TMI of the Month (Halloween Special) – PERIODS & BLOOD & GORE

Hello my little deathlings.

Welcome to the gynaecological equivalent of a Simpsons Halloween Special. Ye be warned, this particular post is read at your own peril. Seriously, there will be many an English pound put in the Vagina Jar here. (May numerous tributes be made to the imminent extinction of said English pound, whenever Spandau Ballet’s Gold is drunkenly bellowed at a karaoke. You’re indestructible.) Back to the horror story though…

THIS IS ABOUT PERIODS.

Though in all Hallows honesty, for a modern culture prone to fetishizing blood in cinema, games, Autumnal décor and I daresay lipsticks, you would think that a completely natural and healthy procedure of monthly bloodloss would be a perfectly acceptable topic of discussion. To be thrown around a dinner table as casually as a debate over the merits of Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd. (Particularly if the main course is pie, haha cannibalism.)

So what in blazes am I talking about? Basically, consider this TMI of the Month a declaration of independence: I, Rosie, have given up tampons. BYE BITCHES. As a follow up to my previous post (a review of the UK ‘Mooncup’) it is with the lightest of hearts and the heaviest of flows that I relinquish my need to subscribe to a product that is, in my opinion, a very woman-unfriendly product. That might be an ugly phrase but I honestly don’t know how else to put it…tampons are just, not nice. The fact that they absorb everything in their path, not just blood but your own natural fluids. The vagina has an incredible self-maintaining eco system that does not in any way benefit from shoving inside something highly absorbent and laden with bleach and chemicals. Said chemicals which don’t have to be explicitly stated by the likes of Procter & Gamble, as we’re dealing with a ‘medical’ product here, so don’t worry guys. Except about the TSS thing. Let’s get real menstruating people, Toxic Shock Syndrome continues to be this spectre of horror that governs the frequency of our tampon changes. Incidentally, removing a BASICALLY DRY tampon happens to be one of the most appalling moments in an average female day…it’s like you’re dragging a stiff pillowcase out of there, just no. ‘Luxury’ items should feel like silk. To me, this feels like abuse. Which I have tolerated for the majority of my menstruating life. So why not wear a pad? For me, remarkably, disposable pads feel worse, just immensely uncomfortable. It’s the idea as well that everything is so virginally white and labelled as sanitary as if it has been completely cleansed of bacteria (it hasn’t), or merely propagated in a supermarket aisle as feminine wear as if it were a collection of dusky pashminas nestled in a dwindling orchard. The constant euphemisms, the avoidance of discussing what is actually happening to our bodies, the extract-of-Smurf liquid that is delicately poured onto towels in Bodyform adverts…it does not sit right with me. It does not a jot. So I made the transition…to MENSTRUAL CUPS!

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The Mooncup was a very logical solution to this discomfort, and I am so incredibly happy that I persevered with it, and have now settled into a routine that is infinitely better for my body and my current level of cynicism. I can say with confidence that I will not go back to tampons, unless perhaps under very rare circumstances I am in a situation where cleanliness is compromised. Even then, there are ways around it. What I hope to achieve from this declaration of independence, is discussion. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PERIODS. They need to be talked about, not hushhushed into submission so that the stigma of shame and uncleanliness continues to be circulated worldwide. Periods are here to stay, and they may not be particularly enjoyable, lawd knows the pain can be unbearable at times, but they are a completely normal, safe, clean procedure. If you can handle Episode 9 of the third season of Game of Thrones, you can cope with this discussion. So here you go, if this in any way interests you – and I think if you’ve read this far you must be at least morbidly curious – this is my updated period routine, in all its bloody glory.

