Lifestyle and home education blogger at Wildling Wishes, main contributor and editor for She Might Be, draws pictures for money at Rymermade on Etsy.
Lifestyle and home education blogger at Wildling Wishes, main contributor and editor for She Might Be, draws pictures for money at Rymermade on Etsy.
I’ve always been a huge lover of music. Not only do I love to listen to music but I’ve actually been able to read music almost as long as I could read words, and I have a history of playing the fiddle (violin, but Scottish music!), attempting to play the piano for a few years and I taught myself to play the guitar. I come from a smudge on the map at the top of Scotland called Orkney, and Orcadian culture is dripping with melody. I lived my teenage years with earbuds sticking out of the top of my hoodie, because it was important to me that music was always close – and now, funny enough, my own teenager is constantly donning headphones and ignoring the world around her! I’ve never been more proud. She drew my attention to the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones a couple of days ago, eager to tell me that the battery life was long enough for 40 whole hours of immersive sound. I immediately began to think about how I would fill those 40 hours and, while I won’t list enough songs to fill 40 hours right now, I thought it would be fun to pick a few songs that I would have on the soundtrack to my life. Enjoy!
1990: The week that I was born, Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini was number one, followed only a couple of days later by The Joker by The Steve Miller Band. I’m unsure what exactly that combination says about me, but I thoroughly enjoy both of them years later and I can definitely think of a worse soundtrack to have been born to!
1991: Though I have no memory of this, I have fondly been told of the days I would hold hands with my wonderful Auntie Freya, skipping through the streets and shouting the lyrics to Give It Away by RHCP. I can only imagine how much I would love it if I saw a toddler doing this now!
1992: My first ever favourite song of my own was All That She Wants by Ace of Base. I’m not sure what inspired my love of this song, but for some reason I have an unusual memory in which I am an infant and I am deeply unsettled to discover that Zoe Ball is not the person singing this song. I don’t know either.
1995: Jump forward a couple of years, and Earth Song by Michael Jackson was re-released. It blew my tiny mind that men could have long hair. Seriously. I argued with my Mum that this was absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, a woman. In fact I was quite angry that anybody would even consider that he wasn’t.
1997: My favourite music at this age was anything by Savage Garden and Barenaked Ladies. They were my Mum’s car music, and we would all sing along to every single song. Stunt by Barenaked Ladies and Savage Garden (self-titled album) are two of my favourite albums to this day.
1998: Every Saturday, I played netball in a local league. I’d eagerly await being picked up by whichever Mum was on the rota to do the driving that week, and I used to listen to CDs and jump back and forth between the couch and the chairs, singing along as I went. I played Perfect 10 by Beautiful South on repeat for weeks, in what I suppose was my first glimpse of body positivity. Shout out to Beautiful South! Other songs on the Saturday morning playlist included Hit Me Baby One More Time and Brimful of Asha.
2000: Oh look, there are boys everywhere. And not just any boy – Ben Adams from A1. My first love, with his greasy curtains and squeaky voice. Same Old Brand New You was loved so much that there was a dance routine, and I almost still remember it. Almost. Other dance routines created over the following year were set to the music of Just Dance by 5ive (yes, the 5 was necessary), Sometimes by Britney Spears and Genie in a Bottle by Christina Aguilera.
2002: Move over Ben, because Gareth Gates was in town. I was obsessed. I had every book and video made about that series of Pop Idol (who knew there was a need for more than one video?!), I cut even the tiniest picture of him out of any magazine I saw and his signed photograph was kept neatly in a plastic wallet in a drawer in my bedroom so that it could never be ruined. Unchained Melody kicked off what was a startlingly bad musical career, and my love for him fizzled away to nothing. The spikes just didn’t do it for my anymore.
2003: And suddenly: The Distillers – Drain the Blood came out. My Grandad bought me Coral Fang which was a whole album of feist and anger and rebellion, and my thirteen year old self was over the moon.
