The Anti-Diet Club

I am talking Body Acceptance & Medical Weight Bias on this amazing podcast today. I’d be delighted if you fancied a listen.

The podcast creators Gillian McCollum and Tamsin Broster both do really powerful work in body acceptance/anti diet sphere. Please check them out too.

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I feel like throwing my hands up in the air…

I have been catching up with And just like that & I’m having a lot of feelings. I know, I know, it’s a tv show. These people aren’t real. Except, they kind of are. A little bit.

S&TC caught me at just the right time. I started watching right before leaving home & starting uni. I continued through 18 to 24, prime discovering yourself, life & love years. I re-watched again & again, Carrie & the gals my trusted companions. It hasn’t all aged well, there’s some really dodgy shit. Plus sometime I don’t even like them; Carrie could be truly toxic things. But, I still love them. There was nothing else talking about the kind of female sexuality I was exploring in the late 90’s. There were little bits of myself & my friends in all of the fab four. I could relate to their sexual & romantic adventures. I knew the unbreakable bond of female friendship. Carrie was a writer with a penchant for the older man for goodness sake. Then of course it was all so much more glamorous than my life. They were running around Manhattan in Manolos, whilst I could barely afford Malboro lights & rent on my dodgy student flats. We were both hiding our broken hearts in a haze of smoke & high heels, though. Fantasy wrapped up in just enough reality to capture my heart.

So, I loved them. I felt like I knew them inside out. Both the characters & the all the fragments of real people I saw in them. I have twenty odd years invested in these tv people. That’s crying on the sofa, drinking cocktails with the girls, hungover Sundays, hours of explaining to stupid boyfriends why Aidan wasn’t right & so much more. I want them to be happy. Real life is perilous on the happy ending front, but when last we saw Carrie & Co is was as close to a fairy tale as you get in NYC.

Miranda, Carrie, Charlotte & Samantha in coats walking in the street

I awaited this re boot with trepidation. There was never any chance of me not partaking, but I was worried. I feared they’d mess it all up. Successful drama needs conflict and I didn’t want my middle aged babes involved in any of that. They almost killed me with that first episode. I was always rooting for Big, even when he was a total fuckwit. I wanted Carrie & John to grow old together in harmony. Given what we found out about Chris Noth, it’s just as well they killed him off (but I can still mourn the character, right?). We also had Samantha’s absence to deal with. That empty chair at the restaurant. Those flowers at the funeral. It’s heartbreaking. I’m 41 now, I know those female bonds aren’t always so indestructible, but this is fantasy. Samantha would never have had such a silly huff. Two hard blows right from the kick off. The rest are good. I can take it.

Then comes Che and all bets are off. All of sudden I’m supposed to believe that Steve can’t make Miranda cum? The Steve that knew how to get her off from night one? They make him some lame guy who can’t finger his wife. Now Miranda is running off to surprise Che, who will almost certainly be screwing someone else when she gets there. I don’t want this. I want my loyal cynical Miranda with her sweet, loving Steve. I’m taking this betrayal personally.

That’s before I even touch on how they handled Stanford’s exit. Carrie going on dates or that hideous new apartment. Thank god for Charlotte & Harry. I hope. I may be a bit more jaded and lot less likely to fall head over heels, but I can’t take it if all those happily ever afters fall apart. Make believe is supposed to offer some escapism. Will no one think of the ageing romantics?

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The Easy Vegan

It has come to my attention that some of my readers would like some vegan tips. Always happy to oblige I got right on it. Which means I now present, the easy vegan.

Nutritional Yeast

Get some. You can pick it up in most supermarkets now. It has a kind of Parmesan type flavour & makes almost everything yum. Pasta, risotto, lentils, potatoes, sandwiches & more. Sprinkle generously. It’s good for you too, great source of b12.

Aquafab

Also known as the water from tins of chickpeas. This can be whipped up & used as an alternative to egg whites. It’s super easy and the final result tastes the same. Meringues, soufflé, mousse; all light & delicious.

Pink & white meringue kisses

Sprouts

Excellent in all forms. Little alph alpha sprouts are crunchy addition to sandwiches. Mung bean sprouts are an amazing to bulk up noodle, rice & veg dishes. Fling them into a pot with a little soy sauce & they’re good to go. Broccoli & Radish sprouts are a tasty topper for salads. They have bite & a unique fresh taste.

Remember Basics

If you work out what alternatives you like for your staples, vegan life becomes much simpler. Here are my favs:

Butter – I’ve never really liked the taste of butter so this was easy for me. I use an olive oil base spread. Most supermarkets have their own version, so it is inexpensive & easy to find.

