Help me if you can, I’m feeling down…

Are you losing the plot yet? I fear I’m getting there. Lockdown is getting harder. If like me you already have less than perfect mental health, you may be closer to the edge than most.

I’m with you. I’m finding all this time alone is churning up lots of issues I would prefer remain undisturbed. The isolation is leaving far too much room for pondering big issues. Existential questions that I couldn’t answer before the world went mad & are even more confounding now. I swing between Groundhog Day dread and being on jangly high alert. Trying to break the monotony of another day home alone by sorting your underwear drawer is a tiny bit depressing. My already racing heart attempting to burst right out my chest every time my noisy neighbours thump really isn’t fun either.

Am I doing anything that matters? Am I running out of time & is this pandemic melting huge chunks of what is left? Can I continue to makes ends meet? Am I doing enough for those who can’t? Can I get a Tesco delivery slot or my prescription? Will I ever get rid of long covid? Will all my loved ones get through this unscathed and will we ever be permitted to be in the same room again? This shit is only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface are all the intrusive thoughts and fears of catastrophe.

Image of iceberg above & below waterline. The sea is vivid blue.

I say this with the knowledge that I am in a privileged position. I have security & a support system that many do not. Too many people are living in situations that are perilous in every possible way. Accessing even the most basic of assistance is getting harder. Half a carrot, a handful of tuna & frubes will not feed hungry children (if you don’t understand this ref, read this & try to control your rage). When you can’t rely on the system to ensure kids don’t starve you can bet that mental health services are in distress. A fact that has been keeping me awake at night as I worry about my own mental wellbeing.

With that in mind I wanted to share some resources. If you don’t feel you can wait to reach the top of an nhs waiting list one of these may be helpful.

Theses organisations offer reduced cost therapy.

Arbours Association

Frontline Therapist

Problem Shared

The Guild of Psychotherapists

Dedicated to Change Project

The Spark

Sandyford Glasgow

Most universities & colleges offer counselling services. If you are student it’s worth checking out what help your institution can give. Many also offer low cost therapy with students training in psychology disciplines.

You can find online support here:

Samaritans

Mind

Calm

Age UK

Women’s Aid

Beat

The Mix

Childline

There are also local services across the UK, a bit of google research may lead you to affordable (or free) help in your area. I know that none of these options are perfect, I wish I had the answer. In the absence of a complete solution I hope these options might be helpful.

As always when discussing mental health it is important to state that I am not a professional. Please seek advice from your GP in the first instance and contact emergency services if required.

Everyday it’s getting colder…

I managed to sneak in a little trip to the park before we completely locked down. I took the opportunity to wear some Xmas pressies since it’s unlikely I’ll be out of lounge wear for quite a while.

The only possible fashion choice in this weather is layers. I piled them on for my icy outing. My excellent Mum found this lovely vegan brand & showered me with their accessories. While my sister indulged my leopard print love.

ly I’m standing in park with walking stick wearing jumpsuit & faux fur coat
Jumpsuit -Asos Curve
Scarf – Pom Boutique
Coat – Marks & Spencer
Cardigan – Boohoo
Boots – Dr Marten
Glasses – Where.light
ly is  wearing leopard print jumpsuit & navy maxi cardi. The photo had Forrest background superimposed
All those mirror selfies are getting boring.

The boy found new ways to play with my walking stick & slid around on the ice with his Mummy. We completed our winter adventure by feeding the wildlife. Those swans are so beautiful, but not above squabbling over grub.

Toddler in coat & Woolly hat in playpark
Pink post it note on frosty leaves
Swans on an icy pond

A Very Covid Christmas…

Like many others, last minute covid restrictions scuppered my Xmas. I was bummed not to be able to see my people, especially the wee ones. Ultimately though, it wasn’t so bad.

My digestive tract is still struggling with the long covid, so Christmas dinner was never going to be an option. I’m way too sore & tired to relish the idea of getting all gussied up. The wonder of video calls mean I could still watch the kids open presents & have a carry on. Thus, Xmas day on the sofa wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a magical day. I don’t fancy making a habit of it, but needs must. I still had lots of gorgeous presents & messages of love. I think more than anything what got me down was just the lack of distraction. Enjoying the kid’s exuberance takes my mind off not having made any of my own little people. This year I couldn’t help but dwell a little longer on the the Christmas traditions I’ll never be a part of.

2020 has been a wash out for most of us. I still feel I’m stumbling blind when it comes to discovering a new focus. I have actually achieved things I’m proud of this year. I’ve smashed some career boxes that I didn’t think would even get ticked. Those successes don’t fill that motherhood chasm.

