Monday, 16 May 2016

Why I found myself withdrawing from the blogging world

I've wanted to write this post for the longest time, but I've deliberated over and over again about whether it was worth it. At times I just feel it's better to take the high road, and others, I feel like it's an important issue that needs to be addressed, even if no-one reads this I know within myself that I spoke up and gave my two cents.

The issue of cliques within the blogging community came up on Episode Five of Bad Fat Broads, and I think it's a really important issue that no-one talks least not publicly, but as I mentioned, this is a topic I've wanted to address for some time so here goes.

Firstly, for me, there is a clear and distinct difference between clique and friendship:
Friendship - You love and support your friends in their endeavours, but also remain unbiased, and open to be encouraging to others within the community and congratulate and give due when they accomplish something, however small you may view said accomplishment.
Clique - You are part of a small group who only interact with those within said group, failing to acknowledge others and really embrace the community as a whole.

There's a great line from The White Stripes in 'My Doorbell' which sums it up pretty well: "I don't need any of your pity at all, I've got plenty of my own friends - they're all above me". That feeling of 'What can you do for me?' has become so much part of blogging and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It's based on either aspiring to reach their level, or once there, doing everything you can to remain there.

There is a clear hierarchy in the blogging world, and I guess, in my naivety, I didn't realise it until I became a victim of it. When I found the blogging community I thought that it was so great to have found like-minded people whom all had their own opinions, but when it came down to it, they all supported and encouraged each other. How wrong I was as if you are not on the "approved list", you're basically invisible, and I know others have been affected by this too. It's a sad but true fact that I still find difficult to accept. The amount of times I myself, or others, have reached out via Titter or other social media platforms, only to be completely ignored has become more and more frequent. When you make a point about an article or make a comment on an important issue you want to raise, have no-one join the conversation, only to have someone on "the list" raise the exact same point and have a plethora of mentions is incredibly hurtful and disheartening.

Why? Well here's the thing; we within the plus size community are not accepted anywhere. We've all experienced being excluded from pretty much every conversation because of how our bodies look, so think back to when you finally found this space of acceptance. This space to finally feel like you can love yourself no matter what and that you had value and were important. To have a group who shared your woes and who wanted to fight for something better for all of us. Now imagine that being taken away. Your one and only place of solace. Doesn't feel good, right?!

There's that saying about the poorer getting poorer and the richer getting richer; well the premise is the same in the blogging world. It's no surprise that those at the helm are mainly white, privileged women (although being white is a huge privilege in itself), dictating to those below them what is and is not acceptable; who is or isn't acceptable; what opinion is or isn't acceptable. That's a huge problem for me and I thought our community was better than that. It's a huge problem because those at the helm are also the ones with the most followers, the most opportunity, the most influence, and that's a big thing. Perpetuating values that only support and enhance the very clique they're part of, a clique whom already have all the perks and opportunities, is a huge problem. Dictating to others whom are compliant, and thus, creating rules within the community is (and I don't say this lightly) a dangerous thing. If you disagree and are vocal about it, you find out very quickly what a mistake that was. That isn't a community.

The irony is that those at the helm must have experienced exclusion for the way they look at one time or another. They must have had times when they went home feeling really crap about themselves because, yet again, they were the butt of a joke, or were made fun of for the way they looked; so it befuddles me when I see them adopting unpleasant behaviour they were once/ still victims of. It blows my mind.

These things have resulted in those who choose to speak up about the negative things affecting the community, being branded as haters or jealous. I've said this before, but it's used as a get-out-of-jail free card, used to silence people into accepting things for how they are and to prevent issues being brought to the forefront - another form of control. The criticism a lot of the time is really valid and we need a community that actually welcomes difficult discussion. That's how we grown, that's how we become better as individuals, that's how we change things. But I get it; if you're at the top, the last thing you want is to relinquish the opportunities because, even though we've come a long way since I first discovered the plus size world, there's still very few opportunities out there for us.

