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Sunday, 6 March 2016

Jameela Jamil Ponte Midi Dress for Simply Be- OOTD

Hello, beautiful! 

Today I have another outfit post for you all, featuring probably the most beautiful dress I've ever owned. I've seen so many of my favourite bloggers in the Jameela Jamil Ponte Midi Dress from Simply Be, and I had to try it for myself! Check out how Steph, Leah, Charli, Nancy, and Sam
wore this luscious dress (spoiler alert-they all look AMAZING). As so many wonderful folk have already covered this dress, I was in two minds about whether or not I should too, but I decided to go for it as a) it's fun to see the same item on lots of different bodies and b) I bloody love this dress.

Jameela Jamil has been one of my style icons for a long time. When her fashion collection landed at Simply Be, I was delighted! I love her body positive stance on fashion and image, and I find her sartorial tastes just wonderful. After seeing the range of gorgeous items, I fell in love with the Ponte Midi Dress (I'm a sucker for mesh and polka dots) and I finally have it in my wardrobe! Originally priced at £60, I managed to pick this up for just under £20 with sale prices and a discount code and as soon as it landed on my doormat I wriggled into it!





Being the clumsy girl that I am I was initially a bit nervous around the mesh sleeves and neckline, but thankfully it's a sturdy and tough fabric, with a surprising amount of stretch! I purchased a size up from my usual as I've found Simply Be garments can be a litle tight in the bust and upper arms, and I'm glad I sized up-it fits beautifully. The back zip is discreet and super easy to fasten up, and there's plenty of room in the top half without being ill-fitting. The shape of the dress is so amazingly dramatic. I love dresses of all shapes and cuts and don't think all items should be hourglass shaped, but the full skirt of this dress feels so romantic, with the peekaboo mesh panelling giving a little peek at the pins! As a tall lady, many of my dresses sit short, and it's a wonderful change to have a dress that sweeps past my calves! What I also love about this dress is the different ways you can dress it up. While I've gone for  look in tune with the current 70s trend, you could easily go for a retro inspired Hollywood glamour look, with heels, pearls and red lipstick, or a more goth/punk inspired combination with a biker jacket and boots, for example!



I recently picked up these fringed ankle boots in the sale at Yours Clothing and decided to team these up with the dress. I'm currently obsessed with ankle boots and I know I'll be wearing these loads this spring!


I'm also trying out my life-long dream of becoming a 'hat person'! This tassled beauty was from the sale at New Look and I'm on the lookout for more cool hats- let me know if you spot any!


Have you tried anything from the Jameela Jamil collection? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 
 Stay wonderful!
Melly x
 PS- I've also posted this outfit on LookBook, swing by and say hello!





Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Pinafores for the Win..afores!

In case you haven't noticed, pinafores are EVERYWHERE. A trend that started later last year is now storming the high street and online stores. Personally, I'm a huge fan. They look so cute and remind me of outifits I wore as a kid (anyone having to face adult responsibilities can seek solace through dressing as an oversized child, right?) But most importantly to me, pinafores offer a vast variety of possiblities, outfit-wise! I bought this Simply Be Pinafore Dress for around £39 back in late August after saving up, knowing it would be a wardrobe staple, and I've worn it so many times. As a person on low income, if I spend more than £20 on an item, I need to know that I will get my money's worth from it, and boy have I with this little number?! I bought a size up than I normally do, and it fits great! The straps are adjustable which help with my height, and there's plenty of room in the bust, which is always a must for me! 

Photos from my Instagram (@mellyemclark)
If you follow my Instagram, you'll have seen me post about what I've been wearing with it. Here are some of my favourite garments to team up with pinafores!

Jumpers- colourful patterned knitwear really pops out from underneath pinafores, and add that extra warmth for this time of year! 

T-shirts- Tees and 3/4 sleeve tops look effortlessly cool with pinafores, and are a super comfy combination.

Short dresses- being a tall gal, I have lots of dresses that are too short for me- realising that I could wear them with my pinafore gave me so many more outfit options!

Blouses- From feminine ditsy prints to heavy plaid checks, it all looks good under a pinafore. It's petty much a failsafe staple that will go with almost anything! 

Accessories- I've been loving accessorising mine with brooches, especially cameo designs and sparkly vintage pins! In the colder weather I've been snuggling up with a snood which looks super cute with a jumper and pinafore! When it comes to footwear, I like to pair them with chunky brogues or ankle boots! 


Blouse: second hand, Pinafore: Simply Be, Brogues: Primark

This Simply Be pinafore is currently in the sale, so grab one before I stock up on enough to last me a lifetime! Since I bought mine, many retailers have started selling denim versions, which I think look awesome! Other great places to find pinafores and dungarees are Asos Curve, New Look Inspire, and more recently, Yours Clothing!

Are you enjoying the trend for pinafores and dungarees? I'd love to know what you think!

Stay wonderful!
Melly x

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Undie-lievable! A Chaffree Review

I've always struggled with legwear. Through my teens, being tall made finding and successfully wearing tights almost impossible. Later, becoming plus size and reaching the height of 5"8 made the search even more difficult. Buy them too small and they wriggle down your crotch, too big and they fall down too! Finding ways to keep tights up can be a struggle-in ten years I've tried; wearing knickers on top of tights (not keen on flashing my knickers at folk), chopped down leggings (not always enough support) and even, in times of desperation, a pair of braces (don't even get me started on how impractical that was). My most often turned-to option has always been shapewear, as it's always guaranteed to always hold up tights, but also usually guarantees a level of discomfort as well as suffocating and smothering my nether regions. Also, I'm trying to embrace my big body and belly, and don't always fancy hiding my VBO! So when I heard of Chaffree, I was keen to give them a go!

Chaffree describe their products as 'Sweat Absorbing, Chafe Reducing Underwear Designed For Women & Men Regardless of Size, Shape, Age or Fitness'. My partner in crime is an avid cyclist and tried out Chaffree's men's boxers on his daily commute, and was impressed with the comfort and practicality of them! Like many, I struggle with my thighs constantly kissing themselves, which can lead to incredibly painful chafing (once I tried without tights and was walking around like a wincing cowboy all day-not a good look) so I've been curious about Chaffree's womenswear for a while! The team kindly sent me a pair of the Ladies' KnickerBoxers and the first thing I noticed about Chaffree is the sizing. Many plus size folk can tell you that what is labelled as 'large' in most clothing companies can be surprising, however Chaffree's size guide was refreshing!
While I am slightly smaller on my bottom half than my top, I carry weight on my bottom and stomach which can make clothing fits unpredictable. As the company promises the KnickerBoxers to have plenty of stretch, and I usually buy leggings a size smaller, I opted for the M/L which covers sizes 16 through to 20. The KnickerBoxers come in a choice of waist and leg lengths-being tall I chose the longer length leg and the full waist due to a love of high waisted underwear.

