This women’s world…

I hate the damn patriarchy. I hate the structures that allow it to continue to function, the men who deny its existence and those who just close their eyes to it. I am tired of rape culture and wage gaps and micro aggressions and attacks on reproductive rights. It all sickens me. However, what angers me most are the women who refuse to join the feminist ranks. The traitors in our midst are worse than the enemy at the gate.

The simple truth is that women must fight for each other. Allies are great, but we cannot rely on anyone else to secure our rights. Although men may care about the treatment of individual women, the have proven that they aren’t all that concerned with our fight for genuine equality. Even so-called decent men exhibit shock when women discuss the nitty gritty of our lives and how misogyny affects us. If almost every woman you know has been sexually assaulted or harassed, how is it possible that almost every man in your life has no idea that it was happening? How can women be cat called, groped and demeaned from the moment the grow boobs and no men ever participate or see it happening? It is isn’t possible. They know. Just like they know we’re side-lined in the work place. They same way they are completely aware that women still carry most of the burden of child rearing and home keeping. Not to mention the emotional labour of explaining this (& oh so many other things). Our patriarchal society is very comfortable for men. Hoping they will tear down their own kingdom is naïve. We have got to have each other’s back.

Shall we start with the basics?
Other women are not the competition. The pie is big enough for everyone to get a slice. You do not have to engage in that ‘I’m not like other girls’ bullshit. Women don’t create anymore drama than men. Female bosses aren’t inherently bitchy. Slut shaming isn’t cool. Trying to distinguish yourself at the expense of the entire sisterhood is a stupid move. Everyone knows what you’re up to and almost no one likes it. You think you’re winning cool girl points with the men folk, but they’ll stomp on you just as quickly as they do anyone other chick who gets in their way. In short, don’t be a desperate pick me. It’s just sad.

Offer genuine solidarity.
Support other women in all aspects of life. Vote for the women who deserve to hold office. Consume the art of talented women. Shout out your friend’s endeavours. Fight for representation with your voice and your purse. Don’t judge women for every little thing. Stay at home Mum’s aren’t better than those with careers outside the home. There is no perfect size. Trans women are women. We’re all real and we’re all just trying out best. If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it’s worthless.

Actions speak louder…
If there is any chance of breaking down the barriers that women face, we must be prepared to stand up for each other in practical ways. We must be willing to stand with our sisters even when it’s difficult. Don’t automatically dismiss reports of misconduct against men that you like. Abusers (of all types) often cultivate a nice guy persona precisely because it makes their predation easier to get away with. Listen and be prepared to question.

Back female colleagues. Shut down mansplaining and the co-opting of ideas. It is so easy for a third party to interject a simple ‘I think X already covered that’. Do not tolerate inappropriate talk. Don’t laugh or ignore sexist ‘banter’. Be clear that you are not amused, and you will not work in a toxic environment. If you witness discrimination, harassment, bullying approach the victim and offer your assistance. Not just a shoulder to cry on, but pragmatic help. Go on record with HR regarding what you’ve witnessed, testify at tribunals etc. This is even more important if the woman in question is also a member of another oppressed group. Use whatever power you hold to institute practices that make your workplace a place that women can thrive. Then fight to have to those polices enforced. Protect and encourage the warranted career progression of women who utilise maternity or family leave. We must be willing to stick our heads above the parapet. Even/especially when we may be the only female voice in a room.

Do not reward collaborators.
This is very simple. Women who purposely back the patriarchy do not deserve your support. If they are willing to inhibit the opportunities of other women for personal gain, they are not worthy of your backing. Don’t vote for, align yourself with or rely on them. A sisterhood of women is a very powerful thing. Devote your energy to building and sustaining your own.

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You’re my favourite…

I’m still a little bit in holiday mode. I’m struggling a bit with some hardcore fatigue and have given myself until Monday to get back into gear. I didn’t want to leave a gap here, so I settled on the epitome of new year posts; the round-up. My 2018 favourites, if you want to get specific.

I started the year reading what turned out to be one of my favourite books of the year. ‘The Love of a Bad Man’ by Laura Elizabeth Woollett is a collection of short stories that tells the fictionalised (based on real events) account of the women who paired up with some of history’s most notorious bad men. When I say bad, I mean completely evil. It’s dark, but so original. We rarely get an insight into the lives of women caught in the drag of historical men. These imagined tellings of their relationships and (often destroyed) lives is compelling.

