Tuesday, 8 March 2016

MA sketchbook sample - eliminate girl hate

As some of you may know, I'm currently making a zine as part of my MA. While putting together my sketch book of ideas for my zine I turned to a favourite of mine - Polyester Zine, for some inspiration. In the issue I was examining there were some problem pages at the back in which you could "ask Celia" anything you wanted about life, love, sex, your body, whatever. This really touched me and it got me thinking about some things - I decided to write them down.

This snippet from the problem pages of Polyester zine have inspired me from a content point of view, and a life lesson point of view. Celia Edell and Ione Gamble are recreating an element of the pre-teen magazines that we knew and loved so well, except now these problems seem more real and we’re still no closer to figuring them out.  There is something incredibly comforting about reading these worries and knowing that you are not alone, that somewhere out there there’s a girl who feels or thinks or loves just like you do. The reason it is so much more comforting to read at 22 rather than 12 is that for a split second you stop worrying that everyone else knows what they’re doing, and you realise that no one really has it together. This unifying of female thought is a vital component of my zine and the driving force behind my “girl power” theme. I want to reach out to, inspire, unify and help young women the way ‘Mizz’ and ‘Bliss’ did for me when I was a struggling teen. I’m now a struggling young woman and growing up in a world saturated in negative female media is so detrimental to our development. We’re told that women are there to compete with, that we are enemies and we must battle one another for the affection of men. We’re told our bodies aren’t our own and that we mustn’t expose ourselves for fear of being deemed “slutty” or worse, asking for it. Then we’re told that they are ours to do with whatever we please, and this is exciting and new and women start to reclaim their bodies and sexuality and they upload pictures online and they appear in photo shoots and we feel like feminist queens who are so free and happy with ourselves – and then someone says that this isn’t feminist, that we aren’t doing feminism right.

Why is it that when women are happy in themselves, someone has to speak out against them and criticise them? Something that I’ve noticed more and more online is that it is not always men criticising women, but other women. I do not understand this train of thought? We complain about the patriarchy stopping us from achieving our goals, but it is often other women who prevent us from doing so. I am aware that some women do not have the privilege nor the means to celebrate their bodies, and these women are the driving force for my own personal feminism. I am not a feminist for white middle class women – I am a feminist for those who do not have a voice the way I do. However, with this in mind, we cannot criticise the women who do have the privilage of owning and putting their bodies online – be these bodies white, black, hairy, waxed it does not matter. There are bigger and more important issues to address than to nit-pick over how a woman chooses to present herself online.

I am a proud feminist and will never not be, but I fear that some feminists often feel isolated from the movement by other, more radical feminists. This is not to say that radical feminism is wrong, but rather I often see women pick apart other women’s feminism – stating that that their ideas and opinions aren’t “right”. For me, I am so open to suggestion and learning new things. I am the first to admit that I don’t know everything about feminism. I am myself incredibly privileged and I am aware of this, but I am only human and I make mistakes like everyone else. We will not always be culturally appropriate and this is not on purpose, but we can learn and grow from helping one another understand. We will not always be PC and we may slip up when discussing WOC and Trans issues when using the correct terminology. This does not make us bad feminists, it makes us human beings. If you yourself have a problem with how someone talks about feminism, inform them in a helpful and progressive way, don’t slate them and make them feel like they don’t belong.  This is not only detrimental to this person, but the whole movement. It’s time for women everywhere to start to be a little bit kinder, a little bit more understanding and a lot more FEMINIST. Feminism is about equality and the support of your fellow woman, do everything you can to lift one another up and inspire each other. If we can succeed at this, and eliminate girl hate, it is only then that our movement will exceed all expectations and the fight for true equality can begin. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

My favourite F word is ....

I haven't blogged in a very long time because I often find myself at a loss for what to say or am too overly critical of any work I do to actually publish it. However, I've had a topic on my mind for a while and I feel like I need to get the subject out there to be discussed. I've considered giving my blog a bit of a revamp for a while now, and not to say that I'm taking myself more seriously as a writer because I'm not, but rather that I often have things on my mind that I'd like to write about that aren't fashion related and I want to leave that option open to myself.

Feminism has become something of a dirty word in popular culture today. When someone mentions the word feminism people usually react in two ways - they'll either roll their eyes and sigh because they hate the word, or the connotations of the word, or people who call themselves feminists. The other type of person will perk up and seem passionate about the word, the connotations of the word and intent on breaking down the stereotype of feminists in today's society. For me it's always been important that I try my hardest to convince the women and men in my life that they're all feminists because EVERYONE should want equal gender rights, and if you believe that feminism is anything other than wanting equality then you're mistaken.

