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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The Perfect (And Currently Imaginary) Holiday – AD

holiday

I am a glutton for punishment. Some of my favourite pass times include filling shopping baskets with clothes I will never be able to afford, browsing the listings of houses I can only dream of living in, and fantasizing about a holiday I might never go on. From family holidays where my kids and I can jump over waves and fire up the BBQ on our patio, to dreaming of a girls’ weekend with cocktails in the sunshine and really extravagant meals (are you sensing a theme here?), I love browsing through holiday homes on drizzly October mornings and thinking about getting sand between my toes. I figured I can’t be the only person who has this odd little guilty pleasure, so I’m going to go ahead and share my ideal holiday to brighten up your practically-Winter morning.

holiday

Firstly, there has to be a pool. If we’re going full luxury here, then a private swimming pool is essential – right?! I think there is something deep-rooted within me that says having a swimming pool of your own is a sign that you’ve made it. I don’t even consider a house complete in The Sims unless I chuck a pool in the garden! My perfect holiday is going to be hot, hot hot – so I’m going to slap on the factor 50 and lounge around in some gorgeous water all day. After all, Perfect Holiday Sophie deserves it.

holiday

Some serious thought should go into the location – but Italian food is my favourite, and since there are several reasons to love Sicily such as the multicultural society and the close proximity to the sea, I think Sicilian beach holidays in a beautiful private villa are exactly what Perfect Holiday Sophie deserves. Those bright white beaches are just calling out to me, and as I look out of my real-life window and see nothing but raindrops and road, I can definitely get on board with sprawling out on some hot sand.

holiday

Beautiful swimwear would be at the top of my shopping list, and luckily Georgina has done all of my hard work for me and has compiled this list of amazing swimwear picks from Evans. Their bikinis are some of the most diverse in size that I have been able to find, while maintaining style and support as the number one priority. I also loved this set from Simply Be, and the pop of colour on this bikini from Curvissa.

holiday

And lets be honest – the perfect cost? Free! But realistically, we’re talking megabucks for my favourite holiday. And so I shall stay in England, wear fluffy warm coats and trudge through cobbled, wet streets that are increasingly lined with Christmas lights. I suppose it isn’t so bad after all.

Do you enjoy looking at things you will never afford? What does your perfect holiday look like?!

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Halloween Homeware (The Anniver-scary Edition!)

halloween homeware

If you’re a long-time fan of She Might Be, you might remember Kitty’s wonderful Halloween Homeware post from this very day last year. I love looking back on posts from our really early days, and this one is a perfect example of one of our classic SMB round-ups that we have really tried not to stray far from. Kitty rightly highlighted some top Halloween homeware buys you could get from shops that are almost definitely in your area – and, like me, loved the fact that a lot of it was perfect for using all year round. Since this is the one year anniver-scary of that post (geddit?), I thought it’d be cool to look online at some Halloween homeware goods from independent or less well-known sellers. Here’s what I came up with!

halloween homeware

I feel like homeware round-ups always need to begin at cups. They’re simple, they’re small, they’re totally customisable and everybody needs them. I’d say you can never have too many, but that might not be strictly true – I have a cupboard full of Easter egg cups that would definitely disagree. My favourite Halloween cup was this cauldron cup from The Rogue and The Wolf. Anything that has witchy vibes is a-ok in my book, and I am obsessed with the actual photo itself. Those nails! I also loved this cup from The Gothic Shop and this one from MysticumLuna for their quirky cups that equate Halloween with all things dark and wonderful.

halloween homeware

halloween homeware

Not only are candles the perfect way to inject some personality into your home, but there are a whole bunch of candles online with Halloween vibes because they are essential in many Wiccan spells and witches are, of course, associated with Halloween.

This pentacle tealight holder by Alchemy England is  gorgeously goth, and can be used all year round, and the same can be said for this ADORABLE cat candle from The Gothic Shop. Seriously, I’m obsessed with it, and need it in my life immediately. And give yourself a colourful Samhain with these ridiculously cute pastel skull candles by EmberCandleCo. They tick my ‘pastel goth’ box and are incredibly beautiful for any time of year.

