Nobody said it was easy…

I’ll be taking a short break due to the rollercoaster of life. If you miss me you can find additional content here. Or follow me on InstagramFacebook or Twitter where I will be occasionally posting.

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The year of the cat…

All the Christmas falderal is over. Presents are opened and food is munched. It’s the last week of the year and no one wants to do much of anything.

I get it. I’m spending most of my time in my Jim jams and pretending the real world no longer exists. It’s a massive luxury to be able to do so. Which is why I’m taking a minute to consider the plight of less fortunate creatures. Plus plug a little seasonal giving one last time. My last act of Xmas giving is aimed at puss cats. I know lots of folk object to animal charities and think people should come first, but I see no reason not to help both. I’ve always been an animal lover. Cats have always been my chosen companion. Thus, I’m encouraging you to support the lovely people at Glasgow Cats Protection. They do amazing work of rehoming and caring for thousands of cats. Each unwanted cat brought to them is vet checked, neutered, vaccinated & treated for fleas etc. They provide a safe loving environment for cats who would otherwise be uncared for. The weather is rough at this time year. I hate to think of strays trying to fend for themselves on our cold climate. You can help in a number of ways. I decided to buy some items from their Amazon Wish List. If you can spare a few pounds the felines would be very grateful.

Cats Protection

As Hogmanay approaches this is also the last of my festive nail art. This week a very nose centric Rudolph and some candy canes featured.

ly h Kerr Xmas nail artly h Kerr Xmas nail art

Snow is falling…

It’s been a fast year, but December has really put its foot down. We are riding swiftly towards the big day, which means it is time for more festive primping & seasonal giving.

It’s the third week of Xmas (advent, whatever), so it’s it apt that it took three attempts to get my nails right. I really wanted to be adorned in delicate sparkly snowflakes, but try as I might, I could not pull it off.

ly h Kerr nail art

Each attempt was clumsier than I wanted. In the end I abandoned my snowy vision & opted for some glittery presents. You can’t go wrong with a well wrapped gift, right?

ly h kerr nail art

This week I turned my charitable attentions to Glasgow Women’s Aid. An organisation doing wonderful work with women & children who have been affected by domestic abuse. Women’s aid provide a number of services from refuge centres to training for service users & therapy for their children. Two women a week are killed by their partner or ex partner in the UK, so it is vital that women (& their children) have access to this help. You can help in a number is ways. A donation can be made via the website or you can follow your local Women’s Aid on social media for updates on what goods, clothes etc are required. Often women have to leave everything behind and start from scratch, so please check before you throw away anything that could still be useful. Obviously at this time of year toys & treats are most welcome. Even small donations can change lives.

If Bronan can suffer the indignity of being cat Santa, you can get your purse out.

Cruelty free quickie, the dupe edition…

I recently watched, with amusement, some beauty bloggers on Twitter get a tiny bit annoyed with Aldi for it’s penchant for blatantly ripping off big brands. I am bemused at folk who not only want to pay £40 for something that can be produced for a fiver, but also want to defend the rip off merchants. I am all for dupes, in fact, I find Aldi’s bold faced copies hilarious.

Their latest target is Benefit. A brand I used to love, but have zero good feelings for since they resumed torturing small creatures. I was delighted to discover that they were doing a They’re real dupe, but didn’t raise my hopes for two reasons. Firstly, it seemed too good to be true and also my local Aldi is pretty small, so it doesn’t get always get the cool beauty lines. Well, colour me happy because I was wrong on both fronts. Too Legit is both available & kind of great in my neighbourhood. Listen, if I can get a cruelty free & amazing mascara for £5.99 I honestly do not care what brand it is. In addition to that I just don’t understand anyone who doesn’t find this kind of outrageous copying hilarious.

Lacura too legitToo legit/They’re real

As is always the case in places like Aldi, I bought other things purely because they were right there. One of which was this Smashbox dupe. I have never purchased any smashbox products. However, I do frequent social media where folks are always raving about their photo finish primer. So, of course I bought the Aldi dupe. I have not tried the original nor do I know if Smashbox are despicable, but I do feel ‘Insta ready’ wearing just this primer & aforementioned mascara. Again, I cannot not help but be tickled by attention to rip off detail.

Lacura snapshot readySnapshot ready/photo finish

Here is my very own face both completely bare and covered in solely these products. I am genuinely impressed and disgruntled that it is clearly so easy to cheaply make these potions. Seriously, if Aldi can do this ethically, stop giving those designer brands your money.

ly h 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.

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.

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.