1 May 2019

Celebrating The Quiet Ones

Six years ago, practically to the day, I wrote about the shiny people that pass through your life.

You know the kind of people I mean.  The ones that shine so bright in your eyes that they seem to attract the sun itself.  They sparkle (in a non Twilight vampire kind of way). They are the ones who flit around, directly their "in favour spotlight" on person after person, who each falls in love with their shine, only to then be left in the cold.

You can spend years without realising with these people in your circles, having once or twice experienced that glow and (most of the time unconsciously) seeking it out again at all costs, like an addict craves heroine. 

They are the human equivalent of Fool's Gold.  They do not provide you with real love or friendship other than what they want to offer.

I have had two of those shiny kind of people in my life, one of whom broke my heart and inspired my original blog post.  Looking back in retrospect, I broke my own heart.  He was never mine and he never loved me.  He loved my love for him.  I wasted far too many years pining for something that didn't exist.

Today however, I want to talk about the quiet people in your life.  

You do not  have to have the loudest voice or the biggest personality to have a major impact on someone's life.  Sometimes it is the quiet, unassuming people that are a constant in your life that you will always carry in your heart.

Four years ago today, we lost my wonderful step dad.  He was more than I could ever have hoped for.

When I lost my own dad at eight, I knew that no one could ever replace him.  When my mum married a year later to this nice man with the kind eyes who seemed to adore my mum, I was still understandably wary.

Yet he never tried to be my dad.  He just immediately and forever treated me like his own daughter.  He was a quiet man with not too much to say.  He was laid back, so much so we used to joke he should have wheels on his head.

He would have done anything for me and I knew that I could always count on him.  I never called him dad.  He understood why.  But I loved him like he was.  He was my H and I knew he would have stepped in front of a truck for me. 

What I remind myself of constantly now is to remember the people that stay with you.  They quietly walk by your side and stand by you.  They are the most important people that will be in your life, when all the glitter and sparkle is put aside.

We must always remember not to take advantage of their good nature, and take the time to thank them.

Thank you H.  You meant the world to me.

12 April 2019

Raising Money for Women In Need - Jean Hatchet Interview

A figure that I think that we are all aware of, or should be, is that 2 women are killed by their current or ex partner every week in the UK. 

Whenever I see a story about domestic violence or a woman being murdered by her partner in the news, one thing that I always see people saying is “Why didn't she leave him if he was violent?” yet facts show that the most dangerous time for a woman suffering domestic violence in when she is in the process of, or has already left her partner.

Even in 2019, domestic violence is still something that is swept under the carpet.  Hidden.  Not talked about.  Something that happens to other people but could never happen to you.  You are too strong, too independent, more educated, more worldly.  You would not let this happen.  Until it does.

Statistically, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. A lot of things happen behind closed doors and apparent happy facades.

On average, it takes someone suffering from domestic violence 7 attempts to leave. This is a time when support from others is needed most. From both a support and practice side, but also, safety. Sadly, due to Government cuts, help from charities and women's refuges is not always possible; at a time where the need for them is paramount.

Funding for refuges in the UK has been dropping steadily for the past 9 years, to the tune of over 7 million pounds. Two thirds of Local Authorities have implemented major spending cuts, with refuges all over the country being forced to close due a lack of funds.

One of the Councils in my local area for example has cut funding to its refuges by a staggering £620,000.

Help for victims of domestic violence is in nothing short of crisis.  1.3 million women reported experiences of domestic violence in 2018 
(source) which is a 100,000 increase from year before.  Domestic violence crimes are also up a further 27%.

Due to the lack of funding available and the shortage of refuges, woman are constantly being turned away, often resulting in forcing them back to their abusers as they have nowhere else to go.

How do we help victims of domestic violence when the Government increasingly does not care?  

Well if you are Jean Hatchet (pseudonym), you step up and find a positive way to help.

Two years ago Jean came up with the idea of raising money for women’s refuges (in particular Wearside Women in Need) by going on 10 mile plus bike rides, with each ride being completed to honour a woman that had died at the hands of her partner or male family member.  To date, she has raised nearly £19,000.00.

Hopefully after reading my post today, you will consider donating to her Go Fund Me campaign too.

Jean has kindly allowed me to send over some interview questions to her, which I share below:

You implemented the idea of bike rides two years ago this April in order to raise women for women's refuges; riding at least 10 miles each time for a woman who had been murdered by her partner or male family member.  How many women have you now ridden for to date? 