2004 – 2005: When System of a Down brought out Hypnotize/Mesmerize over 2004 and 2005, I felt like my life was changed. It was the soundtrack to every house party I attended. Singing along to Vicinity of Obscenity in a drunken stupour was a rite of passage, and they were everybody’s favourite band in my social circle. Every so often the songs come on when my Spotify is on shuffle and I am 14 again every single time. God I feel old.
2007: And then there was Paramore. The first song by Paramore I ever heard was For A Pessimist I’m Pretty Optimistic. I had gone to a house party with a friend I barely knew and I was sitting in this girl’s kitchen, when everybody excitedly put on Paramore’s new album. The opening riff hit, and then Hayley called out “just talk yourself up, and tear yourself down” and a girl across the room said “that is the best opening to an album ever” and inside my mind I just thought “oh my god it really is”. Fun fact: my drink got spiked that night and I don’t remember much of anything after that moment. I never saw those girls again. But I have never stopped listening to Paramore since.
And then I was a grown up. There are so many essential albums from my teenage years that didn’t even get a mention; Songs About Jane by Maroon 5; Mizundastood by Pink; Stripped by Christina Aguilera; Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge by My Chemical Romance; The Young and the Hopeless by Good Charlotte – they all hold such a special place in my heart. I loved Queen, Michael Jackson, Elton John. Anything and everything! As I got older my tastes diversified. I love real corny country music – the likes of Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker. In fact, I walked down the aisle to Perfect Storm by Brad Paisley! One of my more modern favourites is Breaking Benjamin, despite the grief they get! I have rekindled my love of Barenaked Ladies and have seen them live twice as an adult, and where Fall out Boy were popular throughout my youth I have got into them all over again and have been lucky enough to take my daughter to see them live too. Isn’t it amazing how music can transport you anywhere, and make you feel exactly the way you felt when you first heard a song? So if you have 40 hours with Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones, what would you listen to?
Back in 2016, I wrote about what is so bad about my GP fat-shaming me. These kinds of posts are a bit of a mixed bag for me, because they always receive a lot of feedback – which is both wonderful, and heartbreaking. Wonderful because it is nice to know that we are all in the same boat, sharing similar experiences, and heartbreaking because it is horrible to know that we are all in the same boat, sharing similar experiences.
Interestingly, the time for the smear test I wrote about in that article has arrived, and I feel completely and utterly unable to attend. I have been to the doctor a lot in the last year, and every time I have had a blood test it has been performed by that same nurse, who has made a point of looking me up and down and sighing with disappointment every time she has seen me. I have come to realise that a lot of the problem is my own internalised fatphobia. Why is it that I can be so positive and carefree in so many other aspects of my life, but when I enter a doctor’s office I feel ashamed, and wrong, and scared of somebody pointing it out? Something inside of me still equates health with size, and then size with worth. This is so wrong for so many reasons, but the moment I enter the office of a medical professional I take 10 steps back in my journey and I feel like an absolute inconvenience and I wish I was anywhere else.
I have really struggled with working out why this is, but eventually it dawned on me – my doctors have been abusing me, and my mind is simply waiting for the next blow. I felt like maybe I was being dramatic, so I collected some data about the general experiences of fat people with medical professionals to ascertain whether or not I was just being oversensitive, or looking for problems where there were none. What I found was saddening, maddening and painfully familiar. From stories of small jabs that build up and up over time, to downright medical negligence, I was able to establish a selection of women – and 100% of the people who responded were women – who had been treated as if they were not worth appropriate medical care because of the way they looked. Their concerns were disregarded, their body types were blamed and ridiculed, and their mental health was overlooked entirely – in one case, even when in appointments directly relating to mental health. Here are some of the stories I heard.
