Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Secret Santa #1

I joined in quite a few swaps and things at Christmas, and I think that this one was from the swap put together by Char. (If I'm wrong, please do let me know!). I left all my Secret Santa gifts until Christmas Day to open and this was the first one.

I got a gorgeous scarf with flowers on it, an Orla Keily notebook that is the perfect size for my handbag, a chocolate, a Barry M sparkly red nail polish, a little purse, chocolates, and handmade mint chocolate fudge :)

Thank you Santa, I love it all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I Wore December 21st

I bought this dress in an Asos sale in either late October or early November, but I was saving it until closer to Christmas and I'm glad I did as I think it's quite festive!

It's got really soft stretchy printed checks, and a soft skirt which falls to below my knees. For my preference it would be about three inches shorter and I may take it up, but I love the checks and the sleeve length. When Asos does things like this, they're bang on.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Silly selfie

I just thought I'd share this photo that I snapped of myself in the car the other day. I recently redid my hair black and really like how it looks.

For years and years I dyed my hair red - my hair naturally is light brown with a definite red flash (my dad's family has red hair) - and I loved it. Then I had it blue and then pink this time last year, and when that grew out I dyed it purple. That didn't altogether cover the bleached parts, so over the summer I dyed it black.

I had black hair when I was a teenager, but not for years since then. I really like it, though, and think it suits me. It makes my eyes look really pale and amazing. I will keep doing it until I get bored again, I'm sure! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Nail bling

Recently I bought a lucky dip of nail polishes from Nails Inc. They're really good value so I recommend setting up an account with them so you get sent notification of their sales etc. I love Nails Inc for their range of colours and the quality of the polish. 

This is Great Tichfield Street and it's a gorgeous gold with a pink flash. I will definitely use it again. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What My Mum Wore

Another edition of What My Mum Wore! To remind you, she's mid 50s and a size 18/20. On a shopping trip to Leeds recently she made her first foray into leggings and dresses. She bought herself leggings and a dress, and I bought her a dress that will be a Christmas gift. I'm very proud of her that she picked up things that she wanted, even though she was worried she was too old for this look (she isn't - no one is. Wear what you like!) 

She sent me this picture that she had worn and had a lot of comments about. This tunic was from Evans a few years ago and the leggings are in Yours. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What I Wore Festive Edition

I'm so behind with blogging! I'm hoping to get a little bit back in the swing of blogging over Christmas when I have some time to get things written. The past few weeks have been very busy and quite stressful, but although I've got another full day at work to do, I'm already feeling festive as we've been to visit Lee's family in Durham.

Anyway, I've been wearing this t-shirt and jumper quite a lot recently, for work, where I've been out for two delicious lunches. The t-shirt was from New Look a few weeks ago, and the jumper was from Simply Be in the sales in January.

The jumper is so snuggly and cosy, but doesn't have stupidly long sleeves.

How cute is this penguin?!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My new tattoos

I don't think I've posted about my tattoos before. I have 7 now; I've got them all over the past 7 years. If I had unlimited funds I would have a million tattoos, I love them.

I had two new ones done on Friday. The yarn ball and crochet hook was something I started thinking about when I took up crochet last year. The lotus flower was something my artist had drawn and had offered to tattoo. I just thought it was really pretty. I don't think tattoos have to have any huge meaning behind them (although it's cool if they do) - they can just be pretty art for your skin.

My tattooist is Nini at The Ink Station in Heckmondwike. My first two weren't done by her but now I wouldn't let anyone else tattoo me. She designed the yarn ball after I said what I wanted. I wasn't sure what colour I wanted, so the two of us stood in front of all the bottles of ink trying to decide! I love the blue/teal colours though.

This is on my inner forearm. I have two more tattoos below it. 

This is on my ankle just above the bone. It's my first tattoo not on my arms!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Here's What I Would Have Spent

So this is a post about what I would spend with certain retailers if they stocked my size, and it was the brainchild of Debz over at Wannabe Princess. After all, we have money to spend but how are we to do that if retailers don't cater to us?

