Monday, 8 December 2014

As I begin my second 7 days of Dressember I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my first 7 days. 7 days which have seen me in a different dress on each of those 7 days! I have had to really think about what I would wear, considering what I would be doing on any given day and what the weather would bring. Not being able to throw on a pair of jeans when that is the one thing you are used to doing took me way out of my comfort zone. Wearing a dress would hardly be the choice of many at this time of the year but doing so speak volumes about why I, and many others, have chosen to do so. This video highlights what human trafficking could mean and the thought that it could very well be happening on our doorstep made me stop and think. I am sure many people would ask as to why on earth I am wearing a dress, especially in the winter, but hopefully, even though deciding what to wear seems like such a trivial thing, limiting that choice is a small sacrifice but can be used as a challenge and an opportunity to inform others. It is in our everyday choices that we can make the most impact and advocate for many different causes in a small way, but when many join together it becomes bigger than us. I love the hashtag associated with Dressember as it says it so succinctly, #itsbiggerthanadress

Now to the dresses, I am happy to admit that it did get more difficult as the week went on but it amazed me how creative I became. Layering especially became so important as it has become colder and when dresses most certainly have been Summer outfits for me I had to find ways to keep warm.

You may have already seen Dressember Day 1 in my previous post but here it is again. Fleece lined tights, a black polo neck, my black jacket, boots and a cosy scarf made my summer dress underneath just warm enough.

Dressember Day 2, navy polo neck, dress, scarf, navy bamboo tights (yes, bamboo!) and boots. The addition of my purple cord jacket made it cosy enough to do the school, ju jitsu and ballet dancing runs.

Dressember Day 3, good old fleece lined tights again, black polo neck, short-sleeved but warm dress, jacket, boots and scarf.

Dressember Day 4, I really had to think about this one, a linen tunic dress with a longline tshirt underneath, navy leggings, scarf, cosy cardigan, leg warmers!!! and boots.

Dressember Day 5, casual grey dress, black vest underneath, fleeced lined tights, scarf, boots.

Dressember Day 6, another one requiring some thought! Summer short sleeved dress, longline tshirt, heavy woolen brown tights, scarf, cosy cardigan and boots.

Dressember Day 7, the coldest day yet! My morning started off like this until I added a mohair jumper over my dress and took my shoes off, swapping them for boots!

I am now looking forward to what this next week will bring. I fully expect to repeat my dresses sometime soon but perhaps add different accessories, I didn't anticipate how difficult this would actually be but I relish a challenge. It would be great if you could join me again next week as I reflect on Dressember Week 2, in the meantime here is the link to mydonate page. Every little bit will go to aid No More Traffik in their work here. Thank you to the few who have donated so far, if you can spare even just a little bit it would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,

Kathryn xxx

Monday, 1 December 2014

I thought I would do a short post on this, the first day of my Dressember, I promise to keep it short, which, as you may well imagine, is difficult for me, as Mr Candytuft can well attest to! I hope then to do a full post of my daily outfits at the end of each week.

Thinking back to this morning, it may have been a good idea to plan my very first Dressember outfit, especially when I don't wear dresses or skirts a great deal, and the added difficulty of it being cold out, but where would the fun be in that! I was glad, however, to see it was dry, so this is what I decided on.

Most importantly my dress, it is Dressember afterall, is from H&M, bought in springtime, with short sleeves might I add, so underneath my jacket I added a black polo neck for warmth. My scarf was in the Tesco sale last winter, I love scarves and I love a bargain, and I found a little peach flower corsage in my drawer a few weeks ago which has found a home. Now the tights, an essential, are from Asda and are fleece lined, they are cosy but seem prone to bobbling around the ankles so not great for wearing with shoes but I'd imagine will be a lifesaver this month and my slouch boots from New Look were a no brainer. All in all I was warm enough doing the school run and grocery shop, not a bad first day I'd say, here's to the next 30!

Here is the link to mydonate page if you would like to sponsor me and you can read my reasons for doing it in my previous blog post. Thank you.

 Kathryn xxx
Mr Candytuft has this habit of showing me random videos, from social media, at the most inopportune times and about a week or so ago, just as I had settled down to go to sleep, he showed me this video:

I love the quotation at the beginning, from a speech made by the First Lady, and it was preceeded by the following words,  "You may not always have a comfortable life and will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but...

 ...don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own."
Michelle Obama

It reminds my cynical self that, despite all the wickedness in the world, there is goodness and there is hope, and hope can be a powerful force. Sometimes hope is the only thing to keep us going,

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness."
Desmund Tutu

The message in the video and the ethos of the Dressember movement addresses the exploitation of women and asks that women commit to wearing dresses for the whole of the month of December, in return for sponsorship. This got me thinking about how I could participate as I loved the idea of it. Having three young children, a son and two daughters, who are growing up with loving parents, a roof over the heads, food in their tummies and the freedom to make their own choices in time, it made me consider that the exploitation of women and children does actually happen on our own doorstep. Labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, modern slavery, they all exist so how can we simply sweep it under the carpet without raising awareness and addressing the problem. Whilst the original Dressember movement is aligned with The International Justice Mission I wanted to use their idea and endeavour to raise money for a cause closer to home and I immediately thought of  No More Traffik based here in Northern Ireland, you can check out what they do on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too.

So for the entire month of December I will be wearing a dress or skirt for my very own Dressember and I will be cataloguing my daily outfits at the end of every week on this blog. Ok, so I have bent the rules a little to include skirts but seriously I don't have lots of dresses suitable for this time of year and I will do my best to be clever and creative in my choices. When it is so easy to throw on a pair of jeans I am under no illusions, I do think this will actually be more difficult than my normal everyday dressing which has trials of its own! I do promise however not to wear a prom dress to do the school run even though I may be tempted... I'd love it if you would follow my progress on my Twitter @CandytuftCakes and Instagram @candytuftcakes too and more importantly if you would like to sponsor me I have created a mydonate page linked to No More Traffik, I would really appreciate your support.

So with intrepidation I begin my Dressember journey, it may not be as adventourous as running marathons or climbing mountains but it will make a statement for me and remind me that I am fortunate to be a free woman, respected and supported by my family and friends. How many times do you hear an inspirational speaker, watch a "feel good" movie or even a short video that pops up on social media that makes you feel empowered and inspired you to want to do something to endeavour to make a change? We all have the courage inside of us to make a difference, no matter how small that may seem. I think Michelle Obama said it well (again!);

"As women, we must stand up for ourselves. As women we must stand up for each other. As women, we must stand up for justice for all."

 My three little ones are so excited to finally get to open their Advent calendars in the morning and begin, what will seem like a lifetime journey to Christmas Day for them. Whilst their excitment is based on the hope of what presents they will get and are too young to understand much more, the hope is still evident in their little faces, just thinking of what that hope means to them makes me want to give hope to those who may feel hopeless.

Kathryn xxx