1. My BFF’s baby turned 1 year old. I’m still not sure I completely believe it. It feels like it’s been a whisper of time since we welcomed her into world. Her first birthday party was as delightful as she is. I am excited to watch her grow. I’m also beyond thrilled to my bestie so utterly happy.
2. The leaves are doing their magical autumn thing & turning all the beautiful burnished tones. I love this season. I love trees. I love when Mother Nature starts doing her thing.
3. As the nights turn chilly the tv heats up. This year the bar has been set high. The Bodyguard & Killing Eve smashed it. Upping the game for proper must see tv. The return of No Offence has filled the Joanne Scanlon sized whole in my life. With Line of Duty on the way back soon I may never leave the house again. What do they all have in common, incredible intelligent female leads. It is fucking lovely to see so many strong fully formed parts for women. Oh & a good Glaswegian showing too.
4. My big brother also had significant birthday this year. I can’t say I’m that happy that he’s turned 40 because it means it’s proper looming for me. I am however delighted that he threw such a good party.
5. Tess Holliday rocking the cover of Cosmopolitan. Here’s the thing, I’m not actually a massive Tess fan & I’m definitely not a Cosmo fan at all, but I still love her cover. It’s progress. The photograph was a joyful declaration that fat women aren’t going anywhere. We exist, we are accomplished, beautiful, strong, diverse & we deserve representation. Also, Piers Morgan still has his knickers in a twist about. Upsetting Piers is always a plus (see what I did there???).
6. The nights may be drawing in, but they’re doing it in style. The last few weeks have produced some stunning sunsets. I was lucky enough to capture this beauty.
7. Then there was that day that I woke up with a bloody gorgeous arse. A very different view, but no less impressive.
8. I suspect I’m late to the party again with this one. Better late than never though. I only recently discovered Cigarettes After Sex and have fallen completely in love. Their music is ethereal, sensual & poignant in equal measures. Do yourself a favour & add them to your playlist.
9. September 18 will go down in history as the month that I finally mastered the glittery smokey eye. It took almost 4 decades, but just look at this magnificent artistry.
20. Which brings me nearly to my final entry; my birthday. On Saturday I will turn 38. Yup, that’s scary. I plan to celebrate the hell out of it anyway. Stay tuned for birthday hi jinx.
I’m calling it, autumn is here. I’m not sure when the calendar says it’s officially autumn & I don’t care either. I have worn mustard twice this past week & the copper nail polish is out. There is no doubt in my mind. Summer is over.
I’m quite pleased about it to be honest. Autumn is my favourite season. I love the colours, the chill in the air (a bit less rain would be nice) & the opportunity to buy cosy new items. Scarfs & jumpers are upon us. Yeah!
So far I have my eye on an awesome tartan coat & fluffy yellow jumper. In my mind’s eye I have slouchy jumper dresses that are yet to appear in reality, but I know I will find them. In the mean time I’ve been layering up & scoping out all my favourite websites. I’m ready to pounce on dreamy autumnal items.
I’ve had a pretty blue day. There’s proper storm blowing around outside & I am incredibly tired, which definitely hasn’t helped. Mostly though, I feel shit because too many people have been horrible to me this week.
I had a very small day surgery on Monday, which went smoothly & really wasn’t a huge deal. It was on my dodgy leg & in a spot when stitches are very easy to burst, so I was told to be careful. With that in mind I got a taxi to the train station early on Tuesday morning (I watch my nephew on Tuesdays). The station has a little car park at one side, but that is not the platform I get the train from, so I need the taxi to stop on the main road. I say need because I mean need. If I get out in the car park I have to go out up a big flight of stairs to street level over the tracks & then down a smaller staircase to the platform. Getting out on the street means navigating one smaller set of stairs (which is hard & sore & slow enough). The taxi driver of course did not want to stop on the main road. He was annoyed that he’d have to go a little further down the road to turn at a roundabout & he didn’t want to pull over on a busy road. He argued that it made no sense when the station had a car park. Now, maybe I’m a bitch, but in my mind part of the convenience of paying a taxi to take me somewhere is that I don’t have to explain myself & I get to go where I want to go. I don’t relish having to explain my disabilities & why I can’t do certain things. Especially when I walk with a stick & it’s bloody obvious that stairs are not my friend. I did however tell the driver why I wanted to be dropped in that specific spot, but he still wanted to argue. Thus I had to say either drop me where I say or take me home and don’t get paid. With much muttering under his breath he did as I asked, which probably took less than 5 minutes more & was basically zero hassle to him. This, my day is off to a crap start & I’m already tired of just trying to move around in the world.
