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Sunday 21 November 2021

Fashion blogging is just advertising fast fashion?

Hi, long time no post. This is the full version of a post I did on Instagram but had to cut down to make it fit. Hopefully you find ot interesting.
A plus size white person sits in a wheelchair wearing a 1940s inspired Autumn outfit
[image description: Robyn (a plus size white person with a pixie cut and glasses) sits in their electric wheelchair on grass in front of a dry stone wall & autumn trees. They are wearing a plum cardigan & beret, a white blouse, a grey belt & a teal skirt with a maple leaf print]

I’m currently reading (listening to) Aja Barbar’s book ‘Consumed’ for the LoudBodies Book Club and it’s making me confront a lot of things, which is good and also bad. 
 The part I’m struggling with right now (and had a heated conversation/argument with my mum over) is my place as a cog in the fashion machine. 
 Aja talks in the first chapter of her book about their history in the fashion industry and their time as a fashion blogger. She talks about the over consumption in the fashion blogging community as well as the inherent inequalities and many biases against bloggers from systemically oppressed communities, most notably against black and brown bloggers. 
(If you can I highly recommend you read this book, I’m just summarising the first chapter here. I’m learning and unlearning so much!)

Saturday 16 May 2020

Wheelchair Fashion: M.E. Blue

This wasn't the post I thought would bring me back to blogging. You'll see if when I do more posts that I have some photos taken way before these all ready for me to add a blog post.
I just haven't been well enough to do it.
The contrariness of M.E. being what it is I can go out & take photos twice a month & look totally 'normal' but stringing a sentence together, even on a good day, is almost impossible. Writing the captions for my Instagram (where I post every 2-3 days) is a herculean task. Every time. I go through like two or three drafts of the posts, like handwritten in my notebook.
But for this I wanted to be slightly more unscripted, just kind of stream of consciousness-y.

So, this post is about M.E. (not about this fabulous outfit which is a dress from British Retro, tights from Snag & shoes from B.A.I.T.).

Sunday 3 March 2019

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish

Hey *waves weakly*
I guess it has been a while huh?
Erm, so my health sucks these days. I literally haven’t been out of the house since I last had to go to the dentist (it turns out that 8 years of increasing neglect does a number on your teeth, who knew? Lol). I struggle to even leave my room most of the time and when I can I omly manage it for a few hours at a time.

You know those severe M.E. posts I’ve done? The sleeping beauty ones where I talked about the bedridden, the sufferers who are trapped by the M.E. Yeah, increasingly that’s my life.
This picture is 75%+ of my life these days, except I haven’t worn makeup since this picture was taken back in May & all that much light would be agonising these days...

So, it looks like I won’t be posting anything anymore. I can barely leave my room, speak to anyone (I am beyond exhausted all the time) & I can’t keep blogging.

It was nice doing this, I hope this blog brought some of you joy.


Friday 12 January 2018

Wheelchair Fashion: Once upon a snowy morning

Hi everyone. Long time no see. Thank you for sticking with me.
I’m finding blogging increasingly overwhelming lately so I'm not sure I'll be posting very often. Maybe twice a season. Maybe.
I really would like to post more but as this post took almost a month to put together I'm not sure it's feasible...
Make sure to check on my Instagram though, I post on there usually a few times a week. It's a mixture of outfit photos, flat lays & pictures of my adorable cat, hopefully it'll tide you over till my next blog post :)

So, this outfit post. My idea when I heard it was going to snow was to do a whole Narnia concept complete with photo in front of a lamppost. My clothes kind of got away with me however & I ended up with this whole fairy tale theme instead. To me it feels like a kind of Snow White meets Red Riding Hood, Grimm's Fairy Tales, blood on the snow vibe you know? Kind of with a bit of a fae, old magic Wild Hunt feel, at least in my mind.
I guess there's just something about people with pale skin & dark hair wearing red in a snowy landscape that instantly feels a little ominous in a fairy tale way..... I think the trees help too, so maybe it's pale people, wearing red, in snowy landscape surrounded by trees that's ominous in a fairy tale way... This is getting us no where.
(Blood on the snow is a reference to Indexing by Seanan McGuire btw. Also the Hogfather by Terry Pratchett but Indexing is more relevant in this case, this whole thing is making me think of the Whiteout Wood where the Snow Whites live...).

