Saturday, 27 August 2016

CHARITY SHOPPING: My Top 10 Tips







One of the things I get asked a lot is how I manage to find so many items in charity shops and while there isn't a magical formula there are some tips that I always go by!

1. Be Open Minded.

Although I have a general wishlist going on in my mind (Ive wanted a black jumpsuit for about 2 years now) don't feel dissapointed if you can't get exactly what you want. Its better to have a general idea of what you want. That said I remember one day in April when I wanted a black maxi dress, a striped dress, a denim jacket and some brogues and managed to get all things in one day! 

2. Ignore sizings!

I cannot stress this one enough! I have clothes from a size 8 to a size 24, small to xx large and also shoes from a 5 to an 8 (when I am a 7). Things tend to end up in charity shops because whoever bought them didnt try them on and just went for their size and lo and behold it didnt fit. Also it depends how you like things to fit, I knew I wanted a baggy denim jacket so I made sure I bought it in a bigger size.

3. Look at a rail and feel the material.

I tend to go along a rail of clothing looking and feeling at the same time so that patterns and textures jump out to me. Sometimes I will like the look of something but it feels such bad quality I leave it. On the other hand I might be drawn to something in a pattern or colour I wouldnt't normally if it feels luxurious.

4. Have an idea of what you want to pay.

I think knowing that 90% of my wardrobe is from the charity shop I have a rough idea of what I want to pay for clothes. I will very rarely go above £5 for a dress unless I really love it, its designer or brand new with tags on. So I will often look at an item, decide in my head what I would be willing to pay and put it down if its more than that. Some shops such as the AGE UK will reduce items that have been there a while and so its worth going regularly.

5. Dont be dissapointed if you find nothing.

I have had days where I have trapsed around Leicester for hours and come home empty handed. Dont be tempted to just buy somthing because you dont want to go home empty handed, its such a waste of your money.

6. Visit shops regularly 

I used to go into the shops most days on my way to work when I worked in the city centre but now I tend to visit once a week. Its worth asking when your favourite shops put new stock out, some its daily and others its weekly.

7. Wear something comfy and easy to get in and out of

If I am going into town for the sole purpose of charity shopping I generally wear a vest top and leggings. This means I can try things like coats, jumpers and dresses on in the shop (if there isnt a changing room or if its busy) some shops don't give refunds which leads me on to my next point ...

8. Try everything on!

This is something I have had to install as a sort of rule in my charity shopping bible over the last few months. I have had so many pieces that I was sure would fit and got home and found that they either didnt or they were super unflattering on my shape ( Lucky for you if you are coming to my frocktober event you will probably get your hands on some of these things)  

9. Find good quality basics

While some shops price everything based on the brand, others tend to do blanket all pieces of a certain type for a set price. One of my favourite pieces I got in this kind of deal was a Zara skater skirt for £1. Its a deep forest green colour and I wear it all the time in the winter. Call me a charity shop snob but I begrudge paying for primark items when I know the higher branded items will last longer and more often than not be around the same price.

10. Enjoy Yourself!!

One of the most important things is to enjoy yourself. If charity shopping stresses you out then its not worth it. I love hunting for bargains and seeing what I can find. I spend ages going through all the rails, the homewear, talking to the staff (and making friends along the way) 
So there you go! Do you have any tips that I may have missed out?


Did you know I have a lifestyle blog? You can follow it HERE.
 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

BODY POSIITIVE: Exercise, Diet and Diet Culture



So something I haven't mentioned on this blog before is that I was a Slimming World devotee. As far as diets go, its the most sane thing I have ever done, however I feel that looking back my problem with weight loss and goals is that I am never satisfied. There is always a smaller pair of jeans to fit into. Another number to achieve. The goal posts are always changing. I might be a size 10, but then there is a size 8 skirt I want to fit in. I could be happily be eating a diet which suits me and my body and then some study will tell me that its not healthy.

