Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Mute and Unfollow Buttons: Why They Can Be Your Best Friends

The internet is a wonderful thing. We are one google search away from knowing the worlds secrets, organising a wedding, or a birthday party, without having to leave our beds. We can connect with people from all over the world and from all walks of life, and I have no doubt it has helped us all with personal growth, to understand each other and see beyond our own little bubble. I'm even old enough to remember having to, *gasp*, pick up the phone and talk to someone if I wanted to do something like order a pizza!

It's a life changing tool, particularly if you do something as a career or a hobby, where connecting with people is the ultimately goal. It can sometimes feel like there are no limitations or bad points about being connected to people all the time.
Dress: V by Very (no longer available)
Sandals: Dorothy Perkins (no longer available)
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market

The thing is, there is always a downside to anything. No matter how good something can be, there will always be moments that make you feel less than joyful. There are so many facets to social media and we tend to find ourselves on Twitter and Instagram more than any other, and again, they are great for meeting virtual people and making virtual friends, or just admiring from afar (which is what I tend to do. Hello introvert with anxiety issues!). I remember a time without these apps but I genuinely feel like I know more about myself and have gained a lot from my interactions with people with these apps, so why would I be talking about using the mute/ unfollow buttons?

Sanity.

I'm not kidding. We want to consume everything we see, comment on everything people say, argue with everyone with a difference of opinion, and want to vehemently agree with a tweet or picture that resonates with us; but the problem that arises with that is we can often feel like our brains are so full they're fit to burst.

We can't engage with everything we see. It's just not feasible, nor is it healthy. If you're like me and like to be culturally and politically aware, the world is an ever evolving shit-storm with very little to ease the anger and frustration, so because of this, sometimes a mute or even an unfollow can do the world of good for our mental health. Filtering depending on how we're feeling is so important because there is so much triggering material all over our feeds and we're not machines; we can't choose what to be affected by and when, so filtering people out is a great way to maintain ones sanity without fulling deleting every virtual person from our lives.
From my world, the blogger world, it's so easy to get sucked into someones online life. Comparison is easy and feeling inadequate even easier, so it's totally OK to mute someone who triggers something negative in you - you may even be a fan of theirs or like a lot of what they say, but if you feel like their output is doing you more harm than good please look after yourself and hit the mute or unfollow button. I personally did this recently with someone whom in theory, I actually liked a lot of what they were saying, but the deliverance and frequency of it just became too much - the mute button was hit and I have genuinely felt so much better since then. My mind actually feels clearer and I'm able to look at my Twitter feed without fearing what the next 'big issue' will be. It's cathartic and doesn't make you a bad person. It simply makes you someone who puts your own mental health above reading a 30-tweet rant.

So the next time you feel exasperated by someones feed, don't be shy, hit that mute button at the very least. You'll feel so much better.

 'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Living My Best 'Boring' Life

I was talking to a work colleague the other day about what I did last New Years Eve. I ordered a pizza, watched The Revenant, drank a entire bottle of Prosecco all to myself, and was in bed by the time the last chime struck at midnight. Now to most people, this would seem like the lamest thing in the world. Didn't I want to be out? Didn't I want company? Didn't I feel like I was wasting what should have been a social extravaganza of an evening? Well, the answer to all was no.
Pinafore Denim Dress: Lost Ink for Very (limited sizes available)
Cardigan: Marks and Spencer 
Sandals: Dorothy Perkins (no longer available)
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market
You see, I've never been a sufferer of F.O.M.O (fear of missing out). I've never felt the pressure to be doing something my counterparts were doing merely so I could "relate". I don't know if it's because I've always been in my own head and have always enjoyed my own company, but I have often looked on in bemusement seeing people scramble for plans of any kind just so they could say they had something to do. Maybe I'm just too independent and refuse to conform, because I clearly don't 'get it', this need to have an exciting life, because to me, my life is exciting. Last week was a super busy one for me where I was out every night, including Saturday. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends more than anything and had the best time hanging out, eating dinners, drinking cocktails and wine, and talking into the early hours, but I cannot tell you how happy I was to throw on some lounge wear and bum around my flat all of Sunday. I literally didn't leave the flat. It was glorious!

People have made reference to me having an old soul and I think there's something in that. I'm definitely a home-body who loves to sit on the sofa and binge watch a show on Netflix, and as much as I enjoy having company when I choose to, being on my own is just as blissful. Not having plans and having a potter around a market or park is one of my favourite things to do, but in this day and age we are so programmed to have a pretense of busy. We need others to feel like they need to make an appointment well in advance in order to see us because heaven forbid, we agree to meet someone on the same day they text or call for a hangout. We need to refer to our calendars and stroke our chins as we determine when we might have a free slot for someone we hold dear, and if we don't have anything in our calendar we feel like we are wasting our best years. The pressure to compete is so rife in this digital age; IG, Snapchat, Facebook and the like, have made us seek out more for ourselves even if we don't want it.
It's important to remember that the world and our lives are so fast paced, that we need to log out and actually enjoy a free afternoon or evening. If that means sitting in a coffee shop and watching the world go by, so be it; if it means sitting on our bums watching yet another episode of Friends, great; if it means reading for half an hour, enjoy getting lost in another world. We need to take a step back and allow ourselves to breathe. The world isn't going to stop turning if we don't spend an obscene amount of money in a wine bar on a Saturday night.