I’ve ridden for 232 women now and over 5500 miles. Some of the women I rode for were at the request of their friends or family. I usually ride a lot further than 10 miles. I always ride up a hill and take time on the way up as it begins to hurt to remember the pain and suffering of each woman.  I always smash down on the pedals a bit harder as I think of the man who killed them.  

Image from Pixabay

For many women (and who can blame them), escaping domestic violence is feat enough.  For others, it gives them a strength that they never knew that they had.  You have escaped domestic violence, experienced a stalker and are battling cancer; where do you get your continued strength to be that loud and strong voice for women every day?  What drives you more than anything to do this?

I was lost within my marriage. I dreamed of ways I could live free of abuse. I used to escape into my own head. Sometimes when he was just calling me vile names as a way to pass the time and telling me how stupid I was I would dig my nails into my arm to help focus away from his words as they battered into me.

If I can help another woman to escape that feeling of dying within your own life. I will do it. An abusive man is worse than cancer.

Domestic violence is not just physical.  It also encompasses emotional and financial abuse.  I once read that one of the most important things for a woman to have when moving in with a significant other is a secret escape fund.  A "just in case this all goes wrong" fund.   It is something that I have implemented.  

Is there any similar "future proofing" advice that you would you give women going into relationships today? 

Plan. Plan. Plan. According to the UK femicide census a third of women are killed by ex partners after separation. A third of them are killed in the first month after leaving. Three quarters are killed within the first year. Leaving a man is the most dangerous thing you will probably do in your life.

Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Know where your passport and bank card are if you have them and make them easy to access and grab. Make sure you don’t tell him. Don’t confront him. Get out quickly and go to a refuge or the police or a safe place with a friend he doesn’t know. Stay alert. He’s looking for revenge and he’s looking for you.

Really – the advice I would give to women in abusive relationships is – don’t believe he loves you. Don’t believe he will change. He never loved you. He can’t change. He has shown you who he is. Believe him.

For women going into a relationship with a man look for the signs. Check out his background in any way available. How does he speak of his last partner? If he hates her be suspicious. If he doesn’t have access to his children? Be suspicious. Look for him criticising you for your appearance. Look for him isolating you from friends. Read about coercive abuse. Check if he does any of these things. Read everything you can. Be alert for the signs. Tell your friends EVERYTHING that worries you and listen to any concerns they have early.

Women entering relationships with men do a very risky thing given the statistics that one in four women will be abused between 16 and 64. Set a high bar. The good men won’t be too angry to meet it. If it happens that he is abusive and you didn’t spot it – you haven’t failed. He has.

Gender self identification has been the hot topic of the moment with the proposed change to the GRA and most recently, sports women getting involved and commenting on the issue; making the topic more "mainstream". 

Many women, myself included, feel it is very important that women are able to have their own safe spaces, especially in refuges where safety is paramount and places are minimal.   Can you ever see a compromise to this in the future?

There can be no compromise on this. Women will die if there is.

I don’t even see this as an area of debate. Women in recovery who are trying to stay alive do not have to consider the needs of trans women or anyone else at that time. Those women have endured enough at the hands of men and those women have a right to recover among women. Women need those protecting them in refuge space to keep their space free of men.

The law provides for this within the Equality Act 2010 and no woman should be afraid or ashamed of using the law provided to protect her.

In addition to your ongoing campaign to raise money for Wearside Women in Need, you also started a successful Go Fund Me for the complainant in relation to the Ched Evans case.

The circumstances of the case were unusual in that the conviction was appealed after the sentence served.  What made you decide to start the campaign to raise money, knowing the abuse that you would receive from the angry men and parts of the internet?  Does the success of the campaign outweigh the hate and negative publicity that it brought?

When Ched Evans was acquitted on appeal, women throughout Britain felt the pain of the woman who had just endured her ordeal over and over again in a court room. Women felt around the edges of their own pain from their past sexual abuse and it was still raw. Women were hurting and angry and vulnerable and I could feel that. It made me angry.

Section 41 makes me angry. It makes me furious that there has still been no amendment to the law that allowed her past sexual history to be used against her.

I did what I could do. I asked women to help another woman. We do it all the time. We call it “rallying round” and I oh how we rallied! We showed that young woman exactly what we thought of her and exactly how we cared for her and it was one of the things I am most proud of in my life. I loved the women who poured money in to that fund.

I raised £27,000.00 which was split between the complainant and Rape Crisis England and Wales.  When I handed it over I felt we had really achieved something. It wasn’t justice we handed her. It was love.

I know for my part, when I saw Jean’s campaign and donated at the time, it really meant something to me too.  It was a virtual hug and “we got you” to the complainant and an acknowledgement to all other women out there that have pain of their own.

