2021 Indie Xmas Gift Guide

I’m one of those people who gets started on the Xmas pressies. Thus I’m pretty much done already & ready to share some independent/small business gifts. If you’re not ready for Christmas chat yet, I’m sorry! Everyone else, let’s get to it.

If like me, you (or someone you love)find yourself exceptionally attached to pieces of music this one is for you. These beautiful visual representations of sound waves feel like a special present to me. I found MuckaStudio on Etsy, they created exactly what I wanted for a really reasonable price.

Sound wave art

Robyn Boyle is a beautiful artist & person. I first found her art on Instagram, then got to know her & now consider her a friend. I have bought commissions as gifts & have her art hanging in my home. Why wouldn’t you want to buy a stunning piece of art from a wonderfully kind person.

Pencil drawing of dog on a bed. Abstract painting. Thread portrait all by Robyn Boyle

Bonnie Bling is an old favourite. They are an independent Scottish brand who create quirky acrylic jewellery & accessories. I’ve been buying their Scottish centric wares for years. They use all recycled plastics, so they tick the ethical & desirable boxes. Buy some pretties.

Bonnie bling jewellery & Xmas decorations. Round schitt’d creek quite Xmas teee decorations, orange plastic highland cow necklace, orange ginger necklace, wooden Lewis capaldi angel

Another artist that I discovered on Instagram is Edoniworks. They do gorgeous architectural drawings and take commissions. Their communication is great, quick turn around & reasonable pricing; 5 stars from me. I think a drawing of your forever home/wedding venue/favourite bar makes a really lovely gift. Someone in my life is getting one this year.

Architectural drawings by ediniworks. Water mill, semi detached house and the dome in Edinburgh with Xmas decs

I’m never going to write a small business guide without including Wilde Mode*. They make the cutest, comfiest underwear I’ve worn and they are all round good eggs (their ethics are tip top). They have so many excellent xmassy products this year. Definitely the kind of thing I will be giving.

Wilde mode cotton briefs, comfort top and Xmas jammies

If feminist, inclusive & sometimes ridiculous are up your street you need to check out Crudely Drawn. Unique prints, mugs, tees & more can be found here. I can think of a few people who would love a Louis Theroux with boobs mugs and I really want some tidy hating bits for myself. I love quirky, cool gifts like this.

Crudely drawn Louis Theroux mug, cat butt socks & in the house we hate the tories socks

* I am a Wilde Mode brand ambassador, but I was not paid for this post.

November icks…

Regular readers will now that I occasionally go on a little blog rants. I vent about all the trends that get my goat & today is one of those days.

Elf on the Shelf

I hate the little bugger. First of all the actual figure is so creepy. The idea of it wandering around while everyone sleeps would have scared the life out of wee me. Secondly, I really dislike the adoption of American trends/traditions. We have plenty of our own & they’re much nicer! Last up, I feel very sorry for parents having to come up with ever more creative ways to pose the wee creep each morning.

elf on the shelf doll climbing a window

Lumen

Sold as an easy way to ‘hack your metabolism’, lumen mistakenly believe I’m their target audience. I get non stop ads. It claims to monitor your metabolism and tell you if your burning fat, carbs eaten or both. It then suggests whether you should have a low, medium or high carb day. Obviously, I hate all this diet culture nonsense. In this case, though, I dislike the dishonesty even more. From the information I can find they can’t actually back their claims. The testing that would be done in lab to find thing information is not designed to be done daily. Experts* say there is no way compare results from lumin to those derivived from clinically proven tests. Thus, they cannot verify accuracy. In other words, no one can tell if it works. Even if it did we all now that low carb is just another fad diet anyway.

Black lumen device with purple light

Horoscopes

They’re just everywhere & I am so sick of hearing about it. Saying I’m a ‘Gemini’ doesn’t mean anything. Things didn’t go wrong because Saturn was in retrograde. You weren’t a bitch because oh your moon position. Ugh, my intense dislike for everything astrological is just one illogical unchangeable things. Your horoscope memes do me no harm, but still make me ugh.

Kermit the frog meme

The Huns

I don’t know how I ended up on their radar. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m not about to buy into an MLM. Nevertheless, for the last month or so, I have received constant dms offering me exciting opportunities. It is annoying and sometimes the tactics they use are really despicable. It also makes me really sad that they’ve been sucked into the con.

Screen shot of dm trying to sell herbal life

Thoughts meander…

Have you ever wondered what happens in my head before I filter it onto the paper/screen? I have just the thing for you.

For the bargain price of £1 a month you can access my new membership level on Ko-Fi. I’ll be posting works in progress, previously unpublished pieces & some poetry (I still write it, but rarely pursue publication). If this sounds up your street, head over to Ko-Fi. If not, please continue to enjoy my freely available content around the web.

The ethical fatty paradox…

I’ve been working on/thinking about this piece for a while, but there have been moving parts. With COP26 happening a few miles from my doorstep now seemed the time to float it.

