Tiny Home, Big Butt

So me and my girlfriend, Catherine, have finally moved in together! Out of student digs for her and out of lodging for me. We searched for quite a while for a house that was both within our budget and in a good location. We both work part time and I work in town so we needed somewhere fairly cheap and ideally within walking distance of my job. Eventually we came across a cute little studio flat in Falmouth. It’s furnished, has bills included and is affordable. We initially didn’t get it, but after things fell through with someone else we got the glorious news that the flat was ours if we wanted it! We packed up all of our belongings in one week and moved in.

The only problem is that the flat is very small. It is essentially a converted garage space under an existing house. We had been fantasising about tiny living for quite some time but didn’t think it would happen so soon. Lodging has already taught me some valuable lessons in downsizing however I still had a lot of my possessions stowed away in my friends garage. In the past week I’ve managed to roughly half the stuff I own but after moving in I can see I still own way too much clutter for this life to be comfortable. We are still surrounded by boxes and crap.

This blog series is going to be about our new life in our tiny home. I’m going to talk about downsizing, decluttering and cleansing your life of unneeded clutter. Tiny living is going to be a fun and interesting ride and I thought it would be super fun to share it. I’m also going to talk about other home related things like cooking, cleaning and beauty routines. Now I’m living in my own space once again and buying all my own stuff I really want to get back to eating healthily and using eco friendly products wherever possible. Hopefully documenting all of this will keep me accountable and keep you interested and entertained!

So join me on my journey to a more sustainable, clutter free, tiny home!  

(Ps- The title was inspired by something funny Catherine said to me so thank you boo for the input!)

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We’re Here, We’re Queer, Have Some Photos Of Us

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So my wonderful sister Jenny has recently been working on her final project for the first year of her photography diploma. She decided to focus on LGBTQA+ people and their identities because it’s something that’s important to her and a lot of people around her. Naturally she asked yours truly if I would like to be involved along with my girlfriend Cat. Never one to pass up an opportunity to be photographed I jumped on it and am super excited to share some of my favourite shots!

2018-04-18-0007 The general vibe of the shoot was just us being natural and in love. We decided to shoot near our housed in Penryn. We went to the park just down the road and took a few shots in my garden. We also found this really cute spot in a community garden (above photo) just across the road from me that I didn’t even know existed!

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We just dressed how we usually would so I went for black jeans, my bee t-shirt, a thrifted flannel, my denim jacket with loads of pins and patched and my favourite yellow hat. Cat of course went for her epic cloak with harem pants, her solstice t-shirt and of course walking boots.

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Jenny decided to use her Pentax K1000 film camera for these shots, which incidentally her wonderful girlfriend gave her for Christmas, quite fitting. I love the soft, vintage type vibes this method of shooting gives the photos. I think it works super well with the colours of our clothes and the environments we shot in. Jenny also only brought one roll of film with her so I think that makes the 24 photos taken even more special.

2018-04-18-0003 I absolutely love this shot because the sun was just shining so perfectly. It was a pretty grey day (it even started raining near the end) so this was unexpected and made for a magical moment.

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This big green door is right outside my house and I’ve always thought it would make a great location for a photo shoot so I’m glad that’s finally happened.

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As you can tell we had way too much fun playing on the spinny swing thing at the park. Really we are both big kids at heart.

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This is possibly my favourite photo of the day. It captures Cat in her natural habitat, I often call her my little spider monkey. She just jumped up there and started climbing and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a Spiderman/Mary Jane inspired photo.

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All of these photos are so genuine and I think really capture the love that me and Cat share. I’m so grateful that Jenny wanted to take photos of us and managed to get so many great shots of us just being unashamedly us.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed these wonderful super gay photos! If you have then please check out Jenny’s photography Instagram give her a follow and some love @_jensphotography_

 

Thrifting Tips from a Thrifting Queen

I love thrift shopping. I hate buying new clothes. It’s expensive, stressful and environmentally unfriendly. I live in the UK where thrift shopping comes in many forms. My prefered place to thrift is charity shops because they tend to be pretty cheap, easily accessible, varied and of course it’s a great way to donate to charity. There’s also plenty of vintage shops for when you want something a little more specific, although often more expensive but worth it for the curated selection. I also love pop up things like flea markets, car boot sales, clothes swapping events and local bizarres.