The original outfit concept had been Narnia (I was thinking my House of Haute plaid skirt, an olive leaf pattern cardigan I have from Collectif Clothing, a cream blouse & this hat) but when I looked in my wardrobe this skirt practically screamed at me. The last time I wore it for a post was about this time last year for that year's Christmas look & it has to be one of my favourite pieces. For a starters it always looks like it's in motion (which makes it a stunning piece for wheelchair users), for another thing it rustles when you walk & I always get an almost childlike sense of glee in that. I think it unlocks the sensory memory of those ugly taffeta party dresses that were a thing for little girls when I was a kid that I loved & but my mum couldn’t afford (plus I didn’t need one & they were ugly & when I was actually able to buy a party dress I always picked something else because even as a kid I kind of knew they were ugly....). They used to have a whole rack of them near the checkout in the BHS we went to & I thought they were the greatest thing ever, I don’t even think they make them anymore....
[Edit: I checked & wow, kids partywear has moved on a LOT since I was a kid! I guess puff sleeves, cheap faux velvet stuff & ugly scratchy lace are out of style these]

It definitely feels like a party item. Unfortunately they don't make it anymore, like I said it was a last year Christmas item but people at Collectif clothing, if you are reading this PLEASE MAKE MORE!!!!! I'm thinking a teal maybe & a silvery grey? Maybe a dusty pink or lavender for summer? I would buy ALL OF maybe a few for giveaways....

Other than the beret (my favourite from Imogens Imagination on Etsy), the gloves (vintage), the tights (M&S thermals) & the shoes (Lulu Hun from Collectif Clothing, also out of stock but only just. Sorry) the rest of the outfit is from Modcloth.
Let me re-phrase that, the other key pieces are from Modcloth. That sounds much better :)
Modcloth is one of the few places I can find blouses I like in sizes I can wear so other than my beloved Collectif clothing pussy bow blouse most of my tops come from Modcloth. As do a lot of my thinner cardigans, mostly because I am in love with their Charter School Cardigans. I just love the shape of them (they are a regular length cardigan which I actually like better than most cropped cardigans, especially when I'm wearing skirts, & the fine knit makes them sit beautifully on my shape) & the colours they come in. This grey is an old one & they don't have this exact colour any more but they always have lovely new colours coming in so I like to keep an eye out.
This top looks really beautiful. The problem with this top is that it was washed once (once!) on a gentle wash before it started to bobble & turn grey. Which really sucks because it is SUPER pretty. It's one of those pieces that isn't the obvious choice but that really sends an outfit over the top once you put it on. Hopefully the top I got is just a random dud but I'd be hesitant about buying it again...

So that was my snow outfit.... I hope that this post makes up for the wait :)
Like I said I won't be posting as often but if there are any specific posts you guys would be interested in seeing please let me know & I will try to get round to it (energy permitting).

Thank you again for sticking with me :)

Friday 10 November 2017

Wheelchair Fashion: Stealing a moment

Post-Halloween Autumn. It's kind of an awkward time.

Stores & TV have already decided it's time for Christmas & the weather has started to get frosty but the leaves have barely turned...
This time of year always flies by so it's kind of nice to steal a moment of quiet, to just let time slow. Just for a minute. Just to enjoy the last of the season.

Snuggle under a blanket with a hot chocolate, a pile of biscuits & a good book.
Light a candle, put on your favourite jumper & make something pumpkin spiced.
Make s'mores on the stove, paint your nails & watch movies in bed.

Or you could, you know, get up before dawn to take photos in a picturesque Yorkshire village at sunrise....

Maybe I'll try the first three options next time.

If I'm honest I quite liked getting up & taking photos. The fact that it was the 2nd day of the first period I'd had in a while was not quite so much fun (the cramps were a beeyatch!) but I wasn't going to let it ruin a the only day with relatively good weather for weeks (by which I mean that there were rainbows when it rained). As I said in the last post Autumn weather in Yorkshire tends towards changeable, in that it changes between grey & wet, grey and cold, grey and windy & grey and all three lol.
It was nice to have  a morning of sunshine, even if it was in between showers. I was really worried on the drive over because it was very damp & very dark. Luckily we drove into a band of sunshine about 5 minutes before the sun came up.

For all that the weather was glorious (& it really was...until we got rained off about 2 minutes after the photo below) the photos aren't really my favourites.

It was just one of those days I guess. Some days the photos are just harder to take than other days...
Something about the awkwardness of taking photos in the middle of an empty village & menstrual cramps & the vagaries of fate lol
Interestingly though my period really changes the shape of my face (see if you can spot the differences lol) and it makes the photos look....weird I guess. It just doesn't really look like me. Even more so than normal.
I never feel like the person in the photos is 'me'. Mostly because I'll see people leaving these comments about how beautiful or effortless I am & I'll be sat in the same pjs I've been wearing for 3 days with greasy hair & soup stains all down the front of my top... I struggle to mesh the two halves of myself in my brain.
I'm working on it by wearing more of my pretty clothes in my day to day & trying to remember that being sick doesn't define me.

