Sophie Griffiths

sophierymer

Lifestyle and home education blogger at Wildling Wishes, main contributor and editor for She Might Be, draws pictures for money at Rymermade on Etsy.

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Interrobang Art: One Skirt at a Time

I am pretty confident that every single reader of this magazine has heard of Interrobang Art, but just incase you haven’t: Interrobang Art is a clothing brand which is designed, made and sold by the wonderful Christina. If you want to get some idea of the kind of clothing you’re going to get when you look through Interrobang Art’s Etsy shop, think of intergalactic edible wonderment, and then crank it up a notch. There’s holo. There’s pizza prints. And if you have a particularly obscure print that you wish you could integrate into your ensemble, she’s probably the best person to help you out there too. I was stoked when I noticed that the magazine seemed to be on Christina’s radar, because I know that for me personally she was one of only a handful of brands who actually did (and do) quirky and fun prints for fat people, in a world that told you that being fat meant you were, by default, drab. So I put together a handful of questions that I know we’re all dying to know the answer to. Spoiler alert: if she can do inclusive sizing, any brand can do inclusive sizing.

You’re the first designer who springs to mind when I think of inclusive sizing. Has that always been a priority to you?

When I first started, my size range was just 6-22, and although that’s still a wider range than most high street stores, I quickly realised it wasn’t enough. I had one comment on Instagram from a lady saying she wished a certain dress was available in her size and I pretty much immediately increased the availability up to a size 36.

How do you feel when you see larger brands saying they can’t or won’t stock the same sizes as you – usually citing financial reasons?

I get quite a few custom orders from people who send me pictures of dresses they can’t have as they don’t come in their size, asking me to make something similar (never an exact copy though!), so the demand is definitely there. I don’t really understand the reluctance to be size inclusive, if finances are the reason then they just need to alter their prices accordingly (but over the whole size range – not just charge more for 18+!)

It is so difficult to be self-employed and stay afloat these days, yet more and more people seem to be doing it. What was the appeal for you?

The main attraction for me was having full creative freedom, being able to design and make something entirely by myself is very liberating. Also choosing my own working hours, although sometimes I feel like I gave up the 9-5 to work 12 hour shifts instead! It is difficult, and some months it’s a struggle to pay the rent and bills, but overall it’s definitely worth it.

What are some moments you’ve had with your brand when you really can’t believe your luck?

When a post I made on Facebook went viral, and I had hundreds of messages of support from people all over the world, and lots of orders too! I saw an image of a straight size model wearing a pair of plus size shorts, but her whole body was in just one of the legs, I decided to retaliate by wearing one of my size small skirts on just one of my legs. The response I got was amazing, and of course there were plenty of trolls, but they were drowned out by all the support. It was incredibly surreal, and there were articles on Hello Giggles and Buzzfeed, and in my local newspaper, the Bristol Post!

Which is your favourite of your own designs?

My favourite changes a lot, depending on my most recent make! But at the moment I think it has to be my pizza dress!


Who are your favourite brands or designers right now?

I’m a bit of a jewellery addict, and my favourite brands right now are Muertos Mundo and Sour Cherry!

What can we expect from Interrobang Art in 2018? What is the ultimate goal?

I’ve started making zero-waste skirts this year, using up all of my remnants to create unique patchwork skirts! They’ve proven to be quite popular already, and I have mountains of remnants to get through so I’m looking forward to creating lots more one-off skirts! The fashion industry is incredibly wasteful, but it doesn’t have to be! For years I packaged up all my remnants into bags and sold them by weight, and they were really popular with people involved in various crafts, but then I decided to start using them myself! Other than that, I hope to keep being able to do what I love every day, and make the world a little brighter one skirt at a time!

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Last Minute Valentine’s Day Trips to Mexico

mexico

Is there any better time of year to be whisked away for a romantic holiday than Valentine’s Day? Whether you want to lounge with your lover on golden sands or you want to snuggle up together and look out at some gorgeous scenery from your clifftop villa, I feel like Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to throw caution to the wind and just book that holiday. It’s even better if its a surprise! I’m looking at some of my dream destinations for a holiday-on-a-whim to Mexico, and yes – this is definitely one giant hint to my husband. Get reading, dear.

