REAL LIFE | I don’t know where I fit in

*This post is about body image and weight loss. Please don’t read it if you feel this may negatively affect you.*

If you’re a long time reader of my blog, or you’re a friend of mine in real life, you’ll know I’ve been through a few changes in my life. We all have I’m sure.

What you may not know is that I still don’t feel like I fit in. I don’t feel like I know what my place is, or should be in the world, because of how I look. Or because of how others feel about how I look.

A bit of a walk through the past explains the why, but not the where. Please read with an open mind and an understanding heart.

Age 5-11

I had a distinctly average looking body for my age (I’m cringing at how awful that sounds to say, but this is where the mind of childhood Jenny in the 80’s/90’s went, as well as those who looked at her) in some photos you could even argue I was fairly slim. But, not as skinny as some of my classmates it would seem, even then. Girls at my school learnt very quickly that the best way to hurt someone’s feelings was to insult their size. I was told I couldn’t play leapfrog in the playground because my ‘bum was too fat’, when I started dance class I was called ‘elephant in a tutu’ both by girls who were supposed to be my friends. Once, I was even punched in the stomach by a boy in my class.

Age 12-16

So, things got better for me at high school? Did they bollocks!

Boys were interested in girls bodies, girls knew it, and girls had further refined their weight-related insults. When I was about 13, I was with a group of friends when one said “let’s all say how much we weigh” so we went round the table, and when they got to me I told the truth (which was about 8st and I was a size 10-12). After a few moments, one of them said “oh no, Jenny is the heaviest” and they all gave me a sympathetic smile. I knew for a fact some of them had lied but didn’t say, because I didn’t want them to be embarrassed, or to look vengeful myself.

It was around this time that my Grandad started to make regular comments about my weight and how I looked. He’d recently gone on a much needed health kick, gotten fit and lost weight, and I was apparently his next target to ‘fix’. Even my mum made the odd comment – once she said if I lost enough weight over the school holidays she’d buy me a whole new wardrobe and all the boys would fancy me.

Early 20s

Came out of a serious relationship, lived alone, thought nobody cared about me, ate what I wanted and partied hard. During this time I received probably the most horrific comments I’ve ever had, some from people I didnt know. At work I was described as someone’s before image, “she looks amazing now, she looked like you before”. Someone else asked why I was so fat when I ran around busy all the time, and an older gentleman who had health related weight issues told me “we have to to be careful, people like us, fatties”. This was around the time I was newly in a relationship with the man I’m now married to and I was so worried all the time thinking ‘why the hell does he want to be with me when everyone else clearly has such a low opinion of me??’.

Mid to late 20s

I was married, had an active social life, and was (now I can look back with a more objective eye) a pretty average body size. Because I consumed too many sweet and high calorie things, towards my later 20s I decided I had to change how I looked after myself so that I could feel more positive and less lethargic. I figured making changes before I hit 30 would be easier than making them later.

Early 30s

I’d made the aforementioned changes, feeling more lively and I looked different. Quite different actually. It was the first time I’d ever been considered a ‘slim girl’ in my whole life. I went through moments of being proud of myself for making changes I felt I needed and sticking with them, actually looking in the mirror and feeling aright about myself, yet confused by how other people’s opinions of me suddenly changed.

Any time I posted a photo on Facebook, dozens of acquaintances would comment calling me a skinny minnie, saying I looked amazing and asking for my ‘secret’. In the real world I had strangers come up to me to telling me I looked good, van drivers honking their horns at me when I went for a walk. One time, a car full of blokes stopped in the middle of the street and shouted things about my arse out of the window. I’d NEVER dealt with anything like this before and I felt overwhelmed and embarrassed by it. I wasn’t doing anything to invite attention, I was just out in the world going about my life.

Despite this, people were still mean sometimes. When I’d go to check my weight and measurements every week (I personally found this helped track my progress) I’d be tapped on the shoulder at least once and be asked “why are you here to get weighed love, you’re already dead skinny?”. There were points when my friends didn’t seem particularly friendly either. They weren’t impressed that I’d stopped drinking, chose meals more carefully when I went out, and they weren’t shy about letting me know. They would make neggy comments to me, or say our other friends looked nice but would never say it to me like they used to. They told me I was boring or acting like “a bit of a pyscho” about my diet. Even now, if I bring up my weight or how I look, they will ‘remind’ me I was “not nice to be around” .

