Less Fast, More Sass: Fashion Finds #1

Bonjour fashion fiends, and the straggler’s who are reading these because they love me/feel sorry for me (I appreciate you). Welcome/Croeso to my first mini-blog on my fashion finds in what I hope will be a small insight on how you can find some light within the darkness of sale racks and bargain bins. *Warning* may involve you diving headfirst into a trash-can full of scarfs and trying on clothes behind a curtain in a dodgy charity shop.

My stomping-ground happens to be the capital of Wales, Cardiff- with a little bit of coastal town Aberystwyth in Mid-Wales thrown in. You would think a big city would have half-decent charity shops, but this is a city in Wales, so the #hipster trend hasn’t exactly caught on here as much as it’s bigger, much trendier sister town of Bristol across the border. So far my thrift-store finds have been well, nothing. But it’s not all doom and gloom, because what this city does have is pop-up events. And lots of them.

I headed to the derelict warehouse turned hot-spot for mini-food festivals and drunk bingo where I have too often shamed myself- the DEPOT, to hit up their £15 a Kilo Vintage clothing sale. I’ve been to vintage/upcycled clothing stores before, but never a pop-up shop so I wasn’t too sure what this was going to entail, but as I rolled up in my dungarees trying to pass as another edji teenager I was greeted by some kids who were much cooler than I was when I was 18, wearing brightly coloured ski-jackets and carrying Fjallraven backpacks and breathed a sigh of relief, ahhh, I’m at home.

Let me tell you, I did all this with a raging hangover. The “Wales have a Rugby Match in Cardiff” type hangover which only my fellow bread-of-heaven worshippers will fully appreciate the severity of. So when I walked in to that warehouse to be smacked in the nostrils with what I can only describe as the smell of 1000 different grandma coat’s which have sat in a damp cupboard for 50 years, I almost vommed into the vintage red leather laptop case I was half-heartedly carrying around. I shuffled up and down the rows and rows of clothing, fisting the coat-hangers in which hundreds’ of printed shirts hung off to try and find a help-line, some sort of hidden gem in which the charity shops of the Diff’ had not managed to grace my drawers with. One thing this kilo-sale had was choice. Rails and rails of coats, tees, jumpers and jackets, all being frantically restocked as quick as they were being snapped up. My bin bag was soon full and my booze-sweats returned in with a vengeance. Each “this is cute” was met with a “please hold this I’m gonna be sick”. I had my head in the bin of silk scarfs for just enough time to grab some Versace-esque’ styles for me and my friend, and headed to try my finds on. Except the make-shift curtain turned dressing room had no mirrors, because darling this isn’t any old store, so whatever, I just risked it and threw all my finds in the weighing bin and made a mad dash out of there to get a Fanta-on-Tap and some fresh air away from the stench of moth balls. This vintage stuff is all glamour.

My haul came to £45, which actually at first I was like “WTF I thought this was supposed to be cheap” but then the realist within me reminded me that I did get a Levi’s Denim jacket (which goes for £40+ on Depop these days), a Puma padded coat, another jacket, an old French-connection jumper, an oversized shirt and three headscarves. So less than a tenner each, and recycling at the same time. Plenty of sass, with minimal fast. Win, Win my friends.

Cardiff’s next kilo-sale is on the 15th of December at Carpe Diem. Or you can check out http://www.thekilosale.com for some kilo sales which may closer to you if you don’t live in the land of our fathers. Alternatively, just give google a go and search for your closest sale, you never know what you might find!

#LessFastMoreSass

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WE’VE GOT TO STOP CALLING EACH OTHER SLUTS AND WHORES. Or do we?

WE’VE GOT TO STOP CALLING EACH OTHER SLUTS AND WHORES. Or do we?