I found that the thinner I got the more neuortic I got. I found more and more bits of my body I didnt like. I found things I hated that I had never noticed before. Everything because about weight and nothing felt as important as what the scales said at the end of the week. I remember once, after being in hospital ridiculously poorly, very bloated and swollen, I cried because I had a gain. I feel silly saying that now but it ruined my week. I also remember feeling really sad on holiday that despite losing 2 stone I hadnt reached my target.


My IBS makes it hard to "eat clean" and if I am honest I dont think its something I would want to do anyway. I have a big issue with fructose which really upsets my stomach and takes out most fruits I enjoy. I can't eat onion or garlic. I can't seem to eat eggs. I can eat avocado and sweet potatoe in small amounts, but too much, upset stomach. I can only eat white bread, anything with wholegrain and I am running for the toilet. You might this is too much information but this is just my life.


Despite this, I am not totally happy with my body at the moment.

I have been debating whether to write this post at all. I sometimes think being body positive has left me feeling quite anxious about upsetting the community. I dont think my body looks bad because I am fat, I have numerous debates about people claiming that I am not fat I am beautiful ... when 90% of the time I feel like I am both. The issue is at the moment my body doesn't feel good. It feels sluggish. My joints are aching, my belly is sore and I dont feel like the vibrant young thing I want to be. Now I am not naive, I know the fact I suffer from chronic health issues means I wont always feel great but Im sure if I ate a bit better and exercised a little more I would feel better.


So how am I going to do this while staying body positive?

No Scales. I am not torturing myself. When I was at Slimming World I used to weigh myself every single day and thats not good for anyone. I am not aiming for a number so why is it important? The most important measure to me is how I am feeling.

No Numbers. Similiar to the above I am not going to be counting anything. No calories, no weight, no macros, no fats, no dress size.

Exercise because it feels good, not as a punishment. I used to spend a lot of time thinking oh I have just eaten a huge meal I need to exercise it off. Its completely screwed up. I want to do more yoga, Id like to start dancing and me and the hubby are going to be running a half marathon next year in aid of LOROS. I am doing these things as I hope they will help my body feel good.

Symptom control as the main focus. I am going to be looking at how I feel when I eat certain foods and that will dictate what I eat. For example I know that apples make me poo. I know that too much dairy brings me out in a rash and I know that plain crisps make me feel so good when I am feeling nauseous.

Not ever hate the body I am in. Above all else I need to continue loving myself. I need to tell myself I am beautiful, no matter what anyone else thinks. I need to continue to dress how the hell I want and hopefully empower others to do the same!

What do you think?

Did you know I have a lifestyle blog? You can follow it HERE.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

FASHION: I Dont Know About You But Im Feeling ... 10





Tshirt - EWM via Life Charity shop £1
Dungarees - New Look via BHF £4.49
Coat - moto via LOROS £4.50

I was going to edit the grafitti out of these pictures but I thought I would keep them in as a cultural reference within my village. Its a reference to the fact that some dude called Ben sells drugs. No idea where though.

Anyway the outfit. I havent wanted to try a pair of dungarees ever since I saw someone say on social media that fat girls shouldnt wear dungarees. Im a rebel like that you know. I had struggled for ages to find a pair that fit me right and I was almost giving up when I saw this pair in the BHF shop in Leicester (who I am very reliabley informed are having a sale at the moment by my sources on the inside) I snapped it up. It was post night shift and I will admit, I broke my own rule by buying it without trying it on. LUCKILY though when I got home and tried them on the fit like a dream. I feel I have strange proportions with big belly and bum but small legs and boobs so to find this that fit was amazing.

The tshirt was a right bargain a just £1. I am really starting to try and find some basic pieces with a little something that makes them special and the little heart on this was just too beautiful to resist.

I totally wasnt sure about the outfit at first (I wore it to the East Midlands Blogger Meet) as I felt about 10 but actually it was really comfortable and it pushed me out of my comfort zone and thats always a good thing

Did you know I have a lifestyle blog? You can follow it HERE.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

FROCKTOBER: What Is It?