So, why Mexico? Realistically, it has everything. That little bit of Spanish flair, that deep culture which saturates everything you see. The marine life, the food, the gorgeous beaches and waterfalls. It’s the perfect place to dive right in to the hustle and bustle, or be in locations so quiet you might as well be the only two people in the world. It just looks beautiful. If you want to do something extra special and romantic for your loved one, you really can’t go wrong with a luxury Mexican vacation – and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time. Here are some of the ways I would spend my days there.

mexico

I’m a history nerd (of course! I’m currently working towards a Masters in History!) and I was really surprised to find out that Mexico is the home of more world heritage sites than England and the United States. I would love to go and explore some examples of Mexico’s rich history, and really immerse myself in the culture. This might just be me, but my heart races when I see Uxmal; Mayan culture is so fascinating to me, I love the shapes and methods in their construction and even looking at pictures online makes me feel like I can almost see the people living there. Head to the South East of Mexico and visit Yucatan state if you’re looking for this particular piece of Mayan history.

mexico

If nature is more your bag, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is pretty damn breathtaking – and actually incredibly close to Uxmal, in the same state of Yucatan. Even if you’re not an outdoorsy person, I feel like nobody could resist that crystal blue ocean along this coast. Sian Ka’an is where you’re going to get those typical hot holiday activities like snorkelling and getting to grips with marine life, and there are regular guided tours so you will be sure to see all of the best bits. This is actually another of Mexico’s world heritage sites, which is really cool: another ‘nature’ themed one is the Monarch Butterfly Reserve. Fun fact: I’m scared of butterflies, so I definitely wouldn’t be going there!! But if you aren’t horrified by being attacked* by butterflies (*I think a normal person would call it ‘being a human landing pad for the graceful butterfly’) then I imagine this would be definitely be worth a look.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t enjoy a holiday if its too hot and humid. Mexican heat averages in the mid twenties in February, which is perfect for Brits who are used to cold and rainy days. There is even rain in the early hours of a Mexican February morning, which takes care of humidity and means you’re always going to be warm enough to rock your best summer-wear but your hair isn’t going to rebel against you either. Also, if you’re looking for your perfect holiday frocks and sunnies, check out this article by our wonderful Zoë last Summer!

mexico

It kind of sounds crazy that ‘swimming with sharks’ has become the new ‘swimming with dolphins’, but I’m totally down with it. Obviously there are a whole host of safety measures in place so you aren’t about to become a shark’s breakfast! But you get to wear some amazing swimsuits like the ones Georgina wrote about last year, and experience something you might never have a chance to experience again. Head to Cancun if you’re interested in getting up close and personal with some sharks – though as a popular holiday destination, keep in mind that this isn’t going to be a quiet break!

mexico

I am so excited whenever I see pictures of Cenote Xkeken, and I am 100% sure it is one of those places that I have no choice but to visit before I die. Cenote Xkeken is yet another Yucatan attraction, and it is a giant sinkhole that is home to waters which were believed to lead to the Mayan underworld. Cool, right?! As a tourist you are welcome to explore Xkeken, as well as snorkle in its gorgeous waters and bask in the streams of sunlight breaking through the roof. Bliss.

mexico

If you’re looking for something quirky on your holiday, you absolutely need to get yourself to Mexico City. This is not going to be a beach vacation, but it is definitely going to stick in your memory forever. Take, for example, La Isla de las Munecas: The Island of the Dolls. The legend is that a girl had drowned off of Teshuilo Lake, and that the caretaker of a small island, Don Julian Santana, had witnessed her death and had devoted the rest of his life to collecting dolls in honour of her lost soul, and hanging them from the trees. I’m not going to lie, it looks creepy as hell – and especially creepy when you learn that Santana himself also drowned there in 2001. Chills. Slightly North West of Mexico City, in Nauculpan, is the absolutely breathtaking Quetzalcoatl’s Nest. If you’re a fan of the Broken Sword games like I am, you will already be familiar with the concept of Quetzalcoatl: he was a Mayan deity who was responsible for life, intelligence and self-reflection, and he was believed to have created the world with his rival, Tazcatlipoca. Quetzalcoatl’s Nest is an architectural installation built in honour of the diety, who was believed to have presented as a sort of feathered serpent. It is a series of apartments designed by Javier Senosiain which feature serpentine designs and form an intricate ‘nest’. These apartments are actually lived in, so you can’t go in and explore unfortunately: but if you’re out that way and you have an interest in architecture, you really can’t afford to miss them. I mean there is a 165ft cave attached to it that has been designed to resemble a serpent’s head. This is not your average block of flats.