People often comment on my magical ability to always find awesome second hand goodies because apparently this is something a lot of people struggle with. So today I’m going to share my thrifting tips with you in the hopes it will lead you onto a magical life of thrifting glory. A few little side notes first- I’m 5ft 5, a UK size 14-16 with UK size 7 feet so fairly average making thrifting for me a little easier than it may be for some people. However don’t let that deter you! There’s tips here to help everyone and I promise there are treasures out there to suit everyone.

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1- Keep a thrifting wish list. Thrift shops can sometimes be a little overwhelming with so many different items all jumbled together and I know that can be off putting. Having a wish list gives you a goal and takes out some of the overwhelm. This can be a list of specific items you want to find or something more general like a cut, style or colour. Sometimes I will just have a vision of something I want (right now it’s mid length lilac shorts) and I will go on a mission to find the perfect item. Write this list down or add it to your notes on your phone so whenever you find the opportunity to pop into a second hand shop you have a good starting point.

2- Set a price limit or item limit. This can be a limit for your whole shopping trip- “I won’t spend more than £20 or get more than five things” or a limit for the spend on an individual item. I have a general rule that unless it’s shoes, a coat/jacket or designer I won’t spend more than £5 on an item in a charity shop. I allow more if I’m in a speciality shop like a vintage shop. Having rules like this in place stop you from getting carried away and coming home with way more than you set out to find. Obviously these rules are your own and you can break them if the thrifting gods are being particularly nice to you that day, but I find self imposed guidelines can be helpful.

3- Be persistent. This is a biggie. People often get discouraged if they go into a charity shop and come away with nothing, and I totally get that. But that’s just the nature of second hand shopping. The stock rotates super frequently so sometimes you won’t find anything at all, other times you might be attacked by fabulous finds. Keep going back, stick to it. I have a favourite charity shop that I go to every week and I try to nip into most of my local ones on a monthly basis because you never know what’s going to show up.

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4- Always try things on. I know this one seems kinda obvious but it’s super important when thrift shopping. With so many different brands all under one roof sizing can be a little tricky. Sure, sometimes if it’s something simple like a T-shirt you can probably tell straight off the bat whether it’s going to fit your body but with other things, especially dresses and trousers I would recommend always trying stuff on. Another point to mention is lots of second hand shops don’t accept returns so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

5- Learn some basic sewing techniques. Sewing is a great skill to have on hand anyway but particularly helpful if you thrift a lot. This way you can fix on new buttons, mend small tears, take things in, shorten hems etc. Being able to sew opens up a world of possibilities. Like that top but wish it was cropped? No problem! Chop the bottom off and re-hem it! There are plenty of books and youtube tutorials to help you learn how to sew and supplies can be super cheap so it’s worth giving a go. You could of course rope a friend or family member into helping you if they already have the skills. I recently got a really cool pair of orange corduroy trousers in a charity shop and they were only £2 because they had a small rip by one of the belt loops. As the material was quite thick I asked my friend if she could fix it up using her sewing machine and she kindly did just that and now my trousers are good as new. Make do and mend my friends.

6- Look in all the sections. Check outside your usual size range, check in the “men’s” section, check in with the kids clothes and always have a peek at the bric-a-brac. Because of the wide variety of stuff in these kinds of shops it’s always worth looking around as thoroughly as possible. There could be gems hiding anywhere, especially in less curated shops like charity shops. Wonderful pieces can sometimes be overlooked and end up at the back of the rack, just waiting to be discovered and cherished.

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7- Think about your existing wardrobe/home decor. Whenever you are unsure about a piece think about items you already own that would look good with it. You may love that multicoloured pom-pom sweater but what would you wear it with? This is a good tip for shopping in general but particularly helpful in the minefield of thrifting. It can also be good to buy things that are similar (but not identical) to things you already own. Maybe there’s a colour or shape that you love, getting more things with that same factor should be a sure fire bet.

