Cherry baby…

I may have given up on the idea of bras and proper clothes in general. My face remains unprinted. My hair is in a permanent very messy bun. However, my quarantine nails are cute.

Cherry blossom  nail art

I missed blossom season, so I made my own. I even mixed my own base colour. Check me getting fancy.

Graphic greyscale nail art

Little bit of grey because lockdown is gloomy. Lot bit of colour to remind me it’s not forever.

Matte spooky Forrest nail art

Spooky forrest because that’s always a cool look.

Toucan nail art

Then turn up the kook with some big silly toucans.

The hurting time…

Chronic illness becomes a way of life. You don’t stop feeling bad, but you do get used to it. Humans adapt. Pain becomes the new normal.

Most days spoonies deal with symptoms that would send healthy folk to the Dr. On bad days many would be considering 999. Chronic peeps, however, muddle through. Sometimes flare ups floor me. There are days when brushing my teeth is an epic feat. Others I function to varying degrees. I work & play & everything in between. Always, though, I hurt.

I pay the price if I over do it. I carefully plan routes & venues around how many steps will be required, if there is seating, stairs & so on. I pre check menus for items that won’t make me sick. Plan meals around when meds need to be taken. I do everything tired. It’s so hard to sleep & even when I do crash I wake feeling little difference.

Selfie of women’s sad face.

I found a way to work around my illness. Squeeze pleasure out of any socialising I can manage. I have become accustomed to cancelling things I really wanted to do. The list of things my body is no longer capable of grows. It’s ridiculous how sad felt upon realising I won’t jump on trampoline or turn a cartwheel again. Especially when I don’t even have much desire to do either. It’s just another limit. Another no.

I persevere. I follow Drs orders. I try all manner of suggested remedies. Acupuncture, cbd, floatation tanks, tens, yoga, the works. Some treatments help. There are medications that work wonders. Others that I need, but that cause problems. I take drugs to counteract the side effects of other drugs. It’s exhausting, but it’s my life.

Hand holding 5 pills of various shapes & colours

It is not all bad. I have privileges that many do not. My home is warm & safe. I have access to excellent care. I am gifted with skills & talents that allow me to pursue work I love. I have safety nets. I had years of being fit & well. I went to uni, got stuck into the partying & had the chance to travel a little. I’m loved. Pleasures great & small find me. My cat is the cutest. Life could be worse. I can handle this.

Cute black and white lying on back fluffy belly exposed

Except when I really, really can’t. There are days when chronic life overwhelms me. Days like today, when every inch of me is sore. Keeping a brave face when you’re throwing up for fifth time in as many hours is a challenge. Every day my first sensation is agony. Aching joints. Throbbing head. Burning skin. Churning stomach. Each little movement hurts. Remaining sedentary isn’t an option either. My arthritic parts seize up. Leading to, yup, more pain.

Food refuses to stay in my stomach. Don’t eat & the acid bubbles up my throat. Attempt to line my raw stomach and the vomiting makes everything worse. I can’t concentrate enough to distract myself. Sleep is illusive. There’s no escape.

Burdening others with my misery triggers my guilt. Keeping it all in is horribly lonely. Pain relief doesn’t work. Positive thinking is way out of reach. Some days are hard. It is too hard be grateful. Impossible to hang onto hope of easier times. Today I’m just thoroughly sick & tired of always being sick & tired.

Plus size women in green leopard print maxi dress  with walking stick

Now everything’s cool as long as we’re getting thinner…

I had thought that the world being turned upside down might put a dent in diet culture. It seemed that having a real and very serious health issue to contend with would get our collective perspective in order. Turns out that was naive.

If anything, it’s worse. The fat phobia has amplified. It’s coming from new & unexpected directions along with all the regular ones. It’s demoralising to realise how quickly all those supposed body positive allies throw the fatties under the bus. People I respected didn’t take long to start posting the weight gain jokes. Support for my own & other fat activist’s work has begun to feel like a part of a cultivated image. One that cracks under any pressure at all.

When you joke about the horror of gaining weight in public forums it isn’t harmless. Not only does it perpetuate stigma towards fat bodies; you’re also telling fat people what you really think of them. If you like your smaller body I’m delighted for you. Enjoy it. However, if your only response to inhabiting a slightly larger form is mockery or revulsion, you are not a Bopo ally.

