Swallow it down….

I’m struggling to believe that Jagged Little Pill is twenty years old this month. How can two decades possibly have passed since Alanis first got angry? More importantly how the hell did I get so old?

  

Jagged little pill has always been special for me. From teenage not quite angst to bonified adult pain, Alanis has had my back. So, I thought I’d pay tribute to an epic album & the journey we’ve been on together. 

Let me take you back to the start.  I’m 14yrs old & life is good. I have lovely friends, great home life, I do well at school. There is no teenage misery for me. There is however, frustration; a sense of being on the brink of life. I’m beginning to build a picture of what I want from life. I’m challenging some the things I’ve been taught & I don’t feel like my life view is taken seriously. In amongst all the vexation is an excitement. Possibilities are starting to fizz, I am aware of the power of youth & I can’t wait to weild it. I see right through you encapsulated all that I was feeling & I took every opportunity to sing it at the top of my lungs. 

Fast forward a few years and I’ve finally extricated myself from an unhealthy relationship. I’m heartbroken & angry. Angry that someone has been so cruel & furious with myself for allowing it. It’s Alanis to the rescue, I am certain I’m not the only woman who played You oughta know at full blast, cried her eyes out & felt a little better. 

I had some dark days in my twenties. Dealing with the trauma of miscarriage & resultant depression whilst trying to hold my life together took it’s toll. I became really ill & eventually had to ask for help. The lyrics to Mary Jane really touched a nerve back then. The realisation that I had to admit I wasn’t ok was a hard one, but there was some relief in listening to words I could relate to. It’s amazing how powerful just not feeling alone in your predictament can be. 

Anyone who has experienced difficult periods will tell you that it makes you really appreciate good times. When you’re fighting through bleak lows of severe depression the first glimpses of being ok are beautiful. The relief of finding that right now in this minute you are content makes you want to sing & dance. Hand in my pocket is the perfect tune to accompany this feeling. It’s not about joy or any of the big feelings. It just perfectly sums up the sensation of knowing you can make it. It feels good to believe that  ‘everything’s gonna be fine fine fine’.

A big part of maintaining happiness is knowing when to put yourself first. I have not always been great at this. Knowing when to say no was a hard lesson to learn, but such a valuable one. Walking away from toxic, all take & no give relationships was like shedding dead weight. Suddenly Not the Dr made so much sense. Reaching the conclusion that I was not responsible for other people’s happiness freed me to enjoy the peope who mattered. Sometimes you have to let go. 

You learn is bitter sweet. It signifies getting to a place in my life where I  I’d learned from all my trials. It’s nice to feel in control. In an unfortunate twist of fate mastering one set of problems coincided with the onset of others. This song also represents my chronic illness. The notion of a jagged little pill brings to mind both the handfuls of meds I must take & the metaphorical swallowing of hard to digest facts. 

After all that serious stuff this post needs a little love. Head over feet celebrates that moment when you know for sure that you’ve picked a good one. There is something wonderful about the kind of love that comes without a fuss. Head over feet is all about the bliss that comes with being with someone who treats you right. 

There you have it. Jagged little pill has been my musical friend for many years. There aren’t many thing in life that you love as much at 34 as you did at 13 & this is one. Every time I hear this album I still get all the feels & for me that’s the mark of a classic. 

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She’s electric….

My beautiful niece was visiting from Australia recently and her curious little mind needed stimulation. Athena is an incredibly energetic and intelligent 5yr old, she is always full of questions and keen to learn; The Glasgow Science Centre seemed like the perfect place to let her loose. The entire family was keen to spend plenty of time with our little Goddess, so our party ended up including myself, my sister & our dad. The prices initially looked a little steep, but when concessions were figured in it became much more reasonable. We decided to pay a little extra for a planetarium show, which was an excellent choice.

  

We arrived at 1.30pm and made our way to the first floor of the science mall, which introduces basic science concepts in a fun way. There are maths puzzles (some of which the adults couldn’t work out), tests of reaction speed, hissing cockroaches, optical illusions & even an opportunity to captain a ship. The exhibits work so well as they are all completely interactive. It’s a parents dream; kids are tackling & understanding a dearth of new ideas whilst having a ball. Athena particularly loved the fact that we could all join in. To be fair, we grownups enjoyed that too.

Next up was the planetarium show, which was a real treat. The night sky lit up above you is stunning. The show is fantastic, another enjoyable learning experience for the little ones. They are encouraged to call out & participate. Amongst all the hilarity we discovered constellations, how to find the North Star & how colour indicates the temperature of stars. My girl was delighted with the experience.

