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_

 

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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.