That’s what I love about Mexico: it is weird and wonderful if that’s what you’re looking for, or it is peaceful and idyllic if you just need to get away and breathe for a little while. I definitely think I could take my kids on a Mexican adventure one day but hey – it’s Valentine’s Day. There is no better time to dream of a romantic getaway for two.

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Men’s Valentine’s Day Wishlist

wishlist

At about this time every year, I start wishing I had entered the lottery. You see, if I had entered I would definitely have won, and I would then be able to splash the cash on a whole bunch of amazing presents for my husband. I’m a gift-giver by nature and cherish the sight of somebody’s face lighting up when they see what I have picked out just for them, but with a very tight budget behind me I find my options somewhat limited. Here’s a fun little wishlist of some of the things I would love to buy for my husband this Valentine’s Day if money was no object!

I think if I was able to buy my husband a pick-up truck, he would divorce me just so he could ask me to marry him all over again. It’s going to be about a million years before I can afford that, but I love the idea of monthly payments because that is something I will hopefully be able to actually do in the next couple of years. Yes Lease have this amazing collection of pick-up trucks and I love how bulky and robust they look. I personally think I’d look pretty good behind the wheel of one, too!

My husband doesn’t have a uniform at work, but he has to wear a top with long sleeves to hide his tattoo. I’d love to go on a spending spree at Terraces Menswear and get him a whole host of really stylish and comfortable long-sleeves tops – if nothing else, so that we wouldn’t have to make sure one of the two shirts he currently has is always in the wash! No good wishlist is complete without some clothes on it, in my opinion, and I would love to just go ahead and fill up a basket for him without even looking at the prices.

This gift is a little bit of a cheat, because it’s something that I want too. Our bedroom colour scheme is green and white and, while we have a relatively new office chair in there at the moment, it is so bright green that it is almost yellow, and definitely not in keeping with the calm vibes I have curated in our space! A really fancy recliner chair like these ones from Dandelion Interiors would be absolutely perfect, and it makes it onto my husband’s wishlist because it also has a little footstool so it doubles up as somewhere to relax when we’re just hanging out in our bedroom.

I haven’t decided what I’m actually getting him for Valentine’s Day this year. I make my own cards so it would be a bit of a cop-out for me to buy one from somebody else, but in terms of actual gifts I’m not sure if we’re going to exchange anything this year. There’s nothing wrong with building up a wishlist, though – it’ll keep until his birthday in June at the very least! I think for this year we will probably share a romantic meal at home if he isn’t working the next morning, or maybe even do something totally unheard of and hire a babysitter so we can actually leave the house without anklebiters around us. It seems like such a little thing, but I can’t remember the last time we were together without having to keep an eye on at least one child!

What is your favourite way to spend time with your loved one on Valentine’s Day? Do you and your partner do wishlists, or are you much happier just spending time together on the day?

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Valentine’s Day with Love Layla

love layla

As somebody who makes and sells cards myself, I’m always excited to have a peek at what other small businesses are offering. When I spotted the Valentine’s Day range from Love Layla Designs, I was obsessed! Love Layla were kind enough to send me a selection of their products to review, so that I could be sure that She Might Be readers would be getting top quality items from any brand that I recommended. And let me tell you – I was not disappointed!

I was expecting a couple of cards from Love Layla, and I was really surprised when I found that there was also a packet of balloons, wrapping paper, a badge and a 2018 desk calendar in my package for my to try out. The balloons were hilarious; bright red, great quality and of course they said “BLOW ME” across them once you blew them up.

I love the 2018 calendar – the only downfall is that the January quote is about dieting, but she makes up for it in July when she says that the beach can take whatever body its given! The best bit? Since 2018 has already started, you’ll be able to find a pretty nice discount over there.

The other extras I got were the badge, which boldly announces that the wearer is a Valentine W*nker (so me!), and some really gorgeous bright red wrapping paper that says ‘I F*cking Love You’. I’m really excited to use this on something for my husband, I think he’s going to find it hilarious. The final item I found in my package was a large sticker that says ‘I F* After the First Bottle’ which definitely made me smirk because we all know somebody like that – and if you don’t, its because its you!