8- Keep an eye out for good brands. I always check the labels of anything I’m considering buying. Okay, you might not find any Alexander McQueen in your local Cancer Research shop (although I’m sure that could happen) but you can find some pretty good brands. Looking out for these good brands is a good way to make your money stretch- you could buy a second hand Primark top for the same price as a second hand top from Topshop. I’ve purchased stuff from Henry Holland and Karen Millen for example and they were pretty much the same price as any other similar items of lesser quality. Quality is especially important when buying second hand clothes that have had a bit of wear. So always employ those detective skills. You can even find lots of clothes that are brand new, still with tags on if you keep your eyes peeled.

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So that’s my tips for thrifting successfully. Most of these tips are more focused towards UK charity shops because that’s what I know best but I’m sure lots of these are transferable to all types of thrift shopping. There are also lots of online thrift shops and good old Ebay if you can’t easily get out. I have no real experience with thrifting online but it might be a fun option to explore.  I hope you found these tips useful and interesting, happy thrifting!

I Might Just Be Happy…

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2017 was a rough year for me. I finished uni, had two break ups on top of each other (polyamory problems, am I right) and saw my mental health plummet. I found myself basically homeless and jobless with most of my possessions jammed into a friend’s garage. All in all things were looking pretty damn bleak. But, as the Robinson family motto states- faith is everything. I am spiritual but I knew some form of god wasn’t gonna save me from this mess. I wasn’t expecting a miracle. The latter part of 2017 was all about building myself up. I got a job, stumbled upon a room I could rent and continued building my relationship with my wonderful girlfriend. I kinda ignored my mental health problems, but we will come back to that later. Throughout all of this I was also ignoring something else, something that has been so important to me all though my life that it seems crazy that I just let it fall to the wayside. I didn’t write. I barely even journalled and didn’t even try to blog or write poetry. I attempted Nanowrimo in November but that never got finished as my life suddenly got busy and I forgot to make time for it.

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Christmas happened, New Year flew past and January kinda blipped by. A lot of shit went down with me during that time but I’m not gonna go into it now, maybe someday. By February I was getting pretty fed up about feeling down and anxious all the time so I dragged my ass to the doctors and accepted a prescription to try some different antidepressants. Like many people, I don’t have the best track record with antidepressants and was somewhat reluctant to try these out. Part of me was scared I would have horrible side effects like before and part of me was worried that I would somehow lose a part of myself. How silly is that? I thought that by being happy, stable and functioning I would lose a part of what made me me. And in retrospect maybe that is true, maybe I have lost some of me but losing things isn’t always a bad thing. Some things can bear being left behind.

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Because of these concerns it took me until the star of March to actually pluck up the courage to start taking the medication. But I did and some of my fears were realised. March was spent in a near constant state of extreme fatigue. I was taking naps all the time and even a 3 hour shift would wear me out completely. But I persevered and that brings us up to date. April has just started, the fatigue is fading and spring is coming. I finally feel like I’m regaining parts of me that I thought were long gone. I want to read, to write, to take photos, experiment in the kitchen, go on long walks and most surprisingly I’m craving my own company. This year I’ve barely spent a night alone because being alone with my thoughts has been torturous. But with the help of some meds and a ton of determination I’m actually doing okay.

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I’m sitting alone in my room at nearly midnight with a cup of tea that’s getting cold because I just needed to write. I needed to spill my guts out on a page and be heard. I haven’t felt like this in a long time and it feels good. So that’s where I’m at right now. The old me is is coming back but with some massive improvements. I’m not the person I was when I started this blog. So much has changed. I feel like the parts of me that are coming back are parts of me from my pre uni days, maybe even pre college. Parts of me that still had wonder, hope and excitement. I know all of that kinda sound contradicting but to me it makes sense. I’m some sort of a new amalgamation of my past but with a new skip in my step.

And on that note- you can call me Em now.

Bullet Journaling- Part 1- what is it and what do I need?

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This sounds over dramatic but I really mean it when I say bullet journaling has changed my life. It has helped me become so much more organised and together. I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through my final year of uni without everything all in one neat little book like this.

