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5/23/2016

Why Is Your Arm Like That? | Just Add Ginger

I Am More Than My Disability Just Add Ginger

Writing a post like this is something that I have toyed around with pretty much from the start of my life as a blogger, but I have always been really unsure how to go about it. Right from the get-go - and particularly when I started YouTube - questions have been asked: 

Why Is Your Arm Like That? Why don't you show your left arm in videos? 

It's not something that's shocked me. Pretty much all of my life I've had the same questions. It is human nature to be curious, and I really don't mind talking about things. Being candid and extremely open about things is one of my quirks, so when it comes to addressing these questions, I'm not afraid to divulge, but looking back, I don't think I've ever done it on any of my creative or social platforms. And it's for the pure and simple reason that I don't want to be defined by something that I have never had any control over. 

It would probably help if I went into detail wouldn't it? Well, in a nutshell, when I was born, there were difficulties, resulting in me succumbing to the affects of hemi-paresis. I don't know all the ins and outs, but basically it means that I have limited movements in my left arm, and my left leg is slightly shorter than the other, and I walk a little bit differently as a consequence. Movement in my foot is slighted affected too, and, I don't know whether this is related or not, but that foot has no arch. 

I've never known life any differently, and have made it my mission to ensure that I can claim as much independence as possible. My One Handed Ways series on my channel is an extension of that mission. Society can be so quick to pigeon-hole us all because of our capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, background, race, gender or sexuality, when really we are all just as amazing creatures as each other, and have the ability to achieve anything we dream of. And I want more than anything to reach out and help and inspire those who may have life experiences similar to mine, and show that where there is a will, there always is a way. Having a disability has never ever stopped me from doing anything. With practice, I have learnt to drive, cook, paint my nails, tie my shoelaces, do trickier household chores, style my hair...you name it. If there's something that needs doing, you can bet your bottom dollar I'm going to go out there, give it a shot, and find a way to do it in my own fabulous way. 

Sure, it can be difficult sometimes. Occasionally it can be really frustrating when I have to ask for help with something, or I catch people staring. It can be a real knock to my confidence. But that's what happens when you want to tear down those barriers, scribble over those labels, get out there, and bat away all those things that society would have you believe are impossible for you to do. But for one thing I can't quite do yet, there are a million others I can, and I am fiercely proud of everything I have taught myself over the years, and I have no intentions of stopping learning any time soon. My disability does not define me. I know that within me there is a power to do anything I put my mind to. 

My disability is my drive. I empower myself through making sure I start every day with a positive mind, and the belief that I can get out there and kick ass in everything I do. And it's a message I want to spread. Nothing should ever hold you back in the dreams that you want to chase and the places you want to go. No goal is too big, and every pebble in your path you stumble on is only going to make you stronger. In my mind, there are no such words as 'Can't' 'Never' or 'No.' I refuse to sit back and let the world go by without making my mark in it. People have stared at me all my life, and this is my chance to give them something to bloody stare at. 

Growing up, I used to be so self-conscious of my disability because I felt it made me stand out, but now, I strut around with a smile on my face and am proud of who I am. I've overcome stumbling blocks, climbed heights, and travelled along this road all my life, and every hurdle along the way has made me stronger, stand taller and laugh louder, spurring me on to face demons, battle dragons, and show everyone that there is just no stopping me. 

It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. With a fire in your belly, and a hunger in your heart, anything is possible. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. You are capable of more than you know. You are unstoppable. Never let anything hold you back.

If you can dream it, you can do it. - Walt Disney

5/21/2016

Frock And Frill SS16 Favourites | Just Add Ginger

Frock & Frill SS16 Collection
Photo Credit: Frock and Frill
A few months ago I was invited in to Manchester by Frock and Frill to take a look at their upcoming SS16 collection. Unfortunately, with it being so close to the wedding, which resulted in some last minute emergencies, I was unable to attend. And I was a little bit gutted. A complete magpie by nature, I am drawn to all things shiny, chic, and sophisticated, and am always desperate for a reason to get dressed up and feel a million dollars, and I had the feeling that Frock and Frill's latest collection was going to be right up my street. 

And I haven't been wrong. Scrolling through the website, everything looks absolutely gorgeous. Showcasing a variety of colours, from pretty pastels, chic and sleek blues and blacks, to flirty and feminine bolds and brights, there was very little that I look at and think 'Oh no, that's not for me.'  This time of year is always a time where there are a plethora of social occasions, events, weddings and parties taking place, and with that in mind, I have picked out some of my favourite pieces from the collection that I think are not only perfect for this time of year, but would also be wardrobe staples that would come to my fashion rescue again and again. 