Feminist Icon Amber Rose popped off on Instagram last month, calling out the double-standard that she faces from brands who seem to endorse and take influence from her “slutwalk” movement, whilst refusing to acknowledge or book her due to her past life as a stripper. Amber also called out her ex Kanye West and rapper Lil Peep for their recent song “I love it”. Quoting the lyrics, Amber said on Instagram Two men made a song that said ‘you’re such a fucking hoe I love it’ but if I refer to myself as a hoe, take back any derogatory label and turn it into a positive or be confident in my sexuality in anyway mufuckas need 30 showers“. The “30 showers” comment is a direct reference from when Ye’, whilst trying – and failing – to big his current wife Kim Kardashian up in an interview, shared that “It’s very hard for a woman to want to be with someone that’s with Amber Rose… I had to take 30 showers before I got with Kim”. As if 30 showers could solve all of Kanye’s problems. Ambers insta “rant” (is it really a rant if you’re pointing out the obvious?) isn’t just reflective of her own personal experiences, but of the double standard women face in the media and society everyday. As Ye’ and Lil Peep’s song about getting their junk’ seen too hit the Top 3 of the UK charts, this contradictory standard which exists between men and women as sexual beings, or more importantly as the owner of their sexuality, had me thinking back to my uni’ dissertation where I explored a similar topic of gender inequality and if it is ever possible for women to objectify themselves, and take back control of their sexuality.

A protester at the Amber Rose “Slut Walk”

“I love it” isn’t ground breaking in its lyrics (soz Kanye). Rappers have been singing about fuckin’ “ho’s” since before Lil bo Peep was born. But why do we, as women, lap up this plain disrespect? Females being referred to as sluts and whores by men in the music industry has become such blasé practice that by-day we post Instagram quotes about being strong-willed independent women and, as the clock strikes 9pm we’re twerking to lyrics about giving Flo-Rida’s whistle a seeing to and 60 year-old Snoop dogg wanting to fuck us. Every other rap or hip-hop song mentions bonking and bitches’, but it’s the outfits and dance moves of female rappers’ that are being called out for indecency and being ‘trashy’. When women, such as Nicki Minaj and Cardi B sing so brazenly about enjoying sex just like their Male counterparts, they’re labelled as “slutty” and bad role models for young girls. Yet no one is out here throwing down derogatory sexual terms about male entertainers, we all just accept it as the norm. That and their five baby mamma’s. So Why do women get slut-shamed?

This hypocrisy amongst genders and sexuality isn’t limited to the music industry. The term “slag” is one of which I became a victim of very early on in my life. I distinctly remember being 11-years old and in Secondary school, yet to have my first kiss, but being harassed on msn and followed around the corridors by older girls calling me a slag. This word continued to follow me around my whole school life. It was commented below pictures of me on Bebo and I was harassed at school. You’re a slag because my boyfriend of two days nudged you on msn. Alright Hun. Why aren’t you calling your boyfriend a slag too? My sex life, or lack of it, became such an interest of topic to total strangers at such an early age that these phrases of “slag, slut and whore” lost all value to me by the time I was 16. This is probably one of the reasons why people’s judgement of me as a topless model meant so little to me. I know that they hold no value to me as a person. We’re all aware of the typical view, where men are praised for their bedpost accomplishments whilst promiscuous women are frowned upon. If my friends patted me on the back and gave me a hi-five in the pub for being a top shagger, every man within a 50mile radius would instantly strike me down as “not wifey material”. But why does a women’s sex life affect how she’s judged as a person, more than a guys does? And I don’t want to hear the ‘loose’ excuse boys. A vagina does not lose shape any more after 100 penises, than it would after the same penis, 100 times. *EYEROLL TO THE LACK OF BASIC HUMAN BIOLOGY*

It’s not just our fellow peers who are not-so-silently judging our sex lives. Did you know that female ejaculation is banned from porn in the UK? Yep that’s right. Women getting it off has been banned by the British Board Of Film Classification under the “extreme” acts category. Other female strong-hold acts to be banned for being too hardcore and offensive include many typical dominatrix scenes including face-sitting and spanking, along with anything involving menstrual blood. Are you uncomfortable yet? Imagine being a fly on the wall when a group of old dudes came together to decide that seeing a woman orgasm is offensive. Something you haven’t seen before boys? Of course, the main uproar in all of this is that Male ejaculation is still perfectly legal and acceptable. OF COURSE IT FUCKING IS. Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon described the significance of visible male ejaculation and the possible reasons for its god-like status as standard viewing in porn: basically, it is an expression of male dominance. Anything other than your Male cum shot is a fetish, abnormal so to speak, and that includes the female orgasm.