I really appreciate Jean taking the time to ask my questions and I hope that it will encourage you to donate to her Go Fund Me campaign too.

7 April 2019

Taking The Leap

Well, I've done it.

I wrote recently that I wanted to move away from commercial writing and focus on opinion pieces.  Talk about the things that I wanted to again, instead of using the blog as a part time job with the occasional thought piece thrown in.

I have said similar things before and my intentions have been pure, but somehow I have always found myself lured back in.  A quick guest post or two, a link, then just another couple of sponsored posts.  Not this time.  No more.  I am done.

The real catalyst for all of this I think comes from my Twitter account.  I have always said what I thought on Twitter in the most part, but over recent months I have become more vocal and have become tired of hiding some parts of my thoughts in order to maintain my blog.

I got an email reply from a PR this week, stating that although she loved my blog (do they ever actually mean that? I doubt it), my Twitter account was not something that their client would want to be associated with.

So that, right there was the moment.  Do I reel back what I think and become once again a pen for profit, or do I do what I set out to do?

I decided it was time to be true to myself again.  I started by thanking the said PR for her comments.  Then I unsubscribed to all blogging emails, removed myself from paid blogging groups on Facebook, unfollowed all PR companies on Twitter and started to move away from all the people I had followed purely for numbers rather than actual interest in their content.

I began to get excited about writing again.  Ideas tumbled into my head about what I wanted to write and I finally finished the interview post that I have been preparing over the past few weeks (upcoming in the next week).

Right now, I have five different posts in draft, all different subjects, all partly written when I have come up with an idea and just had to get the bones of it written down. 

My thoughts, feelings and opinions are flowly straight through my fingers again and it feels wonderful.  I don't care about profit, numbers or even whether anyone reads my musings from now on, or not.

But I am back to being totally myself, warts and all. 

Turns out that turning 40 is a little like having a revolution in your head.  I like it.

4 April 2019

It Is Better To Be In the Dark?

*Lengthy post - I think (and learn what I think) while I write sometimes

As we grow older, our thoughts and opinions change and evolve; as we do.

We learn about new subjects and topics.  We educate ourselves on the things that we are interested in.  We may take more interest in the news and current affairs and become more worldly.  

As the years roll on, we learn that the best way to educate yourself on a topic, particularly one that has large numbers of followers on both sides of the equation, like politics for example, is to look at both sides of the argument equally and then make up your own mind.

I recently undertook a political compass test which showed what you associated with politically and was surprised to find that I was much more of a centrist than left wing.

I have to admit that it was not until my early thirties that I became even remotely interested in politics and to be honest, I did not even know what left and right wing even meant.  Since then I joined Twitter.  I educated myself politically.   I learned about feminism, declaring myself one in the process.  This lead me finding out about MRAs, MGTOWs, Red pillers, incels.  Then religion.  Extremists on all sides.  The abortion debate.  It went on and on.

Each new thing that I learned about and discovered sent me down another rabbit hole of discovery.

I believe that it is important for everyone to have at least a basic knowledge of current affairs, what is happening in the world, how you generally lean politically; what is happening in the news.  

The question that I have today however is, has all this knowledge, learning and second by second discussion about everything on platforms like Twitter actually made us happier; or has it affected our lives in a negative way?  

Either way, you can never go back.  You can shut down your social media and stop reading the news, but once that thirst for knowledge and discovery has taken you, it is a hard thing to throw away.

At the moment I feel like we are in such a complicated timeline.  You can be whatever you want to be, identify with what or whomever you wish to be and say it loudly and proudly.  

At the same time however, the language that we use, the thoughts that we have and the opinions we share (whether fact and science based on not) are getting policed more and more each day.  The left wing mantra of "Be who you want to be" now has a double edged sword of "Accept and roll over backwards to accommodate everyone, or you might find the police at your door".

Out of my friends and family, with one exception being the man I am dating, I am the most politically driven, socially aware, opinion driven person in my group of people.  

Whilst having a basic (and frankly enough knowledge that is needed) about what is going on in the world, my friends and family care less and know little about things like feminism and MGTOWs.  They do not argue women's body autonomy rights on the internet nor know anything about the current ongoing battles between women and gender critical feminists versus trans rights activists.  They don't really follow current affairs.

You know what though?  They are happier for it.

I read the news and what is going on in the world each morning and throughout the day.  I am always up to date with what is the current big trend.  Things that make me angry when I hear them, things that make me worry, topics that suddenly everyone has to come out and state where they stand.  Which as said above, can now get you arrested.

