Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Stu is Shaving his Head for Charity!

It's been a while hasn't it? I'm not sure quite where my blog is or isn't going at the moment, but I wanted to share something that is happening on Saturday. My husband Stu is shaving his head for the charity Mummy's Star in memory of his late cousin Alys. Stu has had long hair for the last 13 years, I've never seen anything but photos of him with short hair, and this Saturday, the whole lot is coming off! I've chucked some photos in this post to show off his mane so you can see why it's a big deal for him.

Mummy's Star are an incredible charity. To quote their website, 'Mummy's Star is the only charity in the UK and Ireland dedicated to supporting pregnancy through cancer and beyond. Your donation means that women diagnosed with any cancer during pregnancy or within a year of a birth are able to reach Mummy's Star and the specialised support they offer. They help families to meet others in a similar position, offer small grants to relieve some financial burden, give support to partners and the wider family, promote awareness and support research. 

We aim to be in a position where any woman presenting with cancer during pregnancy/post birth at any hospital nationally is referred to Mummy’s Star and accesses the support we offer.'

Why Mummy's Star? I've taken Stu's words from his fundraising page to explain why - 

'Alys was born at ROUGHLY the same time that I was adopted.  Her, and her 2 brothers Dan and Craig were my 1st, and my longest standing friends as well as part of a very close family. We spent most school holidays together, as well as frequent weekends at our grandparents house.  As we grew older real life intervened, however the annual family reunions always gave us a chance to reconnect, and Alys was always completely instrumental in the organising of these.  Her 20+ person xmas dinners (prepared with the help of my sister Ella) will go down as the stuff of legends.

To say Alys was inspiration would be a gross understatement. Through every step of this vile illness she blogged in a way which gave not only fellow patients, but as as family and friends so much insight, laughs, tears, and comfort with all she was going through. She kept the bravest of faces on for so much of the time, not just for herself, but for those around her, and fought with everything she had.

She left behind not just us, but a husband and her son Teddo, who is SO like her it is unreal. Every time you look at that little man she just shines out of him, both in appearance, and the cheekiest grin you probably ever saw... he definitely got that from her.

The support they all received from this amazing charity has made a horrible time just a little bit better for them, and at the end of the day, it's things like that that make a difference. We all miss that girl every single day, and if through this, I can give a little back, I like to think she'd approve. I broke £1400 when I shaved my beard a few years ago so have set a minimum target of £1500 for this. I'm not in any particular rush to get it done so ultimately it's down to all you lovely people how quickly it happens. We Love you Al xx'

If you'd like to donate, this is Stu's fundraiser https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuart-morris36

If you'd like to read Aly's incredible (and I warn you, absolutely heartbreaking) blog, I highly recommend having your tissues at the ready https://bestalys.com/. Alys's last post was May 6th 2019, and sadly, she left this world on 1st June 2019, at the age of 41.

Much love,
Kitty xxx

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Review : Snag Tights

You know when you see people raving over something and you think it can't possibly be that good, so you avoid it for fear of being disappointed? This has been me with Snag Tights. Every blogger adores them. I've seen my Facebook friends gushing about them. But they can't be that good because they just can't be. When they released a pair of Halloween tights I decided now was finally the time to order a few pairs and give them a go for myself.

I ordered the 'Candy Skulls' design, as well as pair in plain black and 'Colonel Mustard', all in 80 denier. The 'Candy Skulls' design was £9.99, and the non-limited edition pairs were £6.99. The more pairs you order the more discount you get, starting at 3 pairs, so I got 10% off my order.

Snag Tights sizing doesn't work just by dress size. It has two different sections, Athletic and Curvilicious. I fall into the Curvilicious range obviously and I'm 5ft 11. According to their size guide anyone over 5ft 9 and a size 20 should order their largest size, a size G. So I ordered a G in every pair. 

The first thing I have to mention is their packaging. No plastic at all! Each pair of tights came in their own paper packaging, and they were all sent in a recycled brown paper parcel. Love that!

I was really excited to try them and immediately planned an outfit around them so I could wear them the next day. The tights aren't what I consider to be a 'normal' tight material. They are so much softer which is a huge bonus because I find regular tights really scratchy and they usually irritate my eczema. These felt so nice and not at all like any other pair of tights I've ever worn.

