Indie Xmas 2.0…

If you’re still on the look out for original gifts read on. I have more glorious independent businesses & creators for you to explore.

Flamingosaurus Rex is a gorgeous gallery in Edinburgh. They showcases talented artists & always have the most covetable art. You can buy digital prints & funky stationary on their site or drop into the gallery if you’re local.

Topple and Burn make radical, left wing apparel & jewellery. I have so many pieces already and I will undoubtedly buy more. Their ‘Fuck the Tories’ Xmas jumper is an absolute dream. Topple & Burn practise what they preach by supporting excellent causes. You can’t go wrong with a purchase form here.

Juniper & Friends is an animal rescue & rehab. The women behind the store does incredible work with foxes, possums, skunks & more. She rehabilitates injured wildlife & gives a home to animal that cannot be released into the wild. I have been following all the amazing wee creatures in her life on Instagram forever. Watching these animals grow & thrive is wonderful. You can support this incredible work & get yourself some adorable items at the same time. Juniper & Friends have merch ranging from tees to art work created by the animals. These would make the perfect gift for any animal lover.

I will never stop singing the praises of Wilde Mode. Their pieces are size inclusive, gender free and zero waste. All staff are paid a living wage and materials are ethically sourced. They have the most diverse ad campaigns and of course their products are amazing. Their knickers are the comfiest I have ever worn. With an extending product range, there is something for everyone. Go shop!

Finally we have Fugly Plates , recycling old crockery into sweary works of art. I love eveything they do. Re using old things that no one wants is always a good thing. Even better when the final product is so cool. If you have a foul mouthed friend this the place to shop.

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All the beautiful things…

If you’ve been with me a while you will know that I love original art on my walls. In recent weeks I have hung some magnificent additions.

My living room has gained this beautiful sketch by Robyn Boyle. It’s my nephew and I when he was still tiny. I adore everything about this. It’s so soft and perfectly captures the tenderness I felt. I particularly love that Robyn got the shape of his wee baby skull exactly right. I spent lots of time stroking that tiny head and I love having this permanent reminder.

Pencil sketch of Ly holding her baby nephew in orange &grey tones
Robyn Boyle

My sexy self love wall in the bedroom has also welcomed a new portrait. It is of course my fat and lovely self. This digital sketch is by Abbie Illustrates. I’m in love with the chaos & curves of this one.

Digital portrait of naked fat body
Abbie Illustrates

Paint me like one of your fat girls…

If you are a regular reader you may be aware that my bedroom houses a sexy/self love wall. I’m always on the look out look for cool independent art to add to my collection. A few weeks ago I got lucky.

Abbie Illustrates announced she was opening commissions for digital portraits and I snapped her hand off. I am utterly in love with this incredible piece. My curves look so soft and delicious. I cannot wait to get me framed and up on the wall.

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We go together…

I received an early Xmas present today. If I get a present early, I open it because delayed gratification is not my jam. However, I had permission to get into this one. In any case, I am utterly in love with it & the person who gave it.

That affection got me thinking about something I saw discussed on Twitter. The old ‘internet friends aren’t real friends’ debate. Obviously I don’t agree. This thoughtful, beautiful gift from a dear friend who I originally met online drove me to elaborate on that. I definitely think it is possible to be catfished (deliberately or not) into friendship online. You can ‘meet’ people with whom you have one thing in common & so can maintain an online relationship with, but it likely wouldn’t sustain an actual in person friendship. You can find people who purposely deceive or folk who are just able to portray a persona online that they can’t quite manage in life. Of course there are dodgy folk, lonely folk & even dangerous people who can use the internet to their advantage (& your disadvantage). I accept that’s all true. However, the flip side is all the wonderful people you might not ever have the chance to meet. This is were I come in.

Due to mental illness, chronic illness and working from home I have been perhaps more online than most folk. Or at least I’ve been more online for longer than a lot of people. As a result of that I have made genuinely good friends via the internet. I found understanding & acceptance from strangers on my computer when no one in real life really got my self harm. I’ve connected with a fat community that I would never have had access to outside of the web. Both of those groups changed my life. Networking with other freelancers has led to friendships along with work opportunities. I have been able to work with editors, organisations and publications via social media connections that have progressed my career. Beyond that I have met & built real relationships with people I have met through appreciating their art, respecting their activism or just firing them amusing online.