And now on to the cards – the main focus of my post! I got a really great selection of some fantastic cards. They all arrived in individual cello bags with thick red envelopes, and I was lucky enough to have actually received seven Love Layla cards in this package. This could keep me in Valentines for the next seven years! As I have children – and one of them is an 11 year old who has perfected her eye roll – I won’t be able to give any of these to my husband, for fear of causing her permanent embarrassment when they are displayed. But some of my friends have already laid claim to most of them, and I might decorate my bedroom with the balloons anyway. If she sees them and cringes, its her own fault for coming in!

love layla

I’m a bit of a hand lettering nerd, and I love the fonts that Love Layla chose for her cards; they were always totally appropriate for the theme and looked like they were part of the design, rather than added as an afterthought. The artwork itself is top notch, and as somebody who has her own small card business, I am definitely in awe of Love Layla because I know how much work must have gone in to producing stock of this quality. I will definitely be ordering from Love Layla again. Her products are that perfect mix of simple designs done in a quirky way that I just can’t get enough of right now.

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Five Ways I Saved £10,000 on the Cost of My Wedding

By the time you’re engaged, you probably should have been saving up for your wedding for the last couple of years already. Pound signs light the eyes of anybody who sells wedding-anything – from your save the dates to your venue, and every detail in between. It’s one of those well-known ‘facts’ that as soon as you mention your wedding, your quote is going to increase exponentially. Which is why I allowed my penny-pinching ways to reign supreme throughout the time I was planning our wedding. I figured I’d share some of those tips here!

wedding

Don’t be too matchy-matchy

I decided pretty early on that while I wanted our wedding party to stick to a colour scheme (gold, blush and denim. It was a ‘country’ wedding!), I didn’t mind if all of my bridesmaids wore the same thing. My husband’s side of the party didn’t wear anything that matched in any way; we told our guests to wear whatever made them comfortable, and we sent many texts on the morning to reply that yes, we really meant ANYTHING!

My step-dad actually performed the ceremony for us dressed as Batman, which was a total surprise to me and absolutely hilarious to boot. When it came to my bridesmaids, I asked them to choose their own dresses. My only stipulation was that they had to be light pink/blush, but I didn’t care what shape or style they wore. I gave each bridesmaid £50 to put towards the cost of a dress, and I wouldn’t have cared if they bought a tenner dress from China and spent the rest on a takeaway; they had a dress they could wear again and again, and the extra money was just another way to thank them for being there for me. I bought them each a denim jacket each as my gift to them for being my bridesmaids, which tied the outfits together and made them match.

In terms of shoes, I really didn’t mind. My step daughter wore gold cowboy boots because I saw them and thought they were adorable, while one of my bridesmaids wore a pair of flip flops. It’s amazing how much stress melts away when you decide you don’t care about your wedding day being Pinterest perfect and actually focus on people being happy and comfortable in clothing they would choose to wear.

Actual cost of bridesmaid outfits: £80pp
Average cost of bridesmaid outfits: £150pp plus alterations

Think outside of the box

Like I said earlier, mentioning the word ‘wedding’ can make your quote skyrocket pretty quickly. I don’t know about other areas of the country, but the wedding venues I looked at first were averaging around £5000 for the night. Given that the entire budget for my wedding was £3000, this was not feasible! We had a vision of an outdoor wedding, where all of our friends could relax together and drink something bubbly under the setting sun. When I realised what I wanted to do, I felt silly that I hadn’t thought of it sooner: all I needed was a holiday home with a nice big garden and some owners who were happy for us to hold a wedding there!

I viewed a few places who weren’t happy for a wedding to be held there (and one lady with a perfect garden, who said a wedding was fine but music was not to be played under any circumstances because “my garden is a garden and that’s that” – rude!) before I came across a small group of farmhouses with gardens, a coach house and a large communal garden in the outskirts of Daventry. The houses were rented out to members of our wedding party, and we also rented one of them for three days so we got a mini holiday out of it too.

The man who was showing us around was really concerned that we would hate it because it was a working farm and they couldn’t guarantee there wouldn’t be tractors running on the day, but it all added to the appeal for us! We also got officially married at lunchtime on a weekday because it was cheaper to do so, then held our own ceremony in which we recited our own vows and my step-dad officiated. The garden ceremony at the weekend was the one we invited our family and friends to, and we consider our anniversary to be that day rather than the day we were legally married.