So no, I have no idea what I'll be doing this weekend, but I can guarantee you it'll be exactly what I want to do.

'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

Friday, 22 September 2017

Saying Goodbye To Summer

It's no secret to those who know me that summer isn't exactly a friend of mine. I get so hot, which makes my days extremely uncomfortable, and therefore, unpleasant. I'm only half joking when I tell people I feel murderous during the summer months, but I have to confess something.....this summer actually wasn't so bad! I don't know if it was because there were only a few spells of really hot weather this time round, or if I'm slowly but surely coming to terms with the season, but I've had a good ol' summer.

I've seen friends, and visited a few exhibitions. I've done some writing, gone back to my blog (hello) and have had some alone time - all have been great for me and I feel so much more like myself with my favourite season, Autumn, coming up. But before that, I wanted to share a look from a recent trip to Canterbury. I've had this Lovedrobe, for Navabi, dress for a little while now and when it was so kindly gifted I wanted somewhere fancy to wear it. I always fall into the trap of needing an occasion to wear a certain piece of clothing and it's just so silly, so I decided I was going to take the dress on the trip and wear it come rain or shine. Thankfully for me it was a gorgeous day when we visited the beach before driving back home, and although incredibly windy, it felt good to mix the rough of the beach with the smooth of the dress.
Dress: Lovedrobe for Navabi (limited sizes available)
Slingbacks: South via Very (no longer available)
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market, Shoreditch
I'm not usually one for pink but the colour looks great against my skin tone. I didn't feel like I was dressed as a wanna-be Barbie doll (although how awesome would I be as fat Barbie?!), and I love, love, love the spiral rose detail at the bottom. Although the skirt was lined, it didn't feel restrictive like some lined garments can feel. The dress zips up at the back but there was enough stretch in there for me to wiggle into it without any problems. It was comfy to wear and I felt like a total beach babe in it.

So although I'm very much looking forward to boots, leaf crunching, hot chocolate, walks in the park, rainy days sat on the sofa writing, and the colder temperature, I'm saying a fond farewell to summer.

'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Diversity: Does It Really Mean Anything Anymore?


Diversity. Are you as tired of seeing and hearing that word as much as I am?! It's in literally every plus size campaign at the moment and, for the most part, it feels diluted. It feels so watered down that, just like the body positivity movement, I don't think it really means anything anymore.

Before branding and money came into it, diversity was a legit thing. In the good ol' days of Live Journal and the like, we saw every size, every race and ethnicity, with varying physical abilities. It was like this because it was about a community coming together, to give the middle finger to an industry that didn't want to acknowledge anyone who didn't fall into the Eurocentric beauty standards. Don't get me wrong, we're still there to a large degree, but we are seeing brands making attempts to show diversity. This is a good thing....I say good rather than great because we're still seeing such a shortage of real diversity. Seeing a campaign make a baby step is becoming the norm now, with the optimistic "It's a step in the right direction"comments, but shouldn't we, with 2017 drawing to a close, be seeing more than just a step?! Shouldn't we be seeing grand and purposeful strides?! Slightly thicker thighs and a little wobble in the tummy just isn't going to cut it anymore.

I believe in calling for more and demanding to be at least heard, but we also need to give brands an opportunity to grow, particularly with smaller brands. It really can be a partnership but if a brand doesn't listen and doesn't want to or care to understand why there is frustration, we'll continue to go around in circles, never getting anywhere. An open dialogue is what's required, and when I say open, I mean in a sense of honesty in whatever capacity that might be. Brands need to reach out more to the bloggers who feel excluded, not just the high profile bloggers who are mainly white. I think they'll be surprised that there isn't as much animosity as perceived and that all we want is to be involved in a discussion that affects us but ironically doesn't include us.


Brands aside, another major problem with the discussion of diversity, is there only seems to be discussion of white and black. Hardly anyone mentions other ethnicities like Indian, Pakistani, Japanese, Bengali, Chinese, Egyptian, Thai, to name just a tiny few. Also, diversity isn't just about race or ethnicity; we also need to talk about the visually disabled, the LGBTQ community, and non-gendered as these groups always seem to be missing in the diversity discussion.