Although better informed, I am not happier for having all this knowledge.  Having many opinions and beliefs and arguing/justifying them online has not made me a happier person.  I was happier and freer when I did not engage at all!

Is it better to be in the dark after all?  Or, do we need to better police ourselves at how many times we engage, how many times a day we look at the news, Twitter, etc and when we access these services.  Not first thing in the morning for example.

In the end, I will always want to be informed, I will always engage and I will always say what I think.  So what I need to do, and I suspect many others do too, is to reassess my engagement so that it does not detrimentally affect my life and mental health.

Balance, as well, is the key.

28 March 2019

Why Should We Hide Our Mental Health?


I am lucky, very lucky in that my episodes of depression and anxiety have lessened a great deal over the past year; with the dark days decreasing in frequency.  Up until this weekend, dysthymia aside (see upcoming blog post with regard to this), I had not had an episode in many months.

I had let my guard down and as such, when a really dark day hit me on Sunday, I was not ready for it.

For as long as I have experienced them, I have always hidden my dark days from others, both in my personal life and at work. 

It is still an expectation of society that we present a "normal" front.  Somehow, people can cope with any physical illness or symptom that you throw at them (generally), but tell people you have anxiety, depression etc etc and you can see them practically running away from you in their eyes.  The "Oh God another crazy" look.

So when a dark day hits, as have millions of others, I have learned over time to hide it as best as I can.  Solitary spaces are found, plans are rearranged, if I have to work, my head switches off into a tunnel vision work mode.  I am careful in what I do and generally try to stay off social media or reading the news.

After not experiencing a dark day for many months, on Sunday, it felt like all of my strategies to cope/hide had been forgotten.  Bad enough the misery, pain and tears, I now had to figure out how to get through visitors at home, travelling on the bus and then going to my fellas, who doesn't really get mental health.  All I wanted, as I ever want, was to curl up in a ball and be alone.

I pulled myself together enough to take the dog a walk, get ready, make nice in front of the guests at home and then went for the bus.  That is where my not used in a while coping mechanisms ran out.

Needless to say, there were silent tears on the bus with people looking at me like I had grown another head.  Maybe I should have chopped my leg off and I would have received a more sympathetic gaze.

But then.  Then I reached the fellas.  I could not hide how I felt.  I didn't have the strength.  I tried holding it in.  I tried passing it off as simply having a bad mood day.  I tried brushing it aside.  He saw straight through me and that day, barriers down, I let him.

He knows nothing about mental health and does not understand it.  But he asked me to tell me how I felt rather than just stay silent and suffer "Use your words Vic".  He understood that he could not improve how I felt, so just listened to me, didn't judge me and held me.

While my dark day continues to the end of the evening, the pressure of having to hide was gone and the talking frankly about it (and cuddles of course) did bring me comfort.

My question is this.  Why, when we are already going through so much, when it is hard enough just to leave our bed, are we catering to other people first and how they feel?  Making sure that they are comfortable around us?

When my dark day hits I feel completely alone in the world.  I feel alien.  I wonder how quickly I could get over or how much less stress and pain I would feel if I did not have to hide it?

Why should we?  Why can we not admit that today is not mentally a good day.  Why can we not say "Today I am struggling a bit, so bear with me". 

Use that sick day when we need to. 

Not say I'm fine to someone who notices instead of saying I'm hurting and maybe get a much needed hug.

I am not hiding any more.  If I am not feeling well and have a cold, I tell people I have a cold.  If I am having a dark day, I will tell people the truth.  Enough. 

21 March 2019

Stopping Smoking - Can It Change You As a Person?

Just a little musing on the blog today and a question:  Has anyone experienced a real change in their personality, mental health or general mental wellbeing since they stopping smoking cigarettes?

Image by roegger from Pixabay
First and foremost, let me say that I am not one of those irritating ex smokers who suddenly think that cigarettes are the plague of the earth and shout loudly and regularly from the rooftops of how disgusting smoking is.

I MISS IT.  I miss it so much.  I miss the after dinner cigarette, I miss the pleasurable addition of smoking when having a glass of wine or a cocktail; I miss the temporary calmness they would give me if I was having a bad day.  I miss them.

As a smoker you are well used to all the people that would wax lyrical about how bad it was for your health and how much money it must be costing you etc.  You would feel like wanted to stab them in the eye?  I still feel like that.  Sanctimonious ex smokers can take a hike.

Anyway.  Back to topic.  Physical health and money benefits aside, can't say I have really noticed either yet, I have to say that my mental health and wellbeing has definately changed.

