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

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Checking in with Navabi*

Could there be a more perfect spot to photograph a checked dress than in front of a lovely field of sheep? You can never go wrong with a plaid or tartan print, especially not in autumn. It makes me thinks of Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam and grunge loving men with long hair, all things I'm rather fond of!

Leggings - ASOS
Boots - Dr Martens
Faux leather jacket - very old Matalan
Sunglasses - old Quay Australia

100% cotton isn't something you hear a lot in plus sizes, but it is something you can get yours hand on at Navabi. When you're used to polyester and mixed fabrics, 100% cotton feels like an utter delight to wear. It's so soft and comfortable. True luxury is something you can actually buy your plus size body at Navabi and I'm forever grateful they exist.

All the rings you can see in this photo are of course from my faves, Bloody Mary Metal. I can never resist sterling silver! The buttons on the dress feel really sturdy and solid, always reassuring with a shirt dress. It doesn't gape on my bust at all, and I got the dress in my usual size.

It's wonderful and warm too. Good and cosy for the colder weather. The sleeves are just about long enough for my long arms, but I'm not a big fan of cuffs so I undid them and rolled them up instead. It hits me at just below knee level, I'm 5ft 11 so on someone of more average height it would be more of a midi length than it is on me.

My boots are one of my favourite pairs of shoes. They are part of the vegan Dr Martens range, and are Jadon II in cherry red cambridge brush. They have a chunky platform which does weigh a fair bit, so it's one to keep in mind if you plan on wearing them all day. I like them for a bit of extra height at gigs! I wish Dr Martens would expand their vegan line, especially in the size 9+ range. The women's range is up to a size 9 only and gets all the best colours, I just want a pair of size 10 vegan boots in purple!

If you want to get your mitts on this dress, or anything else from Navabi, you can use the code KITTY15 for a discount! It's not an affiliate code or anything like that, but it will get you pennies off your purchase. Yay!

Navabi are a company who I cannot adore enough. They do so so much for the plus size community and constantly fight for real inclusiveness, and real change in the industry. They are the change they want to see, and that's so amazing to see.

Much love,

*denotes an item gifted to me. I was under no obligation to review or post it, but I wanted to!

Friday, 5 October 2018

My Favourite Horror Films

It's spooky season, so it seems a perfect time to share some of my all time favourite horror films. I love nothing more than curling up and scaring myself silly on a dark October evening. Here are some of my recommendations for this Halloween!

1) Creep and Creep 2

The Creep series is found footage horror at it's absolute finest. Creep follows Aaron, a videographer who answers an advert created by Josef, and the events that follow. Directed by Patrick Brice who stars as Aaron, and written by both Brice and Mark Duplass who also plays Josef, it's a small cast independent film and it is utterly brilliant. In my opinion these are some of the best modern horror fims in years, genuinely unsettling. If you like found footage, go check out this series, Creep 3 is coming soon!

2) Shaun of the Dead

This rom-com-zom is a Brit classic for a reason, it's hilarious, heartbreaking and horrible, all rolled into one. I have re-watched this dozens of times and it is funny every single time. If you've not seen it, get it watched.

3) Hellraiser

Pinhead is a truly iconic horror villain, one of my absolute favourites. His eloquence is what makes him so utterly horrifying, he is softly spoken and uses this for optimal creepiness. One day I will own the lament configuration box set of this series!

4) Nightmare on Elm Street

'One, two, Freddy's coming for you...'. I know some people think the whole series is campy and cheesy but the original wasn't! It descended into cheese as the series went on but it just makes me enjoy it even more. I do have the box set for these and have refused to ever see the remake. Robert Englund is Freddy Krueger, now and forever.

5) Candyman

I'm sure every school has it's own version of the Candyman myth. A name you say in the mirror 5 times, or a poem about an evil being that summons the darkness. At my primary school it was 'white lady, white lady, I've stolen your baby', and rumour had it a lady clad all in white would appear to take you away. At my second primary school it was a lady in grey, haunting the bathrooms. For the resident of Cabrini-Green, it is the utterance of 'Candyman' 5 times that summons him. I've seen Candyman described as the precursor to 'Get Out', and also called out for perpetuating racism. It features a white female narrator who veers into white saviour terrority, and a black villain created by the brutality of white men. It's problematic in it's casting of a black villain hunting the white protagonist, but peeling back the layers it is so much more complicated than that. The societal issues it discusses are sadly still so relevant to modern times, that despite being over 20 years old, you could easily transport this film to the present day.