My Corona Christmas has been reminiscent of the whole 2020 experience. I’ve felt a lot aimless, a little sad and entirely capable of making it through. Surviving is the only goal this year & we’ve almost reached it.

ly is wearing red glasses & leopard print. She is cheersing with a glass of bucksfizz

Have a Holly, Jolly & Safe Xmas…

Christmas is coming at us fast, but I’m still lacking in merriment. Between feeling rotten and almost everything xmassy being cancelled I’m struggling to feel the cheer.

So, I’ve turned the festive up on my lockdown. I’ve trimmed the tree, festooned everything in twinkly lights & all my presents are beautifully wrapped. I’m particularly pleased with my little robins.

Faux green Xmas tree with white lights & gold decorations
Xmas presents wrapped in white & good paper with red ribbons & tiny robin red breast decorations
Gift wrap – Marks & Spencer

I have launched a festive nail frenzy. Every glittery & gilt polish has been pressed into service.

Gold nails with green & red wreath accent nail
Shimmery white nails with blue Xmas trees and sparky snow flake
Red and green candy stripe nails with white snow flake accent

The ultra cosy bedding is on. The Christmas scents are go. I even put some real clothes on & venture out with a cheeky wee elf.

Bell jar lamp, candles &  framed photographs on antique table
Candle – Aphrodite & Ares
Soft grey fleecy bedding on king size bed
Ly wearing polka dot dress, leopard print cardi &  face mask with toddler in elf outfit
Dress – Monki
Cardi – Boohoo
Boots – Dr Marten
Mask – Rosana Exposito

I’ll be seeing more of my little ones over the next week and I’m certain watching them open presents will top up my seasonal joy. It’s been a rough year & will likely be a strange Christmas, but I hope you all find safe ways to have holly, jolly time.

Red text  ‘holly, jolly love from me to you’ on black background with gold stars

Finally the tables are starting to turn…

Trump lost. Between unsubstantiated cries of fraud and threats of violence his supporters have already launched a new form absurdity. Backed by centrist liberals with the very least to lose, they are calling for the left treat to them with respect & kindness.

Yes, you read that right. Trumpets are forcefully requesting that we be mindful of how hurt they are right now. The ‘fuck your feelings’ brigade have had a change of heart now that their feelings are they ones in peril. ‘Don’t gloat’, they say, ‘You’ll never win us over if you aren’t nice’. This may well be a good strategy to teach small children embarking on team sports. It is not however, a rational approach to facists.

Hearing this woe is me nonsense from the right is infuriating. Though, Since hypocrisy & self interest are their watch words it is entirely predictable. The thing that’s really making me angry is the mildly left leaning white folk repeating it. Trump is trying to stage a coup and liberals are calling for reconciliation. Pleas to reach out to trump voters & forgive are frankly, repugnant. Nothing shouts my privilege protects me more than declaring amnesty on white supremacist, misogynistic, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, rapist, child abusers. Those who have been in the firing line of this administration need more from us.

They deserve our roaring support. Minority groups should be able to trust that we, the left, have their backs. They need to know that those of us with more privilege will not desert them as soon as we no longer feel personally endangered. They warrant more protection because they are valuable human beings. Also, because they more than anyone have worked to procure this victory. Democrats owe this presidency to black women & activist groups tirelessly toiling to get the vote out. It’s a punch in the face to forgive the people who object to their existence.

Your political beliefs are who you are. Conservatives have shown us what they believe. They have shown a willingness to exceptional harm. They have enjoyed the crass cruelty of the last four years. Trump voters were not duped. They are not all unintelligent. They chose him because he spoke their language. They want more. This is not the time to forgive and forget.

Healing doesn’t happen by asking victims to absolve their abusers. We’re not talking about people have seen the light & sincerely wish to make amends. Their views have not changed. They are still ok with children in cages, police brutality & turning women into breeding stock. Or at the very least are happy to be complicit if it benefits their life.

It is reasonable to remove such people from your life. It’s crucial that those who enabled Trump’s reign be held accountable. We should fight to remove these people from power and make their lives uncomfortable. Don’t patronise their businesses. Don’t tolerate their vile rhetoric in your schools, homes or work places. If you see a member of his administration in a restaurant you should feel free to tell them they are scum. Far right ideals didn’t begin with Trump & they won’t disappear when his term ends.

It is essential that we come together and make it clear that actions have consequences. You cannot be in favour of exterminating groups of people and be happily welcomed into decent society. I’ll consider absolution if I ever see any repentance.

In case you are wondering, I do not point this wrath solely at the Americans. We need to hold true to this doctrine in the UK. The Tories aren’t any less of a threat. They are engaged in the same jingoism. Austerity, Brexit, the hostile immigration environment are all part of the same right wing hellscape. Now is the time to dig in for real change.

The revolution awaits…

It’s been one of hell of a week. On top of quite the year. I’m sure I’m not the only one still processing the gigantic mess. Sometimes I find it easier to let off steam about the little things. I invite you to join me in a big sigh of relief that Trump will soon be gone & an equally big moan about some non life & death grievances.