They arrived quickly, really well packaged and slipped through the letterbox easily (always handy to prevent trips to the sorting office!) At first I was dubious that a size 16-20 item would fit me at a 22/24, but the they fit beautifully. I was expecting that wet-suit-like texture of shapewear, but amazingly, they're a very light and breathable fabric that slips on with ease! Important to note that if you are trying Chaffree items as shapewear, they won't work for you. The cut and shape isn't designed to pull in, and while snug, they're more comfortable and supportive rather than squishing everything inwards.
Now for the test run! I wore them with tights and a dress and they didn't move at all, despite my enthusiastic lunging! In the past when I've tried using shapewear or cut-down leggings, the legs ride up incessantly. The Chaffree KnickerBoxers stay in place without doubt! They didn't flop under my belly either, and felt light and flexible under my clothes. Most importantly for me, they kept my tights up (cue Celebrations by Kool & The Gang) so they get a glowing review from me! For the ultimate wriggle test, I wore them another day under skinny jeans, and still stayed in place! Whatever witchcraft they're using, it definitely works.



Prices for the Knickerboxers start at £17, and you can get discounts by buying multiple pairs. I know I'll definitely get my money's worth out of these, I've already worn them loads.
This summer I'm aiming to overcome a body hang up of mine- going tights-free and knowing that I won't be in constant pain from chafing by using Chaffree's products is a big reflief. They'll be my body positive buddy this summer! I'm also really keen to try them with shorts in the warmer weather too! Wearing the KnickerBoxers has made me remember how cute I look in shorts, so I'm actually excited for the summer for once!



Have you tried Chaffree? What did you think? 

Stay wonderful!
Melly x

Friday, 19 February 2016

Alternatives To Feminine Plus Size Fashion

Plus size shopping can be tough for anyone, and many factors can make it even tougher. One thing I'd like to focus on in this post is finding plus size clothing that isn't stereotypically traditionally feminine.

Like many body positive babes, my fat fashion began with retro and rockabilly fashion. Figure hugging and oh-so glamorous, if you're feeling insecure about your body, this style can make you feel completely feminine and sexy. Much, though not all, of this trend relies on the hourglass figure-nipped in waisted, wide hips and heaving bosom. At that point in my life it felt perfect for me-I was going through puberty and had found a way to feel good in my 'new' body. As I've gone through University and into my twenties, I've tried many different ways of dressing and been many different sizes. Until the past year or so, I've always been a feminine dresser- I love youthful retro fashion, especially 1960s looks, and have had many a dress over the year. Since coming out as queer in 2015, I've been thinking more about how I present myself. When 'in the closet' part of the way I dressed was to mask any possible indications of my sexuality. While stereotypes are ridiculous, in my mind I was scared that if I stepped away from swooshing skirts and plunging necklines and towards items more stereotypically assigned to queerness, I'd be rumbled somehow (silly, I know). Since coming out, I definitely feel more free in how I can express myself. Gender wise, I do identify strongly as female, but I feel less pressure to dress in certain ways. Some days I still want to ooze femininity and girlishness, and others it feels like the last thing I want to do. While I've been trying new things fashion-wise, I discovered something I'd been ignorant too before- finding plus size clothing that isn't traditionally 'girly' is hard! 

I feel like this is really something that should be addressed. For some, like myself, it's a question of taste and style, but the issue runs deeper. We need plus size clothing for people of all gender identities-more options need to be available. We don't just come as 'men' and 'women' and fashion should start to reflect that.

Below are some of the items I've found (but not necessarily purchased) that could be considered as a step away from the feminine norm. Some of them are merely items that are not floral, while others may have less of an hourglass shape, or be used alongside other items for a more gender neutral aesthetic. This is from the view of a cisgender woman and influenced by my personal tastes in fashion. I have also ensured that all items are below £35 in order to be more accessible to different incomes.



If, like me, you love plaid and flannel shirts, you'll know that sometimes they can be hard to find in larger sizes. I swear by these shirts by Yours Clothing-they come in a whole load of different colours and checks, all in the same amazing cut, though I do hate the term 'boyfriend' in fashion (damn you, heteronormativity!).
Many of these style shirts at Yours have popper fastenings which, as a speedy dresser, I love! As well as wearing these buttoned up, another way to wear is wearing them open with t shirts underneath- a fave fashion trend of mine is clashing patterns and I love experimenting with different prints to compliment the plaid! The cut of these shirts are perfect for me on days where I don't want to project a 'figure-of-eight' body type, and I usually wear them with skinny jeans.These are great for casual wear and day-to-day looks, and are well priced!







Looking for evening wear or formal fashion when plus size can be a nightmare. I find gowns and elaborate dresses both intimidating and not at all 'me' (while many women really rock these looks!). If you're not one for tea dresses or velvet fishtails, it's easy to feel lost and frustrated shopping for events.
If you're looking for a sharp alternative, some plus size stockists have all you need to suit up! One of my style icons is the incredible Janelle Monae, and while not plus size, I adore her way of dressing. The sheerness of this chiffon Yours Clothing shirt does makes it feel more feminine, but I love the neck tie, and feels fancy without being too decorative. I think this, along with a blazer (like this New Look number) and these amazing New Look High Waisted Trousers are a winning comination!




Denim is undoubtedly cool. It's versatile, customisable and goes great with so many different items. With the recent 70s trend, denim can be found almost everywhere and there's styles for all kinds of tastes. Dungarees are really high on my wishlist at the moment, for their versatility and sheer awesomeness. New Look do some brilliant jackets, and I love this black denim jacket. Jackets are one of my favourite garments, but I really struggle to find styles other than flower-adorned waterfall blazers- for me denim jackets are both casual and comfortable but stylish. This denim shirt is a beauty as well! Yours Clothing also offer denim shirts in various shades, for a good price.