Those connection points have grown into really meaningful friendships. People I have gone on to meet and cherish. I have friends I consider an integral part of my life who started out as anonymous screen names. I think social media and the internet in general can generate valuable relationships. I also believe that the notion that those friendships aren’t real is inherently ableist and othering. Disabled and chronically ill people often rely on the internet for many things that others can access by leaving their home. In addition people who for whatever reason find themselves outside the norm can find like minded communities much easier online. The ability to do that is crucial.

All of which brings me back to that gift. My super talented friend Sarah created this wonderful digital portrait. It’s taken from my sister’s wedding and I feel so lucky to have it. I would never have met Sarah in real life. She lived far far away when we met (& even further now). Nevertheless, we have a shared history and understand of each other that is very special. So, thank you internet for bringing this woman into my life. And, thank you Sarah for this gift.

Digital portrait of Ly wearing green swing dress. Standing with her hands on her hips

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2021 Indie Xmas Gift Guide

I’m one of those people who gets started on the Xmas pressies. Thus I’m pretty much done already & ready to share some independent/small business gifts. If you’re not ready for Christmas chat yet, I’m sorry! Everyone else, let’s get to it.

If like me, you (or someone you love)find yourself exceptionally attached to pieces of music this one is for you. These beautiful visual representations of sound waves feel like a special present to me. I found MuckaStudio on Etsy, they created exactly what I wanted for a really reasonable price.

Sound wave art

Robyn Boyle is a beautiful artist & person. I first found her art on Instagram, then got to know her & now consider her a friend. I have bought commissions as gifts & have her art hanging in my home. Why wouldn’t you want to buy a stunning piece of art from a wonderfully kind person.

Pencil drawing of dog on a bed. Abstract painting. Thread portrait all by Robyn Boyle

Bonnie Bling is an old favourite. They are an independent Scottish brand who create quirky acrylic jewellery & accessories. I’ve been buying their Scottish centric wares for years. They use all recycled plastics, so they tick the ethical & desirable boxes. Buy some pretties.

Bonnie bling jewellery & Xmas decorations. Round schitt’d creek quite Xmas teee decorations, orange plastic highland cow necklace, orange ginger necklace, wooden Lewis capaldi angel

Another artist that I discovered on Instagram is Edoniworks. They do gorgeous architectural drawings and take commissions. Their communication is great, quick turn around & reasonable pricing; 5 stars from me. I think a drawing of your forever home/wedding venue/favourite bar makes a really lovely gift. Someone in my life is getting one this year.

Architectural drawings by ediniworks. Water mill, semi detached house and the dome in Edinburgh with Xmas decs

I’m never going to write a small business guide without including Wilde Mode*. They make the cutest, comfiest underwear I’ve worn and they are all round good eggs (their ethics are tip top). They have so many excellent xmassy products this year. Definitely the kind of thing I will be giving.

Wilde mode cotton briefs, comfort top and Xmas jammies

If feminist, inclusive & sometimes ridiculous are up your street you need to check out Crudely Drawn. Unique prints, mugs, tees & more can be found here. I can think of a few people who would love a Louis Theroux with boobs mugs and I really want some tidy hating bits for myself. I love quirky, cool gifts like this.

Crudely drawn Louis Theroux mug, cat butt socks & in the house we hate the tories socks

* I am a Wilde Mode brand ambassador, but I was not paid for this post.

Pretty things…

I’ll never live in one of those perfect show homes. I hate the idea of constantly redecorating, I’m messy and I like too many random bits. When it comes to interiors I tend to sod the rules & just do my own thing.

I call it homey. I’m sure others may have other adjectives. As usual, I couldn’t care less. It all feels like me and that’s a thing I wanted to carry that onto my walls. Amongst the many photographs I want to hang art that means something to me. The best way to accomplish that is buying from independent artists. Not only do I get a special piece, but I can support talented & amazing people too.