 

halloween homeware

The skeleton game is strong in this amazing skull and spine lamp from Rock A Kitty. I really tried to look for more variety than just skulls all day every day, but there was no way I was doing a Halloween homeware post without including this three-headed wonder. Next I had a look around on Etsy for lampshades, rather than lamps themselves, that seemed gothic and spooky to me. As soon as I cast my eyes over this Bride of Frankenstein lampshade by SpookyShades, I fell in love. Their shop has a whole variety of really creepy lampshades, and is definitely worth a look in my opinion. And then I was whisked right off back to my childhood with this amazing crescent moon lamp by Lighting By Sara. A lot of the artwork and decoration I remember from my childhood features crescent moons and I definitely have a soft spot for them even today. I don’t necessarily see a crescent moon as screaming traditional ‘Halloween’, but as somebody with witchy tendencies I definitely wanted to tip my hat to some lunar influences.

halloween homeware

I LOVE CUSHIONS! Seriously, ask my husband. Every time we’re in a shop with pretty cushions he catches my eye wandering over to the shelf and has to swiftly remind me that we already definitely have too many cushions in our house. And then I see this skull cushion from Rock A Kitty and I just know I’m going to be reordering my cushions to make room for a new one in the very near future. I really love this embroidered Creep It Real cushion cover by JAWDesigns, and I think the little creepy eyes are absolutely perfect. And don’t even get me started on how much I love this Witch, Please cushion by Creative Pillow LV.

halloween homeware

halloween homeware

When we think about decorating our houses for Halloween, we generally think about sticking things up which add to our existing decor, rather than incorporating Halloween into the way we decorate our homes. I tried to look for some nice Halloween style pieces that could actually be hung up in the home all year and would complement the spooky season, and I found some pretty cute and creepy pieces.

This I’m in a Bat Mood A3 wall hanging by The Rogue and The Wolf is absolutely adorable and hilarious to boot. I could definitely see this being framed and put in my living room, but on the website they let you know that its good enough quality to be put up without the frame. Speaking of bats, this stained glass hanging bat by GlassArtWerks is absolutely stunning and a really cool addition to any household that is a little bit goth. Finally, I am just head over heels for this embroidered hoop art by Black Point Embroidery. The artwork quotes Sarah Williams’ classic nineteenth century poem, The Old Astronomer: I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. Perfect.

halloween homeware

Work Halloween homeware into your year-round decor by putting up some gothic style shelving. The practising witches among you may already own a crystal shelf, but if you’re in the market for one this crystal wolf shelf by GrizzlySupplies looks super cute. Gothic vibes can be taken literally with this little floating shelf by TimberWizards which looks like a set of actual gothic arches. Or to stay completely on-topic and make it Halloween through and through, grab this coffin shelf by WitchCraftyCait. I love that it will add a subtly spooky touch to your living space while still being completely functional and useful all year.

halloween homeware

And finally, the Halloween homeware that didn’t have a category but I couldn’t bring myself to leave out. This brass door knocker by BaliBoutique is just perfect for a home that’s a little bit goth, with a gorgeous skull decal taking pride of place in the entrance to your home. The teeny bones that make up the knocker part are just too adorable. Speaking of cute, I can’t get enough of this gorgeous glossy black soap dispenser by I Am Attitude. It gets a little bit gruesome with the presence of a rat scurrying out of the eyeball, but anything skull-shaped is welcome in my home decor. Finally, this jewellery tidy by The Discovery Store jumps out at you like a hand reaching out from a grave. The skeleton hand is the perfect way to keep your ghoulish jewels neat and tidy, yet the bones are just dainty enough to make it pretty. Or is that just me?

Do you like to dress your home up with Halloween homeware all year round, or do you prefer to keep Halloween away from your home? Let us know in the comments!

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Me and My Masters Degree – AD

I’ve talked about being a student a couple of times on She Might Be. From my thoughts on being a mature student to an in depth description of your Graduation Day experience when you’re fat, it feels like you have all been part of my journey to becoming Woman With Letters After Her Name (that she doesn’t use) – and so it felt like the natural next step was to talk about my Masters.

masters

I didn’t even know I was going to do a Masters. It 100% was not in my immediate plan – I wanted to finish University and just relax as much as I could for a little while. Yet there I was, on the evening of the 21st of July – I know because it was the very day that I graduated – hurriedly writing out a personal statement to see if I could apply in time for clearing. Maybe it was some sort of personal crisis, but it worked! And it all just sort of fell into place from there. I was going to do MA History at The University of Northampton because a) I love my University, and the faculty are absolutely amazing – there’s a reason they achieved that gold rating! b) I was excited by every single one of the modules, c) I could fit the programme of study into my existing lifestyle/condition of health because the University is relatively near me, and Master’s degrees tend to have less actual class time and d) most Universities offer an alumni discount on postgraduate education, and mine was no exception!