For as long as I can remember, probably my whole adult life, I have had a numbing or  muting of emotions.  General the positive emotions.  Sadness, pain and anxiety I never had a problem with.  How typical. 

Feelings of anticipation, excitement, joy, happiness, feelings of just being damn normal, were just not really there.  I said the words and played out the emotions for people, but I never felt them.  I knew what they felt like because I used to experience them, but hadn't in many many years.

Not feeling, felt normal.  All the bright colours of emotions just did not live within me, except the black that occasionally would overtake me.  Everything was just muted.

Image by Alexandra Haynak from Pixabay

The only reason that I knew that I was not "normal", if anyone ever really is, is that on the occasional day, I felt everything.  It felt wonderful.  I would just wake up one day and experience a full day of normal feelings.  The world became exciting and full of wonderment.  Sadly, the next day, I went back to normal, my normal.

Not to tempt fate here (please fate, I'll be good I promise), but after around four weeks of not smoking, all of these feelings have come back.  I feel genuine happiness.  I feel excited when plans are made.  I feel anticipation when something good and new is about to happen.  I feel.   I feel everything.

Is this an effect of stopping smoking?  It would a be a very large coincidence if it was not related. 

My question I guess is very specific as I do not know anyone else who lived with the muting of emotions that I did.  I am sure that there is a name for it but I do not know what it is.

Whatever the reason, the world is full of colour again.  I look forward to each day, whatever it may hold and there is always now, some happiness to be found.  Even in the smallest corner.

How To Be Confident In Photographs

Image by Rene Pister from Pixabay

No matter who you are, in this day and age of social media photos are everywhere and hard to avoid. So, if you’re not feeling confident in front of the camera, then this might be something that fills you with dread every time your mate gets her phone out. Well fear not, there are ways you can overcome this and look and feel your best in every photo.

Know Your Angles
Standing in front of a mirror and taking some time to see what angles you prefer on your body might sound silly (no one needs to know) but it’s actually really beneficial and will help you to feel more confident if you already have an idea how you like to look! 

Another thing you can do is take lots of selfies; they’re really great for helping you to know what to do when someone else is taking the photo! So next time you're in front of a camera, get your instasmile ready and just pretend you're taking a selfie.
Ignore Everyone Else
It's so easy to feel self-conscious when taking a photo of yourself or having one taken of you. If you’re in a town full of people you might be feeling concerned about what other people think of you, or think you're being judged, but you need to forget all that because honestly, most of the time people don't even notice or they don't care. Try to forget about the rest of the world around you and enjoy the process.

Enjoy Yourself
It's so important to try and have fun while you're having your photo taken as this will shine through on the picture. The more you relax and let yourself go, the more fun you'll have, the more confident you will feel, and the more beautiful the photos will be.

Wear Something You’re Comfortable In
If you're not very confident in front of a camera, then you should definitely stick to wearing something that you feel confident and comfortable in. There is nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable and unconfident in photos as it will show and they won’t be photos you’ll want to look at again. If you are having a photoshoot or you know you’re going to be having your picture taken then wear an outfit that you love, and your confidence will shine through so much more. Then, once you're happy having people photograph you, feel free to experiment a bit with your outfits!

Fake It Till You Make It
No one knows at first what they’re doing in photos, not even models. They’ve all been there and look at them know. A lot of the time, people you think look great and confident in their pictures are often putting on an act, and pretending that they do, and you know what? It works! Pretending that you're confident in yourself will more often than not make you actually feel confident. So just fake it till you make it!

18 March 2019

Same Curved Opinion, A New Approach

Welcome to my new blog!

New blog you say?  But you have been blogging for eight years?  Well yes, I have.  This blog has undergone many changes over the years; from a place where I shared my thoughts and darkest secrets (now deleted so don't go looking), to a plus size fashion blog, then a lifestyle and opinion blog.

I decided to monetize this blog a few years ago as a sideline, but as a result and by mistake, I got sidetracked.  I began to write purely for profit, with the only occasional semblance of what I really wanted to write.  I lost myself and my motivation to write from my heart.

While writing professionally is something that I enjoy doing now and again and I do feel that it is something that I am good at, it does not drive my writing.  I do not profess to be a great writer, by any means; but they say that you should do what you love; and pouring my thoughts out in this blog has changed my life.

That sounds like an over exaggeration.  But it is true.

As I wrote about recently, I have quit smoking.  The extra money that I made through paid blogging, also funded my habit.  As such, I never kept a record of what I was spending on cigarettes and accepted some posts and wrote on some subjects that I would not ordinarily have chosen.