Jumpsuits are another alternative to a dress. Jumpsuits offer a simple luxury that dresses do- they are an 'all in one' item that you can simply throw on and get going (always a plus for me!)
This ASOS Curve Jumpsuit is so cute- I love the peg-leg detail and the slouchy, casual aesthetic. This looks so comfortable while easy to accessorise to make your own. My favourite detail of this is the drawstring waist, meaning you can make the fit baggier if you don't want the cinched look.  This jumpsuit from Yours Clothing is more feminine in cut than the ASOS garment, but I personally would team it with a blazer or open shirt over the top, and low converse, for a casual sort of style! Jumpsuits can be difficult to find for a low budget, but they will most likely be making a comeback for summer so I hope that we'll have more options soon!




Plus size T-shirts in less traditionally feminine styles can be surprisingly hard to find! Many of the choices are either plain basic T-shirts or hanky hems with floral designs, and not much inbetween. I love the eyelet detail in this ASOS Curve T-shirt, and think it would look badass with skinnies and ankle boots.  I'm a sucker for a Raglan tshirt and this would look great with most things (I'd love to see it with a pair of dungarees) and stripes are always a YES for me. When I have days where I want to feel fashion-forward but not confine myself to polka dots or chintzy florals (which I can love on other days!) stripes are always my go-to. Forever chic and easy to coordinate. Also, the fact that it is a twin pack for that price is pretty good.

Personally I'd love to see more of these styles in plus size clothing stores, as well as wider gender representation. What are your favourite items? I'd love to know!

Stay wonderful!
Melly






Friday, 12 February 2016

About The Art-Personalised Portraits! #1

As a full time illustrator, I draw a lot. What I draw changes every week, but the what I create the most, and one of my favourite things to create, is a custom portrait. When I was brainstorming about what to fill my new blog with, some of you requested I talk about my artistic process, and here we are! I've chosen a piece from last year that was a lot of fun to work on, and I'll be sharing exactly how I made it!

Last summer, I was contacted by one of my lovely customers to make a portrait of her daughter, Orla. As I knew the client was interested in retro and vintage fashion and has quite eclectic taste, I really wanted to reflect this in the portrait! As soon as I had read her requests for the piece, I knew the sort of direction i wanted to take it in!
One of my biggest influencers artistically is fashion illustrator Rene Gruau. Most popular in the 1950s and 1960s, his work is incredibly colourful and chic. I've been a fan of his for a while now, and I think his work is so beautiful and stylish.

All images belong to Rene Gruau- images found at https://uk.pinterest.com/quiquemaqueda/rene-gruau/
Gruau's work always conveys a sense of fun and energy, as does a lot of vintage fashion illustration, especially in 1960s advertising. I wanted to capture a similar aesthetic that would help portray a young and fashionable girl as well as the tastes of the customer.




Here's the initial sketch I sent-I knew she and her family were fond of nature so I wanted to fill the piece with wild flowers and leaves. I never seem to draw any flowers in particular-I quite enjoy improvising and making things up! The design was approved and I moved onto my favourite part- deciding on the colour scheme! 

I wanted to step away from the colours so commonly associated with femininity (pinks and purples) and create a colour scheme that had a nod back to retrospective art as well as gender neutrality. Many of the artists that I adore use warm colour palettes- reds, oranges and yellows that feel friendly and cosy yet vivid, and I chose to do the same. I set about finding colours that compliment each other and the piece- I've always really loved creating colour combinations and seeing what fits the illustration!




This was the range of colours I decided on! One of my favourite colour combinations is orange and green, so I chose to try a combination of different shades of this idea! I chose a black background as this makes the brighter shades really stand out. I've seen how artists such as Tim Biskup and Johnny Hannah use black backgrounds, and fancied trying it myself!
Once I had my selection of colours, I sent a 'colour plan' to the client. This is a flat plan of what colours will go there, and gives the customer an opportunity to make any changes they'd like. Initially this was a one-off for the customer but is now available to all portrait customers! 




 I created this colour plan by dropping the initial sketch into Photoshop and digitally adding the shapes over the top. While this colour scheme was a bit of a gamble, the customer enjoyed the design, and so I began the final piece! 

My process is mostly digital but occasionally I scan in or create textures to use as well, so many of them end up being mixed media pieces. I moved from traditional techniques to digital at the start of 2015, and while I have alot yet to learn, I'm finding the process much easier now! I made some tweaks to the initial drawing, and added more detail, until I came to the final image! 




Like most artists, I'm always self-critical, but I'm really pleased with how this one came out, and the customer said she was too! This piece gave me more confidence in trying new colours and hues, and was so much fun to work on! I'd like to say a big thank you to the customer for their order and continued support!

If you'd like me to make some art for you, head to my Etsy store, where I have a full range of personalised pieces! If you're looking for something not listed in my shop, simply get in touch at mellyemclark@gmail.com or via Etsy, and I'd be happy to help!

Stay wonderful!
Melly

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Dating Your Delightful Self- Woo Your Body!

Dating is fun! You get to spend time with people that interest you, and experience fun new events, with that flush of excitement and possibility. Whether you are single, playing the field, newly besotted or settled down- there's one person we could all commit ourselves to- ourselves! 
I truly believe we could all benefit from treating ourselves like a hot new beau- looking after ourselves, treating ourselves and saying 'I Do' to self love and self care. In this series of posts, I'll be exploring different aspects of taking the time to enjoy your own company and indulge yourself in courting the most important person in your life- you!

Part One -Woo Your Body
As in both romancing your body, and as in 'Woo!! Your body!'

Illustration by Melly Em Clark-Please Do not Share Without Permission


Body positivity as a movement is quickly gaining popularity- activists and pioneers of self love are leading the way in the world of body love and appreciation. Women's magazines are starting to address the themes of embracing your body and we're seeing a rise in pop music with body positive messages. Many of us recognise the concept of self love as a valid one- yet why does it feel so bloody difficult?
Letting go of negative thoughts can feel impossible at times. We all know how impressionable we can be from our surrounding factors. While progress is slowly being made, there are still certain ideals of exactly what is attractive. Even if somehow and, somewhat miraculously, tomorrow we awoke to a transformed and radically body positive world, full of representation for all different types of bodies, we could still have the lingering self criticism and self hate many of us have been taught to practise.  Addressing our bubble of self image as well as combatting the attitudes of the world around us is vital. I'm only part way through my 'journey' and I don't think it's ever something we complete- we always find new ways to improve our self image, but here are my tips for starting to become smitten with yourself!

