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Life Bite: Feminist Inequality in my Underwear Drawer!

In the great movement of ’embracing the female body’ I believe we have gone too far.
‘Women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful’. Okay, I accept this premise…to an extent.
Yes, curvy women are beautiful. Yes, no women should feel inadequate for being a size 12/14. Yes, society shouldn’t make a woman feel ugly for being larger.

BUT

A woman who is morbidly obese…200lbs and suffering major health issues as a result. Is this beautiful? No, it is not. And not because it’s ‘unnattractive’ (which is IS, but that’s not my main reason for seeing it as wrong.) But because it’s UNHEALTHY. Eating junk food and stuffing yourself full of fat and unhealthy foods (and if you’re morbidly obese, don’t tell me you eat super healthy and moderately etc., that CANNOT be true) is not healthy, it’s not good and it’s not ‘beautiful. Fine, if you’re ‘happy’ to look and be that way, then go ahead, but don’t you dare tell me I’m being unfair when I say it’s not good. It just isn’t.

The whole love your curves thing (although it doesn’t really apply to me) is great and I think that no woman who is a size 14 should be made to feel unattractve because of those curves, because you can be completely healthy at that size, in fact, a lot of women are. But there is a limit.

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And furthermore, in ’embracing curves’ I feel we are now discriminating against the ‘thin’. Some women have small builds and are naturally very slender. I am a size UK6, but I KNOW I eat healthily and also, a lot! I have chocolate and biscuits every day…like EVERY DAY; dinner is not over until I’ve had some chocolate for pudding. But I also eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Every meal has carbs, I love bread and potatoes and pasta, but I eat MODERATELY and SENSIBLY. It doesn’t make me ‘annorexic’ or ‘unhealthy’ and I shouldn’t be discriminated against for being SMALL. Which I feel I can be.

I often have trouble finding clothes that fit me, as I have narrow hips (especially compared to my body itself…my hips are narrower than my shoulders and narrower than the standard ‘size 6 measurements’ which can be an issue for me. But I never have trouble pulling a size 16 off the rack. They are in abundance and I feel I am being discriminated against (a little, I’m not going to over exaggerate here…) for being smaller.

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Mostly, however, I find it in bras. The rise of the ‘plus size model’ (a term I don’t endorse, but it’s the generally accepted term and suits my needs here) and the embracing of ‘curvier’ girls means we now have bras up to and beyone 40K…which is fine, one of my oldest friends has a ‘G’ cup (which i used to be incredibly jealous of, but she does have back problems as a result, and I’ve learned to embrace my oppisite-end of the spectrum boobs) and she used to have big trouble finding bras. People were forever saying how unfair it was that bigger girls couldn’t buy NICE bra’s that fitted.

I can’t find NICE bras that are small enough. I am a 28A. I haven’t got much, but I still need some support! I can’t go bra-less, there’s enough there to make that a problem, but more and more lingerie specialists now are not making Bras in my size! Often I find a stunning set of lingerie (I had a major issue with this at the Cosmopolitan Lingerie Show), get all excited only to be completely broken hearted when they tell me (yet again) oh, we only start from 32B.

IMG_0294This set from ‘Gossard’ was my pick of the night, I was madly in love with it from the minute I saw it. I would have paid a lot of good money for the set, but guess what? Not in my size…They lost out on good money and a good customer (I’d have bought other things, such as the one piece further up if they’d had my size as well) because they don’t cater to the small. Fools!

In our desperate dash towards equality and embracing the ‘female body in whatever shape or size’ (or so they CLAIM) I think we’ve gone too far. Now there is inequality AGAINST smaller women. I get told I’m too skinny, or ‘figureless’. Fine, I don’t really care what you think, but I know I’m healthy, I know I eat well and I really resent not being able to wear nice clothes and especially lingerie because I’m small!!!

We’ve embraced cruvy women. We love our larger sizes and our curvier figures. They are catered for and accepted and loved. That’s great. I completely respect that and I think it’s wonderful. But, in all this, we’ve created a new inequality and a new discrimination. I can’t find a bra that fits. That isn’t fair. We’ve done the bigger sizes, the movement has been a success. Now can we please have a movement to re-accept the smaller figures please? I want to wear nice lingerie and clothes. Why should I suffer for having little breasts!!?!?!

Beauty Bite: Bumble & Bumble Full Form Mousse

Just a quick morsel about my new favourite hair product!

I have very thick but fine hair, and as a result, getting any kid of long lasting volume is very tricky – the hair is too fine to be able to hold itself up at the roots! (At least, my gorgeous and charming hair guy, Philip, tells me!)