masters

Well, part of it is that I just love learning. I am absolutely fascinated by the majority of the things I have learned (sorry, military history doesn’t do it for me – my personal tutor would be terribly disappointed!) and if academic achievement is the worst addiction I end up having, then I guess I’m doing okay. Secondly, I don’t know where our future is going to take us but our little family would love to get out in the world and explore one day.Sure, there are many interesting jobs available in England, but in case we end up in Canada, Australia or somewhere in Scandinavia, I want to make sure I am at the top of my game and qualified to take anything on board. Maybe I’ll even do a PHD – I’m honestly not sure. But in a way I guess it’s nice to have a bit of paper that says ‘hello, look, I R smart’ because you never know where life will go or when you’re going to need it.

masters

I’m only a couple of weeks into my Masters, but so far there are quite a few big differences. Instead of taking six modules per year, I am taking five – but they are spaced out so that I am only taking a maximum of two at a time. Each module meets once every fortnight and has online activities that need to be completed each week, so the two modules I am taking alternate their class time/distance learning weekly. And I generally just have a change in attitude now. I am there because I want to be there, there is a lot more expected of me and the other people who are in my classes feel the same way. I read much more than I did for an undergraduate, so I have a deeper understanding of (some of) what I’m learning, and therefore have more to contribute in terms of online discussions, seminars and – hopefully – assignments. Speaking of assignments, there are no exams for me anymore! But essays are 3000 – 5000 words now, and my dissertation will be 15,000 words. This is a healthy step up from the final year of my undergraduate degree.

Different Universities might handle their postgraduate courses in different ways, but I thought I would update on this new experience for those of you who have followed my undergraduate journey and are considering University yourself. All being well, I’ll be back in a year with a brand new Graduation Day outfit to feature!

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Where Were We, Simply Be?

Simply Be are being praised all over the media at the moment, for their self-dubbed ‘most diverse catwalk show’ which opened up LFW on Thursday 14th September. The show was put together after Simply Be discovered that 89% of women felt that they were not represented on the catwalk, and it featured a whole host of absolutely gorgeous girls such as Callie Thorpe – who started out as a plus size blogger just like me, just like most of us here at She Might Be, and just like you. That is awesome. And in all honesty, a LFW catwalk which features women like Tess Holliday, who is plus size and very proud of it, or Kelly Knox, who is a disabled blogger who fights for diversity, is a really big deal and something to be incredibly proud of. Every plus size blogger should feel collectively proud of themselves, because without badass babes getting out their VBO and making it okay for fat girls to wear whatever they want, this would not have happened. You go, glen coco. But here’s where things get a little bit problematic.

simply be

Had Simply Be not promised the ‘most diverse catwalk show’, I would probably be standing up and applauding them right now, in much the same way that Look magazine are doing. In fact, there are a variety of tabloids, magazine and even plus size e-zines right now who are telling them how fantastic they are doing, and that confuses me greatly. Because if you look at that picture above, you see seven girls who are all of a very similar skintone. There is nobody who falls into the ‘superfat’ category standing in that line-up (size 28+). There are no black women, Muslim women, trans women, or women who use mobility aids or have other signs of disability. In fact, the disabled women they did employ was a size 10 blonde with legs up to my eyeballs. The only size 10 you will find on Simply Be’s website is in the shoe section. Essentially, Simply Be selected one palatable disabled person, a couple of fat white girls, one fair skinned girl with a gorgeous mane of brown curls, and threw in a couple of blonde girls with hips. This isn’t diversity, this is tokenism.

Yet bloggers were singing their praises. The same bloggers who were quick to school BooHoo during their recent dalliance with poor advertising, were standing up alongside Simply Be and saying ‘but at least they did something‘. It was as if radical fat activism disappeared for this one brand alone, and suddenly I realised why: Simply Be pay a lot of bloggers to be on their team. A couple of blogging friends confided in me that they were desperately unhappy with the catwalk, but were unable to speak up because Simply Be was essentially paying their rent. The words ‘contractual obligations’ and ‘blacklisted’ were mentioned more than once, and I even spoke with a fellow blogger babe who I personally feel would have been ideal for their campaign – she’s a black woman who is a fat activist and a stunning model – and she revealed that she has worked with Simply Be in the past, would even have worked with them on this campaign, but they had informed her that she was not welcome at this event and would not be working with her in the future because of her outspoken nature and passion for the fight for diversity. This is not acceptable.