*Vincent Price laughter fades into the ominous slam of a creaking door*

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Here we have it, the contents of my Period Drawer. Utterly terrifying, isn’t it? How can you look at those penguins with their scarves and not feel like you’re looking into the face of the bubonic plague of 1356? In all honesty, this feels like I am merely sharing a photo of quite adorable underwear, which in reality, is what it is. This is my reusable stash, everything I need for the next 5-10 years of periods. (I should state at this moment that because I am on the combined pill, currently I do not have periods in the technical sense, but rather ‘withdrawal bleeds’. But because of the consistent change of hormones in my break week, the physical effects are nigh-on identical. So for the purposes of this post, I will refer to them as periods.)

I imagine that if you are not experienced with reusable menstrual products, you probably have some questions. You may think this idea strange and unusual.

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Realistically I feel it would be impossible for me to condense everything about this transition to RUMPs (reusable menstrual products) into one neat post – therefore I invite you all to ask me anything, anything at all, I promise I will answer honestly. I want to promote this concept as much as possible, mainly because I simply was not aware of this idea at all, until a couple of years ago. That it is possible to have a sustainable period. That it’s possible to save yourself from drastically buying tampons each month, and constantly worrying that there might not be a bin in a bathroom when you have to chain-shove onto the next one. That I can look after my body and be in control of what comes into contact with my vagina. I still have the option to protect myself internally (menstrual cups) and externally (cloth menstrual pads)…the only difference is that I clean these products, and then use them again the next month. They are not being hastily shipped off to landfill in frilly perfumed plastic bags to rot for the next hundred years. They are mine to look after, and I can take them anywhere I go. Still sounds scary?

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Well folks, meet my Mooncup.

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Yes this has been in my vagina. But then again, so have a lot of things, so let’s not discriminate on that basis. (Joke.) As an object, yes it looks a little odd, but it has completely changed the experience of my periods. Everything feels so much cleaner, more natural, more manageable. It’s made of medical-grade silicone, therefore resistant to the growth of bacteria. You don’t have to change it anywhere near as often as a tampon – you can even wear it for up to 12 hours! You just insert it (I would recommend using lube but it’s by no means essential), go about your day as normal, then take it out, rinse it out, use a scent-free natural soap or a specifically designed menstrual cup wash to give it a more thorough cleanse if you so wish, then you pop it back in and you’re good to go. At the end of your period, boil it in a designated pan for 6 minutes, leave it to dry, preferably on a sunny windowsill if possible to reduce staining, and that’s it. There is, as previously stated, a learning curve with this procedure. But on reflection, there was definitely a learning curve with using tampons and pads…this is just a more worthwhile cause, in my humble opinion. If anything, you become so much more familiar with your body. Until I used a Mooncup, I had no idea how high my cervix was, I had never checked. I mean it’s not a measurement I necessarily want tattooed on my wrist, but it’s nonetheless interesting to learn new things about a body you’ve lived with your entire existence. Definitely give this a go.

Everything else you see, is merely to accessorise for extra comfort. For several periods I managed perfectly well with just my Mooncup, literally just that. Lubeless and linerless in most instances, it was an almost Instagrammably minimalist period experience. The initial investment was around £21.99 – you can buy Mooncups in Boots, but there is a veritable rainbow of product variations out there, I will link some below and hopefully you can find one that suits you. With minimal comparison but much research I would say that the Mooncup has a rather prominent rim, and is maybe not the easiest option for someone who does not want to get down & dirty with the inner workings of their vagina. I still managed it though, and now I absolutely love it.

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(Well not that much.) There are softer cups out there, along with different lengths, shapes, stems, colours etc. The extras that I own are merely for ‘back-up’, as I used to wear a tampon with a pantyliner in days of yore in case of leakage – damn that grim length of string that collected blood on an otherwise dry tampon – nowadays I will opt for a menstrual cup, with a light cloth liner just in case. During the night I will either wear my Mooncup alone, or just wear a night cloth pad, as they all come in different lengths and core absorbencies. (Did I mention they just clip around your underwear with little poppers? The fleece backing stops them from sliding around. And when you want to store them for cleaning, you can fold them up into tiny discreet squares. Piece of cake. Red Velvet Cake?) I cannot express at this point, just how comfortable these things are. Just the softest material, and they feel no different to my underwear. Period underwear is also an option, I would be very intrigued to try sometime in the future – I do have something along these lines, which is the green checked shorts you see above – they have a thin absorbent backing which stops any potential leakages in their tracks, and they honestly just feel like pyjama shorts. The level of period comfort may have peaked here. As well as the sheer damned satisfaction of feeling in utter control of the bloodflow.