My family, on the other hand, were bloody delighted with my progress. They would never miss an opportunity to tell me “how much better” I looked and how worried they used to be that I was killing myself before but were too scared to say anything. You’d think that’d be nice, but it made me feel almost as awkward. Had they all been judging me behind my back for years? But STILL my Grandad wasn’t pleased. He still thought it I hadn’t lost enough weight loss I was “too wobbly” (I was, so what) but I’d learnt to tune him out a bit by then.

Mid 30s

I re-entered the world of work (after spending 5yrs at uni) and had to deal with some very toxic people. The result? Started drinking, eating more sweet and high calorie food, none of my clothes fit me anymore. I felt sad that I’d undone a lot of my hard work and angry that I’d let hateful people drive me to such a low and vulnerable point. By the time they exited my life (not nearly soon enough) the rot had set in quite severely. I’d been blogging about three years at this point, yet could barely even look at myself in the mirror and before taking photos and going places to write about in my posts.

This was also the time the Facebook acquaintances reappeared. This time, the opening line was usually “so what happened to you?” or “you look a bit different now.”

No neggy comments from the family, but don’t worry, they’ll be back soon…

Late 30s

And this brings us nicely to where I am today. Which, to be honest, probably isn’t that nice.

One toxic work situation ended but I somehow found myself in another about six months later. This time it was much, much worse and lasted twice as long. I comfort ate my ass off, got the biggest I have ever been, hated myself and the rest of the world for pretty much everything. And I must’ve fallen pretty hard into the depths of despair, as I had family and close friends begging me to get help. When speaking to my friends about wanting to lose weight and feel more comfortable again, the response I got was “yeah definitely, but don’t go crazy like you did before. You got too skinny and it wasn’t nice.”

I then gained a few ‘Furlough pounds’ as a lot of people did, and that’s when Grandad finally decided to pipe up again and let me know once and for all how disappointed he was in me. I know its difficult when dealing with the older generation; they have no filter or concept of how their words can be perceived, but let me tell you his cut deep. Phrases such as “we need to walk you/weigh you”, “So what clothes are yoy wearing now?” And “I’m trying not to hurt your feelings here but you really need to do something about this” have hurt my feelings a lot, to the point where I’m welling up as a type this. I have a mirror; I know what I’ve looked like before and I know what I look like now. I know what my goals are and how to achieve them. Behind the scenes, I may even be quietly doing just that. But you think I feel like turning into Jane Fonda after someone I love has ripped my self confidence a new one? No I do not.

So after reading that, do you know where I fit in, how I should feel what I should do? I figure I may as well invite comments at this point; enough people have given them anyway up to this point and I’m fresh out of ideas at this point!

Thank you for making it to the end of this post, and for getting here with (hopefully still) an open mind and understanding heart. I appreciate it lots.

J xx


Hay fever hacks – part 2

A couple of years ago I wrote this post sharing my top hay fever hacks aside from medication that will help to ease and prevent symptoms, and over the last few weeks it seems to have been read rather a lot more than usual! Less traffic and pollution clearly allows those pesky pollens to get through to us better than ever before in the 21st century, so I thought I would add a few more tips and tricks I’ve learnt since the last post to hopefully offer a bit of extra relief to fellow sufferers. I’ve found that they work best alongside taking a standard antihistamine first thing in the morning*

  • Wipe, wipe, wipe it down

If you’ve watched a decent amount Tik Tok as I have, you’ll be singing that as you read…cleaning the house more regularly will help get rid of any pollen that you bring in from outside as quickly as possibly and keep your home a safe haven. Don’t forget to pay close attention to places like sofas and chairs where you may sit in your outdoor clothing, of you can make sure you take off your day clothes as soon as you get home.

  • Garlic – for more than warding off vampires

I was surprised but delighted to learn that my favourite seasoning also acts as a super charged natural antihistamine. Pass me the garlic bread ASAP.

  • Get your (water) vape on

When you have a cold, one way to ease symptoms is to inhale vaporised steam underneath a towel, and the same idea can also apply to hay fever. Instead of vapour rub, add in essential oils like eucalyptus or lavender which will help clear your airways and make you feel relaxed (increased levels of stress are also said to increase the severity of hay fever symptoms).

  • I C you baby

Start your day off with a healthy dose of vitamin C and you’re adding in yet another natural antihistamine to your immune system. Berries are perfect for this and are super easy to add into a breakfast or snack.

