Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Swimathon 2015

I first heard of Swimathon when someone I know on Facebook signed up for it. I clicked across and saw that there are three levels for it - 1.5km, 2.5km, and 5km, and that the 1.5km and the 5km can be swum in teams. The 1.5km pool equated to 60 lengths of a 25 metre pool, so 20 each between me, my mum, and Lee. That seemed like an achievable goal.

My mum and I go swimming at our gym every week, but that's a 20 metre pool and to be honest I wasn't sure how many we usually swam. But I persuaded her we could do it and signed us all up. The website was fine for me to use but I have heard other people with complaints about it.

When my mum and I first went to our pool, we knew we had to do 25 of our lengths - and we did, easily. Since then, we've been each week and done at least 25, but up to 32 or 34. We were also doing it without resting or touching the bottom, even though by Swimathon's rules you're allowed to rest.

I was doing 25 lengths in 20 minutes by last week, so I decided that that was my aim for Swimathon itself - 20 lengths in the bigger pool, in 20 minutes. Lee was going first, then my mum, and then me.

We swam at Barnsley Metrodome and when we got there it was a bit of a shambles to be honest. I would definitely think Swimathon could do better with this - there was no one from the organisation there so all the Metrodome staff had to count lanes for us.

When it got to my turn I just got in and went for it. I smashed my target - I did 20 lengths in 15 minutes! I was so impressed! We did our 1.5km in an hour dead, which I think is great for us.

We each received medals and then we got changed and went out for something to eat - we were starving!

Here's some photos

My mum and her medal

Lee and I and ours

Isn't it great?!

Swimathon raises money for Marie Curie Cancer Care, and so far we have more than £700 for them, nearly doubling our target. If you would like to sponsor me too, you can do so here:

Next year I'm definitely going to do the 1.5km by myself. I think I could do 40 lengths easily, so with a bit of practice and maybe a rest or two, I'm sure I'll do fine!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Here's What I Would've Spent Challenge - Topshop

Here's what I would've spent in Topshop if they did my size. I've always liked Topshop's aesthetic, it closely matches mine. I've never really shopped there though; I think I got sized out of it before I was really old enough to go there. I sometimes pick up a pair of their shoes secondhand, because I just don't feel like endorsing them with my money since they won't cater to me. 

But, if I could, here's a few things that have caught my eye:

How amazing is this denim pinafore?

I LOVE the pattern of this dress, and the Bardot shoulders

I love the colour of this dress

I LOVE this skirt. I used to have a bag that looked like this. LOVE

I could browse Topshop all day. I so wish they'd make a plus size range. Get on it, Arcadia Group!

Here's the other lovelies joining in this challenge:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Recent nail polish I've been wearing

I've been trying to get into the habit of painting my nails all the time, and trying not to worry so much about putting a top coat on. I use Seche Vite and while I love it, it takes ages to dry and takes planning to do my nails. To this end, I've recently used a couple of matte polishes as they don't require a top coat.

This is a Zoya polish, it's called Phoebe. It's a gorgeous neon blue matte. I really love Zoya polishes

This is a Japanese brand called BK. I got a whole set all in neon colours. This is a fantastic highlighter pink colour.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What I Wore 11th April

I've been writing writing writing and I finally got to a good threshhold on Saturday 11th April. Our new kitchen was sitting in flat packs in the old kitchen which made cooking really difficult, so Lee and I decided to go out for tea. I wanted Mexican food but there's no Mexican restaurant in Barnsley. Lee remembered that there's a Las Iguanas in Meadowhall, so off we went.

I recently got these cardigans from Peacocks for £10 in the sale. I got a kelly green one, a mint green one, and this pale pink one. They're a size 22 but they fit me well enough.

The dress I got from the clothes swap in Sheffield, I believe it was originally Lolly's. It's a Lovedrobe one, I love the pattern on it.

My rose quartz necklace is from Pookledo.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A to Z of me - B

Here's another instalment of the A to Z of me. I missed last month because I'm an idiot, but here I am with B!