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Other additions to my collection, which have built up comfortably over the past few months, include delicate little ‘cup spots’, which are simply little rounds of cloth to keep your menstrual cup on by the sink post-cleaning, perhaps while leaving it overnight. The blue pouch is from EcoFemme, a wonderful company that specialises in organic materials and a ‘Pad for Pad’ ethic, involving supplying a pad for a person in need whenever one is purchased. The pouch is simply for transporting clean pads around if I think I will need to change one in public, which is extremely rare. I also keep a couple of wet bags for storage of used pads until I go to clean them (I will go into cleaning procedures in a separate post, though that’s not to suggest they are in any way difficult or unmanageable!) The lube was an additional purchase, but I mean it’s never a bad thing to have lying around the house is it? Lube it up, baby. I would recommend to be sparing with it, however, as it can be a slippery procedure and a tad messy sometimes.

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In essence, all of my cutesy accessories can be boiled down into one very eco-friendly product, which is the menstrual cup. The beautiful simplicity of merely collecting your blood in a tiny cup and flushing it away, could not be more appealing to me. In no way do I find it disgusting, or unsanitary. On the contrary, this awakening has opened my eyes to the grimness of disposable products. I remember reading a statistic that between 10,000-15,000 tampons/pads are used in the average woman’s menstruating lifetime. Where are they now? In our oceans, on our beaches, in our landfill. This can’t go on. You must be thinking that I have been possessed by some hippy spirit. All I can say is that, sometimes we should listen to the hippies, because they care about the Earth, and their bodies. I don’t believe I can start a revolution, but I really hope that if you have read this then you will at least consider trying it out. Please ask me any questions you may have. The grimmer, the better! Doesn’t everyone love a bit of gore, deep down? The art of the menstrual cup may be one that takes a few cycles to adapt to, but once it’s mastered it is definitely worth it. Don’t be perturbed when you have the inevitable scare of not being able to reach the stem upon removal and considering all manner of tools to attempt to retrieve it manually.

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I expect a reasonable amount of backlash to my declarations here, but I welcome them. I also welcome the idea of battling taboos, and rethinking our own social stigmas in an effort to reach for the greater good. To those who may think that reusable products are disgusting or unsanitary, I will simply say this. Look at your underwear. Surely I cannot be the only person who has had to hastily shove them back on post-sex? So what do I do with said underwear, covered in all manner of joyful substances? I wash them, and I wear them again. If you get a little blood on your underwear in an underestimated-flow scenario, and heaven forbid a stain, what do you do? You wash them, and wear them again. Sex toys, you cannot tell me you only use them once and then dispose of them? Obviously there are exceptions to this theme (before anyone mentions condoms) but the fact is, there are all of these wonderful products out there that are designed to be reused, over and over, for up to 10 years. They do involve an initial investment, but think about how much your body and the environment will benefit from it. Can you not even deem it possible to give this idea ago?

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Now this blog has become much longer than I ever intended, and I haven’t even scratched the surface…but I will close here, and I hope it has at least made you think about your options. If discretion is your utmost priority, there are ways of going about it that still involve reusable products. Don’t doubt yourself, you can do it! As a final farewell to my disposables, I will leave my trusty box of tampons in the bathroom at work – as I said before, I still don’t think they are a very friendly product, but nevertheless I don’t wish to just throw them away, and hopefully someone in need will be able to use them. Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend.

