This is 40…

Fuck. This is it; the big 4-0. I am definitely not ready. Up until now I haven’t worried all that much about the number on my card. This year it all feels rather scary.

Pink birthday cake with sprinkles & 40

Forty is different. It’s just so huge. I have this sense of it being a before & after year. There’s the obvious sinking of youth. I’ve noticed a few changes on my face. In themselves they aren’t a problem, what they signify certainly gives me pause. I’m beginning to wonder how my body will stack up against the ageing process. Are my dodgy joints going to pack in altogether? Will my hair go white? Is menopause on the way?

ly is standing against a sandstone building arms stretched out wearing rainbow fringed top & blue velvet skirt

40 feels like the nail in the coffin of fertility. I know that hope is already all but extinguished. Hitting my fifth decade seems symbolic; a final snuffing. There are so many unattained goals. I expected to be living a different life by now. Time is whizzing by faster than ever. Getting through the ultimate to do list is increasingly daunting.

It’s not all black. I have built a life I’m proud of. I’ve filled it with bloody lovely buggers. All my people have made beautiful babies for me to adore. I’m doing the work I’ve always wanted to do. I feel loved. So, this is 40. Terrifying, but I’ve conquered the fear before. Why stop now?

ly is wearing a t skirt with the slogan ‘thou shalt never fuck a tory’ and blowing out candles on birthday cake

It’s a me, myself kinda attitude…

Self care is a phrase that makes me boak. It has so many bullshit connotations that I just can’t be doing with. I’m not interested in the healing powers of green tea, crystals or turmeric. A cup of tea and a chat won’t fix my crazy head. Neither will congratulating myself for brushing my teeth. If any of that works for, knock yourself out, I’m genuinely happy for you. It all just leaves me with a bad taste (literally in some cases) in my mouth. However, I do believe that you have look after yourself. It’s important to pay attention to the little things that make a difference to your day/life. And every now and again you have to go BIG.

Hotel do not disturb sign

That’s exactly what I did last week. I’ve been walking the tightrope of mental & physical health flares. I’m tired, I’m sore, I’m sad and with the arrival of my 39th birthday I’m old too. I was in need of a treat. So, I gave myself a 5 star escape.

I booked a couple of nights at a boutique hotel in my city. Checked into my beautiful room and checked out of reality for a few days. I told no one. I drank champagne cocktails in the epic roll top bath. Ordered room service and watched old movies in the gigantic bed.

Hotel room with roll top bath Grand staircase and stained glass window, dining room with chandelier and champagne cocktail

It did me good to dip out of my real life. It hasn’t solved any of my problems, but man alive was it good to have some respite. It also felt really amazing to be able to do a lovely thing for myself. It’s great to be treated by others, but there is a deep satisfaction in giving yourself something you need.

ly looking in mirror in white hotel robe, ly soaking in roll top bath

My advice would be less ‘self care’ and more taking care of yourself.

Another year older…

Today is my 39th birthday. Man alive, do I feel a lot of things about that. It doesn’t feel like a particularly friendly number. I am imagine I’ll write more on than another time. For now, I’ll share the lovely bits.

Namely, being spoiled by my lovely people, having a good old carry on with some rascals and a very excellent dress. I had an early birthday yesterday with my sister, bff and their babies. It was delightful. I love watching them play together. I hope so much they will always be friends. They were having so much fun that pictures really weren’t on their list of priorities. Contrary to appearances here, they do actually love their Auntie ly.

Ly laughing with two struggling toddlers on her knee

My best girls showered me with super cute pressies (they’re sure to festive in upcoming ootds). It makes me feel very loved to open gifts and find things I absolutely adore. People knowing you well enough to always know what you’d like is very nice. Having amazing female support that you can always rely on is even nicer. I’ve had these two by my side for almost my entire life and I never want to be without them.