I’ve tried hundreds of shampoos and mousses and treatments to get some volume, but for the most part, although I achieve volume initially, it’s fallen flat again by the end of the day.

So, when I purchased Bumble and Bumble’s Full Form Mousse, I wasn’t expecting any miracles. But oh, what a wonderful surprise!

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I always blow dry with my fingers to ruffle up the hair at the roots and finish up blow-drying upside down (I look a fool I’m sure…) brushing the hair down the wrong way and this does go some way to achieving some volume, but when I added the product, the results were incredible!

The directions instruct you to work the product through damp hair, starting at the roots. It’s a great, thick mousse and you really only need a very small amount, just a palm full for all the hair really. Working though damp hair thoroughly and then blow drying, you are left with lightweight and very volumous hair, and there’s no nasty smell or residue afterwards! Hair is still silky soft and smooth and I don’t find it makes my hair greasy or heavy any quicker than sans-product!

Not only does it have a long lasting all-day effect upon my hair, but it actually lasts for days – I only wash my hair about every three days (When it needs it really, I don’t like to wash too often as it’s not good for the natural oils) and I never need to reapply the mousse, it stays strong and effective between washes!

I did find, however, that if you apply a little (or a lot) too much, you can feel it when hair is dry and it makes your fingers a bit dusty when running them through your hair – I play with my hair ALL THE TIME, and if there’s too much mousse, you can feel it coming off in your fingers and it’s not nice, but if you are sparing with the mousse, it gives the volume and none of the residue!

The smell is great too – not a harsh chemical spray that is reminicent of nasty cheap hairspray or salon treatments, but it’s a subtle, sort of floral scent that’s really gentle and nice!

IMG_0484I would definitely recommend Bumble & Bumble Full Form Mousse to anyone with heavy, flat hair, or even people who are just looking for that added wow-factor from really big hair! It lasts for days and just a quick ruffle with the fingers is enough to renew the volume and height and keep it fresh!

“For the illusion of more hair, layer and build. Boasting an innovative formula that contains shaping polymers to give hair extra definition, whilst keeping the natural sheen and healthy bounce of your locks. K.D.” – Spot on I’d say!

Food Bite: Peanut Butter & Nutella Brownies

Just a quick recipe especially for Selina at The Kitten in Heels who requested I post it!

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So what does everything think of Peanut Butter and Nutella Brownies? It’s a very simple recipe and I’m sure there are already a hundred variations, but it’s something I’ve played around with for years when I’m at my Parents’, as my brother loves them (and so do I, but they’re so decadent I can’t have them ALL the time!!)

Now, they don’t taste of Peanut Butter or Nutella – there is a hint of the nutella and definitely a flavour of the Peanut Butter, but I’ll say it right now that if you want a PEANUT BUTTER brownie that’s like a slab of PB, then this isn’t for you!

What the PB and Nutella does is add a richness and great moisture to the brownies so they’re thick and gooey and indulgent and the Peanut Butter adds a nutty aftertone and crunchy little chunks!

Without further ado:

Ingredients
225g Butter
500g Granulated Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste / 2tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Large Eggs
150g Self Raising Flour (for extra fluffiness! But All-Purpose will do as well)
85g Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
200g (or a small Jar!) Nutella
250g Crunchy Peanut Butter (Or a regular Jar!)

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  • Preheat oven to 175c (1350f)
  • Melt butter, sugar and vanilla over a gentle heat, keeping an eye that it doesn’t burn but slowly melts
  • Seive and combine flour, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl and set aside
  • Once melted, remove butter and sugar from heat and leave to cool a little
  • Put nutella and peanut butter in a pan over a gentle heat to melt and become runny
  • Once sugar and butter is cooler (not too cool – runny, but not hot enough to scramble the eggs) add the eggs one at a time, beating vigourously to combine but DON’T LET THEM SCRAMBLE!
  • Beat in the dry mixture until combined
  • Add Peanut butter and nutella to the mixture and combine thoroughly
  • Pour into a deep baking tray (a traditional tray-bake dish will do, just make sure its deep enough!)
  • Bake in oven for 30 minutes – they’re ready when the top springs back when you press it, but if you stick a cocktail stick into the centre it should come back a little chocolatey – nothing worse than dry brownies!
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes in pan, then carefully remove from dish and leave to cool on wire rack so they stay nice and gooey!
  • Cut up and enjoy.

