Finally! Bras you can sleep in…

‘For me, it’s hard to wear a bra the whole entire day if it’s got underwire’ Behati Prinslo

Part of me thinks an underwear post is long overdue however the other part of me thinks steer well clear, mainly because my dad is my biggest fan (hi dad!) And the last thing he wants to read about in my underkrackers

However, I have for a very long time wanted to write a post, the sole purpose of which is see how many euphemisms for boobs I can come up with, this is that post (sorry dad!)

I’ve wondered for a long time whether or not you should sleep in your bra. For the record, I never have as I always believed your bristols should be allowed to roam free at night having being caged all day. However I remember reading somewhere back in the 90s that Geri Halliwell always slept in hers as it kept her gazongas perky.

I asked some medical friends of mine their opinion and they reckoned that sleeping in your bra will probably make marginal difference to the perkiness of your jubblies – gravity, posture and age will take care of that for you, and will probably just be uncomfortable and give you a bad nights sleep.

Over recent time though I’ve hated the way my own bee stings look unsupported, the only time I would ever consider going braless would be in a heavily corsetted dress or top and quite frankly I was sick of fishing them out from under my armpits every morning (and I was off eating a marmite sandwich when chebs were given out) so if I struggle then other more blessed ladies must have a nightmare

It was on a hen do earlier in the year where I was introduced to these little beauts which seem to have been the answer to my saggy funbag prayers; bralets.

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They’re non wired, soft little miracles that are subtle enough that you don’t really feel them but give you just enough support that you don’t feel your maracas are half way round your back. They also came in very handy on a recent holiday where I was sharing a house with my parents and my in laws – they certainly didn’t need to see me walking around with my charlies fast and loose.

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These ones are from Primark but imagine they’re available all over – I know for a fact peacocks also sell them. I got the one above in the sale for £2 each

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And this pack of 2 (above) for £7. They also look really cute and you can barely feel them when they’re on.

No longer will I have to hold onto my nee naws when the doorbell goes and I’m still in my pyjamas at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon – hurrah!

Improve your reality or lower your expectations…

‘Habits like blogging often and regularly, writing down the way you think, being clear about what you think are effective tactics, ignoring the burbling crowd and not eating bacon. All of these are useful habits’ – Seth Godin

I’m not normally a fan of reflective summary posts. Actually, I’ll rephrase that, I love reading other people’s (Chloe from New Girl in Toon does a regular round up of her adventures which I eagerly await every month). That’s mostly because other people have way more exciting lives than I do and your average monthly round up for me would be; pub, pub, running, x-factor, pub, running, pub, which would get very tedious very quickly.

Recently however has been a little different in the crazy world of Newman and I wanted to take a moment to talk about some of the life changing events that have cropped up over the last couple of months. And before I go on I want to make clear that this isn’t a ‘look at how amazing and successful my life is kind of post’ most of the things that have happened have been a product of a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and literal tears. This is more of a reminder that it’s really easy to get bogged down in the negative and the mundane but actually, cool things do happen from time to time if you keep your head down and keep plugging away. And they should be celebrated; even by an eternal pessimist like me.

New Job

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In the back end of August I was interviewed and offered my dream job. Still within the NHS bur moving away from PA work, which I’ve done since  I left school at 18, and into a more engagement role which will also involve lots of report writing and content creation.  As someone who has found their passion in writing and creating this blog only a few years ago, being offered this opportunity to get paid for what I love to do is an absolute dream come true. It’s a total career change and it will be a challenge stepping out from the support staff role I’ve grown so used to (expect a post on my imposter syndrome coming very soon) but it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and I’m so excited about a brand new challenge.

Great North Run

You can read a more detailed review of my GNR experience here, but needless to say this is something I never thought I’d be able to achieve. Running does not come naturally to me and the constant training, particularly towards the end, really started to get me down.  I was really pleased with the time I completed it in and all the support I got on the day and through sponsorship was absolutely overwhelming. Now that it’s over though I have a massive sense of achievement and I’m even considering doing it again next year with my bestie Angela.

