I feel pretty…

On Friday night I met the Toyboy for a super quick dinner & a terrible movie. I say dinner, I only ended up with sweet potato fries. Plus the film starred Amy Schumer. If I’m honest, it was a poor attempt at Friday nighting. I did manage to get some outfit photos, so all was was not not lost.

It does have to be said, it was good outfit & we did rectify things by watching a bloody good film (anon) when we got home. I picked this retro beauty up on Thursday & could not wait get it on my body. I love that it had a 50’s feel, is my favourite colour & has rare, but beloved pockets. Really big ones, too!

ly h Kerr

Dress – Primark

Cardi – Monsoon

Harness Bra – Pour Moi

I think the harness bra sexes it up just enough for a night time excursion. I also went big on accessories, overall, I felt banging.

Cinema selfie

The film we saw was of course, I Feel Pretty. It is awful as the reviews claimed. Its feminism & body positivity are flawed in all the ways you’ve been reading about. It is also just a bad film. So stupid in places that I actually felt insulted. It is filled with nonsense, dated sexist tropes & a terrible imagining of what could have been (in other hands) an interesting concept. Also, Amy Schumer is trash. Give it a miss.

Ticket stub, nail art, red dress

Things I can’t believe I have to say again… Part 1

It may be a little over optimistic to say that summer is in the way, but I think I can at least say that winter is over. Whilst I can’t wait to enjoy more lazy days in the sun, hot days always give me a moments pause.

The reason for my second guessing is our old friend shame. As much as strive I to love my body there are still so many people who’d rather I didn’t. My body does not fit societal standards of beauty. Scrap that, I don’t even fit societal standards of normal. The fact that I refuse to hide my fat, scarred flesh rocks the normality boat even more vigorously.

It has taken me years to be able to celebrate my form. My ability to wear whatever I please & shed layers in the heat is a hard won victory. I won’t lie I often still have to steel myself to step outside in a vest. Not because I feel ashamed of my a scars or my past or flab or peely wally complexion, but because there are tonnes of folk who really, really want me to.

Staring is a given. Staring combined with nudging a mate & directing them to also have a gawk is also fairly frequent. Less common, but still occuring more than you would think is the person who thinks they should actually comment on my body. Oh & I give them so much to work with. Strangers just love to get angry, sad, concerned and curious about my body. Sometimes I can just shrug that off. Often I will snark back & think these strangers pathetic. However, there are times when for whatever reason, I’m just not up for the judgement of unknown members of the general public. Their stares, nudges & comments ruin my day. I do momentarily feel ashamed and scared and like I should never leave the house again. And this, my friends, is not ok.

So, here’s a little advice.

OTHER PEOPLE’S BODIES ARE NOT YOUR BUSINESS.

Your thoughts on other people’s appearance are not important. Strangers do not want to hear them. Your moral judgements are your problem, don’t make them anyone else’s. Likewise your hang ups.

STARING IS RUDE.

Always. There are no excuses. If you find yourself accidentally staring, stop. If you see someone you think looks weird, bad, crazy just remember plenty of people find your visuals unappetising too. Oh & don’t oggle them.

In short, don’t be that person. Don’t be the one who spoils someone’s lovely summer day. You do you & let the rest of world do them.

Body language…

On Tuesday night I braved the first flurries of snow & headed to The Body Shop’s blogger night. I haven’t attended many blogger events recently because they’ve just been a bit too much for me, but I am so glad I pushed myself to get to this one.

Sauchiehall st, Glasgow

The Body Shop really know how to do a blogger night. They had all the usual snacks, fizz & goody bag bases covered. More importantly the actual substance of the evening was fantastic. The staff gave detailed, enthusiastic & succinct presentations on products & campaigns. They really took their time with product demonstrations. I was very impressed with how knowledgeable everyone was & how well they tailored free samples to individual blogger’s needs.

The Body Shop goodie bagi

ly h Kerr

It was a particular delight to discuss skin masks with Dawn. Her product knowledge was spot on & she guided me expertly to the perfect mask for my skin. Along the way we had a really nice talk about body positivity. It was lovely to meet someone so charming, comfortable with herself & supportive of other women. I’ve already given my British Rose fresh plumping mask a try & my face felt divine apres treatment.