The love of a bad man

My favourite beauty buy (who am I?) this year was bought early on too. It was a super cheap ebay experiment that had amazing results. I have long yearned for a dramatic winged eyeliner look. Alas I have never possessed the requisite skills. Enter my new friend, the eyeliner stamp. It took only a few attempts to perfect the perfect flick. I can now cheat my way to amazing eye flare.

Eye liner stamper ly h Kerr eyeliner flicks

By spring we were already engulfed in a heat wave. The Toyboy & I took advantage of sun & slipped off on a mini break. Kilberry Bay, Tarbert is just stunning. We enjoyed a few peaceful days surrounded by the most beautiful nothing. With a deserted beach so pretty that it’s used as a wedding venue and a gorgeous view of Islay, Kilberry was the ideal spot for a rejuvenating getaway.  I find the sound of the tide swooshing on the sand desperately romantic, thus this became my favourite trip of 2018.

Kilberry Bay

Summer brought more sun and No Shame. Lily Allen’s eagerly awaited fourth album. I’ve always loved Lily’s witty lyrics and wry honesty. No Shame ups the auntie on all of that, a lyrical description of the collapse of a marriage, juggling motherhood, work & living. All is laid bare with, you guessed, it no shame. Just lashings of reality. Each track pulsing with the guilt, hope & grit of life.

No Shame

I took until August to hit the outfit jackpot. The Edinburgh Festival was a masterclass in packing light as I knew I’d have to carry my back pack on the final day. Thus I had to think clever when it came to styling. I ticked all the boxes with this sheer/retro combo. I even managed to make my walking stick look almost cool in this picture. Which is quite a feat, believe me, navigating Edinburgh with a stick is not smooth going.

ly h Kerr Ed fringe

Last, but most definitely not lost least is my favourite day of the year. February 6th was without a doubt the most magical day of 2018. That’s the day my amazing little sister brought her adorable little man into the world. He has been a complete joy every day since. New babas to love will always be the best thing life can offer, so ’18 was a stellar year.

ly h Kerr baba nephew

Lazy week in pictures…

I’ve been taking is rather easy during this most confusing period of the year. I say confusing because I cannot keep track of what day it is or even what time day it might be. All the usual markers are skewiff.

No one is at work when you expect them to be. Regular tv scheduling has been abandoned & I haven’t cooked an actual meal in days. I mainly been soaking in hot baths, watching old movies and reading whilst curled in a cosy ball. On the few occasions that I have removed my pyjamas it has been to ogle a bigger screen and cuddle some cuties.

On Boxing Day I saw Mary Poppins with my sis & her boy. I absolutely adored the original Poppins and was skeptical about her return. I was relieved to discover it wasn’t a remake, but one of the other Poppins stories. Also, further comforted when I learned they’d used older style animation & that an old fav was making an appearance. The film is utterly enchanting. It keeps to spirit of the original and is beautifully done. Dick Van Dyke is a highlight, but the whole thing delighted me. The baba was impressed too. He as been to the cinema before, but I think this is first time he was really watching. His little face was a picture of astounded mirth. The entire experience was, as the lady herself would say, practically perfect in every way.

Cinema foot selfie

#projectpostit

This evening I saw Aquaman with the Toyboy. The TB & I take turns to pick the film; tonight was of course his choice. He likes nothing more than a superhero caper. I on the other hand, find there are entirely too many comic book crusades on the go these days. The underwater worlds in Aquaman are very beautiful. Otherwise it’s a standard good vs evil, handsome hunk saves the day type of affair. In keeping with my current air of laziness I wore the same outfit for both cinema trips. Slight accessory reworking and I was good to go.

ly h Kerr

ly h Kerr

Dress – Boohoo

Cardi – M&S

Earrings – Gift

Red tree

As the year draws to a close I am

grateful for these days to laze around & enjoy my loved ones. 2018 has been a slog. On the world scale it’s been bleak. On personal level there’s been a bunch of grey with some startlingly bright spots. I have reason to believe that 2019 could be a bloody good one for me. I hope the same applies to everyone reading (& the global scene pulls its socks up too). I wish you all a happy & hopeful New Year. Brace yourself, we’re about to start all over again.

My week in pictures…

Last week started yuck with a viral bug, got a bit rocky with with hospital nonsense & finished up with a lot of lovely relaxing.

I’ve done a fair bit of lying in bed. Which might have led to a little bit of feeling sorry for myself shopping. Oh & eating bowl after bowl of broccoli soup to appease my damn stomach.