Dress For Your Body Love Relationship Accordingly

-Many amazing bo-po activists march out of their comfort zones, donning skin tight garments and figure hugging outfits, but if you're new to Body Positivity, this can feel daunting at first. The notion of showcasing the areas we're encouraged to hide can bring on feelings of vulnerability and low confidence if it's something you're initially scared to try. What I urge you to do is to take it at your own pace, like you would with any other relationship! If you're raring to try on bodycon dresses and scuba leggings, go ahead and rock those looks- but if you feel happier and more comfortable in a baggy t-shirt and jeans, that's awesome too! Self love doesn't have to happen overnight (it rarely does) and you can always try more 'daring' styles later, if ever at all. Don't push yourself beyond what feels good to you, always make sure you feel at ease in what you are wearing, and take it one step at a time.

Whisper Sweet Nothings to Yourself

-It can feel amazing and empowering to embrace the parts of your body you once hated, but learning to love what you regard as flaws can be tricky. My advice is to start by identifying body parts or features you know you feel confident about and really focus on why you love them. Do this in a relaxed environment where you're less likely to feel anxious thinking of your body- while having a soothing bubble bath or before going to sleep, for example. Take time to fully take in these features and appreciate yourself as a sum of these parts and more- write all of them down if it helps! Learning to really love even one part of yourself is the rung on the ladder to appreciating your whole self. When you're ready, start to note the positive aspects of areas you're perhaps less confident with- for example, I've been self concious about my stomach before, but it's soft and warm and makes for a little hill down to the valley of my bits! But on days where I struggle to see this in a positive way (bad days can still happen) I try to remind myself of the areas I love- my boobs, my legs, my waist, and make the focus about those instead until I'm feeling better. When you find a new happy thought about your bod, it can help to jot them down and remind yourself of them on more self-conscious days- like a little love letter to your future self!

Get Naked!

-In my experience, nudity, or wearing very little, can help incredibly with body comfort. Now, I'm not insiting you sign up to the nearest nudist community (though if that's your thing-go you!), I just mean in ways that are practical, safe and comfortable for you. Sleeping naked made a huge difference for me, and while impractical during the colder months, this and pottering around indoors wearing not a lot made me feel more aware of the way my body looks, feels and moves. While it was scary at first, it's led to an increased understanding and confidence in my body. If it helps to wear something that makes you feel great (lingerie for example) that can be a great stepping stone too!

Commemorate Your Date

-Selfies are a sure-fire way to sweet self confidence. If you're feeling cute, share it! It doesn't have to be with the world, it could just be to a friend or partner when you dig yourself! Capturing moments of confidence in a visual log can lead to a collection of pictures of bliss, as well as adding to the body love revolution. If you do choose to share online, you'll inspire others too, leading to a stream of photos of positivity and wider representation! There seems to be the argument that selfies are seen as self-centered or vain, but I think anything that encourages self love and self appreciation can only be a good thing! Many women find that taking nudie pictures for themselves to look at can be another way of learning about your body and its awesomeness!

Find Your Body-Loving Soulmates

-One of the biggest influencers upon our self esteem, lifestyle choices and general happiness is 
who we interact with, from the people we spend time with to the impact of who we follow online. Social media can be rife with body shaming, aggressive messages and expectations, but you don't have to consume it. While there's power in witnessing and confronting these opinions, sometimes we absorb these thoughts subconsiously, and we can cut them out. I've found that unfollowing accounts that made me feel worthless and spread negative vibes throughout my mind has helped tremendously. Simply replace them with people who make you feel great! Getting involved in the body positive movement not only helps in times of low confidence but also adds to the overall power of the movement and its message that ALL bodies are worthy of love, and self-love. It also helps to find like-minded folk who you can talk to during a confidence crisis too, whether it's an online personality, or a friend. Reducing any negativity witnessed offline can be harder, as we can't use the same techniques with family and close ones. In my experience, I've spoken to family members and asked them not to use certain terms, and expressed why certain language or attitudes can be seen as upsetting or offensive, but changing a viewpoint isn't always possible. Seeking out friends who make me feel empowered, confident and unashamed to be who I am, however, has had a hugely positive effect, and can really alter how you see yourself.

Treat Your New Lover (You!) with Kindness

-When partners, friends or family come to us with moments of sadness, low confidence or worries, we take the time and care to ensure they feel safe, supported and loved- this same approach is necessary with ourselves too. When we have low days, it's easy to get caught up in anger towards our feelings, and the way we process our thoughts. Listen- all of your feelings are completely valid- you're allowed to not feel on top of the world, or feel stressed, anxious or confused at every day occurances. We're supposed to feel emotion and very few of us are happy all of the time. What's important is that you take care of yourself-treat yourself like you would a loved one. Think of the little things you've done for others, or things people have done for you, that have helped soothe and relax. Things like running a bath, a warm cup of hot chocolate and a hot water bottle, or a stroll out in the fresh air. Self care is another form of self love, and in my eyes, it's just as vital as being happy with your appearance.

If you're in need of someone to talk to regarding mental health, body issues, or anything else that's been troubling you, it's best that you speak to a trained professional- a list of UK based organisations can be found here. 

Please note that these are simply the techniques I used to kick-start loving myself, and it's always best to read a variety of views and sources and only do what works the best for you, your confidence and your comfort!

If you enjoyed this post, check out these awesome stories of self love, self care and the body loving revolution!

Michelle Marie's Finding My Feet 
Lottie L'Amour's It's Okay Not To Be Confident (And Other Confessions of a Body Positive Blogger)
The Vintage Lady of Lincoln on Finding Happiness Through Self Love 
She Loves Herself's Post on  Seven Things That Are Good for Soul
 Nerd About Town's shares Thoughts You Deserve
The Not So Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess's Loving You Is Easy Because You're Beautiful
U Can't Wear That brings us A Message To My Sisters (That Means All of You)
Murder of Goths' declaration I Will Not Hide My Lumps and Bumps

Later this week, in tribute to Valentine's Day, I'll be sharing more posts about Dating Yourself! Have you written about self love or body positivity? Send me a link-I'd love to read them and hear your views!

Stay wonderful!

Melly






Friday, 5 February 2016

About The Art: You Don't Need Abs To Be Fab


Illustration by Melly Em Clark- available to purchase at etsy.com/shop/mellyemclark. Please do not share without permission.

Hello beautiful! 