After seeing beautiful photos of them all over instagram and reading peoples high praise of the organising method, I decided to give it a go myself last August. I found nice notebook in my collection- just a simple lined one. I popped out and brought some washi tape from ASDA, fished out some coloured fineliners from my stationary hoard and dove straight in. I did a bit of googling to figure out the basics and got experimental from there.

At the start I did feel some pressure to make my bullet journal perfect and include all sorts of different charts and lists. But that’s the great thing about bullet journals- you make them up as you go along so you can change your mind and methods as many times as you want. It didn’t take me too long to figure out exactly what works for me. I’m now onto my second bullet journal and tend to stick to a fairly simple set up, which I think would be very helpful for beginners.

In this part I’m just going to explain what a bullet journal is and suggest some supplies for getting you started. Then, in my next post, I will teach you the basics and show you how I lay out my bullet journal these days.

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Before I get stuck in I’m gonna quickly explain what a bullet journal is for anyone that doesn’t know. A bullet journal is a simple notebook that brings together the ideas of a journal, planner, notebook, list book and calendar. The method was devised by a guy called Ryder Caroll and has a few basic principles that help make it such an effective organisational tool (I will go into those in my next post). Once you have the basics down you can get creative and add anything you want to your bullet journal! Art, collages, lyrics, memories, photos-whatever, it’s yours to play around with.

Tools! All you really need to start a bullet journal is a notebook (dotted or squared is best but lined or plain works just fine too) and a pen or even a pencil. You lay everything inside out yourself so you can adapt it to your needs and preferences. Everything I do in my journal could easily be achieved with those two things and maybe a ruler to help keep things tidy.

Heres a list and links to the thinks I use for my bullet journal:

This all adds up but you can make it as cheap or expensive as you want. You can use any stickers for decoration because boy can planner stickers be pricey, luckily my lovely Mum brought me the ones I have for Christmas. Little hand drawn doodles can bee great for decoration too if you don’t want to use stickers. Any pen will do, although I would always recommend a fineliner of some sort. I didn’t use stencils or watercolours at all in my original journal, they just add a nice touch.

Right- that’s it for now! In my next post I will break things down for you and show you how I organise my bullet journal. Trust me, it’s so easy! I have literally no artistic talent and I manage to make mine look pretty good and more importantly functional. This method of organisation really has changed my life and maybe it could change yours too so make sure you check out my next post!

Toodles.

 

Love is Love But…

Pride Month has just finished in the US but London Pride was this past weekned and Cornwall Pride doesn’t happen until August! Because of this, all things LGBTQA+ have been all over social media which is great to see, at least in my little bubble, because it’s almost exclusively been positive. However there’s one thing that bothers me, and it’s been bothering me for a while now, the hashtag #loveislove.

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Now before you jump down my throat please hear me out. Of course I agree love is love! The love between me and my girlfriend is just as valid as any other love regardless of sexuality. Our love is beautiful and special and fun and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My problem with this popular hashtag is the focus on love. Love is all very well and good but what about when we aren’t in love? Do you respect us then?

Queer people deserve respect whether they are in a relationship or not. We shouldn’t have to fit into a cute little coupley box to be seen as humans. Our identity should be respected whether we are in relationships or single, happily or unhappily. When we are going through a messy break up or just having fun hooking up. When were are in open relationships or just not into relationships at all. Love is love but you should respect us regardless of our relationship status.

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Oh and there is of course the issue that the hashtag kinda ignores gender identity completely by focusing on sexuality. This is of course problematic as trans and nonbinary peeps are a huge part of pride and deserve to feel included. It’s not really fair that the most prominent pride related hashtags focus on sexuality and relationships- eg: #loveislove, #lovewins and #loveishere.

I’m not asking for a boycott of this hashtag and other similar ones, rather some thoughtful consideration when using them. Why are you using it? Could something more inclusive and less love focused be used in it’s place?

I hope this blog post has made you think a little. Sending so much love to my fellow queer siblings, you are so strong and wonderful.

This blog post is an extension of a Facebook status I wrote on the day of London Pride, you can read the original post here

Toodles!

4am

Just a little something I wrote in the early hours of a morning.