Cheese – I like a few vegan cheeses, but I’ve found that the best ones are cashew based. There are so many vegan options out there these days, so it’s worth testing to find your favs.

Chocolate- My favourite is Vego. Especially the whole nut hazelnut bar. It is delicious.

Vego hazelnut chocolate on a wooden chopping board

Yoghurt – I do love some yoghurt and I’ve found the best dairy free are the coconut milk ones. They don’t taste like coconut, just much like plain yoghurt & they’re available in loads of flavours. Condensed coconut milk also works exactly like regular condensed milk for use in desserts.

Milk – I’ve never liked milk, so don’t need an alternative. However, the majority opinion seems to be that oat milk is the best non dairy. I have used it in baking & my wares were yum.

Boost your Veg

Obviously vegan cuisine contains loads of vegetables. Even the most devoted veggie can get bored with eating a lot of similar flavours. The good news is, you don’t have to, there are so many amazing things you can do to jazz up your greens.

Start with different cooking methods. Don’t just bung everything in a pot and boil. Try roasting, steaming, pan fry, stew. There are lots of options. Second, get creative with your seasoning. You can toss your veg in different oils before roasting or frying. Sprinkle with garlic, chilli, cinnamon etc for added flavour. Next go wild with your dressings; ‘Butter’ is great on loads of veg but don’t stop there. Soy sauce, houmous, satay, balsamic even a simple vinaigrette will all pep your veggies right up.

Thinly sliced roasted Mediterranean veg in casserole dish

Accidentally Vegan

Lots of common brand name foods just happen to be vegan. You’d be surprised at how many of your usuals vegans can eat. Vegan Food & Living have a comprehensive list of accidentally vegan options that is worth checking out.

Go Nuts

Nuts are good for everything. Easy & filling mobile snack. Tasty additions to savoury & sweet dishes. Stick some with your cereal, yoghurt, fruit to make them more filling. There are loads of varieties & they’re good for you; loaded with fibre, unsaturated fats & protein.

It’s never been easier.

Every supermarket has a vegan ready meals, every restaurant marks vegan friendly food on the menu. From sandwiches to fine dining there are options. Whether you’re sipping your toes in with Veganuary or going the whole quorn hog, it has never been easier. Go for it!

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Baby, you’re the words & chapter…

After some recent ‘market research’ I discovered that folks would like me to share more of what I’m reading. I have always been a total bookworm & am pretty much constantly reading. I always intend to share books I enjoy, but never remember. My goodreads is neglected for months & then a tonne of books of are added at once. Now that I have confirmation that people do actually want this type of content, I am going to try much harder. Starting right now, with a rundown of some of my favourite books.

Delusion of Grandma, Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher was incredible in every single way. I absolutely worshipped her. Her acting, comedy & activism were all top notch. Her writing was sublime. I have never found anyone else who writes in such a poetic stream of conscious like style. Carrie draws from her own life to create works of fiction that take my breathe away. Delusions of Grandma centres around Cora, a script fixer who discovers she is pregnant just as her relationship ends. She then goes on a road trip with her eccentric Mother to fulfil her failing Grandfather’s last wish to return to his home town. Her Grandfather has dementia & so may not actually know when he is ‘home’, but they feel duty bound. Her mother is loving, but A LOT. She has a writing partner & best friend who is wonderful, but A LOT. Cora herself could be described as, you guessed it, kind of A LOT. Cora becomes convinced that she won’t survive child birth & starts writing long letters to her unborn child. These letters detail major relationships & events in Cora’s life. They give the reader insight into who she is and how she feels about herself. The way Fisher handles mental illness through these narratives is one of the most lucid accounts I have ever read. I knew exactly the feelings she was describing. Her writing is so exceptional that I practically felt them as I read. If you haven’t experienced Carrie Fisher’s unparalleled writing talent I urge you rectify that as soon as possible.

Delusion a of Grandma cover art   Yellow rubber duck with book title on blue

The Travelling Hornplayer, Barbara Trapido

The Travelling Hornplayer consists of multiple intersecting stories. The connections in the characters lives are revealed as the book unfolds. Each of the tales are woven together so skilfully that it feels somewhat magical. That hint of magic persists within the little cosmic drops throughout each character’s narrative. Trapido’s storytelling is beautiful. All of her books feature the same families of characters, but explore different aspects of their lives. Background characters from one novel push centre stage in another. This particular book became my favourite of the authors by virtue of featuring a cycle of poetry I fell in love with at university. A quote from which is now permanently inked on my body. Words have always been my religion and this book is part of my bible.

