The two things fashion brands do that tear people down. Why are we STILL accepting it?

I’ve had this post saved in my drafts for a really long time, but put off finishing it and publishing it. When I say a really long time, I think maybe a year or so.

Why? I’m not 100% sure to be honest, but my current theory is that I’m worried of how I’ll be perceived for publishing it.

At the moment, I’m probably in the ‘average girl’ category (albeit on the larger side of this group) – I’m not plus size, nor am I slim, just kind of in that middle ground that doesn’t have a defined identity (at least not yet, but ladies like Lucy Wood are doing their part to carve one out for people like we). So, there’s two reasons that make me a little uncertain about speaking out. A, because I don’t want the plus size community to believe that I’m speaking out about concerns that I have no business to speak about. C (and completely paradoxically) I’m scared it makes me look like just another girl who was once a size 10 gained a lot of weight and is bitter about that so is blaming everybody but herself.

But in reality, whichever of these camps you fall in, the concerns I want to talk about affect us all. The difference really is how it affects us – it could be sent to the self esteem, it could be the disappointment at no longer being able to shop at your favourite online store all of a sudden, or it could simply be the frustration in not being able to understand what the hell you’re meant to look for when shopping for clothing.

So, after this epic intro and no doubt overthinking justification, here’s what I think those issues are and you can judge what yourself…

  1. Size Exclusion

I don’t mean this as a straight “clothing brands should offer a larger size range to be more inclusive” I’m talking about those weird, sly sizing moves some of the brands (mainly the smaller brands) inexplicably make.

Picture the scene – you spot a nice top when your browsing an online store and the sizes as S/M/L/XL, you’re not sure which get so you hit the size guide page for some guidance. Size XL, the largest size offered, is listed as an equivalent of a size 12. Or, you check the measurements and yes, that’s my usual size so that’s what you order. But when your order arrived, it most definitely ain’t the size and measurements it said it was.

These are pretty confusing message for shoppers, and certainly for me it’s made a variety of things go through my head – am I wrong, is this the size that I should’ve start worrying about? Are they wrong, are they just not understanding women very well? Or….are these brands being shady bitches and making their range only accessible to people with body measurements that they think would look better in their clothes? As many of the brands I’ve experienced this with have been founded by young single men, I can’t help but think it’s likely to be a combo of the latter two.

2. Vanity sizing

This ‘trend’ comes around more often than than a Brexit deal vote, and this is where the sheer frustration and self loathing can really set in. Michael McIntyre wrote a whole set about this issue which means that not only have blokes noticed this is a thing, but that it’s so known that’s laughable.

For past two or three years I’ve noticed a steady trend of size guides increasing measurements, therefore the size you may have been in one clothing brand for years may not be what you are now. I actually noticed this more when I was on the smaller size – I’d lost a lot of weight to become a size 10 which I was for many years, and could comfortably order clothing on a regular basis knowing it would fit. All of a sudden, I became aware that my measurements had mysteriously been bumped up on the size grid. I hadn’t changed at all at this point, yet my favourite retailers were now telling me I had gained one or sometimes even two dress sizes virtually overnight. That simultaneously pissed me off and made me despair. Why had I put my blood, sweat and tears of effort into making my own body feel better to be told that in fact no, you’re in exactly the same position as you were before that journey.

I’ve experienced vanity sizing at the opposite end of the scale too – when I was smaller there were times when items of clothing would be a little too big in my ‘usual’ size so I would have to size down (usually things like dresses or skirts where the emphasis was at the waist. I’ve inserted a photo below from 2012 to show you a time when River Island was telling me I was a size 8, when it’s clear that’s not true). Unlike the other, I never felt flattered or in any way better about myself when this did happen. My head was clear enough to know this was a problem with sizing.

I know that size labels on clothing don’t matter and it’s how you look and feel in something, I know that, but we all have moments of vulnerability and vanity that mean sometimes these things do get in and physche you out. You can be as strong as you like but the fact remains that, if vanity sizing didn’t exist, it would remove the problem.

So, just why are we still accepting this?

