It’s a time for giving…

Christmas is rushing at us. If you’re like me you’ll be trying to get those presents wrapped, cards out and all the festive food in. Amongst all the busy, busy I’m reminding myself that I’m so lucky that I am in a position to do these things.

It is wonderful to share food & good times with people you care about at Xmas. It is even better to have stage security that allows us to indulge in those things. So, if you can, please consider helping those who do not have that luxury.

I’ve talked about Social Bite before, but they are an amazing organisation. Buying a homeless person Xmas dinner only costs £5 and can make a huge difference to someone. It feels like an excellent way to have an impact even if you don’t have much to spare.

Social Bite poster explaining they will provide Xmas dinner for anyone in need on Xmas day.

If you are an animal lover and would like to help provide safe, loving home for farm animals Tribe Sanctuary are amazing. The rescue animals that would otherwise go to slaughter or be put down. They have so much passion for these animals and give them a beautiful life.

Highland cows in field at tribe sanctuary

Hospices so hard & important work all year round. I can only imagine that it can be more difficult at this time of year. Strathcarron Hospice is a lovely facility that cared for someone in my extended family. They provide essential end of life care and are not government funded. If you could share some Christmas love with them it would go to very good use.

12 Rules of Xmas…

The tree goes up December 1st

I want to hit the sweet spot of having plenty of time to enjoy all the twinkle without it being there so long that I get sick of it. For me that’s Dec 1st.

I go big on the carry on.

Christmas is so much better with little ones. I take full advantage of how much fun they are. I want to take them to see the lights & the funfair. I’m picking up festive editions of sweets, comics, everything. I will kit them out in adorable little Santa outfits. I’m playing with all the new toys. Pulling the crackers & wearing the paper crown. Auntie ly is the tickle monster, the teacher of gross jokes and provider of crazy phone filters. If there’s carry on to be had, I’m in.

Dress up on Xmas Day.

Even if it’s only to go to my own living room. We always had actual Christmas Day at home when I was a kid. I still always dressed up in my new fancy clothes to eat dinner & squabble with my siblings. It’s a habit that has stuck. I always glam up on the 25th no matter where I’m going. It just feels xmassy to sit on the couch drinking bucks fizz in my finery!

I don’t give to receive.

I give presents free from obligation because it gives us joy to make others happy. None of that comparing values nonsense either. It is the thought that counts. If I choose to give you a gift it’s because I want to. I don’t care if or what I receive in return.

Make the presents pretty

If I’m giving a gift I am doing it right. I don’t grab whatever paper is the cheapest. I will not pick up a gift bag on the way over. I take the wrapping seriously. I plan each year’s present look in advance. I purchase all the supplies with plenty of time. My presents are looking fancy & under the tree spit spot.

I send real cards.

I’m not listening to your Xmas card protests. It’s really nice to get season’s greetings through the front door. I will brook no dissent. Choose cards that can be recycled & write something lovely. What’s not to love about that?

The kids shall have magic.

There have to be rules. They can’t have every single toy they see. Sensible bedtime. Manners. Eat their vegetables. I’m down for it all, but it’s Xmas. Plus I’m the Auntie. Therefore the kids will get a bit spoiled. I will go overboard with the pressies. I’ll load them up with chocolate coins & Xmas books. Of course all the magical tales and nonsense that my brain can muster.

Everyone is allowed to open one present on Xmas Eve.

Just one!

Christmas Night is for staying home & watching TV.

There’s always a blockbuster on tv. Whatever is the current big thing has a special. Then there’s just time for a Christmassy classic before bed. I get comfy & stay put.

I go to bed stuffed.

I actually feel cheated if I’m not full to the eyeballs on Xmas day. I want three kinds of potatoes, all the roast veg, pretend turkey and nibbles galore. Chocolate treats, nuts, cold potatoes, second belong of dessert. Munch, munch & wash it all down with some Bucks Fizz.

I always watch Fiddler on the Roof.

I have no idea why, but Fiddler on the Roof is always on tv at Xmas time. I only ever watch at that time of year. I know I could see it anytime, but it just wouldn’t feel right. I look forward it. It’s my own little unxmassy condition.

Make time for grown up pursuits.

Sometimes you want to do a little adult celebrating. I’m always sure to save time for grown up fun. Be it fancy cocktails or naught elf gear I’m ready to let my hair down.

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It’s that time again…

December is here and it is time to get festive with my nail art. I love a bit of sparkle on my finger tips, so here I go!

My first crimbo design was a little shaky. I’ve been feeling rough & dealing with vertigo; the candy stripes might not have been the best choice. However, I’m all about sharing the less than perfect along with my wins. This, I give you this frosty manicure.

Festive manicure. Frosty white with green, red & gold candy stripes & graphic Xmas tree
Frosty White – Marks & Spencer
Everything else – Barry M

Xmas manicure take 2 is more successful. I find it hard to get a tartan nail right, but I’m quite pleased with these ones.

Red & gold tartan nail art with deep red accent nail with gold ho ho ho
All polish – Barry M

Ho, Ho, Ho!

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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

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Shop Small this Xmas…

I always enjoying supporting small business, but this year more than ever they need our custom. If you’re after for some beautifully different presents for your loved ones, look no further.

Illustrated by Charlie can cover two Xmas needs, gift & cards. Their fun prints would make a fab present and humorous take on festive cards are sure to make everyone smile.

Candles can be a passé as a gift, but not if you find some that are really special. ESH do exactly that. All 100% soy wax, handmade beautiful designs. I have my eye on those pillar stars.

Jessica Jumpers creates beautiful prints, portraits and totes. Her work often features two of my favourite things, ‘kitties & titties’. She also takes commission for portraits. Her unique style ensures any purchase would be a delightful gift.

Tote bag  with ‘titties & kitties’ slogan Sms drawing of naked woman bending over to stroke  a cat.

If African prints warm you heart, My Ankara Love is the place for you. These fabrics are divine. They stock everything from interiors to jewellery. I would die if I found any of their pieces under my tree.

Lamp, bangles, dress &  cushion is African wax print fabrics

Hatch is a retail space in Glasgow that curates independent makers from throughout the UK. They have so many beautiful things that would make amazing gifts. If you’re local I definitely recommend you check them out.

Dried flower wreaths octopus plate, good posnt holder with ivy, stained glass robin window decorations

Curated by Girls have the most amazing feminist tees. All of which are already on my Xmas list. If you know a woman who takes no shit one of these would make the perfect present.

Women wearing t shirts with feminist slogans.

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

Tits the season…

It’s not xmas without a bit of velvet. This year I have been eyeing up various wide leg velvety trousers. I love the look, but I rarely wear trousers, so I’ve been wary. Well, I finally settled on an excellent pair & today I wore the hell out of them.

I don’t know what I was so nervous about. They are bloody awesome. The paper bag high waist is very cute. They’re cosy & comfy. Even better they’re versatile. For my first outing I went casual with my amusing Xmas tee.

Plus size woman in black velvet trs, black t shirt & yellow cardi

Trousers – Elvi

T- Shirt – The Paper Press Ireland

Cardigan – Asos

Boots – Gift

All black was a little too calm for me so I flung on the brightest cardi I own & stuck some glittery baseball boots on my feet. I absolutely love these boots. They were a gift from my Mum a couple of years ago. Unfortunately neither of us can remember where she got them.

ly h Kerr Xmas t shirt

Earrings – Accessorize

This year’s take on the Xmas jumper is wee bit cheeky (like me). I got plenty of compliments on my ‘Tits the season’ message. I’ll be donning these velvet beauties again for the big day. Stay tuned for the luxe styling.

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.