But thats's when we need to look beyond ourselves and acknowledge that others are just as deserving. It isn't that people don't work as hard at all (so tired of hearing that), but is instead because we don't look the way that is deemed profitable. We don't have the following so are not given a second look. There are so many being excluded from this new found plus size fame. Where are the non-conventional? Where are the trans people? Where are the disabled people? Where are the men? Where are the people of colour? Where are all the other marginalised groups? We as a community HAVE TO DO BETTER.

I love blogging but have found myself withdrawing. When I blog, I want it to mean something, I want to make a difference for the little black girl who doesn't look like the girls on the tv or in magazines, but how many women of colour, particularly in the UK, do we see getting opportunities to spread our message? I can count that number on one hand. It's sad and disappointing and I'm loosing the will to be honest. I want to keep fighting, but when you have non-one in your corner it's so, so hard to keep going.

But I will. People like me need to be seen, need to be represented - even if it's in a minor way. So expect to see more regular blog posts from me....

'til next time!
Isha xxx

Friday, 8 April 2016

Floral Showers

Hello lovely folk!

It has been an absolute age since I last blogged an outfit. Who cares about book reviews and pictures of London, right?! Well, I do, but I get your point. Life has been beyond hectic in recent months so blogging hasn't really been at the forefront of my mind. I'm also in a little bit of a style funk (which I may do a separate post about) so there hasn't been a lot speaking to me of late - whether it be from my wardrobes or online.

The dress I'm blogging about today has been my first purchase in a really long time, and I hope you can see why. It's my new favourite dress.

I've blogged about Voodoo Vixen a couple of times, but this is by far my favourite design. I love the black checked base with the bright and vibrant floral designs, and although it's a typical 50's inspired silhouette, it looks and feels incredibly modern. The dress also has a slip which I'm not usually a fan of as I've found in the past the slip moves around far too much, but having the slip attached at the waist makes it so much easier to move around without fear of a malfunction. It's quite a structured fit which I really like and the dress doesn't loose it's shape as a result.
Dress: Voodoo Vixen for Simply Be
Cardigan: H&M
Shoes: Simply Be^
I wore this for the first time at my friend's engagement drinks and I received a lot of compliments on the night as I swooshed around the bar. I felt and feel so confident in it and couldn't have wished for a better purchase after my style slump. I would live in this dress if I could, honestly.

'til next time!

Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

KEY: Symbol ^ denotes an item no longer available.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Find It In Everything: Winter 2015/16

Hi guys,

Hope you're all well. Yesterday marked the official start of Spring, which means it's time for an other Find It In Everything: Winter 2015/16. I tend to hibernate during the Winter months so I didn't manage to snap as many pics as I may have liked, but I still think there are some gems in this collection.
I've already started my Spring collection so I look forward to sharing those in the next instalment. 

'til next time!

Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Nerdsville Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman

I read this book for the second time recently and it is simply put, an adult children’s book.

A nameless main character narrates the story, which isn’t something I remember coming across. I like stories to be personal, like you know the person or can picture the person in order to get a connection, but it wasn’t necessary here because Neil Gaiman draws you in from moment one “It was duckpond, out at the back of the farm. It wasn’t very big. Lettie Hempstock said it was an ocean…”. You immediately get a vivid picture in your head of a vast field with farm animals, living together in harmony with a little tiny pond at the end of it. You immediately start asking questions like, who is Lettie and why does she think the pond is an ocean? What wondrous stories does she have to tell about the ocean? Why does it feel like this is going to be a significant part of the story – why?!

The book actually starts with the narrator revisiting his childhood village as an adult, where he comes across someone he once knew many years ago which leads to them talking and reminiscing about when he first moved there and what transpired after. I really don’t want to give the plot away as my telling of it wouldn’t do this book justice, but it tackles many subjects that many children have to deal with at an early age: the awkwardness of trying to figure out who you are, a sad and often troubled upbringing, parental failures, sibling woes, little (if any) friends, and an overactive mind that helps you escape it all.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane had me thinking a lot about how I felt at that age (the narrator is seven) and how confusing I found life and wondering if anyone else felt the way I did. It touches on those subjects with such ease and care, and I did nothing but root for the narrator and his friend Lettie and her family whom have a magical mystery about them that unfolds beautifully as the story builds. A suicide starts off this the dark adventure, and circumstances have the narrator and Lettie fighting dark, scary and mystical powers that enter the human realm looking for them.