Soup, hospital band, soup, spunk rockstar

New hat

I had a hotel overnighter on Thursday & took advantage of being right in the city centre to get out a little. We saw a movie, spread some #projectpostit wisdom & snapped some pretty sights.

Wagamama lightsPoint a hotel, project postitly h KerrCineworld, ice blastNaked with socksGood things, primark Glasgow

And of course my wee paw monster has been cheering me up with his cuteness.

Bronan Kerr

A central part of your mind’s landscape…

Are you respectful? Do you try not to hurt other people’s feelings? How often do you reassure friends that they have done a great job, tell them not to be so hard on themselves? Almost everyone manages these things & more. Most of us know how treat others kindly. We’re all delighted to be our loved one’s cheer leaders. So why do we find it so hard to be in our own corners?

For a long time I thought my negative self talk was a rare thing. I was battling severe mental illness & I assumed the cruel way I addressed myself was justified. I didn’t really speak about that abusive voice in my head outside of therapy. I did CBT, compassionate mind training, EMDR and a variety of other therapy techniques. Regardless, I still talk to myself in a manner that I would not dream of confronting others. Yes, this is part of my mental health problems, but I’m realising it’s also really common.

I am not alone in berating myself. In fact, I think to some degree or another, we all do it. My problem is keeping it under control. I can spiral from ‘that was daft’ to ‘I’m utterly useless in a flash’. I am aware that haranguing myself in this way is damaging. I know it plays into other aspects of my poor mental health; it lowers my self esteem, leads to second guessing & most dangerously makes me feel like I should punish my incompetence.

Lately, I have noticed a lot of public discussion on this topic. It has become clear that women in particular fall prey to negative self talk. We undermine ourselves. We judge ourselves not good enough. I’m wondering why.

Is it a side effect of our culture? There’s a constant onslaught of just keep grinding messages. Everyone has a side gig. Many women are trying to juggle careers & motherhood. We’re all trying to fulfil multiple roles. All the while being bombarded by media images of perfection. Is this why we fall short in our own estimations?

I’m not superwoman. None of us are. I have learned to cope with lots of aspects of mental & physical illness. This one I cannot seem to conquer. My first thought in the face of almost every problem is ‘this is my fault’. Although not in such polite terms. I can take a part the situation logically and prove that I am not always to blame. Intellectually I can believe that I’m not the cause of every misfortune, but I can’t feel it.

As I’ve said I have received significant psychological intervention. I know all theory behind the skills that are supposed to combat these thoughts. Somehow, I remain immune to the entirety of it. So, I ask you, what do you when that horrid internal voice pipes up? I’m really asking & I am absolutely open to suggestions.

The first noel…

Now I know a lot of people feel it’s too early to be mentioning the C word. I mostly agree. I don’t want to put up my decorations or see Christmas dinner on the menu in pubs. However, I have a lot of gifts to buy (plus a tonne of December birthdays too), so I have to be organised. I started weeks ago, but I know lots of folk are about to get stuck in. It is for those ‘cannot wait til last minute’ people that I present my early Xmas gift guide.

I’m a bit mixed up when it comes to the festive season. I love some of the old traditions; I still send cards, I do not want pink trees & I’m definitely into a stocking bursting with fillers. On the other hand I have no time for gendered gift guides or waiting to open presents. Be assured if you give me a pressie before the big day, I will absolutely open it immediately.

With all that said here are some pretty picks with which to treat your loved ones. I have tried to cover all budgets whilst hopefully stretching across a range of demographics. I may also have thrown in a few items with a Scottish flavour.

Shall we start with the crimbo must haves? I think so.

I’m a fan of making my whole house smell like a cross between a Dickensian Xmas party & that stable the baby Jesus slept in. Fortunately M&S create those fragrances, package them up pretty & even stick a 3 for 2 deal on them. The sprays make a home smell divine. The pot pourri have equally delicious scents & also make great gifts.

M&S Xmas fragrances

In my opinion you can’t have a proper Xmas without a little booze or a lot of chocolate. My seasonal tipple is the delicious winter Pimms. I mix it with some ginger beer, but many yummy cocktails can be created with it. For chocs this year I’m looking to Fiars for their gorgeous vegan advent calendar & exquisite vegan boxes. I’m also very excited to try Vegan Burd’s new walnut whips.