Fitness

If the post so far hasn’t ventured unto the self-indulgent then strap in because it’s about to! One of the happy side effects of training for the Great North Run is that I’ve managed to lose quite a nice amount of weight and toned up where I’ve never been toned before; namely, my legs.  Thankfully running 25 miles a week has gotten them into a shape and for the first time in my life I’ve been able to wear skinny jeans and jeggings without looking like an overstuffed sausage. And that’s a massive victory for me. On a slightly more serious note it also means I’ve managed to build up a level of fitness I never had before and I’m determined not to lose that now GNR is over.

Meeting my hero

To top off my 6 weeks of life changing events, in the middle of September me and my friend Emma won a competition on Instagram to meet Jaret Reddick the lead songer of one of my favourite bands; Bowling for Soup. Despite some slight ‘rock n roll admin’ issues which meant we almost missed him for the meet & greet, we were able to get some pictures, get some stuff signed and have a quick 5 minute chat with him and he was a really lovely guy. He probably the most famous (in fact the only famous) person i’ve ever met and it was really great that he was so normal! I never win anything either so the whole thing was so surreal, especially with all the other mad stuff that seems to have been happening recently!

So suffice to say 2017 has turned out to be a year when loads of stuff has changed, can’t wait to see what happens next!

What I Wore – Summer 2017

‘People get excited about summer wardrobes and what they will wear on holiday, and people have an opportunity to wear things that they don’t normally wear when they’re in the city’ – Jade Jagger

There’s a lot to be said for entering your mid thirties and suddenly realising that all the petty superficial stuff that used to bother you in your twenties you actually don’t give a shit about any more. I certainly don’t mess with my hair as much as I used to have have even been embracing my natral waves more recently.

When I was 25 I joined weight watchers and lost a bit of weight which, other than half a stone here or there I’ve managed to keep off. One of the side effects of losing so much weight was that it made me borderline obsessed with clothes and shopping – because shopping had become enjoyable again. However I’ve always played it pretty safe in the past and have always been a bootcut jeans and a t-shirt kind of girl.

Problem is that I love a bargain almost as much as I love jeans and t-shirts and i have a wardrobe full of clothes I’ve picked up from charity shops or in sales or on eBay that were brave for me, but I’ve never gotten round to wearing. This summer I decided to throw caution to the wind and wear all of the lovely clothes I’d bought, and be damned what anyone else thought because I liked them.

Here’s a catalogue of my summer of bravery:

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I’ve worn more dresses this summer than I think I’ve worn in my entire life!

I’ve also been trying to embrace the playsuit/jumpsuit/dungarees, especially when travelling, its one complete outfit but only one item of clothing. Plus you can be as smart or as casual as you like..

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Outfit details:

  1. Floral maxi dress – Kimerley Walsh for Very
  2. Red lace dress – h&m
  3. Denim dress – Levi
  4. Black & white prom dress – Coast
  5. Dungaree dress – F&F @ Tesco
  6. Black & white playsuit – F&F @ Tesco
  7. Black jumpsuit – Primark
  8. Black skinny dungarees – Primark 
  9. Khaki playsuit – Dorothy Perkins
  10. Black asymmetric playsuit – Kookai

Comment or link below and tell me what your favourite outfits of the summer have been!

H&M Cigarette Pants

‘My style is not that big. I wear heels, tight pants, and I wear diamonds’ – Donatella Versace

I’m the type of person who will chuck myself out of a plane on my honeymoon, and try the spiciest thing on a menu just to try and show off however when it comes to fashion I am anything but brave.

I’m apple-bottomed at best; fat-arsed would be a more accurate way to describe it, and as such, have always stuck to bootcut style things in a vein hope to try and balance out my massive hips and thighs. I was working in the centre of town recently and after what felt like a particularly trying meeting, I decided I needed a little pick me up and treat myself to some new clothes. I’m not in town often these days and usually rely on my local Tesco or ebay for my wardrobe which means I have an abundance of tops, but only staple bottoms that I’ve had for years and wear again and again.