It’s all very well for me to sit behind a laptop and encourage people to come forward and speak up for the shortcomings of a brand, but Simply Be do not pay me. I believe I may have worked with them on some sponsored content in the past, but Simply Be actually have regular contracts with a number of bloggers. There is no shade at all in what I’m saying, by the way – we are all grown ups, we operate in a world of influencers and branding, there’s nothing wrong with a brand paying you to big them up. When I worked in retail, it didn’t matter how trash I thought the product was – the brand was paying me, so I spoke up in defence and was silent when I thought they were wrong. There is nothing wrong with this, it is called being a smart business woman. I also respect the models who were involved for deciding to get involved with a brand who promised diversity, and I understand that when it comes down to staying quiet or risking not getting paid, you are going to just do your job – and the models absolutely killed it. They couldn’t have done better. But I wanted to give people the opportunity to speak up on their true feelings, and so I spoke to a handful of bloggers with the promise of absolutely anonymity, in order to spill the real tea about Simply Be and their attempt at a diverse catwalk. Here’s what happened.

 

 

I messaged women privately, as well as tweeting out to give people the opportunity to message ME privately, and asked them four questions.

Did you feel represented? What could Simply Be have done better?
Had you been asked, would you have modelled? Do you wish to remain anonymous?

The majority of answers to the question ‘did you feel represented’ were generally negative. The only people who felt they were represented were white women who were a size 24 and under – which makes perfect sense, of course. No women of colour or disabled women who answered my questions felt that they had been represented. I then took to Twitter to conduct a poll, and the results of that poll can be seen above. 63% of our readers do not feel that Simply Be represented them with their ‘most diverse catwalk’, and that is shocking. How are plus size fashion fanatics and bloggers supposed to support your brand when your attempt at diversity alienates over half of the readers of a plus size magazine?

There were some really great suggestions for how Simply Be could have improved – and what’s sad is that some of these came from people who Simply Be are already paying. If a survey was conducted on how many women felt represented on the mainstream catwalk, surely it wouldn’t have been a great leap further to then question WHY these people were not represented. What were they looking for? Who was excluded? One person messaged me simply saying that if they had made the effort to hire women of colour, she would have been happy. Another showed disgust at their use of tokenism over diversity, while a third listed women who would have been perfect for the catwalk. Several pointed out the sad fact that the women sitting in the front row of the catwalk show were a far better reflection of diversity. It’s almost like the right answer was RIGHT THERE and Simply Be couldn’t see it. One person rightly suggested that brands need to spend time researching intersectionality and learning how they can improve. The consensus was that brands should be asking their customers, and particularly asking the bloggers they were already paying to do PR for them. Looking at the people who really are unrepresented and use your opportunity to represent them. That is diversity.

simply be

Question 3 was met with an almost resounding ‘no’ – most of the people I spoke to would not have taken part in the catwalk show if they had been asked. This was because they felt there were people who needed the visibility more than them. One disabled woman who answered worries that there probably wouldn’t have even been wheelchair access that made it possible for a disabled person to use the catwalk. One WoC said that she would have walked if circumstances had been different, as she does not currently have a good relationship with the brand.

Finally, about half of the people I asked chose to remain anonymous, and I have decided to keep the other half anonymous because I don’t want it to become any easier for the brand to work out who I have spoken to and potentially let them go for breach of contract. It was incredibly brave for women who, as one woman said was ‘contractually obligated to keep my mouth shut on this matter’, to step forward and give me real honest responses, and I don’t want to do anything that could lead to them being punished for their bravery.

This article almost wrote itself, really – and if Simply Be had done any proper work beforehand, they could have avoided all of this. I will end this with a message to Simply Be: talk to your customers, talk to your staff, talk amongst yourselves. Constantly check that you are doing the best you can do, and delivering on all of your promises.

I, along with many others, look forward to your next attempt at the ‘most diverse catwalk show’ and hope that we actually get to see some diversity next time.

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8 Feminist Characters I Want My Kids to Watch – WIN MOANA ON DVD

feminist

I’ll hold my hands up: my children get a lot of screen time. Don’t get me wrong, we use it to our advantage – I try to put something educational on every so often, and we advocate (monitored) YouTube time to stimulate conversation and imaginative play. But generally the TV is on in the background of most things we do, and it has definitely become more important to me in recent years to really think about what kinds of characters my children are seeing when they watch. I have compiled a list of characters from films and TV programmes who have qualities I want my children to learn and – more importantly for them – they actually enjoy watching.

feminist

My daughter is very much in to anime at the moment, and we are loving working our way through Studio Ghibli’s collection. Kiki’s Delivery Service is an absolute hidden gem that we love to snuggle up and watch on a rainy afternoon. Kiki is a thirteen year old Japanese witch who has come of age for the tradition of spending a year on her own, away from her family. She and her feline friend, Jiji, mount her broomstick in search of a brand new town, where they can begin their own independent adventures. After a rocky beginning while trying to find her feet in the town, Kiki begins an air delivery service atop her broomstick and the residents of the town fall in love with her kind heart and can-do attitude. We love this film because it is charming and entertaining, and as a mother I personally love it because Kiki shows initiative, ambition and her plans don’t change when a boy begins to fall for her.