That’s an excellent question, why do we? Because it’s been happening for such a long time and “that’s just how it is”. I can’t think of any other legitimate reason.

But, can we do anything about it?

Absolutely! I mean, surely?

The more society question why things are, and encourage the idea of alternative practices, the more likely change is to happen. But it has to be consistent and it has to be the voice of many, and we have to accept that it may take time. The most important changes often do.

This is a concern that goes hand in hand with diversity amongst fashion brands (and brands in general for that matter), social media vs Reality perfection and simply a person’s right to not have any more reasons to feel ostracised or disheartened by the world we live in.

Thank you for attending this impromptu and ever so slightly ranty TED talk; it’s an issue that remains very central to my daily life and one that impacts on me more than I should let it.

Let me know in the comments or on my social media channels if you’ve noticed either of these problems too and how it’s affected you.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


The clothing items every gal needs in her wardrobe

I miss doing fashion content all the time. Don’t get me wrong; I adore the fact that my interests have grown and diversified over the past few years, but my passion for style is what pushed me to start my blog.

So, what better way to kick off the year than with a cheeky lil’ style post??

With the benefit of my many (many, many) years of buying clothes and styling outfits, I’ve come to develop a few staples that mix trends, classic styles and are easy to throw on and go. I’m not by any means someone who could create a capsule wardrobe, I generally live my life by a ‘I see it, I like it, it comes in 4 other colours too? I got it’ mantra!but it works well for me, so here are the items I can ALWAYS rely on.

Black ankle boots

They go with literally everything I wear – jeans, dresses, work, weekend, I wear them all the time!

My current go-to pair are a western style suede pair I got for Christmas 2018 from Marks & Spencer as part of the Holy Willoughby collection (which I later bought in Brown). They’re dead easy to pull on, easy to walk in with the low block heel and look cool because they’re different to a lot of other ankle boot styles.

Leather look trousers

The luxe look of the material instant,y elevates and adds texture to a simple look whilst looking effortlessly put together, so I always make sure I have a pair in my wardrobe. They’re a great piece to dress up and down no matter what your shape, size or personal style a d I legit cannot remember what I did before discovering them.

My top three places to pick up a decent quality and very affordable pair are Matalan, Next and Dorothy Perkins (these are my current pair).

Biker Jacket

Instantly adds an edge to any look – girly looks a bit edgy, simple outfits look a little bit more cool. The same as double denim, I have been known to do a double faux leather look on occasion by teaming a biker with leather look trousers….

I used to have an incredibly extra one with a nipped in waist a spiky stud detailing on the shoulders (I’ll insert a throwback pic of this below) but after wearing it to absolute death, I kept it simpler with this ASOS number that would suit pretty much anybody.

Trainers

Not the type you chuck on when you’re going running or to a gym sesh, I mean just a nice easy pair of kicks you can throw on for a day of running around on a weekend to be comfy and cute.

Much like by boots, I wear trainers with most things in my wardrobe as they I stantly dress down a look and make feel a bit more funky.

Over the years my favourite pairs to grab have varied – it started with Air Max Thea, then superstars, Stan Smiths, Converse, Vans and back then back round again. If pushed, I’d say three different kinds are good to have – a pair of sneakers (like converse/vans that aren’t trainer trainers), a pair of chunkier ones (like the superstars) and something more sport feeling (air max)

Red lippy

I know its not a wardrobe staple as such, but I’d argue that a red lop is almost as valuable to a look as a handbag or paid of shoes!

If I wanna feel glam, red lip. I want to feel put together, red lip. If I’m having a down day and need a shot of confidence, red lip!

I have two that I swear by – one is NYX Liquid Suede in Kitten Heels which is a true red that has incredible staying power and is great value at £7 (a little goes a long way so it lasts ages). The other is MAC Chilli which is a deeper red with a slight brown undertone that I find incredibly flattering on my skin tone. It doesn’t quite have the staying power as its a standard lipstick, but it’s a beautiful formula that looks and feels great.