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If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you for your interest. I will leave a few links below to more information on the subject, and sites to buy products from if you want to give them a go. And if you do decide to give them a go, tell people about it!! Think of it as one of the amazing hurdles you will conquer in 2017. (Incidentally if you are my boyfriend and have read this in its entirety, I salute you.)

How to use the Mooncup

Precious Stars Reusable Menstrual Products

No More Taboo

Eco Dreams

Honour Your Flow

Telegraph Article: Fluffy Vagina Blankets

 

Until the next divulgence of intimate details!

Rosie

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How Cruel is My Wardrobe? (OOTD #5)

Hello my lovelies!

Another quickie. Yesterday I went to a BBQ at my friend’s house, and my clothing of choice was a big-old purple maxi dress in a marvellous tie-dye print – perfect for splooging blobs of mustard-based hot dog sauce on. And splooge I did.

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Dress: This was an old ebay find, for around £12 I think. I just love the fact that it’s the softest, billowiest jersey material, features lace-up back details, AND it pretty much matches my duvet covers. I don’t know why I’ve never worn it before as it has a marvellous LA-in-the-70s vibe about it. What I’ve taken from this in terms of streamlining for a cruelty-free approach to my wardrobe, is something I mentioned before about FEELING UP YOUR CLOTHES. Touching them gives me such a better idea of whether I will wear them again, or whether to pass them on to somebody else. Take it, feel it, pass it on. (I think that may be a History Boys’ quote, but out of context.)

As such! Today I have amassed another charity bag/rag bag/ebay pile to pass on to others, of clothes that I blatantly do not wear anymore. If there is anything about them I do not like, such as the fit, material, or length, it’s out the door. That doesn’t mean it is to be replaced by something else, but rather, it brings the comfortable and better-fitting clothes to the forefront of your wardrobe, to be looked after, and worn to your heart’s content.

Peace & love & whimsical tie-dyed hippy dreams,

Rosie

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A Thoughtful Outfit

Hello my lovelies!

In the spirit of a sunless level of baking heat in the UK, I was searching through my wardrobe the other day and looking for fabrics that are more forgiving in terms of breathability. Loose-fitting being a priority. Other than a very baggy t-shirt I wear for bed, I found I was struggling. I saw this as an opportunity to purge several items of summer clothing that basically did not make me feel good, or fit me particularly well – straight into a charity bag – and I bought a couple of items from Thought (formerly Braintree), to hopefully help me through this trapped-under-cloud level of heat. Here in the North it is sometimes referred to as “claggy” weather.

Thought advertise themselves as “Contemporary Sustainable Style”, and there is a huge focus on minimising their impact on the environment, whilst making long-lasting, key pieces and basics for your wardrobe. Here we have a Maxi Skirt in “Steel”, and a striped singlet vest top in “Cloud” – I actually thought Cloud pertained to white, so I did end up buying the wrong colour…but in the end I rather liked this one, and decided to keep it. They were both in the sale, which is perhaps an odd and seemingly backwards concept for an environmentally ethical clothing company, but it does provide them with a vital boost in their sales which will benefit their supply chain as a whole. The skirt, made largely of “breathable bamboo”, is rather floaty and has a slit at the side, with a very forgiving waistband.

The top, made of “helpful hemp”, is a tad larger than my usual size, but that definitely works for my criteria of assistance in the heat. This makes sense, as the company itself originates with a desire for comfortable clothing on Australian beaches. I feel very comfortable in these, and have already mentally paired-up a number of outfits I can derive from my current wardrobe to wear with them. I really love the focus on longevity, which is a perfect counterweight to the contemporary trend for fast fashion. Each item’s tag bears the slogan: “WEAR ME, LOVE ME, MEND ME, PASS ME ON.” There are even tips on their website for looking after your clothes, which I think is a neglected art at the moment…I am entirely clueless in this arena!

