Pay it forward…

Phew, we made it. January is finally over. It felt like making it February wasn’t guaranteed a few times. If you’ve also been struggling, I hope the new month brings better things. I am by no means back in tip top condition, so I will be taking my return slow; bear with me. I thought I’d start with something that can make us all feel a little better.

Random acts of kindness are small things you do for strangers for no reason other than it’s nice to be nice. I often feel like I’m too small to make any lasting difference in our big messed up world. I think refocusing some of my efforts onto the wee picture can help. I feel less lost & hopefully the person on the receiving end feels good too. Keeping ourselves politically informed, active & compassionate can be exhausting. The feel good kick of helping someone out can go a long way to recharging our philanthropic batteries.

So, here are some simple & cheap tips for putting a smile on a stranger’s (& your own) face. These are all things I have personally tried or know of someone who had positive results. I will endeavour to tick off the whole list & repeat regularly!

Tampon dipped in red glitter

Tackle Period Poverty

Period poverty is a multi layered issue. Domestically it seems that our governments are finally trying to tackle the problem by providing sanitary products in schools, council facilities etc. There are still lots of people who will fall through the gaps and struggle to access the specific products they need. I’ve found a simple way to tackle this directly is just to leave tampons, pads, wet wipes etc in public toilets. Homeless organisations have suggested that train/bus station facilities often used by those sleeping rough are good places to leave supplies. I also leave them in bars, restaurants, fast food places, shopping centres, anywhere I go really. I can think of so many situations in which someone might be unable to buy period products or even just be taken by surprise with a period. If enough of us leave a few pads or tampons on a regular basis, it could make a bad day a little better for lots of people.

Please & Thank you

Manners make a huge difference. Whether it’s a thank you to the stranger who held the door open or please to the person who got your coffee. It costs us nothing to be polite to each other. A smile or acknowledgement when you accidentally catch someone’s eye is much gentler than a scowl. I am not by any means saying we must all wander around being happy 24/7. I know life is hard, but just trying our utmost to be pleasant to those we come across makes the world a much less threatening place.

Black text, please and thank you are still magic words on pink background

Tip

Taking the last suggestion a step further, please tip if you can. Unless someone is outright awful to me I always leave at least a little tip. Food service staff, taxi drivers, juniors in the beauty industry, all of those lovely people who deliver things right to your door! If someone goes the extra mile for you, bump up that tip.

Leave a little extra

If I buy something from a vending machine and don’t need the change for a specific purpose, I’ll just leave it there. I started when I was at hospital with my mum. After hours of waiting I was starving, nowhere was open & I had a long wait for a taxi. I only had £1 coin which didn’t go far in the vending machine. Lucky for me, some lovely soul had left their change. I was able to get a cup of tea & a nut bar, which went a long way that night. It struck me as a simple, but incredibly effective act of kindness.

Clean up

It always saddens me when I visit somewhere beautiful and discover people have discarded litter. A really straightforward act of community spirit can be just to collect any litter you find when visiting beaches/parks and so on. Cleaned up beauty spots are much more enjoyable, plus safer for kids & wildlife.

Spread the love

Compliments can make a person’s day. I always feel great when a stranger gives me specific compliment. ‘I love your nails’ or ‘your shoes are pretty’, gives me such a boost. When it comes to strangers I think it’s safer to praise something in particular. Unknown folk saying you are pretty or similar can come off a little creepy. A smiley ‘great coat’ is much nicer. With people you know well, go for it. It feels good to know that someone genuinely likes your style.

Pin badge with I like you style on confetti background

Fill a stomach

If you want to help someone in need places like Social Bite are amazing. Social bite do lots of work to combat homelessness. They provide free meals, employment & have even built the social bite village to provide housing. When you buy lunch at their cafes you can order & pay for an extra lunch (or lunches) for a homeless person. Those in need can then claim one of those pre paid meals. If you just want to treat anyone you can simply pay for an extra coffee/cake and tell the cashier to give it to the next customer. I saw this happen in a coffee shop and the recipient of the cake was utterly delighted. The smile on their face must have been worth two quid of anyone’s money.

Grant a wish

This one is a little whimsical, but it appeals to my soppy side. Leave a jar of pennies by a wishing well or fountain. Thus ensuring anyone who wants to can make a wish. At least some of have to come true, right?

Coins in a wishing fountain

I hope you find these ideas inspiring. A little kindness goes a long way. We could probably all do with some extra good will.