Actual cost of venue (including three days’ accommodation): £550
Average cost of venue: £5000

Cost of legal marriage: £50 (plus £70 to give notice of marriage or civil partnership)
Cost of having an officiant marry you at your own venue: £600 (plus £70 to give notice of marriage or civil partnership)

wedding

Ask for the gift of time

My husband and I had lived together for five years when we got married, so there really wasn’t any need to ask people for toasters and matching dressing gowns. Instead, we asked our friends for their help. My maid of honour trained as a make-up artist, so I asked her to do my make-up as my gift and then I paid for her to do the rest of my bridesmaids. My Mum has an interest in photography, so we asked that photographs of our day be her gift to us. We asked my aunt if she would make our wedding cake, and my Granny (who was a seamstress) handled my alterations.

It was really lovely to see how our loved ones pulled together to work on our wedding – in fact, on the day, about 10 people got together to prepare food and decorations and kept plying me with wine and telling me to sit down and stop flapping! It definitely took a village, but it was fantastic because some sides of our families had never met and immediately they were working together as a family on our behalf.

If you have somebody skilled in your family, ask them if your gift could be their services! We personally weren’t worried about videography or anything, so it was great for us to be able to ask a family member to use her snazzy camera and get some good shots of us. Please note: this is only applicable if your friend or family member doesn’t actually make their living out of what you’re asking them to do. You don’t want to skint your loved ones! If you don’t know anybody who is skilled with a camera, there are definitely some great places online where you can hire a portrait photographer and find exactly what you’re looking for within your ideal budget.

Actual cost of wedding cake: £0
Average cost of wedding cake: £200

Actual cost of make-up: £0
Average cost of make-up: £100

Actual cost of photography: £0
Average cost of photography: £1520

Actual cost of alterations: £0
Average cost of alterations: £150

Do It Yourself

I couldn’t believe some of the amounts of money that were laid down for weddings. Catering was astronomically high, and the cost of flowers made me baulk. In the end, I bought 100 foam flowers from eBay (along with some plastic white sprigs and some tiny gold roses that, funny story, I didn’t realise were tiny when I ordered them) and made the bouquets myself. My maid of honour and I sat down one afternoon and made them together, and we were actually thrilled with how they turned out!

We ended up organising the food ourselves, deciding to buy a load of BBQ food and make use of the equipment at our venue. I only ended up spending about £100 altogether for burgers, sausages, veggie sausages and all of the relevant buns, and then we put on regular buffet food and a few family members brought desserts and extra dishes for the table. We spent twice as much on alcohol (and asked that people bring along a bottle if they wanted anything specific) and bought about ten bags of ice, then just filled a paddling pool with ice and drinks for people to grab! Totally redneck, but totally practical. We ended up with a tonne of food and drink left over, and gave entire bottles of whiskey away to guests just to get rid of it.

We also made things like a giant Instagram (or wedstagram!) board for our guests to take photos with for only £20, passed around a polaroid camera I already owned so we’d have a collection of candid pictures and opted out of having companies set up things like tables, the gazebo etc in favour of doing it ourselves. Finally, we made our wedding programmes and invitations. If we could have made our own stamps to save some money we would have, because the cost of actually posting the invitations was much more expensive than making and printing them!

Actual cost of flowers: £12.00
Average cost of flowers: £300

Actual cost of food and drink: £300
Average cost of food and drink: £3000

wedding

Shop local and handmade

Wherever you can, particularly if you’re also going for a rustic wedding, pick things up as soon as you see them. I bought a bunch of our wedding decorations from discount stores, charity shops and on Etsy. I picked up 10 horseshoes on Freecycle, shined them up and used them as table decorations! A couple of people actually asked to take some home at the end of the night, apparently they can be difficult to get hold of. I bought my son an adorable pair of black cowboy boots on Etsy that were shipped over from Texas, and they ended up costing a fraction of anything I could find in this country. I bought foil trays and large sweetie jars from Wilko for holding all of our food, and only spent about £30 altogether on that. Many sellers on Etsy are great at what they do but offer things like invitations, save the dates etc for much cheaper than a large chain would offer. Have a shop around, and don’t go for the first thing you see because you like the design; have a chat with an Etsy seller about a custom order and see if they can come up with exactly what you have in mind.