Throw in the double-standard of Lads Mags being banned for their sexual nature whilst Women’s Lifestyle mags include a “Torso Of The Week” feature and I think you get where I’m going with this. For centuries women have been viewed as nothing more than sexual objects, existing thru the male gaze for a man’s pleasure with the aim to reproduce. But somewhere along the line some bad-ass women decided that hey, women are sexy and we enjoy sex too. So what if we are all sluts? Is that really such a bad thing? It doesn’t seem to be for guys. Tina Fey aka Ms Norbury once stated “…you all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores. And she’s right, sorta. Except we as women have no responsibility for how men behave. It’s not our fault that guys call us these names. But what we do need to do is say au revoir to the shaming segment of “slut-shaming”. We need to banish the negative value we give to such phrases when we put those labels on each other and instead claim them as our own as proud sexual beings so that men, and women, can’t use them to hurt and de-value us. Amber Rose’s slut-walk movement holds a lot more power than she is being given credit for. It’s representing women re-claiming their sexuality from a typical patriarchal society and encouraging females to enjoy sex again, without any shame. More Pussy Power to it, I say.

GALS NIGHT: We’re going out, out.

It’s happy hour, yay! This means 50ml of liquid- or shall we say precisely, three sips of what I can only imagine is liquid gold- is now only £6 instead of £12, BARGAIN!

Ordering a cocktail isn’t just a simple action, it’s a process, an event. The girls have been planning this wonder for weeks. We scan over the extravagant menu, pretending like we’re gonna order something totally off-piste. “What you having babe?”, “I dunno, what you having?”, “I dunno, what you gonna have?”, “I dunno babe”. The pressure builds as the fear of fucking up starts to sink in. I can’t afford to make the wrong choice. I’m paying for these cocktails by the hour! It’s a toss up between the trusty pinã colada or something more luxurious, something that involves egg-white and half a herb rack. Nothing is really tickling my fancy. Shame, I’d heard this was the place to be. As are all cocktail bars that garnish their drinks so heavily I can only assume they employ a gardener. The six-page menu of potions and new concoctions- which I’m sure no-one, not even the most alcoholic of your friends, can understand (I mean come on, Demerara? Malic Acid? Celery and Plum shrub? I just want a drink not a bloody prescription) – is cast aside, and the trusted ‘favourites’ list is given the one-over. “I think I’ll just get a mojito babe”. The first battle is over. But there’s a war ahead.

“I’ll go up and get these”, I’ve volunteered as tribute. A task that seemed so small at the initial offering, but as I approach the dimly lit and overly crowded bar I wish I hadn’t been so noble. The next battle is to pick your spot at the bar. Make no mistakes, you have to use your tactics and past experience to make an informed decision: 1) Stay away from the end of the bar- the days of being served first here are over, 2) Aim for Male bar staff- this is the one and only time gender inequality most definitely works in our favour, 3) Don’t que behind a group of girls, they will be as annoying as you and order loads of fancy cocktails followed by a round of shots which will all be captured on snapchat, and Instagram, and Facebook live and 4) most definitely avoid standing by any stag-do’s or Football teams. Sorry boys, but we really don’t want to hear you all chanting about Jimmy’s Mums’ boobs.