Home is a feeling in a background of multi coloured bubbles

My latest is from the gorgeous Robyn Boyle. A beautiful artist & person, Robyn was offering a limited number of reduced price portraits to raise funds for art activism. I snapped one up and was amazed when she produced this stitched drawing. The frame I ordered has been delayed, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share this.

Portrait of man wearing glasses.  Black thread on white paper

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It feels like I’m in love…

I am often asked how I learned to feel good in my body. Whilst the answer to that question is long & winding there is one thing I always suggest. I’ve noticed tonnes of folk in the Bopo community offer the same advice; immerse yourself in fat positive content.

It’s an easy starting place. You can follow social media accounts, read articles & watch shows without having to make deep commitments to changes. Removing messages that make you feel bad and replacing them with joyous fat imaging works. It was my first step into accepting my body as it is. It remains something I expand upon.

Red  gallery wall with various feminist pieces of art

This is how I came to create my sexy self love wall. The deep red wall in my bedroom long hankered for some art, but I could never decide on what I wanted up there. When I commissioned my first Spunk Rock piece a vision began. I decided to create a kinky, feminist ode to myself. If that sounds conceited, I don’t care. It’s a private part of my house. My bold proclamation is for me.

Mirror selfie of women in knickers

Which leads me to my newest pretty. This gorgeous water colour is by Mia Macauley . She reproduced one of my all time favourite selfies. I am in love. Hot curves, delicious rolls & leopard print knickers too. I cannot wait to get me up on the wall.

water colour back view of plus size womsn in leopard print knickers

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My quarantine in pictures…

It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that I haven’t been developing new skills in lockdown. My novel remains unfinished & my sour dough never got started. I’ve mostly been entertaining myself with much less useful activities.

Internet nonsense has been a fairly good diversion. I’ve killed some time with insta challenges and silly filters. I alarmed my mother with candy floss hair (I’m almost 40 & she still doesn’t want me to touch my ginger locks). I’m a little bit tempted.

Hair day filter candy floss colours

The cosmetics procedure filter was less enticing. This is not a good look. Neither was the art work I produced when. I joined in on one of those Instagram tags. It was rather pleasing to do, though.

Pencil sketch of house plants

The pillow challenge was a bit more successful & even more fun.

Plus size women  naked apart from teal pillow

I’ve done a fair bit of online shopping. Mostly treats for little ones, but the odd random item for myself too. I seem to be more easily influenced during lockdown. I baked more biscuits than I could eat. Got this gorgeous digital portrait oh my niece & I to add to my wall art.

Digital portrait and photographs on wall

I’ve made a million video calls. Tonnes of Hi jinks with the the kids. Cocktails & gabbing with adults. I’ve done foot peels & face masks. Organised sock drawers, finally arranged my photos into albums & listened to podcasts galore. I even had socially distanced picnic lunch in the driveway.

FaceTime of toddler in ball tunnel
Video  call with two faces in lemonade filter
Video call with dragon filter

Basically I’m trying to defeat cabin fever & stay sane. The fact my darling sister talked me into learning a tik tok dance questions if I’ve managed it.

Two women doing tik tok dance on summer dresses

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I wanna hold your hand…

Valentine’s Day is rolling up this week. I know it’s a marmite type celebration, but I’ve always liked it. I think it’s nice to devote a day to being a little soppy or sexy or both. Obviously don’t save it all for that one day, but a bit of extra lurve in the depths of winter is no bad thing.

That said I know that not everyone is feeling romantic. Some folk are lonely, some revel in their Singleton status, some eschew the expectation of performing on a certain day. All are absolutely right to feel what they feel. So, I thought I’d offer a range of valentine’s gifts to suit all. Buy them for a lover, a friend, yourself or just because they’re cool.

She’s Angry is one of my favourite insta accounts. I pretty much love everything they create. Their Self healing piece proudly hangs on my bedroom wall. This is another triumph.

