Easy ways to support your spoonie friend at Christmas…

I often share tips to help chronically ill people manage different aspects of their lives. However, sometimes the trickiest part of the spoonie life is dealing with how those around us react to our illness. This time I thought I’d give some hints to those who know & love a spoonie.

Please don’t give us a hard time when we cancel

This applies all the time, but especially during the festive season when there are so many events & parties. We know we disappoint you when we cancel. We aren’t sick on purpose. We can’t control our flares. Trust me, we really want to be there. We are sorry we’re missing your thing, particularly if it’s really important to you. It’s fine to say you’ll miss us or you’d have loved us to be there, but please don’t get angry. Try to consider all the times we do show up for you despite being in pain or dealing with other symptoms. We already feel more guilty that you can imagine & we are incredibly grateful that you stick with us.

White txt on pink background, my brains says let’s do something exciting today. My body says don’t listen to that fool.

Take our restrictions/limitations into account when planning activities

Disabled & chronically ill people can have a whole range of needs. We really don’t have a problem answering questions when they are considerate & relevant. If you take into account accessibility needs (disabled toilets, stairs, seats, dietary restrictions, crowds etc) it is much more likely that your spoonie friends can attend. More than that they’ll actually be able to stay for the whole shebang & enjoy themselves. It is actually much easier that you think these days. Many venues are happy to help you make accommodations or already have them in place. All varieties of specialised food are commonly available. Plus I for one am often happy just to know there will definitely be a seat so I can retreat if I need to.

Take no for an answer

If we say we are too ill, we mean it. It’s not an excuse nor the start of a debate. We’ve always thought out every possible variation before deciding we can’t make it. It doesn’t help when you say we’ll feel better once we’re out. We’ll feel much worse if we push ourselves too far. We know our limits & all our responsibilities; we are the best judge of what we can handle.

No comparisons

Please, I beg you, don’t do comparisons. Getting upset because we went to so & so’s birthday, but can’t come to yours is pointless. It won’t make us any more able to attend & will just make everyone feel worse. Chronic illness is a crap shoot. We never know how we will feel on any given day. We might have been the life & soul at dinner last week, had a ball with the wee ones on Tuesday & unable to move without crying on Thursday. There is no predicting how chronic illness will behave. The things we don’t attend is not linked to how much we wanted to be there.

Siamese cat on blue background with txt, no pain no gain. Chronic illness is not a competitive sport.

Bonus Tip

Don’t tell us we can do anything we put our minds to. We absolutely can’t & this is a shitty reminder. It’s not inspiring, it’s dismissive.

Your spoonie friend loves you. They are delighted that you are on their life and they are doing everything they can to be reliable & fun & supportive. Please cut us a little slack.

Oh Christmas tree…

We’ve hit December and it’s officially Christmas season. It is time to get festive. Most of us are lucky enough to have people to share food & love & gifts with. It’s incumbent upon us to think of those less fortunate whilst we enjoy our jollies.

With that in mind I’m going to suggest more than one charity this month. Pick your favourite, donate to all or just do whatever you can. First up, Giving Tree. It’s organised by Kids Out, a charity who aim to give disadvantaged children (many in refuge to escape domestic violence) positive experiences. At Xmas they do giving tree to give children who may not otherwise receive presents a gift that they would like. I saw this one at Braehead in Glasgow, but there are tonnes of similar schemes all over. You take a tag from the tree & buy the requested present.

Christmas tree with gift tags

Instructions for giving tree

I absolutely love this idea, but reading the tags broke my heart. All of the requests are so modest. I couldn’t help but think of how often I buy my little ones treats for no reason special reason at all. Every child child should be showered with love & blanketed in safety. Beyond that they shouldn’t ever have to wake up to disappoint on Christmas morning. Nor should any parent have to face the task of explaining why Santa isn’t coming.

Gift tags with present requests

I couldn’t resist picking up two tags. The thought of this baby still waiting for their first book was too sad. There are still lots of gift tags awaiting a kind soul. It’s so easy to make life a little brighter for these wee ones. Please help Santa reach them if you can.

Giving tree gift tag

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.

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

Merry & Bright…

Merry Christmas, Darlings. However you celebrate I hope it was Merry & Bright (or at the very least safe).

I spent Christmas Day with the Toyboy’s family and all the days round about with mine. We had two little ones enjoying their very first Xmas and four bigger kiddies getting all hyped up about Santa. It’s a cliche, but Christmas really is better with children around.

I received lots of pretty presents & indulged in many delicious vegan treats (thank TB’s Mum & Sis). Of course I got spruced up for Mr Claus. I always got a fancy Christmas Day outfit when I was a kid & I’ve kept the tradition going in adulthood. This year I went for full on Sexy Fat Ballerina.

ly h Kerr, sexy fat ballerina

Bodysuit – Boohoo

Skirt – Ella

A plus size full length tutu is not actually that easy to come by. I ordered one on a whim and then fell for the idea of being a fat arsed prima ballerina. Unfortunately the first one never arrived. The second took much hunting down, but all that internet searching was worth it. This is a LOOK.