Now Missguided has only recently come on to my radar. They have a plus size line but it stops at a size 24 which is unlikely to fit me and frankly I don't feel like taking the chance. Sending stuff back is such a hassle! I had a look at the website though, as these things jumped out at me.

Plus Size Crushed Velvet Skater Dress BlackPlus Size Reindeer Print Christmas Jumper

I absolutely love these velvet dresses (they're available in black, burgundy and green) and would probably own them all if they were a 26 or 28. They appease my inner 15 year old goth

I love this cute Rudolph jumper for Christmas, isn't it lovely? I would love this.

Plus Size Tartan Mesh Panel Skater SkirtPlus Size Chunky Knit Jumper Mustard

This checked midi skirt is just gorgeous. I would wear it with a black t-shirt.

The mustard jumper looks so cosy for the winter, I'd love it.

The prices of all the above are £20-£25 which I think is great. It's just a real shame that the range doesn't fit me!

Other bloggers taking part in the challenge are:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas tradition tag

I stole this from my lovely friend Beth

1. When does Christmas start for you?
I start buying presents in September or October as it spreads the cost a bit. I usually have them all wrapped by the beginning of December but I'm so behind due to doing Nanowrimo. I need to get a move on! 
2. What is one Christmas movie you must watch? 
Lee and I usually watch Die Hard as we put the Christmas tree up. I'm not much of one for a Christmas film.
3. Do you bake a Christmas cake or buy one?
My mum always bakes one and Lee doesn't like fruit cake so I've never bothered, but this year I actually have. We baked it a couple of weeks ago but I still need to ice it. I've bought the decorations and everything, I just haven't done it yet. 
4. When do you put up your Christmas tree?
The first weekend of December usually but as the 1st was a Monday this year we actually put it up on 30th November!
5. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?
We have a fake one that we bought when we moved in together, but a couple of years ago I wanted a real one like we had when I was little. We've decided we're going to alternate, so we bought one from The Range this year; it's only about 5' tall but it's lovely. 
6. When do you start playing Christmas music?
I will listen to Christmas music in October if I want to!
7. Do you use the same Christmas decorations each year or buy new ones?
We have a lot of old ones from my childhood and from our life together, but we usually add a new one. This year's is a dove carved out of cinnamon wood, it smells delicious!
8. How do you spend Christmas Eve?
I often see my friends and sometimes Lee works half day, but then we get everything together and head to my Mum's. 
9. Advent calendar or no advent calendar?
I often have a chocolate one, and for the past few years I've done an advent swap of 24 little presents. I'll post about this later!
10. Do you leave a snack out for Santa and his reindeers?
No but I used to when I was litt.e 
11. How does Santa get into your house?
We never had a chimney when I was little so Santa came in through the window I think.
12. Mince pies, yay or nay?
Love them!
13. Snowballs, eggnog, or mulled wine?
Snowballs or mulled wine, both delicious!
14. What scents remind you of Christmas?
Like a cinnamon-y orange, or a pine tree
15. How do you spend Christmas Day?
I always wake up really early but I wait until about 9 to get up. I always wear a special outfit and we usually have Buck's Fizz for breakfast. We spread out our lunch and our presents throughout the day and often eat pudding around 8pm. We'll quite often play a game, and there's lots of alcohol for me. It's a really relaxed day. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

So although posts have been scheduled here, I haven't actually been around or writing much in the way of future posts - meaning that December might be quiet. This is because I was doing NaNoWriMo. This stands for National Novel Writing Month (even though it is international). You write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days, averaging out at 1667 words per day. This isn't the length of a complete novel but for me it's around two-thirds of a Young Adult novel.

I attempt Nano a lot of years but have actually only managed the goal twice previously - way back in 2005 and 2006. But this year I had a lot of a novel that was swimming round in my head so I took the plunge - and seemed to take it much more seriously than before. My friend Stephanie had a chat room where we would sprint for small stretches and battle for the most words. That really helped me along, but mostly it was a hard slog.