Three smiling women

Finally, there is that dress. I saw this ages ago, but couldn’t really justify buying it at the time. I didn’t need another maxi dress. When it popped into the sale my resolve weakened. Turns out I definitely do need this dress. It takes my yellow obsession into the new season and it looks banging. Plus I already had the perfect earrings to top it off.

ly h kerr snakeskin maxi dress

Dress – Pretty Little Thing

Monki snake earrings

Earrings – Monki

The dress is a bit more titty than I originally realised, but the girls are holding up ok. I’m not doing too badly for an old bird.

Snake nail art

If you’re going to have a theme you might as well go all out. So, my nails got snakey too.

Another cruelty free quickie…

It’s Friday and after a rough week I’m ending on a high. I got some unexpected, but very good news yesterday. Now I am sailing into the weekend relaxed & very ready to have some fun. I have a mini break planned, bunch of new clothes to show off & a tiny little nephew to smother in kisses. Before we get to all that, I have a cruelty free quickie for you.

I love being a ginger. I’ve always loved being a redhead. Sadly, the older I get, the lighter my hair becomes. To the point that people have started calling me strawberry blonde. That may not seem like a big deal, but it breaks my heart. Ginger nut is part of my identity! I’m too low maintenance to keep up with dying my hair, but the thought of losing my burnished tones altogether is just awful. Enter, Infuse My Colour, my salvation. It’s a colour infused shampoo that stops the fade in coloured & enhances the tones in natural hair. I bought copper in the hope that it would revitalise my natural colour. I was not disappointed. I’ve only been using the shampoo for 7 days and have already noticed a big difference.

ly h Kerr

Infuse my colour

I’m impressed at how quickly I have seen results & will definitely continue using the shampoo. Infuse My Colour is of course vegan & cruelty free. In case you were curious, here I am in my younger days as a proper, hardcore ginger.

Today I have a bonus quickie, lucky you. One of birthday gifts from my darling sis was some Kiko Milano products. I tried out the eyeshadow duo yesterday & it was a hit. It’s super soft & glides right on. Excellent pigmentation, even better staying power. I saw A Star is Born last night & wept like a baby; the eyeshadow stayed put. I love it.

ly h Kerr

Kiko Milano bright duo

A Star is Born incidentally is excellent. A beautiful interruption of a wonderful film. Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga blew me away, both displaying talents I didn’t know they had. Word of warning though, all those people saying it isn’t as sad as the Streisand version are LYING. Prepare to be destroyed.

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.

Dear Baby…

Dear Baby,

You’re not a baby anymore. Or you wouldn’t be. Today would have been your 18th birthday. I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things you could have been. I’ll never know what your talents are. What you loved & hated will always be a mystery. Our life together will forever be unknown. I’ve watched so many others mark the milestones in their children’s lives & my thoughts invariably turn to you. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the blanks.

I have dreamt of every minute of your life. Waking from those beautiful fantasies feels like a stab in the heart. Every single time. I hope those dreams are snippets of how our life would have been. I don’t want to think of us as anything other than happy.

So, today you’d be a man. I’m sure you would be wonderful. The kind of person I’d be proud to have raised. I’ll always be proud regardless. Proud that my blood ran in your veins, thankful that your heart beat in me & grateful that we had any time at all.

Big love,

Always,

Mum.

Xx

They say it’s your birthday…

I had a birthday last week. I celebrated the proper way with sushi, cocktails & loved ones. I was spoiled with gorgeous gifts & even better company. Unfortunately I was also blessed with the worst hangover on the world the next morning

Perhaps it’s my advancing years or the fact that I don’t drink much anymore, but 4 drinks should not add up to feeling like you might die. My head had actually started hurting before I fell asleep. Pile on some hardcore menstrual pain (yup, I got my period for my birthday too) & I think I would have been forgiven for hiding in bed. I actually had a child’s birthday party to attend. I’m quite proud of myself for getting up, donning some presents & hitting that gathering. 


Dress – Asos Curve

Biker Jacket – Capsule

Tights – Gift 

Boots – Primark

Necklace – Taking Shape

Bag – Primark

I was flagging a little by the time these pics were snapped, but still looking cute. The observant amongst you will notice this t shirt dress appeared in my wish list last week. My clever little sister snapped it up for my birthday along with the most perfect autumn tights. I usually go for more curve hugging styles, but I really love this dress. It’s so bright & comfy; it feels great. Paired with a biker, scarf & a velvet clutch it kills. 

