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

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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 Byrd’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

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

This week I have been mostly…

Trying (& failing) to get some sleep. I’m really fecking tired. Once I’ve done all the yoga, watched all the relaxing tv, had baths with bombs, face masked myself into oblivion, finished the housework & whatever book I’m reading & sprayed every calming scent known to man there is just one thing left to do. Lie still in a dark room & turn up the music.

I require only a couple of things from my insomnia tunes; they must be deep enough to flood the room & gentle enough to let me float away. Wonderful by Lianne La Havas complies. Her thick sweet voice coats me in wistfulness. I feel this song’s warmth in my chest. Its steady pace a comforting secondary pulse. The lyrics tempting & bittersweet. This is perfect middle of the night music.

Every now & then I stumble across music from my past and it opens a door to another time. David Gray’s White Ladder is just a such a time capsule. The intro of Please Forgive Me was enough to shoot me back to the year 2000. Despite that being a fairly mixed year for me this song holds only uncomplicated feels. It has connected itself to chilled after parties; the smell of dope & DKNY. To falling asleep in beds shared with a bunch of friends & waking up to 5 girls talking at once. It feels less like lightening & more like friendship running through my veins. I know it’s a love song, but for me it’s an ode to student flats & almost adulthood.

A Star is Born almost killed me. Seriously, I weeped myself raw, but Shallow saved me. Man, it is hard keeping it hardcore. I’m so relieved to have found softer ways. This is one of those songs that rouses every bloody emotion. I seems like I’ve been far from the shallows for a very long time. It feels good to sing it out loud.

Which brings me to my brand new discovery, Yoko Pwno. I heard them play at the last Yellow Sunday & was utterly captivated. A unique & totally bewitching band; they are comprised of violins, drums & techno synth type sounds. They’re hard to quantity, but oh so easy to fall in love with. Currently blasting in my late late playlist is It could always be worse. Mainly because when played at volume it washes over me & allows my mind to drift. Also, though, because that title’s a good reminder not to despair when I find myself still awake a 5am. It can always be worse, but it’s likely to feel better if you stick Yoko Pwno on.

Here comes the weekend…

I needed a few days to recover from my getaway, thus had a very lazy end of the week. I was mostly lolling around in jammies. I was still knackered by Saturday morning, so had to adjust my plans, but fun was still had.

I kicked off the weekend with a bit of shopping & sushi with my wee sis. Of course the baba was also along for the ride. He got a little bored of the shopping portion of the day, sushi though, he loves. He can’t eat it yet, but chasing it along the conveyor is a very good game. I have a bit of a spending bug at the moment, so I treated myself to some little lovelies (stay tuned for details). We did a lot of cooing over baby clothes. Plus some admiring of all the Xmas decorations that have just hit the shops. Then closed the day with tea, cake & a snooze for the little man.

I hit the hay ridiculously early on Saturday night. Paired that with an incredibly slow start on Sunday & hey presto, I had collected enough spoons to venture out. We grabbed a late lunch before indulging in lots of local talent at Yellow Movement Sunday. It’s a cool event held on the 2nd Sunday of every month. If you fancy an eclectic jam session & unique live acts, check it out.

It was a perfect autumnal day. The sun was bright, but the air chilly. Just the right weather for slipping on some velvet. This dress is an old favourite. I always feel foxy in it.

Dress – Pink Clove

Belt – ASOS Curve

Musical interlude complete it was time to head home & get my Jim jams back on. Having a good time is exhausting.

10 things I liked about September…

1. My BFF’s baby turned 1 year old. I’m still not sure I completely believe it. It feels like it’s been a whisper of time since we welcomed her into world. Her first birthday party was as delightful as she is. I am excited to watch her grow. I’m also beyond thrilled to my bestie so utterly happy.

1st birthday balloons

2. The leaves are doing their magical autumn thing & turning all the beautiful burnished tones. I love this season. I love trees. I love when Mother Nature starts doing her thing.

