Saturday, March 30, 2019

Films of the Month - February

I only watched twelve films in February, but it's a short month and there was loads of good TV on instead! I watched some good stuff, though, and settled down to watch quite a few films with Lee, a perfect activity for a dark evening!

Lee and I love Monsters Inc, it's one of my favourite Pixar films and never gets old

Loads of my friends love Call Me By Your Name so I thought I'd watch it. I liked it but didn't think it was amazing

My friend Jane recommended this spoof documentary to me, and now I'll pass that on. It's really funny and fun to watch

I made Lee watch Bring It One which is one of my favourite teen films. He liked it, he didn't like Mean Girls when we watched that a couple of years ago, so this did better than that! My friend Kate made a Bring It On zine which I had just read

I of course haven't missed all the hype about A Star Is Born so I thought I'd watch it. Lady Gaga is absolutely perfect, but I thought Bradley Cooper was just a bit generic.

Someone had recommended Manchester by the Sea to me. It isn't like I thought, but I liked Casey Affleck and the story is really well done, albeit sad.

My friend Kate is also making a zine about Magic Mike, so I needed to watch the second one to write a piece for her. I liked it, not as much as the first one, but I maintain that these are really feminist films, written for a female gaze and extremely pretty to boot.

Lee and I watched this one Friday evening while we were having tea, I'm not sure if I've ever seen it all before? It's cute

This was on Netflix and looked like fun, and it is. It also has Richard Madden in, who I really like.

I really liked King of Thieves, the true story about the Hatton Garden bank vault robbery a few years ago. It was disconcerting to hear Michael Caine swearing so much! But it's really funny

I watched La La Land while not really sure what to expect. I thought Emma and Ryan were both great, but the story was just lacking? The dancing was excellent, though. 

Lastly Lee and I watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, we saw the trailer when it was at the cinema ages ago and fancied it, so I suggested it. I thought the story was really good and really well done, you didn't really like any of the characters?! Woody Harrelson was great.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Fast Fashion and the Plus Size Consumer

I think generally people are getting more clued in as to why fast fashion is a problem. I recently read this post on Vogue and got thinking about why ethical fashion isn't so easy when you're plus sized. I thought I'd write a post about it because even fashion is political.

I understand that fast fashion has bad parts. People are often exploited in the developing world to make clothing for the developed world. I watched Stacey Dooley's documentary on fast fashion and us wanting a t-shirt for £4 has a huge environmental impact too. What I would say is that for fat people, buying a t-shirt for £4 isn't possible, and that's not fair. It costs more to buy plus size clothing, even if the difference in fabric is accounted for.

It isn't always easy to buy clothes as a fat person anyway, especially as, speaking from experience, someone on the upper end of the size spectrum. Many ranges stop at a size 24. While smaller fats can often buy things in supermarkets and straight size places like River Island, I can't. While smaller fats can, for instance, buy from a choice of 478 dresses on Simply Be right now, the choice at size 30 is half of that number, at 245. This disparity has to be acknowledged by everyone but especially by smaller fats, who often seem willing to throw bigger fats under the bus when they are catered for.

People who want us to stop buying fast fashion often say to shop in charity shops. Yeah, at my size that's not possible. You rarely see anything above a size 22 in charity shops. That's one reason why I love the clothes swaps we have. I get to swap with people my size! Who have things I like! And I get to try on loads of stuff and see if I can make it work for me. At the last swap I picked up a size 24 shirt which I love, and two skirts which are a size twenty, but look good on my body. I love the opportunity to pick things up and take a risk on them, and if I find that they don't work I can take them back to the next swap with no harm done and, crucially, with no money spent.

I would love for there to be charity shops with bigger sizes, though. If I had money, that's what I would do. I do love eBay for plus size clothing - I've bought quite a few Scarlett & Jo dresses from eBay as I had that term saved and got emailed updates. I often buy swimming costumes off eBay because they're SO expensive and I have no qualms about wearing second hand costumes, although I realise that may vary for people. I swear if I was a millionaire I would have bras and swimming costumes hand made for me. I would also recommend joining some fat positive groups on Facebook as they often have sales which is good.

I recently got a cardigan at TKMaxx, it's labelled a size L but was on a size 18 hanger. It fits me, and I think it looks cute. I think it's always worth trying things on and see how they look. I found a very cute cardigan with cherries on, but didn't buy it. I've been on many shopping trips with other fat women and I find them really empowering and encouraging, and I'd recommend doing the same if you don't feel that confident in yourself.