Along with discovering new products I was reassured that the Oils of Life range I currently use is a good fit for me. Plus the skin moisture analyser proved how good a job it’s doing. My initial reading was 60% hydration, which I’m told was good. After application of Oils of Life moisturiser & the rose mask it jumped up to 85%. That’s a pretty impressive result.

I was happy to hear that The Body Shop intends to increase it’s vegan reach. They aim to ensure every new product the introduce is entirely vegan. I look forward to seeing this roll out. They also continue their work to end animal testing, which I of course fully support. You can sign their petition here.

Follow up posts on my new Body Shop discoveries will be surfacing as & when I give them a thorough trial.

A fortnight in pictures…

The weeks seem to be flying in, but no matter how many go by it is still winter. I feel like spring will never come. Anyway, the weather freezing weather keeps on, so there is less excitement to share. Nevertheless, I thought I’d give you a peek at my highlight reel.

The Toyboy put on a charity punk vs funk gig to support medical aid in Palestine. I wouldn’t have said that either genre was really my thing, but I actually really enjoyed some of he bands. Dopesickfly & Velveteen Riot being my favourites. I recommend you check them out. The night was a raging success, thanks I’m sure in no small part to my incredible purple lippie.

ly h Kerr

There have been the usual mix of clinic appointments & nights on the sofa. All that time hiding from the cold has given me plenty of opportunity to do my nails & the occasional trips out have been good Project Post it opportunities. Excursions have mostly consisted of eating & cinema. Both are excellent comfort activities. Vegan eating on high street continues to get easier. I am loving this shift because it indicates that veganism continues to rise, but also as it means I can have chocolate cake.

Nail artProject Post It

On the movie front I’m giving a thumbs up to 3 billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri & Black Panther. I am also very much in favour of the reclining chairs at Odeon Luxe. Catch up Cineworld, those seats are a dream for my poor spoonie body. The lazy nights in have yielded recommendations for Britannia & Critical. Both take a minute to get into, but persevere; it’s worth it.

The last week or so has been fairly cocktail laden. Birthday drinks for a friend gave me a chance to finally taste a Candy Floss Martini. A thing I have been hankering after & which absolutely lives up to expectations. Get one. Right now. Some high stress nonsense led to homemade strawberry margaritas with a lot of tequila. Admittedly not a great long term solution, but certainly an ideal way to temporarily let off some steam.

ly h KerrStrawberry Margarita

I got flowers from my Mum, a card from my man & rocked some damn cute looks. I also captured a few beautiful winter moments. Yes, this season can be stunning, but it’s still too bloody cold!

Upside down standard lamps Project Post It

Project Post It

Blurry sunset

Oh & the cats in my life continue to be gorgeous.

Cute cats

Friday favourites…

Wow, it has been a big week. I’ve felt all the feelings & did all the things. I will catch you up on my goings on soonish. In the meantime please content yourself with a variety of my current favourite things. You know the deal, all the wee bits that get me through the good & bad days.

First up is appropriately named First Aid Kit . I am rather in love with their new album Ruins . It has just enough melancholy to nurture my ‘ i just need a small cry’ moments whilst also containing sufficient uplifting ditties. It’s folksy & soothing, but also pleasantly raw in places. It is an added bonus that the band wear the most divine clothes. Their hard hippie aesthetic wets my whistle. In short, three cheers for the Swedish sisters charming my senses.

First aid kit, ruins Album cover

Next is a yummy little treat that pleases my tum. Yes, I take comfort in food, sue me. I have always been a lover of jelly, but obviously not all jelly is vegan friendly & some vegan brands lacked a satisfactory wobble. I am chick who likes some wibble. This winter my cupboards have been packed with Hartley’s 10 cal jelly pots. I first discovered these years ago during an insane starvation diet, but they are utterly delicious. These days I couldn’t care less about the calorie count, but do love their variety of fruity flavours. Everything from classic strawberry & orange to elderflower lemonade and Black Forest gateau. Every single variety is packed full of fruity flavour and not a single non vegan ingredient. They are also exceptionally easy going on the stomach meaning I have something tasty to eat even when mine is at it’s most uncooperative. Yeah!

