Thursday, 3 January 2019

What I Learnt In 2018

Usually at this time of year I post a blog reflecting on how wonderful my year has been, how lucky I am, and I try to focus on all the good things. This year it all seems a little harder. and my usual reflection doesn't seem appropriate. Instead I thought I'd share some of the things I learnt in 2018.

Good mental health is a constant work in progress. After a few good years I thought I was done with any real issues with my anxiety, but this year it hit me like a truck and I found myself having panic attacks again and needing to figure out the best way to look after myself. I've gone teetotal again because I know that alcohol doesn't help my anxiety, and I've cut down on the places I've been going while I get myself more comfortable with the familiar. I'll tackle the trickier stuff further along the road. I felt like I'd really let myself down slipping backwards like I did, but anxiety isn't something that just goes away. It's not disappointing anyone by falling back down, so long as you keep trying to get back up.

 Appreciate the family you are lucky enough to have in your life. Make sure those that you love know you love them and make time for them. I was blessed enough to make it to 30 with all of my grandparents, and have them all at our wedding. I'm forever grateful for this and I feel proud to know that my grandad (who we affectionately called G) knew how special he was to me before he suddenly passed away, and that the last time I saw him I gave him a hug and told him I loved him. He was a huge part of our wedding day, speaking in the ceremony, and I have so many fond memories I can look back on. If you have family that you love and are important to you, make time for them, travel for them, be there for their important moments. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Sometimes a sorry is all you need. People stop talking or fall out for all sorts of reasons, and some things aren't forgivable. But sometimes, it's better to just let things go and accept a simply 'sorry' when you know the other person means it. This year relationships were mended by simple gestures, no big talks, no dramatic conversations, just a simple acknowledgement and a realisation that saying sorry is hard, and accepting it can be truly worth it.

At the same time, sometimes it's time to accept that a relationship isn't worth the work and end it. When someone's company brings you down, and their idea of friendship seems one sided, it's time to call it a day. If you're the only one who ever reaches out, see what happens when you stop. When their 'banter' becomes more like bullying and it's gone from playful teasing to just them being rude, it's time to stop. If the thought of spending time with someone seems like hard work, that friendship might need a break. People grow apart and change, and sometimes the friendship that was so important a few years ago feels painful. When someone spends their time talking about you to others, or seems to think they are more important than you, it might be time to readdress. I've drifted from people who talk over me, or who make every situation about them. I'm done with people who ask about your issues then state that they've been through the same and their problem was totally worse than yours. To quote my husband, for some people if you've been to Tenerife, they've been to Elevenerife, and it's boring!

I think the biggest thing I learnt this year is that life can be really hard. And that the things in life that are truly worth it are worth fighting for. Life doesn't always work out how you think it will, but that the bad is worth battling through. Changes you could never imagine might happen, but life finds a way. 2018 was harder than I ever imagined, but we got through it and we're stronger than ever. In the darkness there is always light, you just have to search for it.

Here's to a better 2019.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Monday, 24 December 2018

You Are Not Alone

In my last post before Christmas, as I did last year, I want to share information to help those of us who might be struggling, or feeling alone this Christmas. Please remember, you are not alone, please reach out to someone, anyone, if you are alone or concerned.

NHS Emergencies



Tel No   0300 123 3393

Tel No      116 123 

Alcoholics Anonymous

Tel No     0800 9177650 

Narcotics Anonymous

0845 999 1212


Info line 08000 50 20 20 

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

Tel No    0207 837 7324


Tel No     0300 304 7000

Papyrus, Prevention of young suicide


National self-help body for the Transgender community
Beaumont Society

Information Line 01582 412220


Phone: 0800 1111 for Childline 24 hour helpline
0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child 24 hour helpline
Depression Alliance


Tel No     0808 2000 247

Beating eating disorders.

Help Line 0345 634 1414
Youth Line 0345 634 7650


Tel No    0808 800 4444

NHS Direct


No Panic

Tel No  0844 967 4848
Youth Helpline     01753 840393

Rape Crisis

0808 802 9999

OCD Action

0845 390 6232


0845 120 3778

Anixety UK

08444 775 774

LGBT Foundation

0345 3 30 30 30

Age UK

0800 169 2081

If you can think of any other numbers you think should be added please let me know.

Remember, you are not alone, and there is always hope.

Much love,

Original list compiled by Big Fashionista. I removed the number for the Samaritans due to their treatment of the LGBT community, and added others.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

For the Love of Dumplin'

When I heard that Dolly Parton was providing the soundtrack to a film called Dumplin' about a young plus size girl entering a beauty pageant I was both filled with excitement (because I absolutely ADORE Dolly), and absolutely terrified, because I feared that this would be the same sort of fatphobic trash as Insatiable. I was even more excited when I saw Ginger Minj join the cast, she's one of my absolute Drag Race faves. I crossed my fingers and I hoped for a movie I could love.