As for so-called ethical clothing, I would like to see them expand their size ranges. Many don't have any plus sized stuff at all. They can also cost a lot and this will exclude a lot of people, so if you do have the money to buy ethically and you're at a size to which it is available, please acknowledge that privilege because lots of us have neither. I understand too that acrylic materials are bad for the environment and may be contributing to plastic in the sea and things like that, but I also want to point out that buying completely natural fibres in plus sizes just isn't possible. Almost everything has some stretch to it, which is made of plastic. Almost nothing is made purely of cotton or wool, and if it is, the price tag would be astronomical. Again, if you can buy natural fibres please be aware that not all of us can.

Lastly, I think a lot of fat people struggle with fear of scarcity. A lot of us, growing up, didn't have many options at all. When I was an older teen, at 6th form, I was sized out of most places at a size 20, and had to rely on a few paltry pages in the La Redoute catalogue, since I didn't like anything in Evans. I understand that there are more options now, but the fear that they might just disappear is really real and can be quite distressing. It's not helped by the fact that while maybe five years ago there were Simply Be shops all over and Evans were demonstrably trying to win new customers, those shops are now closed and Evans has gone back to being all frump all the time. It feels like we've regressed since I started this blog six years ago, and I don't like it. I love the clothes I have now, but I worry that in the future I may not be able to buy such lovely things again. If you've never felt like this, please realise it's probably because you've always been overwhelmed with choice.

I speak only from my experience as a fat woman - I know that for disabled people and non-binary people clothing situations can be even worse, and especially if many minorities intersect. I just kept reading about how we should eschew new clothes and fast fashion, and while I by and large agree, I also wanted to note that for some of us, it just isn't possible.

Monday, March 25, 2019

What I Wore February 23rd

I had a busy day on February the 23rd. It started with a trip to Dewsbury with my mum because we were still looking for fabric for my vow renewal dress - we'd bought most of it in Bradford but wanted something for an overlay on the bodice, so went to Fabworks in Dewsbury. They didn't have what we wanted, but they told us another place to try, which we did. We did buy netting in Fabworks, which I can't wait to show you - it's going to look AMAZING!

We found some organza and then tried yet another place just round the corner. Then we went into a craft shop and looked at the wool and had a hot drink in there. The dress is going to look perfect and I can't wait.

We then headed to Wakefield because my mum was after a new phone and needed help. It took ages and I was slightly late to meet my friend Katie in Qubana, but her mum was with her so they'd got a drink. It's over six months since I saw Katie I think, lots has happened since then so we had lots to catch up on.

We ended up sitting outside on the terrace, and it was warm enough but there were heaters too. I had two veggie tapas and some patatas aioli (that's a hard word to spell) and then a brownie. We had several drinks - I had a nice glass of rose prosecco which I would drink again.

Sheryl joined us after she finished work which was really nice, I like to see her too. Lee picked me up about 6.30! It was busy but a really lovely day and the bright sunshine felt so lovely.

Me and Sheryl and Katie on the terrace

I was wearing this Sprinkle of Glitter outfit - I've posted both pieces before although I'm not sure if I've ever worn them together or not 

And here was my very appropriate pin badge!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Trip to Slatterys - Again!

On Valentine's Day I woke up, was utterly spoilt with presents from Lee, including yellow tulips, creme eggs, a mug and some scrapbooking supplies. I bought him a copy of The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy and the Lash album on vinyl, so he was happy too.

Anyway then I had a shower and headed over to Manchester to meet Amy. She's one of my oldest friends, we met at 6th form way back in 2000, and she's about thirty-seven weeks pregnant as I write this! She'd just finished work so asked if I wanted to meet up at Slatterys. She's the one who first took me there, years ago. I hadn't been in ages but now I've been three times in the past four months... Not that I'm complaining as it's excellent!

We met at twelve and got seated. We decided to share the vegetarian platter. I had a hot chocolate and it arrived with little chocolate hearts instead of the discs you usually get! The platter was delicious - it had falafel and cheese and pink hummus and came with bread and crackers. I would recommend it!

I went for the Belgian waffles which I've not had before, they were really good so I would have them again. I had more hot chocolate, I wish I could make it like this because it's so, so good. Amy had a chocolate milkshake. The Belgian waffles came with a little cup of melted chocolate as you can see, which is also amazing.

I bought Lee some discs in the shop and some cheese straws for me. We didn't leave until nearly 3pm because we were busy chatting. I love Amy to bits and can't wait to meet baby Daisy. I do of course have something handmade in the works for her which I'll share when I've passed it over!

Look at these cute little heart chocolates

The platter! It was so good! I had to have Amy's Brie, how tragic. 

