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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

ON LIFE, BLOGGING AND BEING HAPPY

Well, I've been a bit of an absent blogger recently, haven't I? I feel like I have a lot to fill you in on, much of which I have put off acknowledging to myself, so revealing it on the blog has been quite a daunting prospect. I have actually started to write this post 4 times now, in various formats and forms, but I've decided just to get on and write it in the least flowery, least considered way possible.So here goes:

down under
 1. I AM MOVING TO AUSTRALIA. 

Well, I say moving. What I mean is - in three months' time, I am packing up a handful of clothes and heading down under for a year of adventure with this ridiculous character - my boyfriend, Henry. We're spending two months in a campervan exploring the East Coast (with a sliiight detour to Ayres Rock), and then making our way up to Darwin where our life on wheels comes to an end. The plan then is to head out to Bali, spend some time with my Dad who lives there, and generally experience the paradise of the island after two months of what will inevitably be a challenging couple of months on the road. Then, wherever we lay our well-worn clothes will be our home (for the next 9 months or so). We were originally thinking Melbourne to settle, but Brisbane is quickly becoming a close contender.

I am both scared and excited. In the main, I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, but it's a big step (especially going away for a whole year with Henry ON OUR OWN) and I think it would be strange not to be at least a little bit nervous about the prospect of an entirely new way of living. Now that bit's over, time for the next big news...

down under

2. DOT DOWN UNDER

I am starting the blog afresh. I've been wanting to change tack for a little while, and this seems the perfect opportunity to do it. The provisional, likely-to-be-changed, working title is Dot Down Under - 'Little Dot' was what my Mum always called me growing up, and so this seemed suitably personal. It will be a travel-based site with endless photos, reviews and interviews with the inevitably wonderful people I meet along the way.

This will give me the opportunity to show you guys what I can really do - I have felt a little restricted by the Diary of a Small Girl premise recently, so I'm looking forward to writing in a whole different style. I'm a sucker for pretty things, and it has been fantastic writing about petite fashion and all that it entails, but it's time to mix it up and do something new. I will undoubtedly keep that side of things going a bit, but it will not be my sole aim for the site.

I will be launching the new site shortly before I leave. If you have any suggestions, or questions, please let me know - I will be happy to hear them.
 
3. HAPPINESS

I haven't been experiencing a whole lot of this emotion recently. In fact, I have been somewhat irrationally and uncharacteristically sad (my doctor calls it depression). There, I said it. It's probably the most honest thing I've ever written on this blog, and I hope that goes at least a little way in explaining why I've been a bit (a lot) quiet on here of late.

I would never claim to be someone who is an expert on mental health issues, but I have always found a strange relief in reading about other people's demon-beaters, whether that be a medication for anxiety, a meditation for alleviating depression, or a specific book which breathes a new sense of perspective into the reader's unravelling world. So here's a little list of the things which have kept me afloat of late; the things which have helped get me out of bed in the morning when I haven't especially felt like it:

down under

3.1 My Book of Gratitude 

To get me out of this funk, my mum lent me a book called The Magic. It's kinda like The Secret, except this focuses heavily on gratitude. It works on a 'like attracts like' principle, so the more grateful you are, the more positivity will gravitate towards you. I haven't magicked myself up an Aston Martin yet, but I'm feeling lighter on my feet. Appreciating the litle things on a more active level is really helping me to deal with the dark days, which are becoming fewer and further between. I use this little book here to write my lists of things I love, and to complete the book's daily exercises.

down under

3.2 Exercise 

I know you've heard this a million times before, so much so that it's now a terrible cliche. However, this does work and is worth more than any anti-depressant if you can muster the energy to get out and do it. This is the hard part - when everything feels pointless and your actions seem inconsequential, summoning the willpower to keep at a regime is difficult at best.

I have been following a book called I Can Make You Fit Fast by Matt Roberts - personal trainer to the stars, apparently - which gives a day-by-day guide on what you need to eat and what exercise you need to do to feel your very best. I haven't been sticking to the diet all that much as it's the fitness part I'm concerned with, but I can tell you now - it works!

More than anything else, it keeps me motivated knowing I'm doing exactly what I need to make a difference to my own body. Seeing the change in my fitness has been really inspiring - I've gone from struggling through 10 minutes on the cross trainer to whacking out 30 minutes no problem. It leaves me feeling at least a little bit accomplished, knocking that positivity on to my self-esteem, making me feel like an all-round better person.

down under

3.3 Art

For me, one of the worst parts about feeling this way is the complete creative brain-drain. It's like someone's flipped a switch that powers the fun part of my intellect; everything I write comes out a little flat, everything I draw a little misshapen (or that's how it seems to me, at least).