Velvet clutch

I feel incredibly smug about these boots. They were a sneaky bargain from everyone’s favourite fast fashion outlet, but are cool af. Pearls? yes. Floral print? yes. On a big clunky boot? Omg, yes! I expect to wear the soles right off them. 


Oh & a wee peek at the night before. Not doing too bad for 37.

ly h Kerr

You & I…

Dear Son,

I’ve been trying to keep low key busy today; house work, catching up on emails & so on. I have hoped to keep myself from sinking too deep into sadness. 
I’ve actually done quite well. I had a cry in the shower, but the water washed those tears away. There was no evidence left for anyone else to see, which is like you. Gone. Without a trace.

So, I’ve taken a lot of deep breaths & whispered to myself that I’m ok.

I’m ok

I’m ok

I’m ok.

And I am. More so than I’ve ever been since I lost you. I think maybe I can try again. Perhaps, I can do this life thing. I wish I could believe that would heal me, but you’re not a wound. The pain is bittersweet. 

I’ve been wondering what my life would be like with a 16yr old. Louder, grumpier, more complicated? I’ll never know how our life would been. I do know I’d have given you my best. I’m also sure that you’re worth it. The short time I held you within me will always be worth all the rest. 

Now, you’ve got me crying again. My tears are inevitable, as is my love. Inevitable & invincible. No matter what happens there will forever be you & I. 

Love always,

Mum

Tell me lies….

The older I become the more I realise that the world lies to me. I am keep coming up against perceived wisdoms that just aren’t true. In particular I feel some life events are so surrounded in supposed gravitas that we’re all set up for a fall. So many situations that I was led to believe were scary, amazing or life changing were in fact no great revelation to me. So, here’s a my top five non milestones.

  
Losing my virginity was no big deal. It wasn’t planned, I was just getting it on with a teenage boyfriend and it happened. I can’t even really remember the details. We progressed past our usual stopping point and I realised I didn’t want him to cease. So, we continued and had sex. It wasn’t fantastic and it wasn’t awful either. I didn’t feel any great pain; I didn’t really feel much beyond a sharpness when he first penetrated me. I didn’t bleed other than slight spotting in my knickers the next day. Afterwards we didn’t have a big discussion, there were no I love yous or promises. I think we went to sleep. It was nice. We had a cuddle and kiss in the morning then I left with my best friend to find food to cure our hangovers. I honestly didn’t feel changed in anyway. It seemed to me just a natural progression. I hear other women talking about regretting who they first slept with, wishing they’d waited for someone really special or even they person they married. I’ve never felt that way. The guy I shared my first time with certainly wasn’t a great love, he turned out to be a bit of a pig, but it’s never given me a moments pause. I was a teenager, even then it never occurred to me that he would be The One. I think that’s how it should be. Sex doesn’t define a person. It’s entirely healthy to experiment, make mistakes & learn from them. For girls especially we need to remove the idea that losing your virginity is somehow losing worth. We also need to ditch expectation that your first time should be an amazing, cherished moment. It hardly ever is and that’s ok.

  
Graduation was another milestone that didn’t rock my world. Sure I was proud of myself for attaining a good degree. I had to wade through some adversity during my university years and I was glad I had made it to solid ground. Other than that, it was unspectacular. I didn’t even attend my graduation ceremony. The thought of the gown and marching on stage when my name was called made me feel nauseous. So, I didn’t bother. Neither did I have a fancy dinner or party. At the end of all our exams my friends and I had a mighty piss up, but come graduation time we were all onto the next stage. We were trying to find jobs we actually wanted whilst working jobs we needed to pay the rent. In short I was getting stuck into being an adult. Graduation already felt like old news.