I started with the story I shared in my last medical fatphobia post, with a few more details to boot. On top of this, I have another story that I did not share: when I was giving birth to my son, there was a horrible midwife who refused to see me as an adult. I was 22 years old, but she repeatedly spoke to my mother and husband instead of me. She asked me if social services were involved with me, and when I asked why she just shrugged and said she was surprised. When I was contracting, my mother could see my stomach harden from across the room but the midwife told me that she couldn’t be sure I wasn’t faking it because I was too fat for her to see any change. She was unhappy that the heartbeat monitor didn’t fit comfortably around my stomach. She told me she wasn’t happy with me having a bath because she couldn’t hoist me out of it. It got to ‘pushing time’ and when I told her I felt the urge, she rolled her eyes and told another doctor I was being dramatic and that there was no way I had progressed that quickly. I had gone from 6 to 10 centimetres in 30 minutes. My entire birth experience was very traumatic, and when I remember the way that horrible midwife made me feel subhuman it is just another painful memory to add to an awful situation. But unfortunately, people like her are not unique. Here’s how I know.
I believe I went in for a bad cold and the doctor, who was plus herself, told me how there’s new diet tablets that are coming out soon and I should ask about them in a few weeks
— She Might Be Loved (@GeorginaGrogan_) July 2, 2018
I’d never been asked about my weight gain in connection to taking anti-depressants up until I reached a size 14. Before then I’d gone from a size 8 to 14 with no one batting an eyelid, and now any anti-depressant review appts are filled with questions (c)
— Steph (Nourish ME) (@stephhartley4) July 2, 2018
About my diet and whether I’m exercising, rather than how I feel mentally. The balance has completely shifted with my weight gain (which the anti depressants aren’t impacting)
— Steph (Nourish ME) (@stephhartley4) July 2, 2018
Hi! I have gallstones after 2nd baby (who knew?). At consult w/ surgeon, asked if I was doing anything about my weight to which I replied not actively no just tryna let my body be where it wants to be. Still pissed about it tbh and I didn’t need surgery after all.
— Mar Higgins (@mar_higgs) July 2, 2018
Had a cough for 3 months. NHS was doin a big push on lung cancer so I freaked out and went to the doctors. Told me my immune system was bad because I was fat. Not bc I ate bad etc. Just solely bc I was fat. Turns out the asthma I suffered from as a child had returned…
— saz (@sazamophone) July 2, 2018
Went in about my chronic iron anaemia. Old GP then spent ten minutes telling me about his 15 lb weight loss and referred me to a ‘health coach’. Had bog all to do with my weight; I need an iron infusion.
— BayeuxRhapsody♿️🦄 (@BohemianLaxity) July 2, 2018
I moved House when 6 months pregnant. New doctor weighed me then told me it was “ok to go on a diet” even though I was pregnant. I was there to register so I could get pre-natal care.
— Emma K (@Serem) July 2, 2018
Too shocked to speak I went home, looked at my notes and found I was actually under the weight I should be. I complained about the jerk and switched to another doctor.
— Emma K (@Serem) July 2, 2018
I attended my first appointment with my new GP surgery (3 years ago now) I walked in for an inhaler prescription for my asthma and the first thing the new female GP said was ‘Youre fat you need to lose weight!’ at that time I was desperately trying to lose weight but I felt awful
— Nici Moran🌸 (@OddsandTrends_) July 2, 2018
In addition to these examples, people with private accounts shared details of their difficult situations with doctors. Across the board, women found that they were insulted and denigrated because of their appearance, and the health concern that brought them to the doctor was secondary. There appears to be no rhyme or reason – nothing to suggest that men are kinder, or women are more understanding. Its just something that happens sometimes: sometimes, people are assholes. And sometimes, those assholes train to be doctors. And it is wrong and awful, and it shouldn’t fall to the abused to stand up to the abuser and tell them they are wrong – but maybe that is the only way we are ever going to see change.
So please: leave your doctors when they are mean to you. Make complaints to medical boards. Correct people when they are wrong. Set clear boundaries and do not let people cross them. Seek legal action if you feel that you have been treated unfairly.