The words ‘ the stars are too high’ tattooed on freckled arm
The travelling horn player cover art

My Thoughts Exactly, Lily Allen

This book is of course Lily Allen’s autobiography. I’ve always liked her music & most of her candour. I felt a sort of fellowship with her after her first child was still born, which made me more interested in her work. What I admire most about this book is Lily’s honesty. She speaks so openly about her life even when it is not remotely flattering. She lays herself bare as she recounts her childhood, mental health battles, experiences of motherhood, fame, sexual assault & infidelity. It is a brave and raw book. Not at all the typical show biz memoir. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

My thought exactly cover art  (yellow background with photograph of Lily Allen)

There you go, some of my very best books. I have a million favourites, so there will probably be more posts like this. I will also endeavour to post what I am reading (& enjoying) on Insta.

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Boost a booster…

Since the emergence of omicron I have been increasingly relieved that I have had acesss to two vaccines & a booster. As a chronically ill person I can’t afford to be blasé about any variant. It also leads to me think about those who don’t have free access to these life saving jabs.

As a result this month I have decided to support Care International’s campaign to fund the cost of covid vaccines for the world’s poorest & most vulnerable families. Care put the cost at £22, but you can donate more or less. It is disgusting that the most vulnerable people do not have access to these vital vaccinations. If we are in a position to make a donation I really feel we have a responsibility to do so.

Please give of your can.

Who wants to be a millionaire?…

It occurred to me recently that had I ever followed through with my invention I may be rolling in it by now. I know I don’t seem like high powered entrepreneur, but I’ve actually had a few amazing ideas that turned into real money spinners. Join me as trawl through the ideas I should have got a patent for!

The Vajazzle

Yes. Really. Way back in 1999 I came up with that idea. I welcomed a boyfriend back from a trip at Xmas time with a glittery festive shape instead of a landing strip. It was a hit. A mere decade later those damn Essex girls stole my idea and made a mint.

ly is naked holding her boobs.  There are lovehearta hiding her breats and a sign  saying nothing to see in front of her vulva

Folding Flats

You know those clever little ballet flats that fold into a tiny pouch? My best friend and I had that idea in the 90’s too. Sick of walking around barefoot holding our heels after a night out we drunkenly came up with fold away shoes. As with most 4am ideas we did no follow through. A few years later some other more committed bugger actually made them. Another money making opportunity missed.

Nail Art

Oh I know, this seems unlikely. It’s still true. I’ve been painting designs on my finger nails since my early teens. Granted, I wasn’t always good at it, but I was absolutely doing it before it was a thing. My little sister even got in on the act way before any professional salons started offering it. We were trailblazers. These days we both pull off amazing nails, but other folks are raking in the cash.

Pale pink and blue manicure with half pink/half blue love hearts n

Armery

In the early 2010’s Mary Portas Lauched her Armery collab with Charnos (many brands have had similar designs since). She claimed it was her revolutionary idea, sleeves that could be worn under anything for women who didn’t want bare arms. Well, once again, I beg to differ. Portas was not the first to think this up. Myself & many other self harmers had been taking scissors to tights to fashion an identical product forever. Necessity is the mother of invention. Hiding the tell tale signs of our terrible secret had us innovating long before Mary. It’s pity some of us didn’t get together and launch the idea.

Torso of model wearing black vest and blue Armery sleeves

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Don’t leave me this way…

Since we seem to be heading full steam into SUCK IT territory for the disabled & chronically ill I wanted to talk about my experience of covid. There has been an overarching theme of those with existing health conditions being dispensable from the start, but now it’s pretty much being explicitly stated by our leaders. I want everyone to know how frightening this is for those of us that so many are happy to sacrifice.

As a person with chronic health issues (arthritis, fibromyalgia, stomach disease, anaemia, PCOS) I took covid seriously from the beginning. Lockdown was a complete lockdown for me. I stayed at home. I had no visitors. All my essentials were delivered. The only contact I had with anyone was the occasional driveway visit. My sister or bestie would stand in my drive and I’d sit in my open from door. I didn’t touch another human being or leave my house for months. I had hospital stays without visitors, didn’t celebrate my 40th birthday and spent Xmas 2020 at home on my own. My lockdown stretched on further than the official stay at home orders. Since early 2020 I have spent the majority of my time at home and I have been scared since the beginning. I had no idea what covid might do to me. I’ve experienced catching bugs or viruses that were no biggie for others, but sent me to the hospital. Every time I heard of someone dying being caveated with they had existing health problems, I knew that could be me. This pandemic has always been an emergency situation for me & those like me.

I now regularly see family & one close friend. I wear a mask, sanitise, stay outside as much possible. If I must be inside I go to places that follow all covid precautions and I exercise extreme caution. Doctor appointments aside I leave my home about once a week. I still have everything delivered and avoid contact with those outside my immediate circle. I do home tests before and after I go anywhere. With a couple of exceptions a restricted life has become my normality.