Trivial annoyance no 1; the shacket. You’ll no doubt have seen an influencer raving about this shirt/jacket hybrid by now. I’m afraid I must strongly protest. For starters that name gives me boak. Moreover, do not look good. Admittedly they do bring up bad memories of a really ugly quilted denim shirt I had in 1994, but they’re also useless. They’re not a great inbetweener. You end up sweating inside & shivering out. Just put your coat on and take it off when you head indoors. The shacket must go.

I know loads of folk are going to disagree with this one, I care not a jot. The pink Xmas trend can get in the sea. I’m not traditional about much, but when it comes to festive decorations I am old school. Pink does not belong on the tree. It’s not Christmassy. I don’t care if Elle decor has declared it this year’s prettiest trend. I want Christmas looks that warm my heart. Think Forrest green & twinkly gold. Candy floss is a Yuletide treat. Please stop it.

Pink flower on Xmas tree, pink artificial Xmas tree, pink Xmas tree bauble

I’m heading back to the resurgence of the fashion of my youth now. Specifically, cycle shorts. I can’t quite work out how a thing I wore to P.E. when I as 11 has become ‘a look’. Moreover I’m baffled that it’s still hanging around mid November. It’s fucking cold there.

Finally, I have a complaint for our friends across the Atlantic. God, knows they’ve given us plenty to bitch about. In the spirit of keeping it light I have picked this hill to die on. Plaid is not the same thing as Tartan. As we head into prime tartan season I need the conflation of the two to cease. My poor Scottish heart can’t take the way my blood pressure soars when I see either wrongly labelled.

Text-  if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap on red tartan background

That felt pretty good. I highly recommend you take a minute to whine about something pointless. First thing tomorrow it’s back to the Revolution!

Dancing in the dark…

GlasGlow is back. We have taken the boy every year of his life, so this has become our own little Halloween tradition. This year was even better than last.

Blue neon lights blurring in rain
Large moon and coloured lights.

The boy was proper excited and dancing around; utterly adorable. It wasn’t too crowded and people paid attention to social distancing. The rain even almost went stopped for us. It was lovely.

Toddler running under neon rainbow
plus size woman in tartan coat with toddler in red duffle stunting infront of twinkly light wall

It was a bit of struggle for me to get around the park. Post covid I’m even less mobile. I found some places to sit and took periodic rests whilst the little man enjoyed the lights.

Pumpkins and giant glowing crystal in dark park
Two adult smiling women and toddler surrounded by lights

Much fun was had. Now I’m in recovery mode and jammies all weekend.

And his hunger burns…

I already shared my October Charity of the month, but this week’s Tory bullshit has compelled another post.

I cannot bear the thought of children (or anyone) going hungry. It makes me feel sick, enraged and teary all at the same time. It would never be ok, but it’s worse when we can absolutely afford to care for those in need. Further compounded by the fact that our government has created this poverty. A decade of austerity has hit those with the least hardest. I cannot fathom the cruelty of voting to withhold food from poor children.

We can help. We shouldn’t have to shoulder the responsibility that a morally bankrupt Conservative government refuses to carry. However, the alternative is to allow children to starve. If you can spare a few pounds please consider donating to your local foodbank. You can also add food/toiletries to collection boxes in many supermarkets, drop off at foodbank centres or have items collected.

You can give to Trussle Trust in a variety of ways, all of which are detailed here.

Typical food parcels contain the following:

List of food and toiletries required by food banks

I also like to consider things like dietary requirements (gluten free, dairy free etc) and add treats. Surviving on food parcels is tough, little luxuries go a long way. With Halloween & Christmas on the horizon I think it’s especially important to donate some sweets or small gifts. Little ones should always be allowed to indulge in a some magic.

Image of children approaching Jesus.  Text read,  don’t send them to me let them suffer. Tory Jesus

Nothing gold can stay…

Poetry was my first writing love. As I’ve grown old & weary my poetic juices have dried up a little. The mood does still occasionally strike. Sometimes only poetry offers the chance to sweep my feelings out.

It’s not necessarily impressive, but it is completely effective. Reading it writing; words are a beautiful thing.

I put a spell on you…

I’m still all about the staying at home. I have a heady schedule of resting, drinking fluids & FaceTiming cute little people. I haven’t forgotten what season it is, though. Halloween nails continue!

It’s not Halloween without some gore. A manicure ode to one of my fav scary movies is a must.

Scream themed nail art . Ghost face, knife & blood

I also can’t help going a little batty at this time of year.

Halloween manicure with bat silohoutres against purple skies

My fingers are currently adorned with some paranormal looking skies and very spooky trees. I’m loving it.

Halloween nail art with spooky trees and spider webs.

My familiar strongly objects to all this nail painting as it diverts attention from his needs. He’s very demanding, but so cute.

Black and white sleeping on cushions