This applies even more in the current crisis. During a deadly pandemic that grinds entire countries to a halt there are many things to fear. If top of your list is weight gain you might want to reassess your priorities. I am the after picture in those hilarious memes. Looking like me is not the worst thing that corona virus could do to you.

Barber before & after quarantine meme

When I’m not disappointed by folk I expected better from I am bombarded by the diet industry. The weight loss world has never missed an exploitation opportunity. Diet plans & work out programme ads have multiplied. Disreputable influencers can’t wait to wring some cash of out skinny whatever collaborations. Millionaire celebs holed up in mansions are giving us food plans to guard against stress eating. Meanwhile regular people struggle to cope isolation, lost income & fear of critical illness. The focus on the waist line is gross.

I’ve saved the worst for last. The truly terrifying part; medical discrimination. In the wake of covid 19 fat has been pathologised to an even greater extent. BMI has been incorrectly identified as a risk factor for both contracting the virus & suffering more severe symptoms. Weight has been used as a disqualifying factor when resources are scarce. In other words, fat people have been deemed dispensable. I know we’re not alone. Other marginalised groups (some I also belong to) have been marked cannon fodder too. I am ready to fight for the rights of all those people. It’s startling how many members of those groups do not reciprocate my solidarity.

If you’re thinking the jokes & fears have nothing to do with the medical discrimination, you’re wrong. By partaking in the toxic diet conversation you help create a society that considers fat bodies to be less worthy. We live in a world that permits Drs to ignore research on weight & its implications. We accept inaccuracies & damaging advice because the majority still believe that fat is bad. Fat phobia is profitable and fat people are paying the ultimate price.

Black & white photo of plus sized women in knickers holding her breasts

It’s just the way I’m feeling…

There’s nothing like a nation wide quarantine to really hammer home the fact that you’re childless. All anyone can talks about is their kids. How the silver lining of all this chaos is extra time with their cherubs. How being stuck in the house with them is driving folk crazy or all the creative ideas for activities to keep them occupied. It’s a non stop child frenzy. Unless you’re barren.

I hate that word. It feels accusatory & cold. It is, however the descriptor that keeps pushing itself into my head. Being alone in my house for over a month has contracted my world. There’s nowhere to hide. I’m content in my own company, but I’m accustomed to regular interruptions. Being unable to see friends, family or get involved in any outside work projects is tough. Those are my escapes. Adventures with little people. Laughs with big ones. Putting my skills towards something worthwhile. When you take all that away the only bit that’s left is empty.

Lilac & pink sunset over houses

There’s too much opportunity to be in my head. I’m not sleeping well, which facilitates bonus peak anxiety hours. Plus all this stress & uncertainty has opened the door to nightmares. Mostly relating to being pregnant & threatened by various dangers. With little snippets of real flashbacks thrown in for extra distress. When I’m not feeling powerless, I have a sense of being robbed. This strange, crazy time has necessitated hunkering down in family units. I don’t have one.

I have plenty of amazing people. I’m grateful, believe me. Lockdown has reinforced my belief that a husband is so not for me. With a little help from folks who are allowed outside I can manage my life just fine. If anything, it’s people to care for I want. I can’t stop myself from thinking how old my children would be now. I unintentionally look out for age appropriate lockdown activities. I imagine baking my Gran’s fruit loaf with tiny helpers. I caught myself constructing a home school lesson plan in my head. Fantasising about passing on one’s insights of the works of Lewis Grassic Gibbon is a lonely pursuit.

I have this sensation that I spend my life trying to squash. Hollow and raw. It’s as though someone scraped out all the essential parts of me with a dirty, jagged instrument. I occupy my time trying to keep the chasm sufficiently full. Packing in as many beautiful moments as I can find to prevent an inward collapse. Now my world is on hold, that void is ever present.

I know I am fortunate in many ways. I am able to stay safely at home. My housing is secure. I can video call the people I love. I will have access to healthcare if I need it. Life will resume. I do know that. I’m just struggling with the realisation that I’ll never fully heal this. Every time I think I have accepted my situation the wound is reopened & it feels fresh all over again.