  • Shower and hair wash last thing before bed

You’re removing any final pollen from your body before you get in bed so that it doesn’t transfer to your bedding/sleep clothes and continue to affect you in the night (not getting a good night’s sleep is also supposed to help reduce hay fever symptoms).

Between the two posts I hopenyou have some decent ammunition to help make your symptoms more bearable so that you can enjoy the summer.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Let’s Chat – March 2020

Well, I think I can speak for the majority of us when I say that I didn’t quite expect the month to go down like this! It really just goes to show that bad things happen close to home that we care to realise sometimes. I hope you enjoy the ‘wearing’ section, outfits are mainly Next and Primark.

  • I’m That Bitch, Rupaul Drag Race Season 12 Queens: “I-I-I’m that bitch, that’s the way it is..” this is such an ear worm of a tune! It’s a great distraction from the outside world
  • Wasabi, Little Mix: How have I only just discovered this banger?!? I think it may be my favourite LM song
  • Gone Girl: First time I’ve re-watched since it came out at the cinema and I enjoyed just as much
  • Rupaul’s Drag Race: I’ve been catching up with season 6 re-runs and the new eps on season 12. There are too many Queens I’m living for at this stage, and I can’t get those challenge songs outta my head!
  • Man With a Plan: This series has just come to the UK and stars Matt le Blanc as a dad of 3 who has to take a more active parenting role when his wife decides to go back to work. It’s a typical cheesy American sitcom, just an easy breezy watch

As you can imagine,I had quite a different month from the one planned. Whilst it was still deemed safe to do so at the beginning of the month, I went back to Lesley Wilks for my annual nanoblading top up. I went a couple months early because I wanted them to be super fresh for my big holiday in April, which has now been cancelled. If you’re thinking of getting nanoblading have a read of the post I wrote on it last year

Other than that, I was simply working until the middle of the month when I started to feel knackered for no apparent reason. Then I started to feel hot all the time, which I put down to wearing jumpers and drinking hot liquids. The day after that I started to get a sore throat that worsened as the day went on, so went straight into self isolation ever since. My symptoms continued but didn’t develop and were manageable, but I have no idea if this is THE illness (no testing offered due to symptoms not being too severe) or another illness with hugely unfortunate timing.

Like everybody else in the world, this has meant that I missed out on some stuff in life, really big stuff at that. My dream holiday that I’ve waited a decade to take, celebrating our 10 ten year wedding anniversary and (most heartbreakingly) not being able to visit my nana in hospital just before she passed away. Or being able to be with my family to give and receive comfort during this difficult time. I feel guilty, upset, angry, numb and poorly. I’m not trying to play a game of who has it worst, but this has been my experience.

At difficult times, we HAVE to trust the people in charge to give us the best advice to keep us safe. We just have to. If we don’t have that hope, the world will continue to go to shit and I can’t face the prospect of that. We all know what we’re supposed to be doing, so let’s just do that and hope we can come out of this as quickly as possible. We’re so lucky to have technology that helps keep us in touch with people across the whole world, so we need to use this to it’s full and most positive potential.

Thanks for reading and wishing you all the very best for the weeks ahead,

J xx


It’s OK not to be OK, but is it OK not to want to talk about not being OK?

If you made it through the tong twisting title, thanks for sticking with me on this one!*

It’s OK not to be OK. How many times have you heard or read this phrase? A fair few I’m willing to bet. I’m not going to dispute the authenticity of it, because I firmly believe it to be true. Everybody is different and reactions to different scenarios are a very individual thing. Just because you’re OK with something and somebody else is not doesn’t give you the right to question why they’re not, they’re just not. More importantly, they may not even know why they’re not.

Not being OK (and to be clear, by ‘not OK’ I’m talking about mental health) can be a difficult concept to grasp but those who are OK. It’s tough to understand something you have no experience with, and I do think we forget that when we see people behaving less than supportively towards those struggling. On one hand, it’s a positive that they’ve never been through illness that can be so dibilitating. On the other, they will never have the complete picture of exactly how the human brain can do torturous things to its host, or how it can receive the actions of others. You may live with someone or have a friend that’s gone through mental health issues and think you get it, but unless it’s you personally then you just don’t.

Whether you understand mental health and illness personally or not, every single person can choose how they approach and deal with those who these issues. Any human being is capable of showing understanding, kindness and support, yet some (an increasing number of, alarmingly) choose not to be these things. THAT’S the problem.