Vegan jelly

No fav list of mine would be complete without some reading material. My current book just happens to be one of my all time favourite writers, Alan Bennett. I absolutely adore everything he does, but in particular I love his diaries & memoirs. I find his writing as comforting as a cup of mint tea. Even when he tackles heavy subjects he does so with such a light hand that it soothes me to read his words. I love that I can trust his politics, his wit & his decency. He writes about complex, sensitive issues with an honesty & compassion missing from so much of modern life. His most recent collection of prose, Keeping on Keeping on is as enchanting as ever. His daily doings & opinions on the world at large have been getting me through a tricky start to the year. If you need your faith in humanity (& beautiful writing) restored, Bennett is the man for the job.

Cat poking his head over a book

Bronan doesn’t enjoy Alan Bennett as much as I do. He’s a less reading, more ear rubbing kind of cat.

Another small item bringing joy to my life this week is badges. I am a longtime fan of the humble pin badge & am rejoicing in their revival. Not so long ago I had to search for badges that pleased me. Now pins with messages that delight are everywhere I look. There’s nothing better than wearing your heart (& your politics) on your sleeve or in my case chest. I have taken to expressing my mood with a collection of badges each day. They are a darling embellishment to every outfit. Plus, no one can say they haven’t been warned; they tell you what to expect before I even open my mouth.

Feminist badges

Last but not least is Now Tv. I had a Sky package of one kind or another for years, but constantly had problems with it. My broadband dropped, I lost signal for no reason and it always took 3 weeks to get through to customer services. So, I ditched it and got Now instead. It’s so much simpler and cheaper. Oh & now my internet consistently works. I am useless with services like this & tend to put up with problems forever because I worry changing will be just too much hassle. This switch was so easy that I am now checking out what else I could benefit from changing. Suppliers beware.

Fat Slut, you said…

So, hello, brand new year. Unfortunately it’s also hello to diet talk overload. Yup, it’s everywhere. The diet industry goes crazy in January. Over the years  I have managed to switch off from most of the weight watcher ads & gym discount flyers. I basically make it my business to mute the diet industry; I don’t buy magazines that tell me I’m not good enough, I don’t follow social media accounts that constantly talk about weight loss & I shun brands that use body shaming in their advertising. Of course, I also actively participate the body posi community. This works well for me. However, more and more I am realising that I simply cannot escape the notion that fat is just awful. The problem is that lots of the people I really like & choose to have in my life are, to be frank, fat phobic. 

I understand that everyone will not share my views on body positivity. I also accept that other people are free to do whatever the choose with their own bodies. In fact I am delighted when people find a way to love themselves. However they do it, finding genuine peace with yourself is a wonderful thing & I applaud anyone who gets there. What I don’t appreciate is having to listen to all the fat phobic crap that others believe in. I will never understand why people think it is ok to express their revulsion of fat people to me, a fat person. If you had brown hair & I repeatedly made negative comments about brown hair, you’d probably feel hurt, or pissed off. Well, surprise, surprise, fat people have feelings too. 

You can feel however you like about your own or other people’s bodies. If you want to do slimming world or Atkins or eat raw, knock yourself out. Run & lift & body pump until your heart’s content. If your internal voice mocks & degrades others based on their physical appearance that probably needs investigation, but it’s still entirely your affair. Once you voice those insults out loud, they become my business too & the truth is, I don’t want to hear it. 

I do not want to hear how terrible you think celebs looks when they gain weight. I don’t want to listen to your jibes about naked fat bodies in movies. When you talk in disgusted tones about your own fat, you are telling me what you think of me. Your talk of how your own much thinner body is not fit to carry a child or how being fat makes a person a terrible parent, you are commenting on my abilities. Every time you comment ‘I’m a fat bitch’ on picture of food you ate or tell me what is ‘bad’ about every item on a menu you are pushing your issues on me. 

