Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Wardrobe Weekly

It's been another busy one, which is why wardrobe weekly is late again! In my fella's continual attempts to give me a thorough Jazz education, I've been watching Ken Burns 'Jazz' (series of documentaries) and it was that which spurred me on to finally finish my last post 'The wrong scale', which I started writing about 3 months ago. The second episode introduces us to Duke Ellington and I was inspired by his story. I loved the following passages....

"Your manners, your sense of what you are capable of, will carry you past the slights and insults. Always carry yourself as if you're above them, because in fact you are"

"(Ellington's mother) Daisy told her son he must allow nothing to stop him, unpleasant facts and potential barriers were simply to be ignored. He could do anything anyone else could do, and because she believed that, Ellington would always believe it too"

I am in no way comparing fat-phobia or hatred towards racism (which is why I didn't include this in the actual post), but those words just resonated with me, so I sat down and re-wrote that post. Once it was actually posted I could get on with everything else (lots of laundry for instance!). So three cheers for Jazz!

It's actually a fantastically fascinating series, and as you can imagine, most of the musicians stories are hugely inspiring. If you are interested in the history of jazz (well, or just music in general!) then you should check it out - My jazz-mad boyfriend has the DVD's but you can watch it on Daily motion for free here! My Jazz Education continues.....

I'm so in love with this tune that I felt the need to put it up here. Now, on to my week in clothes!

 Oh the joy! This has been in my 'winter' suitcase, and it was the first thing I wanted to wear after I swapped my summer wardrobe over!
 I adore this dress. I wore it loads last year and I always feel foxy in it!
 Rubber shoes to resist the rain!
Excelent mosaic print!
 Dress 26-28 - AX Paris / ebay
Cardi 20 - Primark
Leggings 20 - South / Very
Shoes - Melissa + J Maskrey & Swarovski

 I bought this from Becky's blog sale ages ago, but the weather was too mild to wear it so this is it's first outing!
Dress 2xl - Domino Dollhouse
Leggings 20 - Primark
Boots - Old via ebay! 

 It's autumn, and that means it's time for lightweight jumpers!
 When I was little I always thought women looked chic in turtlenecks, and that feeling has never gone away. 
I've had this jumper for years - it's an old cheap classic that is ideal for chilly, windy weather.
Jumper 18 - Primark
Jeans 22 - Dorothy Perkins
Shoes - Asos
Earrings - Forever 21 

 I really liked this outfit. I am a real fan of a simple jeans + jumper combo. It's so simple but it just looks cute!
 It's the first time I've worn this jumper (which I got a month or so ago) and I really like it. I wish I could get it in other colours too, it's comfy and lush!
 Anyone who likes Doc Martins and has legs like mine (massive - too big for most wellies) should get down to Primark and buy some of these. I LOVE these £10 wellies. They have them in black glitter and floral prints as well as these leopard ones. Genius idea.
Jumper 24 - Barbara Hulaniki for George
jeans 22 - Dorothy Perkins
Boots - Primark 

Please excuse the terrible pictures! I look insane in these, but anyway.... these trousers look much better in real life, trust me!
 Cute print!
Shirt 24 - George
Trousers 22 - Dorothy Perkins 

 My summer weekend uniform was jumpsuits and flip flops. My winter weekend uniform is jersey joggers, jumpers and slippers!
 Whole outfit - Primark!

Oh the joy of a sunny day after all the rainy doom and gloom!
 It's a good jub I didn't pack away my denim jacket along with my other summer coats, because Sunday was oddly hot and very sunny!
 A nice simple dress that I got for £6 from the lovedrobe website last year.
I'm wearing REAL hi-tops, not those foul things with the concealed wedge heel. Why anyone would want to ruin a comfy pair of trainers with a big heel is beyond me!
 Jacket 22 - New Look Inspire
Dress 24 - Lovedrobe
Leggings 20 - Primark
Hi-tops - Nike

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Wrong Scale

 "Our daughters have learned to measure their worth by the wrong scale"

That's not a painting, that's me in a bikini.