What I got was a feel good movie that made me cry several times! We're introduced to Willowdean, a plus size high school student whose Mom is a home town famous pageant Queen. Willowdean is dealing with the loss of her beloved Aunt, a woman who taught her to always be herself. In her Aunt's memory, Will decides to sign up to her Mom's pageant in protest, and prove that all bodies are good bodies.

Will isn't the only one who joins the pageant to protest, another plus size student Millie who has always wanted to be in a pageant enters, Will's best friend Ellen (the only problematic character I had an issue with!), and Hannah, who enters the pageant as a fight back against the patriarchy. Hannah is played by Bex Taylor-Klaus who is non-binary, it's amazing seeing an LGBTQ* character played by an LGBTQ* actor. Plus I'm a huge fan of Bex Taylor-Klaus after I saw them in the Scream tv series, what a babe! Ellen is the only character I had any real issue with, with the utterance of the line 'For the record, I never saw you as fat', when she and Will had an argument. It's typical of the sort of platitudes thin people offer fat people to try and make them feel better. There's no avoiding that we are fat, we know you know we are fat,so don't try to butter us up with platitudes. It's not something we need to hear, we know it's a lie, and it's something you only say to pretend you're a good ally.

There are drag queens, divas, and the Dolly Parton soundtrack of my dreams! There's even romance for Willowdean, and for once, the fat character doesn't have to change their appearance to find love. She finds it exactly the way she is, she just has to learn that she can love herself, and that she can believe others will love her fat body too. It's a story so many of us who are fat need to learn, and it's a story so many of us will see ourselves in in one way or another.

It's not a film that's about to win any Oscars, but it is finally a film with a plus size lead that is a feel good delight of self love. I laughed, and I cried, and I ended the film with a smile. And I will absolutely watch it again, and search out the book it's based on.

I've seen negative reviews of Dumplin', and most of them seem to come from thin men. Well this isn't a film for thin men. This is a film for every plus size babe who had to learn to love themselves growing up. This is a film for every fat teenager who doesn't believe they are worthy or deserving of love. This was a film for a gal like me.

Much love,
Kitty xxx

Monday, 3 December 2018

Cashback This Christmas

If like me you do most of your Christmas shopping online, a good cashback website is absolutely essential. While I'd love to support my local shops sadly Grimsby's high street these days is mostly pound shops and bargain stores, and therefore not the most suitable for gifts. This year thanks to Georgina Grogan I discovered a new cashback website that is really helping me get some money back!

I've been using Topcashback since I started Christmas shopping and already have nearly £100 in cashback waiting for me! I've been amazed at some of the cashback rates and offers they've had, I've saved money on orders I was making anyway thanks to discount codes they've had, and also received a percentage of each order back, up to a whopping 20% at times!

I haven't withdrawn any of my cleared funds yet, because I'm aiming to resist till well into the new year, then treat myself (and maybe my husband) with the cashback. Most major retailers on the site, I've bought from ASOS, notonthehighstreet, The Fragrance Shop, Cadbury and more with no issues. Even Just Eat and Dominos are on the site, so get cashback on your takeaways too! They often do offers where if you activate a link they email you and place an order within a certain time frame, they give you an extra few quid back too, even if your order is only 99p. Now I'm in the habit of doing my shopping through Topcashback it's easy.

If you join by my link below I get a little something for getting you to join, so please consider it!

I've been really impressed with it so far, the percentages seem higher than other sites I've used for cashback before, and every order has tracked no problem (which I definitely can't say for the one I used to use!). This isn't a sponsored post or anything like that, I'm just really happy with the site and wanted to share! I've got my Auntie using it, and one of my colleagues, and both already have over £50 cashback just from shopping they were going to do anyway for Christmas, so it's well worth the effort.

Much love,
Kitty xxx

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Christmas Decorations Haul

Yep, my first Christmas themed post. I can't resist! Every year I cannot help myself but buy a few new baubles for my Christmas tree, much to my husband's chagrin. The tackier and more ridiculous the better, I need them.

Asda is always my first stop because they always have unusual baubles and so far I've picked up 3 from them. (Sorry Stu, yes, I did say so far).

I mean flamingos are incredibly Christmassy right?

Who doesn't want a glittery dinosaur?!

Our tree has a whole bunch of different stag themed baubles, so this iridescent stag had to come home with me.

I also recently went to Cheltenham to visit my parents, and with that trip means the opportunity to shop at Tiger, which we don't have locally. I went a little overboard because I visited the shop twice and came away with a fair few...

Tiger had a few different parrot and tropical bird baubles but I narrowed it down to just this one.

Probably one of my favourites, this sting ray is just so damn cute!!

Obviously a Christmas hot dog.

This turtle made me think of Terry Pratchet lore, but instead of carrying the earth on his back, this turtle is carrying out Christmas presents.

I mean... pineapples are extra Christmassy when they are pink,

.... I have no reasonable explanation for why I needed a cheerleader alligator, other than to say that I just needed it.

And finally, I got this one because my Mum convinced me to, an adorable little dachshund angel.