feminist

I’m sure most readers will have seen Brave by now, but just in case: Merida is a curly haired vixen who also happens to be the daughter of a King, and she sure as hell isn’t ready to accept a life of fulfilling feminine expectations. She is talented with a bow & arrow and knows her own mind.  I love that this is a film about a Princess who doesn’t need to find a Prince to be happy.

feminist

Moana is one of my family’s favourite films. The songs are probably the best in a Disney film, in my opinion, since Princess and the Frog (and Tiana only didn’t make this list because it does have that Disney ‘falling in love’ ending) and the characters are fantastic. Moana is the daughter of an island chief, who is about to come of age and take up her father’s role as the leader of the Polynesian island she calls home. However, Moana has bigger dreams than her father expected: the sea is calling out to her and she is desperate to hit the waves. When her island begins to suffer and resources are dwindling, Moana takes to the ocean to find a solution – and makes friends with Maui the demi-God along the way. There are a whole string of adventures that follow and I won’t ruin the storyline for anybody who hasn’t seen it, but rest assured Moana is a headstrong lady who is wise and skilled beyond her father’s expectations, and she has amazing sarcasm to boot. She is definitely somebody you want your kids idolising.

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feminist

Maybe it was the red hair, or just the fact she could spin an extraordinary tale at the drop of a hat, but Pippi Longstocking has always been my idol. Pippalotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking (I promise I didn’t Google that! NERD!) lives with her monkey, Mr Nelson, and a horse named Horse while her father is out sailing the seven seas. There are a whole range of versions of Pippi’s story, but my favourite is the 1997 animated film in which Pippi befriends Tommy and Annika and together they foil a couple of crooks (think Home Alone) and the resident busybody Mrs Prysselius who is horrified by Pippi’s independence, seemingly uncouth nature and outlandish tales of life around the globe, and feels that Ms. Longstocking would be better off in care. Pippi is a hero because her wild stories turn out to be true, she is completely self-sufficient, she is super strong (she carries her horse above her head with one hand!) and outsmarts anybody who tries to tell her she’s wrong. And she does it all with a sweet smile because she is completely oblivious to the fact that anybody WOULDN’T like her.

feminist

Angelica finally got her comeuppance the day she met Susie Carmichael, her smart-mouthed counterpart who wasn’t willing to give in to any of Angelica’s tantrums. Though Susie wasn’t in The Rugrats as often as the other characters, she was actually there from season two and carried on into All Grown Up, the spin-off series. Susie was a brilliant counterpart to Angelica because she was wise beyond her years and she didn’t mind saying what she thought – yet had such a good heart that even Angelica couldn’t resist becoming her best friend.

feminist

Did anybody else read The Borrowers as a child? It was one of my favourite books. I remember collecting tiny bits and pieces from around the house and creating a tiny Borrower home inside a shoebox as a child, and I would almost quite like to do it again! Arrietty is another character who has been recreated over and over again, but my current favourite version is Studio Ghibli’s bad-ass teenager who has killer style and amazing Borrowing skills. Arrietty befriends the sickly boy who has been sent out to a house in the countryside to live with his aunt, despite the absolute rule that Borrowers should never be seen by ‘beans’ (human beings). Soon the members of the household become suspicious that the ‘little people’ they have heard about in legends are truly living within the house, and Arrietty and her family must find an alternative place to live. Arrietty is an awesome role model because she is skilled, ambitious and true to herself.

feminist

No collection of feminist characters would be complete without our favourite bright yellow SJW, Lisa Simpson. I need not introduce Lisa, but just in case: Lisa is the middle child in the Simpson family, who is MENSA-ready at the age of eight and is on a constant quest to change the world for the better. She is a talented jazz musician, a great example of wit and sarcasm (qualities I want EVERY girl to grow up to have!) and is the perfect example of somebody who knows her cause and isn’t willing to stray from it.

feminist

And finally, the only adult in our group – who remembers Miss Grotke from Recess? Miss Grotke was fantastic because she was intent on teaching children the truth, helping Recess achieve the label of one of the most progressive children’s programmes of its time. Miss Grotke was clearly a feminist, illustrating really important subtext in the literature she was teaching her students, but she also seemed to me to be somebody who wasn’t brainwashed by the curriculum and was willing to stray if she felt it was in the best interests of the children. For example, when required to submit a presentation to her class on the history of Thanksgiving, Miss Grotke fulfilled her role entirely – but using subtle wording to ensure that the class knew the real truth about the ‘noble Native Americans’ and the ‘undeserving European savages’. Miss Grotke is absolutely somebody every adolescent feminist needs in his or her life, and I hope that all of you reading this can be the Miss Grotke for the young person in YOUR life!