I'm lucky enough to live in an area of London colourful with the guerilla art of some amazingly talented people. Up in East Dulwich, graffiti artist Marlarko has done up the entire front-side of a house with his designs, and Lordship Lane is covered in spray-painted wonders.

I'm not about to start painting the sides of buildings anytime soon, but it's good to feel that flicker of excitement and inspiration every now and again.

down under

3.4 Vitamin D

Sun, sun, sun. I don't need to explain, do I?! Beautiful, life-enhancing rays which I can't wait to enjoy some more of in the not so distant future. I've forced myself to really make the most of the brief moments of sunshine we've had recently, getting out to the close-by Horniman Gardens and Dulwich Park for picnics and generally laying-about with friends has really lifted my spirits. If you're someone, like me, who'd consider staying in when the sun's out to 'get some work done' (ie. read some XOJane articles and label it 'inspiration') - DON'T. Get out, get that vitamin D and watch yourself smile a little bit wider.

down under

3.5 Appreciating Random Acts of Kindness 

It's not uncommon for me to find myself tearful in public places. On one such occasion recently, I was on a train quietly blubbering into my handbag. A not bad-looking guy got on and sat down in the row opposite, a little to my right. A couple of moments later, in my peripheral vision I could see a blue object making its way towards my face. It was a feather; a huge blue feather which looked as though it had fallen from some exotic bird.

He smiled as he handed me it, and as I instinctively whispered 'wow, it's beautiful', he gave me a little wink. It wasn't a suggestive wink, just a little acknowledgement that he had made my life just that little bit better, if only for that one moment where I was taken out of myself feeling surprised (and a bit smug) that someone had just given me an enormous beautiful blue feather on the train (like in some kind of movie scene!)

In my miserable haze, I could have brushed off this incident - this random act of kindness - as nothing more than a ridiculous, hipster-ish gesture. But I didn't. I forced myself to feel good about the fact that someone had taken time out of their day to be kind to me. It was a sign that beautiful things can come of not-so-wonderful situations, and that made me very happy indeed.
 

Of course, if you're feeling really hopeless and things are becoming too much these things might only scratch the surface. In which case please, PLEASE see your doctor who might be able to help you with some therapy (I've had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and it does work) and/or some medication (which I too have tried, with varying success).

I also massively dig these websites for their insightful/informative takes on mental health issues:
  • XoJane - where women talk openly and intelligently about every issue (and non-issue) under the sun
  • Mind - their Time to Change blog has gotten me through many a tough time, also a great site if you need any mental-health related advice (for work, especially)
  • Being Little - I love this blog, and it helps that blogger Lyzi writes so well about her own struggles with anxiety and depression.


Friday, 19 April 2013

THE BIG HEELS DEBATE

I was asked recently: “If you write a blog for short women, propounding the virtues of being a short woman, is it not a bit hypocritical to wear heels every day?”

Let’s get this straight – I’m not tottering around in teetering, vertiginous stilettos, but I am almost daily in a slightly platformed pair of Acne-copy booties which are probably equally as bad for my back and general well-being as their sluttier counterparts. 

Whatever the case, I wear some kind of height-enhancing footwear almost every day, and despite some argument to the contrary, my face flushed a little at the realisation that I may be doing you ladies a disservice.

I felt like a Weight Watchers Leader caught in the pie-aisle in Sainsbury's; like a PETA activist wearing fur because "it's so damn soft". I felt wrong, Small Girls. I felt wrong and ashamed.

That didn't stop me from launching into this discussion head-long with a seemingly well thought-out argument in my defense. Like someone with something to prove, I gave this response:

"When I go out wearing flats, my height becomes an issue for other people. If I want to be patted, picked up, called cute and aww'd at, all I have to do is go out wearing a pair of flats. Heels help save my sanity from patronising bastards..."

I lie - I was drunk and it was no-where close to that articulate, but that is my sober, blog-worthy version. Well-formed sentences aside, the above is a truthful account of what I said - bitterness, negativity, and all.

As the words came out of my mouth and my cheeks flushed a telling shade of red, I felt the full force of my inner conflict. I realised: I wear heels everyday to hide my height. I do. I hide my height with block heels and little concealed platforms just to avoid a relentless reminder that I'm different.

But like all good game-changing chats, the way I think has been altered forever. I've been marched out of the pie-aisle - my fur coat of contradiction has been donated to Oxfam. I'm ready to embrace the flats. Question is: which ones?

Will these amazing Doc Marten's seal the deal?


These Nicholas Kirkwood suede and glitter loafers may have been the ones, but they're no longer sold (I definitely could have afforded them if they were...)
More loafers, only more buy-able as they're from ASOS and £35.  But will they go with anything I wear?!
If I could turn back time to when these Nike x Liberty high-tops were sold, I'd be a very happy Small Girl. Sadly, it's likely they'll never be mine...