For all that I don't love these photos I love this outfit.
For one thing the blouse is a proper colour! It is so hard to find tops that I like & that fit me (I know I've said this before but it is super frustrating) and finding ones that aren't white, off white or cream is even harder. This is from Modcloth (and is currently on sale). It goes up to a size 4XL, it's a super cute colour (and it also comes in a pine that's great for Christmas-y looks), the lace is adorable, it's really versatile & it washes amazingly.
The cardigan is another one of the EmmyDesign Sweden cardigans I LOVE (I have 3 & wear them all the time). I was so nervous about buying this one, I don't really wear a lot of teal, in fact I think this is the only piece of teal clothing I own. It has actually turned out to be one of my favourite pieces. I wear it all the time just in casual wear & I'm always wanting to pair it with burgundies. I think it's so fun with the two tone teal & it's like the opposite of burgundy on the colour wheel so it works really well. All that colour theory technical-ness lol. Plus it is super super warm & comfortable. Unfortunately these cardigans seem to have sold out everywhere but they are worth keeping an eye out for...
I got the skirt from TopVintage Boutique. It's actually a size too small because it only went up to an XL but it was far too cute not to get. Plus the wheelchair means no-one is going to know if the zip is open a bit at the back lol. What drew me to this skirt was the tweed & the ribbon detail at the bottom. The detail that made me fall in love with the skirt was the great pleat detail.
Also the glitter.
I wish it showed in the photos because I LOVE the glitter. It totally takes the skirt to the next level.

Oooo, and the shoes. The shoes are these bettie page shoes & I am totally in love with them (even though they are secretly cursed, literally everything went wrong whilst I was trying to buy these).

What's your favourite way to enjoy the last of Autumn? Also do you ever feel disconnected from a part of yourself?

Friday 27 October 2017

Wheelchair Fashion: Watercolour Plaid

There is something supremely ephemeral about Autumn, more so than any other season. I think it's because the idea of crisp cool, but not cold, golden mornings walking through a park as leaves shower down around you that is the essence of Autumn (as snow is the essence of Winter & ice-cream at the beach is the essence of Summer) exists only in books & movies. Autumn is a season of change & that change seems to translate as cold, windy, rainy days. Or at least it does in Yorkshire...
The leaves took a long time to turn this year (it's been cold but not really frosty enough) & the weather has been...variable? Variable is a good word for it. Although mostly it's been varying between cold & grey, cold & windy, cold & rainy and cold & grey with a few rays of sun....
It was all of the above when we went to take the pictures but it was kind of a now or never moment (now that I've said that next week is going to be gloriously warm, sunny & the leaves will finally turn's sods law).

Luckily a touch of subtle editing can make a slightly grey day into the perfect autumn fantasy. Although can you call editing subtle if it gives you a headache so bad the other people in the room can feel it? Lol. It actually was subtle editing, I was just trying to get things done really quickly, I only managed to get these photos done two days before they were due to be posted (rain & cold & wind conspired against me) so I did a lot whilst running on empty. I'm not very good at writing my blog posts ahead of time. I need to have the photos taken, edited & in the post before I can even work out what I want to say... I mean I know the basics, this skirt is really nice, the top is cute (if see through) but bobbles when it washes & the cardigan is a staple but the other stuff requires me to be in the moment & the moment includes the photos & the fantasy they conjure....or at least attempt to.

These were supposed to create the fantasy of a late 1940's university student in the park on an Autumn day water-colouring the scenery in her sketch book. I even did a watercolour in a sketchbook that I took with me. I actually used the props maybe twice.....

In my defence it was really busy in the park. I'd picked a park in Harrogate that has lots of beautiful long avenues of trees with the vague concept in mind of leading lines & serene park land. I've never seen any one in the park when I've gone past it in the car so I assumed it would be pretty empty. Not quite so empty at 8am apparently.
I have never seen so many dog walkers, joggers & commuters in one park. Honestly.
I was constantly getting in the way of one person or another. I felt so awkward I felt like I needed a sign saying I’m not vain honest this is the thing I do that makes it worth getting out of bed on a morning.
It did get a little less busy about half an hour in so I eventually got a chance to take photos with my props.

Honestly though who needs props when Autumn is this beautiful? It's like that line you see everywhere this time of year about every leaf being a flower. Nature creates a perfect background with all the props you need, no additional fantasy required.