They have a huge amount of stretch without going sheer, and would very easily fit someone taller and fatter than me. And I am a person of the long legged tall variety! The crotch sat where it should and the waistband happily sat on my waist, perfect. And they remained there, exactly where they were supposed to, all day. After food shopping, after playing PokemonGO, after the pub, I did not have to adjust these tights once. I was baffled! I didn't think that was possible.

So the next day I wore the mustard pair to work. And once again, I didn't have to adjust them even once. Truly some sort of sorcery is afoot. For a pair of tights to be comfy all day long, and not need adjusting at all is something I didn't think it was possible. I usually end up living in leggings all winter and they are never long enough, but instead I am going to invest in a bunch of Snag Tights! They have a range of fishnets and my inner goth is screaming with delight at the prospect of trying them out.

I fully believed there was no way these tights could live up to their hype, and I was completely wrong. I understand now why people who have bought these wax lyrical about them, because I find myself doing the same.

If you haven't been sure about trying Snag Tights, I highly recommend giving them a go!

Much love,
Kitty xxx

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

AD* Navabi : Woke up to the sound of pouring rain


Every gal's wardrobe needs a few good black dresses. A truly good black dress is high quality, the darkest of blacks, soft, comfy, doesn't need ironing, and is super versatile. The kind folks at Navabi sent me this gorgeous Navabi dress which certainly fits the bill! This is the Annalisa jersey knot front dress, it retails for £81 and is available in up to a size 30. It's super stretchy though, so could possibly fit a little bigger too.

I apologise in advance for the cardigan I wear in all these photos, it was absolutely pouring with rain when I dragged my poor Pops out to take these photos, we both got soaked! The cardigan is actually another beloved Navabi piece in my wardrobe, that they kindly sent me over 3 years ago. And it's just as immaculate as it was despite my throwing it in the dryer when I shouldn't. It's never bobbled or marked, and it's as soft and beautiful as ever.

This jersey knot dress has 3/4 length sleeves which is ideal. I'm 5ft 11 and long sleeves are never long enough, with 3/4 sleeves they hit just right. On me the length is just below the knee, so if you are shorter it may be more of a true midi dress. It nips in at the waist with the knot under the bust, then flares out and skims over the body. Combined with the jersey fabric, it makes this dress so comfortable! I prize comfort above most things when it comes to my fashion, and this is a winner for sure.

You could easily wear this to work (I plan to), throw on some sparkly heels, expensive jewellery and glam it up for a meal in a fancy restaurant, or, it would work for those sadder occasions when black is requested. This has made it into my wardrobe just in time for autumn and I can see myself getting so very much wear out of it. Navabi might be higher end in terms of their pricing, but as an investment, their pieces keep so incredibly well that it makes them worth it. All of my pieces from them look the same as they did the day I unpacked them.

Much love,
Kitty xxx

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

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Prophecy Girl Pins

It's always sad when you discover an indy company just as they are closing down. I found Prophecy Girl weeks before they closed down unfortunately. They sold a variety of nerdy clothing, patches and pins, no clothing in plus sizes, but patches and pins are something I am always after! With a name like Prophecy Girl, I went on the hunt for Buffy the Vampire Slayer inspired pins and I was not disappointed.

I grabbed 3 pins, first up was this Team Buffy pin. I love the detailing, the Scythe crossing behind the main design, a reference to the final season and Caleb and the Turok-Han, Mr Pointy the stake, and the Claddagh, a nod to Buffy's ring from Angel.

I then couldn't resist the counterpart Team Faith pin! (I wish they'd have a Kendra one too, would have loved that). This time the detailing includes Faith's tribal tattoo, and the knife the Major gets her that Buffy ultimately stabs her with. I put one on each side of my denim jacket. Teenage greebo me always thought Faith was 10x cooler than Buffy.

And lastly the Slay Every Day pin. This one features both Mr Pointy and Faith's knife, with the Scythe, Olaf the Troll God's hammer, and the famous Vampyr book Giles shows Buffy when he first arrives in Sunnydale to show her he knows who she is.