Now, I’ve iced them before as well, in several different ways:
I love white chocolate, so I’ve melted some good quality White Chocolate (Green & Blacks?) and drizzled it over the cooled brownies with a sprinkling of crushed hazelnuts before.
You could also make a simple milk and icing-sugar icing and spread that over, adding little chocolate chips, sprinles or crushed nuts as you go.
Or you could even be really decadent and make a plain buttercream and just streak through with nutella and Peanut Butter (don’t combine, just fold in so it ripples through the butter cream) and then apply roughly and thickly to the brownies.
All ideas, but I think they’re plenty good plain – rich and soft and chewy and decadent but not too sickly, but if you have a major sweet tooth, try some icing!

IMG_0475Anyway, that’s enough – I know I normally do a rough estimate of calories but really what’s the point? We know they’re naughty, but they’re delicious and everyone deserves to live a little! Pop them in the oven at a low heat for 5 minutes before you eat to have a really gooey and dreamy experience!

Go on, they’re simple, they’re quick, easy and very, very decadent – chewy, rich, gooey chocolate brownies with chunky nuts and a wonderful nutella and Peanut Butter flavour throughout. Try them…they’ll be ready in 50 minutes if you start right now!!!

Life Bite: Make it Happen, Make the Change

Short and sweet message: If you want something, make it happen. If you don’t like something, change it.

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It’s the approach I take to life, and it needs no real explanation and I don’t need to give direction here.

Are you unhappy? Okay, now look at your life…why are you unhappy? Who/what makes you feel bad. Who/What don’t you like. Who/What don’t you need?

Now you’ve identified the root, change it. If you don’t like something then change it. Your job? change it, find a new one, find what you love. You don’t like your partner, well, do I need to tell you what to do there? You have a ‘friend’ or person in your life who makes you unhappy? Say good-bye. You want to do something? Do it.

It’s simple. Mostly.

Okay, I accept that there are things we can’t change and we can’t just up and quit jobs, ditch people, completely change our lives and ourselves at the drop of a hat, but there is always SOMETHING you can do.

Okay, you hate your job, but you can’t just QUIT. Start looking at other options, maybe do some evening classes or go back to school to train in something you really want to do so that EVENTUALLY, you can quit that job you hate and start doing what you love.

This is the model and the method. It may not be easy, it may not always be quick and simple, but there is always something you can do and if something isn’t right in your life, then you CAN and you SHOULD change it.

If you want something bad enough, you will make it happen. Maybe it will take 5 minutes, maybe it will take 5 years, maybe it will even take a lifetime but if you don’t try for it, you’ll never get it. Always strive for what you want and that is how you will be the best you can be.

Life is short, happiness is what the ultimate goal of a life is (I believe). If you can get to the end of your life and say you are happy and have been happy through your life, then I believe that is as good as any other achievement of a lifetime. Happiness is the ultimate goal. So make it happen. You are not powerless, you own yourself and your life. So take control, take charge and own it!

Food Bite: Kinda-Mexican Stew!

Okay, I’m completely at a loss as to what to call this recipe. It has hints of paella, hints of risotto, some elements of Mexican, and a sense of a stew. It’s really just another step in my experiment of “How many meals can I make with the stuff in my cupboard!”

It’s actually based on another recipe I made a while ago, only I used basmati rice that time (Doesn’t really clarify what the dish IS) but as I don’t have basmati but have lots of risotto rice, I decided to use that instead! It worked well, I really like the dish, but it’s meat and spice and tomatoes and Quinoa and rice…what’s not to really like?!

I always cook for one, but being aware a lot of people don’t, I try to alter the recipes to serve 4. Take this with a pinch of salt though as I’m not sure how ‘normal’ my one-person serving size is!

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Ingredients

1 Large Onion (red or white, depending on preference!) Diced.
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
4 Turkey breasts Sliced/400g Diced Turkey Meat (Chicken works equally well!)
2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
3 Peppers (red, yellow, orange…)
160g Quinoa
120g Rice (Any rice really, but this recipe uses Risotto and cooking instructions are tailored accordingly)
100g Sliced Jalapenos (Less or more depending on spice preference!)
Paprika (One again, Hot if you like it spicy, or smoked gives a lovely aroma and depth!)

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To Cook

  • Sweat onion in a pot until softened. Add garlic on low heat and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add Quinoa to pot and add 480ml cold water to pan. Bring to boil.
  • In a separate pan, brown off the turkey pieces until semi cooked.
  • Add Risotto rice to pot and mix. Add a little boiling water if the pot is running dry.
  • Add turkey to the pot.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, peppers and jalapenos to the pot and mix. Season and spice.
  • Contuinue to add about 100ml water every time the rice and Quinoa absorbs it all. Keep it fairly liquid but not swimming in water.
  • Simmer away for 20-30 minutes, adding water as you go.
  • When rice and Quinoa are tender and cooked, and liquid is absorbed take off heat and serve!