Clothes, erm. Like I said above the skirt (Miss Candyfloss, available here and in a dress here) is really really great. It is a really pretty Autumn/Winter plaid with enough colour not to be flat but not so much that you couldn't wear it to school. Plus it's the only shade of mustard I have ever owned that doesn't instantly make me look sallow. There are two roomy pockets, good sized belt loops with cute button details (front and back) & the pleats make it practical. The only downsides I can find is the zip is a little stiff over the waist band & the sizing is a little small.
The blouse (from modcloth) is very sheer, very cute. very big.....washes badly. Which is a shame because it's really nice & it's hard finding cute tops & I love the texture but the polka dots bobble up like a wool jumper even on a delicate wash & I'm not sure how long it's going to last. I would recommend hand wash only....
The cardigan (from Modcloth but it's no longer available in this colour) is an old faithful. I have it in a whole bunch of colours & I love it. It's super comfortable, cute & looks good tucked in or left out. Also it comes in loads of sizes, washes well, is reasonably priced & lightweight enough to be worn as a layer. I often wear these with pjs because they are just the right amount of warm.
You can't really see but I'm wearing a red M&S cami underneath the top (it was a super cute pop of colour in person). The shoes are from B.A.I.T. footwear & the beret is from Imogens Imagination on Etsy (they do my absolute favourite berets).

What's Autumn like where you live? If you tell me that where you live there are perfect crisp golden Autumns I may move in with you. Just fyi lol.
Happy Halloween everyone.

Friday 13 October 2017

Wheelchair Fashion: Femme Fatale

You know it is very hard to write a blog post when your cat is sleeping next to you looking super adorable... I think it's a plot to prevent me from being productive. Especially as she leaves as soon as I give up on my laptop.

I think this is a blog post for which I need to set the scene.
It's night. There's fog. That film noir music starts to swell in the background. A wheelchair user rolls into the light of the single lamppost. Her face is all but obscured by the night & yet you can see the determination in the glint in her eyes and the set of her mouth. She’s hunted for the secrets only she knows. Knowledge too deadly to trust to any man.
A car passes between you and she is gone, back into the night & the safety of the shadows.

Lol. This shoot had the silliest & most convoluted backstory. My mum & I just kept adding to it all the way through planning.
So it's the cold war (or maybe the early 40's, not quite sure) I'm working as a lab assistant but am actually more qualified than my boss who is making me do all the work & then stealing my ideas & giving them to the enemy. I've been working undercover building a case against him with the government but then I discover something (I think super powers but it doesn't really matter) that I don't trust him with so I take the research & leave. But then for some reason I also don't trust my own government can see how convoluted it got. Would make a great film though. Way more fun than another fast & furious sequel.

The whole story is really all about how next level badass I feel in the dress. Like Veronica Mars meets Kate Daniels meets my avatar in Secret World...and if you got all of those references you not only win a gold star you also get a high five :)
This whole look spawned from the Autumn-Winter Miss Candyfloss collection (which has a whole femme fatale, Agent Carter vibe). I loved the collection, it was so bad-ass yet it also felt like something powerful women from the 1940's/1950's would have worn. I love that there was a collection focusing on the kickassness (what? It’s a word) of the women at the time. There are so many representations of susie homemaker style women of in the 40’s & 50’s & so few of strong independent women like Agent Carter (who I know is imaginary but doesn’t feel imaginary).
Kind of cute anecdote, the first thing my littlest brother said when he saw me wearing this was that I looked like Agent Carter.....he then said I wasn't pretty enough to be Agent Carter but I'm still counting it as a compliment lol.

All I can say is I have actually had dreams where I was wearing this dress I loved it so much. It gave me badass film noir anti-hero vibes the whole time I was wearing it & I LOVED it.

Am I answering an invisible phone? Am I playing an invisible piano? Am I communicating in some super secret spy language? I guess we'll never know...

I did feel very film noir down by the canal, even the weather conspired turning a morning that was supposed to be sunny & clear into one that was drizzly & very overcast. 90% of my lighting came from street lamps which made for interesting lighting & a very draining shoot.....especially when you are the only one who knows how the settings work on the camera lol.
Down by the canal has changed a lot from when I used to mooch around town in my teen years. It used to have a much more grungy graffiti & litter vibe than it does now (there used to be a tunnel with some very interesting anatomical graffiti that always made me giggle). Most of what's there now is posh apartments for people who work in town & some places to eat. Plus a courtyard with speakers hidden in the trees playing birdsong....(totally creepy btw, if you want bird song in your courtyard put up bird boxes & bird feeders...).

It was actually the second time I tried to shoot, the first time nothing worked. It was too dark & the background was wrong & so were the angles.... Mostly though it was just too busy (problems with trying to take photos somewhere urban in winter, golden hour is at 7....just as people are starting to go to work. I have been doing outfit photos for years & I have never been stared at more than during this photoshoot....