I contracted covid 19 in oct 2020. At that point I was spending 99% of my time alone at home. I was seeing only my sister, mum & nephew and wasn’t visiting anyone indoors. I still managed to catch the virus despite none of the family I was in contact becoming infected. The acute illness was not severe. It lasted about ten days & felt like having a stomach flu. I had more gastric than cold/flu like symptoms. My cough was very mild. I lost my sense of smell & taste. I felt terrible, but I didn’t require any medical attention. In the following weeks I really struggled with breathlessness & racing heart but assumed this would pass. It did not.

15 months later I am still dealing with long covid. My already limited mobility has been massively impacted. I become breathless even moving around my own home. I have to sit even to brush my teeth, make a cup of tea etc. I have overwhelming fatigue, brain fog and widespread pain have markedly intensified since having covid. I experience palpitations and chest pains on the slightest exertion. My heart rate regularly climbs to heights whilst trying to complete the most basic of tasks. I have been hospitalised on 4 occasions because my heart rate would not slow down to an acceptable level. Drs can monitor and treat symptoms, but they know almost nothing about long covid. They can’t tell my why these symptoms persist or if they will ever go away. My chest x rays are clear, my heart is not damaged. The tachycardia & breathlessness are a covid mystery.

A frightening and very real mystery. It is scary to feel as though your heart is going to burst out of your body. Or to be so out of breath that your head spins and chest burns. It’s a million times more terrifying to be told that the experts have no idea why it is happening or how they can make it better. Fear has been common thread. 2021 has been a really hard year for my health. All of my existing symptoms have worsened. The added problems have caused me serious problems and I think I have picked up every cold, stomach bug & infection going. All of which has been alarming. I’m worried that the next illness or flare might be the big one. I’m stressed about all the work I can’t do and the financial repercussions of that. I am chilled at just how little I am now able to do before becoming too exhausted/sore/dizzy/breathless to continue. Most of all I am terrified of what could happen if I get another variant of covid.

I am fully vaccinated (& boosted). I have masks galore, anti bac in every bag & pocket. I still leave parcels & deliveries by the door for an hour before I touch them. I bought a device to sanitise my phone. I’m never in crowds. I rarely go out. I’m acutely aware that I was being even more careful when I caught covid the first time. Every single aspect of my life has been affected by this pandemic. I know I am not alone. Most people have sacrificed. Many are in the same boat as me & others in far more treacherous vessels. I understand that this has been a collective trauma that everyone is eager to put behind them. I just wish more people would understand that this isn’t over yet.

When you justify the need to ‘live with covid’ by saying that most healthy people only experience mild symptoms I am the exception in that sentence. People like me will die or be permanently disabled if we ignore how dangerous covid still is. I understand that you want your life back. You want to stop worrying and missing out. I do too, but if we throw caution to wind now it’s not without consequence. If we pretend that covid is just another part of life we are throwing the sick, disabled, old & vulnerable to the wolves. I believe that those lives are worth as much as any other. Our needs are already ignored in so many ways, please don’t abandon us altogether.

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A new one just begun…

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. It’s so arbitrary to decide we have to change at this specific time. I feel like folk put too much yucky pressure on themselves. Not to mention resolutions often revolve around unhelpful things like losing weight or forcing yourself to the gym everyday. Thus, I give resolutions a wide berth.

I do have some things I’d like to achieve this year. You will no doubt hear about those as I tackle them. Or as I grumble about how wrong things are going. Things do go wrong and that’s ok!

To do list on a clip board with go gentle printed on it

Which brings me to my main goal this year; be a little nicer to myself. The voice in my head can get harsh. I very much doubt that my inner bitch is helpful. 2022 will hopefully be the year that I give me a tiny little break occasionally. Not so much a physical break as my body pretty much demands them. What I really need to work on is not beating myself up for needing those breaks or getting things wrong. It would be nice not to call myself a useless fuck every time I so much a drop my pen. Work in progress, right?

Anyway, Happy New Year to you all. I hope this year treats you well!

Pink and blue neon gateway with big white 2022

New year, New lingerie…

What better way to start the year than in some gorgeous new knickers?

I can never have enough lingerie , so I’m always excited to get some for Xmas. I’m loving all the lace detail especially since the fabric is super soft. I adore the shape the bra is giving me. The whimsy of the French knickeresque pants is delightful.

ly is standing with her hands on her hips wearing deep red lingerie set wth kace. i
Bra & Pants – Figleaves Curve

You know your knickers are making you feeling yourself when you have the urge to snap a booty mirror selfie.

ly is taking a pic of herself over her shoulder in a mirror wearing burgndy pants