And here’s the thing, I can’t stop you. You are free to say & feel whatever you please. You can hate your body & my body & Rebel Wilson’s body & Cameron Diaz’s body too. You can laugh & be rude. You can continue to say right to my face that you find people like me to be entirely undeserving of respect. I presume that often you are oblivious. I get it. Sometimes we are blinded by our own internal struggle. Everyone has moments of complete, but unintentional insensitivity. Sometimes, though, you know. You know that you are degrading fat people in front of a fat person. Mostly, we’ll let you get away with it. I know I do. I excuse & ignore. I tell myself you did not mean to be cruel. Well, no more. This is me giving notice. In the future I intend to point out that the body you’re mocking is just like mine. I will tell you that I don’t want to hear about your diet. I will mute you on social media if your timeline is toxic because I can do as I please too. I choose not to engage in anymore bullshit. I wish you well with your own self love journey, but I will no longer be party to my own debasement. You do you. I am going to do me.

A privileged person’s guide to privilege…

I will never understand why the concept of privilege is so offensive to so many people. Mostly, let it be said, privileged people. It is beyond me why it frightens people to look at the privilege in their life & say yes, that has helped me and no, I did nothing to earn that aid. ‘Owning your privilege’ is merely acknowledging your good fortune. Privilege does not make you bad a person. However, refusing to countenance it’s existence makes you a bit of a dick. Since no one wants to be one of those, let’s go through this together.

If you belong to a group who hold power in society, you have privilege. If you belong to a group that is considered the default in society, you too have privilege. The fact that you do not face institutionalised discrimination just for being who you are is a huge advantage. Being born white, straight, cis, able bodied are all privileges. You will not face prejudice or disadvantages for merely existing in your body. Life is not a level playing field; some of us are sprinting before the starter’s pistol sounds.

Part of this kind of privilege is the fact that you did nothing to earn your advantage. Thus, many people will rail against the notion that they should have to apologise for holding it. Well, no one is asking you to. You are not responsible for the fact that you are white or male or cis gendered. No one is critising you for being any of these (or any other privileged) things. The problem comes when you refuse to own the benefits you have gained from life’s lottery. When some people have to struggle just to reach the starting line, ignoring that becomes offensive. We do not choose what privilege we come into this world with, but we do choose what we do with it. Acknowledge the factors beyond your control that eased your path. Then use your position to clear space for those without your advantages. 

Some of you may be thinking I have one of those privileges you speak of & my life is hard, so I don’t feel ahead of the game. Privilege is not a guarantee of fabulous life. You could be a straight, white, cis, able bodied man & still have terrible things happen to you. The privilege comes in the fact that they did not happen because you were straight or white or cis or able bodied or male. No matter your situation the abscence of the barriers that come with being a minority are still always advantageous. 

It’s also important to remember that it is possible to have privilege in one area & none in another. For example I am white, from a comfortable back ground, well educated, cis gendered & straight passing. I am fully of aware of the advantages my parents have given me and of the discrimination I have never had to face. I hold a lot of privilege. However, I am also disabled, I’m female & I’m fat; all of which incur significant hardships. My daily life is a slog. I do face discrimination & I am discredited, but I’m still lapping my trans, BAME, LGBTQ, impoverished (& so many more) brothers & sisters in the race of life. 

So, privilege isn’t always cut & dry. It does not translate to a perfect life. Nevertheless, it’s a head start. It is a whole bunch of problems you’ll never have to even consider. Privilege is being able to dismiss that the premise is even real. 

In keeping with my entreaty that you use whatever privilege you have to help dismantle the current societal hegemony I would encourage to read these voices on the topic.

Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Strong in broken places

Taking up too much space 

That crazy crippled chick

The Second City

Early bird gift guide…

I know I am getting into the Xmas chat a bit early & I apologise. I only do it because it takes me ages to get organised. I have loads of Dec birthdays & far off loved ones to send to on top of regular Xmas. The added complications of spoonie life means I’m usually already quietly Xmas shopping in October. I am certain there are others just like me out there, thus I thought some early gift guides might be useful.

I’m staring with this fairly random guide as I think most folk are a bit eclectic in their tastes. I find all those really specific guides a bit annoying because very few people fit in just one box. So, i have collated this bunch of cool, but varied gifts. I’m calling it, traditional eclectic, all the standard crimbo fare with some twists. 