 

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Shop the Look – Game of Thrones Edition

The night might be dark and full of terrors, but there is no reason that your wardrobe can’t be on fire for the exciting finale of this season of Game of Thrones. Are you a Mother of Dragons, or a fierce lioness? A vicious sand snake, or a fearless Wildling? Either way, I have sourced some pieces so you can recreate some of the looks of the baddest babes in Game of Thrones – but with a plus size twist! I picked eight ladies from the show who know (or knew! No spoilers here!) their own strength and are/were killing it in a man’s world. Let the Lord of Light put a spotlight on these babes, and let’s dive straight in.

Daenerys’ fashion is really sleek, full of figure-hugging styles and asymmetrical shapes. Though the head of the Targaryen family did go through a phase of gorgeous aqua and teal colour palettes, she’s been rocking charcoals recently – perhaps as a nod to her fiery babies. This wrap dress is so Khaleesi in itself, and if you’ve been invited to a Thrones party make sure you arrive wearing this gorgeous Joe Brown jacket in the perfect Mother of Dragons shape. Pair it with these charcoal jeggngs and matching grey boots, with buckle detailing that is undeniably Daenerys.

Okay, so gathering pieces for an Arya outfit can be a little difficult. After all, a girl has no name – and her look completely depends on which face she is wearing. I decided to opt for a simple tunic with a dark brown gilet, replicating her style while she was en route to Braavos. Finish the Arya look with these adorable ankle boots which will give you ample grip for your sword fights while making you look ridiculously cute.

Before you look at this gorgeous Gatsby Lady dress and think “Brienne of Tarth? Glamorous?!” – hear me out. Firstly, the shapes in this design are so strong, they could be made for Brienne. The pattern itself reminds me of a suit of armour and, teamed with this boxy military jacket I think it portrays power yet elegance. I’m totally feeling this outfit. The boots are solid and practical, and the triple buckle detailing makes them look like they came straight out of Game of Thrones. Sure, the outfit is a little feminine. But I kind of feel like Brienne is so much more than armour and broad shoulders.

I don’t know if it’s my ginger hair or my Scottish origins, but I am loving the Wildlings. Ygritte is the ultimate Wildling: she’s tough, she’s witty and she’s ready to take you on. This jumpsuit is ideal because the layered ruffles give the impression of added bulk, which is so important in the Wildling aesthetic. Added fur from this gorgeous gilet, and over the knee boots because it gets cold beyond the wall. And, y’know, style. Throw some chunky braids into your hair and practice your Northern accent (or if you’re Northern – just talk, I guess) and you are ready to be everybody’s favourite lady-Wildling.

There is nobody badder than the lioness of House Lannister herself. This badass babe is among the most thirsty for the Iron Throne, and her fashion reflects it. The trumpet sleeves on this red dress are the perfect way to portray a regal Lannister-esque visual, while the corseted belt throws in just that little bit of leather and lets you know that she is suited, booted and ready to mess you up. I chose these leather effect leggings because to me they feel tough and sleek, which is incredibly Cersei to me. The slight heel on the boots gives Cersei power, elevating her to the height of the men around her who are battling for the throne. Or, if you’re feeling really daring, watch the Game of Thrones finale naked and have a mate whisper ‘Shame’ in your ear every three seconds. Both are good.

Missandei is Danaerys’ partner in many ways, and she is beneath her in even more, but in fashion I kind of feel like she is the true Khaleesi. I cannot tell you how long I spent looking for a leather crop top that was available in plus size, because I was willing to compromise the shape and the colour but I was not willing to compromise the presence of the leather crop top itself. I paired it up with these balloon pants and a pair of sandals that I thought could kind of resemble dragon skin, as a nod to her time under Daenerys. Missandei’s outfit was definitely one of the main ones that highlighted to me the inequality in plus size and straight size clothing, representing a serious dearth of plus size clothing which could be considered sexy or revealing. In fact, I was almost reduced to using a bikini top in this outfit but I refused to tell my fellow fats that they were just going to have to make do. 