Ages ago I wrote a post called 'on a serious note', it was my argument for why everyone should learn to accept their bodies. In it I said "One day I might try to explain on my blog why I grew up loving and accepting the person I am and the body I have". I've not really thought about that statement for a while, and then I got an email that included this sentence...

"I’m so glad that you were able, for reasons you didn’t say (?), to have avoided the horror of self-hatred like that. It’s incredibly damaging and it leaves such a deep, ugly wound. I’m trying very hard to undo it all atm"

My big sis would probably describe me as a show-off!

It got me thinking. It's so hard to put into words, but I tried. I thought about it for hours, and really tried to look back and remember little moments of triumph and failure. I wrote an essay. It included lots of extremely personal details. It was like a mini autobiography about how I discovered who I am. It just felt self important and over the top to be honest! Then I stepped away for a while and when I read it back I realised that it was entirely unnecessary to go into such graphic detail. A few things became very clear when looking back at my life, the biggest one being that in essence I have always been pretty much the same person. I am older and wiser now and a little less of an attention-seeker (seriously, even though I have a blog where I am constantly taking pictures of and talking about myself!), but inside I am the same little girl who always thought she could do anything she wanted.

Me as a child

So here is the thing; I question everything (in quite an annoying way sometimes I'm sure!). I often disagree with other peoples opinions (sometimes openly) and I really don't like being told what to think, particularly by people or organisations that I dislike. Some people might have said I had an attitude problem when I was younger... my dad still thinks I'm argumentative, but others would probably say that I've always been a bit feisty. I can't even watch an episode of Horizon without asking 'but how do they know that?' because I really want to understand the process that has led to the conclusion. I think that is part of my deepest nature. I don't have any tricks up my sleeve, it's just the way I think about the world in general (and my life specifically) and that way of thinking does not allow me to go along with the idea that my body is unacceptable. 

Me as a grown-up

The other interesting thing about dissecting my childhood is that I have always been a feminist. Does that sound like an odd statement to make about a child? I believe it to be a true one. I believed I could be or do anything... my sex or size or looks never really entered the equation. Again, that's who I am.

 Funniness trumps everything in my book

My mum and dad were equal in my mind, and the idea of being a pretty little housewife was not something I ever aspired to.... my heroes were Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, my books were Roald Dahls Mathilda and Jill Murphys Worst Witch. My favourite historical figure was Elizabeth I. I didn't give two shits about their bodies or what they looked like. It was irrelevant!

From my early teens I have thought that women were holding themselves back with their ridiculous (and indoctrinated) obsession with thinness and beauty. It's bad enough that 'The Man' (sorry... tacky, but I couldn't resist!) forces these ridiculous ideals on us, but it's insane that we keep doing it to ourselves! The pressure on women to dress and look a certain way is immense and stifles our individuality, and it shouldn't be endorsed which is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place!. Yes I like clothes and I like to look good, but good to ME. I do it for myself, it's an expression of who I am inside, and liking my appearance because of the way I choose to dress makes me even more confident. It's never been about being pretty for others.

I would hope that being a feminist makes it harder to obsess about the way you look. When you start to look at WHY so many women in the world are treated so appallingly you can begin to see that trying to control how women should look, how much they should weigh, how they should act, what they should say and believe is a form of oppression that we have been taught to accept, and many of us are now complicit in it! It's time for a change ladies.

I'll let Maria Bamford put my thoughts about this into actual words (because I adore her)....

"My old lip colour could barely keep up with my busy schedule. In the time it takes to notice the wide discrepancy between my salary and that of my male peers, I'd have to reapply! In the seconds to count the number of women in high political office, seated on corporate executive boards and featured in film and television over the age of 40, my lip colour would be as invisible as this glass ceiling only inches above my head! L'Oreal. Because I am worth it. And because holding myself to an impossible standard of beauty keeps me from starting a riot!"