A new type of post I'm introducing to the blog is a collection of short posts about the stories behind my illustrations and what they mean to me! I'll be posting these weekly and alongside other posts.

First up is perhaps my best-known piece, You Don't Need Abs To Be Fab. I've been incredibly lucky to have this image shared across social media- a particular highlight was seeing it reposted by the awesome team at Eff Your Beauty Standards, helping my art reach an incredible amount of people! I've been completely overwhelmed by the reaction to this piece, and very grateful to those who have shared it!

The idea came for the artwork came from frustration and anger at society's approach towards fitness, health and body image. While I have no ill feelings towards those who are passionate about fitness and exercise, many people feel sometimes these industries can push things too far, especially around New Year. Many people start each year with goals and aspirations, which I can understand-I've made career and confidence goals for 2016- but we are all expected to want to change various aspects oif our physical appearance. Personal growth is one thing, but we see so many torture themselves over a societal ideal hanging over their heads. Each year we all share our Resolutions, each bringing our own list of changes needed to be the 'perfect' person. It's all so negative- instead of viewing the coming year as another 365 days of potentially amazing experiences, we're taught to instead count everything we hate about our bodies- or if we don't already hate our bodies, many brands use advertising tactics to make us question ourselves.

I wanted to create something that was both a one-fingered gesture to these standards, and something ultimately optimistic. As with many of my pieces, I start with a phrase. I jot down lists of rhymes, alliterations, puns and slogans until something feels workable. Then I start to doodle. Once I had the phrase You Don't Need Abs To Be Fab, the rest pretty much fell into place. 'Abs' (the visible definition of the abdomen) and a muscular frame are becoming seen as more and more desriable on the typically male body, and while this piece wasn't intended soley as art directed at men, when sketching out characters, I kept returning to this guy seen above. Fatness is almost completely neglected in representation in both the high street and high-fashion, for all genders. Men's body issues are definitely and unfortunately on the uprise. I wanted to portray a figure of self love and happiness- someone who doesn't need to 'fit in' to feel confident. I feel the most important word of the piece is 'Need'. If you have Abs or a six pack, that's absolutely fine, but they aren't a necessity to be sexy, self assured or worthy of love. To me, it's all about choice.

The illustration was made using a mixture of acrylic paints, gouache and Photoshop. I wanted a bright colour scheme to express a fun and light-hearted feel, as well as to catch the eye! During 2015 I excitedly released Pocket Mirrors into my Etsy store with this design upon them- a regular, pocket sized reminder that you are fab! I'll soon be restocking these-watch this space! To promote the product, I was overjoyed to collaborate with plus size blogger, model and my partner in crime, Dom Clark. Dom is one of the few male plus size bloggers of the community, and is a great presence to have whilst making body positive art!

You Don't Need Abs To Be Fab Pocket Mirror, seen here with plus size male model and blogger Dom Clark 
What would you like to see in a furture print? Who are your recommended Body Positive artists? I'd love to find more inspiration!

Stay wonderful, 

Melly 


P.S- Please always try to credit artists when sharing work- we love to hear where our work has reached and would love our names to be alongside our hard work. If you are unsure of the artist, a quick Google search can usually help! Thanks, lovelies!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Liebster Award!


Well this is exciting! The ever-wonderful Kitty of Kitty Rambles A Lot nominated me to take part in this fab post! The rules of the Award are simple and open up the possiblility of finding new blogs, and learning more about the people behind them!


Here are my questions as outlined by Kitty, see below for both my nominations and for the questions I'm asking!

1) What is your favourite food?

I think it's got to be Pizza- as predictable as that might be! For a long time I struggled with guilt after every time I ate pizza as it's definitely seen as a food related to gluttony and the damaged image of fat bodies represented by the media, but I've learned to be nicer to myself and just enjoy it!

 2) Where would you love to visit?

Copenhagen. I'm actually yet to leave the UK, the furthest I've travelled North is Edinburgh and furthest South is Newquay, so I'm at the 'anywhere-will-do' point! But I've wanted to go to Copenhagen for a few years now, so much of it appeals to me and it just looks so beautiful. My craving for Copenhagen shenanigans was only encouraged more by the recent episode of Travel Man in which Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding had a delightful little toddle around the sights.
Image found at http://nomadicpursuits.com/top-photo-spots-in-copenhagen/

3) Who is your ultimate crush?

I should probably say my partner Dom but at this point you all already know that, right? He's pretty great and definitely my ultimate crush. Aside from Dom, my biggest celebrity crush at the moment is comedian Cameron Esposito- she's so wonderful! My other celebrity crushes are Elly Jackson of La Roux, Mark Kermode, Sue Perkins, Mark Ruffalo and Gwendoline Christie. Also, I'll say that Copenghagen wasn't the only appealing aspect of Travel Man!

 4) What is your favourite clothing piece you've ever owned?

This dress from when I was a kid/hobbit. Since growing out of it, I've laways longed for a 'grown up' version and I'm always collecting things with the same daisy pattern. A couple of years ago I found a daisy dress from Red Herring and barely took it off all summer!




 5) What is your worst fashion faux pas?

This haircut. I remember it painfully. An avid hater of visiting the hairdresser's, I decided to try to trim my own fringe, aged 15. Attempt after attempt at levelling it out resulted in me chopping a large portion off, leaving baby fluff on my forehead instead of my usual emo kid sweeping fringe. It took ages to grow back, and the worst thing was that it happened just a few days before school photo day, THE HORROR.



 6) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Always a scary question! In five years I'll be almost 29, and I'd like to think by that point I'll still be still Illustrating, and maybe have a few bigger commissions under my belt. Maybe I'll still be in Lincoln, or maybe I'll be someplace new! As long as I'm still making Art and I'm happy, I don't mind where I'll be in 2021!

 7) Who are your favourite bloggers?

These are just a few of my favourite bloggers, soon I'll be sharing a more detailed and through list of my regular reads!

Fellow Illustrator and blogger Phie Hackett who not only posts about great topics in a wonderfully relatable way, but illustrates them beautifully too!

Tara aka Catstello of Cattitude & Co- I love that she raises awareness of topics many shy away from but that should be discussed, like sex , periods and feminism. 

Leah of Just me Leah Leah is a fierce force of nature in the plus size community and isn't afraid to shout her opinions from the rooftops- and her opinions are great! Unapologetically awesome and truly fascinating blog posts!