The ocean plays a significant part of the story, and although I won’t reveal in what capacity, it has the narrator exploring reality and how events can shape the decisions we make for ourselves and for those around us. It’s quite poignant and has a resonance few books I’ve read recently have managed to achieve.

But what I love about this book is the friendship between the narrator and Lettie. Lettie has an unrelenting faith in her friend and promises him that she will look after him and protect him no matter what. The characters bounce off each other really well and you can’t help but think about some of your own best friends at that age and how feeling so lost can be eased a little knowing you have someone on your side – I think that’s something we all look for at every stage of our lives. They go through a lot together and face many obstacles, but their friendship remains until the end.

Again, I won’t tell you too much and certainly won’t tell you how it all ends, but reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane as an adult will transport you to your youth when anything and everything was possible, where there were adventures on every turn, and if you were lucky, a friend to hold your hand every step of the way.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Rose Peaks from beneath Winter Snow

Hi guys!

Granted, there isn't any snow in London, but I really like the title, so indulge me. These photos were taken a little while ago but I loved them so much, there wasn't any doubt that they'd make it to the blog eventually. 

I've always been a fan of Hellbunny and already had a few of their dresses before falling in love with this one. I can't quite put my finger on when I first saw it, whether it was on a blog or IG, but I knew I had to have it, particularly when I saw that Simply Be were selling it. As soon as I put it on I knew that I'd wear it to death. 
Dress: Hellbunny (via Simply Be)
Cardigan: H&M (Burgundy currently out of stock online)
Leggings: South (via Very)^
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins^
I love a floral print, but rather oddly, I don't have many rose print dresses at all! I'm not sure how this mishap happened, but this dress is a dream addition to my Hellbunny collection. The dress is halter so I'd likely try to find a strapless bra or a bra with snazzy traps, to wear in the warmer months. I know halter isn't for everyone, but I personally don't find them uncomfortable or unsupportive, and I actually like that it's a rare contrast to the style of dresses I usually wear. The one continuous feature for me and this dress is that it has a vintage 50's-style shape and would look perfect with a petticoat underneath for self indulgent twirling. 

Another thing I love about this dress is the shirred back. I think every dress I have by Hellbunny has a shirred back, so it's obviously something they feel is important for their customers, particularly with a halter dress - being comfortable is key and that's exactly how I feel when I wear one of their dresses. The dress also has a well concealed zip at the back, so you have the option to wiggle into it or zip up and go at your leisure. 

I'm going to have so much fun switching this look up when it gets hotter - roll on spring! 

'til next time!

Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

KEY: Symbol ^ denotes an item no longer available. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Sheer Sparkle

Hi biscuits!

So it's been a while since I blogged an outfit. As I explained in my '2016 To-do List', I want my blog to have more content, but it will of course still predominately be about celebrating my style - particularly when the outfit is this gem...
Dress: Little Mistress (via Simply Be)^
Cardigan: H&M
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins^
Tights: Boots
Isn't this dress dreamy?! Like sparkle, flower petal, floaty princess dreamy?! I was looking for a New Year's outfit and decided to treat myself and bought three dresses. Although my plans in the end fell through and what I did instead was sit in front of the telly, eating pizza (which is obviously still a win), I couldn't bring myself to send this gorgeous dress back. I did initially fear when I opened it, that it would be a little too long, almost like a maxi dress, but it hits my pixie 5'1" height just above the ankles, so it's actually the perfect length.

I love the sheer, layered skirt that catches the wind really beautifully without fear of a Marilyn moment. But it's the top that makes the dress. How I LOVE the flower petal, mini pearl and sequin pattern! It is worth noting that one or two sequins have fallen off while putting on/ taking off the dress, but other than that the dress isn't too fragile. The back of the top is shirred (as are most Little Mistress designs) and with dresses like this, I always size down, sometimes twice, to make sure I have a good fit even after washing. 
The colours are ideal for spring/ summer so forgive me if I do nothing but live in this dress, altering my sandals and bag accessories along the way during those months. Who doesn't want to be a forever-a-five-year-old princess, in the sunshine?!