The 2nd floor of the science mall is aimed an older age group. It focuses on the world of work & includes lots clever tasks that allow a young person to identify talents, interests and what careers they might enjoy. As most of this was above Athena’s age level we moved on to the top floor where we discovered body works. These exhibits work really well for a range of ages. Older kids would gain a deeper understanding of things such heart surgery, how internal organs work & the amazing things our bodies are capable of. However, the same exhibits work equally well for younger minds. The human hamster wheel and machine that allows you to see the veins in your body were particular favourites. There is also an opportunity to test your heart rate at rest & during exertion, plus a chance to impersonate your heart and pump some blood. The displays relating to the dangers of smoking and alcohol are incredibly effective. Being able to operate both healthy & damaged lungs gives children a real insight into what cigarettes do to lung function. There is also an exhibit that allows you see what smoking and drinking will do to your face over time. All of which leave more of an impression than simply being told these habits are bad for you. 

  

Body works is also home to a number of detailed models of the body. You can perform a virtual autopsy and take apart all the piece of the brain. Athena was a little freaked out by these items, but enjoyed the gross out factor when I pretended to eat brains. All three generations got involved in measuring our height, our ability to balance, sprint and hand strength. I was a little disturbed to discover my 5yr old niece’s grip was much stronger than mine. We rounded off our day by playing with a giant pin mould, which proved a big hit with everyone.

  

In conclusion, the science centre is excellent. We didn’t leave until closing time (5pm) & could have happily stayed much longer. The tickets may be a little more than some other attractions, but you really do get your monies worth. We saw children of all ages, teens and even some adults visiting alone. There truly is something for everyone. If you want your child to learn whilst they play, the science centre is the place for you. In one afternoon Athena gained so much. In the following days she asked an abundance of questions as her mind processed all the new information. Little minds are sponges and it is really rewarding to watch them soak up knowledge. All in all the science centre gets an A++. I’ll even let you in on a wee secret; I think Grampa may have had even more fun than his granddaughter.

  

Dance ballerina Dance….

 I took these pictures last week when Glasgow was still acknowledging summer. This dress is a little softer than unusually go for, but it instantly captured my heart. They also had it in black & I’m yearning for that one now too.  

  
  
Dress – Forever21

Earrings – Forever21

I know everyone loves this super straight hair look, but I hate it. In these pics my hair just looks flat & boring to me. I much prefer a bit of crazy in my lock. However, my accessories were spot on. Pale pride is totally a thing I’m on board with.

   

Necklace – Bonnie Bling

Sway me more….

Earlier this year I invested in 50’s style underskirt to go with a swing dress. Little did I know how enamoured I would ge one with it’s flouncy loveliness. It feels amazing. With every movement I swing & sway. 

Me being me I am tickled by notion of mixing things that really shouldn’t go together. Thus the ultimate floaty skirt found itself teamed with an avid yellow vest & customised nirvana tee. 

   
One look that picture tells you all you need to know about how much one enjoyed this outfit. I wish I could feel like that everyday.

 

Skirt – Inferno

Vest – Primark

T-Shirt – So old I can’t remember 

Sandals – Schuh

Everybody walk the dinosaur…

My photographer & I both had rough weeks. By Friday we were more than ready for a pick me up. The sun lured is outside for a cocktail & the prospect of dinosaurs coaxed us back in. 

  

A hot day calls for something floaty & this shirt dress was just the thing. Paired with a lace effect dress I felt chic, not to mention comfortable. 

Leaving the cinema to balmy summer’s night tempted us into a little  blog shoot. I love photos taken in the last gasps of day light. That soft glow works for me. 

 

  
  
Dress – H&M

Shirt Dress – Forever21

Shrug – Monsoon

Sandals – schuh

Bracelet – Made for me by my niece

The dinosaurs were marvellous. As with the others in the franchise Jurassic World seems to be very much on the side of giant lizards. I’m all for a summer blockbuster that’s telling humans to stop fucking with nature. 

Last, but not least, a few snaps of my city basking in the summer sun. 

   
  

 

Time after time…

I had a realisation whilst internet shopping this week. I was searching for some casual summer bits & was struggling to find exactly what I was after. Along with adding some of this seasons trend to my wardrobe, I really wanted to find some timeless summer staples (all be it my version of staples). 