I had a couple of days off when I was too busy to be at my computer, but I managed to have only 3,000 words remaining on Thursday night, so I decided to finish on Saturday the 29th so that I could have Sunday free for Christmas things. I managed it! I validated my word count at around 8pm on Saturday.

The last week was brutal, and all through the month I haven't slept very well. I'm recovering slowly - I slept til noon yesterday and til 11 today. I pushed myself and my physical and mental health will suffer for a bit.

But! The novel is there! It isn't perfect. It will need editing and babying to perfection. But I can do that. I am planning to not even open it until after Christmas, and then spend January editing and working on it.

I am so proud of myself - it's quite an achievement :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day Trip to The Deep 15th November

The Deep Aquarium in Hull has been there for 11 years but I've never managed to go even though I live only just over an hour from it. Then last week I got a ticket for Lee to go to a gaming expo in Hull, so while he was doing that my mum and stepdad and I went to The Deep.

We arrived at 10.45 and had some breakfast as we'd had an early start and needed food. Then we started the tour, starting with evolutionary history and a beautiful tank of jellyfish. At the centre of the museum is a huge tank with really big fish in, some sharks, some stingrays, and two sawfish. You can see this tank at varying different levels from both top and bottom. At the top of it there's a part where a member of the crew was showing starfish and crabs to children.

Then there were gentoo penguins! We could watch a crew member feed them! There's about 10 and they queued up very patiently for their fish. The penguins are new I think.

We saw lots of fish (3,500 apparently) both tropical and non-tropical, and saw the penguins swimming from further down. We had lunch, finally, having spent 4 hours there! I don't think we were particularly slow, either.

They also have a great deal on where, if you fill in a form when you arrive, you can return for free within a year! So it's like buy one get one free on your tickets! Bear in mind that tickets are only around £10 each anyway, I think that's a bargain. We will definitely go back, maybe next summer. Tickets are cheaper if you buy them online, too.

All the following photos were taken by my stepdad. Flash photography is not allowed but otherwise you can take as many photos as you'd like.

There's quite a lot of photos because I just liked them all!

Me and my Mum - I was wearing that Joe Brown's dress I wrote about a little bit ago, and the Beth Ditto heart cardigan from a few years ago.

Pretty jellyfish

One of the stingrays

Nemo! There were three clown fish and they did keep hiding in the anemone

This is a redbellied catfish

More jellyfish

The sawfish

Tropical fish hiding in the coral

Beautiful sweet penguin

Both of the stunning sawfish

Underneath of the stingray


I loved the colour of this tropical fish

And this one! 

We had such a great day, I'd definitely recommend it for a trip.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What I Wore November 12th

I went to an important meeting for one of my jobs on November 12th, one where I prefer to wear sleeves that go at least to my elbows. I bought this top about three years ago as I liked the pattern. I don't wear it often and usually just for work. It's quite a thick material so I tend to save it for colder months.

It came from Evans and I wore it here with a black skirt. Sorry for the bathroom picture but there was no one in to take a photo for me!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Review - Every Day by David Levithan

So you may know that I'm a writer with a passion for Young Adult novels; I'm currently writing my own for my MA. I read a lot of YA stuff, so I have of course heard of David Levithan. This was my first time reading anything by him, though. This book was recommended to me as part of my collection of LGBTQ YA fiction and I finished it last night.

Okay so the basic premise of the book is that A, our protagonist, who has no specific gender and no specific sexuality, wakes up every day in the body of a different teenager. Sometimes they're a boy, sometimes a girl. Sometimes something extraordinary happens, but usually it's just an ordinary day where A goes to school, talks to the teenager's friends and parents, and tries to not disrupt things too much. A is very moral, which is obvious at the end of the book. I actually really like the ending, even though much of the internet doesn't agree with me. 

One day, A wakes up at Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend Rhiannon. A falls for her pretty badly, so over the next few days they go back to see her, in different bodies of course. Then they tell her the truth about who they are and the two of them sort of start up a relationship. 