'til next time!

Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

KEY: Symbol ^ denotes an item no longer available. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

One of my favourite things to do is escape. I used to do it quite a bit when I was young and still do it now as an adult. That feeling of leaving everything behind – the good and bad stuff, and just floating away to a world unknown, even if it’s for a little while. Escaping isn’t necessarily literal for me, and is in fact mainly achieved through reading, writing and doing things like go to the theatre.

I wish I went to the theatre more, but as it can be quite pricey it needs to be something more; it needs to be an experience. is just that, and the irony here is that it didn’t help me escape at all, but instead brought back all those adolescent feelings I had in a wave of wonder (pun intended!). is a modern day version of Alice in Wonderland and is set in London where the main character, Ali, is one all young girls will recognise. You see, Ali is sad. Ali is sad, confused, angry, frustrated, jealous, and desperately lonely. Her parents are separated, she feels she is second to her baby brother, she feels like her mother doesn’t understand her, wishes her father was a round more, and doesn’t have many friends at school – oh how so many of us can relate! She finds escapism through her phone and uncovers a game called, that allows her to become anyone she wants to be. She first has to create her character, so names her Alice, and she then has to pick how Alice is going to look. It’s worth noting that Ali is mixed race so goes the complete opposite of how she sees herself and how she thinks others see her, so she chooses the traditional Alice from the book we all know so well: white, blonde, blue-eyed, slim, pretty, and petite – the very appearance society deems worthy and which we should all aspire to be. The characteristics she chooses for Alice are again, the socially aspirational and those Ali does not see in herself: popular, smart, funny, loveable, etc; and so Alice is created.

Ali becomes consumed by Alice, and with each adventure she slowly finds that maybe they’re so not different after all….but there’s danger lurking in the form of a teacher who confiscates Ali’s phone, and is so hell bent on power that she will stop at nothing to rule not just the school, but also Ali’s Alice (Queen of Hearts, anyone?). As the story comes to a close and the Alice Ali has created starts to get tainted and darkened by the teacher, Ali has to decide who she wants to be – to be the girl in the game or to be herself. first peaked my interest when I heard Damon Albarn was involved. Not only is he one of the creators, he also curated the music. Blur was (and still are) one of my favourite bands, and I have followed Damon’s career post Blur, so I was really excited to hear that he was going to be part of a visually stunning and story strong theatre production. The production is truly a wondrous spectacle and below are a few pictures taken during the press show (All photos by Brinkhoff/ Moegenburg):
I wasn't lying when I said visually stunning, was I?!

Along with being very relatable regarding how we felt/ feel about our place in the world and our relationships, also puts the spotlight on modern media and our obsession with always wanting to be “plugged in”. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, online magazines, and a host of other virtual luring’s, have become part and parcel of how we live our lives. There’s this thing called F.O.M.O – Fear of Missing Out; we have this constant need to check all news worthy apps on our phone because we don’t want to be the one who “missed out”. But what about the things we’re missing out on when we’re on our media run? We’re missing out on physical, human interaction; we’re missing out on calling a friend or family member; we’re missing out on meeting up with a loved one; we’re missing out on going for a walk; we’re missing out on reading a book….basically, there’s so much more we could be doing and much more we could be filling our lives with.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an easy trap to fall into, but I have become more and more conscience of my social media participation, and have definitely used it less in recent months, particularly Twitter which I used to be on almost constantly. I’m lucky to have a large park near me so go for walks whenever I can and if I don’t leave my phone at home I’ll certainly put it on silent. There’s more I could do, but it’s a start.

I guess that’s what I loved so much about, it really makes you think about your intake and on ways you can change even if it’s a little bit. The story was indeed poignant, but accompanied with beautiful and emotive musical numbers, a fantastic cast, a colourful and bright set, and a participant audience, it was one of the best theatre experiences I’ve ever had. A huge well done to everyone involved – I really hope the run is extended.  

'til next time!
Isha xxx

** is being shown at The National Theatre until April 30th. The running time is 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one interval.**