Leopard print

No specific item, just the print. It’s essentially a part of a neutral colour palette these days that adds a bit of texture to any look. I have more than a few things in my wardrobe in leopard – wrap dress, skater dress (different types of leopard so totally fine) cardigans, jackets, shoes even.

If you’re feeling bold, match it up with a colour such as purple or red to make a statement. If you’re feeling less brave then keep it simple in black and white.

A skater dress in a cute print

Its a great shape that’s easy to wear, a print instantly does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to styling, and it can be dressed up or down by changing a shoe and a lip colour.

Wrap dress

The same as a skater dress, they’re my lazy gal tip to putting together a nice outfit. Not only that, but they’re incredibly flattering to everybody – they show off and create nice lines on the body whilst remaining respectable yet a bit sexy and fun. Diane Von Furstenburg built an empire on this style of frock for good reason!

At the moment, I have three beautiful wrap dresses from Joanie clothing in some different and bold prints that have seen me through all kinds of occasions – girly brunch, dinner date, Christmas party, shopping days and work.

If you’re in a little wardrobe funk or just looking for some more options to add into your current rotation to mix it up for the new year, I hope this has helped give you a bit of inspo!

thanks for reading,

J xx


Thank you, next…A final review of my 5 things for 2019 (and a few other things I’m so f*****g grateful for)

This is basically going to be a summary of how I’ve done with the goals I set myself at the start of the year with an added ‘happy list’ at the end. 2019 has been a bit of a weird year, but I only want to mark the things I’ve enjoyed about it, so even though I’ve had my share of rocky patches this year you won’t find them in this post!

1 – Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

I’ve done really well on this, a lot better than I even expected especially more so than the year before when I just banned spending completely.

I’ve probably invested in a couple more frivolous purchases over the last few weeks (hello Black Friday sales) but even then these were things I’d wanted for a while. I’m still thinking more deeply about buying before I pull the trigger and being more responsible with my money, which has enabled me to get more stuff done at home which makes me joyous, so I’m confident this have evolved into a behaviour I can maintain.

2 – Get a home bar

It’s done, goal achieved, I just can’t show you because that area 0f the house doesn’t photograph well (and also, the area itself needs to be restyled to accommodate) here’s a peek of what it looked like when we first set it up at the very end of last year, but it looks different now

Expect some better pictures and styling for this one in 2020!

3 – Un-join the gym and get outside

Well, this pledge has made it all the way to the end of the year! The girls and I still head out most Sundays (not every week, as sometimes people have plans or have had a heavy night before) and have plans to carry this on into 2020. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to not only get a bit of light regular exercise, but brilliant to see my girls much more often than I have for a long time which is great for my sense of health.

I did start to incorporate a bit of extra home cardio into this as I said I wanted to in my last update, however I sustained a bit of an injury and then didn’t manage to get back to it, but I will. I’m still quite clear that I don’t want to head back to join a gym at this point.

4 – Get out of the house more

Overall, I’d argue that I have done this throughout the year, however the Mr would probably disagree wholeheartedly!

I’ve said yes more than no to activities outside of work this year, though there have been a couple of periods where I was just knackered and needed to have a bit of time being a hermit indoors. But hey, I’m human and I’ll never be perfect.

5 – Dranks out, drinks in

You may remember that I took this one out of the running completely about halfway through the year. I’d had a few days/evenings on the sauce and felt it wasn’t going to be realistic to cut out as much as I’d expected. I’m not in any way disappointed about having to do this, I happen to think it’s healthy constantly review and change goals if they’re no longer relevant or achievable for whatever reason. More to the point, this one was vetoed for good reasons – I’ve had some lovely times out and about enjoying a couple of cocktails and some laughs with the Mr and my girls.

Other good things that 2019 has brought for me

– Getting to know and meet some wonderful people

This has been such an important part of why there have been positive points of 2019. There are people are already knew a little bit that I’ve spent more time with and lived, and I’ve met new people in a variety of ways that have become some of nicest/wisest/bestest influences on my state of mind. Thank you to all of you, I will Co ti ue to annoy you further in the new year!