I struggle down the steps just in time to heave myself on to a packed train. The train is headed into town & it’s 7.45am, of course there are no seats left. I make my way to the seats that are reserved for the disabled, elderly etc and everyone sitting there avoids eye contact. I don’t know why people do this because not looking at me does nothing to reduce my need to sit down. All it achieves is putting me in the horrible position of having to ask for seat. This, I duly do. I politely ask the women in the closet seat if I can have her seat if she is able to stand. I am met with huffing & puffing as puts her jacket back on and a glare as she vacates the seat. I thank her anyway because I have some bloody manners & sit whilst others who previously avoided looking in my direction now recover their ability to see me. They now make full use of this rediscovered function to gawk at me for most of the journey. I’m sore & tired & anxious & very conspicuous. It isn’t even 8am. I arrive at central station & have to buy a ticket. There was no ticket inspector on the first train & I have to get a second to complete my journey. The ticket office on the platform has the barriers set up to control the queue. I have to walk around it to get into the queuing area & follow the barriers to actually reach the end of the line. I’m slow, i’m conscious of not messing with the wound on my dodgy leg & I am worried about this queue because I’m really not sure I can stand that long. Roll on more rude people. As I follow the path made by the barriers people just barge right past me. One women even does a little run just as I near the end of queue so she can get in front of me. What kind of dickhead rushes to skip a disabled person who is clearly having difficulty? I don’t know, but I can tell you there are too many of them & I don’t always have it in me to let them know that they’re a knob.
Anyway, I get my ticket. I locate the platform of my next train. I find a seat because I can’t go any further until I’ve had a rest. I eat a lovely banana, check my messages & listen to some tunes whilst I gather myself. When it’s time to to head to the train I have recovered some equilibrium. I’m thinking today can be saved. One train journey & I can cuddle my gorgeous wee monkey. This is what I’m thinking as make my way along the platform & a large man barges right into me. He took me completely by surprise, I had nothing to steady myself on & went flying. Mr ‘catching my train is life’ didn’t even stop. No apology, no let me help you up. Kept marching right on & boarded his train. Incidentally his train was my train & it wasn’t leaving for 9 minutes. Whilst he presumably found a good seat I was lying on the platform bleeding. A nice ticket guy helped me up & onto the train. He even radioed someone the description of the guy who knocked me over, but to what end I have no idea. I’m not sure what anyone could really do other than tell him he was a prick. That surgical wound I was being oh so careful with is now bleeding furiously. I didn’t want to remove the dressing on the train, but I’m sure the stitches have burst (they had). So, I’m applying pressure & being watched by other travellers (again) as I try to put myself back together. I was pissed off, but focusing on gathering myself & getting where I needed to go.
Mr nephew was, as always, a delightful little bundle & I got through the day. I arrived home last night utterly exhausted & dropped into bed almost immediately. After a fitful night of sleep I awoke feeling just as tired. My leg is swollen & the wound can’t be restitched (it’s been open over night & restitching would be an infection risk). It will heal, but slower & messier. I had things to do today, but I didn’t do them. Partly because I was in a fair bit of pain and exhausted. Mostly, though, because there was a strong wind & yesterday shook my confidence. The accumulation of the rudeness, arguing, staring & knocking me to the ground was that today I was acutely aware of my disabilities. I didn’t feel up to dealing with the world & perhaps ending up worse for wear again. That realisation made me feel like shit.
I don’t like to think of myself as fragile or incapable. I know my limitations & I try really hard to work around them. I have to think ahead. I do things a bit at a time & I sometimes have tackle things in ways that might not make sense to others. I know I can be awkward. I know that the accommodations I need can be a pest to others. All disabled people know this. We aren’t asking for seats or giving specific instructions for a laugh; it’s the only way we can live in the world. I already feel stressed & anxious about needing these things. I am certain I’m not alone in it that. So, when you force me(us) to explain ourselves it’s horrible. When you make a fuss about being stuck behind me as I move at glacial pace, you are making my life a nightmare. Your stares & sighs can ruin my day. Limping along with a stick at 37 is not my ideal life situation. Fainting on public transport is not a thing I relish. I did not choose to hurt all the live long day. I do not want to have to ask you for anything, but I can assure if I was in your shoes I’d offer my seat with good grace.
I’ll heal. I’ll give myself a shake & force myself back out the door again. I will hold my tongue (most of the time) as you push past me & roll your eyes. I shouldn’t have to, though. Living with my disabilities is hard enough. I don’t want to manage your arsehole tendencies too.
I had a busy busy Friday culminating in date night. Sadly for my tired face all that bustle meant I only had about 45 minutes to execute operation pretty. Given the limitations I think I polished up not bad.
You can’t really go wrong with red lips & a high side pony. A taxi selfie sessions hyped me up & I arrived to meet the Toyboy with some pep in my step. We had a munch at a casual Mexican place before heading down a lane for some live music.