6) Alien

Sci-fi horror as it's absolute finest, with a bad ass female lead to boot. Sigourney Weaver's Ripley was a hero of mine as a teenager. Seeing a strong female lead who didn't have to be overly feminine, or conform to female stereotypes was so empowering. She was andrognous, she didn't need a man to save her, and the alien itself is Freudian, whilst also tied in with the horror of female reproduction. I consider Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3 all well worth the watch. Yes, even Alien 3! I haven't seen Resurrection but I'm sure I'll give it a go at some point.

7) Cube

My absolute all time favourite horror film and I initially published this blog post without including it! It's genuinely creepy and stayed with me so long after I saw it. I first had it on VHS after pinching it from my Uncle and now have it on DVD. It's aesthetics are beautiful and I love that there are so many unanswered questions. Watch it!!

What are your favourite horror films to rewatch at Halloween? Please share, I'd love to watch some new films!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Caring For The Skin You're In #OneTwoFreeYourSkin

For as long as I can remember, I have felt at war with my skin. I have had eczema since I was a child, and I have spent years trying to cure myself of it to no avail. I remember taking baths in oat meal, using creams that dyed my skin yellow, the constant itch, being swathed in wet bandages, with dry ones over the top to soothe me, and even sleeping in cotton gloves that my Mum would tape to me so I couldn't claw my skin in my sleep. I remember clinging to what the doctors told me, that most people grow out of eczema in their teenage years, hoping so badly that I would be one of those people.

Thankfully these days my eczema is under a lot more control, but it has never gone away. I always have at least a patch somewhere on my body that needs attention. The places I tend to have it now are the tops of my feet, my scalp, and the backs of my knees. My feet are the really problematic area, and also the hardest to treat.

I moisturise any problem areas twice a day, I take extra care to make sure my tattoos are thoroughly moisturised as I don't want any damage to that caused by my eczema. Whenever possible I allow my skin to breathe; this means wearing sandals and having bare legs. Fabric can irritate my skin, and feet get warm in shoes, so whenever I can, I let them be free! Eczema on feet in particular is prone to infection, simply because of the area it is on. I've had more infections in the eczema on my feet that I care to count, so letting the skin breathe is key.

I also try to be aware of my desire to scratch my skin. Of course sometimes I absentmindedly itch, and occasionally I will admit that I just can't control myself and I have to scratch, but I really try my best not to. I keep my nails tidy, and if my skin is worse, I keep my nails short too. It sounds bizarre, but I'm prone to itching my feet with my toe nails in my sleep, so keeping toe nails short and tidy is key too, or else I can wake up with incredibly raw skin that I've scratched till it bled.

I also avoid tights, wool, and other fabrics that might be itchy, avoid socks as much as possible, and always remove my shoes and socks when I get home. For my feet, the other thing that also really exacerbates my condition is heating in cars, so I never use the foot warming aspect of the heating. My husband has the same problem in the winter too, so as tempting as toasty feet are, it's one to avoid for us.

For my scalp, I never really found any products worked for both my scalp and my hair. Anything that helped clear my scalp destroyed the condition of my hair, and anything that was fine for me hair, didn't improve my scalp or made it worse. That is until I discovered the Curly Girl Method. A few people online mentioned it helping their scalp condition and I didn't really expect much difference, but to my surprise, it not only improved my scalp, but my eczema has completely gone from my scalp, as has any residual dry skin I usually experienced in 'better' skin days. I think it's a combination of the scalp cleansing, and ensuring I use products that don't contain any sulphates, parabens and drying alcohols. Since I stopped using shampoo my scalp has been free and clear and so much happier! Even if you don't have curly hair, if you do have issues with your scalp, I recommend giving the method a go to see if it helps you.

I always get flares up in times of stress, but I know these will always come in peaks and troughs, so I try not to worry about them too much, and just keep an extra close eye on those areas that are prone to infections.

