A week(ish) in pictures…

It’s been a while since I did a week in pictures. Mainly because I have not been doing anything all that exciting. I have had a few family dos of late, so I’m doing a share.

First up was my youngest nibling’s first birthday party. The first year of these baba’s life has gone at lightening speed. They have been an absolute delight from day one and continue to be wee darlings. They are now very much on the move, starting to find words and full of fun. Their party was lovely. The babies enjoyed their new toys, grown ups enjoyed a cuddle and bigger kids loved running riot.

Dress – New Look
Tights – Pretty Polly
T-Shirt – Gift
Glasses – Where Light
Is there anything cuter than babies in tiny party hats?

Following on the family fun theme I had a gorgeous Easter lunch with my Mum, Sister & her boys. My sis made a superhero afternoon tea with plenty of vegan friendly options for me. The boy opened some Easter gifts and then we set off to his swing park for a bit of carry on.

After all that activity, I required a wee bit of rest. I had a quiet few days at home. Wore my comfies, tried to finish some work and painted my nails. I also had some yummy comfort food & bought Bronan some new catnip, which went down well. Strangely it also increased his paper fascination.

Nail Polish – Barry M High Vis

Thursday brought some Auntie time. My sister needed me to watch the boy for a few hours in the morning. This worked out perfectly as it gave him an opportunity to try out the blocks that Geomag* kindly sent me. I had intended to get a few of my littles to try them out, but this boy fell in love with them. He played all morning, took them home to play all afternoon too. The Magicubes are magnetic blocks that connect and hold on all six sides, meaning kids can build anything with them. I’ll definitely be buying more for the rest of my nibling gang.

Very pleased with his dog and dinosaur

I finished off the week with blood boost. A transfusion can be a nuisance, but necessary. Ultimately I am very grateful to have access to the medical care I need. Plus it gives you a good excuse to stay still and listen to a podcast all afternoon. I came home to huffy cat (annoyed that his dinner was late) & a lovely sunset. Not the wildest Friday night, but I’ll take it.

Big thanks to blood donors!

* GIFTED

A drop of golden sun…

If you have been eagerly anticipating the second part of holiday escapades, today is your day. When last I left you I was chugging out of Munich. So, let’s get going on magical Salzburg.

Our trip was a 70th birthday present for my darling Mum. Her favourite film is The Sound of Music. She never tires of Sister Maria and all the Captain’s children. Thus our (& now the grandkid’s) childhoods overflowed with edelweiss & doe a deer. Mum has talked about visiting Salzburg forever, the big 7-0 seemed the perfect opportunity to take her there. Purpose explained it won’t surprise you to discover that we stayed in the hotel where they filmed the movie.

Schloss Leopoldskron

Schloss Leopoldskron was a dream. Everything about the hotel is luxe. The rooms are gorgeous, the views are breathtaking and you have breakfast in a ballroom.

The exact spot Maria & the children fell out of the boat.

The hotel is gated. When you arrive it feels like you have entered a secret world. Wandering around the grounds I grew up watching on screen was so lovely. Sound of Music aside, it is a beautiful place. The grounds sit right on the river, looking out onto the most picturesque mountain scape. The only sounds are the ducks & geese on water. The air feels fresher. It is a wonderful spot for a complete escape from real life.

Breakfast Ballroom
Mirror Ballroom

The hotel (& Salzburg in general) aren’t big on the film connection. It wasn’t a hit in Austria for various reasons & the hotel is keen to focus on its links with Harvard. That doesn’t take anything away from the experience if you are a fan.

Since we are fans we booked The Sound of Music Tour. As it was a special trip we opted for the private tour. It was expensive, but felt it was worth it. The hotel doesn’t grant access to the tours, so if you aren’t staying you can only see the captain’s house locations from across the river. We were very happy to have had access to those spots, but there is still plenty more to see. Our wonderful guide, Alenka knew everything there was to know about the film & the city. She led sings songs on the drive out to the mountain locations & made the experience a total delight.

Mirabel Garten
The gardens the children & Maria sang Doe a Deer
None of us are 16 going on 17
Mondsee
Basilika St Michael, Mondsee
The chapel Maria & The Captain married in.
Wolfgangsee
Ariel shots in opening were filmed here.
The hills are alive with the sound of ly!