  
Getting my period was another supposed life changer that left no discernible mark. I can remember my friends getting theirs before me and feeling a tad left behind. The actual details of my first period have left no imprint. I have a vague memory of perhaps calling my mum into the bathroom, but that may just be the influence of countless teen movies. My mum had gone over what to expect long before the event, so there were no shocks. My early periods were unremarkable. I didn’t suffer from cramps or mood swings. I merely found the whole thing a messy nuisance. I didn’t feel like a woman, I felt inconvenienced. 

  
For me, leaving home was also accomplished without a fuss. I had always had a good relationship with my parents, but I craved independence. So, when I fell head over feels with an inappropriate guy, I leaped at the chance to move in with him. I was young, yes, but I wasn’t scared. My mum thought it an ill fated idea and told me so. I ignored her and she knew me well enough to know she had to let me make my own mistakes. There were no arguments or tearful goodbyes. I didn’t have a lot of belongings, so the actual moving was a simple task. I had already been spending most of my time at the boyfriend’s flat, so there weren’t any ugly surprises. I had to learn to be a little smarter with my money and the bf obviously turned out to be a big error in judgement. That said, I have no regrets. I wanted to spread my wings and I did. I loved the autonomy of having my own place, even more so once I freed myself of the stupid first love. I never looked back. I have lived independently -mostly on my own- since & I wouldn’t change a thing.
Now for the one I was actually scared of, but turned out just fine. The big 3-0. In last couple of years of my twenties I had begun to slightly dread turning 30. It wasn’t the aging, but realising I was nowhere near where I thought I would be at 30. I had for some reason believed I would be settled, own my home & be well on the way to motherhood. Turns out that’s not what life had in store for me. So, I made the usual jokes about mourning my youth and felt uneasy. The funny thing is when 30 became a reality, I was completely fine. It dawned on me that my, childless, less than settled state was not actually a problem. I hadn’t met anyone I could be happy with, so singledom was clearly a better option. Living alone suited me, in fact I wasn’t sure I really wanted anyone else invading my space. As for children, yes, I wanted them, but I knew It wasn’t my time. On top of that I felt pretty good. I didn’t feel old & I still looked rather nice. My 30th birthday ended up being a lot of fun. My family and friends organised various lovely events. I was whisked away for a spa weekend and glammed up for a drunken nights out. Yet, again I had been deceived. 30 wasn’t scary, it was a blast.

  
So, what’s my point? Relax. Hardly anything ends up feeling the way we’re told it wil & that’s just fine. 

My week in pictures… 

I’ve had a rather lovely week. It’s been filled with a beach, a birthday, some beer & a burning sky. So, I thought I’d share some of the photographs I’ve snapped along the way.

Autumn is absolutely my favourite season & an out of season beach is probably my favourite place to be. So, last Friday I combined two loves & embarked on a wee road trip with my sister (& her fur baby). I am so lucky to live in Glasgow as there is so much beautiful countryside so close by. Both my sis & I both enjoy finding new, slightly less obvious places to visit & Lauren came up trumps on this trip. We headed to Ayr, but bypassed the main beach in favour of Heads of Ayr. There we found a stunning deserted beach complete with a crumbling castle perched on a cliff. Like I said I prefer a beach outside of summer, they always feel more atmospheric with wilder weather. Aside from a little map reading bickering (my skills are poor) it was a gorgeous day. 

  

I opted for low key birthday celebrations this year. Mainly because I haven’t been terribly well, but also because I’m so bloody old. I’ll be honest the numbers are getting a little scarier every year. Having said that, the actual birthdays are always a delight. I kicked off my birthday with a family lunch. My family proved once again how much they know & love me by gifting exactly the right things. They even refrained from singing when my cake came out, which I appreciated. I followed up lunch with drinks & my favourite man. We enjoyed some delicious cherry beer & a stunning sunset. No birthday would be complete without a FaceTime with my niece, my incredible little muffin sang happy birthday & told me some very imaginative stories. Finally, my best friend rounded off my day with  another spot on present. I am a very lucky girl. 

  

I’ve also had some quiet little moments with my city & myself. Here’s a little insight into what keeps me ticking over. 

  
  
To cap things off I have received some really interesting writing offers that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. I’ll keep you posted on where you can read the finished results.