Jenna at Princess Parasox. Jenna's blog is definitely one of my faves- her fashion style is amazing but what really steals the show are her incredible insights on feminsim, gender and sexuality. I'm so happy to have found a fellow queer blogger, and Jenna is fabulous!

...and I may be biased but Dom's blog, It's Dom Clark is pretty neat! His main specialism is fashion and style, but is also passionate about calling out ignorance and prejudice, as seen in his social media!

8) If you could be any animal for the day, what would you be?

I thoroughly enjoy being a fairly tall woman, and while I'm willing my body to have a second growth spurt to Gwendoline Christie proportions, if I had to be an animal I'd definitely be a giraffe and take full advantage of the extra height. Giraffes usually seem pretty rleaxed and I bet they get a great view of everything!

9) Do you have any pets? Share photos! If you don't, what would you have?

Sadly I'm not in a situation where I can have pets, but if I could I'd definitely have a house rabbit. As a kid, I had a beloved pet rabbit for ten years, and I've always missed him. I also really like cats! We're lucky to be in any area with A LOT of cats so we never have to go far to find a fluffy companion.

My beloved childhood pet, Benji


10) What was your dream job as a kid?

Mine's a bit of weird one- I had dreams of being a Paranormal Investigator! I had so many books about ghosts, vampires, aliens and science fiction and was convinced that's what I was going to do (Dear Past Melly-you had great ambition!) I saw myself proving the existence of the paranormal, and discovering crashed UFOs, the whole thing! As I grew up, as well as realising it's an incredibly niche job, my belief in things that go bump in the night has wavered. I'm 80% sure ghosts/vampires/werewolves don't exist (but pretty convinced aliens do) yet I find the topics so fascinating still, and I've kept all of the books...just in case.

11) What is your favourite thing about blogging?

I love writing about things I'm passionate about! During School and University I loved essay writing, and since leaving Uni I haven't had many chances to write, so I welcome blogging with open arms! I've read blogs for roughly five years and I love learning more about people I admire, from their favourite TV shows to their polictical views! Also, I spend a lot of time finding fashion inspiration from fellow bloggers, and head staright there when I'm looking for reviews! While I've had other blogs in the past, The Melly Em Blog is only a couple of weeks old, but so far it's been a blast!

My nominated blogs are Phie Hackett, Princess Parasox, It's Dom Clark, Just Me Leah, Nadine Danielle , Spiked Black Tee, ChloEllio , Fat Girl For Life, Rad Fat Feminist, Tetris And Cheesecakes and A Dress Is For Life 

My questions for you are:

1. Describe your blog in six words
2. If you could have the life of any fictional character for the day, who would it be? 
3. In the movie of you and your blog, who would play you? 
4. Do you have a particluar blog post you're proud of?  If so, why?
5. What brings you happiness?
6. Describe your perfect night in
7. Who are your inspirations in life?
8. If you could choose one celebrity/icon to become a loyal follower and reader of your blog, who would it be and why? 
9. Why did you start blogging and how long have you blogged for?
10. What do you love the most about yourself?
11. What's the best book you've ever read?


Thank you again to Kitty for the nomination, and I can't wait to see all of your answers!

Stay wonderful!
Melly






Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Contemplating Carol

Carol Illustration Available To Buy Upon Request- simply contact mellyemclark@gmail.com -Please do not share images without permission

In December, like many queer cinema fans, I flocked to the cinema to see Todd Haynes' highly anticipated movie, Carol. On its opening weekend I ran, cash in hand, to my nearest Odeon, eager to see the movie I'd waited so long for. The trailers promised a sweeping tale of romance and drama, with a talented cast and swoon-worthy cinematography. It definitely delivered!

The film's plot follows the development of a chance encounter between the introverted and sensitive Therese and the enigmatic, charismatic Carol, and is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt. The film shares its name with the later-published version of the book,  this adjustment a more fitting encapsulation of the story- though both the book and the film are from Therese's point of view, all that matters is the eyes of the protagonist is Carol. Being set in 1950s New York, the film not only depicts the relationship between the two central characters, but also addresses the impact the relationship has upon the environment around them.

Carol draws a lot of inspiration from one of my favourite films, Brief Encounter, a 1945 David Lean picture. Todd Haynes reportedly wanted to imitate the movie's framing device as a narrative- the film opens upon the characters going their seprate ways, and then backtracks to the story's origin. This way of storytelling keeps you guessing the context of the opening scene, and by the time we reach it, we are desperate to know what happens next. We've all sat in a restaurant or coffee shop and spotted conversations that have intrigued us, and in the cases of both titles, we get to see the tales behind them. Both Carol and Brief Encounter discuss relationships in a world where their love is taboo due to societal expectations- Brief Encounter featuring the tale of unfaithful affairs, and Carol of course depicting a lesbian relationship. Both films are also beautiful in thier subtelty and poetic dialogue.

While many romanctic pictures portray love as an ultimately positive emotion and experience, Carol gives us something more realistic, more relatable and more tantalisting. Through Therese we see the entire emotional spectrum of falling in love- happiness at finding a soul to attach to, confusion and hope as to the reciprocation of feelings, sheer pain at seeing the beloved tortured, and for some, betrayal (no spoilers here) and the rebuilding of your spirit. While in the film there are many moments of joy and optimism, there is an overwhelming sense of sadness, of complication and circumstance, as we see the story through the eyes of worrier Therese. We will the characters through the issues they face, and triumph whenever they seem to be back in control.
While we are primarily captivated by the story of these two fascinating women, the film also presents us with two interesting stories of how the men in their lives cope with rejection. Many queer women have to confront negative male attention, from street harassment to any possible past lovers, and the film addresses this theme of attempting to live alongside a woman in a world so geared towards being with men.

There's been much fawning over the film's visuals, and I can't say I disagree- the entire film is crammed with beautiful shots and luscious set peices, and Sandy Powell's costume designs are a stand out quality-I could talk for days about everything I loved about the movie's aesthetics. Lead actors Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara step into 1950s clothing perfectly, completely believable and flawless in period costume. Blanchette and Mara have received deservedly wonderful acclaim for their work in Carol, and it's hard not to swoon for their chemistry. The attention to detail in their body language, characersitsics and diaolgue make for that perfectly subtle yet perfectly powerful combination. Even in its final scene, an event that could have been drawn out and exaggerated as they are in so many tales of romance, the downplayed gentleness undoubtedly wins the audience over.