All of the locations on the tour were accessible. The group tour is on a coach, which would present accessibility problems. Our hotel had great accessibility; lifts in both buildings, wheelchair accessible entry and adapted bathrooms (on request). On the Covid front I felt pretty safe the entire trip. Masks were mandated indoors and we had to present our vaccine passports to enter any premises.

The final chapter of my holiday saga will be coming soon & it includes a castle.

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Oompah pah…

I returned from my German speaking adventure a week ago and am only now in possession of the spoons to tell you all about. I had such an amazing time that I wore myself out entirely.

We started with a few days in Munich. We got unbelievably lucky weather wise. The sun shone every single day. It was so warm that I wished I’d brought less cardigans and more floaty items. Don’t worry, I still put together some excellent outfits. We also saw many excellent sights and had a grand old time.

Our first stop was Munich’s old town hall. It is an incredible building located in a square full of beautiful architecture. The boy loved all the gargoyles and crazy creatures sculpted in stone. We enjoyed the sunny square whilst we waited for town hall clock to do its thing. Its thing was worth the wait. At the stroke of noon court characters began to dance and play the organ high above us. Royalty, drummers, jesters and even a joisting match spun above us as the gold clock glinted in the sun.

Munich old town hall and crowded square
He loved the hybrid creatures on this fountain.
ly posing in square wearing black jumpsuit

Just around the corner from the town hall is Munich’s old fruit market. These days the stalls have a variety of wares; hand made crafts, flowers, cheese, fruit and plenty of beer. The market is also home to lots of drinking water fountains and my nephew adored them. You can take a 4 year old anywhere in the world and they will be happiest playing with simplest of things. Thus he spent many a delighted minute emptying & refilling water bottles.

After a wander around the picturesque market, with our handmade delights purchased we found a lovely outdoor cafe to sample some German yums. The boy selected authentic Bavarian sausages and munched the lot. His Mummy & I played it safe with giant pretzels. Gran went for a truly a delicious apple strudel. We were mildly pleased with ourselves for navigating the German menu with the help of google. Even happier to receive what we had intended to order!

Our rooftop lunch spot.

We rounded off the square with stop at the the exquisite St Peter’s chapel. Although I am not Catholicism’s biggest fan, I do enjoy the beautiful architecture. My Mum, who is regular worshipper, took the opportunity to say a prayer. Meanwhile the & boy I lit a candle for our respective Grans. As we waited outside for my Mum the boy was overjoyed to meet a headless busker. Watching him come up with explanations for the man’s lack of head was exceptionally entertaining.

Our final stop in Munich was the Englischer Garten, an awesome oasis in the city. This park is the perfect sunny day outing. As you enter you can see people surfing on the man made river. The water moves so fast, watching folk brave the rapids is amazing. A few steps into the park there is the cutest little cafe, which we took advantage of. Refreshed, we ventured further and discover a fab play park for the boy to rascal. After a little rest for Gran and Auntie ly we continued on to admire ducks, pretty bridges and have a tonne of carry on.

Of course I spread some fat positive vibes.
The boy loved tricking me with the clear cola.

Munich is a handsome city. There was so much more to see, but we only had two days. We ate lots of yummy food and found the people to be really friendly. If you can catch the city in the sun even better. Public transport is abundant. If you’re struggling (like I was) street taxis are all over the place and I got Ubers really quickly when he weren’t near a rank. It’s fairly flat city which makes it easier to walk. I also found most places to have good accessibility. I’d rate it a good city for spoonies to get around.

On day three we were Austria bound on the train. Stay tuned for the next chapter of the adventure.

I was childishly amused.

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Fun Street…

Last Friday I had a big treat day with two of my niblings and their Mummies. We checked out a new (for us) play place and had a very yummy dinner.

Fun Street was a hit with both little ones. It comprises a soft play, role play (mini hospital, garage, library etc) and a really cool digital play area. The climbing wall seemed to be the big hit of the day, but they loved they whole day.

I wore something comfy and cute in preparation of much carry on. My little ones didn’t disappoint and much sun was had. Auntie ly may have done a little bit of spoiling in the toy section before we sat down a tasty Wagamamas. That’s what Aunties are for!

