“Facts” and Obesity as a Construction

Hello everyone! Something has been next level riling me up recently. Following the Lush Instagram debacle I have been all over the place in my head. Now, for those of you who didn’t see this first hand or read anything about it later on and have just clicked on that link, you might not see any immediate problem with the content. Lush is promoting a screening of the film What The Health.  And here are all my problems with this.

The material they’re using to promote it are several [poorly chosen] stats. The stats are in a kind of confusing order. The first and last are US specific, one of them uses the World Health Organisation (so, that’s an international stat .. right, ya might think?), and the other three don’t have any kind of location info. And this is from Lush UK. Now, the stats go in this order: cancer, weight, food, lifestyle, cardiovascular disease, fatty arteries. Given the order, I went through it and went oh cancer, then weight wight weight weight weight. This is what is commonly thought about weight. And I say ‘commonly’ based on what I see on the internet, how people (including friends and family) talk, the way policy is head, the way the media and TV and magazines and eHealth and apps all play with and use the concept of weight: weight is your choice. You – yes, you, only you, an individual – are in control of this. Weight becomes symbolic of who you are. Your body is your physical manifestation, an artifact that you have the power to alter and construct in order to reflect your values, your successes, your failures, your goals. The choices that you make are reflected by your body.

“Choice” comes with baggage. You have good choices and you have bad choices; ones that effect you and only you, and ones that can effect others. Some choices are hard, some are easy, and some are meant to be easy but aren’t at all. Now, there are a couple fun concepts about how members of a society have the responsibility to be healthy (and to be healthy in order to be productive, a la capitalism) – health governance, biosociality, and so on. Good health is important, it’s the best, it’s what you are meant to aim for. It is your responsibility, as a member of a functioning society, to be in control of your body and health. This is peak neoliberalism, and what we are currently experiencing with the way health is managed and promoted by our NHS. When everything boils down to the words “lifestyle” and “choice” it screams YOU, INDIVIDUAL. If I do things that are known to be bad for me – smoke, drink, do drugs, run onto motorways – this is my own fault, and the repercussions are my own fault yet paid for by society as a whole. Most obviously when stats like “obesity costs the NHS X million a year” or whatever. So, why do we seem to care so, so much more when it’s obesity? Continue reading



I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that we all know (or rather, as I’m about to explore, think we know) about eating disorders. There are a couple images that spring to mind. One, perhaps a very thin young woman, most likely with bones protruding, staring at herself in the mirror – the reflection in the mirror is of a much larger woman. Another, Cassie from Skins, proclaiming “I didn’t eat for two days so that I could be lovely!” or maybe that South Park episode with the “Bulimia: twice the taste, and no calories!” The image of the bulimic is probably faceless, because she’s slumped over a toilet. And yes, these images are gendered.

These are images that, even after over a decade of some kind of disordered eating, still spring to my mind too, when I think of eating disorders. There’s something grotesque yet fascinating about watching or imagining an unknown individual fight what was once inherent and natural, fight impulses and deemed rationalities, live in constant paradox – think of how much we like to indulge in the ‘other’, watching Life on the Dole, Embarrassing Bodies, Supersize Me or Biggest Loser. When I’m single I watch romcoms; when I used to fast I’d watch the cooking channel. It’s this image of eating disorders (and when I say eating disorders I mean anorexia and bulimia – how often do we thinking immediately of Binge Eating Disorder or EDNOS?) that helps perpetuate myths about them, reduce help-seeking, glorify certain aspects but stigmatise others, and overall, just makes everything so downright confusing. Not to mention, such images prey on an individual’s own understanding of what they’re going through, which ultimately effects identity, health, and [I would argue] tightens the hold of an eating disorder.

Are eating disorders about the body? About weight and numbers, counting calories and fat content? Are they about control? Are they purely biological, are some people genetically predisposed to a disorder? Is the body just the artefact and the metrics a tool for something bigger? Do they only effect women, and white young women at that? Are they feminist or anti-feminist; is it wrong to project political ideals upon a diagnosable, medical condition that can kill? Are they biological conditions, psychiatric conditions, or symptomatic of society; can they be all of the aforementioned? For all the research that has been done on eating disorders – clinical and non-clinical – we have very few answers. What I find The Worst about this isn’t that we have no answers, it’s how researchers have gone about looking for information.

Continue reading

Damaged: hot oil hair treatment

As someone who four years ago had a black bob .. I’m pretty tough on my hair regime now. Having really long and thick hair is a total blessing and though I get a weekly urge to either cut it all off or bleach it again, I keep myself in check and remember that I’m lucky to have great quality hair, and also have a really lovely natural colour. The one thing I do need to do is keep my hair moisturized, particularly the ends which are still the remnants of my bleach/bleach/colour strip/bleach/box dye cycle (eek, eek). I have a lot of broken hair (baby hair) and so I have found myself blow drying and straightening my hair more often than usual, and that really adversely effects the quality of my hair, even if I’m using protector sprays.

