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Dressing Up

floral velvet dress

floral velvet dress

Dress: boohoo / Hat: H&M / Tights: H&M

I hardly recognise myself in these photos, I’m so used to having short hair. To be honest, this wig is longer than my hair has ever been, but what’s the point in dressing up if you can’t make believe. I really like this dress, its bright enough to stand out, but easy to wear. Red has always suited me, and you can’t see from these pictures but the background is actually navy, but I’ve ignored that and accessorised it with black anyway.

For Christmas I got the best present ever, a pair of Dr Marten shoes. I’ve wanted some for ages because they’re so practical, but they’re too expensive to justify buying, which is why I’m glad it was almost Christmas. These are my third pair of Dr Martens but my first new pair, I’ve saved the shoe box to keep makeup in, because I couldn’t bare to throw it away.

doc martens

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Holiday Nails

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This is probably my favourite nail varnish of 2013, Barry M Countess. My favourite thing about this polish is how it looks with a top coat. I got it for Christmas from my boyfriend, as well as some Barry M limited edition glitter and a nail art pen, neither of which I have tried out yet.

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This was an attempt at nail art, but I didn’t like it very much. It’s got a white and blue gradient with a thin layer of Barry M Silver Foil over the top and a snowflake drawn on.

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I really like this design, it’s one of the first ones I’ve done with crackle polishes, but I love the blue and silver combination. I wore it to the New Year’s Eve party I went to.

Polishes Used:
1. Barry M Countess / Sally Hansen Insta Dri
2. MUA Bold Blue / MUA All Nude / Barry M Silver Foil / Sally Hansen Insta Dri
3. Barry M Blue Grape / OPI Silver Shatter / Sally Hansen Insta Dri

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Female Power and Roller Derby

Transformation from nice woman you'd want to let a house to hot pants wearing derby girl: complete.

Transformation from nice woman you’d want to let a house to derby girl: complete.

I’ve said from the beginning that roller derby celebrates and empowers women, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I managed to put my finger on exactly why I love derby. It’s not because it empowers women, but because it makes them powerful.

In this patriarchal society, where women’s bodies are property of men, where women are encouraged, if not forced, to make themselves thinner, less hairy and generally submissive under the guise of ‘beauty’, it’s hard for women to really feel like their bodies belong to themselves. This is where, for me, roller derby comes in. Roller derby teaches women a new way of inhabiting their bodies, of seeing it not as something which has to be moulded to a form dictated by someone else, but instead as something which you learn to trust and when you do, it frequently surprises you with its strength.

Roller derby is a sport, it’s about being better than you were last week, about being out of breath and about waking up the next day with aching muscles. But it’s not about comparing yourself to others, it’s about learning at your own speed and patiently teaching your body to do things you didn’t think it could do. The whole act of skating is, if you think about it, fairly ridiculous, as a coach once told me ‘you’ve strapped wheels to your feet, why would you do that dumbass?’. And as a result it makes you think differently about how you move. Yesterday I skated 27 laps of the track in 5 mins (ok, I’ll stop bragging now…) and I didn’t do it by pounding my feet on the ground as hard as I could, I did it by staying low, focussing on my technique and thinking of the ground as an extension of my feet rather than something I was afraid of. It taught me to reevaluate about my relationship with my surroundings and with myself.

When I got to derby practice I don’t get told what to eat, or how much you should weigh, I get told to think about my posture when I’m skating, or where my feet are placed in order to do this. For five plus hours a week my entire focus is on my body, the muscles aching to hold me up and my legs attempting to master new moves. I’m not trying to make myself smaller in order to sit next to someone on public transport, or worrying about whether my eyebrows are plucked sufficiently (hint: they’re not), I’m thinking about what my body can do, not what it can’t.

Derby gives you new muscles you didn’t think you had, I can probably kick a door down now just from the hours I’ve spent squatting. But it’s not the physical power I’ve gained from derby that makes me feel powerful, it’s the shift in the way I think about my body, and the relationship I have with it. I’ve regained something which I didn’t even realise I’d lost, and now I’ve got it back I’m stronger than ever.

derby skating

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Nail catch-up: Barry M Crystal Glaze

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I was really excited for the Barry M autumn release, but it wasn’t this polish I wanted it was the mattes. I bought the burgundy matte polish but I wasn’t that impressed by it. However, I found some awesome nail art for the Crystal Glaze polish that layered it over black and decided to recreate it. I really liked it, it was one of those nail designs that I couldn’t stop looking at!