My reasons for being drawn to these cigarette pants in H&M were 3 fold. 1. They came is loads of gorgeous colours and patterns 2. They were only £12.99 and 3. They were called ‘slacks’ on the label. Who doesn’t want to own a legitimate pair of slacks?!

Against my better judgement, and mainly because of the price and the fact I could do with some new black trousers I tried them on. I was surprised at how good they looked. As mentioned, a tapered leg isn’t something I would ever consider because I genuinely believe they, mixed with my gargantuan thighs, would make my legs looks like a carrot. However just because I thought they looked good, doesn’t really mean jack (I also once thought red parachute pants and yellow crocs – not together I hasten to add – looked good). So I did what any other girl in this situation would do; I sent it to my besties Whatsapp group for further opinion.

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With the thumbs up from my own personal Gok’s and a crisp £20 in my purse I took the plunge. And I have to say I’ve gotten loads of compliments since I’ve worn them. I even threw caution to the wind a bought a patterned pair, which for me, is so trendy it’s practically unheard of for me!

Here’s a hack for you hack fans; if you sign up for H&Ms newsletter, you get free delivery and 25% off one item off your first order under that address; so bearing in mind I only wanted to order one thing, and am never in town or the metro centre these days, I got my second pair, delivered home for £9.74 – sweet!

It just goes to show really that sometimes it pays to go out of your fashion comfort zone once and a while, and I’m planning on getting a red pair and a khaki pair when I get paid at the end of the month; I just hope I’m not writing in 5 years time about that awful time I was obsessed with cigarette pants! #fashionvictim

Is there anything you’ve been cautious of buying but actually ended up loving?

What I Wore – Christmas 2016

‘For Christmas, I do love wearing cute dresses with tights and a pair of boots’ – Ashley Benson

I’m not someone who gets dressed up all that often. Whilst we have a very healthy social life, it’s usually low key drinks at the local pub or grabbing some food somewhere between bars in town. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve worn a dress this year.

December however if a little different. I’m fortunate that in my job I straddle different teams (oo err) therefore I get invited to a few different work nights out. Add that to Christmas Jumper day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and NYE, and you’ve got a minefield of outfit choices. I’m desperately trying to save for my trip to Vegas with Meagan next year so my usual tradition of buying a whole load of new togs was out of the question. I had the extra challenge of making do with what I already have. That’s fine though, I’d made a vow at the beginning of the year to stop being so frivolous with my money when it comes to buying clothes and needed to get worn what I already have. Even if that means, horror or horrors, wearing something twice #shockedfaceemoji.

So here’s what I manged to cobble together. I say cobble together like it was an easy whimsicle decision. Obviously I’d tried on pretty much everything I’ve ever owned before settling on these. Being a chronic over thinker is truly exhausting sometimes…

Work night out number 1 – Thursday 15th December 2016, dinner at Mantra Thai

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This wasn’t at all what I’d planned to wear, I’d brought a different top to get changed into, but happened to end up having the busiest of busy days at work and was getting a lift into town. I was too rushed to get have time to get changed. I figured I’d just get changed in the pub but once everyone started arriving and we all got chatting and drinking that didn’t happen. Not the ideal outfit i’ll admit but it was just a low key dinner and drinks, plus it was freezing, so actually didn’t matter in the end

Work night out number 2 – Friday 16th December 2016, dinner at Prima followed by drinks

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All all my nights out this was the ‘big one’ the one where all the lasses out their party frocks on and dance into the wee small hours. Basically, apart from if i’m going to a wedding, this is the one night a year I dress like a girl. I’d planned on wearing a little black dress from Teatro initially, but although it looked lovely once on, I wouldn’t be able to eat, drink, breathe in or out in it so decided on this Ben de Lisi black leather skirt i got in the Debenhams sale 2 years ago but never worn, an old trusty top from River Island and the statement necklace that goes with everything from H&M (borrowed from my lovely friend Carrie).