Finnisteon crane, the armadillo & hydro buildings on clydeside

I’m a big supporter of supporting small brands, especially local ones. The benefits of shopping small are multi fold and many naturally align themselves with anti climate change measures. Ethical business practices including zero waste, natural ingredients, recycling materials, vegan products, less environmental impact of using locally sourced material & taking to market close to that source are all more prevelant (& easier to confirm) in small business. There are of course also the direct human impacts of living wages, supporting passion projects & allowing sustainable lifestyles to thrive. It all adds up to small brands being a sensible & compassionate way to spend your money.

What’s more, this thinking is going mainstream. We’re all really staring to get on board with this thinking. It’s a slow burn, but the flames are building. Ethical consumption is becoming a hot topic. All of which is wonderful, except for the people who are excluded. There are barriers to ethical shopping. Some of which are not at the fault of the business. For example, cost. Paying a living wage, sourcing ethical material, handmade items etc all necessarily drive up price. That more people can afford those prices is a societal issue (which also massively impacts climate change). However, sometimes the exclusion is a choice & that’s where your favourite fat nag comes in.

As a fat disabled freelancer I find myself forced to buy from places that would not be first choice. Having a variable income & a fat arse means I have to rely on fast fashion much more than I would I like. I do really try to support ethical brands, but with clothes in particular it is a struggle. I usually wear a uk 20/22, which though on the smaller side of the plus range, is still battle underrepresented outside the big high street brands. If I did not have access to the internet my wardrobe would rapidly diminish. I would love to shop in the many cool independent shops that Glasgow has spurned, but it honestly isn’t possible. There are limited options for t shirts & more expensive made to measure items. For most items, matching even high end big brand prices is still a dream.

The reason it’s taken me so long to put this together is that I tried a little fashion experiment. I searched a selection of small independent stores in Glasgow for my own or larger sizes. When I couldn’t find any I contacted the shops to enquire if they planned to expand their ranges to include larger people. The answers I received (or not) were deeply predictable.

Amaryllis Boutique

The largest size I could find on their site was a UK 20 & that was only a few items. I contacted them late September to ask if they had any plans to extend their range of sizes. I have yet to receive a response.

Hayley McSporran Studio

The largest size I could find on this site was a UK 18. This brand is billed as slow fashion made in Glasgow. I contacted them in late September & did receive a quick response. However, it was the familiar story of being a very small brand & so unable to expand their sizing. I’ve never bought this argument as an independent small batch creator is entirely in control of what they produce. If inclusivity were a priority they would work it out.

Nancy Smillie

This site was the most confusing. Most of their clothes had no size information at all. I contacted the shop mid September & received a quick reply. Their clothes are ‘one size fits all’, which apparently will fit a size 12-18 depending on required fit. I’m sure all my fellow fatties will be as dubious of ‘one size’ as I am. It almost always mean, not for you. However, when I asked about plans to extend sizing they did say that added new lines/designers every season and they may stock larger sizes in the future. Although that answer is vague it did at least show willingness to expand.

Gallus Alice

I contacted this shop in late July to ask if the had plans to extend their size range & have yet to receive a response. The biggest size I could find on their website was an XL & that was only available for some t-shirts. There’s no size guide on the site, so I don’t know what the XL translates to. I can say that I have tried to shop here (they have lots of cool things) & nothing came close to fitting me.

Pampas Glasgow

The largest size I could find on their site was UK 16. I contacted them in August & have yet to receive a response.

The point of this experiment is not to damage these brands. They are all small independent businesses stocking desirable fashion. Rather I just want to show the lack of options for the would be ethical fat consumer. Please continue to patronise independent local boutiques. It is important that we help this type of business flourish. However, if you notice that your fav has a limited size range please ask them about that. There is a huge untapped market, we need customers to show interest in larger sizes to prove that.

If you are looking for small Scottish brands to support you can find some here & here .

My week in pictures…

Autumn has officially arrived and I couldn’t be happier. This is definitely my favourite season. I love that first chill in the air, the rich colours and of course all the spooky fun.

This week I’ve been enjoying that crisp weather & getting out a little bit. I kicked off with a wee (work based) hotel stay. What do you do alone in a hotel on a Sunday night? Mess around & take pictures obviously.

Boulevard of trees with yellow & brown leaves on the ground
Raised leg in a mirror

I took advantage of already being in town to meet to with a my favourite man. Covid has meant I have seen him much less than I’d like. So, tapas, wine & chat was perfect. I also took the opportunity to debut the first of my spooky bargains. I kind of want to wear this bat playsuit every day now.

ly westing bat winged playsuit and sitting in a stool wearing black top & pink knickers

Wednesday brought a midweek adventure in the firm of Frankie Boyle. My sis & I took in his Work in Progress at Glee Club. He was of course hilarious. If e your things, get a ticket. His support, Christopher MacArthur-Boyd is also chuckle worthy. If sharp political commentary & utterly repulsive comedy are your thing, get a ticket.