Bread and crackers too 

Belgian waffles with banana and melted chocolate

It was about 4pm just as I was coming back into Barnsley over the moors, and they looked stunning in the sunshine! Spring is coming!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Trip to Bradford/What I Wore February 11th

My mum and I headed to Bradford in February to buy material for my vow renewal dress, which my mum is making for me. We have always gone to Bombay Stores for stuff like this, so we headed there after my craft club one Monday. We went to the cafe next to Bombay Stores for something to eat. It hasn't always been there, and when it first appeared the two businesses were linked and it was tiny, but it's now got a separate entrance and has quite a few tables.

I had chosen a paneer dosa when my mum asked if she would like it too - she tends to stick to things she knows she likes unless there's someone to reassure her. I explained that it's curry in a crispy and delicious pancake, so I thought she would probably like it. So she ordered a chicken one. When they came they were so good - hot, crispy, with delicious curry inside. My mum liked it and said she would have it again!

We went into Bombay Stores but the quality of the place has dipped since I was last there. It looks a bit like a jumble sale inside, with a lot less material than it used to have. It has more ready made things. We liked a few things, but nothing that really wowed me. And I want to be wowed! I want it to be a really special dress. I'm disappointed that Bombay Stores has gone the way it has.

We looked at a couple more shops and came across a bunch of nice satins in a small shop near Bombay Stores. I chose some there, but I'm still on the look out for some lace for the bodice and sleeves. We're going to Dewsbury soon to look!

It was late by the time we got home, it had taken hours! But it was fun. I was wearing this Asos dress that I've had forever, it's really easy to wear and was perfect for the weather.

I had this really amazing mango lassi

Paneer dosa! That green chutney was the spiciest thing EVER!

The material we did buy...

My green and white dress, and isn't my hair getting long?!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Meal Out February 10th

On Sunday the 10th of February Lee and I went out for tea with my mum and stepdad. It wasn't for any particular reason and actually that was really nice. It's nice to do things just for the sake of it at times.

We went to a pub near my mum's house, so we picked them up on the way. We were a bit early so got a drink in the bar before going to our table. My mum had a gin spritz which was really nice, and I don't even really like gin. I would get one next time!

I had garlic mushrooms and then tried a nut roast for the first time. It came with all the Sunday dinner trimmings which was really nice. It was quite sweet but very tasty, I will definitely eat one again. I'm finding being vegetarian really easy, so I'm going to carry on with it until that changes or until I really want to eat some meat! We'll see! For dessert I had a chocolate orange torte and a coffee. It was a really lovely evening out for the four of us.

I was wearing this skirt, which used to be a long flowy top. I cut the straps off, sewed a waistband, and threaded some elastic through. It is a little bit short at the sides, but I think it looks fine, and I really like it. I've got another top to do this to... must get around to that soon! I've inherited my grandma's sewing machine and am determined to get good at using it!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Weirdo Zine Fest 2019

In February Weirdo Zine Fest was held in Leeds. Kirsty has organised it here and in London before, but I've never been able to go. But this time I applied for a table and got one, so we could definitely go! 

So Lee and I set off bright and early on Saturday to Leeds and got there around 11. It turned out we could park on the street just behind the library which was ideal. We got in to the room and to our table and it turned out we were between my friends Lou and Fay and near Janet, which was lovely - we had a nice little corner! The fest started at 12 and there was a steady stream of people coming through. I spoke to loads of friends, including Sarah who I haven't seen in ages, and bought a bunch of new zines. I made a couple of new connections too which was really nice! I also spoke to Saffa, who I met before at Northwest Zine Fest, and who has an illustration in a new LGBTQ+ book called Proud. I'm really pleased she's featured in the book!

I will definitely go to Weirdo Zine Fest again even if I don't table - it's got a really open atmosphere and the room was perfect for the requirements. 

Afterwards we set off to go meet Janet and Thomas and Lou and Emma for tea, but we took a wrong turning and ended up getting really lost. Leeds' one way system is a nightmare. We ended up just coming home instead which was a shame as I'd have really liked to have tea with people. Next time!

As ever, if you'd like to buy any of my zines, my Etsy shop is here

My nails were this Essie shade, a gorgeous dusty pink 

A few weeks ago before the fest I'd been into an international supermarket in Sheffield and picked up some new-to-me fizzy drinks. This one was lush, it tasted like bubblegum

Me behind our stall

Lee behind our stall

And finally here's all the new zines I came home with!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Star Wars Make

I recently finished this Star Wars cross stitch and wanted to share it with you! I started it last year but I've been working on it on and off. The intricacy of the pattern meant that it took a lot of concentration so I couldn't work on in for long at a time. I started with the top of the helmet, then worked my way down. I finally finished it at the end of January.