It is time for us to be the change. Because the doctors sure aren’t willing to do it.
We are so close to Summer I can almost taste it, and what is the best thing about Summer? Summer holidays! I haven’t been abroad in years, but we try to at least drive to a beach or something so that we feel a little bit like we’re doing something fun and exotic. As exotic as Weymouth Pier can be!
I love a BBQ and there’s nothing quite like getting the sand between your toes, but my favourite thing about Summer is the wealth of Summer Holiday Stereotypes that we get to see roaming the high streets. From half naked men as soon as the sun pops out from behind the clouds, to the lobster-red ladies who are asleep by the shore. Here are a handful of my favourite humans to people-watch every Summer!
What Summer Holiday Stereotypes are always guaranteed to make you giggle? Or even better – are you one of these stereotypes?! We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
At the beginning of May, there were a number of local elections across England. Did you know that? Because, with a turn out of around a third of eligible voters of the country, it seems that many did not. I found out about the local elections somewhere in the beginning of April when I received my poll card, and decided that I would put myself forward as a poll clerk. I somewhat naively assumed that there would be hundreds of people rushing forwards to get a paid day off from work, so when I received a hefty envelope in the post a week after applying without so much as a phone call or an interview, I was quite surprised to find that it included my training manual and some employment forms to fill out! Polling stations were open from 7am to 10pm and I was required to arrive in time to set up before hand, and stayed long enough to tidy everything away at the end. The online training made it seem really complicated (despite my 100% score, hurrah!) and in all honesty, it got to the night before the election and I started to get a bit worried. What if the long day was too long for me? What if I had no idea what I was doing? What if I sleep in?!
After a night of waking up every hour and assuming I had definitely slept in, I bounded into the community centre at 6:30am with my sleeves rolled up, ready to be part of the action. There was a buzz in the air as we rushed around sticking up posters, erecting the polling booths and making sure all of our paperwork was in order for our 7am start: I suppose it was the feeling of pride that we were now active participants in local politics, as dramatic as that sounds. We were the smiling faces that greeted the voters as they came in and changed history. And so, with our pencils in our hands and our paperwork laid out in front of us in a neat and orderly fashion, we sat up straighter in our seats and prepared ourselves for the stream of voters as it crept over into 7am. And we waited. And waited some more. And after about 11 minutes, a voter came in and gave us something to do. And this was the moment that I realised there were many lessons that I was going to learn that day – and I thought I would share them with you now!
I’m really thrilled to have been a poll clerk in the local elections this year, and I am definitely putting my name forward to join in again next time there is an election. The turnout was a bit of a disappointment, but it has really inspired me to dedicate more of my own time to encouraging others to get involved with politics – especially when it comes to educating my children about the importance of the vote.
I am a sucker for a good pair of trainers. Whatever you want to call them; kicks, skids, slorps (hands up if you get the reference!), I’ve gone through every trainer trend I can think of, from the tightly laced white gym shoes (oh, 90s) to the chunky skate shoes that will always hold a special place in my heart. After years of working in retail I decided to opt for comfort, favouring memory foam or cushioned, structured soles that would support my feet on the longest of days. Plantar fasciitis is super common – many of you who are reading this probably have it and don’t even realise, especially if you are on your feet all day! – and I am loving how easy it is becoming to find properly structured shoes that actually look fashionable. I am in love with the pastels and bright colours coming from Adidas right now, with a good chunky sole to boot (see what I did there?), so I decided to put together a guide to my favourite trainers from Adidas.
I don’t believe in the idea of male and female products at the best of times, but when it comes to footwear I always like to have a look in the section designated to men. This is particularly useful to do if you have wide feet (like Isha) or 9+ feet (like Kitty). These ‘Adventure’ shoes are definitely inspired by Japanese fashion, and I think they look super modern and cool. The ankle has a kind of sock that means your shoes aren’t going to rub, and they are going to offer you the correct ankle support for your needs.