Running up that hill…

Day 2 of the fringe was a well thought out affair. We had selected (bickered over) which shows to see & carefully scheduled the day. With potato scones in my tummy & a truly excellent outfit we headed out.

Despite all that diligent planning we still managed to miss our first show, mainly because I just can’t move very fast. Thus we found ourselves with time to kill & an abundance of options. We took a punt on Super Sonic 90’s Kid. Me because I’m always up for anything 90’s & the Toyboy because he had spied that it involved gaming. Sooz Kempner spent the 90’s playing Sonic the Hedgehog & the like. She’s now wondering if her 90’s experience had long term impact. The show is a feminist gaming nostalgia fest. Throw in some on the edge one liners, an empowering theme & impressive belting of show tunes and you have a winner. I don’t think I’ve ever played Sonic & I still enjoyed it. If Sooz hits your city I’d definitely recommend buying a ticket.

Super sonic 90’s kid flyer

Sooz Kempner Edinburgh fringe 2018

The TB rushed me to the next venue so quickly that I didn’t have time to check what we were seeing.So, when I found myself in dark room before a spangly gyrating medieval knight I was a little taken aback. Boogie Knights was a hilarious disco infused theatrical romp set in a world where boogie knights must defeat an evil rock king. It’s ridiculous & cheesy & fantastic.

Adam Larter Boogie Knights

After lunching on some amazing falafel on South Bridge (or as we now call it, falafel st), we got back en piste. Robin Ince was recording Book Shambles sans Josie Long, but plus really cool guests. The afternoon that we caught featured Kiri Pritchard McLean & George Egg. Both guests were insightful & interesting. Robin was, as always, the perfect facilitator. I picked up a few book recommendations & I’m dying to catch up on Kiri’s serial killer podcast. There were giggles & thought provokers in equal measure, which is my ideal fare.

Book Shambles Edinburgh Fringe 2018

We marched up yet another incredibly steep hill & paused for more dreaded #ootd pics. I got a lot of lovely compliments on my attire in Edinburgh. I’m not going to lie it feels good to be praised from top to toe. So, I was feeling pretty good as we arrived back at the Voodoo Rooms for Mandy Knight’s The Dark Knight. This was another ad hoc pick as we couldn’t get into the show we planned to see. It ended up being one of my favourites. Mandy’s show is a decidedly dark, but humorous look at her life. A dead Dad, experiences of the care system & abortion don’t seem like immediate funny topics, but she had the audience in stitches. Her suggestion that her husband requesting she iron his shirt was the first step on a slippery slope to spousal abuse spoke to my deep ironing phobia. Her unexpectedly happy ending spoke to the damaged crazy girl in me. Oh & we were sitting next to Alan Davies (our one & only celeb sighting) Dark Knight was a big hit. I’ll absolutely be seeing Mandy Knight again whenever I get the chance. She cuts right to the bone, but it’s the funny one.

ly h Kerr Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Once again we were in a mad rush to find a venue that it turns out was not that far away & on a street I knew well. We discovered that the TB’s sense of direction is not great & neither is my ability to recognise street names. All of which meant we did the thing I dread most; arrived late to an intimate venue. Luckily The Creative Martyrs were kind even though they were dealing with the aftermath of the end of the world. After the Apocalypse was a cabaret style look at how democracy can be subverted. With nods to our current insane political situation & a healthy helping of friendly audience participation. I’m usually terrified of the any attempts to involve me in show, but these guys managed to make it entirely intimidation free. A quirky take on political satire.

After the Apocalypse Fingers Piano Bar

I emerged from the Armageddon bunker excited. Finally it was time for A Beginners Guide to Bondage. I love anything that’s a bit risqué and had been looking forward to this show since first reading about it. Sara Mason AKA Mistress Venita did not disappoint. She has put together an hilarious memoir/how to of her life as a Dominatrix. We squeezed into the tiniest of tiny rooms and learned about various kinks & props. Some brave souls even offered themselves up as apprentice slaves. I believe she is touring this show, if you like a bit of naughty fun see it. This was an hour of my life very well spent.

A Beginners Guide to Bondage

Show planner exhausted I hobbled down another bloody hill to find a place to park my arse. We finished our second day of the festival with drinks to live music in Cowgate. My spoons were seriously depleted, but fun was had & I still managed to look damn cute.