Locked in and loaded. My spot is secure. I wait patiently, desperate not to give off the please serve me first vibe, whilst desperately wanting to be served first. The barman asks who’s next and I point to the stranger standing beside me; being an honest customer is going to earn me some brownie points surely? But that hope of justice soon fades away when that girl pushes in from the back and bellows her order over the counter. And of course, she’s ordering enough for a small village. So I wait, and I wait, and I wait a little more. And then finally, after two cat naps, and twelve Instagram uploads later, my time has come.

Three mojitos please”. Such a simple order, I think to myself. He grabs the cocktail mixer and attempts to flip it about. He drops it, naturally. Ahhh, I love wasting time. Each glass is filled individually with ice, a process which has become a strong debate amongst my friends who believe ice dilutes the alcohol. I’ve been standing here long enough to here Craig David, Little Mix and Jason Derulo on a loop at least three times. Why is he stirring a glass of ice? Oh God, Where is he going now? Please just get me a drink. Then, I start to notice all the things around me. So many different types of glasses (Why did I not order whatever comes in that really long glass?). SO many different gins. How am I supposed to know the difference. How does anyone know the difference. Do we really need violet colour gin? I guess it looks fun. Talking about looking fun, is that candy floss in that jar?! Where the fuck do they order that in from? And their snacks, what a random snack selection. Who’s eating wasabi peas at 11pm? Mmm, I wish I could eat those pork scratchings in public. I wonder how many hands have been in that peanuts jar. Is it really true that they pour the leftover nuts back in? Oh Good, he’s coming back. Oh, no. Nope. He’s gone over to the garden. The garden where he’s cutting and he’s primping and he’s picking the perfect plant to accompany my beverage that I most definitely won’t appreciate. My standards start to slip, as does my consciousness. I don’t care about foliage anymore, just give me a damn drink. I wonder how much fun the girls are having without me? What are they talking about? Are they talking about me? I need them to repeat every conversation they’ve had in this last 18 minutes whilst I’ve been away on this service of sacrifice to my fellow women. Oh ffs, Why did we not just order a wine? Men have it sOoOo easy, a bottle of beer takes 0.05 seconds to serve. CAN’T THEY SEE THE HARDSHIPS US WOMEN HAVE TO GO THROUGH JUST TO GET A DRINK OUT HERE.

Oh finally, he’s back. He adds some fruit that I’m most definitely going to snack on later despite it being manhandled by several people, and Voila! Three mojitos. “That’ll be £36 please” What? Sorry I thought cocktails were £6? “Happy hour is over now sorry love”. Oh for fuck sakes. I make my way thru the crowds of stumbling people who seem to have become excessively more drunk in my absence. YAAAAAAY GIIIIIIRLS I’VE GOT THE DRINKSSSSS! My welcome home isn’t met with quite the victory parade as I’d have hoped. “Oh hi! Meet Joe and Dan, they brought us all shots! Sorry we drank yours while we were waiting for you, what took you so long?” Double fuck sake. I sit sipping my iced water, savouring each mouthful which takes me to about eight minutes later. So, what cocktail we having next babes?!”

The Quarter life crisis: I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.

It was approximately 0.36am when, as I surrendered myself underneath the familiar walls of warmth around me, the increasingly present thoughts of dread came crashing down. I lay there in silence, staring out of the 10cm gap I always leave between the blind and the window sill, as if it provides a comfort that I would at least be able to see the monster who was going to eat me in the night. And then it dropped, a single tear. This scene could have been right out of a music video. A really fucking sad one, of course. An Adele original, wailing in terms that no one understands about a love from ten years ago that you should have most definitely forgotten about by now. Except I wasn’t crying about a lost teenage love . I really wasn’t sure why I was crying at all.