Vegan burd walnut whip, friars vegan crocs

Next up are recommendations for a cosy cute Christmas. We all know there’s nothing better than slipping on some jammies & snuggling up to admire the sparkly tree. All of these festive comforts also make lovely presents.

Festive comforts

Stag Duvet, Asos Safari Pyjamas, Primark Grinch Boxers, Star Slipper Boots, M&S Velour Pyjamas.

Plus a little something that will make that tree really special

Bonnie bling still game de s

Bonnie Bling Still Game Decorations

Christmas is party season & everyone likes a bit of sparkle. Whether that’s to complete a glam look or soak in after one too many nights out, you can’t go wrong with beauty gift.

Lush is always a safe bet for smellies. This year they have some fabulous Xmas special editions. From minty fresh skin conditioners to decadent cognac infused bombs everything looks wonderful.

If you’re looking for something more personal I highly recommend Inara Candles. All hand

poured & using only soy wax they have some unique scents. They also offer a personalisation service, meaning you can add messages, intials etc to the candle label. Such a nice touch.

Inara candles

I’m looking to my old fav BarryM for a touch of shimmer with their amazing Unicorn Beauty Elixir & Liquid Glitter. Both can be used alone or mixed with other products to give anything from fresh glow to dazzling glitter. Then there’s the new kid on the block, Inglot. This is Jlo’s cosmetic range. As expected there’s a lot of highly pigmented products. One of the most Xmas gift appropriate is this vivid red liquid lippie with just enough sparkle.

BarryM & Inglot

Music & books have long been gifts I have enjoyed giving & receiving. It’s nice to have something to unwind with once the craziness of Xmas is over. These beauties are guaranteed to cheer up a dreary January.

Saltire Comic Book, Lily Allen’s No Shame, Challenge Accepted by Celeste Barber, My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen, The Beta Band’s 3 EPs.

I raved about Spunkrock Star before & I am sure I will continue to do so. Her sublime erotic art is perfect for any kink lovers in your life. Her beautiful portraits are also really smashing present.

Spunkrock star

If you want to make someone feel extra special this Christmas time I think Jewellery is the way to go. Rather than focusing on expensive fancy brand names I think you should check out these independent jewellery designers. They’re each creating breathtaking handmade pieces. What’s more your paramour will be donning something much more exclusive than anything you can source from the high street.

Oh Gosh Silver produce simple & timeless pieces.

Oh gosh silver

Chalso offer delicate beaded jewellery and silver work. Clean lines & skilful use of colour combined to make lovely pieces.

Chalso jewellery

Last, but the exact opposite of least is Kracken Jewellery. I have one of their pieces & I cherish it. Kracken have an eclectic range of designs. The incredible Gaudi inspired silver pieces are guaranteed to start conversations. Whilst the brightly coloured laser cut plastic rings will definitely brighten your days.

Kracken jewellery

Rainy days and Mondays…

How did it get to be Monday again so quickly? These weeks just keep pounding on. Mondays are usually filled with drudge for me. Errands, nurse for bloods, housework & remembering to put the bins out. It’s not exactly an inspiring day. So, this week I thought I’d break up the tedium with some exuberant art. Enter @creatively.caring & their wonderful self love project.

The project is the brainchild of the very talented Alexandra. They create body positive sketches of participants & share them via the creatively.caring Instagram account. They also offer participants an opportunity to share their thoughts on body positivity and/or their own self love journey. I adore this project. Not only does Alexandra produce beautiful portraits of fat bodies, they also give the owners of those bodies a voice. I believe an important factor in fighting fat phobia is normalising fat bodies. Representation matters. Seeing positive images of more than one kind of physique helps to destroy the notion that some bodies are not ok. Furthermore, seeing yourself & others with body types outside the accepted norms portrayed as worthy & attractive is hugely powerful. It is, in my opinion one of the first steps to accepting yourself as you are.

ly h Kerr by @creatively.caring

I can’t thank Alexandra enough for this amazing work. Anyone can take part by completing the form linked on the Instagram page. Giving people the opportunity to see themselves as a wonderful piece of art is a true gift.

As any creative knows, making your art sustainable is no easy task. Which is why you should also check out Alexandra’s cool colour portraits. Done in the same sketch style, they’re perfect for business cards or bold headers. They’d also make a really nice gift. I can vouch for a great price & super quick turn around time. It’s so important to support independent talent. So please, click that follow button & think about snapping up some original work.

ly h Kerr by Alex Matealex