Whilst I will continue to occasionally write commercially, I want to get back to my writing roots.  The reason that I started blogging in the first place.  To pour my thoughts out on to the screen.  Things about my life, things about current events, my thoughts and opinions on anything; and everything.

There are a million different topics that run around in my head all the time.  My thoughts and theories change as I think about, research and listen to other people.  But yet I never write about them anymore.  Some controversial topics, some not.  

I truly believe that you should be able to talk about and say whatever you want, within the parameters of the law of course!  This is something that is currently shifting in current climes, but that is the subject of another blog post!

One of the things that I most recently wrote about was inclusivity within gaming, using Battlefield V as my example of when inclusivity does not have a place or is incorrectly used.  I felt more myself writing that than I have in a couple of years of writing.

My next upcoming piece is in relation to someone I greatly admire, a lady who goes under the pseudonym Jean Hatchet on Twitter.  Jean raises money for refuges for women who have suffered from domestic violence and has single handedly raised a nearly £19,000 so far.

Read more about Jean in my next blog post!

14 March 2019

Tops For The Dress Addict

As a dress addict, it’s tough to find tops you like. You enjoy the freedom a dress gives,  and tops and pants are just a burden. If you must wear a top - and I really can’t think of a reason why - here are some tops that are great for the dress addict who has trouble letting go.

Fitted Tops

Fitted tops help you maintain the same curves and figure-flattering style of a dress. You can get all kinds of fitted tops in many different fabrics to mimic your favorite dresses and make you feel sexy. Fitted tops enhance your shape and look elegant, fun, and professional.

Oversized Tops

If what you like about dresses is their free-flowing nature, then an oversized top makes a great transition. They give you freedom of movement and are long enough to cover the rear section that dresses usually hide. Wear oversized tops with leggings to make you even more comfortable and stylish.

Belted Tops

Many dresses have belts or ties around the waist, and you can get tops like this, too. They flatter your waist and draw the eye to something of interest. If you enjoy wearing dresses that enhance your hourglass figure or draw attention to your waistline, these types of tops are great for you.

Cami Tops

You can wear a cami alone or under another top. While some would never feel comfortable wearing a cami alone, you can use a strategically coordinated cami under a sheer top or button down to give your wardrobe more versatility. Pick out colours you will wear a lot, making them even more versatile and giving you a pop of colour.

It can be tough to transition away from dresses, but if the situation calls for it, you have some great options for tops that will mimic the style of your favorite dresses and make you feel comfortable despite the change in wardrobe for the day.

11 March 2019

6 super simple tips to help you feel sexier in your own skin

With the busy lives we lead, its so easy to loose your mojo. With long days sat at your desk or chasing after the kids, it’s no wonder so many of us are burnt out….and its certainly difficult to feel sexy while you’re utterly exhausted.

But don’t worry. Here are 6 super simple tips to help you feel sexier in your own skin.

Change up your makeup routine

You don’t need makeup to look beautiful. Lets just get that straight. But if you want to feel a little sexy from time to time, then why not shake up your makeup bag with some new additions? A new voluminous mascara – click the link to find the best mascara on the market – to a luscious lip gloss or bold lip stain. If you don’t’ fancy makeup, why not treat yourself to a new moisturiser or exfoliator to help you skin glow naturally?

Book some time away

If you have little ones, get a babysitter on the phone. You and your partner need some time away. There’s scientific proof that indulging in spontaneity acts like an aphrodisiac which will have you feeling sexy, powerful and ready to take on anything!

Touch your skin

We all know how much we need to rush in the morning, a quick shower is all we have time for. But if you make a little more time, you can enjoy your shower – get used to the feel of your body and your own skin. Afterwards take your time when you’re applying your body lotion or moisturiser, getting to know how amazing and gorgeous your body is will make you feel super sexy.

Read something hot

Remember a few years ago when everyone was practically tearing at the pages of a particular book series about a certain Mr Grey? Well, why not revisit a racy novel, or find a new one to sink your teeth into. And don’t be afraid to read it in public – it’ll make you feel extremely risqué and confident!

Boost your bust

When was the last time you treated yourself to a new bra? Sure, we all have our favourites and our old faithful’s sitting in your underwear drawers, but a bad bra can give you poor posture and not the wow factor that you deserve. Go and get yourself measured properly and find some underwear that compliments you, your skin tone and your budget. And remember your partner might approve, but this is for you!