– Travelling to Italy

A very important part of my bucket list was completed, and so much more as part of this trip. I most definitely heart Italy and would really like to see what else it has to offer.

– Feeling relaxed and comfortable in my own home

This probably sounds a bit weird, but I spent over 7 years in my last house just never quite feeling right and enjoying living there. It took a looooong time to find our current house (almost 11 months overall, and 8 months after selling the aforementioned one) but for me it was worth it. Although the Mr occasionally complains its smaller (and it is, a bit) it has a much better vibe about it and we’ve actually made some positive strides into to decorating and making it out own. I’m beyond excited to keep cracking on with this next year.

– The discovery of Ru Paul’s drag race

You could either think this is weird, or you could think ‘what the hell took you so long?’ to this! After hearing pretty much the whole of my social media feeds say how brilliant it was, I binge watched the entire first season one night when I was home alone and having a bit of a testing time. I really enjoyed it, and within 3 months I’d watch seasons 1-10 and the UK season 1 (I was team DDC and Cheryl Hole if anyone is interested).

Having a show so far removed from my reality was exactly the escapism I needed at a pretty stressful time, which I’m hugely grateful for. I just need to work out how I can watch the All Stars seasons that aren’t on Netflix now…little help??

– Experiencing my first Pride in Hull

I was invited to be part of this very important event in July, when I was on season 4 of Drag Race and I got to watch Alaska Thuderfuck perform which was blooming brilliant (but then had very high expectations of her appearance on season 5 which I watched shortly after).

What I lived about this event the most was the comraderie of the city, and the empassioned speech given by the Lord Mayor who is himself part of the LGBTQ community. I’m very proudly an ally for anybody who needs this.

– Spent more time with my niece and nephew

These munchkins are 4 and 5 and are genuinely two of my favourite people in the whole world. They’re so funny. clever and kind.

This year I’ve been on holiday with them, had them both over for sleepovers and generally just had them more at the house for visits and being the cool aunt I was born to be.

– I was immortalised in cartoon form

Bit weird (are you sensing a theme here) but on three occasions this year the ghost artist known as Peter and Paul made me and my HEY Bloggers gals part of thisbseries featuring local celebrities or prominent figures. For this reason I’m very flattered indeed, however I have been a bit dubious about the tattoos and cave woman-style outfits I’ve worn to date!

Thanks joining me this year, this decade (or even just for this post) on my blog. As always, I plan to keep going and add more and different content – as long as I enjoy it and put the work in, I hope you will too.

Thanks for reading, and wishing you very best for theyear ahead

J xx


Christmas 2019

By the time you read this, I hope you’ve have a lovely time celebrating the festive season and are looking forward to the year ahead.

As I’ve done for the last few years (partly for my own memories, partly for those of you like me who enjoy a little nosey) here’s a bit of a peak at my Christmas Day and Boxing Day celebrations.

Christmas morning waking up at home (at 6.45am, the latest I think I’ve ever woken up on Christmas Day). After exchanging gifts listening to Christmas songs, we tucked into sausage sarnies and watched some festive TV.

Top, Joanie (one of my gifts from the Mr)

Quick change, tidied up the wrapping paper and it was off to see the family!

First stop was my grandparents house, they’ve been poorly this year so weren’t able to leave the house.

After that we headed to my sister-in-law’s for Christmas lunch with the wider family.

We all brought something along and laid it out buffet style, this year we were on turkey duty which was just a little bit scary but turned out really well thankfully!

I was the most stuffed I’ve ever been from a Christmas lunch

I just about managed to roll on to the couch and was put on childcare duty with my niece and nephew (tbh I think they were looking after me more).

After an hour I managed to enjoy a small bowl of my Mother-in-law’s sherry trifle (epic) and open the last of the presents for the day. We gifted our nephew with a table football and his little face was everything.

Boxing Day

This year was different to the norm, this time we hosted and I cooked!

