Once, twice…

This week I have managed to leave the house twice AND look cute both times. That is an auspicious happening these days. It also means the return of the outfit posts. I can feel your excitement from here.

First outfit of the week was a forgotten dress. I think I got this from a thrift shop, I could definitely be wrong. In any case when I spied a corner of that print in the wardrobe I wanted it on. Super comfy, super curves, tiny bit too booby. It’s a solid A- dress and I won’t forget it again.

ly stands in front of s large silver mirror.  She is wearing a black & white dress with a pink face mask..
Dress – Thrifted (?)
Sliders – Pillow Slides
Mask – Sarah Conde

This dress saw me to my long awaited hair do. I haven’t stepped foot in a salon in 18months, so my locks were longing for a chop. With my raggedy ends gone & layers refreshed I feel like a new woman.

ly  with freshly cut hair &  before hair cut holding up messy ends of her hair

Dress number 2 hasn’t been out of the wardrobe for a while. It’s still a summer fav. Little bit ballet & a little 90s Gap adds up to a lot good. Always love wearing this one.

ly is wearing a grey vest dress with pale nude overlay skirt and yellow sandals
Dress – Forever21
Kimono – Boohoo

And apropos of nothing, if you get the chance to sprawl on a big swing in the sunshine, do it.

ly is lying in a large circular swing wearing a black and white dress
Shorts – Glamour

There’s gold in them hills…

I’m having a rough time. Everything is a bit of a struggle at the moment, so I’m going to do a wanky, hippie dippy post. Feel free to clock out because I’m about to deep dive into gratitude.

All the Basics

I have a safe, stable home. Food in the cupboards. Running water, central heating. Access to healthcare. A comfortable bed & wardrobe full of clothes. My basic necessities are taken care of and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

FaceTime

And WhatsApp, messenger, zoom & all the other clever doo dahs that allow me to keep in touch with folk. A friendly face or some carry on helps brighten my day.

Pillow Slides

Bought on a whim. Incredibly ugly, but oh so kind to my joints.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a genius plant. First & foremost it’s hard to kill. If you don’t have plant mum skills aloe is for you. It looks good, it adds oxygen to your room & it’s even easy to grow more from cuttings etc. Added bonus, our bodies love aloe. Need a moisturise, got sunburn, heat rash, a blister? Cut open a leaf and whap it straight on. Upset tummy, mouth ulcers, bad breath, ibs? Add a teaspoon to a glass of water. Wonder plant*

Temporary Solutions

I have a lot of issues with no permanent cure. Hence I have grown to appreciate a temporary solution. Diazepam is certainly not for long term use, but it bloody works for a day or two when your brain thinks the world is attacking you. Jane Austen will not fix my life, but she will soothe things for an hour or two. Whilst mint tea can’t cure my stomach disease, it can soothe the spasms attempting to eat lunch caused. They will return, but the minty goodness will buy me enough time to get home. Temporary solutions are various & abundant. Hugs, hot baths, sex, lidocaine patches, a big glass of wine… Moments of respite are better than none at all.

The Sea

Everything about the sea is soothing. The never ending expanse of it, the smell, the sound of the waves lapping. I always feel calmer by the shore. I can breathe deeper and see more clearly. Pretty lucky that I live on an island. The dazzling deep blue is never too far away.

Bronan

My lovely big loyal boy. Always gentle. My own living hot water bottle. An adorable wee tyrant who has me wrapped around his paw. Who doesn’t want to be awoken by a meowing creature in their face at the crack of dawn every morning?

Vincent D’Onforio

I like how brooding he is and that head moving to maintain eye contact thing he does on Law & Order. He seems like he’d be clumsily kind if you were feeling bad. He’s always despicable when he plays a baddy, which I like, no half measures. I get completely absorbed in the character when I watch him. I always believe it. Also, good name.