My problem at the moment is with women who refuse to call themselves feminists; I find myself baffled by the idea that you would dismiss a movement that promotes equality for a gender that you belong to. It makes me sad to think that so many men and women world wide don't truly understand how simple this ideology really is at its core. Of course you have extreme feminists who quite literally despise men, just like there are extremist Muslims, Christians, Republicans, Socialists... the list goes on. We have a habit in our society of taking the most extreme and negative aspect of a religion or ideology and claiming that these views are representative of the whole movement. This is most commonly know to happen through fear and ignorance, but how can you dismiss something before you truly understand it?

For me, one of the most important parts of being a feminist is not just to strive to reclaim gender rights for women, but to praise the women around me for all of the amazing things they've already done within our male dominated society. I often struggle to explain how I personally am affected by the patriarchal society in which we live, and the answer is - I'm not. This is because I'm privileged, not only as a western woman but as a white western woman. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to be a young girl living in Britain who has the world at her finger tips, but I am also fully aware that millions of women are not so lucky. I haven't been brought up by an abusive father who forced me into marriage, I have a father who has adored me every day of his life for the last twenty one years and taught me that I am an equal to the men around me, that I can do anything I want. I've never been denied a job or position at university because I'm a woman, my boyfriend respects me more than I respect myself sometimes. This I feel is an argument that is puts forward by so many western women to explain why they aren't feminists, because their own struggle is non existent, but I cannot for the life of me understand how these women can't call themselves a feminist for all of the women around the world who ARE struggling.

Every day on social media sites we see people share pictures of facts and figures about how many women a year are raped at the hands of a partner or how many young women in Africa suffer genital mutilation etc, and every day we see even more skeptics commenting "these figures aren't accurate, so this mustn't be true". We need to ask ourselves why is it that we nit pick over small details like how many women are "really" raped, rather than focusing on the bigger picture - the rape itself? Sometimes I feel like society denies these facts to themselves in order to make themselves feel better about the reality of what's happening outside of our computer screens. We need to educate ourselves and become aware of just how lucky we are to be able to sit and discuss these issues, because what seems like an interesting Facebook argument to us is actually the reality of so many women's lives.

I don't want to go off on one because that's really not the intention of these posts, I just hope I've opened up a good topic for debate and started off on the right track to posting more about women's issues on this blog. If you're reading this and scoffing at the screen, I'm not asking for you to change your mind, all I'm asking is that you open it. To the women who are reading this - just because you have a voice doesn't mean every woman does. Use yours for the right reasons and fight for all the women world wide who are dying to be heard.

All the best words are dirty words anyway.

Friday, 3 April 2015


So this has been a long time coming,

I'm the worlds worst when it comes to putting myself down, I never believe that my work is good enough and that's why I hardly ever post, but today in my incredibly hungover state I've decided this needs to stop.  In the over saturated world of blogging and social media it's hard to carve out a niche for yourself and it gets a bit disheartening at times when you're blogging and not really going anywhere. For me the thing I find most difficult about blogging is taking pictures of myself, I've never really enjoyed having my picture taken and I'm definitely a lot more confident on the other side of the lens. This got me thinking about how one of my biggest passions (photography) has taken a back seat these last few years and it's about time I picked up where I left off. As well as photography I love to express myself through writing, sometimes serious but mostly in a conversational "so today I did this" kinda thing. I've decided to switch things up a bit on my blog by including some girl power pieces about issues within society that I feel strongly about.
I think this will give my blog a more personal feel, because I'm not just a person who likes clothes - I like lots of other things too! Over the next few weeks I'm hoping to slowly start adding opinion pieces and photos to my blog as well as some fun collaborations with my lovely creative friends, I never really appreciated how fab and talented they all are until this moment and I can't wait for some collective girl power fun to occur.

Watch this space...