I love the floral pattern and I obviously love Star Wars, and the Etsy shop I bought the pattern from has a ton of similar patterns, so I may well do another one at some point. I could have a whole row! I need to get this framed now.

I've started a beach themed stitch-along which has a pattern release once a month all the way up to September; as I write this I've just finished the first instalment. I'm a bit between projects at the moment... Not sure what to do with myself!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Films of the Month - January

I am finally almost caught up with posts! I got behind in November when I was doing Nanowrimo, and for all of December and January I've been running weeks behind trying to post. But after a quiet couple of weekends at the end of January and beginning of February, I can confidently say I'm now caught up! Of course, you won't be reading this until March, but that's scheduling for you.

I watched seventeen films in January, and went to the cinema twice! It was a good month filmwise. Except for the last film I saw, which was problematic to say the least. I had heard it wasn't good, but wanted to see it myself. I'm glad I now have a fully formed opinion, but.... It is a bad film. It didn't deserve all the accolades it won. That's all I'm saying.

This is what I watched:

The Force Awakens

The Aristocats

A documentary on YouTube called The Secret of Landfill, interesting but horrifying

The Sound of Music Live

Shaun of the Dead

Love Simon

The Favourite

A Simple Favor (these two posters are so similar!)

Mary Poppins Returns - thought it was great except for Ben Whishaw

The Last Jedi (so emo)

About A Boy

101 Dalmatians

Logan, which is great but so dark

Queen Days of Our Lives - really good documentary about the band

Men in Black - one of mine and Lee's favourite films, and yes I'm very excited for the fourth one! 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - weird, just weird

And lastly the film that was really problematic

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Visit to Titanic Spa

Lee and I went to Titanic Spa as a special treat for my birthday. I heard of the spa ages ago and really wanted to go, and then I bought vouchers for my mum for her birthday. We're actually going in March, we haven't yet been! But I am signed up to their emails so when I saw a special offer for a January evening I thought Lee and I should go. Lee's never been to anywhere like that before so he was intrigued!

The offer was for an evening twilight spa, from 6-9pm, for the heat and ice experience, and canapes. This also included use of the swimming pool and the outdoor hot tub. We were told to arrive a little bit early, but we were actually there around 5pm, so we got a drink in the bistro area.

At 5.30 we were shown round and into the changing rooms. We got changed into swimming costumes and put our robes and slippers on. The robe wasn't quite big enough for me, but I used a towel underneath and that was better.

We went into the heat and ice experience rooms. It's all in one, in a big circle with showers in the middle. There's a sauna, a hotter sauna, foot baths, two steam rooms, the ice room, an aromatherapy room, and a tiny plunge pool. We started off in the coolest rooms. Lee doesn't deal with heat well so he didn't go in the hottest rooms, and I didn't spend loads of time in them. But I got nice and hot, and then plunged in the plunge pool to cool down and get the endorphins going!

We did that a couple of times and then went to swim. The pool is partially saltwater so really nice to float in. We swam for a bit then went outside to the hot tub. It was freezing but the jacuzzi is lovely and hot.

After that we had our drinks and canapes, they were nice enough. There's water fountains in a couple of places so do keep drinking water as you're sweating out a lot. It is a bit disconcerting because you have to walk through the bistro to get to and from the pool and hot tub, while people are eating, I found that quite odd to be honest!

After we'd rested for a bit we went into the relaxation room. It's a quiet room near the changing rooms filled with cosy seating and beanbags. I was reading my book but Lee, who was a bit under the weather, fell asleep! Then we went back into the heat and ice rooms and did the circuit again.

By 9pm we had had enough time, so we got dressed and left. We'd taken snacks to eat afterwards and I would recommend doing this because you can feel a bit faint otherwise. Lee enjoyed it, he said it felt really indulgent. He said he would go again on a similarly priced special offer.

I've been to Harrogate baths and to Spa 1877 in Sheffield, and I have to say that I prefer both of those to Titanic. I think you get more for your money. Titanic is really posh and if you want the whole shebang then go for it, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Overall I like Spa1877 best for value for money. But if you like swimming and a jacuzzi then Titanic is better - Lee loves both of these so that was good for him as there was less emphasis on the heat stuff, which he doesn't like. I would go again, I'm looking forward to going with my mum in March and seeing what she thinks of it!

Titanic is an old mill that has been converted into flats, so residents use the gym too. It's a really astonishing building and I'm glad they've preserved it

Having a glass of prosecco while waiting to go in 

The book I was reading at the time!