Ellaria isn’t a hugely active character in Game of Thrones, but the screen time she does have is filled with ferocity and top notch fashion. Her colour palette focusses on mustards and browns, mixing subtle flashes of femininity with a masculine silhouette. This military jacket was the closest I could find to those almost-horned shoulders, and the perfect way to add a touch of masculinity to an otherwise traditionally femme outfit. Though Ellaria tends to show some cleavage, I chose a high necked yellow jumpsuit because the shape and colour were just too perfect for this outfit, and these brown sandals had some super interesting shapes and the colour reminded me of sand and embers, which is perfect given Ellaria’s Hellholt origins. 

And finally, Melisandre. I’m going to be completely honest here: Melisandre is among my least favourite characters in Game of Thrones – but there is no denying she is a powerful one. The Red Witch acts on behalf of the Lord of Light, so of course I had to get some reds in there, but because the night is ‘dark and full of terrors’ I went with really deep reds. Lets be honest, Melisandre doesn’t tend to stay in her clothes for long – so feel free to skip the dress if you really want to! I picked this burgundy dress which is much shorter than something that Melisandre would normally wear, but paired with these gorgeous deep red shoes you are able to portray the really sexy element to this character. The choker I picked out doesn’t look exactly like the one from the programme, but I wanted to pick something that would fit larger necks and I really liked that this pattern looks like dragon scales. The choker is definitely an integral part of any Melisandre outfit, and offers a certain elegance and sensuality to this look in particular.

Who is your favourite babe from Game of Thrones? And, more importantly – who do you think will sit upon the Iron Throne? I’d love to read your thoughts and theories in the comments – but please, lets keep it spoiler-free!

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My Big Fat Graduation

Graduation season is wrapping up and I am finally able to say – I did it! I got a degree! I actually attended two graduation ceremonies this season as my clever husband finished his course too, and so I was able to experience two very different ceremonies and, more importantly, got to wear two dresses! Big events like a graduation can be really intimidating when you are somebody who is constantly aware that you are taking up physical space, so I thought I’d compile a little guide for any other fat babes who are either graduating or attending a graduation any time soon.

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I’ve got to admit, I panicked when I thought about ordering myself a gown. Was it going to be a big hassle getting something to fit me? Was I going to be uncomfortable and restricted? Going to event with a lot of eyes on me was going to be stressful enough, and I wanted to be sure that I could be comfortable and just feel ‘normal’ I suppose. Luckily the gown is measured to your height and chest size in advance, so collecting and putting on my gown was very easy. Even your head circumference is measured for your hat, though apparently my head had grown between measuring and collecting but it was easy enough to just swap it out for another one on the day.
Top tip: if your chest is not the largest part of you, don’t measure your chest! I measured the circumference of the largest part of my stomach to make sure that my gown was going to be comfy for all of me.

graduation

graduation

I spent months looking on and off for a dress to wear to my graduation. I wanted something quite fancy looking, but comfortable and breathable because my graduation was late July and I had a feeling I would be hot. I wanted my arms covered for minimum burning (but – duh – my arms were covered by my robe) and something that was comfy to sit down and stand up in. I ended up receiving a gorgeous dress from Gatsby Lady and honestly, I felt like I was better dressed for my graduation than I had been for my wedding! It was everything I was looking for and more. I wore the flats that I had worn to the legal part of my wedding day, because I don’t like wearing heels on the best of days let alone when I need to walk on stage in front of a room full of people watching me.
On my husband’s graduation day I decided at the last minute to wear a dress I already owned – I was going to be in photos with both of us wearing our robes, but I also wanted to keep my Gatsby dress special and only worn once. Is anybody else weird like that? I wore boots with a slight heel to his one, knowing that I didn’t have much walking to do at all, but there was quite a bit of standing around before the ceremony and I wished I had worn something a bit more comfortable.
Top tip: most graduations are in the Summer months, and it can definitely get sweaty under your robe. I made sure I was wearing a pair of Chaffree shorts so there was zero chafing and I knew I would be comfortable all day. Chaffree are great because their shorts are super comfy and are made of magical (probably not magical) material which is sweat resistant and comes in a really great range of sizes.

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graduation

Oh man, this was my least favourite thing about both ceremonies. My graduation was held in a really posh theatre, where I had to wedge myself into the seat and felt a chair arm digging in to my side through the whole ceremony. Luckily the guy next to me didn’t show up so I had a bit of room to lean over into his chair which left me feeling a little bit less claustrophobic. My husband’s graduation was held in a marquee and it had fold out chairs. They looked like they were buckling when other people sat down, so I was nervous the entire time I was sitting in mine and the chair itself was digging in to my back. Even my daughter, who is 11, said the back of the seat was hurting her back. I was leaning forward to try and put my weight on my feet through the entire ceremony, and honestly I just felt super uncomfortable and ready to stand up at every opportunity.
Top tip: it might be worth contacting the venue in advance to find out about seating. Are there sections with larger seating? Would you be able to stand at the back if you are worried about feeling squashed in? If there’s anything you’re worried about they will be happy to answer your questions.