One slight criticism however, is the additional contents of the order. The outer packaging is made of recycled materials and you are encouraged to care for it again, however inside was my order return form, tissue paper, a promotion for organic wine, and this rather unnecessary leaflet – inside was almost blank, barring a thanks for ordering – surely this could have just been printed on the outside packaging? Anyway, small gripes, small gripes!

I encourage everyone to have a wee rummage in the sales of more ethical sources such as Thought, People Tree, Nancy Dee, and the Ethical Supermarket, if you are in need of key pieces to boost your wardrobe. The basics are really the items that you want to last a while, and these sources encourage the use of sustainable materials, good quality manufacturing and perhaps the want to look after your clothes more, having spent a bit extra on them.

Until the next blog!

Rosie

x

Plan With Me! Bullet Journal (July 2017)

Hello my lovelies!

Late as usual, here is my hastily-scribbled July spread. I wish I could offer a more delicious aesthetic – plumply-bosomed apples tumbling from prosperous trees in a hazy peach sunset – but the English reality is that July is thus far rainy, stormy, and I am a busy bee, with little time to pollinate her…penmanship?

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The same goals keep cropping up, month-by-month, which is not really in line with the concept of my bullet journal. They are more *Barbossa accent* GUIDELINES I guess, approaches with which I would like to embrace this particular month. I need to stop being angry at myself, even if it is validated which I believe it usually is, it’s not good for anybody in the bubble of my existence on Earth. Be positive, Rosie.

Until the next blog!

Rosie

x

My Top 15 Songs From Musicals!

Hello my lovelies!

Last night I found myself descending into another YouTube spiral. We’ve all been there, when you are vaguely aware that you should have been in bed over 3 hours ago, but you just can’t stop, as you sip on a pint of tea and your eyes glaze over with concentrated fascination. The corner of the Internet I found myself dabbling in, to make a change from hardcore porn, was the one covered in glittery cobwebs, and dry ice quivering under collective vibrato: Musical Theatre. I’m sure we all get lost in this sometimes, and it is a joyful experience. Musicals are fabulously camp and therefore downright essential in my existence. I’ve compiled a list of my top 15 favourite songs from musicals, as 10 would have been bloody impossible. I have not witnessed all of these productions live – though I would love to – but I indulge in hasty bootlegs and cinematic versions to my heart’s content, in the meantime. May I just say there are many honourable mentions that did not make the cut, but I still love you all!!! *sobs into an embroidered hanky and storms off into the wings*

ALL THE LIGHTS DIM. YESSSSS!!!

(You love this fucking moment as much as I do, admit it.

15. Maybe This Time – Cabaret

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I have a weird relationship with Cabaret, in that I didn’t particularly care for the film, but certain set pieces and musical arrangements just knocked me for six. One of which is Maybe This Time. This is a song of bravery teetering on heartbreak, with an imminent crescendo of I WILL SUCCEED DON’T YOU FUCKING WORRY! Sally Bowles is a complex leading lady as she takes us shakily by the hand and promises to give us an experience like no other. It’s impossible to not feel a compulsion to follow your heart’s desires a la Edith Piaf, once you’ve listened to this song.

14. Mister Cellophane – Chicago

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At the risk of the wrath of Chicago purists, the 2002 film is one of my favourites of all time. At its cultural premise it basically has my name written all over it, and I can understand its widespread appeal – all the writhing stockings and spilled liquor – but to me it always has this underground/speakeasy cult vibe, as this all of this is for your eyes only: a 1920s peep show, the subject being 1920s melodrama. John C. Reilly absolutely nailed his performance of Mister Cellophane, in my opinion. Amos Hart is fundamentally, someone who doesn’t belong on stage, yet here he is, with one of the most poignant explorations of identity in musical theatre.

13. My Man – Funny Girl

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Because, Barbra Streisand. Vaudeville heartbreak. This performance. Just, goddess.