Work night out number 3 – Monday 19th December 2016 – Lunch at Cafe 21

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Gotta love a work toilet selfie…

Technically not a night out, more an afternoon, but on this occasion I didn’t roll home until 11pm from being out from 1pm so definitely went into night out territory. Again, a more casual one so was set on just wearing some black jeggings and my new bargainous Aldo boots i’d recently gotten from ebay. Skinny jeans (these particular ones are from Matalan) are a new concept for me. I’d previous shied away from them for fear of them making my massive thighs look like carrots but with the right top and boots think I just about manage to pull them off. I don’t have a lot of longer tops to wear with them at the moment so borrowed this one (from New Look) from my equally lovely friend Emma which I love so much I’m considering offering to buy it off her!

Christmas Day – Sunday 25th December 2016

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Long gone are the days where I get a dolled up in a fancy dress for Christmas Day. For me it’s all about O tidings of comfort and stretch. For the last few years Dave and I (at my insistence) have donned hilarious festive t-shirts. This year they were courtesy of our local Matalan, which we’ve discovered if you wait until Christmas Eve, everything’s in the sale and you can pick up a witty Christmas top for £3 each (if you can be bothered to nose dive into the sale rails of course).

Boxing Day – Monday 26th December 2016

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Again, I’m not one for getting dressed up when we’re just hanging around the house in our little Christmas bubble however we do normally go round to my inlaws to spend some time with out niece and nephew and have a post Christmas buffet so my new fleecy pjs are usually a little too casual. I’d found this polar bear jumper in the Matalan sale (£8) and fit the bill perfectly. Although technically i’d say it was a winter jumper rather than a Christmas jumper, I imagine it will also be pulled out next December for Christmas jumper day at work!

New Years Eve – Saturday 31st December 2016

For the last 5 years we’ve either stayed in and had people round or gone to someone else’s house so was always pleased to hide my festive chub under a baggy jumper. This year thought we jumped at the chance when Steph & Chris invited us out to see in the New Year at Wylam Brewery with them. It did mean however having to but a little more effort in. Since i’m not sure how long my new obsession with jeggings will last I hauled them out with this top from H&M (£12.99 – the only new thing I’ve bought all December!) which hide christmas pudding tummy. I’d also gotten this sequin jacket (Vero Moda) from ebay for 99p last winter and never really worn it before so thought it would be the perfect sparkle injection!

Also, isn’t it interesting how much fuller my face gets throughout December? I like to call that The Prosecco Effect!

Me & My Designer Dress

‘Any opportunity to get into fashion and find a beautiful dress, I’m very definitely excited about that’ – Emilia Clarke

In the grand scheme of things, I spend very little money on clothes. If my husband reads this he will undoubtedly call me a steaming hotpot of lies, however what I mean by that is, I buy clothes often, I just don’t spend a lot of money on them. To illustrate, here’s a visual representation of the clothes I own:

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Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m some kind of cheapskate who has to buy second hand clothes all the time, I just change my mind (and my waistline) quicker than Taylor Swift goes through boyfriends and I like to have choice. The idea of a capsule wardrobe quite frankly makes me have a panic attack.

Taking all that into consideration, a few weeks ago I found myself in town after a particularly difficult job interview where I’d received a bit of a grilling and I was feeling very sorry for myself. As I had the rest of the day off and a small amount of birthday money left I decided to do a bit of sales shopping. I found myself in TK Maxx, not somewhere I go all that often but I felt I’d exhausted the rails of Primark, H&M and my local Tesco recently so decided to have a browse, I was actually looking for a denim shirt.

In among all the denim shirts that I couldn’t afford, like a magpie I was drawn to a navy blue sequin dress. My god it was beautiful, I couldn’t resist but have a closer look. My heart nearly stopped beating when I saw it was Kate Spade (a designer my friend Carrie has won round to after giving me a Kate Spade purse she didn’t want any more) Then my heart definitely stopped beating when I saw it was my size (the only one of its kind in the whole shop I might add, and it was in my size!). And AND who doesn’t love a dress with pockets?!