Summer Rain Showers

I like the ones that come on heavy, but run out of juice quickly. Summer rain smells good, it freshens everything up and gives me a good excuse not to hang the washing out.

Diet Coke

It is really bad for me, but it tastes soooo good. Big icy cold gulps. I don’t know how to quit you, Diet Coke.

Specs Appeal

Statement specs bring me joy. If I have to wear glasses every day they are going to be splendiferous. Big, colourful, can’t be missed face furniture is the only kind I will consider.

Ian Hislop

It’s very sexy when a person is that good at anything. He exudes the confidence of knowing he’s top of his game. He can slag off the bad guys with impunity because he leads a pretty decent life. He is cute and funny and incredibly smart. I’ve always been fairly sure that he has a huge, beautiful dick too.

Love

This might be where my sincerity gets too much for you. I care not. Life really wouldn’t be worth much without love. Giving or receiving, it’s wonderful. All those little thoughtful things a person does because they love you. Tiny gifts, texts, snapping a pic of something you’ll like. It all feels good. The warmth of knowing I’ve made someone smile or that they wanted to make me smile. Being able to comfort with your words or a cuddle. Sharing milestones & cups of tea. Love is the point, right? How can we not feel grateful if we have it.

Period Pants

A new thing for me and I like them. Wearing a pair to bed is so much better than using a tampon & worrying you might sleep too long. Likewise, so much better for those last days when you’re not quite sure if your period is actually finished or not. I can’t stand the feel of sanitary towels. Nor do I relish the sensation (or risk) of pulling dry cotton from my body. Period pants are a comfy godsend.

Choice

I’m so happy to live in a time (& place) of choice. So many aspects of my life offers abundant options. I can access almost any song in the world from my phone. Look up current affairs, trivia, what time the chemist closes by pressing a few buttons. I have films, shows, games, podcasts, strangers & friends at my finger tips. Whatever food I fancy can be delivered to my door. In theory I can pursue any career I’d like. I can vote how I choose. Do as I please with my body. Get married or not. Sleep with who I want. Wear what I like & go wherever I want (pandemic aside). Choice is not to be sniffed at.

Gardeners

Hallelujah for folk who will sort the garden in exchange for money. I am physically & constitutionally unsuited to maintaining outside spaces. I do however enjoy utilising them. I also like not stressing about ever encroaching weeds. I will never underestimate the peace securing a good gardener brings.

Little People

I have seven perfect niblings. My oldest niece is the smartest, coolest, kindest 11yr old you will ever meet. She will always be my little muffin, but she has grown into a person who makes me so proud. Then there are my brother’s boys who are his complete mini mes. His oldest is so patient & protective with his little brother. It is gorgeous to watch. My sister’s boy is half rascal pirate, half total love bug. He is a joy to be with. My bestie’s big girl is so cute & sassy. She may only be three, but that girl knows what she wants. Then there are her brand new little brother & sister. Newborn twins are a hand full but man alive are they adorable. I am so lucky to be part of their lives. Helping them become the people they want to be is an honour.

Disabled Ammenities

Parking spaces, toilets, seats right by the door on trains. I love them all. Anything that takes into account that every step hurts is a life saver. Extra space, bars to hold onto, not having to wait, all make my life immeasurably easier. Disability can rob you of dignity in so many ways. Things that allow me to navigate public spaces without being humbled are magnificent.

Sister Tik Toks

I love it when my sister and I send each other tik toks. I feel very seen when she sends me clips that make me laugh out loud or that relate to some shared experience. Having a sister is a lovely thing. Having a sister who gets you is even better.

Life has turned out to be harder than I had imagined. Amongst the struggle it helps me to acknowledge all the little & enormous things that make it worthwhile. I know it’s cheesy, but give it a whirl.

*Not a cure or medicine. Speak to your dr about any health concerns.

How about no?

Every now & again I realise that I kind of hate all the latest ‘must haves’. Summer 21 is definitely one of those moments. Thus, I invite you to join me as I trash all the things I really don’t want.