While I adored the performances both actors gave, the argument could be made that these roles should have been given to queer actors. While there have been rumours regarding Blanchette's sexuality, the only 'Out' perfomers in Carol have considerably smaller roles. I was delighted to see Sarah Paulson wonderfully depict Carol's best friend and former lover Abby-I was previously besotted with Paulson in her work in American Horror Story (especially as the lead role in second series Asylum) and her smaller, yet brilliant part in The Notorious Betty Page.  We see Abby as Carol's confidant and trusted friend- there's a point to be made about Abby and Carol's close friendship despite the end of their romantic associations, and how Carol wants to keep that part of her history close. This isn't a depiction of a jealous and bitter ex- this film covers loyal and loving female friendships as well as intimiacies. Another queer actor featured in this film is Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein, though her part was severely shortened and we barely see her appear at all, despite the intriguing nature of her appearance. If you are interested in these roles, I highly recommend reading the original novel as there's far more character insight within the pages than there are on screen. 

Another concern of mine is the complete whiteness of the movie. While I love to see a film with a majority female cast, a female writer (Phyllis Nagy did an incredible job fighting to get the film made) and the visibility of queer characters in mainstream cinema, this film still contributes to the racial inequalities of Hollywood. This film features no none-white actors and by now, film makers should really be considering making positive changes. Representation and casting is a huge part of Hollywood, and they have the control to inforce a more fair casting process within cinema. We've recently seen the backlash to the appalling Oscar nominations, leading to a widespread boycott and leading The Academy to make changes to its process by creating a more diverse board of Governors, but things need to drastically improve, and the sooner the better.

A positive to take away from Carol is its happy ending (I won't go into too much detail for those who haven't seen it yet). Queer audiences are used to investment and infatuation with an on-screen couple before the relationship is destroyed by either an untimely death or the passing of a sexual 'phase'. Carol's positive ending feels triumphant and groundbreaking, though it's a pretty undemanding request for a queer relationship to stay in tact, and so very rarely the case. I hold high hopes for future lesbian cinema- Carol has proved that queer stories don't have to be tragic to be successful, rejecting the romanticised grief and loss in so many titles.

Carol has currently finished its run at most mainstream cinemas, however the original novel is incredibly accessible, and the DVD is available to pre-order, ahead of its release in March.

Did you see Carol? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Stay wonderful!
Melly










Friday, 22 January 2016

24 That I Adore- Part Two!

Hello beautiful, and welcome back to my blog! Earlier this week I kicked things off with numbers 1-12 of '24 I Adore'- a list of things I love to celebrate my recent twenty-fourth birthday. Today's post is numbers 13-24!


 13. Sisterhood

While in Part One, I discussed feminism as something important to me, I felt I had to dedicate a little space for my own Sisterhood of wonderful women. I'm incredibly lucky to have a lot of supportive sisters in my life- both the bioligical variety and those with whom I have a sisterly bond. The sisters I grew up with inspire me in so many ways- my older sister Cat is the epitome of love and kindness, with an infectious laugh, while my sister Robin is a fierce and fabulous force to be reckoned with. My 'sisterhood' of friends also mean the world to me. In the past I'd always been wary of female friends, intimidated by the girls that taunted me at school and a few dodgy friendhsips as a teen. Meeting my friends Alexandra and Pip during University taught me that I could have female friendships in my life that were not only healthy, but incredible. We've navigated our way together through the stress of a degree, and are currently finding our way through the awkward post-graduate days. I've partied hard and cuddled gently with these women, and I love them from the bottom of my heart. In the past year or so, I've found a new friendship in the form of the wonderful Jasmin. The first time we hung out (a movie marathon) we chatted for hours non-stop and left the DVDs discarded on the side. Every time we meet, my affection and admiration for her grows even more, and she's just such a cool presence in my life! I really treasure my gang of creative, queer friends that I can always rely on, no matter how many miles are between us all. While I've basiclaly fangirled over them all, my point is that a great sisterhood can change your world, and make you feel so much stronger. Personally I high recommend it! 

14. Period Dramas

As an artist, I love beautiful things. I also love films. When these two come together with a great narrative, I swoon. While I love many films with a contemporary setting, I have a real soft spot for pieces set in the past. If cinema is escapism, period dramas are time travel. I love titles that make me want to climb into the screen and raid wardobes (even if bad representation of plus size characters means nothing would fit me). There's been some gorgeous costume design I've revelled in during the past few years- in particular, Odile Dicks-Mireaux's work in An Education (2009) Kasia Walicka-Maimone's utterly lovely designs for Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and, more recently, the unforgettably beautiful creations for Carol (2015) by Sandy Powell. The increase in television show production values of late have led to some incredible visuals in TV too- my top recommendations (aside from the obvious Mad Men!) are American Horror Story:Asylum, and Masters of Sex!

15. Frankie Magazine

Women's magazines can be vicious. Simply pop into your local newsagents and you can see women being torn down and pulled apart by the cruel words of gossip mags and lifestyle publications. Within the past few years, I've made an effort to stay away from these types of magazines and either find more positive reads, or stay well clear of them all. I was incredibly happy to find Frankie-for me it's the perfect companion to curl up and read with! Frankie is mostly about arts and crafts, celebrating female makers and shakers and displaying gorgeous art and photography projects to leaf through and fawn over. Between the double pages of luscious art, there are fascinating articles covering a variety of subjects and giving wonderful female journalists a voice. Frankie is a soothing, friendly gal who certainly has a lot to say!

16. Clashing Patterns

Fashion is fun! One of my favourite aspects of fashion is matching items together, and in particular I find clashing patterns simply wonderful. I love contrasting textures and prints, block patterns and smaller details. Adding a second pattern into the mix can make an outift really stand out. Some say it's garish- but to me, garish means eccentrically brilliant. Some of my favourite combinations are ditsy florals with leopard print, tartan with breton stripes, and 60s monochromes with bright 70s floral illustrations. Mixtures of textures always catch my eye too, I love tweed and faux leather, fake fur and knitwear. Two of my style icons are Vivienne Westwood and Jean Woods (of Fabulous Fashionistas fame) and I think they clash patterns perfectly!

