ll absolutely be seeing Mandy Knight again whenever I get the chance. She cuts right to the bone, but it’s the funny one.
Once again we were in a mad rush to find a venue that it turns out was not that far away & on a street I knew well. We discovered that the TB’s sense of direction is not great & neither is my ability to recognise street names. All of which meant we did the thing I dread most; arrived late to an intimate venue. Luckily The Creative Martyrs were kind even though they were dealing with the aftermath of the end of the world. After the Apocalypse was a cabaret style look at how democracy can be subverted. With nods to our current insane political situation & a healthy helping of friendly audience participation. I’m usually terrified of the any attempts to involve me in show, but these guys managed to make it entirely intimidation free. A quirky take on political satire.
I emerged from the Armageddon bunker excited. Finally it was time for A Beginners Guide to Bondage. I love anything that’s a bit risqué and had been looking forward to this show since first reading about it. Sara Mason AKA Mistress Venita did not disappoint. She has put together an hilarious memoir/how to of her life as a Dominatrix. We squeezed into the tiniest of tiny rooms and learned about various kinks & props. Some brave souls even offered themselves up as apprentice slaves. I believe she is touring this show, if you like a bit of naughty fun see it. This was an hour of my life very well spent.
Show planner exhausted I hobbled down another bloody hill to find a place to park my arse. We finished our second day of the festival with drinks to live music in Cowgate. My spoons were seriously depleted, but fun was had & I still managed to look damn cute.
On Monday the Toyboy & I headed off for our annual (it’s the 2nd year, that counts, right?) trip to the Edinburgh Fringe. Three days of exhausting, but fabulous adventures ensued.
Our first show of the 2018 fringe was Phil Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Living in A World Where They Through the Ducks at the Bread . That title is quite a mouth full as was some of this show, but in a good way. I’ll be honest, I only really knew Jupitus from Never Mind the Buzzcocks & it turns out I like his poetry much more than I liked that programme. His poetic style is silly & witty & heartwarming. His in between chat is also all of the above. I’m a spoken word/poetry fan, but I think even poetry virgins would enjoy Porky’s words. Oh & bonus I got a free badge that sums me up fairly accurately.
Voodoo Rooms is a perfect example of example of Edinburgh Festival venues. It’s down a lane, riddled with stairs & you’re packed in tight enough to lose circulation in your extremities. We made the mistake of trusting directions of a stranger (male, why can they never admit they don’t know?). We walked around in a massive circle before discovering the venue was about 2 minutes from where we started & on arrival I realised I had actually known where it was all along; I just didn’t know the street name. Anyway, what I’m trying to tell you is this is a quintessential festival experience. Finding most venues will become a magical mystery tour of possibly the least disabled friendly city in the world. Everything is up a hill & 3 dozen stairs. Spoonies beware or budget for a lot of taxis!
We acted the tourist for a little bit; had a lunch from a food truck & bought Edinburgh rock. Then I tortured the TB with outfit pictures before an outfit change & catching up with some Edinburgh based friends. After a few cocktails & much hilarity we headed off to our last show of the day.
The Waverley is just off bottom end of the Royal Mile. It looks like it hasn’t been decorated since 60’s & feels like it might house a tiny part of real festival spirit. In the upstairs room there was a sparse audience & a life size cut out of Billy Conolly declaring ‘This is where I started’. I’m not sure if that’s inspiring or just a kick in teeth to those playing a quiet room, but the woman we came to see gave it a spirited try. Becky Fury (that’s her real name) hinted that she perhaps wasn’t having her best night, but she did have some interesting takes on current state of politics. I suspect the show that emerges from her Edinburgh run will be more polished than Lip Salve for the Soul. In the meantime her Star Wars movie via Corbyn memes was funny. Her visual display of how dehumanisation happens, somehow Hillary Clinton faired worse in polls than terrorists, was insightful. Plus her off the cuff material on my breasts was actually pretty fucking amusing. Anyone who can make ‘that’s how genocide happens’ a punchline & get me to laugh when the size of my tits is publicly discussed has got to have talent. I’d say book early for her 2019 show, it’ll be a cracker.
With only two shows under our belts we grabbed some very expensive fast food & headed back to our apartment. We needed a bit of rest because Tuesday was jam packed. Stay tuned for everything from medieval disco theatre to serial killer book podcasts all viewed with eyes adorned in razor sharp liner.
On Tuesday I took a little trip over to Glasgow’s best thrift store. As usual they had treasures galore. I came away with some excellent finds both old & brand new.
The first 2nd hand piece I picked out was this gorgeous rust coloured metallic skirt. Autumnal tones are my favourite & the weather does seem to be on the turn. Perfect time to don a shimmery earth tone. I’m sure I’ll get around to wearing this one as intended, but yesterday I needed something strapless to pair with a skater skirt. I couldn’t find any of my black tube tops, so I repurposed my new skirt. I rather liked the look. Unfortunately the top looked a little more sheer when photographed than it did in person. You’ll just have to take my word that you couldn’t see my whole bra in real life.
I also treated myself to this beauty from ThingsbyRosana. Glad Rags showcase a selection of local designers for limited periods. All of whom make beautiful things. I’ve actually hankered after one of her brooches since I spotted them on Instagram. I was incredibly pleased to get my hands on this new set of boobs.
I matched my eye make up to my outfit with coppery shades & was all set for date night at the cinema.It was the Toyboy’s turn to pick, so we saw Ant Man & The Wasp. He loved it, I was there for ice blast & reclining chair. Paul Rudd is cute & funny, the usual super hero capers ensue with added shrinking of almost everything. If you’re a Marvel fan I expect you’ll enjoy it as much as the TB did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t rush to see it.