Big Collars

Everywhere I look folk are adding massive collars to everything they own. I can’t stand it. It’s twee in the worst possible way. They’re the ugly offspring of 80’s maternity & flower girl fashion. I feel especially nauseous when I see someone sporting a large doily style collar on a pastel knit. It has to stop. Please.

Pale blue cardigan with white lace colour
Nope

Pampas Grass

Is that even the correct name? It’s that awful fluffy stuff that keeps turning up in floral arrangements. Usually accompanied by weird dusky pink dried flowers. It’s another 80’s revival that we should have left to rot. The fluff gets everywhere, they always flop & there’s that urban legend about swinging. I’ll stick to fresh blooms, thanks.

pampas  grass & dried flower arrangement
Nope

Hankie Tops

I’m usually all for a 90’s throwback. It was a bloody good decade with some excellent fashion. Hankie tops, however, were awful then & even worse now. I still have nightmares about the lemon yellow gingham hankie top I struggled to keep my boobs in on a second date in 1998. I can’t forgive the pitiable piece of fabric masquerading as a garment.

Candlelit Concert

In theory, I actually love this idea. The first candlelit concert I saw advertised was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in a beautiful theatre. I could see the appeal. It must have been a success because now there is a candle lit EVERYTHING. Abba, Disney, Daft Punk, ballet (is that safe?), songs of Barry Manilo! I’m out.

Bare Midriff Belt

I couldn’t tolerate Carrie Bradshaw belting her belly button. So, I’m definitely not going to find it charming this time around. Can’t we ever learn from our mistakes?

Carrie Bradshaw wearing Gucci belt on bare midriff . ASOS model wearing jeans & belt in bare midriff
Nope & Nope

Sit in the green garden…

Outfit posts are still thin on the ground because I hardly ever leave the house. When I do I rarely have the energy to put a look together. Now the sun is out I’m spending my days in the garden hoping the heat will work its magic on my joints & looking decidedly unglamorous.

ly is wearing  black bra top, paisley print maxi skirt & sunglasses

So it’s all down to the nails to keep me in the style game. I’ve leaning into the summery manicures and liking the results.

Green manicure with pink peonies
It’s peony season & they’re my favourite flower, so why not paint some on.
Blue manicure with fox on ring finger.
Our nocturnal garden visitors inspired this design.
Orange manicure with sunflower design
A burst of sunflowers always cheers me up.
Bright manicure with smiley face, rainbow &  cherries
And a little 90’s doodle themed mani.

Another little bit gets lost…

I am not ok. I’m never really ok, but right now, I am especially not. Long covid is ravaging my life. Six months since testing positive & no improvement in the ‘left over’ symptoms. I’m really scared that I am going to be stuck like this indefinitely.

The breathlessness & tachycardia are relentless. The slightest exertion leaves my heart racing. I can’t stand long enough to brush my teeth. Moving from room to room requires a sit down recovery period. My pain & gastric symptoms have all been intensified. They show no signs of easing. Fatigue is overwhelming. My brain often feels like mush. I lose track of what I am saying mid sentence, I need lists & alarms to remember anything. I cannot get anything done.

Pulse oximeter  with heart rate at 180 & oxygen 95

Keeping up with normal life admin is a constant struggle. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, washing my damn hair have gone from difficult to near impossible tasks. Getting dressed is a mission. Trying to work is a lottery. Maybe today will be the wonderful day my brain & body both allow productivity. More likely, I will spend a week doing ten minute spurts of writing. What used to take a morning now feels like completing my magnum opus. I rarely have the energy to leave the house. A trip to the drs or an afternoon in company takes days to get over. Everything hurts massively all the time. I’m exhausted all the time. My heart pounds & my breath escapes me. Eating more often than it results vomiting. My life is getting smaller & smaller. I’m frightened.