The gig was boisterous (see previous post) & my outfit was a new frontier. Yup, I’ve finally succumbed to the crop too revolution. I ordered this skeleton number (size up, it’s small) for Halloween, but couldn’t resist wearing it as soon as it arrived. I styled it with a retro swing skirt because I rather like pairing things that just don’t go together. I finished the look with my faux biker jacket & leopard print lace ups because you might as go all out on the mis match.
Skirt – Lindy Bop
Crop Top – Boohoo
Shoes – Just Fab
I bloody loved it. I’m also delighted with this ‘should be an outtake’ photograph. The TB has managed to grab my feeling myself attitude with this not quite ready pic. It was a fun night that continued with a lot of late night carry on when we got home. It may have taken me all of Saturday to recover, but you’ve got to misbehave sometimes, right?
Part of the reason I’ve been so busy is I have been watching my brother’s dog, Ringo, this week. He has squeezed himself into a cat bed every single night. Bronan watched on in distain as he has never lowered himself to sleep in the thing.
Last night I pretended I was a hip young thing & went to The Twistettes album launch. Of course I am in fact a tired old thing so I didn’t stay until the end, but I did have a very good time. Also, today I’m broken.
The Twistettes are a riotous two piece. Before last night I did not realise they are sisters, somehow this knowledge increases their cool factor for me. The launch party for their new album A Strange Play was exactly the loud feminist event that I expected. Housed in the cellar club space of Stereo (excellent vegan food FYI). The night kicked off with Quotes of the Dead, a very enjoyable cross between 90’s girl attitude & early 00’s goth rock. Their set was followed by the most excellent Leyla Josephine. Her angry, amusing & awesome poetry really made my night. Give me 3mins of non earnest spoken word on the vagina & I’m sold.
Next to take the stage was The Honey Farm, possibly Scotland’s only female rap group. I didn’t expect to enjoy them quite as much as I did. Rap isn’t my preferred genre, but I suppose intelligent women with attitude can make anything agreeable. Girobabies turned out a buoyant performance & then it was time for the main act.
The Twistettes were absolutely worth tarting my old arse up for. For a two piece they create a tremendous onslaught of sound. Riot Grrrl influence was definitely in evidence with an undercurrent of 90’s indie rock chick. Their lyrics are captivating & I particularly loved the slightly spooky bent of the title track. Original material is intriguing, their encore covers were large & in charge. If powerful talented women are your thing, give this punkish duo a listen.
You’re not a baby anymore. Or you wouldn’t be. Today would have been your 18th birthday. I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things you could have been. I’ll never know what your talents are. What you loved & hated will always be a mystery. Our life together will forever be unknown. I’ve watched so many others mark the milestones in their children’s lives & my thoughts invariably turn to you. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the blanks.
I have dreamt of every minute of your life. Waking from those beautiful fantasies feels like a stab in the heart. Every single time. I hope those dreams are snippets of how our life would have been. I don’t want to think of us as anything other than happy.
So, today you’d be a man. I’m sure you would be wonderful. The kind of person I’d be proud to have raised. I’ll always be proud regardless. Proud that my blood ran in your veins, thankful that your heart beat in me & grateful that we had any time at all.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s a wet, grey day & my mood is bleak, so it seems like an apt day to talk about suicide. Although, to be honest I want you to do more than talk about it.
Suicidal ideation impacts the lives of more people than you would imagine (1 in 5). It’s not rare for a person to reach a point where they are so desperate that they just don’t want to continue. In my experience those thoughts are insidious. Once you have seriously considered ending your life, it enters the sphere of available options. So, whilst I absolutely do not want to die; I can’t deny that occasionally at really bad times ‘kill myself’ would be the last entry on my list of possibilities. What makes it a remote last resort rather than an actual risk is a combination of factors. People love me, I love them, there is joy & purpose in my life. The only reason I can recognise & enjoy those factors is years of intensive support from mental health professionals. I am grateful for the people who stood by & helped me access the treatment I needed because without that professional intervention, I would certainly be dead.
So, yes, I do want to us all to talk about this. I want to break the taboo. I want people suffering to not be silenced by shame. It is important that you listen to loved ones in trouble. It matters that you care, but what is even more important is that there are effective mental health services to seek help from. Talking & listening isn’t going to save anyone unless it’s backed up by solid treatment. In short, we need better mental health services.
There is no point in asking people to reach out for help when none is available. A cup of tea & chat with a friend is nice, but it will not solve the underlying issues that lead to suicide. We need to be able to offer people more than a 6 month waiting list for a hand full of CBT sessions. When your loved ones tells you they want to die, you should be able to take them to a dr & get them immediate help. Instead the current response is often no beds & here’s a crisis team number.