I may have mentioned before that christmas without velvet is just not on. Velvet clothes feel divine, so imagine how amazing this most tactile of fabrics would feel right next to your skin. Yup, velvet lingerie is definitely a sexy festive gift. Of course along with something to slink about in, something to slob in is also required at Xmas. Never underestimate the power of good jammies. 

All good book shops, New Look, Plus size lingerie lounge, New Look, All good book shops,The literary gift company. 

Hand in hand with nightwear go a really good book & this delightful cushion to lounge upon. I have become a bit of a cushion fanatic, but I think most book lovers would be pleased with this couch addition. 

Everyone likes a bit fancy at Xmas time. Wether that be twinkling on your eyelids or quirky touches around the house. 


eBay, Asda Home, Urban Decay (Heavy Metal). 


Barry M, I want one of those, Pyro Pet, Ciate (Glitter Flip).

The rise of the christmas jumper in recent years has tickled my fancy. The sheer variety of festive knitwear means there is something to suit all tastes. Chocolate & jewellery are also Xmas staples. Again, if you look hard enough you can find some to please everyone. 


Vegan Town, Marks & Spencer’s, Bonnie Bling. 

As a kid I always had a holy advent calendar, so the idea of a vegan choc one really appeals to me. Making a statement with my accessories is so up my street, but sometimes I just want my baubles to look pretty.  There’s a bit of each here.


Rebel Circis, Marks & Spencer’s, Fuck the Tories. 

If my haste upsets you, I get it. If however you have a massive Xmas list that you need to get ahead of, have at it. 

No compassion…

I’m 36yrs old, chronically ill and a size 22, I am no stranger to a bit medical fat shaming. Sadly, I have had to develop a thick skin when it comes to interacting with the medical profession. Drs & nurses will say things to me that no one else would dare to. I have had to learn to advocate for myself when necessary & brush off a whole bunch of bullshit along the way. To be honest I thought I was fairly untouchable. I am entirely comfortable with my size & though often tiring to hear the same fat phobic lectures, it doesn’t hurt me. Infuriate, yes, but I never felt unable to deal with it. Until recently. 

Earlier this year I had a miscarriage. It was not my first loss. My previous experiences of pregnancy & miscarriage were hugely traumatic and in fact played a major part in my mental health struggles. Losing another baby was horrendous. I had some complications and ended up having to spend a little time in hospital. The one small blessing was the support system I have in place and the kindness I was treated with whilst inpatient. Once home & physically recovered I visited my GP to discuss my general health & how to proceed fertility wise. That she wanted to talk about weight loss was not entirely unexpected. I know standard advice for anyone overweight talking about having a baby is lose weight. I know drs still hold rigidly to the BMI scale & that there is an upper limit for fertility treatment. I know fat women often have their pregnancies labelled high risk. What I wasn’t prepared for was this gp’s insinuation that my weight caused my miscarriage. So, unprepared was I that I convinced myself that I had misunderstood. I pushed it out of my mind & continued trying to process my grief. However, when I returned a week later and she still only wanted to talk about diet plans, what I ate, what I weighed now & how often she could weight me,I was more explicit. I explained my history of borderline eating disorders, of starvation diets & losing vast amounts of weight only to regain it. I told her I did not and would engage with rigid diets or weight loss programmes. Her response was given my multiple miscarriages, I might want to re think that. I enquired If she was saying I miscarried because I was fat & she confirmed that she thought it likely.