Make eye contact

Take a moment to think about how you ask for sex…how do they know that you’re in the mood? Do you drop subtle hints? Mumble it under your breath or just hope that they get the hint…? Well, next time you’re feeling a little hot under the collar, look your partner right in the eye and make it sensual. It’ll take them back to when you first starting dating and how you couldn’t keep your hands off each other!

6 March 2019

Saying Goodbye To My Thirties

*Long read

So here it is.  The last day of my thirties.  Tomorrow, I will be 40 years old.

40 doesn't sound like something that should apply to me.  It so old.  Middle aged.   Oh Jesus.....

40 sounds like a person who knows what they are doing, more adult than I sometimes feel.  When a problem arises I still sometimes look around the room for an adult.  Someone more adult than I.  So, not like I have a choice in the matter, I am ready to be 40?

Yes, I think that I am.

The past two decades have not been easy, especially between my mid twenties and early thirties.  I had no confidence, I lived in a sea of black clothing and had little self worth.  I went in and out of depression and anxiety and sometimes, felt so sad that I wondered what the point of it all was.

Feelings of happiness, passion and hope seemed to be watered down and only on the occasional day did glimpses of them appear.  An emotional blunting or dulling of effect.

Certain people blazed a trail through my life like a shooting star.  All bright and beautiful till it crashes and burns.  Others disappointed me and abused my trust more than words can say.

That isn't to say that I did not also have fun over those years.  I had lots.  But I knew that I was not the person that I was supposed to be.  I was masked.  A fog covered me.

But then.  I started to write.  I found Twitter and found a voice that I never knew that I had.  A voice that was hidden on the internet so I was free to say what I wanted.  But I was still shy.  Still scared.

Then I started to blog.  I found plus size bloggers and found a world of colour and confidence that exploded my mind.  Fat women, like me, who wore colour and pattern.  They were self assured, knew who they were; they had confidence and sass.  Everything that I wanted.  I vowed to change.

This review was my first outing as a plus size blogger.  I cannot tell you how many photographs were taken and discarded.  How times I wrote the post and published, only to delete, rewrite, edit and publish again.

My confidence grew.  I grew to love pattern and found my confidence.

I did a photo shoot (cue moody pout).  I modeled (Can you see the smile?  That was happiness right there.)  Still not sure about that jumper though haha

I went from someone who actively hid from the camera, to someone who loves a good selfie.  I became more confident and with that, I got angry.

In the past few years, my focus has changed from the confidence in what I look like and the image that I present to the world, to what I think and what I say.  My blog pieces have become more serious and focused.  My voice on Twitter has expanded and I no longer am afraid to say anything that I think.  This has both lost and gain followers.  I care not.

I quit smoking 2 months ago.  Whether coincidence or not, the emotional blunting that I have experienced for so many years has gone.  I feel all the good.  The happiness I now have in my life, the joy, the expectation, the hope.  The excitement for the future.

I went on a spa day today with my best friend.  Someone who has been my best friend since I was 15 years old.  She has been there through every up and down, every high and every low.  She has seen the best and the worst in me.

She has seen all the recent changes in me over the recent years in confidence, in clothing, in what I say and what I share and think.  But she told me today that finally, after so long, she is now seeing the person that she first met, all those years ago.  Free, confident, happy, expectant, hopeful and most importantly, completely and utterly myself, without the fog that has covered me for so long.

I am back to myself again.  I would say that that is a damn good way to start your 40s.  Wouldn't you?

28 February 2019

The Beauty Of Birth Flowers

Did you know that every month is assigned a flower? If you are struggling to think of a gift to buy someone, you now have the answer – a bouquet of stunning flowers that contains their birth month flower. This is something that is bound to go well. You could even team it with a piece of jewellery with their birthstone if you are purchasing for someone special. With that being said, read on to discover what the birth flower of each month is.

What are the different birth flowers?
The birth flower of January is a carnation. This beautiful flower comes in a whole host of colours, with each colour having a different meaning. Yellow means ‘I wish I could be with you’ while pink means ‘I will never forget you’.

The birth flower of February is Iris, which is associated with humility and faithfulness.

Daffodil is the birth flower for March. This flower has a cheery appearance and it says ‘you are an angel.’

If your loved one was born in April, send flowers containing sweet pea.

For May, lily is the flower to choose, and you have a variation of lilies to choose from. Lily of the Valley is particularly popular.

The birth flower of June is the rose. Everyone knows that this is a flower that is connected with love. However, different coloured flowers have different meanings, with yellow being ideal for friendship and red roses saying ‘I love you.’

Next, we have Larkspur, which is the birth flower of July. This flower is associated with love, affection, and lightness. It is for someone with a pure heart.