I guess it has helped my overall feelings towards my body that I have never found skinny women sexually attractive - I always preferred more shapely women. I'm not saying that skinny women are not attractive, they just don't float my particular boat. I guess it's because their body shapes are foreign to me and it's why I understand why some skinny women don't find fat women sexually attractive! It's totally fine and natural to have those feelings so long as that preference isn't used to bully and belittle others, then it turns in to a whole different thing. In terms of the girls in magazines I grew up with in the late 80's / early 90's, they were all young, blond and skinny with their bones jutting out. It's only in my adult life that big J-lo bums and thick Beyonce thighs have been considered something to aspire to.... 'Does my bum look big in this?' seems like a long time ago. Nowadays many women would actively want the answer to that question to be yes! Not when I was a girl. I sort of knew that I didn't look the 'ideal' girl but (apart from the shocking lack of fashionable clothes choices) I had more important things to worry about. I sort of ignored it, and I was happy!

I don't want to look like everyone else. I want to stand out from the crowd. Being different is a good thing and should be celebrated!

 Errrr.... check my outfit, I was 10 years too early for the neon and pop-art trends!

Here is something which I also feel is extremely important when it comes to confidence. You need to know the facts. Not the facts that the media chooses to feed you (because you have to know by now that even the more morally upright newscasters only report the more inflammatory news), but the scientific data about obesity. It's true that the Internet created a world where total assholes can spew their hatred towards women and fat people (god forbid you dare to be fat AND a woman!) but it also opens up a world of knowledge. REAL scientific data. You only need to watch this TED talk to see that even DOCTORS are prejudiced, and that medical science and knowledge changes all the time. Watch documentaries, read articles, listen to podcasts. Take an interest in all the shit that nobody is telling you so you can tune out the propaganda and it will change the way you see the world! I haven't ever thought of myself as a drain on public resources, and although I am not particularly healthy I don't think MY body is anybody else's business.

So what am I getting at here?! What I'm really trying to say is that I never have (and never will) believe things that don't make sense to me. Racism doesn't make sense. Homophobia doesn't make sense. Sizism doesn't make sense. Sexism doesn't make sense. Hating someone because of how they look doesn't make sense. Hating yourself because of how you look does not make sense. Constantly comparing yourself to others just doesn't make any sense. If you can't explain or prove (scientifically or logically) why my skinny friend is more attractive than me, then your argument is nonsense.... do you see what I mean? You only have to pull at one little thread and everything just unravels.

I've always been such a charmer....

So then, I have avoided falling into the self-hatred trap because of the following:

I am stubborn.
I am opinionated.
I am argumentative.

To be fair I'm also logical, sensible, loving and loyal and I don't like inflicting pain - physically or mentally - on other people. I am also fortunate in that I have never had to struggle with my mental health. I'm aware that if my brain was wired differently I might be telling a different story. I believe that I have managed to construct a lifestyle and thought process that completely ignores all the voices around me saying that I shouldn't like the way I look. I think I must have muted them because they did not support or fit in with my personal view of the world! I haven't changed. I had a conversation recently with Smyth from Terrible Tumbles who blew my mind by telling me that according to the BMI she is 'obese'. A size 16 woman who is like 6 foot tall and is not in any way fat to my eyes.... I couldn't believe it, because it makes no sense to me and my world order! All this conversation has done is convince me that the BMI is so flawed that you might as well be using horoscopes to measure our health! I read lots of info on BMI after this conversation, and all you need to look at is this - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and therefore it seems like a very lazy way in which to categorise human beings and judge their health. See?! This is how my brain works!

"If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through" - General Melchett, Blackadder.

Bag of Parsnips

I feel at this point it would be just downright rude not to mention the stellar job my parents did of bringing me up. Unconditional love, support and understanding is not to be underestimated. My childhood was a happy one, my mum and dad were also fat so I never felt different or ugly. They always told me I was beautiful. They instilled in me the importance of education and allowed me to try out (and give up!) the many activities I wanted to do.... dancing / singing / acting / guitar etc.... I was quite outgoing as a child it seems! I know they are proud of me, they respect my decision to move to London and carve out my career, and the choice I've made not to have children. I know my mum is proud of me for this blog too (hi Mummy!).