 

Some of the best things happen at 4am. Watching beautiful sunrises. Sometimes hanging out of attic windows in the nude. Sometimes down by the river with your friends on a cold New Year’s day. Sometimes with your girlfriend, hand in hand gazing over the docks. You might snuggle up in a dank spare room, happy to finally be alone as the buzz wears off. Maybe you are curling up sweaty and happy after a tinder hook up. Or perhaps drifting off peacefully in the arms of a girl you’ve been crushing on for months. Occasionally it’s on a river bank with friends as a summer storm rages on outside or in a noisy festival field, trying to ignore the smell of warm cider in the air. More often it’s on a random sofa after a long and blurry night, you might be resting your head on a stranger’s leg and using a smokey hoodie as a blanket but you’re comfortable and that’s all that matters. You could even be in a hotel room, sleepy after a wedding, relieved to be free from your heels. But most of the time you just got distracted, lost track of time. Well that’s what you tell yourself. Really you know that 4am is a magical time and you’d hate to miss it with sleep.

Toodles

A Salty Kiss

So hey, I got published a little while back which is pretty damn cool. A local publishers (Sea Post Press) run by some students from the English department at my uni decided to put together an anthology of third year work. We were all invited to submit work and I submitted several poems but really didn’t expect anything to come out of it.

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I was so surprised when I flicked open my copy of the finished book and saw my name on the content page! They chose to publish my poem “The Bible Woman”. I wrote this poem back in late 2016 for my writing for a digital age module. It was created by searching the word “woman” in an online copy of the bible and the putting a a list poem together based off of the search results.

I see it as both being a critical look at how women are presented in the bible as well as commentary on how no matter how women act they are always demonised in one way or another. You might take something totally different away from it and that is welcomed. So here is my poem that featured in the third year anthology; A Salty Kiss. 

The Bible Woman

Thou art a virtuous woman.
strange woman
rebellious woman
wise woman
beautiful woman
cursed woman
wicked woman
barren woman
evil woman
whorish woman
foolish woman
gracious woman
fair woman
brawling woman
angry woman
contentious woman
adulterous woman
odious woman
travailing woman
delicate woman
menstruous woman
removed woman
unmarried woman
free woman
what women
certain woman
this woman
every woman
all the woman

So yeah, my first ever published poem. I’m pretty damn proud of myself. I really hope now I’m done with uni I still manage to continue writing poetry and lyrics. I’m going to try, I need to keep  my creative juices flowing.

Toodles.

 

Adventure Is Out There!

I’m back!!! I know, I know; it’s been a bloody long time but I swear I’m back now and a hell of a lot has changed and loads more is on the horizon.

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So what has changed since we last spoke? Well for starters I’ve got a degree now! Well I haven’t actually had my gradation ceremony yet but I got my final grades back. I got a 2:2, ending up with 58% overall. Considering how crappy my mental health has been over these past few years I am amazed I made it through. So woo go me, I’m a Creative Writing graduate from Falmouth University.

While we are on the subject of university I also had a very busy February; I ran in the student union elections. I ran for the position of Community and Welfare President. Although I didn’t win (I came 3rd out of 7), I had the most amazing week. I met so many people and my confidence sky rocketed! It was such a hectic and busy week but I’m so glad I did it, the experience I gained from standing is something I am so grateful for. I also got to spend a lot of time with some of my best friends who helped out on my campaign team, so that’s a bonus. And any job interview I ever go to in the future will be a doddle compared to trying to win over thousands of students!

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Another thing; I’m polyamorous, woo! If you don’t know what polyamory is then here’s a little run down; basically polyamory is the practice of loving/having relationships with more than one person. There are so many different relationship structures that fit into polyamory and every polyamorous relationship is different, so I can only really speak from my experience. I have a boyfriend and a girlfriend who are both dating me, but not dating each other, although they are very good friends. Both relationships are very different and I am so happy with how everything is going. The relationships are also both pretty open meaning we can all have sexual/romantic relationships and experiences outside of the relationship. Communication is key when it comes to polyamory. You need to keep a constant, healthy dialogue going to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy.