I am beyond obsessed with the colour of these gorgeous trainers. You can never go wrong with a pastel, and this sweet purple brings me images of Parma Violets and long afternoons in the sunshine. The sole looks amazingly cushioned, and the shoe itself seems lightweight yet supportive – so whether you’re a runner or somebody who works in a bakery (I speak from experience!) your feet get enough ventilation that they don’t get overheated and start to ache.
I’ll admit it. These primeknit trainers look a little bizarre. I was on board with the unusual fastenings, and the colour is actually pretty close to perfection, but the ankle feels a little bit claustrophobic to me. I did a bit of research, though, and this shoe has been carefully designed to be arguably the most supportive of the bunch. The primeknit wraps your foot almost like a bandage, so it can adapt to the support your foot most needs, and the rubber outsole is ideal for cushioning every stride.
Which trainers are you coveting right now? Do you prioritise comfort or fashion – or both, like Adidas?!
Another month, another post where I lust after gardens. As ever, Pinterest has been my best friend in my future home planning, and as we inch closer to Summer I’m seeing bloggers and vloggers start preparing their gardens for the sunny days ahead and I can’t get enough of it. I haven’t even got a garden and yet I’m looking at garden furniture deals at Groupon and filling up my wishlists with amazing products. Here are some of my garden must-haves as we tiptoe closer and closer to Summer 2018.
My ultimate garden goal is a firepit. For one thing – toasted marshmallows, hello! And I can’t imagine anything better than rounding off an amazing Summer BBQ by snuggling up around a firepit and sharing some drinks with some friends. I can practically taste the fruity cider already.
I’m actually thinking I need to grab this gazebo right now regardless of not having a garden because that discount is amazing. I have an old gazebo that we take along with us when we head to the nearby BBQ spot in the Summer, because it just gives our family a bit of privacy and shade. I could definitely do with a replacement, and I think this KD Gazebo might be my new best friend!
Ever since GG got herself an amazing hot tub, I have been doing two things: lusting enviously after it, and dropping hints like they’re hot. I am definitely grabbing a swimsuit and heading up to GG’s at some point this Summer because it looks absolutely amazing. I love the idea of being able to completely relax in your garden on a baking hot day – plus, what better excuse is there for a plus size swimwear photoshoot?!
And no garden is complete without a game of swing ball, right?! We love swing ball so much that we actually bought one for people to play with at our wedding, and we keep it in the boot of our car all Summer and take it out at any green area we visit. I’d love to collect a few more lawn games – regardless of not actually having a lawn!
What furniture or equipment do you ‘need’ for your garden?
I have been pretty blessed in my life. I have been on some amazing holidays. I haven’t been anywhere particularly exotic – for a start, I have never left Europe! – but even our holidays within Britain have had some pretty great moments. We’ve got a family holiday booked in Cornwall for the week after I hand in my dissertation (October!) as a bit of a reward/way to blow off steam, and I thought it would be fun to look at some of my other favourite holidays.
My most recent holiday actually didn’t go according to plan. It wasn’t a holiday really; the company that I work for was bought by a European company and we were all flown out to Mallorca for team building. I was excited for months to lounge by the pool, and I was even willing to get stuck in to the lame team building stuff in exchange for, yknow, actually being in Spain. Alas, on the flight to Mallorca I was coughing and spluttering and said those famous last words: “I am NOT getting ill”. I had a raging fever which was made so much worse by the Spanish heat, I spent almost all day and night in bed and I think I only went to the pool once and it ended up making me feel worse. What a waste. I’m desperate to make up for it, and would love to book some sort of package deal to Spain with Holiday Gems so I get to actually bask in the Spanish sun and finally make the most of that open bar that the rest of my team seemed to be enjoying so much!