12. The Windy City – Calamity Jane

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a singer with a more wholesome, confident, warm-apple-pie voice, than Doris Day. She utterly cracks me up in Calamity Jane, just the sheer cartoonish enthusiasm in her performance, and her dusty slacks. One of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard, you’ll probably find me humming along on a windy day. And if the city you live in happens to have three syllables, please feel free to substitute the final “Illinois” for it.

11. Find Your Grail – Spamalot

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Finally after all that brooding isolation, an ensemble number! It’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint my favourite song from Spamalot, but I think this is in my top 3. (I’m being rather dandy and only including a particular musical once in my list, oh how quaint.) The Woodstock vibe, the mounting of imaginary horses, the genuine holy-grail casting of the original Broadway ensemble…absolute genius. Sara Ramirez won a Tony Award for her performance as the Lady of the Lake back in 2005, despite being constantly replaced by Britney Spears. Britney Spears!!!

10. Easy Street – Annie

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There’s something incredibly charming about a trio of greedy sleazebags prancing around and singing about their imminent fortune. I think I was initially drawn in by Tim Curry as the monstrous Rooster in the original film. Everybody loves a villain.

9. Feed the Birds – Mary Poppins

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This had to make an appearance as it’s one of my favourite songs of all time, regardless. This little old lady shares the stage with silhouettes of her birds, and the audience is enraptured. Such a beautiful, and simple, and mournful song.

8. There’s a Fine, Fine Line – Avenue Q

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Kate Monster, in true Sesame-Street-Tugging-Ironically-At-Your-Heartstrings form. Your eyes flicker from the performer to the puppet, and the sadness is palpable. Julie Atherton’s version will always make me well up.

7. Mama Who Bore Me – Spring Awakening

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The Spring of Spring Awakening was indeed a short one. A very brief run in the West End before its early demise, though it has appeared in various other countries since. How I wish I could have seen it! The appeal of it is rather a narrow plain, but for me it explores the concept of innocence in quite a dark yet relatable manner. Charlotte Wakefield opened the West End show with her rendition of Mama Who Bore Me, and sorry Lea Michele but I just don’t think your yodelling can compete.

6. Quiet – Matilda

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There is definitely a brooding theme so far isn’t there? Roald Dahl’s immensely sinister world in Matilda is a perfect specimen for the stage, particularly Tim Minchin’s examination of an introverted mind in “Quiet”. Like the sound of a page being turned in a book.

5. Oom Pah Pah – Oliver!

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In contrast! A tankard-sloshing belt-busting knockout of a song. It is pretty much permanently stuck in my head, I’m pretty sure it has replaced some important information regarding a password for something but I am glad it’s there. It’s oddly comforting, like you’ve finished a hearty meal. The fact that it’s used to cover up Oliver’s escape, is doubly impressive. Here we have Sam Barks, in the role she should have won!

4. Make ‘Em Laugh – Singin’ in the Rain

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My favourite film. This is the song that makes me smile the most – well, obviously. Going back to that idea of holy-grail casting, the trio of Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor (may they all rest in peace) is an absolute delight, and I feel such love for them on screen together. The work that they put in to make this, and their fabulous chemistry together, is everything to me. I’m being very ineloquent here I do realise, but it’s hard to put into words how much I love this song.

3. Something Wonderful – The King & I

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To this date, I still have an enormous crush on Yul Brynner, specifically Yul Brynner as The King of Siam in the 1956 film. Absolutely gorgeous. The soundtrack holds a lot of winners, but Lady Thiang’s “Something Wonderful” has the most profoundly moving quality, as she sings of love despite all. Utterly beautiful.

2. Sweet Transvestite – The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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I remember singing this on the karaoke when I was on holiday with my friends in Magaluf. IS THERE MORE OF A BELTER THAN THIS I THINK NOT. In terms of Atmosphere, I don’t think Rocky Horror can be beaten. Sexy, disturbing, indulgent and hilarious. Everybody should have a go at performing this in suspenders, it really is most liberating.