The LGBTQ stuff in this book is great. A wakes up as a boy who goes to Pride with his boyfriend, and later as a girl in her girlfriend's arms. One time they wake up as a trans boy. While Rhiannon is straight, she doesn't mind when A turns up to see her as a girl and even kisses them as a girl sometimes. 


I'm really appalled that I have to write a 'but' for this novel. I expect better from my Young Adult authors, especially those who are trying be representative of teens' real experiences. 

There's a horribly fatphobic part to this novel which, frankly, ruins it for me. 

On Day 6025, A wakes up as Finn, who "must weight at least three hundred pounds". A "has been heavy before", but never this heavy. Finn's size comes from "negligence and laziness", he sweats when he gets out of the shower, he is "a sphere of darkness submarining through the halls", he has to take another shower after school because fat people sweat all the time amirite. His best clothes are an XXXL shirt and size 46 jeans and chairs wobble under him. He wheezes in the movie theater. 

Usually when Rhiannon sees A, she can see them under whatever the outer looks like. Not today, though. She says "Usually I can. Some glimmer of you in the eyes. But not tonight" and also "When I see you like this, I don't [feel anything]." A thinks this is flattering, in some eyes. Their real soul clearly isn't a fat person, because ewww. They don't kiss each other on this day, and they don't hold hands in the cinema. There's no way, obviously, that Rhiannon could be attracted to this fat boy. No one 'normal' could be. 

I'm disgusted at the author, frankly. I think this is so clumsy and so terrible to fat teenagers who might be reading this book. I actually put it down in shock and wasn't sure whether to continue, and I'm 30 years old. A more fragile psyche may be permanently damaged and I think YA authors have more of a duty to teenagers than that.

Finn, the 300lb sixteen year old, is as worthy of love and affection as anyone else. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

What I Wore November 4th

On November the 4th I went to work wearing a very different outfit to this and about halfway through my day I realised I had a stain on my top half! This happens sometimes and is not one bit glamorous. I got changed before I headed back out.

I went to an event in Sheffield about LGBT+ bullying towards young people. It was really amazing, there were researchers and practitioners and young people and it felt like a really safe space to talk about issues and to listen to young people. I went as I thought it would inform my writing, and I really think it did.

Anyhow, this is what I wore.

This jumper was from Simply Be in the sale last New Year. It's really soft to touch and I like the 3/4 sleeve length and the colour.

This top was from New Look just a couple of weeks ago. I liked the mesh detail on the top.

A better close up of the mesh. I felt a bit like my boobs were too much on show, but in the photos I think I was worrying over nothing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pookledo Giveaway!

My friend Sarah has a jewellery business called Pookledo. She's self-employed now and running the business full time, so I try to support her as I believe in supporting women and small businesses! I've recently bought three pairs of Christmas themed earrings, for the bargain price of £5!

Sarah offered me the chance of a giveaway item to run on my blog, so we decided we'd give you the opportunity to win a £10 voucher. That way, the lucky winner can choose what they'd like! £10 will get you 6 pairs of earrings or three friendship bracelets!

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway which is really easy if you've never used it before. It is open now and will remain open until the end of November. I will need your email address if you win so Sarah can send you the voucher!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What I Wore October 27th

Many of my friends are teachers or otherwise work in schools, so in half term I made plans to see four of them! On the Monday I went to Meadowhall to meet up with Sarah at Yo Sushi.

I first went with her a few years ago and we often still go. I love to be able to choose 'bits' of food (one reason why I also love tapas type meals) - I don't like to be tied down to one decision! I think my favourite dish on this day was the chicken katsu, Oh, Mondays is Blue Monday at Yo Sushi, where every dish is £2.50 or less.

This dress was from Excite Clothing last year and I have only worn it once before - almost a year ago, in fact. I love the pattern - but the dress just doesn't suit me. The underbust seam actually cuts across my boobs and it feels very uncomfortable, even though in the photo it doesn't look too bad.

