Girl Power!

I love a good slogan t-shirt so when Teespring got in touch to introduce themselves and offered me the chance to pick out one of the many t-shirts they have for sale to feature on the blog I wasted no time in taking a look.

Tee c/o Teespring (get it here) | Trousers: Monki (get them here) | Shoes: Zara (sale find)

This outfit is an usual one for me- firstly I don’t think I’ve ever owned a bright yellow item of clothing before but I was really taken with this “Girl Power” design. It costs £22.00 which is reasonable for a high quality tee (prices vary, some tees are just £15 & there are also sweatshirt and hoodie options) with the added bonus that when you purchase this particular design 25% of every sale will be donated to International Woman’s Day charity partners Catalyst and WAGGGS (more info). It happens to be International Woman’s Day today, 8th March and it’s a cause we should all be paying attention to- aiming to achieve a more gender equal world and workplace.

The second reason this outfit is unusual for me is because, well, trousers! I don’t often do trousers although I seem to have spent half my life looking for the perfect pair that suit both smart and casual occasions. I spied these in Monki when shopping with a friend and although I wasn’t intending on making a purchase at the time, once on I knew I had to. These are exactly what I want from my trousers- half elasticated waist included and at £25 they were a steal. They also come in black which I’ll be picking up at some point, perfect for my hopefully imminent return to work or for dressing down with slogan t-shirts and converse/flats.

What do you think of this outfit? Let me know if you decide to design something on Teespring- you never know, it might be your design I wear next!

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The Hoodie

Before I get properly in to today’s post I wanted to take a minute to say thank you for the incredible support I received on my eating disorders awareness week post. The feedback has been incredible and I truly appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read, comment and share the post on social media. The week isn’t over yet though and there is still plenty of time to get involved. Please do re-visit the post or go straight to the Beat website to find out how you can get involved.
And now on to the main part of my post today- an outfit post featuring one item I never thought I’d wear again, let alone feature on the blog. That item is the humble hoodie, which along with some questionable trouser choices was the uniform of my teenage years (and when I say questionable I mean purple tie-dyed flares…I’ve come a long way!)

Hoodie: Monki | Skirt: Pull&Bear at ASOS (similar) | Converse: Schuh (non holographic version)

See, I knew it wouldn’t be long before another Monki purchased happened- I just can’t help myself. I’ve been eyeing up their hoodies since my first visit in to the Bristol store but held off as I just wasn’t convinced I’d actually wear one. I’m a long way away from the teenage me who felt the need to hide inside a massive hoodie but in the end this mustard yellow won me over and the hoodie came home with me and whilst I haven’t reverted back to living in one, I admit the hoodie certainly has it’s place in the wardrobe.

One way I’ve been wearing it is with this grey pleated skirt. I love the colour combination of grey and mustard and the laid back look this outfit creates. It’s a casual outfit but manages to make me feel a bit more ‘together’ than if I’d just slung on jeans and I’ll always embrace any excuse to wear my converse- their pale pink holographic nature never fails to make me smile (although I wouldn’t say no to this pair).

What do you think of this super casual outfit? Have you re-visited any clothing items from your youth? Between this and my current enjoyment of dresses over jeans I think I might be having a “help I’m almost 30″ kind of crisis!

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Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017

Tomorrow marks the start of Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017 which is run by the UK’s Eating Disorders charity Beat. I’ve never really written about the event before and I can’t quite explain why I feel so compelled to do so now- it could be that as I approach 30 the realisation that I have now spent half of my life living with an eating disorder, or it could be that I feel especially strongly about this years campaign on early intervention. Either way this is a post that has been on my mind for quite some time, with no clear direction on how I want to write it, so please bear with me as I muddle through.
As I mentioned above my eating disorder started when I was 15 years old, however it took a good two years (perhaps longer) before I was diagnosed by which time the illness and it’s deep rooted beliefs were well entrenched. Sadly the main obstacle my desperately worried family came up against was getting medical professionals to take us seriously, you see, I went from a very overweight teenager to one who was only just on the low end of the healthy BMI scale and as such nobody saw it as a problem. It didn’t matter that I’d lost 5 stone in four months. That my food intake was minimal and I was exercising compulsively. It also didn’t seem to matter that I was becoming more and more depressed and withdrawn. I somehow managed to pass my GCSEs but never did get to even sit my A-levels. I went on to develop severe bulimia which resulted in my first inpatient admission aged 19- but because throughout all of this I barely fell in to the “underweight” category getting help and support was an up-hill battle. My underweight years didn’t start until I was in my twenties and even then were extreme before I could access the help I so badly needed. Waiting lists and lack of funding mean often it takes a patient being at a catastrophically low weight before they can get an inpatient bed, or they become seriously medically compromised whilst waiting. People have and still do die waiting and this needs to stop.
Accepting that you have a problem is hard enough and making those first steps to seek help and support is one of the most difficult steps you will take and yet I still hear about people being turned away because they don’t present as “typically” unwell. Just because someone isn’t emaciated doesn’t mean they aren’t at serious risk both mentally and physically. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness- there are the physical risks such as heart failure, osteoporosis, the damage to organs and teeth. There’s also the high rate of death by suicide. Any of these risks can and will strike at any weight and at any time- I’ve lost far too many friends this way and I fear that as time passes I will lose more.