It’s hard to quantify what I saved on decorations and all of those other bits and bobs, because there is no standard number of decorations a wedding is going to have. But when I look at my food and drink, my bridesmaid dresses (not including my own dress, which cost £150 and was completely custom made in the UK!) and all of the little bits and bobs, I was able to shave £10,168.00 off the cost of my wedding. At the end of the day, the most important thing was getting married. We both said it was a big excuse to get all of the awesome people in our lives together to have a good time, and it didn’t need to look picture-perfect. We just didn’t want the stress. I have no regrets about the way we did our wedding, and I would do it all exactly the same if we had the chance to do it all over again!

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Wanderlust

I have got some serious wanderlust going on so far in 2018. I very rarely even go on holiday; I have been abroad a handful of times, but my husband and I didn’t end up going on a honeymoon, and so far the furthest I will be going this year is Cornwall after I finish my Masters. And yet here I am, indulging my wanderlust and checking out some seriously blue ocean that I want to spend my days jumping in to. Care to join me?

wanderlust

Dream Destination 1 – The Caribbean

I think it’s a dream for everybody, isn’t it? I love the idea of a good ‘culture holiday’. I’ve got a list of libraries I want to visit around the world (honestly I’m not a boring person, I just come across that way!) and a three month USA road-trip all planned out for about 10 years time, but when I think about truly indulging myself and treating my family to the holiday of a lifetime, I picture a warm ocean tickling my toes, palm trees surrounding me and a drink in my hand. I’d love to go to Jamaica, where I could come face to face with some pretty exciting marine life (fun fact! If I could choose a superpower, it would be to breathe underwater!) and soak up the music and food. Or I could head to Barbados where there are some amazing beach resorts and spas that I would love to spend a week frequenting. Barbados is a little bit more ‘tourist’ than other Caribbean places, but if you travel outside of the resorts a little bit there are some real cultural gems that will pique the interest of any history buff.

Destination 2 – The Indian Ocean

You’re not going to get anywhere that will better treat a case of wanderlust than relaxing under the searing sunshine somewhere in the Indian Ocean. My husband and I had always said we would love to just spend a fortnight with no technology, hanging out in The Maldives, swimming with turtles and drinking from coconuts. In fact, I’ve been receiving regular emails with updates on the price of flights out there for about seven years now. The crystal clear ocean is calling my name, and it almost looks like living on a (really posh) desert island for a week or two when you’re staying in those little huts. I’d love to go diving and experience more marine life – I could definitely be persuaded to swim with a hammerhead shark. The Seychelles are an equally amazing dream destination, albeit a little bit more expensive. I envision getting out and about a bit more in The Seychelles, exploring forests and the like, so if your vision of holiday heaven includes more than lounging beach-side then this might be better for you. Personally, I want the most strenuous thing about my holiday to be my ongoing battle with sunburn, in which I am a freckled ginger and I am armed only with Factor 50 and an oversized hat.

Realistically, my 2018 will not include a trip to anywhere that has palm trees, white beaches and oceans you can practically see through. But wouldn’t it be nice?

Comment below and let me know your absolute wanderlust dream holiday.
I’ll probably add it to my bucket list! 

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Valentine’s Day When You’re Dating

dating

I’m a bit of a sucker for Valentine’s Day. Even when I was single I quite liked it – any occasion that is decorated with pink hearts and adorable frills is okay with me. It can be difficult to handle Valentine’s Day when you’re not in a stable relationship though. If you’ve been dating somebody for a couple of weeks, should you buy them a present? Are they going to think you’re overly keen if you call them your Valentine?! Dating has a ridiculous amount of rules yet doesn’t come with a rule book, so I’m here to look at some perfect ‘date night’ options in a variety of UK locations, so you can make your Valentine’s Day special without giving your potential beau-to-be the impression that you’re itching to elope.

As a Scottish person myself (who was living in Glasgow when I met my husband!), I feel like I should know all about Strathclyde dating. Yet honestly, we didn’t really tend to go on official dates much when we were there. We did have a favourite restaurant – La Tasca – that is the perfect date location because the atmosphere is buzzing and you can grab a couple of dishes that you’re planning to share. I don’t know why, but there’s something a little bit cosier about deciding to share your food.