Adulthood tends to have this effect on me. This ever engulfing cycle of responsibility and expectations, hopes and dreams, successes and failures, excitement and disappointment. It’s a whirlwind which I face regularly, a wave of eagerness and fear all rolled into one. Sometimes it smacks you in the face like a breath of fresh air, igniting the ambition from underneath you. And other days it collapses on top of you, sinking you further into the hole that has formed at your feet. Today was one of those days. I’m 25 years old, and I am lost. Lost somewhere between kidulthood and adulthood. I am, as Britney Spears so eloquently put it, not a girl, not yet a woman. But I guess I’m not really lost at all. I know exactly where I am, and it’s not where I want to be. But it’s better than where I was five years ago. Ugh, but it’s not where I was last year. I’m just sort of, floating. Floating in this realm of uncertainty, desperate to have everything figured out but doing the absolute minimum to fix it.

As I lay in bed that night with the weight of the world on my shoulders, every thought and every fear ran through my head. My emotions were Mo Farah and my brain was his track. What the fuck am I doing with my life? What the fuck am I not doing with my life? I’ve put on weight, I sigh, as I pinch my belly underneath the covers. Maybe I’ll try one of those detoxes. But all I really want to do is sit in bed with a sharing size bag of bacon flavour crisps and not share them with anyone. Fuck I love food. Why do I love food so much. Everything tastes as good as skinny feels to me. I book myself in for a 10am gym session knowing that there is a good chance that I will cancel it in the morning, and put myself through more feelings of shame and disappointment. When am I going to buy a house? I don’t even want to buy one at the moment, I love the flat I live in, in fact I never want to move. But all my friends are buying houses, so I should too. And I especially want one at 1am in the morning. Will I ever get married? I don’t think I’m overly fussed about marriage. I’m more interested in the day and wearing a nice dress and getting drunk with my friends and a nice man who seems to share this mutual feeling of thinking I’m nice too. Maybe if there was a faint glimmer of a courtship on the horizon then everyone and their dog would stop asking me when I’m going to find a guy to settle down with. Am I not interested in that young postman? Or the Iceland delivery driver? Or any Male under the age of 40 that looks in my direction? I don’t even want a boyfriend. I want to go travelling. And I certainly don’t need a man for that. Uh, except I kind of do. Because “it’s not safe to go there alone as a girl” or as a group of girls for that matter. And anyway, it’s really fucking expensive to travel alone when hotels are double the price. I want a baby. Oh god, not now, definitely not now. But you know, maybe before I’m classed as an older mum and everyone mistakes me for my kids grandma in the playground. That’s what people think of mums over 30, right? And what if I’m barren Darren? What if nothing works down there and I won’t know until it’s too late and I’ve found a nice gentleman who won’t want to stay with me and my bad batch of human eggs. I’m lonely. Where did all my friends go? Well they grew up, duh. They have lives and they have responsibilities and they have boyfriends and they have hobbies and they have new friends. New fucking friends, ha! How do you meet these new friends everyone talks about? Am I ever going to have the career I want? Will I succeed with my huge dreams, or will I have to go back to working in Boots and selling people meal deals or fitting shoes for old ladies in Dorothy Perkins. Things don’t work unless you do, Jessica. Ah, but that would entail getting through the impossible task of getting started to start with. Just one phonecall, just one mood board, or just one fashion sketch feels like the pressure of ten concrete blocks crushing my bones. Then comes the actual blocks, the creative blocks. When grabbing for my phone and scrolling through Instagram for the 100th time today is a better option than sitting down and actually having to think. Tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow things will be different.

Except 95% of the time, tomorrow hasn’t been different. I’m still waiting by my phone for an email, a text, a sign that says THIS IS IT, THINGS ARE HAPPENING. And as things stop changing, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell yourself to stay positive, to keep in a happy frame of mind, that you have got this. Ironically, I would say that I’m an extremely positive person. I read self-help books, I go to yoga, I meditate, I watch motivational documentaries, I write down what I am grateful for and I practice the Law of attraction. But nothing, not even a serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul can stop the quarter life crisis from grabbing you and turning you inside out.