1 . Point of No Return – Phantom of the Opera

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Alright, you knew this was coming. There’s no need for me to come out as a Phan, it was just implicit from the day I was born. And it is inherently a guilty pleasure, dripping with 80s riffs and a very questionable Beauty and the Beast story with added father issues. But it’s just SO COOL, the score is incomparably brilliant. (Let’s just ignore the following: 1) The Gerard Butler film, Jesus Christ what happened with the casting here, and 2) The fact that there is a sequel that exists called Love Never Dies. Okay, it has a couple of vaguely good songs, but that does not dignify its existence!) The reason this song has reached the number one spot, beyond Music of the Night, is that it is a fabulously drawling-tango operatic masterpiece, which is about sex. There are many songs in musical theatre about sex, but this one is so indulgently sensual that it gets away with it, with bells on. The feast behind them, the blatant groping, the innuendos, the drama. Siiiiilence. Siiiiiiilence. Siiiiiiiiiiiiilence.

*Backtracking wildly*

Let me give a few honourable mentions to those that nearly made the cut! Basically everything in Les Mis! Especially At the End of the Day (but not the film version)! For Good from Wicked! Being Alive from Company! Solidarity from Billy Elliot! Ahhh, too many to name! You are all my babies, at the end of the day.

Let me know what your favourites are!

Rosie

x

 

 

How Cruel is My Wardrobe? (OOTD #4)

Hello my lovelies!

Another quickie today, as I’m a bit rained under with assignments. This morning I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, which compelled me to have a sort out of my ramshackled wardrobe. The act of unshackling the rams felt like light, easy work, but with an immediate reward. I have sentimental attachments to quite a few items of clothing, but I do love the idea of thanking them for the good times I’ve had in them, and then passing them onto a charity shop in the hope that someone else will do the same. The method which Kondo advocates involves being touchy-feely with the items you are sorting through – I do have to agree that in holding them I have a stronger sense of whether I want to keep them or not, it’s like a tangible choice instead of an airy one. Within half an hour I had established a pretty chunky pile of to-be-gones, and I am 100% cool with their departure. If only so I can bloody well find things.

(Pre-sorting wardrobe is visible behind me – said outfit is from a few days ago.)

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Cardigan & Trainers: Primark. I discussed Primark in my previous post.

Dress: Tesco. Okay, this dress. I recall buying it a few summers ago for around £12, and I loved its comfiness so much that I bought the same dress in another pattern – how uneclectic of me. Sometimes it’s just hard to say no to an elasticated waistband and adjustable straps. Regarding Tesco’s ethics, there are obviously repercussions for the world in supporting a GIANTLY MASSIVE wondermarket machine as a source of clothing. There are however, acknowledgments of improvement which we should be encouraging, such as swiftly signing the Bangladesh Accord in 2013, focusing on improving and maintaining the health and safety of factory workers. As far as the environment is concerned, there are active goals being set, according to their website. “We have pledged to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, starting with the four global drivers for deforestation that are relevant for our business: palm oil, cattle products, soy and timber. For each commodity we are mapping our supply chains to understand our exposure, and putting in place sustainable procurement policies. For example, 93% of the total palm oil used in all our own-brand UK products comes from a certified sustainable source, which we define as being a Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)-certified ‘segregated’ supply chain, or a ‘mass balance’ system where ‘segregated’ is not available. This includes palm oil used as an ingredient in food products, such as biscuits, and in health and beauty products, such as shampoo. In terms of our own-brand food products only, as much as 99% is from a sustainable source.” You can read a Guardian interview with them below, which was published 6 months after the Rana Plaza disaster.

Tesco: How Ethical Are Your Clothes?

ALTERNATIVE FOR SUMMER DRESS:

Passionlilie Denim Blue Sleeveless Shift Dress

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(Passionlilie have a beautiful collection of clothing. Their dresses are made with 100% Indian cotton, fair trade and ethically produced. This one is definitely on my wishlist.)