My clever sister somehow managed to predict my Xmas colour scheme and gave me the perfect accessories as part of my gift.

Next stacking rings ly h Kerr

Earrings & rings – Next

We’re now in that no man’s land between Xmas & Hogmanay. I intend to sleep lots, eat a tonne and cuddle little ones. I hope you have the opportunity to do the same.

Oh & Bronan loves his present. So much so that he barely moves off it. It’s a cat nip scratcher btw and god help anyone who even thinks of touching it.

Bronan Kerr

The Spoonie Guide to Xmas…

Christmas is joyous and lovely and incredibly hard for the chronically ill. On top of keeping up with every day life there are a million other tasks to contend with. Not only is there shopping, wrapping & cooking, but there are a multitude of festive social events. Oh & the expectation that we’ll all be merry and bright.

When you’re chronically ill you don’t get time off for Christmas. Keeping up with seasonal demands when you’re in pain & exhausted can be impossible. Here’s my spoonie guide to surviving Xmas. Plus a little advice for friends of family of the chronically ill.

Make a list, check it twice.

The only way I can keep track of what needs to be done is making a tonne of lists. Lists help combat so many issues. If you’re dealing with brain fog, anxiety, impaired cognitive function, fatigue and so on, lists are life savers. I usually break things down into categories and try to assign a time scale to each list. The trick is to be realistic about how much you can do each day and not freak out if you don’t complete your list. Simply roll over outstanding items. Accept that some times you will have to make cuts. You can’t do everything. The world will not end if you don’t post the Xmas cards this year.

Start early & manage expectations.

I always start Xmas prep super early. The longer you have to get organised the more you can spread the work load. Getting a jump on the shopping also really helps if you have a tight budget. It is much easier to find smaller amounts of energy & money.

Be honest with yourself and others about what you can manage. If you have to trim the gift list or swap a meet up for a phone, do so. I believe Christmas is about embracing the ones we love. Try to work out in advance which parties/get togethers you comfortably manage and communicate that. Float the idea of secret Santa style gift giving rather than buying everyone in your group an individual present. Expensive presents don’t matter. An enjoyable phone call or grabbing a quick coffee is much nicer than forcing yourself to suffer through social engagements that cause you distress.

If you have to cancel, make your apologies, but be firm. You didn’t choose to be ill. You are not intentionally disappointing. Remind yourself of this and try your hardest not to feel guilty.

The internet is your friend.

I do the majority of my Xmas shopping online. It is much less stressful and physically taxing to order from the sofa. The shops are crazy at this time of year. Not to mention the weather is awful. Stay warm & rested and get your festive haul delivered. This goes for food too. You can order in advance and have the Christmas groceries delivered as and when you need them.

Allow yourself to enjoy what works for you.

Christmas comes with a variety of traditions. Everyone has their own variations and seasonal essentials. It’s lovely to uphold family traditions, but only if they work for you. This is your life and your Christmas, you are entitled to enjoy the festivities. If something will negatively impact your health, don’t do it. There is no joy in activities that hurt you.

Establish your own Christmas customs. Whether that is embracing existing rituals or just making up them up from scratch. Deck the halls, wear an ugly jumper, stick cinnamon on everything or don’t. Suit yourself. Celebrate in style, but make it your style.

Don’t be a dick.

This is for the loved ones. If someone in your life is dealing with chronic illness, be kind. We know we disappoint sometimes. We get that we’re not the easiest to accommodate, but please be patient. Cut us a little slack. As inconvenient as our symptoms can be for others, trust me dealing with them every single minute of our lives is harder.

Oh Christmas lights keep shining on…

We’re into the second week of Christmas; I’m not sure if that’s really a thing, but go with me. That means it’s time for more festive nail art & acts of kindness.

I stuck with the Xmas tree theme, but turned up the glitter factor. I am very pleased with the end result.

On the charitable front I opted for direct help this week. I had to be in the city centre a fair bit, so decided to just give cash & food to as many homeless people as I could. I do try to give directly to homeless people throughout the year, but usually just whatever change I have on me. This week I gave a bit more and got some hot food or a drink for those who wanted it (circumstances permitting). I’m not interested in the giving homeless people money doesn’t help argument. It helps that person in need. It helps them maybe get a room a in hostel or buy a warm blanket, pay for transport or whatever the hell they need to make their very difficult life more bearable. Even if you can only spare a little change, it could make a big difference to someone in need.

I am fortunate that what brought me into town were seasonal meet ups. Christmas is always a good time to catch up with folk you haven’t seen for a while. I have been doing just that & it’s been lovely. I really do feel very lucky to have so many fab people in my life. I’m also kind of in love with Glasgow’s Xmas ornamentation. How pretty does my city look?