My Mum and Dad have always wanted what was best for me, not what was best for them, and from what I've seen and heard about other parents that is obviously not the default position..... their impact on my self worth can never be underestimated and I will be forever grateful for the love they gave (& give!) me. I am also grateful for the moments of strictness and the lack of mollycoddling that have stopped me from being too much of a spoilt princess!

Skip to the end.....

Giving a talk about my work at an international conference, and being a fat woman at the same time!

I started this post with a quote from the wonderful TED talk (below) by Sandra Aamodt. Women HAVE been taught to measure their value by the way they look and how much they weigh. But me? I don't own a set of scales. Maybe the difference between me and some of my beautiful readers who struggle with their self image is that I've have taught myself to measure my value with a different scale - the one most men are measured by. Strength. Determination. Success in my chosen career. I can hold my achievements in my hands, I can see them out in the wide world, I know in my heart what they are and I know they are nothing to do with my sex or my looks. I might have had to push harder because I am a woman in a traditionally male field, but I never let my size hold me back.... I guess that confidence stopped others worrying about it either.

I believe myself, my mother, my sister and my friends to be Goddesses. Goddesses can do and be anything they choose - including being fat AND happy, and I have always been too stubborn and controlling to let anyone or anything change my mind about that! Occasionally I stand in my own way because I'm only human and sometimes I get frightened, or sad, or angry (mostly angry!), but nobody else stands in my way, I would never allow it, I would fight for my rights!. *I am starting to understand why one of my colleagues recently told me I was a bit scary..... anyway* Don't think I don't realise how lucky I am to have been brought up in a country and in a family that has allowed me to ask questions and make my own decisions..... I really really appreciate my freedom. I was also lucky that nobody ever really gave me shit or made me feel hopeless. I know I'm not typical in that respect, but seriously, you are all Goddesses too. Don't believe the hype.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Wardrobe fortnight

I missed last weeks roundup, so this ones is a two-weeker and is therefore massive! If you want to see more regular pictures then follow me on Instagram (plumpparsnip), It's much easier to upload pics to when I'm in low signal areas and I find it less stressful that Twitter!
In case any of my readers want to see what I'm up to, find me on Instragram!

So then, I've been a bit out of sorts recently and I'm only just getting back to normal, plus I've been super busy so this post has taken ages to get done... sorry about that! Stress has been causing me problems but I'm recovering!

Turning my horrible commute (the main cause of my daily dose of stress) into art therapy!

Anyway, I managed to get dressed on most days, so I'll stop whining and get started....

 Any excuse to wear my lush BHC bespoke necklace!
 You know I love me some vintage gear, and this dress was a bargain I got from ebay last year.
 It's clearly an evening dress, but so are half of my dresses, and I wear them every day none-the-less!
 It matches my lush blue shoes perfectly!
This is how I dress down a posh maxi - with a denim or leather jacket!
Dress - vintage (via ebay)
Jacket 22 - New Look Inspire
Shoes - Primark
Necklace - Black Heart Creatives (bespoke)

 Pulling out a smart dress.
 This is the Anna Scholz dress that I cut the peplum off of.
A red Mac can never be wrong!
Dress 24 - Anna Scholz Black label
Leggings 20 - South / Very
Shoes - Asos

 Wednesday was the day when I nearly cried in the middle of St Pancras station. I had an awful journey to work, and then I was meeting my boyfriend at Croydon Ikea to try out beds after work, and I got the Victoria line all the way to Kings cross (in order to get the train from St Pancras) only to find out after the 10 minutes it takes to get between the stations that every train south were fucked and they wouldn't even let people onto the platform.... bad times. "Get on the Victoria line and get a train from Victoria station". I'd been traveling for 1 1/2 hours before I even got on a train going south! Queue crying on boyfriends shoulder outside of Ikea. Transport was still fucked when we left Ikea and we didn't get home until nearly midnight after a journey which consisted of 2 trams, a train and two buses.
 And to think I felt sad in the morning... this face had no idea that it would soon be cursing and swearing in a international train station!
 At least I had a nice outfit on.
 Love this print
 Anna Scholz at her best.
 The paints peeling off but I don't care!
 Double silk lushness. 
 A trip to Meat Liquor for lunch perked me up! That's not all my food by the way, it's just that trendy burger places refuse to give you a fucking plate!
 Dress 24 - Anna Scholz
Cardi 20 - Primark
Leggings 20 -South / Very
Shoes - Primark
Coat 24 - Boohoo
My friend took this picture of me... told you the burger perked me up! That's what a dead hippie burger will do for you!

