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      Pride Month Special - Our Customers and Why Inclusive Fashion is so important.

      Pride Month Special - Our Customers and Why Inclusive Fashion is so important.

      We asked our followers on instagram from the LGBTQIA+ community why inclusive fashion is so important to them.
      @soozi.flywheel 
      Inclusive and gender free fashion is SO IMPORTANT! I would love to be an ambassador promoting such an inclusive brand as yourselves. As a proud butch lesbian, it is so important to me to be able to find more masculine or gender neutral clothing that fits my more feminine body shape. I am confident in my gender identity, proud tomboy lesbian, trans ally, supporter of all LGBTQ+IA people. 
      Pronouns She/Her
        
      I'm Abs and I'm non binary. Inclusive fashion is so important to me because being able to wear clothes I feel comfortable in and aren't inherently gendered makes me feel so much more like myself. That in turn makes me feel more confident and happy. I love Run and Fly dungarees because they aren't 'boy clothes' or 'girl clothes', they're just awesome clothes that make me smile when I wear them! 
      My socials are abs_derere on Instagram and Twitter 
      Pronouns: they/them
      'm non-binary, and over the years how I've expressed that has changed and varied. When I was younger my body was more naturally androgynous, which meant I could often wear clothes designed for either gender - especially on the high street, as those tend to be modelled by and for bodies with no 'shape.' In my late twenties and early thirties I retreated into a much more standard gender expression as my body began to fill out and thicken around the shoulders. This was born both of an increasing desire to hide as well as a sense that clothes as you approach middle age were much more segregated - something for failing bodies to collapse into rather than look good in. Inclusive fashion has helped me buck that trend, by showing all sorts of bodies in all sorts of clothes. I'm now 37 and approaching my 40s on the basis that androgyny and gender non-conformity can come from how I present myself and what I feel comfortable wearing, rather than being tied to a specific body type I had when I was 18 and am never getting back.
      I've been starting to chart that recently on instagram as @merula_song (I have a main @meta_blackbird, but it's mainly pictures of toy soldiers and cakes)
      Pronouns They/Them
        
      If you would like to be featured please email hello@runandfly.co.uk

      My Podcast Recommendations

      My Podcast Recommendations

      If you are like me and working mainly remotely and are spending too much time talking to the dog or cat or just the lamp on your desk. I offered the lamp a coffee when I got up to make one the other day and thought, I need some background noise or I might loose my mind even further! 

      I thought I would share with you my favourite podcasts so I don't feel like I am on my own. There are so many more but these are just some of my go to choices that help me through the day.

      If you are a fan of true crime I really recommend Serial Killers. Every Monday and Thursday you get a psychological and entertaining glimpse into the mind, method and craziness of serial killers thought the World and ages. They are very in-depth and delve deeply into their lives and history. Its not for the faint hearted though! 

      Along the same line but like listening to a chat amongst your friends is My Favorite Murder (Its American) Karen and Georgia each week talk about their lives, mental health and then delve into their favourite murders and talked of hometown crimes from fans of the pod and friends.

      I weigh with Jameela Jamil is an incredible podcast that started off as a social media post has become a whole mental health movement. Jameela challenges societal norms through conversations with activists, influencers, thought-leaders and friends.They share their own experiences of mental health with very funny and vulnerable conversations. It empowers diverse voices and is an accessible way to celebrate progress, not perfection.

      Are You Michelle From Skins is made by a good friend of Run & Fly April Pearson.After being asked for the last ten or so years - Are you Michelle from Skins? She wanted to start a conversation with other people in the media and limelight that are most known for one role. She cash with members of boybands, actors, soap stars and many more people on how that role impacted their lives and their careers moving forward. 

      Off Menu is a fabulous and funny foodie podcast hosted by the hilarious James Acaster and Ed Gamble. Each week a different guest comes on and talks them through their favourite starter, main course, side, drink and dessert. Don't forget the POPPADOMS OR BREAD? 

      Gossip Mongers is a hilarious podcast hosted by Joe Wilkinson and David Earl where people send in gossip they have heard from their town and they read it out and discuss. Sometimes it's silly sometimes it's gross and sometimes it's hilarious. At the end of the podcast they then vote for their favourite story of the week. If you have a quirky and twisted sense of humour you will find this very funny! 

      The Adam Buxton Podcast is a wonderful long running pod hosted by the aforementioned Adam where each weeks he speaks to a different guest and interviews them in conversation. He starts every week walking his beloved dog Rosie. I highly recommend the episodes with Louis Theroux!

      Grounded by Louis Theroux defiantly needs a mention. Louis jumped on making pods when lockdown hit and he had not much else to get on with! He chats to the people he has always wanted to interview but never had time to. 