The dress was from Miss Candyfloss but I'm pretty sure it's sold out everywhere.... Sorry about that. It may be worth haunting their social media though because sometimes they do re-releases?
The petticoat I got from Vivien of Holloway. I actually don't recommend it to wheelchair users, it was quite slippy & a bit too long for my skirts. A nice petticoat but not one I'd buy again...
I got the hat from Top Vintage Boutique. I'm not sure it'll get worn a lot just because it's quite a statement, you can't be subtly vintage in a hat like that, but it's definitely cute. I particularly like that it has an alligator clip instead of a comb, a must if you have fine, slippy hair like me. Also if you recently cut most of it off... The hat stayed in place really well with only a reasonable amount of hairspray (my hair wasn't crispy afterwards...that denotes only a sensible amount of hairspray was used).
The gloves are vintage & I got them from Etsy (it's where I get all my vintage goodies).
The shoes are from Modcloth. I've been trying to find different & more interesting vintage style shoes & I've been looking at these for a while. I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure on sizing & you can't fudge with open sided shoes but I finally got the largest size 11W (I always get my shoes too long because otherwise I don't fit comfortably width wise, my comfiest B.A.I.T. shoes are a size 11). I could totally have gotten away with a size smaller, these are about a size too long on me but honestly it doesn't matter, I don't walk in them anyway. The real issue is that they are awkwardly high on my footplates. I'm going to have to think long & hard before I get any other heels this high. However cute they may be.

I think that's everything...
Is the construction super noticeable in the above photo? I thought the black & white made it less obvious but I'm not so sure now....
Something about the balcony & the construction reminded me of when I was in Venice (a long time ago). It had the same kind of feeling, especially in black & white. I colour it's just a big old mess.

You know this would make a great Halloween costume. Like I'm in costume as a 40's spy but at the same time all the pieces are re-wearable & I'm not a creepy misogynistic Halloween cliche... Plus I look awesome & confident. And warm.... You know the more I think about it the more I like it as a concept lol

Do you do anything for Halloween? It's not a big deal where I live so we don't really do anything. Mostly we watch Hocus Pocus & eat fun sized chocolate bars in the dark. That's pretty halloween-y...

Friday 29 September 2017

Wheelchair Fashion: Autumn Picnic

This post was kind of inevitable after my last one. Being at Brimham Rocks reminded me of how much I used to love the kind of early autumn picnics when there was a touch of frost in the air & we would have soup from thermos flasks somewhere in the middle of a walk. A lot of my fondest memories are of days like that...
With these memories haunting me I thought I'd take a risk. I remembered that there was a service road all the way up to the house/cafe at Brimham Rocks & I hoped that I would be able to get my wheelchair along that far enough to find an area I could take photos. I wasn't expecting much, maybe a slightly passable incline leading to a slightly open space where you could see rocks in the background. I vaguely remembered something like that & was hoping I could find it before my hips got too painful..

I found something better.

So it turns out that in the past few years the people at Brimham rocks have been building a totally smooth (tarmac & everything) wheelchair accessible path! Not an access road but an actual path through nature & everything.
It's not totally finished yet (it transitions quite abruptly into a packed dirt path not far from the house, manageable but uncomfortable - I couldn't stand it for more than a few feet) but apparently it will be finished next summer! How amazing is that? Wheelchair accessible nature!
Brimham Rocks is very hilly & some of the dips & rises were a little nerve wracking but if you were in a slightly more powerful powerchair, had someone pushing you or were in a motor scooter I can't see it being a problem. Worth trying at any rate.
I had to get off the path though, it's not really a picnic if you spent the whole time on the path. Or at least not the kind I remember.

The panic of getting a wheelchair up a steep and slippery incline with a slightly under-powered wheelchair was pretty intense. Worth it but probably not something I want to repeat.

It was a perfect morning, one of those dewy fresh Autumn mornings just on the edge of turning to frost. It's funny to think of it being Autumn because it wasn't officially yet, the leaves hadn't turned & the equinox hadn't passed but it was Autumn all the same. Perhaps that's why the season passes so quickly, it starts before we really acknowledge it & it's supplanted by Christmas the day after Halloween.

I guess being there got me all philosophical. It was one of those things that I thought I would never get to experience again & that I wish I'd not taken for granted you know? I'm sure every spoonie has a list as long as their arm of things like that. Dancing & going out by yourself & walking without pain & reading a book in one go & writing an essay &.....oh & all the little things that we all took for granted & miss so dreadfully now they are gone. It was seriously magical to get cross one of those things off the list. I did it, & it was worth the little flare I had afterwards.
Especially since I had one of those perfect Autumn moments, with the smell of damp bracken & the hot chocolate & the pumpkin muffins & the sunrise....if anyone worked out how to condense all that into a candle I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd buy 8.