Until the next blog!

Rosie

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How Cruel is My Wardrobe? (OOTD #3)

Hello my lovelies!

After a lot of deep breathing recently and feeling stressed for absolutely no reason, today is my day to give ‘sorting things out’ a solid go. I’ve decided that these little OOTD posts serve a small purpose in this manifesto of calmness, as on a very basic level they encourage me to get up and get dressed, consciously non-dressing-gowny or pyjama-based dressed. They encourage me to think, daily, about my impact on the planet, both environmentally and socially. I’ve taken to appreciating each stepping stone for its own worth, instead of jumping in the river entirely as the other side feels so impossibly far away. This stepping stone is assessing how I can adapt my habits to improve the lives of others, even if it feels like such a tiny effort. I truly hate it when people criticise small efforts on the basis of potential hypocrisy – if you’re going to do this then why in hell are you not going further? Abandoning the precept already. Yes, the aim is to keep going, but what is the point in discouraging others from making the necessary steps?

*Back to the actual blog post*

Today is a fresher Summer day in England, far from stiflingly hot but still pleasantly warm and fretlessly damp. Regardless, this morning I decided I needed an outfit with ventilation, as I am a moist human.

IMG_3364IMG_3373(I am also a clumsy human, as the white bra I am wearing is hazardously splattered with an ink stain from a pen leak many moons ago. )

Top: Primark. I was actively looking for a very back-to-basics t-shirt and discovered this for I think about £3. Admittedly I was lured in by the cost. They’ve apparently a 14.3% share of the UK clothing market, and at these prices, I am not surprised. They were also the first UK retailer to have signed the Accord on Fire & Building Safety in Bangladesh, post-Rana Plaza disaster, and they offered a large amount of compensation for those affected. Admittedly, they do have fiercely well-prepared responses to any attacks on their ethics (see below). But I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that yes, their clothes are very affordable, but they’re also not very long-lasting. The Primark-based portion of my wardrobe seems to be the one that is the holiest, bobbliest, and most likely to be replaced. This can be said for a lot of other retailers, but this is how I’ve always felt about Primark in particular. So I am knowingly buying clothes that I know will not have a decent lifespan, I think this definitely needs reassessment.

In terms of attitudes to their factory workers’ welfare, Primark have definitely addressed some awful aspects of their supply chain, which is admirable, but being adamant to continue supplying via Bangladesh without adjusting the pricing structure calls into question the lives of the factory owners and workers themselves. How are they coping with the pressure of cutting costs wherever possible? What are the physical conditions like? What are they being paid? How is this gigantic fast-fashion enterprise affecting Bangladesh’s eco system? At least the signing of the health and safety agreement and development of trade unions are steps in the right direction. I am tempted to boycott the process entirely, though this is problematic. On the one hand I am reducing the frequency at which I purchase disposable fashions, which the environment will welcome. On the other, it is the behind-the-scenes process that I think needs more urgency for change. These workers still need their living, it is simply improving this living that we need to focus on. How exactly? I am not entirely sure, but I will endeavour to make this my mission. Fairly trading companies still need our support, so I think it’s a matter of finding a balance of sourcing whilst still applying pressure on the companies that need work, to match that level of care. Let’s make it cool to care!!

How Primark Balances Ethics and Ultra-Low Prices

Skirt: New Look (via eBay). Floaty and goes with everything, you cannot go wrong. I will not apologise for my exposed belly, I like my belly and like to take it on outings and picnics from time to time. In my previous post I gave a link to New Look’s ethics.

Shoes: I stand bare-footed in my own front yard with a baby on my hip ‘cos I’m a REDNECK WOMAN I AIN’T NO HIGH-CLASS BROAD.

ALTERNATIVE TO CROPPED T-SHIRT (This one even has flamingos on it omg):

Flamingo Print Cropped T-Shirt

 

Until the next blog!

Rosie

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