Does this dread ever disappear, I wonder? Maybe when I start ticking off some “firsts” then the doubt and worry will fade away. Maybe when I actually become an adult. A real one. Not one who’s forced themselves to enjoy adult things likes olives and red wine. But an adult you know? I mean, okay technically I am one. If I went missing, the newspaper article would read TWENTY-FIVE YEAR OLD WOMAN. But that’s not the point. I haven’t achieved full adult status yet. Of course, I’ve switched electric providers. That’s pretty adult-y. And I’ve hosted a Christmas dinner party. That’s quite adult-y too. But I’m still not a real adult yet, am I?

I wait longingly, desperate for my transition to be complete; to know it all, to have it all. But then I remember my last minute night out four weeks ago, where “one drink” turned to 10, and “one quick dance” turned to a full blown Destiny’s Child routine. I think back to our girls trip, our decisions on a whim, our 2am drunken chats over pizza and our epic hangovers the next day. I thank god for my lack of responsibilities, for being able to lie in bed watching shit movies eating pesto pasta and not worry about anyone else other than myself. I laugh remembering all the stupid situations I’ve got myself in, and smile because I have no one to answer to for them. Maybe being 25 isn’t so bad after all.

Is it Naked time yet?

Is it Naked time yet?

All I’m writing is just what I feel, that’s all. I just keep it almost naked. And probably the words are so bland.” – Jimmy Hendrix

Pussy Power via LappTheBrand.

So this is it. Time to lay myself bare to the World. Or at least to a couple of stragglers who stumble upon this blog on the Internet- Hey you guys! And I’m not talking bare as in, butt naked, no- that happened along time ago (Chrz google). We’re talking bare in terms of actual words and actual feelings and sharing who I actually am.

Starting a blog is something I’ve wanted to do for years. Not to try make some dollahhh, or promote skin products that make your skin all dewy like those Instagram models (how do they look so perfect all the damn time), and not even to share my plethora of knowledge on any given subject (limited). I just have a lot to say, I guess.

I’ve tried to use social media as a tool to share my views and opinions, my thoughts and the things I love, or don’t. But an Instagram caption rambling on about gender equality and why the freedom of nipples are important underneath an image of me in minimal clothing whilst guys commented emojis along the lines of 😍👅🍆😈 or “stick to getting your tits out”, wasn’t exactly hitting my g-spot when it came to wanting to share how I really felt. Sorry boys.

I’ve loved writing since I was young. I used to write stories in my spare time when I was a kid, piece together crappy poems, and write apology letters to my parents when I knew I’d effed up. I didn’t even mind taking on extra story-writing homework for a boy I fancied in school. UR WELCOME BTW. But then University came along, and writing became a chore, and social media was so easy, that I just sort of, stopped. I’ve wrote a couple articles here and there over the years, but I really started getting back into it last year when I was tasked with writing blog posts for a female-led women’s underwear company. Perfect!- I thought- I can write about women’s issues and fun but important things like tampons and periods and yay, you get the picture. But I had to send all my articles over to be checked and edited, muted and corrected, fuck I hated that. So yeah, that job’s now a distant memory.

So all of this, plus a quarter-life crisis, an impending fear of WTF am I doing with my life and a love for oversharing my opinion- *Does anyone remember that “Hey Andrew, why do you hate poor people?” Meme? Well that’s me after two glasses of Malbec* has led me here today.

By here, I mean sitting in a luke-warm bath typing away on my phone like Rev Run whilst avoiding any given thing I’ve tasked myself to do. Ahhh procrastination, I’m pretty good at that. But we’ll get to that another time. Or will we. I guess you’ll have to wait and see. I’m not promising life-changing content, I’m not even going to promise interesting content. In fact it will probably be more like a bin – or more nicely put – a filing cabinet – for my thoughts, opinions, experiences and anything in between. A place to jibber jabber with myself and share it online in the hopes that someone, somewhere might be feeling or thinking the same thing.

So here goes nothing, Is it Naked time yet?