This outfit is everything I was hoping it would be & more. The cardigan is by EmmyDesign Sweden & is one of their infamous Ice Skater cardigans in Cinnamon (it seems to be out of stock on their website but there seem to still be a few on the Revival Retro website). I've wanted one since last year but what with the price & the fact they go out of stock so quickly I never got one, this year however my mum treated me to this one as an early Christmas present & I can neither confirm or deny that I fell so desperately in love that I dipped deeply into my savings to buy two of the other colours. Okay I did & I regret nothing. The cardigans are so warm & so soft & despite being wool they are not itchy at all. Plus they are stunning & they look good with my clothes. Worth. Every. Penny.

The skirt is another item that was worth every penny. It's from Heart of Haute & is so lovely. It's made of a warm & soft plaid material, so warm & soft in fact that it kind of felt like I had a super light weight blanket wrapped around my legs, a total bonus for any wheelchair user. The whole outfit was pretty warm if I'm honest, the only part of me that got cold was my hands.

The blouse is from Collectif Clothing but they don't make it in this colour anymore (it's in a red now). I've been really struggling to find vintage style blouses that are the style I'm looking for - kind of a true vintage, House of foxy kind of style - that come in my size (a 2XL or a UK 20 in most styles) & this one has is the only one I've found so far. As you can imagine it gets worn quite a lot. I really like the buttons & fact that it doesn't go all the way to the throat, I can look a little 'all boob' if my tops go up too high so I appreciate blouses that don't.

The shoes are again from B.A.I.T. footwear. I seriously do own non-B.A.I.T. shoes but these are my most comfortable 'Victorian lady on a hike' shoes. They aren't Victorian-ish at all but I don't know they just felt like the shoes someone would have been most likely to wear for a day like this if they were too stylish (or impractical) to wear walking boots. And I did feel an awful lot of empathy (an awe) for those Victorian ladies in full length dresses & super tight corsets who climbed mountains whilst I was trying to get up that hill wearing high heels, a (not very tight) corset & a big fluffy petticoat.
I'm not going to lie, I also felt like I was climbing a mountain. It was NOT easy, even though it was a tiny hill (like maybe 10 steps) & I had loads of support.
It was kind of embarrassing. Also exhausting. And exhilarating. And...I can't think of any more 'e' words for it. It was really fun & painful & rewarding. And I love these photos so it was also worth it.

What things do you miss doing that you can't anymore? What's your favourite thing to do in Autumn?

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Wheelchair Fashion: Autumn Smoke

I'm pretty sure I have peaked. Literally these are the best photos I will ever have, I should just retire now :) I've been wanting to take these photos for a while but I've been waiting for it to get to the right stage of late summer, early autumn so the location would be perfect. And it was literally perfect.

I knew I wanted these photos at Brimham Rocks, regardless of the fact that the area I knew these photos needed is 100% inaccessible. Ehhh, inaccessible is just a hard to spell word, nothing was going to stop me from getting these photos exactly the way I had imagined them.
I used to go to Brimham Rocks all the time when I was a kid. I probably know it better than I know Leeds City Centre, or at least I did for a long time.
I could talk for a long, long time about Brimham Rocks & honestly you'd probably get pretty bored. Let's just say that it's the perfect mix of Yorkshire moorland, woodland & easily climbable weird rock formations that makes as much fun at 5 as it does when you're older. I'm not so excited by the rocks these days (although there are a few I remember very fondly) but I do wish I could walk some of the moorland & woodland bits I remember loving pre-M.E. Some of those hold a very fond place in my heart & it was really hard being there & not getting to go on a proper walk.

This part of Brimham Rocks is right next to the car park, up an inaccessible rise through a small (& totally inaccessible) patch of trees. I think it might have been technically semi accessible if I had been in a more powerful wheelchair & the ground hadn't been slick with dew. Also if I hadn't been quite so scared of crashing. There's a pretty well walked track & it's not got too many mole holes & rocks. The problem is that it's narrow so you can't avoid the obstacles that are what would you do when you got there? You can't turn, there are tall grasses & heather on all sides. You'd have to reverse out & believe me that would have been a thing of nightmare. This just isn't something you'd do for fun.
I ended up walking the distance (maybe 10 metres...) in short bursts sitting on my wheelchair in between & having my brother carry the chair the distance (again in short bursts, the chair is pretty heavy after all). So total realism obviously.
Whatever, this is almost exactly where I had hoped to take pictures (the area I had imagined is a bit further round, so totally beyond the reach of me or my wheelchair) The area I had in mind is a little more open & I remember walking through it when I was a kid when it was all dry & golden. Every other step we'd disturb some grouse who'd make a lot of noise, fly up & then land exactly where it had been... I miss stuff like that.
This was pretty much perfect though, the rowan trees & the edges of the grass turning a little yellow with a touch of autumn & the heather being out & stuff... It would have been an awesome background even without the smoke. I have a feeling I'll be going back to try to find a slightly more accessible part to take photos in.