Silouhette of toddler on sunny day

Stood there, only in your underwear…

I have long admired pretty little bralettes. I have also long rued the day my boobs got too huge for such delicate items. I am therefore overjoyed with the current trend of more substantial wireless pretties.

Tutti Rouge have been making frequent appearances on my socials lately. I have been duly influenced. I bought this amazing harness number in a hopeful mood, but I was worried. I wasn’t sure it would be up to the task of taming my unruly breasts. I need not have been concerned. It fits perfectly & makes my bust look fantastic.

ly is wearing grey thong & black Bralette and looking in wavy mirror
Roxy Bralette
Plus size woman  in harness Bralette

I went for the 42G, which is spot on. I can’t actually believe how much support is in such a soft, comfortable piece. I did not order the matching knickers because I am daft. I couldn’t find my size on the site, but have since discovered that there are in fact loads that would fit my ample arse. I’m rectifying my error.

The miraculous world of unstructured yet firm undies goes on. This Serb is super soft cotton. Love the neon, love the peep holes and especially love how bouncy it allows my tits to be. Matching thong has a high enough leg not to look frumpy, yet not so high that it goes all 80’s lager can. I’m wearing a 22 & it’s true to size. I’m very partial to this set.

Plus size women in grey crop top
Plus size women in grey underwear taking selfie in mirror
ASOS

* Not an ad. None of these items were gifted.

Every month, that’s what the theory is…

I know things are tight in the money department at the moment. Earnings are uncertain for lots of us, but if you possibly can, these charities could really do with your help.

The wonderful women behind All Killa No Filla are killing it during this crisis. They’re not only creating hilarious content, but continue to support worthwhile causes. Kiri & Rachel entertained us with bonus & live from lockdown episodes of their epic podcast. In return for the merriment they asked that fans donate to Every Month Manchester. They’re a group tackling period poverty and have been struggling during the corona pandemic. If you can manage, even the price of a box of tampons would be a big help.

Red blood drop with words every month

This month I also made a small contribution to Pink Lip Day for SMA. This is Kelly Fletcher’s annual fundraiser in memory of her beautiful little girl. Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK support those impacted by the condition and fund research. It can be a devastating diagnosis, please help if you can.

Little by little, a little becomes a lot in grey on pink flower backdrop

I can’t get no…

Sunrise is rather pretty this morning. I’m trying to revel in the beauty of nature, but I’d happily skip it for some sleep. I’ve not had more than 3 consecutive hours slumber in an age. I’m tired & sore & grumpy, damn it. I want to do the whole gratitude thing, but I think a big old moan would serve me better. Indulge me.

Pink sunrise through bedroom window

For starters, it’s Sunday. The sabbath has always been my least favourite day. I think it’s probably a remnant from childhood. That weekend’s almost over & I have to go to mass vibe was not a winner. The dreaded Sunday feeling clung on past horribly hungover Monday morning uni lectures & into the days of 9-5 grind. Even now when I can structure my week however I want, the downer remains. Sundays make me blue.

Circular mirror with blue backlighting

The next item on my pointless gripe list is scents that aren’t scents. This one has been getting on my wick this week. Probably because I have too much time on my hands & am seeing tv ads. If you’re naming a product & its smell is a selling point, pick something that actually has an aroma. Diamonds don’t smell. Bright copper kettles do not have recognised scent. Silk is not an olfactory delight and no one wants their bedsheets to smell of secrets. Please stop it.

Another whinge stemming from lack of a stimulating life is my hatred of bangs. Too much social media has resulted in over exposure. Americans are all desperate to cut their own ‘bangs’. Fringes are cool upon many a forehead, calling them bangs is not. It makes no sense. A fringe describes exactly what it is. It’s a wee fringe of hair for your face. Perfect. What the fuck does the word bang have to do with it? And why is it plural? I could almost get over the nonsensical name, but not the pluralisation. One fringe per head! What are you playing at Americans?

Black and white photo of   Jean shrimp ton with fringe

I return to you after dealing with the bane of my life; the dishes. I hate washing dishes. It is such a con. Dirty dishes are basically a microcosm of adult life. No matter how many or how quickly you wash them, there will always be more. Fuck those filthy little bastards.