Do you buy new Christmas decorations every year or is it just me that can't help it, like some sort of Christmas magpie?

Much love,
Kitty xxx

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Taffy Mail October Box*

When the lovely folks at Taffy Mail offered to send me their October box to review I couldn't resist! Taffy Mail is a monthly subscription for American sweets and treats, with prices starting at £7.49 a month. It can contain sweets, crisps, pretzels, a soft drink, and depending the box it can also include 'premium' items including more expensive treats like larger boxes of oeros, or even American cereal! It's such a fun idea and would make a great gift for someone for something totally different. With Christmas coming I'll be keeping this in mind for sure. I was sent the 'Extra' box which contains up to 20 items and at least one soda and gathered some of my favourites up to try them out with me.

Let's start with the savoury goodies. Andy Capp's Hot Fries, TGI Friday's Loaded Potato chips and Herr's Deep Dish Pizza flavored cheese curls. The deep dish pizza curls went down an absolute storm, they really tasted strongly of pizza, with very obvious cheese, garlic and paprika flavours, on a wotsit-type texture crisp. My husband said the hot fries were incredibly spicy (I'm a spice wimp so I fed them to him) and we're saving the potato skins for the weekend.

The mallo cup was a particular stand out for me. It was like a peanut butter cup filled with marshmallow fluff, and vegetarian to boot! So delicious. The laffy taffy have corny jokes on them and were a favourite for one of my faves who tried them. The burger wasn't veggie so I gave it to a friend to try who said it was amazing and tasted of cherry and lime and all fruity yummy flavours.

Why on earth do we not have spooky shaped treats like the twix and snickers in the UK?! Spooky shape chocolate needs to be a thing please. The Air Heads bar was a really chewy grape flavoured bar that was probably one of our least favourites. The Blow Pop was a super sour apple flavour, tangy!

Candy corn is one of those things that fascinate me because America seems to love them but they are completely non-existent in the UK, so I was excited to try them. Because the bag was so big, I took these to the pub and fed them to a bunch of our friends to see what everyone thought. They were not at all what I expected! Sort of a very sugary fudge, a pleasant surprise, nearly everyone enjoyed them. The Skor bar was delicious, really crunchy and tasty toffee. The Boogers weren't veggie but everyone who wasn't veggie enjoyed them.

Peeps are another treat I've heard of because of American TV, but was unable to try myself because they aren't vegetarian unfortunately. No one I fed them to was particularly a fan unfortunately but it was fun to watch people try them! The Sour Patch Kids tricksters however were veggie which is unusual for a jelly type sweet so I had to try them. They are my husband's absolute faves and he was so excited to eat them. We weren't a fan of the M&Ms but a friend thought they were absolute delicious and wolfed them down!

And lastly, the soda. I've heard of Pibb but never tried it, and I was intrigued to give it a go. American soda can be so unlike anything we have in the UK. It almost tasted like a spicy slightly flat Dr Pepper!

It was honestly so much fun trying all these different sweets and treats, I would totally buy this again!

Much love,
Kitty xxx

*while I was gifted these items in no way does this affect my opinions which are entirely my own.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Punky Pins Seconds Haul

Every year Punky Pins do a massive warehouse seconds sale, and every year I leap on it and order a bunch of cuteness! I love what they do, they make a gorgeous mix of enamel pins, iron on patches and even some jewellery, but I am all about their namesake, the pins. As soon as they announce their seconds sale you have to be quick, stuff sells out quick! Here's what I managed to bag.

Anything spooky and cute is right up my street, so I had to get this double eyed kitty. The warehouse sale is mostly 'seconds', so pins Punky Pins don't consider up to scratch to sell full price, but they are often really hard to tell why it's a second. For example this kitty pin has a tiny mark in the white of the lower left eye and that's it!

I'm know for my love of succulents, they are all over our house, I had them in my wedding bouquet, and I have them tattooed on me! So I had to grab this one.

I couldn't resist this cute mermaid inspired pin. The purple glitter is so lovely, such attention to detail.

This little pretzel snake was too adorable to resist! I love the hot pink background contrasted with the black.

How could I not want a pin telling inspired by Cry Baby?

Moths are another thing I can never get enough of.  This is a pin I've had my eye on for a while so I could not resist when I saw it in the sale!

Unfortunately some of the pins I ordered in the sale were sold out by the time I checked out. Punky Pins kindly refunded my money for those and sent this little cutie as a 'sorry' gift.

Now, for my three absolute favourites that I got my mitts on...

I had to have this! A mix of horror movies and pastel is perfect for me, it's my fave genre!

I picked this one up because it kind of reminded me of the South Park episode 'Woodland Critters Christmas'. A little satanic deer!

And my absolute fave, this little bunny in the iconic Scream Ghostface mask was the first thing in my basket. I love it so much!! Spooky cute is everything.

Can you even tells what makes some of these seconds? Because I really struggled! Which is your fave?

Much love,
Kitty xxxx