I'm finally going to talk about the smoke bombs. All of that talking about the location & this is going to be pretty simple. I used smoke bombs I bought on the internet.
Lol, no there's more to it than that. So whilst I was on my time out from blogging I decided I wanted to use the time to think about how to improve my blogging. I felt like I was stagnating & everything was overwhelming. I wanted to think of ways to blog without getting overwhelmed & also get more satisfaction from what I was doing. So I started planning photoshoots & outfits upto 3 months ahead (I have ideas for posts I don't even have clothes for yet) & I also wanted to improve my photography. So I bought a few photography books & I started watching photography videos on Youtube. My favourite videos are by Tony & Chelsea Northrup but they don't do a lot of fashion photography stuff so I kept searching & found Jessica Kobeissi. She obviously doesn't do the same style of photos as me but I learnt a lot by watching her videos & got a lot of ideas. The video that made the biggest impression was the one where she used Smoke Bombs (actually there are two, this is the other one, but the first one is the one that inspired me the most).
I did a WHOLE load of research, I pinned every picture I could find with smoke bombs. I watched a whole load of videos (I found this one especially helpful) & I read a whole load of posts (it was exhausting) & ended up deciding this was something I really wanted to do.

I used the Enola Gaye smoke bombs for a few reasons. Firstly they have a massive colour range (every colour of the rainbow plus black & white). Secondly they create a lot of good quality smoke.
Thirdly the dye is water based & doesn't damage the environment. Fourthly (& most importantly for me) they are apparently the safest because they are 'cool burning' & have a ring pull & don't set your surroundings on fire. They are still a form of pyrotechnic though so you have to be careful. I made my brother (who was wafting them around for me) wear heavy duty gardening gloves when he was holding them & we took a bucket of sand (actually cat litter because that's what my mum could find in ASDA) to put them in when we were finished.
I also picked a day with very little wind (less than 5 miles an hour seemed to be the best I could do) which gave the smoke the most 'hang time' which was handy because I'm no where near as good a model as the one Jessica worked with. I spent most of my time looking at the smoke & being awed by how pretty it was. And also doing weird things with my arms. I did a lot of weird things with my arms. And that doesn't include all the times I was swatting away midges. There were a lot of midges out, my mum's forehead ended up covered in bites. She kind of looked like she had measles...

I think the absolute best thing about all of this though is the dress. I saved it for this post because I think it almost looks like it's made out of smoke you know? It's such a soft fabric & the print is also so soft & in such soft colours that it just lends it's self to this kind of shoot. I know it's a summer dress but it felt kind of like it belonged in the misty world of early autumn anyway. Like this was it's destiny all along...because dresses have destinies apparently. I need to spend more time in the real world.
Anyway, rational things I love about the dress. I love the 1940's vibes & the buttons down the front (although I don't love that they ALWAYS do that weird squiggle across my boobs...I have no idea what that's about). I love the petal detail of the sleeves, the collar & the soft float-y fabric of the dress. I LOVE the chinoiserie kind of print on the fabric & the colour. Seriously the colour is everything.
The dress is available sizes XS to 4XL on Modcloth & Unique Vintage. It is microscopically more expensive on Modcloth but they are currently doing free international shipping. Swings & roundabouts.
The skirt is a lot narrower than my usual circle skirts so I wasn't certain my regular petticoats would look right under it (they didn't) so I ended up getting myself a Zoey petticoat by Malco Modes. It's a much narrower petticoat, great for wheelchair users who are worried about the bulk of a fluffier petticoat. If anyone knows where I can get a Zoey petticoat in the UK (or at least Europe) I would really appreciate it because the shipping on the Malco Modes site's a lot.
The shoes are my B.A.I.T. footwear grey Rosalinda shoes (you can kind of see them in a few photos, sorry there aren't any better pictures). Not very practical to walk through nature in but very comfortable in day to day life.

Oh & finally the necklace is this one from Buttonsy Jewellary on Etsy. I used to have all my necklaces out on a tree thing from a few Christmases ago but before I got Renata (my cat) I put them all away in a box so that I didn't come in my room one day to find her tangled up in them (I wouldn't put it past her even now they're away if I'm honest, she's sneaky). The problem with putting them away is that I kind of forget about them. I'm going to have to put a post it on my makeup mirror or something to remind me...