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Smaller change but I also shaved half my hair off. It just felt like time for a change, something bold. On Halloween I was out with some friends and I was talking about wanting to change my hair up and one of my friends suggested a Natalie Dormer style situation and boom, a few days later I marched into the hairdressers and got it done. I freaking love my hair like this. I was so worried I was going to regret it but I haven’t so far and it’s been over half a year.

I feel like this hair cut was what triggered all this change in my life. I know that sounds kinda silly but hear me out. This hair cut was such a bold move, something no one saw coming. It gave me some freedom from what was expected of me meaning I could do some soul searching and figure out who I truly was and what I wanted. It made me look at my life and see what changes needed to be made. Since getting this hair cut I have been taking less bullshit and instead living my life how I want.

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So what’s next? For now I’m mainly looking for a job and figuring what my living situation is going to be when my house contract ends in a month. I don’t really have a big grand plan. I thought I would have it all figured out by now, but I really fucking don’t! I’m applying for jobs that look interesting and pay well. After I leave my student house I’m gonna be doing some couch surfing between friends and family. It’s kinda scary not having a plan but I’m choosing to see it as an adventure and I’m sure some great writing inspiration will come from it. I’m feeling very much like the lost 20-something year old I am but it’s pretty exciting. For the first time in my life I don’t know where I’m heading next, I could do anything. It’s a strange mix of fear and wonder.

However now I’m done with uni I have so much free time to write on here. I have so many things I want to write about; bullet journaling, polyamory, surviving uni for example. I also want to document my time as a post-grad, figuring out my place in the world. I know a lot of people write about that but hey, everyone’s story is different. I also still have a bunch of work from my time at uni that I really want to share with you so look out for that.

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve abandoned this blog then come back with a big post but please stick with me! I promise there is much more coming up. I have so much I want to say and hopefully some people out there want to listen to me. I’m going to try to update the blog at least once a week but maybe more.

Thank you for reading this pretty self indulgent post and I hope you are having a fabulous day!

Toodles.

Fuck Flattering

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Hi, my names Emma and I really don’t give a fuck anymore about anyone’s opinions on my body or the way I dress. I spent years of my life lusting over sexy body-con dresses, sultry pencil skirts and summer crop tops. I sometimes tried them on but took one look in the mirror and ripped them straight back off again (carefully of course, I mean I’m not into destroying shop property). Even though I really liked the clothes and often loved how they made me feel I looked in the mirror and all I could see was my lumps and bumps. Those lumps and bumps that I had been told consistently though my life to hide away by the media. Being curvy was fine, as long as you knew how to dress your body aka as long as you knew how to cover up the parts of you that were offensive to western beauty ideals. But then this dress came along…

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I was out shopping for new clothes to take with my to Download festival and I came across this dress in NewLook. There was pretty much nothing else I liked in the shop so I decided to take a chance and try it on. I was anxious- bodycon and stripes! Two of the things curvy girls are told to avoid like the plague. But I tried it on and I liked it. Actually I loved it. It was super comfy, I knew it wouldn’t fly up on the wind and most importantly I loved how my body looked in it. I stepped out into the corridor of the changing room so I could get a better look in the bigger mirror. For some unknown reason I asked another woman who just so happened to be in the changing room at the time what she thought of the dress and then came the dreaded words “I do like it but I honestly don’t think it’s very flattering on you”. I know the lady didn’t mean any harm and I did ask for her opinion but it still stung. Luckily I acted against what she said and went for it, I brought the goddamn dress and wore it to Download and felt bloody amazing.

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And so my love affair with clingy clothes and my lumpy body began. I wear what I want when I want. I’m done with asking other peoples opinions. If I like it then that’s all that matters. Fuck flattering, fuck size appropriate, fuck too revealing, fuck too short, fuck too busy. And I never ever bother with shape wear. If you want to wear it then cool, you do you, but I am so fed up of this idea that we need to smooth out our lumps and bumps to be entitled to wear form fitting clothes. I’m done hiding my shape and I’m done caring what flatters it. As long as I’m comfortable and happy then that’s what matters. Who’s with me?!

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Toodles!