Autumn leave

3. As the nights turn chilly the tv heats up. This year the bar has been set high. The Bodyguard & Killing Eve smashed it. Upping the game for proper must see tv. The return of No Offence has filled the Joanne Scanlon sized whole in my life. With Line of Duty on the way back soon I may never leave the house again. What do they all have in common, incredible intelligent female leads. It is fucking lovely to see so many strong fully formed parts for women. Oh & a good Glaswegian showing too.

Epic tv

4. My big brother also had significant birthday this year. I can’t say I’m that happy that he’s turned 40 because it means it’s proper looming for me. I am however delighted that he threw such a good party.

Kerr kids
Before we all got old.

5. Tess Holliday rocking the cover of Cosmopolitan. Here’s the thing, I’m not actually a massive Tess fan & I’m definitely not a Cosmo fan at all, but I still love her cover. It’s progress. The photograph was a joyful declaration that fat women aren’t going anywhere. We exist, we are accomplished, beautiful, strong, diverse & we deserve representation. Also, Piers Morgan still has his knickers in a twist about. Upsetting Piers is always a plus (see what I did there???).

6. The nights may be drawing in, but they’re doing it in style. The last few weeks have produced some stunning sunsets. I was lucky enough to capture this beauty.

7. Then there was that day that I woke up with a bloody gorgeous arse. A very different view, but no less impressive.

8. I suspect I’m late to the party again with this one. Better late than never though. I only recently discovered Cigarettes After Sex and have fallen completely in love. Their music is ethereal, sensual & poignant in equal measures. Do yourself a favour & add them to your playlist.

9. September 18 will go down in history as the month that I finally mastered the glittery smokey eye. It took almost 4 decades, but just look at this magnificent artistry.

20. Which brings me nearly to my final entry; my birthday. On Saturday I will turn 38. Yup, that’s scary. I plan to celebrate the hell out of it anyway. Stay tuned for birthday hi jinx.

This week I have been mostly…

Rediscovering old tunes. It started with Hall & Oates; my sister mentioned she had recently realised how good they were, so I had another listen. She was correct & it spiralled from there. I have since found myself in voyage of musical rediscovery & I am loving it.

Since they kicked off this forgotten tune trip, Hall & Oates are the perfect place to start. My mum used to play them in the car all the time when I was a kid. I didn’t dislike the songs then, but I think they just kind of washed over me. I was busy thinking about important 13 year old things & fighting with my siblings. Who has time to pay attention to some old dudes their mum likes? Turns out mum’s old dudes were pretty cool. In particular Rich Girl & Maneater have made my frequently played list. I love that they sound simultaneously upbeat & chilled out. I’ve known plenty of rich kids who could ‘rely on the old man’s money’ & I can totally relate to the song’s portrayal of that type. However, I think what I like best is that I can close my eyes & be transported to another time. I can picture mum’s big hair & remember how safe it felt to drive around with the music up loud.

Mum & girls in beach

Next up was a song I heard a snippet of on a tv show & immediately needed back in my life. Novocaine for the soul by The Eels is another little time machine. It takes me back to the end of high school & navigating my first forays into adulthood. It is a turn it up loud & dance away your problems kind of song. It has to be said that my problems back then were laughably light; I definitely didn’t need any novocaine. The whole Beautiful Freak album has worn well. My problems may have gotten heavier, but blasting The Eels can still help lighten the load.

The wonder of shuffle dug up the gem that is 212. Azealia Banks has since revealed herself as problematic af, but I can’t stop loving this song. This is so not my usual kind of jam, but I can still remember the first time I heard this song. It blew me away. I love everything about it; strong sassy women taking no shit, killer beat & that feel good factor. For some reason this will always be a sunny day song for me. It’s perfect crank it up & get ready to go out music. So glad to have this foul mouthed banger back in my life.