I'm so excited for Autumn!
There are very few things I don't like about Autumn (& all of them have to do with Bonfire Night lol) but I have to say what I'm looking forward to most is my house just being QUIET sometimes (my brothers are both still around it just feels like I have no room to breathe sometimes). I'm also looking forward to autumn leaves & foggy mornings & listening to the rain & mornings where the sunlight doesn't burn my eyes out. Oh & stews & hot chocolates & baked goods with pumpkin & apple & warm spices. And wearing a whole load of burgundy. I love wearing burgundy. And plaid. And cardigans. And boots...I wish I could still fit into boots....
Oh Autumn is so my favourite season.
What are you looking forward to about autumn?

Friday 1 September 2017

Wheelchair Fashion: Sheerly Beachy

I know that it's now September but technically Autumn doesn't start until the 22nd so I'm hoping you'll forgive this one last Summer outfit post I'm sneaking in under the wire :)
This post is so cool, not only was it photographed in Whitby (which in itself makes it amazing for me) but it is also a collaboration with Shona Louise, a wonderful disability blogger & fellow powered wheelchair user. Also make sure to check out her GoFund Me, she's raising money for an essential new powerchair.
For this collaboration we both started out with the concept 'pastel beach' (or something like that lol) & ended up with two super cute, & very different looks, so make sure you go across to her blog & check out her look.

When I think of the beach there are really three things that come to mind, the stories my Mum tells about my Great-Grandma & Great-Grandpa going on holidays to Blackpool in the 1920s, the stories she tells about growing up in Scarbrough in the 1970s & Whitby.
So, since I've never been to Blackpool & my wheelchair doesn't do sand it had to be Whitby (there's no pier at Scarbrough). Plus you know how everyone has their favourite beach, the one that makes them REALLY feel like they are 'at the seaside' in a nostalgic way that no where else does? That's Whitby for me.
I like every part, even the ride over is pretty magic from Pickering through the North York Moors & down into Whitby....the whole experience is kind of my happy place.

It kind of isn't though.
The journey is very long, like more than 2 hrs each way, which takes a LOT out of me. Also Whitby is very hill-y, has narrow streets, is cobbled in a lot of places, is filled with inaccessible buildings & gets very crowded. So generally it's an anxiety & pain filled (very pretty) spoonie nightmare.
I always enjoy the idea of Whitby a lot more than the practicality lol. Which is why this is the first time I've been there in years.

It was kind of a blessed trip, I got to tick so many things off of my bucket list :)
Seeing the moors in a creepy Bram Stoker style mist. Tick. Being at the coast during a storm (not quite but the waves were big enough & loud enough that it totally counted). Tick. Being at the seaside at sunrise. A massive tick. And it was SO worth getting up at half past midnight to get there (I literally got up at half past midnight to start putting my makeup on & we were out of the house by half brothers were beyond not impressed.)

I feel like all I really want to talk about is the adventure that this day was, like here are the pretty clothes but let me tell you how much fun it was getting them :)

This outfit almost didn't happen, even though I'd been planning it for ages. For one I've been slimming down recently & the skirt, which I'd bought at the beginning of the summer, is now masses too big on me. For another the top (which is basically the cutest top I have ever owned) is way too small on me, despite being the biggest size 20th Century Clothing makes their tops in. The waist isn't a problem but there is no space in the chest area. I wore a sadistic torture device minimiser bra all to no avail lol. I don't think it ended up mattering in the pictures but there was freaking out going on right up to the morning of.

All in all the outfit gives me vibes of what my Great Grandma might have worn if she'd been a young woman going to Blackpool in the early 50's rather than the 20's. And if she'd had any disposable income. Ever.
Whatever, I think she'd have liked this outfit. Although I'm pretty certain she wouldn't have fit into the blouse any better than I do.

See that cloudy water? I've been wanting to do a long exposure shot like that for YEARS. That background is everything! I have to say though, it did give me empathy for the poor people in the early days of photography. This exposure was only a second-ish & it was a nightmare staying still, I ruined so many shots by either being blurry or looking like I was cut out of cardboard lol. Imagine trying to hold a perfect pose for minutes! Talk about suffering for vanity lol.

Anyway, clothes. The skirt was from collectif, the blouse is from 20th century foxy, the belt is from Pinup Girl Clothing, the camisole is from M&S and finally the shoes are from B.A.I.T. (as usual). Oh and the bag is from collectif too, also it is currently a total bargain which is always good.

This was an amazing day & a super fun collaboration. Definitely the high point of my summer. I'm so happy I am able to share both with you :)
What was the high point of your summer?