I went into my favourite little Lush (in Waterloo Station, it’s the smallest Lush in the country!) and was looking to branch out in my Lush products anyway, so asked the lovely girl (Amy, we now follow each other on Instagram haha, oops!) for some recommendations. I came away with Damaged, a hot oil treatment priced at £6.50, and a little tester pot of R&B (which by the way, I really did enjoy and actually preferred to Damaged – found there was a more immediate difference and I preferred the scent). Anyway! Here’s a bit of a photo journal of the steps it takes to use the product, and then a little before and after.

Continue reading

3CE’s Back to Baby Glow Beam in #White

Yeeeessss back on the bblogger train! I miss you guys. Going home for Christmas means a couple things, including: SEPHORA HAUL. Except I was so restrained, my god! I only picked up one product (!!), and just two in duty free (!!!!!) Though I did also try and swatch a couple out and am currently keeping my eyes on three new foundations (..not excessive at all): Estee Lauder’s double wear with the cushion applicator, Clinique’s blemish corrector, and Armani’s latest silk finish. My goodness, too lovely. But, foundations aside, I’m back to priming properly, and this Korean, Sephora-exclusive got me just so excited. My skin’s been really clear recently – cue me vigorously touching wood – and so I’ve been enjoying wearing thin foundations for minimal coverage and just light colour correction. So, to keep things a little more exciting, I picked up this baby: 3CE’s Back to Baby Glow Beam in #White, and oh man it is an utter delight. Just look at that shine!

A look at the packaging. Minimalist box (with instructions for use in English on the back), product in a tube reminiscent of watercolour paint (everything on the back in Korean), and then a twist cap. You only need a tiny amount of product, and as its brand new you really don’t even have to give it a squeeze to get any out:

Continue reading

Bath cocktail: Comforter, You’ve Been Mangoed and Yoga

Two of my main things in life: I have to smell good, and I have to have soft skin. As I harp on about, I am so proud of my super soft skin! Keeping it soft isn’t something I necessarily need to work at, but it’s something I really enjoy working at. After a 9-5 I was very ready for this.

Some plant life had to be involved (of course). Candles because I’m a sucker for a good candle. And wine, because .. because wine. Always wine.

The Lush products on show today: The Comforter (one of the quintessential Lush bubble bars, also comes as a shower gel), You’ve Been Mangoed (a bath oil, and definitely smells like mango!), and the Yoga bathbomb.

Continue reading

2016, bye

How do I write about this year. I don’t know where to really begin, and I kind of thought that I could just start typing on a real computer and maybe things would come kind of naturally, but they’re not. I’ve scheduled a couple more fun and typical beauty posts and one on my top 2016 tracks, but I feel like I’m skating around really talking about the utter mixed bag that was 2016.

The summer was one of the best of my life. In fifteen years I hadn’t felt so much more myself. America brings out the best in me, and that’s always been true, it seems. My family is wonderful but at times dark and a little insane, very secretive. But at face value, and I do take most Americans at face value, they are the warmest, most loving and most supportive people on the planet. It’s neoliberalism lived out: individuals, capable of unique achievements. Tailoring experiences, building people up, telling them they can be the best possible versions of themselves. This feeling, the one this summer brought back out, has stuck. And I am so fucking thankful. I’ve never felt more myself – and more just unapologetically myself. I am silly and messy, sometimes book smart and sometimes downright dim, I love to laugh and laugh often, I am an open book and honest, I dress how I feel be it skinny jeans and jumpers or dresses and dark eyebrows. I like to eat! I don’t like to feel hungry. I like to go to the gym because it is fun. Stretching makes me happy. I am proud of myself for being at university and doing well. I don’t need to win a prize to feel proud; I don’t need a boy to make me feel proud. I am looking forward to having graduation with my parents and crying with happiness that I did it, that I did this.

I am very slowly but surely becoming the love of my life, and it’s so long overdue that it cannot come fast enough. Continue reading

Tattoo Time!

This September I sat for two hours at Castle Ink in Birmingham, and had the most magnificent piece of art done! A big Studio Ghibli fan, Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favourite films. It was my first Ghibli film, and I watched it for the first time in 2012 with one of my best friends and instantly fell in love.

I’d planned on getting another rib tattoo for a long time, and I’d also planned on getting a Studio Ghibli tattoo – but it all happened pretty quickly when one of my favourite tattoo artists on Instagram had a cancellation for the following day and posted that she’d do reduced rates for anyone who could fill the spot. It was about midnight and I just went for it, taking it as the sign I’d been waiting for. She’d only done a rib tattoo once before (she’s just an apprentice, but my god she’s brilliant) so was a little nervous, but we talked it through and I told her I’d be happy for her to have a go regardless.

Continue reading