I will sell this dress I think, probably on a Facebook group. Ah well, you live and learn!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What I Wore October 25th

Lee and I went out in the evening of October 25th for my friend Laura's 30th birthday party. We went to an Indian restaurant in Huddersfield where we met Laura and her friends and our mutual friend Leanne (who got married in September - unfortunately Adi couldn't come). The food was nice and reasonably priced so I do recommend Mumbai Spice if you're in the area!

I wore this dress from Yours. Lolly gave me it a few weeks ago; it's a size 24 but comes up big. It is past knee length on me so I think if you were a 24 it would be a midi length. I wore a netted skirt under the dress to make it stick out a bit more than it would ordinarily. I also wore tights and my boots had their first outing this autumn!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend Trip to London

A few weekends ago I went to London with my mum and stepdad to see Miss Saigon. Lee was supposed to come with us but it was when his uncle died so he went to Durham to see his family. Instead, I met up with my friend Lucinda after the theatre and we all had food together and she stayed in the hotel with me, so it was lovely to see her.

My parents took me to see Miss Saigon when I was around 9 years old and I loved it so I was keen to see it again. We had tickets in the dress circle right at the top, and we went to the afternoon show, and tickets for around £30. I bought myself a programme and a souvenir brochure which only came to £10 which was a nice surprise. I've still got my programme from last time too! I also got a souvenir mug which is living on my desk.

I wore the Scarlett & Jo prom dress as you can see in the photos below. It's so comfortable but looks really fabulous.

We had food at Wahaca which I recommend, I've been twice now and it's delicious and not too expensive.

Me and my mum

My gorgeous Lucinda

The fab Miss Saigon signs!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Funeral Chic

As I mentioned, Lee's uncle died recently and we went up to Durham (where Lee's from) for the funeral. Now black clothing isn't something I wear often; I like colour and pattern too much. I could have gone for a black top with my long black skirt, but I decided on this black dress from Asos instead. 

I've had it a couple of years and I do like it although I don't wear it often. It's useful for looking professional in. 

I wore tights from the Big Bloomers Company which I heartily recommend as they're great even though these particular ones are thin. I have a tendency to put my fingers through tights and I haven't with these yet. They also stretch ridiculously much, I feel like I could get another person in them with me.

My shoes were from New Look in the Christmas sales this year, they're really comfortable and I thought they were much smarter than my Dr Marten shoes. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What I Wore October 19th

I went to Meadowhall in the middle of October to go shopping with Lolly and Claire, I haven't met Claire before but she was up visiting from London so I went along. We started off in Starbucks and then I braved Primark which I usually hate, but it was early on the Sunday so I dared. I came out with several Christmas presents and a jumper for myself so it was a good trip. I bought Christmas presents for my mother-in-law and my aunt, too. I also bought two tops in New Look with a voucher I had left over from LAST Christmas!

We ate in Ed's Diner which I heartily recommend, especially their milkshakes! I left shortly after lunch, but it was a lovely date with friends.

Here's what I wore. I got this Joe Browns dress in the Simply Be sale and although it was still more than I'd usually like to pay, I do like the quality of it. It's not stretchy but it is lovely cotton and the length is fantastic. It's nice on my boobs without showing off my bra, and I think I will get a lot of wear out of it. It's strappy, so I'm wearing it with my H&M cardigan.

I actually love this picture of myself :) 

Bonus picture of my lovely companions!

Monday, November 3, 2014

What I Wore October 2nd

On the Thursday evening of our holiday (I'm really taking a while to post these, eh?) we went out for something to eat. I had a hankering for steak so we found a pub in a place called Crackington Haven where we shared a starter platter and then I had a yummy STEAK.

I wore this dress from Yours Clothing that I got for modelling it at Style XL. I haven't worn it out yet but it's really nice - the skirt is lined and is chiffon on the top so is nice and soft, and the top part is free of the skirt bit. This is a nice casual holiday look I think.

Please excuse my expression and the fact that I'm so lopsided!