I think if society were to tackle mental wellbeing by starting with the people who are responsible for a lack of awareness and empathy that we’d stand a better chance of getting this in hand. You see, for once – it’s not you, it’s them. There can be all the destigmatisation and and support services in the land, but if people are still running around behaving like bad human beings then it’s kinda pointless.

I think most importantly, we all need to bear in mind that absolutely anybody could suffer with their mental health and some point without actually having a long term mental health condition. If you are somebody that currently doesn’t behave as a decent human being when approaching the mental health of others, I hope you bear this in mind.

Thanks for reading, J xx

Disclaimer: All of the words above are my personal opinions. They are not intended to offend, simply open a discussion on a very hot topic from a different perspective.


It’s OK to want to change things about yourself without feeling like you’re hating on the world at large

As I was growing up I lived as part of a society that taught me only one body was desirable to the opposite sex – Petite, slim, big boobs and long hair. In my teens people like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce came into the world of celebrity, and with their big booties and curvy hips they managed to gently prod a generation into seeing a different kind of attractive.

Fast forward to the present day, and the world has evolved again. Now we’re told that all body types are beautiful and should be embraced/celebrated, and that we should love our own body for what it is rather than what it could be.

But is it as simple as that?

No, it’s not. I’d like to go on record saying that I wholeheartedly support a society that acknowledges humans come in a wide variety of forms and to ensure that all are catered for as fairly as possible. I have a great admiration for people in the public eye and that I know in real life who project a confidence and sex appeal that I could only ever dream of. I fiercely stand by the opinion that fad diets/products DO NOT WORK (it still both bemuses and concerns me that a post I did about trying Boombod 2 years ago is still one of my most read every single month) however I do believe in eating plans that encourage moderation and good habits such as Slimming World.

So with all of these beliefs firmly planted in my mind, would it surprise you to learn that there are things I can’t accept and would like to change about myself? Because there are, and I do.

Thanks in part to J-Lo and Queen Bey, I feel confident in accepting that my body shape isn’t straight up and down, its somewhere closer to a pear (curvy hips and bigger thigh/bum area) but what I’ve never been able to fully accept is the size of my body, and this is the aspect I want to address.

There are many reasons why I dislike my body size. Primarily, it’s because it represents unhappiness. My body is the result of emotional eating caused by a period of difficult situations, and through lethargy caused by my fragile state of mind as a result. If I knew that inside I was healthy and happy, and that my weight gain was a sign of enjoying life, then I hav3le no doubt that I would feel differently about the reflection staring back at me. If each extra pound represented a romantic meal or nights on the town drinking cocktails with the girls, there’d be a valid and enjoyable reason. Don’t get me wrong; I have done those things, but far more rarely.

And this is why I think it’s OK for me to say that there are things I don’t like about my body shape or size whilst still being absolutely accepting of those that look different to me, similar to me or don’t want to look how I’d like to look. I’m not throwing shade at any of those people, I’m simply saying that’s not the right thing for me. I’m saying that I acknowledge I’m not completely happy or healthy and that I’d like to take action to change this. I’m saying that I’ve been through hell and my exterior reminds me of this every bloody day, which makes me feel worse. I’m saying that it will take more than a change in mindset to be able to accept what I look like. Finally, I’m saying that I am a different person to you – I’m built to think, feel and react differently, so my actions are going to be different to other people’s.

If people don’t like my opinions, that’s fine. As I said, everybody is different and has their own truth. However, they are valid and are mine. To say otherwise wouldn’t be very accepting of ME, would it?

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Some people just aren’t nice – coping with toxic influences

Some people just aren’t nice – coping with toxic influences

If you’ve seen the title, you know the story. And honestly, it’s one I’m sorry that’s made it’s way over to my page, but I think we have to talk about it.

By toxic, I don’t mean people like murderes/rapists/terrorists, there’s a special place in hell reserved for them and for which toxic is too polite a word. By toxic, I mean people that have made their way into your life somehow but are rude/nasty/inconsiderate/controlling for reasons which seem bafflingly unclear to a relatively normal or sane person.

Toxic people are bullies whose behaviour is damaging and unacceptable. Their behaviour is not your fault, it’s their fault. Nobody should have to endure people like this. Buuuuuutttt….you can’t cut ’em all out of your life, sorry.