      EDS Awareness Month Chat with @maplemoonchild

      EDS Awareness Month Chat with @maplemoonchild

      What it's like living with EDS:

      Living with hEDS definitely has its challenges. I have loose unstable joints which cause dislocations, subluxations and swelling around my joints on a daily basis. I have POTS, IBS and my eyes became a lot weaker over time so I now have glasses permanently. I bruise like an absolute peach most days and there are some days where my body feels like it's on fire and I can't move.

      Being a babe with a mobility aid:

      Becoming a babe with a mobility aid was a long journey of acceptance for me. I was diagnosed in late 2014 and kept everything hidden from the public and social media until late 2019. For the longest time I purposely went without my walking stick and basic joint supports when I needed them in public. I even kept them hidden from social media and work. I felt weak and very awkward when people would stare at "the young disabled person". I have combined ADHD as well so people making me feel weak affected that negatively too. Since covering my walking stick with quirky mushroom stickers however, I've definitely felt a little more confident knowing I've made my mobility aid personal to me!

      What I want people to understand about EDS and what it's like living with an invisible Disability:

      I want people to understand that although every case of EDS is incredibly different and has so many variations, it is still always there and still always affecting my life on the daily. However I know my limitations and I shouldn't be treated like I SHOULD be helpless simply because I'm disabled. I've had people say to me "be careful" and "just get your partner to do it" when I've told them my daily activities for the day that I'm actually looking forward to. I've even had other disabled people make me feel guilty and try talking me into "giving up" doing certain things, simply because my disability is invisible and in their eyes, that means I'm clearly not struggling as bad as others but I should be because I'm disabled. Its almost as if it's not fair to call myself disabled because I don't fit the "typical disabled look" for them. This can be super frustrating because they don't realise I'm actually missing out on a lot. I even gave up my dream job of being a life guard because of my EDS posing a risk and that still hurts me a lot because it was my Dad's first job and he passed away when I was 16. I wanted to be just like him because he was my best friend too! Only my partner truly sees my day to day and he understands my pain and frustration. I have had people huff and yell at me for using things like priority seats or lifts when I'm without my walking stick too and it can be really upsetting. Especially when I have ADHD too. It's like the old saying goes, just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't real or not there. If someone is using lift or a priority seat for example and you can't see their disability, just trust it is there and it is valid.

      My Day to day fashion:

      Well due to the pandemic, I am now the proud owner of what feels like 1000 loungewear outfits and being comfortable is incredibly important because I'm either wearing a disability aid or I have some stuffed into my bag just in case! But on the days I go out, I tend to try and stay comfy too. Whilst I'm still trying to be 100% confident with my disabled body, I've given up wearing a lot of things I love out of lack of confidence. However I LOVE quirky and bright clothes! Dungarees are my ultimate comfort and I always feel super confident in them no matter what! I've worn them for years and honestly I'm convinced I'll probably even walk down the aisle in a pair at this point!

      Where to find me:

      You can find me on my Instagram @maplemoonchild where I talk a lot about my EDS through posts and stories. I share my daily life living with EDS and I'm always happy to answer questions regarding living with EDS to the best of my ability! I also chat about mental health, cottagecore goodies, 2am baking and my little emotional support Bunny who has changed my life!

      EDS Awareness Month Chat with @AyeshaShaSha777

      EDS Awareness Month Chat with @AyeshaShaSha777

      💖 Living with EDS is hard, but has become increasingly so over the last 3-4 years. I got diagnosed when I was 30, and it was a relief because I felt finally listened to properly. Over the last few years the symptoms have gotten a lot worse and in some ways robbed me of the things I used to be able to do. It induces a lot of pain, both mental and physical. Anxiety and depression are high. But on the flip side you get to meet lots of people who are in the same situation, so that's a plus. Having people in your life who GET IT is really important. 
      💜For a long time I didn't feel like a "Babe With A Mobility Aid" because I looked at it negatively. I saw me having to use a stick as a weakness. I felt old, especially as my first stick was a very clinical one from the NHS. I HATED IT. I wouldn't leave the house. 
      Now I have sticks to match my outfits and it makes all the difference. I'm bonding with them now. They all have names: Blossom (pink with cherry blossoms), Sprinkle (purple, yet to be decorated with sprinkles), Cloudia (she's blue, with clouds on, you have to say her name with an Italian accent for it to work haha!) and my newest addition to the family is Funshine (yellow). They all have charms or plushies hanging from them because these are the things that make me happy. 
      Now that my outfits and sticks match, I feel more like a Babe With A Mobility Aid. And especially now that I've had modelling opportunities arise, this has given me more confidence. 
       
      💙EDS is a connective tissue disorder. Generally our collagen is loose and stretchy. Our symptoms vary. For example, I don't have the super stretchy outer layer of skin. My insides however are very loose and as a result of that I have frequent subluxations and dislocations. Some bruise easily... I scar very easily and form keloids every time. Some have allergic reactions, some have heart problems, some have IBS, POTS and other comorbidities. Everyone's story is DIFFERENT. For the most part, my hEDS (Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) has remained invisible unless I complain of the pain. Now that's not the case, and it's very obvious I have a disability. That can be really hard to adjust to, because living with an invisible illness you learn how to mask your pain very quickly because you don't want to be seen as weak. Truth is I can't remember what it feels like to NOT have pain. What I'm saying is everyone's EDS or HSD is UNIQUE. You can't compare yourself to others, or think someone can't have it because their symptoms don't match your relative's. You don't know what people are struggling with so it's best to just be kind and supportive always. 
       