If we're only interested on our own intersections, we're part of the problem. At this stage of the game we can't have the "Well I'm represented so I'm cool" attitude because isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place?! The fashion industry is predominately white, particularly the higher up roles. It's only recently where we've seen a marked change, most notably with Elaine Welteroth as Editor-in-Chief for Teen Vogue and Edward Enninful as Editor-inChief for British Vogue (who shortly after taking over appointed Pat McGrath as beauty editor-in-charge), and their presence was felt immediately. Suddenly we were seeing people of colour being featured and thrust into a spotlight that was so white-washed before. These appointments are so important because fashion needs to represent our society and high street fashion needs to take the lead on this. If they do, people at the top of the industry might take notice and do something about the current lack in representation.

So lets hope diversity goes back to what it used to be, because if brands are declaring it and if we're asking for it, we need to include everyone.

'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Detox

So you may have noticed I've been M.I.A for a little bit. I've been visible on Twitter and Instagram, but my blog hasn't received a lot of love from me recently, and I wanted to have a chat about why.

I've talked about this subject before, but I was in a bit of a slump. I was still questioning my place in the blogger world and didn't feel it was right to pretend while I was thinking things through. One thing I always promised myself was that I was always going to be honest, and blogging just didn't feel like the right thing to do during that time, and to be honest, I still get incredibly frustrated if I feel I'm treading water, because I never want to blog for the sake of it. It has to mean something.
Dress: Excuse My BonBon (no longer available)
Leggings: Very
Boots: Simply Be (no longer available)
This is going to sound weird as there is of course an element of that, if you're putting yourself out there, you're going to get attention, but I've never really wanted that much attention. I know, I know, says the girl in a bold Excuse My BonBon polka dot dress with bell sleeves(!), but my goals in regards to blogging are so different from my counterparts. I don't want modelling contracts or the like because that isn't what I define as success. I think the line between success and fame have become blurred in blogging and I think there is the notion that you can't have one without the other, but I disagree. I disagree because everyone has their won ideas of what success is, and my aim for my blog is to be a visible person of colour and to maybe help others who look like me, or similar, get to a level of self love a respect we all deserve. If that means one person getting out of bed not feeling like they are worthless - that is success to me, and I fell into a slump because I allowed myself to get sucked into the comparing mind-fuck that is so easy to slip into. I lost sight of why I started my blog in the first place and started to berate myself for not being at the heady heights of very well known bloggers.
Fame isn't something that drives me. It isn't something I want. I love writing, so if anything, Id love to write for a publication of some sort, but as far as being a famous blogger? That's just not my destiny. It can be so overwhelming and it's so easy to lose yourself in the sometimes toxic bubble. It can be so easy to see what everyone else is doing and feel like you're not doing something right, that you don't look "right", that your personality isn't "right", and of course there are barriers there. PoC, the disabled, LGBTQ, etc are still widely ignored, but we can't use this as a smoke screen to hide our own insecurities. We can't see change if we doubt ourselves and our worth. I don't want to press pause on loving or validating myself until I see someone who looks like me on the cover of a magazine. It has to start with me. It has to start with us, and that's what I forgot. That's why I needed a detox. I couldn't fight the good fight while questioning myself and my place.

But I feel refreshed. I feel like new, and can't wait to share some more posts about the things that matter to me. I hope you like reading because they're all pretty wordy!

I've missed you all though and I'm super happy to be back.


Love and hugs,
Isha xx

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Oh, I Do Love A Podcast!

I've made it no secret on Twitter that I am obsessed with podcasts. I'm always on the lookout for new ones to dive into and I love recommending the ones I love to people, so with that in mind I thought I'd do a blog post about my current favourites. I haven't put them in any order for the simple fact that I couldn't really tear them apart; they're all so different and each offer something that the other doesn't, so here goes:


1. My Favorite Murder
Their American spelling of favourite can be forgiven because the content of the podcast is so good. I love true-crime and the co-hosts, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, have a really great balance between seriousness and humour in their podcast My Favorite Murder. Humour?! Well, yes. They are completely respectful of the victims and their families, but obviously the subject and specific details they discuss are really hard to listen to at times, so the dashings of humour are most welcome and necessary.


2. Terrible, Thanks for Asking
I saw a review of Terrible, thanks for asking on the Guardian and the title caught my eye. You see, we have a tendency to pretend we're OK even when we're not. We smile and say "I'm fine" when we know deep down we're struggling to keep our heads afloat. The host Nora McInerny, is unapologetic about telling people how she's really feeling, particularly after having a miscarriage, and loosing both her husband and father within weeks of each other. Who has time to pretend, right?! It's a serious podcast and talks about hard-hitting life experiences like death and depression, so it may be quite triggering for some, but I found it really cathartic hearing others' stories on these issues. Season one is available now, but thankfully, season two is being worked on as I type!