Thalia Maxi Dress Frock and Frill
Photo Credit: Frock and Frill

This is one of my absolute favourites. For me, this dress combines a mix of femininity, elegance, and fun that fits in perfectly with my fashion taste. Being one who generally has to keep covered up in the summer, this dress covers all bases with the sheer, flared sleeves that add that extra element of sun protection, but aren't too heavy. I also really like the silhouette. I used to hate wearing cuts that emphasised my curves, but this year they are all I want to wear, and this dress still has that floaty aspect, whilst still giving you the chance to flaunt your figure in a really flattering way. The embellishments are pretty without being busy or over-the-top. And that plunging neckline adds a little bit of sex appeal without losing sophistication, 

Valerie Maxi Dress - Frock and Frill
Photo Credit: Frock and Frill

Everything about this dress just screams 'Jackie.' From the Bohemian feel of the embroidery, to the sheer overlay to the 3/4 length sleeves, this dress really epitomises everything my summer style is about. Whereas it may not be as dressy as 'Thalia,' it would be perfect for a BBQ, garden party, date night, or even to take as festival-wear (provided there was no mud about.) Again, I just love how feminine this dress is, and could really see this as being the kind of dress I would wear somewhere where I could frolic around in the fields and just spend ages and ages twirling round, feeling like a Bohemian Princess. 

Zandi Flapper Pink Dress - Frock and Frill
Photo Credit: Frock and Frill

In my earlier 20s, one of my favourite dresses to wear out when I was meeting up with my friends for dinner was a mint green 1920s inspired Flapper-style dress. I was in love with it, and actually writing this post reminds me that I must check to see if MG has it in my wardrobe at my parents' house. I loved that dress, and the 'Zandi' from Frock and Frill's collection really reminds me of it. It's just so girly and fun, and would make such an amazing party dress, especially with that incredible fringing. If pink isn't quite your colour, this dress is also available in Stone, which is a little more understated a colour, but looks just as beautiful. This would be the perfect number to twirl the night away in at a wedding reception, and would definitely make a statement! 

Zara Floral Embellished Shift Dress - Frock and Frill
Photo Credit: Frock and Frill

As I've become a little older, I have found myself being drawn more towards classic tones when it comes to picking pieces for my wardrobe. Which is why I was surprised when I was completely drawn in by this shift dress. I don't know what it is about it, but there is something about it that calls to me. I think the detailing on the dress is just exquisite, and whereas sometimes I think a lot of embellishment or embroidery just looks too busy, and confusing for the eye, ever part of this piece works together so seamlessly for an overall look that is just breathtakingly beautiful. It won't be for everybody, but if you want a knock-em-dead dress that will instantly turn heads and get you noticed, I think this would be the one. The dress is marked as Pre-Order on the website, with estimated stock arrival being 10th May,  so if you do fancy checking out this dress, it's definitely worth checking to see if it is now available with Frock and Frill themselves. 

It is a little more expensive than high street prices, but I think everything on the Frock and Frill website at the moment is just beautiful. I could have highlighted more of my favourites, and there are probably still some pieces to arrive that are just as beautiful, but I wanted to show just a few that I think would be perfect to wear out to a number of different places this season. I'm all about making fashion investments where needed, and evening and occasion wear is something I am always on the lookout for. Pieces that surpass the seasons and would become staples in my wardrobe, and just taking a peek at the Frock and Frill website, I think they tick all the boxes. Should a formal or important event be on the horizon, I won't hesitate to head to their website and have a look. 

What dresses from the SS16 Frock and Frill collection have caught your eye?
Thank you to Frock and Frill, who have given me permission to use their photos in my blog post. (All collages were edited and created with PicMonkey.)

5/19/2016

White Chocolate Rocky Road | Just Add Ginger

White Chocolate Rocky Road

As much as I love to bake, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm just not all that good at it. Which is why, when I suddenly decided to get in touch with my inner GBBO contestant, and whip up some rocky road. After sampling several shop-bought versions, and looking online to get a general idea for the method (I followed the Nigella recipe for ingredients and method,) it seemed so fool-proof that even I felt confident to give it a go. It is such an easy sweet-treat to make that it's suitable for anybody to try. And the best part is that it's absolutely delicious, and perfect for sharing (if you can bring yourself to part with it.) 

Just to be a little bit more adventurous, I decided to use white chocolate instead of the suggested dark chocolate in Nigella's recipe. And for a hit of extra sweetness and colour, chopped up about 70g of jelly beans and threw them in too alongside the marshmallows. This is probably the most creative I have been in the kitchen, and the results even shocked me. Aside from the bright yellow colour the chocolate mixture had once all the ingredients intended for melting were combined, and the thicker consistency of said combined ingredients, each step was pretty much the same. The chocolate, once cooled, faded to a more muted shade, and set perfectly. Had I been able to find freeze-dried strawberries in my local supermarket, I would have added about 50g these in too, but that's one to try for next time.

White Chocolate Rocky Road

If I'm feeing brave next time, I might add less butter and more chocolate to see how the consistency changes, as once the chocolate for the top layer had been separated, it went a lot thicker and was more arduous to spread on top of the main rocky road mixture. But that's something to test out along the line. 

I may not be able to bake a good cake, but after the compliments I received after my rocky road making, I think I've found my perfect 'creative cooking' niche.