To spruce up our not yet decorated dining area, I picked up these dark great charge plates from Dunelm and made a table centre using a garland I bought from Amazon threaded with battery operated lights and baubles picked up from B&M. I added in white candles (also from Dunelm and B&M) and some M&S Bucks Fizz served in the ice bucket from our home bar (which I promise I will write about at some point soon!)

From scratch, I made Moroccan lamb followed by panettone bread and butter pudding with cream.

If you’ve read these posts for the past 4 years, you’ll know this dessert is my stepdad’s showpiece so I wanted to give it a go to see if I could do a nice tribute to his years of hard work. And I did!

We did a few more presents and then moved to the couch for a brew and game of Cards Against Humanity

My brother won, however it confirmed what I already knew that my family are highly inappropriate and absolute filth!

I’m off work until the beginning of January and will be spending that time having more family gatherings (one at my mum’s new house with her in-laws, the other back at ours with my in-laws) time with friends and general relaxation.

If you have some time off too, I hope you’re able to use it in ways you enjoy. If you fancy more of a nosey, I’ve got a Christmas 2019 highlight on my Instagram which will likely have some presents on there too.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


My 5 top tunes of 2019

It was Christmas Eve….

If you’re not imagining The Pogues lead singer drunkenly slurring these lines from Fairytale of New York, there’s definitely summat wrong!

Whilst I’m finishing up my final working day in the office for the year, take a look at some of my favourite tunes to bop around to in the car and make fellow drivers (sometimes passengers) cringe with embrassment for me…

Sucker – Jonas Brothers

Wasn’t a Jo Bro fan before, definitely am now! This song is so flippin’ catchy and makes me wanna hit Nick’s high notes and clap along to Joe’s Bridge. I’m a sucker for this.

Old Town Road – Lil Nas X and Billy Rae Cyrus

Such a chilled out yet boujee song “driving down Rodeo in my Mazarati sports car” anyone? Welcome back to the charts Mr Billy Rae Cyrus (though I still have a nostalgic soft spot for Achey Breaky Heart. Shhh.)

Bounce Back – Little Mix

Random fact, the singer of ‘Back to Life’ (the song sampled on this track by Soul II Soul) is Alexandra Burke’s late mother.

The lyrics make little or no sense throughout (who knew a dose of vitamin D would help you slide into your fave denims? Jesy Nelson, that’s who.) but the beat is hella catchy and I know the chorus cos it’s easy and I’m onld enough to remember it from the first time round.

Taste – Tyra

I feel like Tyga would be appalled that I’m a fan of his track, but it’s exactly my musical taste (taste… Crap joke alert, ha). I always try, and fail, to get Offset’s bit right!

7 Rings – Arianna Grande

I don’t know how the girl has managed to combine a modern R ‘n B beat with a 1960s tune originally sung by a nun, but she has and I’m here for it. I think one of my most used phrases this year has been “you like my hair? Gee thanks, just washed it”.

Honourable mentions to the following tracks:

– Break up with your girlfriend I’m bored, Arianna Grande

– Bad Guy, Billie Eillish

– Dance Monkey, Tones and I

– Beautiful People, Ed Sheeran

– Good as Hell, Lizzo

And that’s my year in music done!

Thanks for reading

J xx


Testing the ALDI festive tipples range

Bit late in the day to pick up festive booze? Nah! And technically, you could have most of this at any time of year….

Yup, that’s right – for the first time in about 5 years I’ve decided to see what else is out there for my Christmas delectation that’s not from Marks & Spencer….

Traitor! Nope. I live closer to ALDI, they posted a leaflet through my door showcasing their range which peaked my interest, and I’ve done a blog post in M&S drinks for the last 4 years or so, so it’s definitely time to mix it up

Spiced Plum & Clementine gin

I still wouldn’t say I’m a gin lover (although you will remember that I liked it before it was cool) but I’m drinking it more by default as people around me are.

This doesn’t taste like gin at all, the infused plum and orange flavours are great, almost like you’re drinking something non-alcoholic. When paid with lemonade, garnished with an orange wedge and served over ice, this makes a pretty nice drink all year round.