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I couldn’t resist using the Crystal Glaze top coat again today. The base colour is W7 Brownie which is the perfect autumnal brown, I love how it blends in with Crystal Glaze, although over all I think I like the black best.

Polishes Used
1. W7 Black / Barry M Crystal Glaze / Sally Hansen Insta Dri
2. W7 Brownie / Barry M Crystal Glaze / Sally Hansen Insta Dri

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Secret Garden

tkmax-dress

 

Dress: TK Maxx / Necklace: Gingers

There’s only one picture of this outfit, unfortunately! My hair desperately needs a cut and it was doing something very strange in all these photographs. However, I really liked this photo so I thought I’d post it anyway.

I never really go to TK Maxx, it’s sort of tucked away in Castle Mall so I forget it exists, but I was shopping with my boyfriend for some t-shirts and I found this dress. I’ve been wearing it to work, but it’s smart enough to wear out as well. I really like it paired with this necklace from Gingers because of the colour contrast.

My favourite thing about this photo is our garden in the background with the sunflowers and geraniums tucked away. My housemate had her nieces over last weekend and we let them draw all over the floor with chalks, they’ve mostly washed away with the rain now though.

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Nail catch-up: Barry M Hi-Shine Gelly Art

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I recently bought two new Barry M Gelly polishes, Papaya and Lychee. I figured the coral and neutral colours would be suitable for work, plus I can never turn down a Barry M Gelly polish. This nail art combined both of them, the Lychee managed to work for stamping, it might look a bit light to some, but I like the subtlety of this design. Also if you like the Papaya polish, my friend has done a great review of it here.

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This one is the opposite of subtle, I wanted something bright and sparkly on my nails. The glitter coat is BYS All That Glitters, I really like the different sizes and colours of glitter, especially the small red glitter which gives it a really nice depth.

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For a long time Plum was my favourite nail polish in my collection, but now I think Papaya might have over taken it. I can’t really beat the Gelly polishes for staying power though, which to me makes them a firm favourite.

Polishes used:
1. Barry M Hi-Shine Gelly Papaya / Barry M Hi-Shine Gelly Lychee / Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
2. Barry M Hi-Shine Plum / BYS All That Glitters / Sally Hansen Insta-Dri 

jenny

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Introducing… Jenny Wreck

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If you hadn’t guessed by the photos, this blog is going to be about roller derby! So, three and a half months ago, I went to see the Norfolk Brawds play an open bout at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich, despite having a terrible hangover it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen, and then and there I said I was going to go to their ‘fresh meat’ training. I had told myself before that couldn’t do roller derby because I didn’t have a job, and wasn’t confident or fit, but I decided that I’d had enough of excuses, I was going to actually go and have a try.

So I did. And it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Since then I’ve got a job, made heaps of new friends (more about that later!) and got fitter in the process. Last week was sign offs, where we get tested on all the skills we’ve learnt in level one. I went along thinking I couldn’t do jumps, so wouldn’t pass level one, but was determined to have a good go all the same. Plus I didn’t want to miss out on a chance to get my skates on, (seriously, once you start you can’t stop!) I went and tried my hardest, but when it came to jumping over that 3 inch high stick, I tried, fell over and my toestop came off. I spent so long getting it back on (a small part of the plate had snapped off, but that was no big deal) that I missed out on my other two tries. I finished the rest of the sign offs, unsure of how well I’d done. Then, at the end of the session I was given another two tries at jumping it, the first time I fell over, but the second time I managed to jump and land without falling over! It was such a good feeling, in that moment I didn’t even care whether I’d passed level one, but it came to know the results and … “62, you’ve passed level 1”. I was buzzing for the rest of the week.

However, that’s not quite the best thing about derby, the best thing is the people! All my fellow fresh meat skaters have become like a little family, we’ve all struggled through learning t-stops and plough stops and many yells of ‘get lower!!!!’ together. But so much of roller derby also happens off the track, we’ve all volunteered to help out the Brawds in one way or another, spending our weekends supporting the team by being a Non Skating Official or representing the Brawds at events going on in Norwich. And, I have to say, I wouldn’t want to spend my time with any other people, all the fresh meat and bouting Brawds are so lovely and friendly! If you want more to read the wonderful Wild Honey has a dedicated derby blog Diary of a Roller Derby Rookie and one of my fresh meat family is the lovely Gemma of Retro Chick, so check them out! Plus you should definitely support the Brawds or local roller derby wherever you are.

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(Photo by Wild Honey)

jenny

P.S. Yes, I did put my kneepads and wrist guards on just to take photos in my garden, it felt silly, but not as silly as it would have been to explain if I had fallen over without them!