The birth flower of August is Gladiolus. This flower symbols moral integrity and strength. When you give a bouquet of these flowers, it is supposed to pierce the giver’s heart with passion!  

Aster is the birth flower of September. With a lush texture and wildflower beauty, this has long been considered the enchanted flower.

Marigold is the birth flower of October. This flower is also called the “herb of the sun” and it represents creativity and passion.

November’s birth flower is Chrysanthemum, which carries the beautiful meaning ‘you are a wonderful friend’.

Finally, the birth flower of December is Narcissus. It symbolises new beginnings and rebirth, which probably does not come as any surprise considering the time of year.

Hopefully, you have now discovered what your friend’s birth flower is. Purchasing a bouquet of flowers containing this is bound to make a good impression and show that you have put a lot of thought into the gift.


27 February 2019

European Royalty Fashion Trends We’re All Searching For…

When you think of the Royal Family, your mind will instantly think of our beloved Queen Elizabeth, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren — we’re officially obsessed! But, when it comes to style, there are a few other royals that deserve a space in the limelight too. Not only do these royal females look flawless when they step out of the palace, but they’ve given the world some major style envy too.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, England

Studies have suggested that the Duchess of Cambridge has the ability to persuade American’s to purchase from a British brand, proving she’s a fashion hit worldwide. Her influence on fashion even has its own name — ‘the Kate effect’.

Believe it or not, when she wears a piece of clothing, desirability of American’s increases by an astonishing 38%. After she arrived at the Victoria and Albert museum wearing a tweed dress in October 2018, search volume between September and October for the term ‘tweed dress’ rose by 50%.

Crown Princess Victoria, Sweden

Although we all have our own style, we’ve all been influenced by ‘The Kate Effect’, even Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. She was spotted in an above-the-knee navy pleated dress to show off her baby bump in 2015, even though the Duchess of Cambridge had worn it for a private event the year before.

Looking back at some of her most iconic looks, Princess Victoria wore a Maxjenny cocktail dress in August 2018. This look generated some interest around the brand too, with searches of the designer rising by 222% from July to August of the same year.

Queen Letizia, Spain

Queen Letizia isn’t afraid to switch up her fashion choices and doesn’t mind shopping from high-street or high-end brands.

There has been countless occasions where HM has worn something we’ve all wanted. Think back to that mid-length Nina Ricci dress in Madrid to that Stella McCartney cape gown for King Willem Alexander’s birthday.

A look you’re probably more familiar with is the bespoke red gown that she wore on a trip to Buckingham Palace in 2017. It didn’t take long for the media to report how people could copy the look, with the Daily Mail suggesting a crimson fishtail maxi dress from QUIZ as a high-street alternative.

As well as this jaw-dropping look, she rocked a Carolina Herrera floral dress in the UK too. It’s no surprise that searches for the term ‘Carolina Herrera skirt’ rose by 50% from June to July of the same year.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, England

People love the look of Meghan Markle, and the search term ‘Meghan Markle style’ has over 20,000 searches per month. She’s truly a style icon of this era! One of the biggest statement pieces from Meghan must be her silk gown following the luncheon after the wedding at Windsor Castle. High-street designers frantically began to replicate the dress to meet the demand for the style that was expected to follow — and they made the right decision. Research revealed searches for ‘halter neck dresses’ were up 40% following the royal wedding and the term ‘halter neck tops’ increased 21% week on week as people tried to replicate her look on the special day.

As well as this, Meghan is known for sporting some great accessories and brands have experienced even more popularity of their products. After the official engagement announcement in 2017, Meghan attended an event in Nottingham with a Strathberry tote bag in hand. Global search engine data reveals a 398% increase in searches for ‘Strathberry’ from November to December 2017.

Crown Princess Mary, Denmark

After marrying Prince Frederick in 2004, Princess Mary has become a fashion icon for many. She’s been spotted in some fairytale-esque looks such as when she greeted the President of Vietnam on his visit to Denmark in a floor-length blush pink gown, complete with lace. Mary is also often spotted in a statement dress coat and pillbox hat, channelling Jackie Kennedy vibes.

With her love for bright colours and stand-out styles, everyone was wanting to copy her look after she attended the Copenhagen Concert Hall in Denmark for the opening of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May 2018. Dressed in a chic blouse tucked into a pleated skirt by Charlotte Eskildsen, she certainly looked the part. Searches for designer ‘Charlotte Eskilden’ rose 51% after she stepped out wearing the brand.

This article was brought to you by sequindresses retailer, QUIZ.