These days I know my skin isn't magically going to get better, but I do know that I can control it and make my life a lot more comfortable than it was as a child. No more cotton gloves and swathes of bandages, instead just regular care and attention, and trying not to bloody itch!

Much love,
Kitty xxx

This blog post is an entry into an Epaderm competition.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Sometimes it's all about the little things

I have anxiety. I've had it for years, and thanks to CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) it's mostly under control and doesn't impact too much upon my life. However when life gets stressful or sad, my anxiety tends to rear it's ugly head, and right now, it's affecting me.

I recently tried to attend a local festival and lasted about 10 minutes before I had to leave. The crowd and the noise was overwhelming for me, and rather than try to fight through it, the best thing for me to do was remove myself from the situation. I went home to my dog and my cats, put on some movies and my Momma came to visit me. I felt a lot better for being out of the situation causing my anxiety. I've been going out less lately, and finding comfort in familiar places and people.

One of the things CBT aims to help you with is how to assess what is making you feel anxious, why it is making you feel anxious, and to identify the reality of the situation. So usually for me this means looking at the large crowd or new location, trying to understand why it is making me anxious, and then to push myself to see why that isn't actually an issue. It breaks down a larger issue into smaller ones to make them more manageable small parts, so I can break the cycle of my anxiety.

I'm normally pretty good at this, but when I am struggling more than usual, like I am right now, the other thing I do is focus on the little things. I look at the little things in my life that comfort me, that make me happy. I keep an eye out for rainbows, I listen to my cat's purring, I take the dog for a gentle walk, I play Pokemon Go, I window shop, I curl up with my husband and watch a TV show we love. The little things help take my focus off what is getting to me so I can enjoy life. 

Frivolous little things are sometimes just what you need. It's OK to not be OK and just need time away, or time spent doing things others might consider to be a waste of time. Sometimes those are the things that get you through when times are harder. It's OK to slow life down and just do the little things that make you smile. I know that my anxiety is something I can manage because of my previous time with a therapist and with CBT (which I highly recommend), so right now while I am struggling and needing comfort, the little things are what get me through.

Much love,
Kitty xx

ps. That beautiful double rainbow appeared the week after my Grandfather's death, and seeing it felt like a little sign from the universe to look for beauty around me. The cute kitty is our little old lady Patches, who is somewhere between 14 and 18 and is a real cuddle bug who loves to ask for kisses on her forehead.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

'You Have The Right To Remain Fat' by Virgie Tovar Review*

Do you know who Virgie Tovar is? You should! If you want to learn about real body positivity, and fat positivity, she's a true shining star to turn to. Tovar is an author, an activist, and all around badass. She edited 'Hot & Heavy : Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion', was a plus size editor for Buzzfeed, and founded Babecamp. Babecamp is a 4 week online course to 'Lose hate, not weight', and is designed to help you break up with diet culture. Tovar is someone I am so grateful I discovered when I first realised there was a whole plus size community online that felt they deserved better and deserved to take up space. She has been liberating and life changing for so many people, so when I heard she was publishing a non-fiction book, 'You Have the Right to Remain Fat', I could not wait to get my hands on it.

From the very first page, this book feels radical. 'A call for the death of fatphobia' shouts from the inner sleeve (which by the way doubles as a handy bookmark, it's the little things), and Tovar continues to smash through fat politics, demanding change, whilst also managing to be warm and endearing. She talks of teenage years and a young adulthood that are all too familiar to those of us that are fat, punishing ourselves for not achieving the impossible. I have to give a particular shout out to the chapter 'Internalised Inferiority and Sexism' which really got to me, addressing the ways women and femmes are diminished that they don't even realise.

This book may be small in stature, but it is mighty and powerful, the book you didn't know you needed but that will change your life.

If you are just beginning your journey to self acceptance, I cannot recommend it enough. You'll read things that you never thought you'd see someone dare to put into words, things you thought but never uttered. There are so many stories I recognise myself in, and I'm sure most women and femmes, fat or not, would see themselves in them too. Truths leap out from every page and shake you into realisations you didn't think you were allowed to have.

Tover manages to write a book that is both an essay that is educational but accessible, whilst also revealing societal truths through tales that will be oh so familiar. You'll see yourself, and how to break free.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

*book was gifted to me for review purposes. In no way does this impact upon my opinions which are entirely my own.