Monday, 22 July 2019

Man, do you know what? I've gone from rarely allowing a picture of myself to be taken to using the camera timer to take loads of pictures of myself or spending a full day with Chloe (My Second Attempt) walking around Manchester and taking pics of ourselves. I wouldn't say that this change was completely organic, it was mostly because I wanted to post more fashion-based content on my Instagram and blog, but it's been an unexpectedly healthy change for me! Seeing images of myself online (eg. when a family member catches you unawares and you end up getting notified by Facebook that you've been tagged in a hideous image) used to be my worst nightmare. I didn't want people to see my body, the weird way I stand, my nose and generally my self. However, when you're taking pictures with a purpose and you get to pose a few different ways, have fun with the process of taking the pictures, and then muddle them into your Insta feed, it becomes more of a fun and creative process rather than a horrible 'oh god untag me' kind of experience. It still doesn't quite come naturally to me to take lots of pics of myself but I have a little strategy to deal with the body-image based nerves.


Focus on the outfit, not the body

When getting ready to take blog pictures, thinking about what outfit to showcase (or alternatively what makeup to wear) is the first priority. In recent years I've changed my thinking from 'dress for your size' to 'wear what looks good as an outfit' which has helped my confidence quite a bit. When I had the 'dress for your size' ethos, I would cover myself in baggy clothes which swamped my figure and ended up making me look unshapely and left me feeling massive. I still love baggy pieces, but I wear them with better-fitting pieces so that I'm at least showing some of my actual body shape. When I focus more on the clothes and the outfit itself, rather than the body I'm dressing, it gets me excited to put the outfit together and share it.

Focus on the picture, not the body

When in front of the camera it's super easy to want to find ways to hide your body and your figure, so I have decided to push thoughts of my body to the back of my mind (when I can) and to think of ways I can pose to make the picture or clothes look better. For example, taking photos from a low angle wouldn't be the most flattering, but the picture itself would look nice with the blue sky in the background. If I'm wearing funky sleeves, I think of ways I can show them off. If I find a mural, I find a way that I can interact with it in the picture. Thoughts like this pull my focus away from my body while I take the pictures.

Oh wait, that looks good 

Going through a load of pictures of yourself can get very mundane and I end up deleting the majority of the pictures I take or are taken of me. However, those that make the cut have passed my tremendous scrutiny, they're decent pictures. They show the outfit well enough, the pose worked, the lighting is decent. It's a good photo. Liking a picture of myself is a good feeling, and I feel like we all need a few good pictures of ourselves. Plus it's nice to have a new profile pic or a new picture for the grid on Instagram!

Oh wait, my body looks good

The more I look at the nicer pictures of myself, the more I look at the way my body looks and the things I used to hate about myself I've learned to start to love. Seeing pictures in clothes that hug my curves reinforces the fact that a lot of the time (when I'm not having issues with my body-image) my curves make me feel good. I feel soft and kind of cute. Learning to enjoy pictures of myself has helped me in my attempts to learn to love my kind of plus-size body, the tummy that won't go away no matter how much I diet, the nose I used to be teased for, the large thighs, and the bum that I used to think was just too massive.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

I've been making a move from shopping exclusively on ASOS to trying to buy from more small businesses in order to support creators. This post has been put together by myself purely to promote some small businesses and to show you some products you may be interested in and that you have never seen before!

CraftyFoxCollective on Etsy / bexlendon on Depop

I currently have an obsession with the jewellery from CraftyFoxCollective and I'm in love with the snake pieces in particular! There are a ton of dainty earrings and necklaces for everyday wear, as well as some funky larger pieces that won't look out of place when you're out on the town! On payday, I'll be getting those snake hoop earrings (buy here) that I've been lusting after for so long, as well as the cutest little sunflower mini hoops (buy here)! It's unbelievable how affordable the jewellery from CraftyFoxCollective is too, go wild!

You can find Bex on TwitterInstagramDepop and Etsy!

Kezzy2996 on Depop

I've been really into out-there earrings lately and this Depop page was one of the first pages I discovered when looking for my earring fix! Her pieces go from cute and subtle to large and in charge and I'm in love with the range of items available! I've already ordered some earrings from Kezzy2996 and I'm so in love with them! The ouija planchettes have already been worn out and received a lot of compliments!

In terms of what's on my wishlist, I'm in love with these dainty looking black and white half moon earrings (buy here), I think they would be a great little addition to any outfit when I start my new job! These gold leaf earrings (buy here) are super beautiful and elegant too and are only £2!

You can find Kezzy2996 on Depop 

Radbetty Designs

Radbetty is a hub of all things pop culture with funny graphic tees, tote bags, mugs, etc. Having already bought some shirts from this shop I can also vouch for their quality. Radbetty offers such a range of pop-culture references, from musicians such as Mercury to the iconic parody film Spaceballs. Personally, I picked up a Marilyn Manson tee and I just love it, it's such a different way to rep your favourite artist! My wishlist pick at the moment is this super cool Beetlejuice tee!

You can find Radbetty Designs on InstagramFacebook and their Wix site!

PizzaEaters on Etsy

Here's one page I've been coming back to for the longest time, PizzaEaters on Etsy. They sell the coolest 'Rainy Day Activity Books' which are pop-culture based activity books spanning all genres of TV and film, from Wes Anderson to Buffy! The ones I'm wishing for the most are the Scary Movies activity book and the Quentin Tarantino activity book.