These were the things that worried me about my graduation, but there may be other things that cross your mind when you think about your big day. Please contact your University if you have any worries and do try to relax – it is one (very special) day and I would definitely be sorry if I had let my anxieties get in the way of me attending.

 

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5 Self Care Tips for People with a Long-Term Health Condition – AD

health

We have posted some awesome guides to self care and self love in the past, from a post all the way back in our early days called Selfies are Self Love, to a more recent post on realistic ways to show yourself love. We are huge advocates for being your own biggest fan, and ready to offer you solutions on those days where you feel like you are just not your best self. The problem with this, though, is that it can be exclusionary to those who are less able to take these steps – be that through physical or mental illness or disability – and can even introduce an element of guilt to those whose ‘bad’ days far outweigh the ‘good’. So here are the ways that I personally give myself self care and self love, while living with long-term physical and mental health conditions.

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Particularly in the early stages of your illness, it can be really easy to expect yourself to achieve the same things you did before. A huge hurdle is actually stepping back and saying ‘Okay, I used to be able to do this, but now I can’t – and that does not mean I have failed‘. If you have certain expectations of yourself of course you are going to feel let down, so you need to move those goal posts. Or remove them completely if you need to.

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Around ten years or so ago my Doctor offered me medication for my mental illness and I was very reluctant to even consider it. The idea of something altering the way that my brain works really made me feel anxious, and like I was going to lose part of who I was. I was always somebody who didn’t even like to take paracetamol because I suppose it just didn’t feel ‘natural’ and I wanted my body to be able to fight things off by itself? I don’t even understand my own logic. But since discussing medication openly with my Doctor and understanding the need for regularity I have taken steps to make sure that I actually take the medication I need – and at the right times. If I need Sumatriptan tablets for migraines, I need them – I am not looking after my health when I deny myself available help. If I need an extra beta blocker because my anxiety is particularly bad, I just need to take it and allow myself to function as my best self. I have also taken to leaving my tablets next to my bed because I need to take them immediately when I wake up and right before I go to sleep, and I carry an entire blister pack in my handbag so that I have some spare when I need it, and because moving on to that final blister pack reminds me it is time to order more so I never need to go without.

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When it comes to having to break plans with friends who have no experience with what I’m going through, I can feel really awkward and start to punish myself. I think about how much they must hate me and how everybody must be rolling their eyes about me – or worse, I force myself to go ahead and do things my body isn’t happy to do. I can’t explain the relief I feel now that I am able to say “I can’t do this because I am having a bad day today, and that often makes me feel [tired, anxious, sore – fill in the blank!]” because I feel like I am being really honest and upfront about the situation as a whole, I make it clear I am not making any excuses or trying to be flaky and knowing that other people aren’t judging you or making assumptions does wonders for my anxiety. As an additional bonus, this tip really helps you weed out the fake friends so you are left with a really supportive group who are able to fully understand your health.

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Whether it be via spreadsheets, a paper journal or an app  – however you decide to do it, it can be really important to start logging your symptoms. This will make you more aware of your body and its natural patterns (if your illness or disability is such that it has patterns, such as the ‘boom and bust’ pattern of fatigue) and can help you identify things that you weren’t aware of so you can offer them up to your Doctor and together you can decide if they are worth exploring together. Keeping track can also give you a physical representation of how your body feels when you forget to take your medication, or choose not to, so that it might prompt you to remember. I also keep a spreadsheet for all relevant results from the variety of tests that I have had, so that I can track progress or decline and just because I feel a bit better when I feel like I am in control of my body and not the other way around.

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I find looking up hashtags for new follows and joining Facebook groups can be a really low maintenance way of building up your social media into the kind of space you need. Find out what hashtags are relevant to your health condition or disability and have a look who is talking about it – they might have tips for you, or they might just be a friendly shoulder to cry on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions relating to your illness if you are newly diagnosed, using the hashtag so that the right people see it. This can be a great way to make a whole new circle of friends which includes people who not only know exactly what you’re going through, but who are usually already fighting your corner without you even knowing they exist.

Self worth should never be linked to health. Regardless of how our bodies look or operate, they are all wonderful and deserve nothing less than absolute self love. The only way you can truly show yourself self care is to reflect on what your body or mind needs on a day to day basis and trust your own instincts. This list is what generally works for me – I’d love to hear what works for you!

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