Most of my pins are feminist pins, or Pokemon themed pins, so I think these make a great addition to my jacket. I know Joss Whedon has turned out to be truly hideous, and that the show itself is problematic for so many reasons, but Buffy was the first time I had ever seen a girly girl kicking ass and being so strong and independent on tv, and I adored it. I loved Willow and how her nerdiness could save the day. I loved Faith's take no nonsense attitude. I loved Cordelia's story arc from stereotypical preppy prom queen to an essential part of the team (forgetting what Joss Whedon did to her in Angel because she did not deserve that!). I loved Tara's quiet soul and how she overcame her abusive family. I loved Kendra's desire to keep fighting even when she had lost her watcher. I even loved to hate the bad guys, Drusilla inspired teenage me to have a blindfolded porcelain doll on my bookshelf. 

If you see any Buffy pins, I'd love some more!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

How I Edit My Blog Photos

One of the common questions I see on blogger groups is people asking how they can edit their blog photos to look more professional. I don't have access to anything fancy, no Photoshop or expensive programme (some of my old blog photos were edited with Photoshop but when I got a new laptop I lost my copy of Photoshop). What I use is available as an app on a computer, and is available through the google play and apple stores. I use a programme called Afterlight, it cost 79p on my laptop, and similar on my android phone. I edit my phone photos through the app, as well as my blog photos taken on an actual camera. For the iPhone there is currently Afterlight 2 which is a more complex updated version, available for £2.99.

This is the original image I took using my DSLR, a Canon 50D. Full disclosure, I was a sort of photographer back before my carpal tunnel, so I know how to use a manual SLR which obviously helps my blog photos to an extent. However, as I stated before, I also edit my phone photos using Afterlight and I'm not using any fancy modes on my phone.

You can adjust a whole bunch of different things in Afterlight, I usually add some contrast to make the detail pop a bit more, and maybe increase the exposure slightly if it's a little dark. All of these options shown above are edited using a sliding scale, with previews, so you can see the effect before applying it to the image itself. With this image I'm going to increase the contrast slightly.
The thing that I love the most about Afterlight, is the filters. It comes with a whole bunch of built in filters that can really push a photo from OK to something much more finished looking.
Here I've opted to use one of the 'wander' pack, a filter called 'wicker'. I've used the built in slider to turn down the filter effects slightly, so it's at about 75% of it's full application.

Now this filter is a little cool toned, but I really like the depth and the green tones. So in this case, I'm going to increase the 'temperature' of the image and make it slightly warmer toned. I added about 15% warmth to make it seem like a lovely warm autumn day.
This took me a handful of minutes, but I think it took an OK photo and made it a lot more interesting and professional looking for my blog.

From this... 
To this!
Not a huge difference, but enough that I feel like they really add to my blog and look more finished.

The app is very similar on my phone, easy to use, and easy to undo any effects. Here's a before and after phone photo I've edited on my phone using Afterlight recently.

Edited vs unedited.
This isn't any major kind of edit, but I think the tones and the textures look a lot more interesting in the edited version on the left.
Little differences can make a lot of difference to the overall look of your photos. 
Here are a few more photos I've edited on my laptop and their originals.



I think it really helps my blog photography get that step ahead! And it's a really cheap and easy to use programme. I really pride myself on having blog photos that look professional and Afterlight really helps.

You don't have to have the fanciest and most expensive programmes to edit photos, so long as the exposure is roughly OK before you start editing.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Mid-Year Favourites

I used to write 'favourite' themed blog posts fairly regularly. It was an easy way to share all those random little things I've enjoyed recently that don't deserve or require a full blog post. I haven't done one in absolutely ages, certainly not in 2019, so I figure a mid-year 2019 favourites seemed just right.

I love a good pin, and the Secret League do the most amazing Pokemon Go inspired pins. They had a sale earlier in the year so I snagged myself this limited edition Mewtwo pins, and the Level 40 articuno Team Mystic pin. I did get stung by customs on these even though they cost under the threshold on sale, because they put the full price as the value, but they are so well made and cool that I don't mind too much.

This amazing zebra print dress is from the Collusion range by ASOS. It is sadly out of stock now, but here's the funny thing. It's from the straight size range. It goes nowhere near my size, but someone bigger than me could easily have fit in this. It has a shirred top and a very full skirt section making it super comfy and stretchy. Keep an eye on the Collusion range for sure, because I can see them bringing this style back in other colours and prints.

My amazing Bloody Mary Metal moon ring that was a birthday gift from my husband Stu. It's called 'Knox'. Stu has their old style of moon ring, which was set in a more traditional crescent shape rather than on it's side, and he catches it on everything. I never catch on anything with the moon at this angle!