You can find PizzaEaters on EtsyTwitter and Facebook!

Badbooks on Etsy

The travel journals made by Helen at Badbooks are absolutely gorgeous and deciding on which travel journal is my favourite was such a hard choice, but perhaps just because of the theme, I've had to pick this Twin Peaks journal!

Helen also makes cards and notebooks and I had to share this Mr Rochester valentines card purely because it's brilliant!

You can find Badbooks on Etsy!

Fable and Black

Pins, jewellery, decor, stationery and clothing, Fable and Black offer such a gorgeous range of products and trying to narrow them down to just a couple of favourites has been super difficult! I guess I'll start with how I found Fable and Black, which is through the fact that they offer A Darker Shade of Magic themed products, which is my favourite book series of all time. This 'As Travars' necklace is my #1 from their store as I nearly got this phrase tattooed last time I was in the tattoo shop (until I realised I should save for my flat deposit).

The other Fable and Black item I've chosen for my wishlist is this No Face print, which I'm in love with and will definitely be getting when I move into my next flat! I love all the lino prints but Spirited Away just makes me so nostalgic!

You can find Fable and Black on Etsytheir website and Instagram!

Witchcrafts Art

Blogger Jess Gutteridge has an art store which I have bought some beautiful prints from in the past (Hopeless Romantic print, Dotwork Moth print and Dotwork Snake & Flowers print). Her art style gives me tattoo art vibes which I love and her use of pop culture in some of her works is really fun. My fave example of this is her Pulling Faces Beetlejuice shirt which I just adore!

My next print will hopefully be this gorgeous Dotwork Batsie & Crystals print, which I would love to add to my collection!

You can find Witch Crafts on the website and on Instagram!
You can find Jess on her blog and on Instagram!

NKD Wax Company on Etsy

This company's products have been on my wishlist for a long while and I love what they stand for! I found them through their Instagram when I stumbled across a post on their account about the single-use plastic packaging that you see most wax melts sold in. All of their packaging recyclable and they use soy wax for their melts! With scents like Cherry Pie and Lavender Dreams, and even more interesting scents like Baby Powder, you should definitely check out their shop on Etsy!

You can find NKD Wax Company on Instagram and Etsy!

Got a fave small biz or your own business? Pop some links in the comments and I'd love to check them out!

Monday, 1 July 2019

Here's something I never thought I'd say: I'm really into audiobooks at the moment. After multiple tries at enjoying and utilising audiobooks, something has finally stuck and I'm in a routine of using Audible to enrich my day-to-day life. For years people have been telling me that audiobooks are the best way to fit more books into your life but I struggled to pay attention to them if I was listening to a story whilst doing anything else, and struggled to stay awake if I was listening to a story before bed. I didn't think to fit audiobooks into any part of my day other than the end when I was laying in bed. It was a great way to drift off but I'd go to continue the book only to realise that I had missed parts of the story whilst falling asleep. Annoying. Finding parts of my day which allow my mind to wander was a good way of figuring out when to fit in my Audible time since I could focus on the book with little else on my mind. This is where I've managed to fit it in:

When & Where

I hate commuting. Getting the bus to work, walking all the way to university, it's all very boring and pretty much unbearable without my earphones. I hate having nothing to do to occupy my mind whilst I'm getting from A to B since my mind always tends to wander where I would rather it didn't. This is where Audible comes in. Music does an okay job at making my commute more bearable, but once you know a song well you don't really need to focus on the lyrics at all and your mind is free to wander. Listening to Audible means that I have something to focus my mind on which is engaging, new and interesting. I find myself on autopilot, getting myself to where I need to be, while completely engaged in what I'm listening to. Often I reach my location marvelling at how quickly the journey has passed.


In my unsuccessful stints of using Audible, I was listening to mostly fiction. Don't get me wrong, I love a good fantasy novel, but I was getting lost in complex plots and found that unless I was completely focused on the audio, I would soon get frustrated and give up on the book. I have found that listening to self-help books, personal development books and autobiographies has worked so much better for me. I feel like I'm learning something every time I commute and I find I can dip in and out of these books much easier than high-concept fantasy novels. I love that it brings an element of learning to my day no matter whether it's a university day or not, and after listening to a personal development book I often reach my destination feeling motivated and ready to work towards my goals.

Faves on Audible: Atomic Habits by James Clear & Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.


So why was I so hell-bent on finding a way to use Audible that works super well for me? Well, I have always been an avid reader but I have been finding it harder and harder to find the time or the energy to just pick up a book and start reading. I have so many unfinished books and even several books on my shelf that I have failed to pick up since purchasing them. I've missed getting stuck into a book, progressing through the chapters and hanging onto every word and I wanted a way to get all of this and fit it easily into my everyday routine. The time I was spending getting from A to B every day felt like time that could be better spent or optimised and realising this made it click in my head that this could be my new reading time. Using Audible means that I can get my reading in every single day whether I have time to sit down with a book or not.Do you listen to audiobooks? When do you fit in time to read?

Photo by Konstantin Dyadyun on Unsplash

Follow Me @jessistryingblog