An author I love:
Judy Blume - I was obsessed with her books when I was younger, and I still think Forever is an excellent portrayal of a teenaged sexual relationship.
Simone de Beauvoir - I haven't read any of her stuff in ages but she was very formative in my early feminism. 

A band I love:
Babyshambles - I've loved the Libertines for a long time, and Peter's other band too. 
Blur - Blur was the first ever gig I saw, at Leeds Town & Country Club in February 1997. I don't listen to them much now but they meant a lot when I was a teenager.
The Beatles - yes it's obvious but my dad liked them. I'm not keen on much of their stuff but I do LOVE Sgt Pepper. I can listen to it from start to finish and feel comforted. 
Billie Holiday - I did a project on her song Strange Fruit at 6th form and still love to listen to her. 
Bob Dylan - I only got into Bob a few years ago but I especially love Desolation Row and Tangled Up in Blue.

Something I love:
Bees! Lovely black and yellow bees! 

Lee and a couple of my friends call me Bee, as a shortening of Rebecca, so I have lots of gifts from them with bees on them. 

A film I love:
Beautiful Thing - this film, about two boys falling in love during a heatwave in the mid 90s, is one of my favourite LGBTQ films. I love how gentle it is. I recommend it!

Somewhere I have been:
Brussels - Lee and I went the February after I turned 18 in 2002. I'd like to go back now we're older, but I was very proud of how we managed to get there on the Eurostar and get around. I had such confidence then!

Somewhere I would like to go:
Barcelona - I have actually been - we went to the 1992 Olympics when I was 8, but I don't remember much of it. I'd love to see it as an adult.
Someone I know:
My friend Bettie who did an excellent job organising Sheffield Zine Fest again! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Haircut

I hadn't had my hair cut since last July and it was driving me nuts. I used to have waist-length hair which I tied back all the time. It looked shorter because it curled, but straightened it was really long. Then in March 2009 I took the plunge and my mother-in-law cut it all off. Since then I've always worn it down (unless it's really filthy), even when it's grown longer as it had recently.

I hate hairdressers; I hate looking at myself in the mirror for so long, I hate having the sit without my glasses on, I hate not being able to hear what the stylist is saying over the noise of the dryers. I like dyeing my hair but I don't like paying salon prices when Lee can do an equally good job (he's really good at it!). I often get Lee's mum to cut it for me but she's in Durham and I'm not. I went to a salon last July and got an okay cut, and then Lee dyed it black which I actually love.

I had black hair in my teens (such a goth) but hadn't since then, but I think it suits me. It brings out the blue in my eyes and even when it fades it goes to a lovely dark brown that is almost my natural colour. (My natural colour is a mousy brown with a strong auburn hint to it). It's much better than red because when that fades it just looks terrible on me. I'm keeping the black.

My friend Bettie cut my hair on Easter Sunday in my mother's back garden and did an excellent job. This photo was taken before I re-dyed it black, so you can see what I mean about the fade.

I love it - so much better for the summer!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear New Look and Asos - a problem

So a couple of weeks ago my friend Bettie had been looking at the New Look stuff on the Asos website. (I don't really understand why Asos sells this, but any how...) She noticed the price disparity between these two garments:

So the one on the left is from the Inspire range (size 16 to mostly a 28 I think although some go bigger to a 32) and the one on the right is from the Petite range (up to a size 16). And the plus size one is more than two and a half times more expensive.

You can argue that there's more material in the plus size range, and more thread, and a longer zip (if there is one), which I guess is true. But that's also true about the difference between a size 8 and a size 16, and a size 16 and a size 28, but I don't see anyone charging on a sliding scale. Besides, knowing anything about how much these garments are made for means that the difference would be pennies. There's no excuse to be charging £25 more for that difference. I guess I could accept £5 more, maybe, but not £25. 

Bettie tweeted this picture and Asos got in touch with her and asked her a few questions, which were ridiculous bearing in mind that the products were for sale on THEIR website. Anyway they said they'd look into it.

Later that day, Bettie noticed that the Petite range dress had been removed from the website entirely.

So, you'll keep the dress that rips off the fatties and makes you a nice health profit, and you'll not answer WHY the two dresses are so different in price. 

Asos and New Look, this is absolutely a problem and we're getting wise to it. 

As I write this (4th April), the Petite dress still isn't available on the website when you search for "elephant dress". I'll update this if I hear anything else before this goes live. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

What I Wore 2nd April and the power of a photo

On Thursday I went out to see some friends - first I had lunch with Chloe and then I had coffee with Katie and her kids. I wasn't sure what to wear - I wanted sleeves so I didn't have to wear a jacket. It was cool outside but lovely and sunny. I spied this in a pile of clothes and pulled it out. I haven't worn it before. I bought it off a Facebook group, I think it was Debz's but I'm not sure. Whoever it was hadn't worn it either - it still had the tags attached!

When I put it on I wasn't sure about it. It's a nice pattern, and I like the top half with the (fake) buttons. It's got shoulder pads, which were part of the issue, but I could easily cut them out. But the skirt part - it just felt weird. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I wanted to get going to do some writing, so I set off anyway.

I tugged at the dress as I was sitting down in the cafe, and then complained about it to Chloe. But on our way out I asked her to take a photo for the blog. It was a really sunny day so I'm squinting in all of them, but once I looked at them, I decided the dress looked good. Yes, it feels different to some of my other dresses. Yes, I may have to wear it a couple of times before I totally get it. Yes, I will have to concentrate to not keep pulling at it. But, it looks good and I look cute in it, so I will get over it.

Women get a bad rap for taking so many photos of themselves, which quite frankly I think is stupid. A lot of art is basically men painting pictures of women but obviously that's fine because it's men doing it. Women taking photos of themselves is reclaiming their bodies and their own representations and I love it. I have gained confidence from seeing photos of myself as I actually am (and I'd recommend anyone do that too!) and this photo helped me a lot.

I posted it on instragram and on twitter and on Facebook and got some lovely comments. Next time I wear this dress I'll definitely bear them in mind.

Oh - my shoes are an eBay find, originally Clarks. They're so cute and comfortable!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Films I watched in March

I didn't watch many films this month and I only watched one that I haven't seen before. I have however been watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix - I recommend it if you haven't seen it!

1) The Sound of Music - I've only seen this once before in my life! I never saw it growing up; my friends Jacqui and Sam showed me it a few years ago when we went away in the caravan (the same weekend that they also got me into Teen Wolf). I was feeling ill and wanted something comforting so Julie Andrews it was!
2) The Da Vinci Code - I've seen this before but Lee hadn't. Since we watched Angels & Demons last month we decided to watch this. It's utterly ludicrous but I like it.

3) The Maze Runner - This was the only new film I watched. I read the book when I was in Benidorm in 2013. The film has my babes Dylan O'Brien and Kaya Scodelario in it, so I was excited to see it. I did like it, but it wasn't as good as the book.
4) 28 Days Later - I had a hankering to see Cillian Murphy's beautiful face so we watched this.

5) This Is Spinal Tap - we were away in Whitby with friends so watched films we all like. Spinal Tap is genius - if you're into music and you haven't seen it, watch it NOW
6) Team America World Police - I probably wouldn't have chosen to watch this, but I do like it. Mostly.

7) Wayne's World 2 - I've loved both Wayne's World films since I was really too young to understand them totally. I think I prefer the 2nd one, especially the part where they're dressed up as the Village People and you don't realise until you see them all together.
8) The Dark Knight - I've only seen this once or twice before. I love Heath Ledger (still not over the fact that he's dead) but Christian Bale is a ridiculous Batman, and Batman is a ridiculous superhero.

What films should I watch this month?!