      💖My day to day fashion is always FUN. I have a huge wig wall with many different coloured wigs, I have an abundance of pastel clothes, funky shoes and an entire corridor dedicated to my novelty bag collection. My life isn't great so I fill it with fun things to make me happy, and my fashion style does just that. I'm very much into the kawaii aesthetic, but on days when it's not practical to be fully dressed up I still love to be well coordinated! 
      💜If you're into kawaii crafts and fashion, definitely join the Sha Sha Squad over on my YouTube channel and Instagram! 
       

      EDS & HSD Awareness Month

      EDS  & HSD Awareness Month

      Recently we shot with the lovely Ayesha who has the condition EDS and to be honest we didn't know much about the condition so wanted to find out more and how it impacts people who have the condition on a day to day basis.

      We then found out May is EDS & HSD awareness month so we wanted to do our part.

      We reached out to our lovely followers and customers who also have the condition to find out more and spread awareness of EDS and HSD.

      What is EDS and HSD?

      Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS), and hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD).

      The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of hereditary disorders of connective tissue that are varied in the ways they affect the body and in their genetic causes. The underlying concern is the abnormal structure or function of collagen and certain allied connective tissue proteins 

      They are generally characterised by joint hypermobility (joints that move further than normal range), joint instability (subluxation (partial separation of the articulating surfaces of a joint)) and dislocations (full separation of the surfaces of a joint)scoliosis, and other joint deformities, skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal) and abnormal scarring, and other structural weakness such as hernias and organ prolapse through the pelvic floor. In the rarer types of EDS, there is also weakness of specific tissues that can lead, for example, to major gum and dental disease, eye disease, cardiac valve and aortic root disorders, and life-threatening abdominal organ, uterine, or blood vessel rupture. 

      We chatted with the awesome @chronicallyjenni to find out more about living with the condition. 

      Being a babe with a mobility aid hasn't always been plain sailing. At first I kind of resented the fact that I needed one especially at such a young age. They aren’t always the prettiest things and it can make you feel a bit rubbish sometimes. But after decorating my first mobility aids and then finding companies which make beautiful mobility aids it's made me much more confident, and I hope that I can pass that on to other people and empower them to use their mobility aids with pride. I think it's really important to see people having pride in their mobility aids, they're not something to be ashamed of, and I love that more people now ask about my mobility aid because of it’s beauty rather than question the reason that I've got it. 

       

      The one thing that I really wish other people knew and understood about this condition is the uncertainty of it and the only way that I can find to relate that to someone without a chronic illness at the moment is the pandemic we’re all still living through. For the past year we're all living in the unknown and that's scary we're upset about the things we're missing whether that's birthdays or weddings or holidays or work or education, we’ve adapted but it’s still super tough, especially not seeing friends and family as much as we’d like. We’ve all been fighting this invisible enemy as best we can but for those of us with EDS and other chronic illnesses that's our lives every single day we're just sitting and waiting it for the next attack not knowing how we're going to be and what symptoms are going to come up from one day to the next. For those of you lucky to have your health this uncertainty will eventually end but for us it never will. I also have a great video on my youtube channel from last year featuring people with EDS & HSD from across the world talking about all the things they wish people knew about EDS and I’d love it if you could watch it and understand a little more.

      The tough thing about living with an invisible illness is that people just can't comprehend it. They can't comprehend how someone can look absolutely fine yet being such extreme pain, so they don’t believe the pain exist. The condition may be invisible, but it is not imaginary! People also cannot comprehend the variability and how someone may need an aid or other assistance on one day but maybe not on the next. Sometimes I really wish I could give other people my symptoms literally just for a minute just so they could experience it and understand what it feels like to live in my body 24/7.

      It's unfortunate but living with a chronic illness means that your fashion choices can become limited. Everything has to be comfortable so sometimes you have to compromise style over function. Most days I do pretty much live in my pyjamas but I love fashion, I love floaty dresses ,I love prints and different fabrics and wearing a great outfit when I'm feeling up to it always improves my mood.

      You can follow me on Instagram @chronicallyjenni and also over on YouTube as chronically Jenni as well. If you want to learn a little bit more about EDS and what it's like to live with this condition my YouTube is a really great place to start. For awareness month, I've put together a series, like I do every year, involving people with Ehlers Danlos syndromes and hypermobility spectrum disorder from around the world to hopefully give people a better understanding of these conditions and what they like to live with. www.youtube.com/c/chronicallyjenni

      https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/may-awareness/