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Alright, I will admit I’m not very good at giving recipes, as I’m very much a ‘play it by ear’ kind of cook! I sort of just throw things in and mix stuff up and I never really cook from recipes, I just use my instincts and play around.

Anyway, this makes a lovely spicy, warming stew-come-risotto type dish. I really enjoy it and I hope that anyone who dares to try it out does too! Once again, it’s super healthy, using clean, fresh ingredients and I have it with lots of fresh veggies! I never cook with oil – when sweating or ‘frying’ I use water to ‘lubricate’ and it has never failed me!

By my rough calculations, this should be about 440cals per serving, depending on brands and amounts etc…but there we go, very clean, very fresh, packed with nutrients and anit-oxidants and super low in fat!

Play around with basic ingredients and see what you can do! Once you understand the basics of any ingredient, cooking technique, style or flavour group, you can go any direction you want! This recipe has hints of Mexican, elements of Italian and then a whole bunch of other sources that come into play, but if you know what you like, and you have a basic understanding of cooking, you can do whatever you want!

Enjoy a nice, hearty and warming dish, packed with nutrients and lovely warming spices this Autumn!

Beauty Bite: The Fragrance Fix

There seem to be a couple of different schools of thought and approaches to fragrance.
Some people love to try all different types of fragrance and are always switching up their perfumes and sprays etc.
I prefer to have one fragrance and stick to it. Religiously!

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I have been involved in a love affair with Chanel no.19 since I was 16 (so we’re approaching our 5th anniversary!) and it’s a completely monogomous relationship! It goes on every morning when I get dressed and is topped up throughout the day. Pretty much without fail. (Unless I’m actually not leaving the house AT ALL…my flatmates just don’t care what I smell like!)

This comes from my childhood. For as long as I can remember, my Mum, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, who were all a big part of my life, all had their own ‘signature’ scents. They wore the same perfume all MY life and I associated them with those smells completely. I still think of my Great Grandma when I get a whiff of Chanel no.5 (the classic!) and although my Mum has recently changed her frangrance to Bobbi Brown’s ‘Almost bare’ (which is lovely by the way) I still feel her presence when I smell Eau De Ciel by Annick Goutal!

There’s a big connection between our sense of smell and our memories and experiences throughout life, so I see a lot of sense in having your own personal frangrance. My friends now all say they know when I’ve been round, beause they can smell my perfume where it lingers! And a year or so ago, a freind liked my Chanel 19 so much, she bought some, but she doesn’t use it because people kept saying she smelt like me!

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So, by all means, play with scents and fragrances, I think there are so many stunning scents out there and many that I love the smell of and would happily have as a home fragrance, but for me, I like to have one smell. People know me by it, they associate it with me and it’s also comforting for me. And whats more, because it’s so consistent, all my clothes smell of it now, after years of use, so I have to use less and less!

And I can always stock up in duty free too…

Our sense of smell is intrinsically linked to our emotional memories. A whiff of this or a gust of that smell can trigger a whole sequence of nostalgic memories, so I like to have a fragrance that is totally and utterly me. Chanel no.19 is young, yet timeless and a classic…no doubt I will change it at some point, but for now, it is my scent. People know it, they remember it and they associate it with me. it’s my signature scent and I love it!

Mind Bite: Feminism, Racism and Equality…My Big Issues!

In ‘fighting’ racism and sexism…are we actually perpetuating it?

political Over the course of my studies, I have spent a lot of time dealing with these two issues. Everything can be seen in terms of feminism, racism, equality (capitalism, consumerism,marxism,postmodernism,post colonialism…any ‘ism’ you’d care to mention actually) and to be honest, I’ve kind of had enough.

This is a rather different direction, post-wise than most of my others, but it’s a big part of my life and it’s been pressing on my mind for a while, so I thought I’d get it out there! It’s a rant, but I feel it’s a fairly well constructed rant!

I am female. I am a woman. Of course I want equality and equal standards and rights, but to be completely honest, I’m not a feminist. And most feminists completely piss me off.

I can’t really approach racism in the same way, never really having experienced it myself and not being the ‘typical’ target for it (“Hey, skinny white girl…” in the South East London area is the closest I get and to be honest…I am Skinny (ish) I am white and I am a girl…how could that be offensive anyway?)

My point is this: In our over-sensitised, ‘political-correctness-maddened’ society, I believe we are doing more to perpetuate and breed racism and sexism than we are to remove it. When we cast a black child in the role of Billy Elliot (a white, working class 12 year old son of a coal miner in the 80’s in Durham) is this about equality and fairness or are we just drawing attention to race as being something that differentiates us?