I scratched my head & then the obvious dawned. I almost always shop in the same small collection of stores. So, I set off on an Internet quest; find pretty things in shops that have been thus far alien to me. Being plus size I anticipated problems, but I was pleasantly surprised by the array of places who stock my size (anywhere from uk 18 to 22). So, with out further ado I present you with my finds. All of which I intend to purchase as soon as my purse permits. 

I haven’t shopped in Gap for years. I think I associate it with jeans, which I never wear. However, a quick squiz at their website revealed this clever piece. It’s a simple stretchy cotton dress that can be worn four ways (strapless maxi, midi, mini & maxi skirt) just by folding the top section. It’s ingenuity pleases me.

  

I tend to leave House of Fraser for cosmetics & fragrance purchase, but again it’s website had some surprises for me. Linea had a delightfully vivid shirt dress, which would work perfectly for more corporate occasions. I also discovered Desigual, a shop that I suspect was opened with me in mind. It’s design are quirky, bright & ideal for summer. 

   
  

My favourite find for absolute classics is  Esprit. This is a shop that I honestly expected to be a budget buster. How wrong I was. They have a great selection of summer classics at yummy prices. My favourites were this tie dye number & this gorgeous denim maxi. I just know I will wear these time after time.

   

No summer collection would be complete without a peasant dress & here is a delicious example from Phase Eight.White, linen & oh so 70’s. I’m sold.

 
 

Try to control me boy you’ll get dismissed…

It’s a beautiful day, but I’m crazy sore. I have hospital & Dr appointments that I can’t miss. What I really need is some motivation. I require some banging female voices to spur me on. With my favourite feminist anthems blasting in my ears I can conquer today. I thought perhaps some of you might like an extra spring on your step too.Enjoy.

I’ll start with Not my name by the Ting Tings. It was a huge hit a few years ago & is a great summer tune. For me the stand out line has to be the slow, exasperated ‘ are you calling me darling’. When I listen to that lyric i get the feeling she’s ready to call bullshit. We’ve all been there, it’s cool to hear the feeling expressed in such a funky way. 

No list of feminist songs would be complete without you You don’t own me. I prefer the original by Lesley Gore. This song is so deliciously ahead of it’s time. It’s lyrics are an absolute declaration of female empowerment. This chick will do what she pleases & anyone who doesn’t approve can suck it. 

I’ve always had a fondness for Madonna’s Music album. I think this song is the reason. What it feels like for a girl is an oft overlooked feminist classic. The premise of the song being that it’s acceptable for girls to dress or act like boys because society deems being male a prize. However, it’s humiliating for men to look or be called girlie because being a women is deemed inferior. Message aside the song itself is beautiful. Somber & sultry; Madge at her best. 

My next choices earned a place in my heart for similar reasons. Firstly it should be said that everything by Salt N Pepa is awesome, but this track is particularly dear to me. None of your business is a blistering attack on slut shaming before the phenomena even had a name. I was 13 or 14 when this hit the charts. I attended a catholic school & was surrounded by numerous gender double standards. That a woman should have sexual agency was not a concept I had come across. That females could enjoy fucking for fuckings sake was an idea that was just about dawning on me. Salt n Pepa did me a huge service with their blatant message. In a world where slag banded about by my piers & sex was deemed sinful by educators None of your business was a revelation.

Female sexual pleasure is key in my next anthem too. Charli XCX’s Body of my own is an ode to masturbation. It’s a rare topic in pop, even rarer in relation to women. At 34, I’ve long since discovered the joys of having a wank. I know it’s natural. I know it’s healthy. I know it’s the best the way to work out which buttons you really want pressing. For me this is a catchy pop piece confirming what I’m already sure if. However, I suspect for many teenage girls a song like this will offer much needed reassurance & encouragement. Sadly we still live in a society that makes girls feels embarrassed about enjoying their own bodies. I’m all for a song that says, Hey, you don’t need anyone else. You own your body. Explore it. Love it. 

Destiny’s Child’s Independent women has always been one of those songs that will get my arse on the dance floor. I love everything about it. When it was released I was a student struggling to make ends meet, but doing it all on my own.Three women jubilantly declaring themselves self sufficient was exactly what I needed. Having my hard work affirmed every time I went to a club was bliss. 16yrs later I still depend on me & i wouldn’t have it any other way.

These are just a few songs that make me feel proud to be woman in charge of my life. I’d love to know which tubes make you feel like you can rule the world.