There are no good days. Never an opportunity to catch up. I’m in a continual state of anxiety over all the things that never get taken care of. I feel useless. Stuck. I wasn’t in great shape to begin with. There were always limitations, but now they are endless. I can’t see any solution; there is no one else to do what I can’t. Even if there were, it would decimate my mental health to be that reliant.

Doctors don’t have the answers. Nor do they have the resources for many of the treatments they’d like to offer. Every referral is waiting list. My existing conditions are running riot & symptom flares do not respond to previously effective interventions. It is exceptionally hard not to feel hopeless.

Ly is wearing sunglasses, face mask &  hospital gown and standing in front of x ray sign

I’ve been here before. Each time I’ve reached a new spoonie milestone it has been hard.Realising the pain would never entirely go away, each new diagnosis, having to use a walking stick. They all took time to accept. More time to learn how to manage. Every time I add something to the list of things I simply can’t do anymore it hurts. I’ve grieved so many versions of myself. I have long let go of the idea of a normal life. This feels different. It’s not an adjustment, it is shifting most of my life into the can’t do column. No one can tell me if this will ever get better. Or worse.

It’s testing me on every level. Keeping my mental health afloat is getting harder. I have no control over this. If I push myself I feel worse for longer. I am helpless and useless. My head has no off switch. I fret about the mounting piles of unattended business. My life feels simultaneously hectic and ground to an absolute stop. The stress is too much. The pain is too much. The fatigue is too much. Every inch of living feels too hard.

All the while, life goes on. Bills need to be paid, grass cut, deadlines met. I have responsibilities & commitments. Covid isn’t anyone’s fault. I am acutely aware of how many have lost more. As guilty as I feel, that doesn’t make this any easier. I think maybe I needed to say it out loud. I am no ok. Not even close.

The words I’m not ok on black background

Oxygen for India…

Covid 19 has been hell. We’ve made sacrifices. We got ill, lost people, missed people, missed life. We have suffered, but we have almost made it through. Even in our worst times we have privilege. So much privilege.

Throughout this nightmare we have had access to excellent medical care & now vaccines. Many of us have had safe houses to lockdown in. Food, clean water, the ability to stay in touch with our loved ones. It doesn’t negate the bad, but it does make us incredibly lucky.

Now that we are close to escaping this pandemic we cannot abandon those still being ravaged. We have to help. India is in dire straits. We, in the west are good at taking what we want from other cultures without asking & without giving anything in return. It is past time for us all to do what we can to fight Covid in India. Please give whatever you can.

Oxfam India Covid Appeal

British Red Cross

Action Aid

Oxygen for India

Level up…

Level 3 is here! I know exactly what I want to do with my freedom; see all the lovely people I’ve been missing. I can’t deny that it felt very strange to be out, but 9 months was way too long to not see my very favourite man.

Al fresco drinks were the perfect opportunity to refresh my Operation Pretty skills. I also got to give some pieces who’ve been languishing in lockdown a wee turn. The jumpsuit is my new favourite thing. It is incredibly comfortable & does good things to my curves.

Ly is standing with blurred background wearing leopard print jumpsuit
Jumpsuit – Very
Shrug – Monsoon
Harness Bra – Playful Promises

The amazing velvet blazer was a gift from my equally amazing Mum. It’s been waiting in my wardrobe for over a year. You can expect to see me wearing it with everything from now on.

ly is standing against blurred background wearing leopard print jumpsuit & velvet blazer
Blazer – Monsoon
Glasses – Where light

We followed all the rules & still managed to have a bloody lovely time. Even if ridiculous me did get a tiny bit emotional. I’m blaming the rosè.

Close up of ly wearing large tortoiseshell glasses, man in outdoors restaurant hiding behind napkin, tapas dishes

I’m hoping against hope that we are finally nearing the end of this covid nightmare. As happy as I am, I don’t want to forget how privileged we are to be in this position. The pandemic is not over. We need to be doing much more for those still in the depths of it.