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Lab coat

If you haven't already noticed, I'm obsessed with oversized black and white jackets. I snapped up this wee beauty in work the other day for £25 in the sale. I work in Exhibit (for anyone outside of Ireland wondering what this is it's an Irish store). Thankfully we recently launched our website which means you can have a look and order now too, I guarantee you'll find some great pieces for very reasonable prices. My shoes, crop top and jeans are all Topshop which is probably due to the fact that I spend half my life and wages in that place.
I'm trying to keep my posts short and sweet with a few pictures at the minute, and hoping to improve my camera situation; my iPhone's just not cutting it any more and I hate my current camera so bear with me.
KB x

Friday, 6 June 2014

Sun worshipping

So I'm back again after another exam and work induced hiatus!
BUT I come bearing gifts of summery goodness; I landed myself a job which means more money for me which means more clothes for all to see! I also booked myself a holiday to Berlin recently which has inspired this post about wonderful summer things. I'm actually focusing on Boohoo because the lovely people over there let me have a sneak peak at some amazing pictures of their new summer collection which is gorgeous. I've chosen a few of my favourite things from the new collection that I'm hoping to get my hands on this summer which will hopefully inspire you to do the same! You may notice that I'm trying out a new method of shorter posts and more pictures because I feel like I blog less when I feel the pressure to write loads for you. So hopefully I'll get into posting more pictures which means I'll be blogging more often :) Try not to drool over these clothes now...

Beaut or what?! My personal favourites would have to be the black caged bikini and the all white outfit - which is one of my favourite trends this summer but I'm almost afraid to wear it being so pale. I'm trying my best to embrace white because as I've told you before I am a total vampire and I love black clothes. Maybe by the time I get to Berlin I will have done enough sun beds to change my skin from bright white to cream, HA. Make sure you get yourself over to Boohoo.com to snap up some summer garms before your holidays, happy tanning! 
KB xx

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Matchy Matchy..

Hello again,

I haven't written much recently as I'm in the middle of finishing up all my uni work for the year so I've been incredibly busy, apologies to anyone who actually wants to read my blogs! I thought I'd take a break and write about something I've been obsessing over at the minute; two pieces.


I've always loved two piece suits but I've never really been able to fork out the money to get myself one, then a few weeks ago I came across an Instagram account that makes one off two piece outfits and completely fell in love with their designs. They're called Shop Genoa and all of their designs are handmade and totally unique, so you'll never find anyone in the same two piece as you. They've been running since July 2013 so I don't know how I haven't managed to come across them yet, but I'm glad I did just in time for summer. Their prices seem to vary based on what kind of thing you're looking for but I haven't seen any priced over £30 which is very affordable, especially since they have to source the fabric etc. Here's a few of my favourites off their Instagram -


There's a big buzz around co-ordinates this season and even Kim K is getting in on the action, a rare moment when I will commend Kim for her clothing choices but I am loving this nude turtle neck number she's sporting.

American Apparel have also produced some amazing co-ordinates pieces, but as always they don't come cheap. You can't buy their items as one outfit but you can get yourself some leggings to match your crop top and even throw in a matching scrunchie if you have the dolla to do so.

Another place that I managed to find some great cheap two pieces was ASOS Marketplace, if you search "two pieces" or "co-ordinates" you should have plenty to choose from. They vary in price but of course the nicest are always the most expensive. Here are my two favourites, the first is priced at £84.99 and the second at £65, not the cheapest but the most beautiful in all the land.

I did set myself a goal of not wearing/buying all black outfits in the new year, which I obviously haven't stuck to. I am however going to start embracing colour and the sunshine by covering myself in tropical birds and fruit patterned clothes. I've also spoken to my very talented sister about possibly making our own two piece outfits, so watch this space for possible business ventures!

Love yas,

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

One day we're gonna live in Paris, I promise..

I'd like to apologise again for being the WORST blogger ever and not blogging once a week like I'd promised but I've been so busy with uni work since I got back from Paris. Originally I'd planned for this to be a blog about Parisian street style and Paris fashion week but I must confess, I got so wrapped up in the beautiful city that I didn't end up near ANY fashion hot spots. Okay I tell a lie I was outside the Nina Ricci show completely by accident but nowhere near anything remotely interesting that I could have taken a picture of, unless you could 150,000 paps with the biggest cameras I've ever seen.