17. My Body

This fleshy vessel (or a flesshel) has been through a lot of self hatred in the past, for the same reasons a lot of women hate their bodies- we feel we are supposed to. At the start of 2015 I vowed to appreicate and love the body that I have, whatever form it takes on, and it's one of the best decisions I've made! I altered my social media intake, unfollowed unhealthy influences, did what I could to carve a positive space, and was generally a bit kinder to myself. The body positive movement has made an incredible impact on the way I view not just my body, but the bodies of others. I've grown to love my wobble, my jiggle, my belly, my stretch marks and cellulite, because I've wasted enough time hating it! It's not an easy journey and some days it can be the hardest thing to do, but moving from self acceptance to self love can be so powerful. Of course I still have my bad days, but I can always rely on the inspirations in my life to fill me with warm fuzzy feelings again. I take time to appreciate how my shape works, how my clothes hang from my frame. I love my tallness, my big butt, my squishy thighs- but if I had a completley different body, I'd still love that too. I feel the 'bo-po' movement needs to adapt to become more diverse in order for everyone to feel empowered, confident and truly love themselves, because it's a great feeling that everyone should know!

18. Foxes

Aren't foxes the cutest? As  my partner Dom will tell you, I love them! One of my first larger tattoos was a fox-I have a fox-patterned dress, a fox necklace, fox socks and more! I'm not sure where the obsession has come from, but I'm a long time fan. In Primary School I even wrote to Tony Blair, asking him to ban fox hunting, illustrated with crying foxes (I didn't get much of a response). Obviously, the baby-biting thing wasn't a wise move for the fox community, but I'll always love the cuties.

19. Movie Soundtracks & Scores

We all love a good movie soundtrack, ones that make every scene feel more grand, more sad, more uplifting, but also ones we can listen to independently and love just as much without the visuals. Some of my most treasured soundtrack CDs are: 
 -Amelie (2001)
-Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
-Juno (2007)
-A Single Man (2009)
-(500) Days of Summer (2009)
-The Graduate (1967)
-Donnie Darko (2001)
-Billy Elliot (2000)
-School of Rock (2003)
-Singin' In The Rain (1952)

20. Sex Positivity

To me, sex positivity is an integral part of feminsim. I truly believe that, if done safely and consensually, sex is a great thing! While sex in relationships is awesome, one of my favourite times in life was when I was casually dating and living a healthy sex life without a partner! The idea that you should only have sex in a relationship simply is not for me, and many others agree! If you're in the both in the mood and a safe opportunity arises, why shouldn't you go for it? I love that the Sex Positive movement has created such a backlash against slut-shaming and societal expectations, and I'll never be ashamed of my decisions regarding my sex life. As some of you may know, I worked in an adult store for eighteen months and it proved to be an interesting experience! I learned a lot about the industry and its customers, and one thing I took away from it is that there should be more accessible resources for people to learn about sex-in particular anatomy, and what we class as 'normal' sex. I think it's vital that, while we have conversations about consent, sexuality and provide safe information, we must support and not alienate victims of sexual assault and the asexual community, and ensure the message is intersectional, fair and welcoming! 

 
My illustration of singer/songwriter Mary Lambert

21. Mary Lambert

Growing up, I found queer role models incredibly hard to find. So many pop songs centred around a boy-meets-girl theme, and with so many music videos focused on attraction from men- a lot of you will remember how the 2002 release of TaTu's All The Things She Said was deemed shocking and explicit, while heterocentric pop videos bumped and ground their way through without censorship. In the years since then, very few out queer women have found mainstream success within the industry-the biggest success probably being that of Lady Gaga. Last year I discovered the music of Mary Lambert. Featuring on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' track Same Love catapulted her into the charts and into the hearts of many LGBT+ music fans. I remember hearing She Keeps Me Warm and rejoicing at finally hearing a lesbian love song! She Keeps Me Warm is a simple and gentle ballad, and proudly projects the message that love is love, and none of us should be denied a relationship that keeps us warm. As a plus size woman, Lambert also takes on the topic of body image in her work- most memorably her spoken word-piece Body Love. Any follower of the Body Positive or Feminist movements should really give this track a listen- her choice of words and clear frustration at the issues we face bring me close to tears each time I hear it. In her more upbeat track, Secrets, Lambert sings of wholeheartedly embracing personality aspects some see as 'flaws' - her mental health, sexaulity and body image amongst others- and invites us all to do the same. Mary Lambert is such a positive prescence in the pop world, providing both catchy, well written songs and a strong message of self-love. If you're on the lookout for more queer musicians to add to your playlists, check out the musicians  Soko and St Vincent too!

22. Charlie Brooker

As the end of each year approaches, when we reflect upon the events of the last twelve months, I always love hearing writer Charlie Brooker's summary. The yearly 'wipes' are a ritualistic rant of all the crappy situations the year has found itself in, and the crappy people that put us there. It's easy to paint him as a cynical critic, pointing and laughing, but listen to what he's saying and he's simply dissapointed and angry at the world, and uses great comedy to let off steam about it. His heart is definitely in the right place, and I'm constantly watching old episodes of Screenwipe (which totally needs to come back to our screens please!) My personal highlight of 2015 Wipe was contributor Philomnea Cunk (real name Diane Morgan)'s take on Feminism

23. Zines

Zines can be an incredibly powerful thing. A throwback to the Riot Grrl music scene of the 90s, feminist zines are a raw and passionate projection of frustration and anger at ignorance and prejudice in the world. I love the combination of art and feminism, but above all I adore the concept that anyone can make a zine. You don't need a degree in bookmaking or a Masters in Feminist theory to be able to create! All you need is passion and access to a printer! To read more about making zines, Whatcha Mean, What's A Zine? and Make A Zine! are wonderful books full of advice and inspiration!

24. Tove Jansson

Recently, you'll have seen this adorable gif from the TV adaptation of book series The Moomins doing the rounds online, and rightly so! It has a wonderfully body positive message that we could all benefit from. What I love about Tove Jansson's The Moomins is the simple and peaceful message of it all- about a small community of characters living in harmony, without hatred or judgement, something many of us see as an ideal way to live! Tove Jansson could probably be seen as one of the few truly successful female artists of the twentieth century, and one of even fewer successful lesbian artists of the same period. The longevity of the success of the Moomins boils down to the fact that Moominville is a safe and positive place to escape to, away from the harshness of today. That, and Moomins are so damn cute. Check out this awesome article about Tove Jansson and representation within the Moomins! 

What are the things you adore in life? Let me know what makes you smile!

Stay wonderful!
Melly x