Candy Cane gin liqueur

A drink like this can go either way can’t it – either a delicious minty treat or summat that you’d rinse and spit after brushing that you bought on sale at the pound shop (the reviews on the ALDI website are pretty polarising).

If you give the bottle a shake it shimmers which definitely gets you in the Christmas spirit before you’ve even had a drop!

If you wanted to go full on cocktail with this drink, there’s a recommended recipe on the ALDI website

Ballycastle Chocolate & Orange Irish Cream

Basically the ALDI own version of baileys, which I love, and as you’ll k ow from my previous post all about orange flavoured chocolate this is a flavour combo I’m rather fond of.

As well as being served the more traditional way as a short over ice, which is how I’ve been enjoying it, this would be the perfect edition to a nice warming cup of hot chocolate to give it an extra little kick (you could use this recipe I posted a couple of years ago and simply sub this is in)

There’s still time to pick these up before the festivities kick up another notch at the weekend, so happy drinking (but responsibly and for enjoyment) during the most drunken time of the year!

Thanks for reading and seasons greetings,

J xx


My Instagram best nine (2019)

It’s that time of year again – when an internet generator tells us all which nine pics had the most likes, we’re all a bit surprised by a couple and we have a nosey at everybody else’s. So here are mine!

1 University of Hull, August

I took this picture to go with my 8 Reasons to Choose Hull blog post in collaboration with the University, and to be honest i think it did well because they reposed it on their social media channels.

I have worked and studied on this campus and it’s just a lovely place to to be.

2 Mykonos Town, August

Well, I think it’s a given that this one was going to be popular wasn’t it! I made sure to capture a lot of images that were very un-Mykonos, as the stuff you see on Insta really is such a tiny part of the island (something I spoke about in my Things that surprised me about Mykonos blog post) but the at the end of the day it is gorgeous there and I’m easily influenced by wanting to take a nice pic!

3 Cottingham – East Yorkshire, June

I took these photos to post on my birthday and I’d just bought a year of birth sweatshirt from Rock on Ruby. I was totally living for the wild meadows all around the area, so one day a vey kind work colleague and I took a little lunch time outing to enjoy the flowers and snap some pics.

4 Lanzarote, April

I went off on my first family holiday in years to a villa in Lanzarote, and on this night the Mr and I sloped off for a cheeky date night. The dress and hat are from Matalan than he had very kindly picked up for on the day we went away (I tried them on in the airport hotel) and they fit like a dream, unfortunately I only managed two wears of the dress before the zip ripped (just as I was about to wear it for a third time and on the way out the door) so that was he end of that.

5 Hull, May

You can tell here, but despite the fact it was spring it was ridiculously freezing! However, it was Bank Holiday and I was determined that I couldn’t have to wear tights so smiled through the chill and hoped my legs wouldn’t look too blue.

6 Lanzarote, April

I tired my hand at a getting a bit of body confidence back and decided a good way to do this would be to post a couple of swimwear pics and see that nobody was going to write anything horrendous in the comments. This was the second of the two I posted (I lived this Next swimsuit so much I bought it in cobalt blue for my Mykonos trip) on a day I felt very happy about Bank Holiday weekend and booking a holiday.

7 Liverpool, June

I headed to my fave UK city for my birthday for a day of chill at a time when my life was very hectic for some not so good reasons. I had cocktails, did some shopping and ate all the food, which definitely helped to give a bit of respite.

8 Mykonos Town, August

This photo was taken at exactly the same time as the other Mykonos photo, it was literally the other side of the camera. You can also see from this angle that I’m just a little bit sunburnt, which is why I was wearing an off the shoulder frock.

9 University of Hull, August

Rounding things off exactly where we started, back at uni with a very unposed shot! This was a very really laugh and it was because my gal Kat was crouched on the floor in front of me saying all sorts of random stuff whilst her cleavage was pretty much in my face. That was a fun outing.

And that, my friends, is some of my year in pics. It definitely doesn’t cover a full spread of my year but it does remind me of some of the best bits. I hope you enjoy looking through yours too.

Thanks for reading,

J xx