This year Beat are campaigning for increased awareness of the importance of early intervention and it’s a cause I can and will strongly get behind. I’ve pulled a couple of infographics from their website to show you, in simple terms just what a difference it can make.

If you want to read more about the importance of early intervention then please do visit the Beat page all about it as I would be here long after the week has ended trying to write about it myself.

A major part of what Beat are looking to achieve with this year’s campaign is increased support and training for GPs and this is something that I think is 100% vital. I have struck gold with my own GP, I can honestly say that I would not be alive without her care and support- she has gone above and beyond for me time and time again and I wish everyone could have a GP like her. Likewise the GPs I work with are all wonderful when dealing with these things but I appreciate that this isn’t the case everywhere or for everyone. By increasing the support and training available to GPs the delays in getting treatment can be greatly reduced and patients on the (what can feel never-ending) waiting lists for specialist treatment can get the immediate care that can really help tip the balance between full recovery or becoming trapped in the recovery/relapse cycle.

If you are struggling with your relationship with food and your body, or if you notice worrying changes in someone you are close to then please do seek help sooner rather than later. It will probably be one of the hardest and scariest steps you take in getting better but the sooner you can get in to the system the higher the chance of full recovery is.

For more advice on what signs and symptoms to look out for, how to seek help, or on how to support a family member or friend then again I refer you to the Beat website which is a wealth of information and resources to make you feel less alone.

Over the course of the next 7 days there are a few ways in which you can help raise vital awareness and funds for Beat to support and enable their campaigns to get early intervention happening far more than it currently is. The easiest ways are to take part in to Sock it to Eating Disorders day on Friday (3rd March) or help spread the word by signing up to the thunderclap campaign on social media.

Again please do forgive me if this post is a bit all over the place or poorly written. It’s so hard to turn a cause you feel so strongly about in to a work of art (it’s not a subject that lends itself to flowing eloquently) but I hope that I’ve managed to get my message across. If we all pull together I really believe we can make a difference.

As for me, well, I’m getting there. I’m determined that this is the year I will defeat anorexia once and for all. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, indeed it still IS a rollercoaster ride but finally I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and for the first time perhaps ever I am starting to imagine a life that isn’t dominated by the food I eat or how much I weigh.

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#hatwithaheart

For me one of the greatest rewards from blogging is being able to use my little piece of the internet to get behind charities and causes that I think are really worthwhile. Today my post is all about a campaign that Tesco is running to support Fareshare and the Trussell Trust called #hatwithaheart.

Tesco aims to donate at least £200,000 to food bank charities by donating £1 from all of their novelty hat sales (of which you’ll find plenty for men, women and children so there’s no excuse not to get involved!)

I’m all for a bit of novelty headwear so when Tesco asked if I’d be prepared to snap a couple of selfies to help raise awareness I didn’t hesitate. And it’s not just the hats I’m in it for. I genuinely think that what Fareshare and the Trussell Trust do is vital in helping to break the cycle of poverty. It’s ok for me, I’m sat here writing this in the warm and dry with a kitchen full of food downstairs- not everyone has these basic needs met and for people in crisis the 3 days of emergency food that the food banks provide can be the difference that keeps them going.

You can see more of my selfies over on Instagram where you can also join in yourself by posing in your novelty knit using the hashtag #hatwithaheart

For anyone who isn’t aware then Fareshare is an organisation that focuses on rescuing good food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to charities such as women’s refuges, homeless shelters and children’s breakfast clubs. Trussell Trust has a network of over 400 food banks across the UK who aim to stop hunger by providing a minimum of three days of emergency food to people in crisis who have been referred by front-line professional agencies such as children’s centres, housing associations, GPs or Citizens Advice.

I really hope I’ve done a good enough job of convincing you that this is a cause worth getting behind. You can purchase your novelty hat in Tesco stores or online (and whilst I was sent my hats for the purpose of this post you can rest assured that I’m going to be placing an order for the Christmas Pudding Beanie ASAP!)

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Design a Welly Competition with Joules*

It’s cold outside, and wet which means a) a general reluctance to do anything that involves being outside and b) a real need for some new wellies.

Wellies aren’t traditionally the most exciting item of footwear (although I wish I still fitted in to the ones I had when I was at primary school, they were EPIC). Fancy changing that perception though? Joules have opened up a competition where they are inviting you to get doodling and design your very own wellies, the winner of which will see their design go in to production (with all proceeds going to CHARITABLY JOULES to boot).

Seeing your design hit stores isn’t the only thing you can win, either. Also up for grabs are 3 nights in a Golden Oak tree cabin (plus lots more) worth £5000 and ten runners up will each win a £250 Joules gift card. Of course the winning design will also be available to buy via the Joules website (www.joules.com)

Tempted? Simply get your creative hat on and submit a design via the link here. Given that it’s currently pouring down outside and I have a few days off of work I think I know how I’ll be spending my afternoon!

Let me know if you enter, I’d love to see your designs!

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