 

I walked out feeling a rage that quickly melted away to sadness. I was left wanting to crawl into bed and never get out again. I have struggled with PTSD for many years; my original trauma was an emotionally abusive relationship & my the circumstances surrounding my first miscarriage. It has taken me literally my entire adult life to get control of my shame and guilt. Years of self harm, debilitating depression, panic attacks, flash backs and nightmares all centred around how the loss of my child and subsequent illness was all my fault. One thoughtless dr had thrust back into that damaging thought cycle. On top of that I have fought to reclaim my body as acceptable. I have had to work to enjoy my life in this fat scarred body. My history is well documented in my medical records and I have personally discussed it with the dr. That truth is she wants me to be thin more than she wants to me be happy & healthy. Her complete disregard for my mental health was cruel. That she hadn’t even bothered to investigate my history before speaking is unacceptable. A cursory glance at my notes would have revealed that I was not over weight at the time of my other pregnancy losses. She would also have seen that I am currently taking a medication for PCOS that causes weight loss. The drug is harsh on my already inflamed digestive system meaning that I throw up daily. In addition one of it’s major side effects is appetite reduction. Hence, I have been slowly shedding pounds since I commenced this treatment. I also have diagnosed gynaecological issues, which are much more likely to play a part in my inability to carry to term. The conversation she forced upon me was not only insensitive, but entirely irrelevant. That said, it is never ok to blame a vulnerable women for the loss of her child.

I have chosen not to see that GP again. I attend a fairly large practise and as a freelancer have the freedom to wait for appointments with another dr. I have yet to confront the issue as it still feels so raw. However I feel a strange sense of duty; I feel I must tackle this to prevent it happening to someone else. I recognise that there were times in my past when this dr’s assertions would have entirely destroyed me. I hate that the responsibility to educate & challenge falls to people like me. I cannot understand why a profession who swear to ‘do no harm’ are so married to fat phobia. Why is care and compassion is so often disregarded purely because a patient is fat?


 

 

Anti-woman of the week…

This week is a little different as instead of celebrating an amazing woman I’ll be having a pop at a contemptible one. The dubious honour of being my first anti woman of the week goes to Theresa May.

As a participating member & now leader of a Conservative government who have consistently gone after the most defenceless members of our society, she has earned our scorn. May has been complicit in cuts that have resulted in the deaths of sick & disabled people. Some due to the overwhelming stress of the fitness to work assessments have exacerbated their conditions, some through being forced to undertake work they are not physically capable of sustaining & others who have taken their lives because their disability benefits have been withdrawn. Thousands of disabled have found themselves facing homelessness & destitution due to assessments designed to get people off benefits regardless of their needs. Those with mental health problems have found the entire process geared to exclude them. A government who will ruthlessly attack the weakest members of society is despicable. Theresa May is an integral part of that. 

The Tories have presided over a series of cruel cuts to the NHS & social care. Increasingly large chunks of our health service have been sold off. Hospital closures, wage freezes & shrinking budgets leave us with a decimated health care system. Try to book an appointment with your gp or get seen at a&e this century and you you will know the struggle is real. Don’t be fooled by the nasty party’s attempts to shift the blame. The NHS is not failing because of immigrants. It is in its knees as a direct result of May & her cronies’ policies.

This post could go easily go on for pages. This a woman who loves selling arms to Saudia Arabia, who is happy to steal pensions from those who have worked all their lives for them, she proposes income tax & national insurance rises for working people whilst pledging 3bn in tax breaks for the rich. May has voted in favour of removing benefits for young adults & a whole raft of anti lgbtq+ proposals. Her party is responsible for Brexit & her ‘little England’ rhetoric is likely to destroy any chance of positive negotiations. Listen, this bitch held Trump’s hand; she can not be trusted.

I know there will be some people dying to question my feminist credentials for this, but let’s be clear, the PM is not a feminist. She’s the leader of a party who is cool with humiliating & endangering rape survivors. They promised to direct the taxes from sanitary products to women’s charities. They ended up funding an anti abortion group. Last year Phillip Davies (Tory MP), attempted to derail legislation designed to target violence against women. Only this week Mrs May gave her support to Tory Mp hopeful, Peter Cuthbertson a man who says that ‘promiscuous’ women are likely to make false rape allegations. Theresa May is no friend to women & it is incumbent upon those who are to hold her to account. 

So, congratulations, Theresa. You are my official anti woman of the Week (month, year). Both you & your party are toxic. 


Please, please, please do not give this anti woman (or her party) your vote. This election is not about finding the perfect candidate. This is survival. If you value a compassionate & fair society, DO NOT VOTE CONSERVATIVE. Get tactical, put that X wherever it will defeat the Tory candidate.