In the utopian world of equality for all, man and woman, black, white or asian would all be exactly the same, enjoy the same rights and no one would even consider their skin/gender in terms of defining them. Of course, this is not, nor will it ever be the case.

Hogwash
We as human beings define ourselves by others. We can have no real sense of ourselves until we have encountered someone outside of ourselves and compared ourselves to them. And being as we make about 90% of our first impressions of a person on their appearance, gender and ethnicity will play a big part in defining both ourselves and others around us. I see no problem with this.

If two white, 20 year old women meet face to face and then you asked them about one another, answers like “she had blonde hair, she was tanned, she had lovely eyes, big lips, curly hair…etc” would not make you blink. And then if you asked them to make a judgement on the kind of person the other was based on only that brief encounter, an answer such as “she obviously takes care of herself, she was pretty, she makes an effort, she seemed very professional, she seemed care-free…etc” would also be acceptable. But this is because they are two white girls. If you mixed the race, suddenly ‘racism’ comes in to play and an answer “she’s black” becomes tricky and any judgement made about ‘the kind of person she seemed to be’ (based on minimal information) suddenly could be seen as ‘racist’.
We are so careful not to appear racist, that I believe we are actually being racist. If racism is judging and potentially discriminating against or having a certain opinion of a person based on their skin colour, then surely when we say “We have to have at least one black back-up dancer in this music video….we need a black presenter on the news etc” we are actually just being racist and perpetuating it. What if the white condidates are simply better? What if there is no genuinely suitable black substitute and WHITE people lose out in the name of ‘equality’? Is this not just judging someone for their skin colour just in another way?

I have plenty of ‘black’ friends, and one of best best childhood friends was Indian…but I never defined them by these terms. And if you asked me to point out my friend I would happily say “the black girl over there” and it’s not racist…it’s fact!

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The same goes for feminism and sexism. By constantly drawing attention to it, I believe we make it happen and cause it to continue. Any anyway, whats wrong with a few stereotypes?

I like shopping. Okay, I LOVE shopping.
I like make up, and hair and clothes and beauty and fashion and all ‘feminine’ things. So what? If people want to make a judgement about me based on that information, then they are entitled to. I don’t care, and if they want to treat me a certain way as a result, and I don’t appreciate their views and behaviours, then I don’t need them in my lives, I can move on and it doesn’t matter.

Stop being so sensitive. Everyone judges others based on appearances, stereotypes and initial snap judgements and impressions. It’s HUMAN NATURE! As animals, we had to judge if another animal was threat or not based on their APPEARANCE and our own EXPERIENCE AND INSTINCTS :
How did we know that the striped animal approaching was dangerous? A) Its sripey…but ORANGE and stripey, so its a tiger (not a zebra for example) B) We’ve seen people get eaten by tigers, so we know they’re dangerous C) It’s growling and has big teeth…stereotype suggests it’s dangerous so RUN!

The only information we have comes from our own past experiences, cultural stereotypes and what we see in front of our eyes. So of course we will judge someone based on those three elements. That doesn’t make it wrong, and we can always change our opinions…I don’t think anyone can say that the first impresssion they had of any given person didn’t change one bit upon getting to know them. Maybe we’ll be pretty accurate, maybe we’ll be completely wrong, but we can change our minds, develop our opinions and have new views. First impressions matter, but they are not the be all and end all and sometimes we need those first impressions just to go about or lives. Get over it.

nigellaAnd seriously, what’s with all the hate for Nigella becuse she’s ‘anti-feminist’, realistically, I don’t believe a female, ANY female, could possibly be anti-feminist! If she wants to claim power over he body and be all sexualised and such on her show, then let her. How is it anti-feminist? I love Nigella…

I appreciate that Racism and Feminism are issues which do need to be addressed. There are horrible acts of race-violence and murder and terrorism and some places, Women are treated horribly, but I am talking in terms of this, our Western world (UK, but USA too and other ‘forward-thinking’ countries) and the society here. I’m not saying these aren’t issues, I’m saying that we often make them much more than they are/could be/need to be, or just create them when they weren’t there in the first place.

Stop fussing about being ‘politically correct’ and ‘equality’ and ‘equal rights’. We are all people, we are all different, we all do it anyway, maybe we just don’t say it and maybe its on a more subconscious level but we do it. Deal with it and don’t let it define you or your actions and all will be well.

And anyway, I’m a girl and I want equal rights, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t nice when a man hold the door open for me based on his internal first judgements of me. In fact, I quite like it!!