Azealia Banks, 212 video

I first remember hearing Bright Eyes First Day of my Life around the time my Godson was born. The lyrics really hit me because when I looked at this tiny new person I felt like I was getting a fresh start too. I wasn’t in a great place back then & that precious new baby to focus on was a real life line. I’ve thought about this song again when special little people have entered my life & the words still hold true. When I hold a new baby who is dear to me I feel flooded with love & renewed. The arrival of my tiniest nephew brought this one back to me & I’ve been playing it a lot lately. Life is so much richer when you have little ones to cherish.

Meeting muffin for the first time

This week I have been mostly…

Been having too many feelings. It’s been a busy old time on the emotional front. There have been a bunch of triggers that I’m not going to go into, but the result has been a pretty messy me. I’ve done what I always do when I don’t think I can trust what I feel; retreat whilst I decode. I’ve spent a lot of time with myself listening to music that either comforts or acts as a conduit for those emotions. Thus I present, all the tunes that I’ve been hitting repeat on.

Teenage Talk by St Vincent is simultaneously sweet & deep. It’s wistful sound is definitely aided by the harpsichord & the fluid tone of St Vincent’s voice. The song pours over you like tequila smoothly warming your insides. The lyrics capture the both the nostalgic way we view the past & the reality of why our youth is so alluring. As the song says, our teenage years were before we made any terrible mistakes, but our golden days are also probably much more mundane than we remember. I like the hope that realisation brings. Simpler isn’t always better.

I first heard Strangers on Graham Norton, which is probably a sign that I am very old, but the nevertheless I instantly loved it. I just really like the sound of Sigrid’s voice, so I suspect I’ll like anything she releases. The changing tempo of this one is very pleasing. The sort of ‘anti romance propaganda’ of the lyrics paired with heartbeat like bass is incredibly appealing. I’m loving it.

I’m mostly loving this next song because if I close my eyes when I listening it transports me to warm blue waters & floating peacefully. After a few listens of Lana Del Rey’s, Get Free the lyrics sunk in & spoke to me. Being ‘crazy’ can feel like being stuck on a ride that you can’t get off. Even in recovery I often need to remind myself that sometimes I can press stop. I like the imagery of stepping out of the black & into the blue. I also very much enjoy sinking into depths of its instrumentation.

You know sometimes you hear a song & it feels like it was written just for you? That’s how I felt when the first time I listened to Lorde’s Liability. In fact, it took me quite a few plays not to cry. In describing her own very different situation she perfectly summed up how I feel about by interactions with other people. Through a combination of mental illness, physical illness & just being a pretty weird person I have learned to feel that I’m difficult to love. The lyrics of this song sum up my internal thought process perfectly. I’m the kind of person who can be exciting & different. My weirdness seems fun, my crazy a little wild, but the novelty always wears off. In the end the whole package is trouble. I’m too hard & my charm wears off. In short,

‘I’m a liability. A little too much for everyone’

For a long time I was completely convinced that summation was 100% correct. Then as I got stronger I began to believe that maybe it wasn’t true at all. Man, that negative voice in my head is strong, though. So, honestly sometimes I still feel like liability is a spot on description. Sometimes I think it’s only half true. Other times I just can’t decide what’s true at all. Regardless, it’s a beautiful song. Soft piano based sections spelling out sadness. Extended phrases that almost make you run out of breath as you rush to complete them; just like the panic you feel when you realise someone is leaving you. It’s a stunningly painful song. That leaves you hurting in all the right ways.

Snowy trees viewed through a window

The Guillemots are incredibly underrated. Their songs invariably hit all my spots & I don’t feel amazing now is no exception. From the second the song starts the music & lyrics are expertly entwined. The slowly rising chords are the perfect aural interpretation of the lyrical plea for help. The beautiful honesty of just admitting, I do not feel good is refreshing. The combination of wanting to be left alone, but also really needing someone to take your hand and make it ok is too familiar. The surprisingly hopeful note in such a despondent song is again emulated in the introduction of steel dreams to the orchestration. It lifts the song onto another level & has me hitting that repeat button time & again.

‘Just take my hand & stop the moonlight fading

Just take my hand & lead me up the stairs

Just take my hand & make me feel amazing,

‘Cos I don’t feel amazing now…’