 After another hideous journey to work (and genuine tears in Pizza Express when my collegue told me she was leaving for a new job) I decided my stress was making my emotional state unusually wobbly so I took Friday off! 
 Love this top and the pattern.
Clashing prints.
Top 24 - Barbara Hulanicki for George
Denim Joggers 24 - Yours Clothing
Shoes - Crocs

A solo duvet day that I needed VERY badly!
I got dressed very briefly, just into a primark jumper and some crazy clearance / simply be plazzo trousers.

 Low-key Saturday!
Dress 2XL - H&M+
Leggings XL - H&M
Shoes - Asos

We went to Clapham to try out mattresses on Sunday and thought we would get some breakfast club action while we were there!
My boyfriend always captures my moments of stupidity.
So hoy right now
This sums up the last few weeks frankly.... ARGH!
In the mega Queue for The breakfast club. Not worth it (unless you want pancakes & syrup) in my humble opinion!

Dress 22 - Per una / Marks & Spencers
Coat 22 - Asos Curve
Leggings 20 - South / Very
Shoes - Asos
Glasses - Goggles4U

Monday again
 I'm should have got some better pictures of this outfit because I loved it!
Shirt 24 - Cut for Evans
Skirt 2XL - Domino Dollhouse

Tuesday again
 I've had these trousers a while, but I've only just got round to wearing them since they were a bit too thick for the summer months. They look quite red, but they're more of a deep magenta in real life. I saw them on Kirsty and had to grab a pair!
 The best thing about them is that they come up like high waisted trousers (even if they're not named as high waisted, they are) which is my favourite style of trouser as they actually fit my backside in without giving me builders bum!
A bit of quilted jumpr and dino necklace action!
I have a lipstick that matches the trousers perfectly (which always makes me happy!) from miss sporty!
Jumper 20 - Primark
Trousers 24 - Simply Be
Necklace - ebay
Shoes - Asos

Wednesday again
 I like a dress that is easy to take from summer to winter, and I think I'll be able to wear this one in any season!
 I got so rained on in the morning so I ended up putting my hair up...
 Having brightly coloured soles on my Asos boots makes me SO happy (can you tell?!)
Dress 22 - Asos Curve
Cardi 20 - Primark
Necklace - P
Leggings 20 - Primark
Boots - Asos

Thursday again
 Super casual day.
 I start messing with my hair when I need to cut it!
 Super shiny pumps!
Super old necklace with coins on it. This was a gift from my old pal Helen from maybe 15 years ago!(it was a bracelet but I tuned it into a necklace!).
Jumper 20 - Primark
Jeans 22 - New Look
Shoes - Primark

Friday again
 Classic dress!
 I was going for a swim after work so I wore my hair up and I always think this dress looke nice with an up-do as it has well structured shoulders!
 Totally awesome boots!
 These earrings are a cool old pair that I had forgotten about!
 After a swim my hair always goes oddly shiny!
 I went for some dumplings and decided that I'd had such a good day that I'd go and watch my boyfriends gig....
 What is it about watching someone play an instrument that makes them so attractive?! That's my Lush jazz hands on the Keyboard.
Dress 24 - Barbara Hulanicki for George
Leggings 20 - Primark
Boots - Asos
Earrings - Silvershake

Saturday again
 I didn't manage to take any proper pics, but this is my old asos curve matrix dress!
 So I cut my fringe back in (clearly) and now I have to wear makeup again, otherwise I look like Dudley Moore.... I always forget that about fringes! Nevermind! Cold day so I'm in my weekend uniform (jumpsuit) just layered up!
Jumpsuit 2XL - Forever 21+
Cardi & slippers - Primark