I want you talk about suicide. I want you talk about mental illness. I also want you to do more. Don’t vote for people who will continue to decimate the NHS. Find out how the mental health services are performing in your area. Write to your Mp/Msp about provision of those mental health services. Sign petitions. Write to newspapers. Share your experiences. Do everything within your power to raise the profile of mental health services. We are failing really vulnerable people everyday. We beg them to ask for help & then tell them none is available. If you really want to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts, you have to do more than talk. We have to fight to give them another credible way to end their pain.
Last week I received a package that thrilled me. I commissioned a portrait from the incredibly talented Spunk Rock Star. She is an artist I discovered on Instagram & can not get enough of.
My portrait is, of course wonderful. I selected a picture of myself from a few summers ago. I had spent the day on the most beautiful beach with special people and felt completely content. Helen (aka spunk rock) totally captured that serenity. I can’t wait to get it framed & find it a perfect spot to live.
Having a stunning portrait of myself feels very decadent. I can’t recommend it enough. If you want to take my advice, Helen will not disappoint. She also creates super sexy kink art, which I just love. Her Etsy has great sales regularly, you can pick up originals, prints & even these very cool pins. The very best way to support independent artists is to buy their work. I think for a long time I was a little intimidated by the idea of commissioning art, but I am so glad I got over that. I’ve bought some brilliant & unique pieces from artists (mostly found on insta) this year. I definitely intend to continue because it’s doubly satisfying; you get an exceptional hand crafted item & you know you supported someone in doing the thing they love. It’s a good feeling!
On Saturday I had two parties to attend. One big event is enough to stress me out, so a 1st & 40th on the same Saturday had me more than a little worked up. I did actually manage to have fun & I think (hope) I pulled off two cool looks too.
First up was my best friend’s baby’s 1st birthday. I’m in still in shock that my tiny Madison is one already. I honestly feel like I’m living in fast forward. Anyway, she was an adorable birthday girl. Her party was incredibly cute & all the little people in attendance were a delight. Since it was a children’s event I went for a slightly whimsical outfit. All the colours & petticoat as a skirt was my choice.
Petticoat – Lindy Bop
Top – Asos
Cardi – Primark
I didn’t have much time to get organised for the next event. So, the plan was to change outfit, amp up the eye make up and reapply my lipstick. I somehow managed to create my dream grey glitter eye including winged liner. Unfortunately as it was a bit of a fluke it’s possible I’ll never recreate it. Thus, I intend to enjoy these pictures incase it never happens again. Clothes wise I settled on a dress I’ve had for years, but only worn once. The Toyboy thinks it looks like a gladiator dress & I’m very ok with that. I’m afraid I didn’t get a full length picture, but you can get a good look here. Another of my siblings turning 40 necessitated the drinking of many shots, which scuppered outfit photos. I did of course document my sexy smokey eyes & fun was had by all. Not least my big bro, who even took the dance floor.
Dress – Asos Curve
Shrug – Monsoon
Happy Birthday Kevin & Madison. Now I need the rest of the month off before I’m ready for the anniversary of my own birth.
This week’s celebrated woman is someone I have the pleasure of knowing. She is a bopo goddess, a thrifting maven, accomplished public speaker & possibly the bubbliest person I’ve ever met. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you Hayley Angell.
I met Hayley at a blogger event in Glasgow & was instantly impressed by her vintage look. I was also a little intimated by her polished confidence. I don’t find these events very easy. I have a lot of anxiety around new people & situations. I have even more anxiety about hiding my discomfort. The moment I spoke to Hayley I felt more at ease. Her sincere warmth allowed me to collect myself & have a good time.
I obviously immediately commenced following her on social media and have done so since. Hayley’s accounts are bursting with life affirming energy. Her honesty about her body positive journey; discarding control garments, trying new activities & generally enjoying her body is inspiring. She recently discussed her experiences as a plus size women taking burlesque classes. Despite outward proclamations of inclusivity she still felt it was assumed that fat women would be less assured. She got the sense that fatter folk were quietly ushered into the background. It takes guts to be open about this stuff. Even more to be honest about how often we convince ourselves that we belong at the back of class. Thus, she used her Instagram account to launch #stepforward a reminder to all plus size people that we are worthy of taking up space & being seen.
The Body Positive community has given me so much. I always want to say thank you to those who inspire me. I also want to spread their work because I know it can bring others happiness. Hayley is one of those fabulous women who can help you change how you see yourself. She is an insta must follow.
Bopo aside Hayley is, as I mentioned, a thrifting magician. Her Instagram is worth following for her second hand style alone. If you need tips on trawling the charity shops for fashion gold, Hayley is your woman. If you simply enjoy seeing a person enjoy themselves & clothes, she is still your gal.
I’ve only met Hayley in person once, but I would not be without her online presence in my life. For a shot of genuine self love, go press those follow buttons.