Frankie Boyle on stage at glee club
ly is westing black fringed top and standing in front of billy connolly mural. She is wearing a mask & holding a walking stick
Close up selfie of ly  & sister in blue light

I concluded the week with a tea party to celebrate my besties’ twins. I’m never happier than when on Auntie duty. Bigger niblings got on with some carry on whilst a bunch of women coo’d over the babas. It was a good Sunday.

Happy (old) Birthday…

This week I turned 41, which felt very weird. Mostly because I’m not sure that I have actually gotten used to being 40 yet. Pandemic time is very strange. In some ways it feels like the last year didn’t happen. It most definitely did though. The good news about that is I get presents!

I’m lucky girl & received loads of gorgeous gifts. My people know me very well. I’m so in love with the new additions to my wardrobe that I just had to share.

My darling sister got me the perfect transitional dress. This light weight black jumper dress is super slouchy, but hugs my curves in all the right places. Me likey!

Ly is in her living room with her hands o her hips. She is wearing a calf length, v neck jumper dress
Jumper Dress – ASOS

Mum came up trumps with this amazing g wrap dress. The lighting isn’t great (no spoons to re do), but it a mixture of red, burnt orange & leopard print. I am very into it.

Ly is in her living with her hands on her hips. She is wearing a leopard print calf length dress
Dress – Together

New shoes never fail to make me smile. So, when I opened not one, but two pairs of knock out shoes. Well done, Mother!

Picture is tattooed feet in two different pairs of shoes. Pink satin flats with red ruched band  & burgundy shiny Mary Janes with chunky soles.
I’m calling these beauties Luxury Bitch & 90’s Bitch.
Shoes – ASOS

Finally I got these excellent undies from M&S. The bra has little flowers that match the knickers. It is one of markies extra support for massive boobies bras. I love that they make these pretty whilst still having scaffold like support.

ly is standing in her living room wearing a black bra & peachy knickers
Bra & Knickers – Marks & Spencer

I’m even more excited for autumn now that I have this gorgeous clobber to show off.

Sunday night vibes…

After two cancellations (at the behest of Covid) & almost forgetting the rescheduled date, I finally got to see Rachel Fairburn on Sunday.

I’ve been cracking up at Rachel’s chat on the All Killa No Filla podcast for a couple years now. This was my first time seeing her stand up. I wasn’t disappointed. Her show was hilarious. If you like gobby, feminist comedy you should definitely check her out.

I think this may have been my first night out since before the pandemic, so I wanted to look tip top. I have this banging dress that I bought to wear on my 40th birthday, but Covid scuppered that plan too. I haven’t had anywhere to wear it in the year since & it needed an outing.

Ly is wearing a form fitting churub print dress
Dress – Pretty Little Thing
Glasses – Where.Light

Sunday night comedy didn’t feel like the right event for the dress, so I experimented a little. Teamed with my favourite velvet trousers and some trusty leopard print the dress took on a whole new vibe.

Ly is standing with her hands in her hips wearing black velvet trs, cherub print top & leopard print kimono
Trousers – Elvi
Kimono – Simply Be

I felt super cute, Rachel was on top form & I had an excellent night with my sis. It was exactly what I needed.

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Do you really like it?…

Some of you may be aware that you can leave me a tip on Ko-Fi if you enjoy my work. Well, as of today you can also subscribe for exclusive content for a small monthly fee.

I will of course continue to blog as usual. My writing will also still be appearing in various publications. There will be no shortage of free material to consume, so worry not. My Ko-Fi membership tier is just a little extra for anyone who really loves my work & would like to give my freelance coffers a little boost.

You can join here. Huge thank you in advance.

Wilde life…

I am incredibly excited to be working* with the amazing Wilde Mode again. They make the best knickers (& more) in the entire world. Handmade, perfect fit and the coolest prints. What more could I ask for?

Well, let me tell you. Inclusive sizing (xxs – 10xl), eco friendly materials & packaging, diverse advertising, all staff earning a living wage, gender neutral, vegan owned, zero fabric waste & they even plant a tree for every parcel they send. This is exactly the kind of small business we should all be supporting.

Plus, the products are as good as their ethics. I simply can’t get enough these high waisted knickers. I don’t know why but having a big FU on my knickers makes dealing with rotten days so much easier.

If you need even more incentive, there’s still time to grab a bargain in the summer sale. Go!

* Brand Ambassador.

Thou shalt never…

I love a good slogan t shirt. However I’m not really into the sensation of anything too restrictive around my neck. Enter, my shaky customisation skills.

I’ve hardly worn this tee because the crew neck felt uncomfortable. After some chopping & sewing I think it’s going to get much more body time. Add the comfiest velvet trousers, a spot of leopard print & you’ve got a look.

Trousers – Elvi
Vest – Monsoon
T-Shirt – GrlClb

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