Because they’re everywhere, toxic people are unavoidable. I have always had what I believed to be a fairly reasonable set of standards for people and friendship, sadly over the years I’ve come understand that my standards are in fact pretty high (not a bad thing) and my expectations had to lower. Sure you can minimise contact to an extent with toxic influences, but if they’re someone you deal with on your commute, in the workplace or a place you visit often, that makes things a wee bit more challenging. Much better I think, is to empower yourself by having the tools to deal with them.

Forewarned is forearmed. You’re likely to know who are the toxic people around you, so be aware of this and you have the chance to steel yourself for your next delightful encounter with them.

Take your time. You know the way person acts pushes your buttons which can make for a knee-jerk irrational response from you. Not only will that upset you, but you may come off as a bit of a dick in the process. Give yourself a little bit of time to think about what was said/done, calm down. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely excuse yourself from a room to prevent this and get some space if you need to.

Think. Does this person’s words/actions need a response? A lot of the time, it probably doesn’t. There’s no point telling them they’ve upset you because they won’t care or (worse still) that’s exactly what they want you to feel. Being dignified or silent makes far more noise.

Remember (this is the most important one). The words of toxic people do not mean shit. No, really. You don’t have to take criticism from somebody that you wouldn’t take advice from. Their words may be their (albeit warped) trust, but they’re not yours. Don’t accept them.

Someone always has your back. You have people in your life that are brilliant to be around. People that you would go to for advice, people who actively build you up with their words, people who you greet with a feeling of happiness rather than dread. Spend more time with or communicating with them, and remind yourself that this is what the majority of the world looks like.

If you have toxic influences you deal with on the daily, I’m sorry that you have to put up with that. They are the ones who are flawed and need to get better, so try not to be too bitter about their presence.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


BEAUTY/ How I keep my hair healthy

At the start of last year my hair was very, VERY mad at me. Apparently it didn’t like being blonde as much as I did! It became horribly dry and frayed, luckily I had the lovely Chelsea and the Cook Hair Anlaby gals to help get it back to a good place. After months of nourishing darker tones, my locks are now very happy (and looking very nice, I must say) with some subtle copper highlights running through the mid section.

Taking good care of my hair is now extra important so that I keep it healthy, so here I’m sharing the top three products I use to achieve this in between salon appointments


Herbal Essence Daily Detox Clean shampoo

I’ve never found a shampoo that’s really fit me before, but this formulation seems to really agree with my hair. I started using it about three months ago and have since noticed that my hair is shinier than it’s ever been when I’ve washed it at home, I’ve had a lot of compliments to this effect too. It’s safe for colour treated hair so doesn’t make it fade or even turn brassy, surprisingly for me.

I know you’re meant to alternate what you use every so often but I haven’t used another brand since getting this. I’ve recently bought the Daily Detox volume (pictured) to alternate with which is crimson orange and mint, which seems to be working pretty well so far.

Milkshake Incredible Milk

This brand is used at my salon and smells delicious, so I picked up a bottle of this to kick my home hair routine up a gear when it was really suffering. It’s worked brilliantly – six squirts into the palm to distribute through the lengths before blow drying keeps my hair soft.

Wet Brush lil

Last year I picked up a full sized Wet Brush for home, but this beauty lives in my wash bag so I can use it on the go. It’s perfect for combing product through my hair after I’ve washed it as well as keeping tangles in check, my hair is prone to knotting but has been pretty good since investing in this.

I hope sharing my hair heroes may help if you have any similar problems – I’m recommending these alongside the care I get from regular touch ups, toners and trims at a professional salon, which isn’t always cheap but worth investing in if you have the money to do so.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


LIFESTYLE/ Viridian health helpers

  I’ve been struggling with tiredness and fatigue for a little while, which I put purely down to the ‘shock’ of readjusting to full time working. Daft as that seems, I’ve been constantly shattered and needed help! 

I met a lovely chap called Steve from Viridian at the last #HullBloggers event who thought he may be able to help with this problem so recommended a couple of products for me to try.

The Liquid Iron in particular had an almost immediate effect- I had 2 large spoonfuls each morning (alongside a reasonably healthy diet) and by the end of day five I no longer felt as if I was wiped out before the day had even started. Brilliant result. I still get bouts of mild fatigue occasionally but a spoonful of this usually helps…even better than a large cup of coffee, no caffeine headaches here! 

You can view the full range of Viridian products here

Thanks for reading, have a great #Monday 

Stay Stylish

J 😘xx