So I put it to you Small Girls: should we be enhancing our heights or embracing the short? 

Monday, 25 March 2013

SMALL GIRL INSIGHT AND GIVEAWAY: NEW LOOK PETITE

new look petite

I always get a little bit excited when a retailer decides to shorten hemlines, take inches off inseams and generally accommodate for a smaller frame. Not only does it mean us vertically challenged have more chance of finding something that fits to throw over our heads of a morning; it also indicates that the petite fashion industry is on the up (or if we’re going to be all ironic – growing!) 

When an uber-store like New Look add a ‘Petite’ to their tags and create a whole new line ‘specially for us, you can bet your first Mulberry that I'll be all kinds of happy about it. So when the lovely ladies at New Look Petite invited me in to see the new collection, I threw on my most colour-clashing of outfits and went to visit them in their amazing offices (see above images!)

There were midi-dresses in wonderful Aztec prints, denim shorts with lacy applique detail, and the most beautiful pair of coated black skinny jeans I've ever laid my eyes on (as soon as they hit the site, they're MINE!) - all in whittled-down sizes to fit our smaller frames (if my camera hadn't broken as soon as I entered the offices, I would've taken some better photos - sorry!)

Nicola Phillips, the Buyer's Assistant for the collection, talked me through their choices and revealed some exclusive insights for you Diary of a Small Girl readers:

  • From Online to On Shop Floor
So you know how it's really annoying that the range is only online?! Be miffed no longer - they're coming to a store near you SOON (in May, if we're going to get specific!). Click here to view where you can find them.

  • Shorter Lengths for Shorter Legs

One of the plans for the range is to include jeans/trousers with a 26" length - amazing news for those of you who (like me) are under the 5'0" mark. The team also plan to introduce a petite exclusive range, designed and produced exclusively with the petite girl in mind.

  • Insider's Opinion: Strongest Pieces
"For SS13 our key items are Midi dresses - looking really strong in new fabrics and exciting prints, the maxi dress continues to be a key item layered up with a skinny belt and cropped denim jacket along with aztec print skirts teamed back with crop tops and wedges. The Boyfriend jean with a turn up worn back with heels is a key shape along with skinny jeans in new washes. You can expect to see all this coming through online and in stores beginning of May."

  • GIVEAWAY
I know how much you want to try some of this stuff for yourselves, so I'm giving away a couple of the pieces  I walked away from the wonderful New Look offices with. How about on-trend monochrome in a crop top and aztec midi dress? (size 10) Comment on this photo and the Facebook page with your favourite New Look Petite piece and which item you'd like for a chance to win! Competition closes on 8th April.

Good luck, Small Girls!




Tuesday, 26 February 2013

SMALL GIRL SIZING: ASOS PETITE JACKET WITH FLORAL EMBROIDERY

asos petite jacket with floral embroidery

I'll start by telling you this: I have not taken this jacket off my back since I bought it about a week ago. And every time I wear it, I'll get at least one compliment on it (and usually one disappointed reaction when I tell them it's ASOS, not vintage). I love it so for a number of reasons: the flattering cropped fit, the round neckline which looks great when the jacket's done-up and worn with a collared shirt, but mainly the intricate brightly coloured design embroidered all over.

I bought this in a size 8, and for me, it's perfect. It doesn't look exactly as it does on the model (of course!) but  it's still a good enough fit for me to be happy. With a £65 price tag, this jacket needs to feel fairly luxurious, and it's for this reason the jacket's not quite perfect. There's just a touch too much polyester for my liking, but you can't deny it's beautiful, so I'll let it off. Completely sold out in the main collection, the petite section is the only place left to buy this jacket, so get in there quick if you're love-struck like me!

My sizing reference:
Size 8/10
Height: 4'11"

Saturday, 23 February 2013

fashion week
        Something to Want - Something to Watch - Something to Wear - Something I've Got!

WANT// 
Sky-scraper heels aren't normally my thing, but these KG Kitty Platform Sandals make me want to totter around feeling sexy and kitsch all at the same time.
Very Moschino Cheap & Chic.

WATCH//
Me and my boyfriend have a bit of a documentary obsession (Louis Theroux is our God). The House I Live In, about the class-based war on drugs in America, was moving and eye-opening in equal measure.
Prepare for tears, but well worth a watch.

WEAR//
Oh I love a statement 'pant'. This Matthew Williamson pair probably wouldn't fit me, and I definitely couldn't afford them, but I love the florals with a small section of pixellation for a Preen-esque touch.
Relaxed, slouchy loveliness for a bit of petite rebelliousness. 

GOT//
I've yet to wear these 'Hashtag' heels, probably because they were given to me as a present so they feel too special to unleash onto the world. I'm looking forward to their outfit debut though, probably with some slouchy trousers a la the ones to WEAR//.
Photos of their first outing to follow!