Edinburgh is, of course, known all over the world for being really rich in culture. The Edinburgh dating scene has the benefit of having some really great places to visit, a selection of fantastic theatres and some great restaurants. My favourite thing about Edinburgh, though, has always been the ghost walks. I get it: a walk in dark vaults hearing about how historically people were tortured on-site doesn’t exactly scream romance. But then again, what can be more romantic than cuddling together in a darkened room?

If you’re looking for somewhere with romance and history, then the Oxfordshire dating scene is for you. Oxford is, of course, one of the educational capitals of the world, so I feel like this would be the perfect opportunity to exercise your brain a little bit and bond with your date over a healthy dose of culture. The Ashmolean has some great exhibitions on over February this year, and with the addition of a rooftop restaurant you can really enjoy something special together.

The best thing about Staffordshire dating is that there are so many amazing places to take the person you’re seeing. Sure, you could go the romantic route, but I like to think of something a little bit different. I love the idea of bonding with a date at a concert: enjoying music together is a wonderful thing, and there’s nothing better than getting silly together and dancing around to some of your favourite tunes. Bowling for Soup are playing at the Birmingham o2 on the 13th, so not only is this an awesome Valentine’s date but you get to miss the Valentine’s crowd all together.

And finally, the place closest to my hometown. I’ve never actually had a date night in Northampton, but there are a whole bunch of really great options for Northamptonshire dating. What about a pamper session at one of Northamptonshire’s many spas. Whittlebury Hall in Towcester is my favourite, and they offer a deal that gives you a treatment and dinner for two – is there a better way to get to know eachother than at your most relaxed?!

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Swimming in Style (And Support!)

I’m a big lover of swimwear. There are some absolutely gorgeous pieces available for plus size people these days – in fact, we have written about swimwear quite a lot here at She Might Be! We have actually spoken about swimwear one, two, three times in the last four months alone. And while there have been some super pretty items of swimwear to lust after, I have never quite had the courage to buy any of it. Not because I’m worried about looking fat (spoiler alert: I am fat. Of course I’m going to look fat in a swimming costume) or anything like that, but because I’m honestly not sure how much support some of these swimsuits can have for somebody who has a lot of body to support. So when I spotted these swimming costumes by Simply Swim I was immediately super excited: their pieces offer full coverage and great support, which is perfect for bigger bodies.

swimming

I think the legsuits and kneesuits that they offer are absolutely adorable. I carry most of my weight on my stomach, so I often find that the leg hole (probably not the technical term…) is cut too wide and you can see my stomach at the top of my leg. And if the leg hole is particularly big, that isn’t all you can see. Not really the look I’m going for. Knowing that these actually have a bit of leg is really reassuring to me, so I know I can go swimming without actually flashing my area at everybody around me. The kneesuits are great for anybody who is interested in modest swimwear, and they look like they cut off at a really comfortable point on the leg so your actual swimming won’t be inhibited.

swmming

What I really love about this range is that there is a range of different levels of bust support. There are internal mechanisms (yes, mechanisms) designed to keep your puppies in place, and even options for padding and adjustable sizing so you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re not about to spill out. My stomach is bigger than my boobs, and sometimes I worry that my costume is going to be baggy around the bust, so I feel really confident knowing that these costumes have (literally) got me covered when I go to the swimming pool.

swimming

Another reason I really love this range is that there is a great selection of necks and straps. Not only are there wider straps for cleavage support, but this selection of hi-neck swimming costumes is really pretty. I can sometimes find that straps cut in to my shoulder, which can be detrimental when I’m trying to swim, so the higher neck can be the ideal way to have a lot of support but free up the tops of your arms. This is particularly ideal for a plus size range because our bodies are all so different: while I carry my weight on my stomach, my arms are comparatively small for somebody of my size. The hi-neck is ideal to make sure that nothing is going to be loose, and I’m confident I can stay supported.

All in all, I can’t wait to grab something from Simply Swim. I’m going to Cornwall in October to celebrate the completion of my Masters, and the holiday park we’ll be staying at is meant to have a great swimming pool. I am definitely going to be dipping my toes in, and I’m thrilled that I can be confident that I won’t be giving anybody a bit more than they bargained for on their holidays!

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