Of course I'm still going to talk about my favourite looks at PFW but I think I'd actually like to talk about my time in Paris and give some tips to anyone who's going any time soon because that's what helped me figure out what I wanted to do there. So I guess I'll begin with where I stayed -

We found a beautiful apartment on a website called Airbnb which was recommended to me by a friend. Basically you go on and create a profile for yourself and then browse the city, area and price range that suits you best to find an apartment/house/spare room/shack in the desert, it quite literally has it all! If we had the money we might have chosen to stay in Jim Morrison's Paris apartment (yes it's on there) but we thought it might also be a bit creepy. Eventually we found the perfect apartment in the Pigalle area of Paris, Pigalle is the Soho of Paris, neon lights and sex shops galore but with an amazing atmosphere and night life AND the Moulin Rouge was a 2 minute walk from us. We stayed in a room in a a families apartment which was the most beautiful apartment we'd ever seen. The Hausmann buildings in Paris always make me feel so dreamy with their big wooden entrance doors and balconies, it's like taking a trip back in time when you get inside a lift with metal bars that you pull across the door, complete novelty.


Parisian sunrise out our window

Originally I had planned to style spot beautiful people around Paris but once I got on the metro the next morning I was so wrapped up in Paris and all its beauty that I don't think I even looked at another person. I spent most of my time looking up at the buildings around me in total amazement. I don't think I've ever been anywhere that looks so pretty, even in the pouring rain. Our first stop in the morning was the Louvre because my boyfriend and I felt like we needed a bit of culture in our lives. We got there early enough because we knew we'd probably be there all day and were pleasantly surprised to find that if you can show ID to prove you're under 25 you can get in for free, even if you aren't from France! Yay French socialist government! If you haven't been to the Louvre before then I urge you to go, even if you're not that much into your art some of the pieces there are actually mind blowing. I had the strangest vertigo the entire time I was there from looking up at the enormous paintings. I kept thinking they were all going to topple down on top of me because they were so huge.

Séan pondering a piece of art

Me getting really embarrassed as I'd posed like this for over 5 mins to get it right

After spending basically all day in the Louvre we emerged to Paris at dusk and decided this would be the perfect time to take a walk and explore the city a bit. We walked out the back of the Louvre into the Jardin Tuileries where I was told all the beautiful people would be, the Parisian Somerset House! The gardens are so peaceful and pretty and as we walked through them to the top of the Champs Elysée I could see crowds of people gathering outside a large tent which I knew would be something to do with fashion week. I had my camera on me but talk about tight security. I couldn't see a thing except hundreds of paparazzi  with the biggest cameras I've ever seen and rows and rows of black mercs lined up awaiting their famous passenger. To be honest I wasn't in Paris for fashion week, I just happened to be there at the time it was happening. I think if I'd had longer than 2 days there I would have stayed to snap some people but I just didn't have time to fit in everything I wanted to do. We continued our walk up to the Champs Elysées (because everyone just has to have a look in Sephora) and had some food there.*

*Now this is the time where someone needs to step in and tell me where to eat in Paris. I was literally clueless as to what to eat and where was cheap enough for my budget. I think next time I go back I'll need to do some food research as well as where to shop!

After our meal we decided to talk a "walk" up the Eiffel Tower. I say "walk" because it was more like two pensioners dragging their lifeless bodies up a million flights of stairs. The "walk" absolutely killed us but it was so worth it, you can of course get a lift up to the top but where's the fun in that?! It did cost us a bit to get up there, about 15 euro I think, but it was definitely worth it for the views at the top. We thought that since we saved that from not having paid into the Louvre we may as well spend it on something worthwhile. My camera decided to have a mental breakdown at this point so I didn't get many good pictures but I did get a few from the bottom of the tower itself which was sparkling for us (as it does every hour on the hour). This happened when we were at the bottom and at the top and it was magical! 

The next day we tried and failed to get up early to fit in everything we wanted to do, we did manage to leave early enough but our ambitious plans to leave at 11 am didn't happen, of course. We spent the afternoon wandering around Pigalle and Montmartre which is the most beautiful place on earth. I knew from being in Paris before that Montmarte is the area of Paris where all the "bohemians" hung out, think midnight in Paris, Picasso, Dali and Hemmingway - I was as giddy as Owen Wilson.  I swooned my way through the streets and clothes shops and cried because I didn't have more money to treat myself to vintage gems. I did however find one of the best jackets ever for only 15 euros in a lovely shop called  By Flowers ( Rue des Martyrs). Sadly I can't remember the name of all the shops but I do remember Le Caverne à Fripes (25, Rue Houdon) which was a tiny basement vintage shop with clothes hanging from the walls, floor and ceiling. My boyfriend found a fantastic leather jacket there for 45 euros, who ever gets a leather jacket for under £100? complete bargain. After a few vintage finds we then made our way up the many steps of Montmartre to the Sacre Coeur, here we got panoramic views of Paris and some of the best pictures I took on the whole trip. 