For those of you who don't know in March 2012 we lost my father in law to cancer. Up until that point in my life I had been really lucky not to lose anyone close to me, and it was such a shock. Despite the horrible situation one thing helped us in more ways than we could imagine: LOROS hospice.

Every year they care for 2500 people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in their hospice and Leicester and they cared for Rob in his final days. I have always been super grateful for not only the way they cared for him, but also looked after us as we approached the end of his life. So, if you read the 101 in 1001 list over on my lifestyle blog you would see that I have pledged to raise £1000 for LOROS in this time. I am petrified as I have never really done any fundraising on my own before, but I am determined to do this in Rob's memory.



So, the first campaign I am going to be getting involved is is Frocktober and I am going to be getting involved in this in the following three ways:

1. I am going to be blogging everyday in October.

Yes. There will be a LOROS related post on this blog everyday in October and that slightly terrifies me. This is going to be a mix of outfit posts from LOROS shops, a few looks around their shops and a few posts about them to raise awareness.

2. I am going to be holding my own Frock Swap Event.

I have never in my life hosted an event so this scares me. I will be hosting a frock swap event in Leicester at the cookie on October 22nd. The basic premise is that anyone is welcome to come along and bring some clothes they no longer want, leave a donation for the charity and also take away a new outfit for free. I am hoping that I can get some bloggers involved in this to then blog their outfits and further raise awareness of how charity shopping helps charities

You can find all the details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/267286713653312/

3. I am attending LOROS Frock, Swap and Shop.

On the 29th October I am attending the LOROS frock swap and shop event at the hospice itself. I will be taking along a bag of my clothes (If I have any left from my event!) and they will be bringing along a selection of clothes and accessories from their shops aswell as some other local sellers bringing their items!

I hope to see some of you at my event and would love for people to get involved in any way possible!! Let me know if you have any ideas! I have also set up a Just Giving page for my £1000 in 1001 days campaign here

Did you know I have a lifestyle blog? You can follow it HERE.



Saturday, 13 August 2016

BODY POSITIVE: A Little Wobble.




I sometimes feel that from the minute you declare you are body positive there is this expectation for you to be happy with your body all the time. For you strut your fabulous fat body around every day proclaiming how much you love it and declaring that everything is as fantastic as you are. That's what I thought anyway, embracing my body as it is and stopping spending time hating it. I thought once I had got over the initial fear of posting a photo of myself in a belly showing dress on the internet out of the way it would be easy! Oh how wrong I was.

Picture this, your having a good time with all your blogger friends, a mixture of course but a lot of girls who write about beauty etc. Your feeling a little tired after a run of 3 night shifts but happy to be in there company. You go to the event you are there for and are greeted by the loveliest PR team and the loveliest salon. Then you realise that your friend is blogging having her hair done and in the background you are stood side on, with belly sticking out like your about 8 months pregnant. You have a laugh about with the only other bigger blogger there but inside you feel sick. Actually more than that, you feel angry for even caring that your belly is sticking out because YOU ARE BODY POSITIVE so why should it matter.

You then sit down to have your hair done and feel a little embarrassed that you have come to this event with your hair looking so terrible. I mean its a salon opening for christs sake! But then, you have just finished a run of nights, and its been raining and humid and it wasn't thins frizzy when you left the house, and you can cut yourself some slack girl. Theres a stylist with the most gorgeous hair straightening yours and you see it start to look smoother and think ahh this is quite nice.

You then look in the mirror again. You realise how awful your boobs look. You were too in pain to wear a proper wired bra that would have made them look round and lush, so you have on a kind of sports bra type thing but when you sat down they seemed to both head for opposite sides just pointing down like a sad smile. You try to straighten up in the chair a little and hope no one near you is vlogging at this very moment.

When your hair is finished you smile and say thankyou and feel like someone who has her shit together with straight silky hair and vow to yourself youll spend all the money on all the products to make it look like this all the time. You carry on enjoying yourself until its time to say goodbye and then go off to the cinema with the hubby.

You catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror in the toilets. Your hair looks so flat and lacks in personality almost, and think this is just not me. You rough it up a little and start to feel more you. You look at yourself in the mirror longer, looking at your belly in that dress, and think you know what I am fabulous. I'm fat, suffer from anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, IBS and some other yet to be diagnosed conditions and yet here I am making the most of the life I am living. I have this huge friendship group that before my blog I never had. I go out, without Tom. I get the bus, the coach, the train ALL ON MY OWN to go to events - sometimes ones where I don't know anyone. I go to work and hopefully help people through some of the worst times in their lives, and make it a little easier for them.

You go to Tesco, purchase some treats and thoroughly enjoy them.

Then, after a mammouth sleep you wake up the next day, in pain but feeling calm. Your hair is a little messy, but that's just who you are. You got this girl.

Did you know I have a lifestyle blog? You can follow it HERE.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

BUYERS ARCHIVE: July



The Buyers Archive was started by Elise over on her blog and is a monthly kind of audit of all the things you have bought that month. I was meant to be on a 100 day spending ban but life got in the way and I bought all the things this month. It was my birthday month though, and actually I didnt buy as much as I could have done! Anyway, this is the first time including this on my new fashion blog and every month I will be documenting what I have added to my wardrobe and how much I have spent!

So last month I decided I needed more summery dresses. I managed to buy 6 dresses and only one I could really count as summery ... Im not sure whether I failed my mission or succeeded haha. The first dress spotted my eye as soon as I walked into the Extra Care charity shop. It reminded me of the newspaper dress Carrie wears in SATC and I just had to have it. Its made of really stretchy material, so it stretches over the belly! When I got to the till the lady told me all the womanswear was buy one get one free so I picked up the dotty one too. It has a lacey back too and will be lovely when I want to dress up a little. So those two came in at £4.99. Dress 3 is a next dress that saved my sweaty ass in London! Stretchy elastic and the top with tie sleeves, its made of loose cotton, thin enough to be cool but thick enough not to show off your undies and was £3 from the Age UK shop

The next two dresses came in a bundle on ebay. I am not certain about the one on the left but I loved the second one. Its definately not a summer piece as it has long sleeves, but I think will be perfect once we start transitioning into autumn and maybe on into winter. I paid £5.70 for the two including postage. The last one I bought while we were in London from Stradivarius (shock horror its not second hand!) Its like a shirt dress with a big thinck jumper underneath. Its slightly small for me so we will have to see what its like when winter rolls around. I paid £5.99 for it.


I added three bags to my collection this month! The one on the left was a birthday present from my parents. Its from Zara and I think still available :) The other two were ebay purchases! I have mentioned before I have a bit of an obsession with the novelty bags they sell at accessorize  but as a genral rule only by them on sale or second hand. The owl bag is one I had bid on and lost a few times on ebay but this month it became mine for £3.99 including postage. The sequin clutch reminded me very much of 90s Geri Haliwell and gave me all the spice girls feels and so I had to snap it up for £4.79 including postage!



My parents kindly also bought me the shoes that match the Zara bag for my birthday and so they are going into my collection! The shoes on the right I bought from Cath Kidston for £19 in the sale. I was originally looking for some vintage converse but having no luck I found these and was more than happy with my purchase! The pair in the middle have an interesting story. On my birthday I went out with my blogger pals for an afternoon tea, and Kirstie's shoes were rubbing her. So we went on a mission to buy her a new pair of shoes. I spotted these Joe Browns sequin ballet shoes in the LOROS shop for £3. Luckily my shoes have worked out better than me for Kirstie whos flip flops broke by the time we had walked up the high street!

So my total spend for July was: £50.46

Thats not bad at all really for the amount I have bought. As I write this I have already purchased a few items for next months archive and I predict ill be spending around the same, maybe less

Did you know I have a lifestyle blog? You can follow it HERE.


Saturday, 6 August 2016

FASHION: All that glitters isn't gold ...