3. Serial
Although two seasons in, season one is still the most potent one; the story of Adnan Syed. Adnan was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. The host, Sarak Koeing, goes through the entire case from start to finish, talking to witnesses, the police and the family and friends of Adnan to try and discover if the conviction was just. In July 2016 it was announced that Adnan would receive a new trial as there was enough evidence to suggest the conviction was ropey at best. It's brilliant story telling from Sarah and Serial was my very first podcast so it'll always have a special place in my heart.


4. Invisibilia
There isn't a podcast like Invisibilia. Invisbilia talks about the things that are out of our control but shape us as individuals. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin, and Alix Spiegel (who appears in season two), they delve into scientific research and speak to people whom feel they have been affected by invisible forces. Topics include the forces which make one individual more fearless than others, and forces that make an individual more inclined to achieve their potential above another. It's so interesting and I can't wait for season three which is coming real soon!


















5. Bad Fat Broads
You know when you know someone doing something awesome and you're nothing but super proud? Well that's how I feel about Bad Fat Broads. You see, Ariel is one half of BFB and I'm honoured to say that she's a friend. I nicknamed Ariel 'The Oracle' because her Twitter feed is just full of wisdom and thought provoking subjects, so the fact that she now has a place to call her own, along with co-host KC, is a great thing. They talk all things fat politics and they aren't afraid to call out brands and public figures who miss the mark on the fat acceptance movement. I love listening to these two.


6. 2 Dope Queens
Co-hosts Jessica Williams and Pheobe Robinson are two black queens who started as solo stand-ups, but when they met they realised they would be a duo to be reckoned with, and the 2 Dope Queens podcast consists of their live stand-up with other comedians in support. They talk about their first time having sex (Phoebe's story is so flipping funny!), shopping in-store and being stalked by security because they're black, growing up with embarrassing parents, and dating. It's such a perfect mix and their third season has just been released. Speaking of 2 Dope Queens....
















7. Sooo Many White Guys
This podcast is hosted by Phoebe Robinson, one half of 2 Dope Queens. I love Sooo Many White Guys because, although it's still funny, Phoebe sits down and interviews people in the entertainment world, taking the focus away from white guys (hence the name) as white men already get plenty of coverage, right?! The second season just finished and I personally liked it more than the first season as it's a lot more serious and really addresses race and politics in a way few others are currently.

I also wanted to give a special shoutout to a podcast that isn't seasonal. It's one season of one story and it's so good I couldn't leave it out:

S Town
S Town is Serial's sister and starts off as this bizarre murder mystery, but ends up being a heartbreaking and touching story about life and the legacy we leave behind. S Town is hosted by Brian Reed, and he tells his journey throughout this story so beautifully. It's a moving tribute to having someone in your life one minute and not the next, and assessing how they lived their life and how they affected (for the good or for the bad) the people they encountered throughout their life. The artwork that accompanies the podcast is stunning and fits so perfectly with the story. It's only seven episodes long and so, so worth the listen.

So those are all the podcasts that get me through my day. Looking at the list, do you know what I've noticed? They're all either hosted by and/ or produced by women! How awesome is that?!

I'll be sure to share any other podcasts I come across that thrill me, but I hope I've given you some inspiration. All of the above can be found on iTunes or via their individual websites (They've all been linked).

'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Lace It Up

Hi folks!

Sorry I keep disappearing from you guys. The first half of the year has been so odd, but I'm trying to find my equilibrium to post more. I do partially blame winter because I just can't find the motivation to blog loads in the winter months. All I want to do is hibernate, curl up in a blanket and watch Netflix series, eating hearty stews. I make no apologies for that (particularly the stews), but now that the sun has started to make more of an appearance, I'm starting to look at my wardrobe with excitement with all the bright fun colours and patterns I have waiting to be unleashed onto the world.

The following set of pictures were taken a fair while ago, but I love the dress and can see myself ditching the boots and legging for gold strappy sandals and bare legs. I love lace. I have so many items of clothing with either lace or mesh and find them so fun to play with as almost all I own can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. This occasion was for a catch-up lunch with the lovely Hanna. I headed to her neck of the woods, in North London, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a few snaps taken before heading home.

Dress: Very*
Scarf: Dorothy Perkins*
Boots: Dorothy Perkins*
Leggings: Very
Satchel: Gifted by lovely Hanna



I can't help but laugh when I look at these, and many other outfit photos I've taken. I seem to have an aversion to looking into the camera, and I have no idea where I picked this habit up from. I don't know if I thought it made me look really deep and thought-ridden, but whatever the reason, I'm going to actually start looking into the camera, haha. 

I have so many outfit ideas for spring/ summer and can't wait to show you all. Stay tuned and thanks again for sticking with me and letting me be as lazy as I want to be for this little blog of mine. 

'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx


KEY: Symbol * denotes an item no longer available.