Just casually modelling my jacket in Urban Outfitters mirrors cos I don't have a good one at home..
Great jacket eh?

It was my boyfriends birthday while we were away and he's the biggest Jim Morrison fan ever so we thought it might be a good idea to head to the Pere Lachaise cemetery to visit the graves of Jim and my favourite Oscar Wilde. We didn't really have much time to make it but we knew the metro line from Montmartre passed Menilmontant and La Chapelle on the way to the cemetery, so if we missed it we'd have great areas to explore. I really love how much graffiti you see in Paris, it's literally everywhere you look and the further out of the city you go the better it gets. La Chapelle and Menilmontant are quite grimy and a cool contrast to how pristine most of Paris is. If you're looking for the best graffiti and quirky shops then jump on the metro line 2 (Porte Dauphine) and head out towards Menilmontant. It was only one stop away from Pere Lachaise but sadly by the time we got there it was closed (a bit of a heartbreaking moment) but Paris is huge and we knew we'd never cover it all in two days. Now we just have an excuse to go back and see more of it! We took a walk around Menilmontant anyway to do a bit of shopping, if you ever find yourself there go to Vintage 77 on Rue Menilmontant its fab.

We accepted defeat about the cemetery being closed after taking a walk up to the enormous and very closed gates and jumped back on the Metro to Pont Neuf. This stop brings you out just next to the famous "lovers bridge" in Paris, Pont Des Arts. Here thousands of people flock year after year to put their own personalised lock on the bridge and throw the key into the Seine below to symbolise their eternal love, how romantic! Séan and I thought we'd just have to do it so bought ourselves a little lock and went for the standard "S <3 K", simple and to the point. Even if you don't have boyfriend/girlfriend to add a lock with you have to visit it while in Paris. It's so lovely to read all the messages from over the years and I saw plenty of "BFF's" so go and put a lock on with your friends, they'll never break up with you. 

Before we headed home to get ready to go out we took a walk down the river towards Notre Dame and The Marais which I'd heard was amazing for shopping. Walking down the river at night was probably my favourite moment in Paris, I think I fell in love with the place about a thousand times over. We stopped at the Notre Dame for a few pictures and then headed towards the famous Hotel de Ville in the Marais for some late night shopping. I'd previously google'd the opening times of the shops in the area (thank you technology) so I knew if I'd make it or not. I was LIED TO by google, the shops did not close at 9 they closed at 8 and I made it there at 7.45 and stood outside the shops like a pup in the rain, close to tears that they were closed. I'd been very very excited to visit the famous kilo shops in Paris and another shop called The Hippy Market, both of which were closed. I decided to suck it up and tell myself I didn't have much money to spend anyway so I would have been torturing myself, but for anyone going shopping in Paris the Marais is the place to be. We decided to stay and wander around the vibrant streets of the Marais to take in our last night in Paris, known famously as the gay area of Paris it did not disappoint. Fabulous people everywhere.

We'd finally come to our last night in Paris and we knew we couldn't not celebrate Sean's birthday so we decided to head to Zig Zag Club (just off the Champs Elysée) to see one of my favourite DJs - Motor City Drum Ensemble. We didn't end up leaving our apartment until about 2 am because the clubs there stay open till 7 and we knew with our flight in the morning we may as well just stay up until we had to get it, bad idea. The set was amazing, the club was huge and the people were great. You could even smoke inside which was such a novelty for us, however ALL drinks were 10 euro and we almost died of heart failure upon learning so. If you're going out in Paris I suggest you buy yourself a cheap bottle of wine like we did and neck it before or you're in for a very very expensive trip. 

We didn't even begin to scratch the surface of Paris but what I saw was so good that I'm already planning my next trip there. There are so many places and areas that I didn't get to visit so hopefully I can document those when I embark upon my next adventure to the city of light. I hope you enjoyed this tiny snippet of my trip and it inspires you to visit some of these places, hopefully! 

Three things before I go -
1. Always watch your bag/pockets cos the place is hiving with pick pockets!
2. Always always always pre drink because the clubs are ridiculously expensive
3. Never ever ever go out the night before your flight home because the plane will be so bad you'll want to die mid flight and end up silently crying and heaving into your sick bag for an hour and a half.

Au Revoir,
Katie xxx