Dress: Pussycat London (bought from Marie Curie) £4

Bag: Accessorize (bought from ebay) £3.99

Boots: Zara Sale £29.99

So when the hubby and I went to London for my birthday weekend I decided to crack out this dress. I totally love it, but before I decided to love my body I would never have worn something like this. I mean glittery dress AND glittery boots when we were getting the tube and I definately wouldnt blend in are you crazy? But I did it because I bloody love this dress and if you can't wear glitter for your 26th birthday when can you wear glitter?

The dress was an amazing bargain a while ago from the Marie Curie shop. Brand New with tags and only £4 I couldn't pass up on the opportunity. I hadnt worn it for ages because of the back. I was always stressing about the fact I couldnt wear a bra, but hey I have no boobs really so in the end I just got on with it! The Zara boots I bought on impulse in the January sales because who doesn't need black glittery boots. They arent the sort I could wear all day as they pinch my toes a little but apart from that they are quite easy to walk in.

I finished off with the owl bag. Accessorize novelty bags are my guilty pleasure but I tend to only buy them on ebay, in the sale, or at the airport and Im amassing quite a collection now!

Did you know I have a lifestyle blog? You can follow it HERE.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

BODY POSITIVE: Feeling Uncomfortable a.k.a being fat in a heatwave.


I thought today I would talk to you guys about being fat in this hot weather. As I have mentioned before I am currently at my biggest I have been, and actually trying my hardest to love my body as it is. However this weather we have had recently seems to have totally floored me. I have been incredibly uncomfortable and my mind went straight to the - You wouldnt be this uncomfortable if you were thin - monologue. However, I am determined not to slip back into being negative about my body. I am going to hopefully write another post next week about where my mind is going in regards to being body positive and weight loss and issues around that but for now I want to talk about things that have helped me through this heat wave!!

Problem One: The Chub Rub

Oh god this has been the most horrendous thing I have ever experienced. When I went out in my maxi dress last weekend I thought I had the perfect outfit. Flowy and cool (oh and £5.49 from the BHF shop last year) I thought I am going to be comfortable all day. Oh how wrong I could have been. After only about 30 minutes walking around in the heat, getting the tube and subsequently getting sweaty thighs I had the most angry rash on my inner thighs, more commonly known as chub rub. If you have never experienced it, it basically feels like walking around with a piece of sandpaper between your thighs.

Solutions: first line of defence for me was talc. I bought johnsons baby one but really any will do. Get yourself into any toilet or non crowded place and cover yourself in it. It soaks up the sweat and lets your thighs glide with ease. Secondly I bought some leggings. £3 cropped leggings from primark (you can see them peeking out in the picture above) which just stopped my thighs rubbing together and meant that I could then put sudocream on my rash and not make it worse

Problem Two: Excessive Sweating

It seems that in our soceity people are not supposed to sweat - unless youre in the gym and then it is seen as some kind of badge of honour and the sweatier the better right? Yet there seems to be a huge rise on the internet of shaming the sweaty person. You know the gross sweaty person that gets there picture shared all over the internet? Well thats me. As soon as I get a little bit hot I sweat from every available place.

Solution: Light clothes, cold baths and showers and just trying not to care. I used to wear black clothes to try and hide it. Now I just think, you know what, Im a sweaty person. Even at my thinnest I was. So I try and wear the floatiest dresses, drink ice cold drinks at any opportunity. Keep my thick hair tied up in a bun (even if it makes me look like an onion) and remember that life isnt just about how I look. So even when I look like a sweaty onion I am going to be enjoying myself.

Problem Three: Sleep

Oh god thrying to sleep in a heat wave is a nightmare. I sleep naked anyway (theres an image for you!) but I have to snuggle down under something. Also, waking up in a hot sweaty mess is so attractive.

Solution: Cold bath before bed. Some people are not into this, and it takes my breath away at first but I have loved getting into a cold bath. We also have a fan in the bedroom, and I have taken my duvet out of the cover and I just snuggle down under that!

So there you go, thats how I have been coping in the heat wave! Do you guys have anything different you do to stay cool?

Did you know I have a lifestyle blog? You can follow it HERE.