She’s angry print. A woman wearing white pants with the words I said what I said across her collar bones

She’s Angry

These stunning creations are high on my wish list. They are the perfect gift for yourself & any gorgeous chick in your life. What could be better than having your self love emblazoned on your arse?

Plus size model wearing lingerie with self brings beauty embroidered on

Felicity Haywood Playful Promises

If you’ve had it with the romance & just want to get physical, make yourself clear with this pendant. I love a bit of crude humour. When juxtaposed with the traditional/delicate I love it even more.

Good love heart pendant with the inscription, less talk more cock

Nouvelle Nouvelle

On a sweeter note there is this cute lamp. If your house is full of love or you’re trying to will it so, this cute neon is a perfect addition.

Desk last lamp with red neon ‘love’ inside large exposed bulb

Not on the High Street

Now back to the bawdy. If you want to add a bit of kink to your life; Spunk Rock is the place for. Whether it’s sexy prints, drag queen portraits or one of a kind commissions, art doesn’t get hotter. I own a few of their pieces & I cannot wait to purchase more.

Spunk Rock

Do you have someone special, but are still feeling a tad pissed off at the world? Why not combine the romantic with the radical. Any politically informed hottie would be delighted to sport this ring.

Gold & silver band rings engraved with fuck the Tories

Fuck the Tories

I shall end on a frothy note. This cute print takes references from The Beatles & Friends. It’s gentle, pretty & the right kind of soppy.

Print of a lobster with the words, I wanna hold your hand

Blank Inside Design

Independent woman…

I know, I know, it’s too early for the C word. However, If like me you have a tonne of folk to buy for (& a budget to stick to) you have to get organised. Thus, I’m giving you my early bird gift guide.

I’m big into in supporting small business, so I’m recommending lots of awesome independent makers. Most of these people are tried & tested. If I am not already a satisfied customer, then I am hankering after one of their creations. No one is sponsoring this, just doing my bit for a community of people believe in.

Let’s get started with an old favourite, Bonnie Bling. I’ve been fan of this distinctly Scottish accessory brand for years. I seem to love every collection more than the last. Mhairi, the genius behind the bling has surpassed herself this year. She has created the best xmas decoration of all time. Yes, I’m looking at you Capaldi.

Lewis Capaldi Bonnie bling

She’s also got you covered for all your Glasgow centric, politic & quirky gifts. I’d own everything she makes if I could. You definitely know someone who would be delighted to discover some of these gems under the tree.

Various Bonnie bling

A creator I have been admiring, but yet to buy from is the incredibly talented Coll Hamilton. His sketches of Glasgow architecture are so soft & welcoming. They would fit in any home. His portrait work is simply stunning. The emotion captured in these beautiful line drawings are exquisite. The perfect present for a discerning loved one.

Coll Hamilton paintings

Wilde Mode are a body positive, ethical company making hand made underwear. I am so proud to be one of their brand ambassadors*. Every item is handmade, every worker is paid a living wage & every design is awesome. These are the comfiest knickers I have ever put on my body. I love how inclusive this company is. You can find something cute for everyone here.

Wilde mode underwear Happy pussy pants from Wilde mode

The Paper Press Ireland make the sassiest tees. Their slogans are hilarious. They have something amusing for all tastes as well as a cute twist on the traditional Christmas jumper. They’ll also custom print a design of your own, which is how I sourced my amazing kink.

Various paper press Ireland t shirts

If your searching for someone a little smaller Blade & Rose have got you covered. They make the most adorable little leggings with an animal friend on the bum. They have matching tops, socks, bibs & hoodies to complete the look. My nephew wears them all the time. The leggings are wool, so super cosy. Also flexible & perfect for a big carry on. This is the baba modelling some of his collection, but I buy them for loads of my little ones. I’m yet to receive a bad review from any of their Mamas.

Toddler in blade & rose leggings

I know there are loads of offers on the high street, but buying from an small business can help sustain someone’s dream. Plus, what is Santa’s workshop if not a co operative of independent makers?

* Use LyKer102019 for 20% off Wilde Mode orders.