It isn’t all bad, though! The two other places I have been in Europe are France and Italy (which was on a school trip). I went to Paris with my Mum and Auntie for my 16th birthday, and that trip was fantastic. And I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Disneyland Paris as a teenager! Here’s a sneaky holiday snap of me and my brothers. I think I was around 15 when we went, and I would love to go again just so I can see the wonder on my kids’ faces.
We’ve had some pretty great holidays in Britain, too. My kids are quite lucky because both sets of grandparents live by beaches, just at opposite ends of the United Kingdom. So while we don’t get up to the north of Scotland to see my family very much, my in-laws live in Dorset and we love to pack ourselves up on a sunny day and spend the day at the seaside. We also had an amazing trip to Center Parcs a few years ago; when the Woburn Forest branch opened, they requested that somebody from the company I used to work for go and review their stay, so of course I jumped at the chance of a complementary family holiday. I’m so glad we did it. It was only a three day holiday, yet we have so many amazing memories from that time and I think we are all still really keen to go back as soon as we can. We spent the majority of our time as a family hanging out in the pool, enjoying the wave machine and river rapids most of all. We went on flumes – and, funny story, those huge flumes where you sit in a doughnut and you go up the inside wall of the slide before falling down onto the water again? I fell out of my doughnut in midair! – and spent our evenings in gorgeous restaurants. My husband and my daughter did some archery, while I took advantage of the spa! I did have to attend a press seminar one morning but they provided a breakfast that was so good I swear I can still taste it four years later. Here’s another holiday snap – this time, a phone picture of me trying to capture our living room in the reflection of the lampshade hanging over our dining room table. Such a gorgeous cabin.
I feel like when you have an amazing holiday, it never leaves you; a part of you is always reliving that magic, that warmth, that family feel – or whatever it is you loved about it the most. What are some of your favourite holidays?
As many SMB readers will know, I am living in a permanent state of ‘desperate to move house’. I’ve spoken about my desire to give my home a makeover before, but in reality all I want to do is move away to a quiet little cottage somewhere with a pretty garden and a peaceful view. Or a mansion. I’d also be happy with a mansion.
What does Sophie do when she can’t get what she wants? She plans. I swear, I go on Rightmove as a hobby and there are more folders for DIY and home decor in my bookmarks tab than anything else. Living in a second floor flat means that I am currently obsessed with having a garden, and dreaming of all of the ways I could use that space. Here are some of my current dreams and goals for when I am the proud owner of some outdoor space – and the book, film and TV programme that serve as my constant inspiration.
Now, I’m not saying I should live on Wisteria Lane, but I do have a penchant for drama and a love for freshly-cut grass. I won’t be employing a gardener and I imagine its difficult to push a lawnmower while you’re sipping on a cocktail, so I think fake grass is the only way to go. Perfectly green, perfectly short, and an amazing base for all of those garden parties you are definitely going to want to be throwing in your perfectly perfect garden.
Hands up if you remember Harriet the Spy! There was a scene where Golly took Harriet, Sport and Janie to a curious garden filled with a variety of percussion, gorgeous plants, colourful windmills and those unlabelled bottles of whatever the hell Harriet downed a whole bottle of. And bubbles! So many bubbles. It always fascinated me as a child and, while I’d personally enjoy a garden that was a little bit more organised than that, I love the idea of setting up a miniature wonderland for my kids to explore and relish in showing off to their friends.
When I was a little girl, the Enchanted Forest was my safe space. Moon Face and Silkie and Saucepan Man were among my best friends, and I burned with jealousy when I read about the children who only had to walk to the end of their garden and they were already halfway to the Faraway Tree. Outside of Enid Blyton’s world, my real-life best friend’s house was surrounded by land of various terrains – trees, creeks, old barns, fields – and we would spend each weekend seeing how far our adventures would take us. I would love to have a garden that verged on some sort forest so that there were endless opportunities for adventures and family walks. I’m still a big kid at heart!
What does your dream garden look like? Have you always fantasized about a garden from a film or a book?