All of which brings me to the biggie, sex. How the hell am I supposed do without a shag for months on end? Sex would mitigate so many of the problems corona has created. Bored, stressed lacking exercise, a vigorous shag is just the trick. An orgasm will defeat your insomnia & improve your immune system. Scared and angry distract yourself with a nice bit of cock (or whatever takes your fancy). Getting it on would take the sting right out of this isolation. Alas quarantine doesn’t permit ‘conjugal’ visits and I would most certainly throttle any man I had to be locked down with. So, in conclusion I definitely won’t be getting any for the foreseeable & I’m a whingeing nightmare as a result.

Plus size arse in black knickers with text,  no sex please, we’re quarantined

Underwater love…

I suspect we’re going to be adjusting to major life changes for a while yet. One of the ways I like to ease my way through trouble is the lure of a reward. In other words when this all over we are going to need some treats!

These are some cute wallet friendly bits that I’ve put on my buy list. I’m aiming for proper little treats; things I see & like, but hardly ever pick up for myself. Here are some lovely shiny things that you don’t need, but sometimes wanting is a good enough reason.

These delicate fancies have been popping up on my timelines for ages. I am very attracted to the tulle sock concept. I have thus far resisted the urge for fanciful socks for practical reasons. Since I now know all hell an break loose at any given moment, I’m thinking sod it. I’m having all the fripperies even if I don’t know how or when I will wear them.

Three pairs of feet in tulle socks with metallic stars

Tulle Socks

I’m not a fan of the mindfulness craze. Mostly because it seems to encompass a lot of bullshit masquerading as being somehow good for one’s mental well being. However, these little guys feel genuinely mindful. It is often hard to remind yourself to take a little time out to breathe. My head is always too busy & it does actually help me to stop. I love the idea of these candles measuring out that pause.

Mindful Moments

The benefits of a hot bath have long been touted. Lying back in a deep tub soothes the body & mind. Bath bombs are great, but this gadget takes a soak up a notch. I am very into the idea of psychedelic baths.

Bath Light

I’m not a tv in the bedroom person, but occasionally it would be lovely to chill in my comfy bed and watch a film. This cool doodah makes that possible.

Smartphone projector

Smartphone Projector

If you’re setting up your own cinema you’re going to need snacks. These personalised letterbox sweets are ideal. I’ve sent these as gifts & they’re always well received. It might be time to give myself some yummies.

Sweets in the Post

I’m holding off ordering for the time being. Obviously people have to facilitate delivery and I don’t want to encourage business to make people attend non essential work. Whilst I wait I’ve got my feel good hit by donating to Shelter to help with the influx of emergency calls they a fielding. It would be amazing if you could spare a little too.

Feel good factor in white text on rainbow background

All that fear and all that pressure…

I’m thinking we probably have some newcomers to the world of overwhelming anxiety. Panic is a no win kind of game, but there a few cheat codes. Since I’m an old pro and a real darling, I’m going to clue you in.

Full disclosure, none of these are a cure. Anxiety is a fucker and you should definitely seek professional advice if you are worried about your mental health. However, none of these calming hacks will do you any harm & so you can totally give them a bash. They might buy you a little temporary peace or even just knock the steam off your panic attack.

Gratitude Lists

I know that sounds wanky, but bear with me. Sometimes when I’m dealing with that grinding, slow burn type of anxiety this can be helpful. I go through things I’m grateful for in my head. It can be anything. Often I’ll do the simple I have a warm house, comfy bed, not being pursued by the mob type of thanks giving. Other times I’ll get specific about factors that mitigate whatever I’m worrying about. Either way it switches my head away from catastrophising for a minute & lets me catch a breath.

Slow Sips

If you’re wholesale panicking, slowly taking small sips from a bottle can help. It forces you to regulate your breathing, which can ease the physical symptoms of a panic attack. Thus giving you an opportunity to stave off a really bad episode.

Waves of Sound

Get yourself a sound machine app. Lying awake all night feeling scared is awful. Waves, thunder storms, pouring rain are all rather soothing. This can also be helpful via earphones if you’re feeling freaked out in a public space.

Waves on Scottish beach

Play it Out

On a similar note I like to prepare playlists of songs that I know will be good for certain situations. For instance I have calming bedtime tunes, waiting somewhere stressful songs, help me do these things that need to be done lists and so on.