I resuscitated myself again by looking at the price, yeah, there was no way I could afford that however for some reason it stayed in my hand all the way to the dressing room. I’d convinced myself that once I’d tried it on I would see how ill-fitting it was and skip on down the street to Primark where I belong. Of course it fit like a glove, in fact it fit like I was always meant to have it on. Crap.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. There was only one person who could be me the verbal smack around the mouth I needed and tell me to grow up and stop being so materialistic. My mum. This is the whatsapp exchange that followed:

Double crap. So you know what I did? I bought the bloody dress. And you know what else? I’m pleased I did because I never treat myself and I felt amazing when I put that dress on. I know it’s completely vain and completely senseless and I probably will only get a couple of wears out of it at best but I don’t care.  Because I love my new Kate Spade dress. Perhaps that interview shook something in me, perhaps I was having some kind of mental breakdown or perhaps I just fancied doing some reckless for a change.

I think sometimes it feels good to do something out of character to test yourself to see what you’re made of. The interview had pulled me out of my comfort zone so while I was flailing around in the ether of weakness I reckoned I may as well go big or go home.

So I went big. Then I went home. Giving my obligatory visit to Primark a miss on this occasion.

Totally awesome tote bags

‘Everybody, when you go through the checkout line after you get your groceries and they say, ‘Paper or plastic?’ We should be saying, ‘Neither one.’ We should have our own cloth bags’ – Woody Harrelson

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Can you believe it’s been a year now since the carrier bag charge was introduced in shops and supermarkets across the UK? I fought it for a long time, thinking ‘what’s another 5p on top of my shopping anyway and in fact I find it ironic the as soon as they introduced the charge, they also improved the quality of the bags, nice to know that 5p is being spent wisely, not wasted on, you know the environment and stuff.

Then there’s Primark who have tried to get around it by offering paper bags. Whilst they may be biodegradable and made from recycled toilet paper, they’re not much good in the rainy North East. More than once I’ve had to rescue my £4 pyjamas from the soggy pavement of Northumberland street after the smallest of downpours.

So i deceided to bite the bullet and invest in  some of the funky canvas bags that are now so readily available since the carrier bag charge was introduced. Plus Dave takes great pleasure in referring to me as his ‘Bag for Life’ in an oh so hilarious cockney rhyming slang kind of way, so if i’m going to be referred to as one, I’m making sure I own some cool ones:

The Body Shop Foundation Bag for Life – £5

The Body Shop have always been environmentally conscious. Back when I was a tweenager and stocking up on my White Musk shower gel they were probably the only brand on the market that could categorically say they didn’t test on animals. I love a cheesy empowering statement and this speaks to my creative side, because sometimes  shopping in Tesco on a rainy monday night is exactly when we need reminding to follow our passions.

Rad.co Canvas Shopper – £12.90

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Rad.co has been one of my favourite online shops over the last year years, i have to stop myself every month buying all their hip hop inspired arty t-shirts and although they seem to have taken a left down Crass Alley recently, this is still my favourite canvas bag of the lot of them. it’s a little smaller than the other two but does perfectly to carry a change of clothes when I’m out straight from work on a Friday. And all my colleague love the opportunity to quip that I shouldn’t be bringing my emotional baggage to work with me, har dee har.

Funny Geordie Tote Bag for Life – £8

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One for the Geordies or the Geordies at heart, i would giggle to myself every time i saw this in the window of Upside Down, which is a tiny little Geordie themed gift shop opposite Prima Italian restaurant on Dean Street. They do a huge range in funny gifts, i can’t wait until one of my friends is pregnant so i can buy them a ‘holy shit you’re up the duff’ greetings card. Definitely somewhere wroth a visit in the run up to Christmas. you can also order most of their gifts online.