Our new bed! Our old bed was beyond broken. I had bought it 10 years before, incredibly cheaply, and it was always awful. All the lats were snapped, the mattress was long past needing replacing, and it was just so uncomfortable it was unreal. When we ordered our new bed we took apart and broke up our old one, just putting the mattress on the floor. If you've ever slept on a mattress on the floor you know it's not great. It was bliss compared to our old bed! This time round we got a divan style bed, figuring that the biggest problem with our old bed was the crappy lats. It's higher than our old bed and every night we climb into it and it's heaven.

I got to see The Spice Girls live in Coventry! I never got to see them as a kid, so when Stu surprised me with a ticket for Christmas I was unbelievably excited! We had standing tickets, but before they came on stage it was becoming fairly clear that they had mishandled who should have been allowed into the standing area and it was way over full. We opted to pinch a couple of seats and if they turned out to be anyone's we would move. Turns out they were actually empty seats and we stayed in them for the whole concert, we got so lucky, just looking at the amount of people squashed into the standing area was making us anxious. The Spice Girls were absolutely amazing. So much fun and everything I had ever dreamed of. I video called my Mum during 'Mama' and made her cry. Got so many daughter points.

And the final thing, but no photo because I don't want to share it publicly. My new car. A couple of months ago my car suddenly made a weird clicking noise when I turned it on. Had a mechanic come out and look at it and bad news, it needed a new engine. After exploring the cost of putting a new engine in it, it was almost what the car was worth, so I began a new car hunt. I've never picked a car before. I had bought small cars I could afford, or cars from family members, but I had never gone out and actively made a choice that I wanted a particular car before. When I'd test driven one particular car, I fell totally in love. And then I set out the hunt to find it in the colour I wanted to. I had almost given up hope when Stu found the perfect car, in our price range, in the colour I wanted. He had told me he would find me my dream car and he did. I love his determination! It took weeks to finally get my hands on it, and I absolutely adore it. I'll be honest, I've never really looked after a car before. I've always been messy and my cars have always born the brunt of that. Not this car! It's immaculate and I treat it like my baby. I feel incredibly lucky to have been in a position that we could do this and I'm so grateful.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Pokemon Go Snapshot

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was a photographer. Sort of. I loved it, I was OK at it. I mostly did fashion photography and it was my favourite hobby. I loved creating art and I made amazing friends doing it. I liked feeling like I had created something tangible I could be proud of. And then carpal tunnel hit. And despite surgeries, I can still only handle holding my camera for short lengths of time. Being unable to hold my camera for longer periods means unfortunately no more photoshoots, no more creative outlet.

It's been gutting to say the least. I really miss it. Now my only real hobby is Pokemon Go. I play every day and I love it. So when they released the 'Go Snapshot' mode, incorporating AR photography into Pokemon Go. I was hooked.


Because it involves using my phone, I can take photos for a lot longer with Pokemon Go without my hands hurting. It also combines my two great loves, photography and Pokemon! Anytime I go somewhere pretty I think about the Pokemon that I could photograph there, what colours work together, what types of Pokemon work in that setting, and I inevitably end up slinking off to take photos when I get the chance. 

There's actually a whole amazing community of Pokemon Go AR photographers, and I follow a whole bunch of them on twitter. I have my own dedicated Pokemon instagram @kittypokemonsalot

When I see interesting graffiti, I immediately think of a Pokemon that might match well with it. I find that I'm forever photographing bug type Pokemon and trying to learn new tricks and techniques to manipulate the Go Snapshot mode.

I see a sunset, I put a Pokemon in front of it. I appreciate Pokemon I previously thought were kinda 'eh' because now I see the different environments that they can be photographed in and how they can fit into the 'real' world via AR.

Do I get some funny looks taking photos of invisible creatures using my phone in public? Sure. But I already got those looks because I'm also a tall fat 31 year old woman who is obviously playing Pokemon Go, probably wearing a dress covered in zombies or Pokemon pins or something else equally garish, so why would I care? I love it, and that's what matters. It's so nice to be able to create some form of photography again, I thought I wouldn't be able to do it again in any way.

If you play Pokemon Go, drop your friend code below so I can add you!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx