Leader of the pack…

Winter is long Scotland. Too bloody long most of the time, which is especially frustrating when you are dying to wear something that requires a little less nip in the air. So, a wee hint of sun last weekend was exactly what I was after. 

I immediately whipped out this perfect biker jacket. You may recall I searched in vain for exactly this for a year or two. As is often the case it fell into my lap once I’d quit looking.  


Jacket – JD Williams*

It’s a beautiful cruelty free replica of a classic biker. You can expect to see me wearing it with everything.

Last week I went for this red retro ish skater I found at JD Williams. They weren’t on my radar, but it turns out they do loads plus size brands & their own PS line. I know red & green should never be seen, but bollocks to that. I like the combo. Plus it gave me a chance to don my favourite badge. 


Dress – Simply Be*

Leggings -Boohoo

Badge – Blackheart Creatives

Necklace – Mango (thrifted)

Scarf – Gift

I took my beloved biker to see Logan with the toy boy. He chose the film, so I got to take him some where vegan for dinner. I can highly recommend The Flying Duck’s cheese burger (the wolverines weren’t bad either). 

*Items were gifted, but opinions remain my own. 

Let’s talk it over…

Chronic illness is a bitch. The pain, the uncertainty & incapacitating symptoms are all a daily battle. Oh, but there is so much more. More that isn’t really talked about outside of spoonie circles & I thought it was about time that changed.

Obviously chronic illness covers a huge range of conditions & everyone’s experience is different. Thus I talk from my own personal view point with some input from fellow spoonies. Here are some of tricky issues that we’re quietly dealing with.

Travel

I mean any & all travel. From trying to get a bus to a hospital appointment to trying to cross the globe. The world is not spoonie friendly. 


Have you ever sat in those seats at the front of the bus that are meant to be reserved for ‘elderly & infirm’. I’m sure you tell yourself it’s fine because you’ll move if someone needs them, right? Well, you can’t always tell by looking that someone needs that seat. Having to explain yourself & ask a stranger to move is not easy. Thus I have collapsed on buses, cried from pain & just had to get off because I couldn’t stand any longer or make it to a seat further back. Which is a pretty good good analogy for trying to get about with disabilities. It can be hard as fuck without anyone noticing. 

Being chronically ill means planing every single outing in detail. Working out if you can manage to get to a bus stop or from a station to the place you’re actually going. Thinking ahead about stairs & where toilets are. Planning when you’ll need to eat, if you’ll be able to eat & how meds will work around that. Worrying about queues & how slow you move & often you’re going to have to sit down. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve not participated in something I wanted to because the logistics were just beyond me. 

Relationships

Whatever your illness there will always have to be that early days conversation about what exactly is wrong with you. In my case I have scars to explain & a whole bunch of fairly scary details to talk about. In the beginning I thought that would be the hardest bit, but it so isn’t.
The worst part is all the normal things that are so much more complicated for me. I am completely aware that sometimes I’m no fun. I say no more often than most people. I have many (too many?) limitations. I’ve adapted to that, but I never know if others will. 

It’s scary & stressful to try someone new. They might well get fed up accommodating me. Every time I say I can’t make a social event or have to admit that I don’t fell well, I worry. Maybe this is the point they’ll decide a spoonie girl friend is just not worth it. The truth is, I wouldn’t actually blame someone for having those thoughts. After all, life is for living .

That’s the real kicker, it’s not a problem that can be resolved. Wanting to live a life that I’m not fit enough for doesn’t make anyone a bad person. It’s just another thing I (we) get to think about when I can’t sleep. 

Side Effects

Sometimes the treatments are worse than the illness. Almost every medication I take produces a side effect that impacts on my life. In fact I take medications to help with the side effects of my medications. I’ve taken drugs that have made me vomit, itch, gain weight, lose weight, have double vision, dizzy spells, palpitations, acne, the list goes on. 


Every treatment one is offered comes with a list of possible side effects. Chronic illness is a constant balancing act. How much relief will I get from my symptoms & will it be worth the new problems it will cause? 

I often illustrate this problem like this.

Severe anaemia can cause itchy skin & angina. 

A blood transfusion & opioids can treat these complaints.

Guess what a major side effect of both transfusion & opiates is, yup, really itchy skin. 

Welcome to the conundrum of chronic illness. What cures me might well kill me to. Fun!

Money

Hardly anyone likes to talk publicly about their finances. It’s awkward & it’s private. I hate talking about money, but honestly with regards to disabilities, someone has to. Having any kind of disability almost always screws you financially. What work you can do is limited. Employers will silently discriminate against you & the current  government will loudly throw you to the sharks. All the while ones disabilities will incur extra costs at every turn. In terms of cold hard cash, illness will cost you. Lots. 


The Embarrasment Factor

Never underestimate the power of embarrassment. All of the things I’ve discussed here can make a person feel really small. Be it feeling red faced about a misbehaving stomach or the facing soul destroying humiliation of having to justify your right to be alive at an ATOS assessment. Humility is a lesson spoonies learn over & over. 


Imagine how you felt the last time you farted somewhere you wish you hadn’t & the feeling of falling over on a crowded street & having to talk to a dr about a really cringey complaint & admitting you’ve failed at something important & having to tell the world that you need help with things everyone else can do. Now imagine coping with some combination of all the above every day. Welcome to my world. 

My body, my choice…

I spent my Saturday shouting at holy people in rain. Not just for kicks, but because the religious anti-abortion group 40 Days of Light are again spending lent protesting choice outside a Glasgow hospital. As you can imagine, I find such actions repugnant & wanted to join the counter demo. 


4o Days of light began their Lenten campaign with a sparsely attended event in George sq. They sought to attribute their protests to a desire to spread truth & offer choice. Yes, they’re actually trying to sell their aggressive tactics as supporting of choice. The little of the speeches that could be heard above the chanting of my fellow pro choice protesters consisted of lies, religious indoctrination & the kind of emotional manipulation expected from such groups. 


Glasgow is a progressive city & it disturbs me to see these extreme conservative tactics taking hold here. This is 4o Days’seconds year protesting outside the new southern general hospital in govan. They plan to hold 8hr ‘vigils’ on each day of lent. The hospital has no power to prevent the protest as they will happen directly outside hospital grounds. They will however no doubt add distress to those attending the hospital as well as generally interfering with the daily business of the enormous hospital. 

On Saturday I was sickened to hear a speaker talk of her fond memories of last year’s protest. Apparently, she delighted in harassing vulnerable people in a difficult situation. This revelation was followed by woman railing against a ‘pro abortion society that coerces woman into terminating pregnancies’ before moving onto tired and irrelevant tales of how she felt whilst pregnant. The event ended with an attempt to say a decade of the rosary, which I am pleased to say was drowned out by chants of my body, my choice. 


I can’t state strongly enough how much we must fight this move towards a campaign of lies & shame. The only humane & just option is choice. Pregnant individuals must be allowed safe & legal abortions. They must also be offered support to access such services. Please join me in letting 40 days of light know that there is no place for their harassment or lies in our civilised society. 

Check for details here.

I’m gonna be manicured…

I love a good manicure, so I’m pleased to say my nails have been on fire of late. Since, I’ve returned to top nail form it’s only natural that I show them off.

Voila!


I’ve had all the stripes. 


All the orangey tones. 


Help from Mr Moo.


Complicated, shoe matching New York skylines & super simple French polish with a twist. 

I always feel much more me when my nails are looking good. I am by no means a professional, but I love creating my own unique nail art. It’s so much easier than people think. All you need is some nail brushes, nail drying spray & your own imagination. I mess mine up all the time, but it only takes a minute to whip it off. Plus, no matter what is adorning my fingers, my little man is always happy to snooze on them. 

Transforming mental health through research…

I have struggled with mental illness for most of my adult life. I have written here before about the difficulties I have faced & the massive impact my illness has had on my life. As painful as my issues have been I have always been incredibly grateful that I faced them as an adult. The growing crisis in children & adolescents mental health care demonstrates that not everyone is so fortunate.

Currently 3 children in class have a diagnosable mental health issue. Despite early intervention being a key factor managing mental illness, children often do not have access to specialised services. Many young people are trying to deal alone with problems of a magnitude that defeat adults.

MQ Mental Health Infographic[754]1.png 

There has been much talk of mental illness reaching parity with physical in terms of funding & priority. However, there is still a vast shortfall in mental funding. It is clear that the descripency in care for young people facing mental illness has long term impact on not only individuals, but also society at whole.
The only way to defeat the stigma attached to mental illness is to treat psychiatric & medical problems equally. We must make it easier for children to not only talk about mental illness, but to actually access the treatment they need.

MQ Mental Health Infographic[754]2.png

As I said there have been moves towards redressing this shortfall in mental health funding & research, but it has to be solidified. In order to guarantee this sustained political will has to be garnered.

If you feel, as I do, that this is a critical public health issue please get involved at http://www.mqmentalhealth.org

She’s most accommodating when she’s in her lingerie…

Big boobs need good bras. When you’re an HHcup you just can’t get away with anything but excellent support. If you also prefer lingerie to granny bras your search narrows. If you’d rather not go bankrupt every time you require some new undies, well, the pickings are slight. Hence, my eternal quest for affordable & attractive homes for my breasts. 

I am not averse to indulging in seductively expensive lingerie. I love an exquisite bra. Alas my purse is not as capacious as my brassiere & sometimes a budget must be adhered to. As I mentioned, I struggle to find pretty & supportive undergarments that come in a lower price range. So, when I find a new place to procure such items, I’m delighted. Thus, I was very pleased when the lovely folks at Simply Be invited me to try some pieces from their lingerie lines. 
I opted for these bright lace bras. They come in a two pack in various colours including black & white. I’m a colour girl, so the pink/aqua appealed. I was initially a little dubious about how good quality these would be given their price (£26 for both), but I couldn’t have been more wrong. 


Pretty Secrets, Ella.

These bras offer great support, give my breasts a lovely shape & look super cute whilst being comfortable. The lace detailing is pretty & the wider straps prevent them from digging into my shoulders. This is a near perfect everyday bra. 

Additionally I selected a garment I wouldn’t usually choose; a light control slip. I’m not a fan of control wear in general, mainly because of the discomfort that accompanies wearing them. This one caught my attention for a few reasons. Firstly it was described as light & stretchy, which happily makes it very easy to wear. The fact that it sits under ones bra was another plus as it allows the flexibility of choosing whichever lingerie best suits the occasion. Finally, I have recently purchased a couple of dresses that I adore, but feel a tiny bit self conconscious about my tum in. Flying in the face of my distaste for shapewear, I love this. I wore it with an LBD on Saturday night & forgot that it was on. It did exactly what I wanted it to do, smoothed out the bumps on my stomach that sometimes bother me. The Magisculpt slip is another win. 


WYOB Magisculpt full slip. 

* These items were gifted, but all opinions are genuine.

Love your curves & all your edges…

January has been a bit of a fail on the outfit post front. I wasn’t out all that much & I had no photographer when I was. I aim to do better this month. Starting right now.

I wore this outfit to lunch with my bestie a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t get any good pics. I really did like it & recycled the look for a film with my Sis. 


This swing skirt is too big now as the combination of going vegan & taking metaformin has caused me to inadvertently lose some weight. It still looks cute if I pin it a little & I think I’ll try getting it taken in. Anyway, the print is fresh & with a simple vest it shows of my ins & outs nicely. 


Skirt – Lindy Bop

Cardi – Primark

Brooch – Posie Grenadine (Etsy)

I stuck my favourite brooch on for a touch of sass & was good to go. We had a quick, but yummers lunch at Tortilla. Great option for vegans, big thumbs up. 

We saw Split, which could have been a fairly entertaining thriller had it not gone down the tired ‘crazy’ route. The vicious killer has dissociative identity disorder & of course has alters who want to abuse people. This is basically the only way DID is represented by popular culture & is so stigmatising. It’s a shitty trope that needs to stop. In short, I’d suggest giving it a miss. 


Amusing outtake.