Child’s Pose

I know yoga isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it does work for me. Child’s pose in particular is very helpful for chilling my body out and making my brain stop for a minute. You can access loads of good yoga vids on YouTube. It’s worth a try to see if anything helps you feel more ok.

Repeat Yourself

This probably sounds a little dumb, but it can be surprisingly effective. In moments of panic/fear simply repeating a reassuring phrase can help. I usually go for ‘you’re ok’. The repetition and saying the words out loud has an impact.

Text ‘you’re ok’ repeated on pink & green swirly background

Hide

This probably sounds even more daft. Again, it can work. Taking yourself to a small, safe space can reduce your body’s desire to flip out. I’ve taken myself into my tiny home office & given myself a minute many a time. Being somewhere that I know no one can see me or even know I am there is great for combatting rising panic.

Dark & Loud

When the world is really too much, blocking it out us the way to go. Find yourself a dark room, get comfortable and turn some beloved music up really loud. Assaulting the senses like this aids a positive disconnect from whatever is distressing you.

Write

This one obviously works for me. Getting the terror out of your head and onto the paper/screen is a lifesaver. Something about making those words concrete rather ever growing worries is hugely cathartic. Give it a try.

Ain’t no place like home…

We’re not going anywhere & lots of are finding much of our work has vanished. If like me your anxiety is spiralling distraction is just the ticket. So, here’s a bunch of things I have been enjoying. Hopefully they’ll help you pass some time.

I’ll kick off with excellent things you can stream. I’m new to Amazon Prime & not sure I’ll keep it, but I do recommend that you take advantage of the free trial to watch Hunters. It is all kinds of awesome. Set in the 70’s it follows a group of Nazi hunting crusaders. It has a slight Tarantino seasoning & lots of nods to the current political climate. Well worth a watch.

Hunters poster

Netflix is sheltering a few hidden gems at the moment. Wasteland is a revenge heist set in a distinctly unglamorous council estate. It’s clever & engaging. Hangman is a mostly unnoticed serial killer thriller. It features a decent turn from Al Pacino & enough sentiment to balance the gore. Finally there is Thanks for Sharing, a romantic drama/buddy movie about sex addicts. It’s much more uplifting than it sounds. Give it a bash.

I used another free trial to have a gander at Shudder. I used to find horror films too scary, but for some reason I have come around to them. As streaming apps go, shudder is disappointing, but I did find one cracker. Revenge sees an underestimated young women seek retribution against three gross men. It’s very full on, but has a satisfying ark (TW – Sexual Assault).

Revenge poster

The i player has both series of Shrill, which are definitely binge worthy. Based on the book of the same name by Lindy West it follows a women’s body liberation journey. Amazing watch for those on the Bopo path and brilliant primer for slim folks wanting to understand some of the fat experience. Oh & it is funny, sexy & smart.

Shrill poster

All 4 has a gorgeous new comedy by Mae Martin. It takes a bittersweet look at love & addiction. It’s funny & sweet with some proper touching moments. If you liked This Way Up (still on there if haven’t seen it yet) this is the one for you.

Two women dancing in neon lit room

You’ll have to pay a couple of quid, but The Kitchen on Sky Movies is worth it. It’s a gangster flick with a twist. Strong female leads all turning in tip top performances plus thrills & spills without a depressing end.

If you are all tv’d out it might be time to switch mediums. My new favourite relaxation method is getting in bed & firing up a podcast. I am currently obsessed with three. All Killa No Filla is fueled by the genius of stand ups Kiri Pritchard McClean and Rachel Fairburn, Both are hilarious & their woke take on the true crime genre is even better. If you’re interested in serial killers, but sick of the sensational & often misogynist approach these are your girls. Episodes consist of well researched information and random (unbelievably funny) sidebars. I eagerly await each new offering.

All killa no Filla logo

Myths & Legends does exactly what you would imagine. Each episode takes you through a different myth, folklore or legend filling in all the details you might have previously missed. If you’re interested in the origins of the stories you half know, give this a listen.

My newest discovery is Behind the Bastards. Journalist Robert Evans invites a guest to delve into the lives of histories biggest bastards. Intensely researched & surprisingly entertaining there’s even a some nonsense with machetes. What more could you want?

Instagram stay home logo on black background