Dress – Boohoo
Cardi – Asos
Tights – Snag
Glasses – Where Light

Colour Him Father…

On Friday we took my dad out for an early birthday lunch. Dad’s birthday is actually Valentine’s Day, which led his Mum to want to name him Valentino. His Father had other ideas and he ended up Hugh. Considering he grew up in 1950’s Glasgow this was probably a good thing, Anyway, he’s a very lovely Dad and we like to treat him.

Lunch in The McMillan, which is fast becoming one of my fav spots called for a cool look. Luckily I still had an unworn Xmas gift that was perfect for the occasion. My excellent little sister gave me this gorgeous leopard print dress. We have very different styles, but she still manages to always pick things that I love.

Ly is wearing a leopard print dress, tights & clogs. She is standing with her hands on her hips.
Dress – ASOS Designers

It’s a super soft fabric and feels so nice. It does show my belly line when I’m moving, but that’s a thing I have been trying hard to be less worried about. Bellies are fine. Bellies are cute. I have been working on not avoiding dresses I love because they are fitted over that area. I don’t have a problem with that bit naked, so why should I care dressed? Body liberation is a continuous process people!

I added a little extra leopard print with my fab kimono because I love a bit of layering. Also it is freezing here. Finished the look with my staple snags.

ly is standing in her living room wearing a Lepard dress and green leopard print kimono
Kimono – Simply Be
Tights – Snag

We had a fun lunch. Food was delicious & company was of course a delight. I can’t believe my Dad is 74, he doesn’t look or act that old. In fact, I’m beginning to think my parents are wearing age better than I am!

ly is seated in a restaurant booth with her Dad.
Glasses – Where Light *
Earrings – Accessorize
The boy learned the art of silly faces & poses from his big cousin.

* If you fancy some Where Light glasses you can use my code (LHK30) for 30% off. (Not sponsored or gifted).

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Just a perfect day…

My sister planned a gorgeous trip for my 40th birthday present. Unfortunately Covid put paid to her plans. Last week we were able finally to set off on a different, but equally lovely getaway. It was worth the wait.

She found a swish spa hotel Mull & we embarked upon an island adventure. We spent a little longer than expected in Oban due to a ferry cancellation, but made the most of our time. A stop at the book shop to stock the boy with local themed books followed by a wander around McCaig’s Tower made for a splendid start.

My nephew was very excited to drive onto the big boat. He loved spotting Islands & lighthouses even more. The views from the ferry were beautiful, but the island scenes stole the show. Mull is magical. The autumn foliage gave everything a folklore feel.

The wild sea views from out hotel were even more spectacular. Located right on the ocean shore overlooking the sound, it was perfect. Our suite came with its own hot tub much to the boy’s delight. He adored jumping into the bubbly water in the pouring rain & watching out for lighthouse beacon. We swam everyday after our explorations. Then rounded off the day in soaking in the pitch black.

We spent our days enjoying winding drives amidst stunning scenery. The landscape was so captivating that we had to stop more than once to drink it in. We visited Tobermory (or Balamory to the boy), perused the local crafts in gift shops & baa’d enthusiastically at many sheep.

My clever sister found us the most incredible deserted beach at Calgary Bay. A cove of silver sands & slatey blue sea. Our little beach bum built a sand pirate ship, terrified me with seaweed & had the time of his life. It was one of those completely perfect days that I know I’ll always remember. I sat on the freezing cold sand, listening to the waves with the boy on my knee. I could feel his little heart beating from his toddler exertions and felt wholly happy.

Needless to say we have all fallen in love with Mull.

Be running up that hill…

Chronic illness is great at kicking you when you’re down. Lamentably, it also likes to give you a dunt when you’re flying too. It would be taxing to say which is worst, but falling from a height certainly hurts.

That was me last week. I was on a lovely break in the cutest cottage by sea. Soaking up the calming sea side views and thoroughly enjoying time with my nephew. The sun was out, we headed to an incredibly beautiful beach. I watched the boy run around having the time of his life. I paddled in the refreshingly cold sea. Took deep breaths, listened to the lapping waves & felt happy.

Tide coming in on st Cyrus beach

As it edged towards late afternoon people started to leave. I began to worry about the hill I’d have to climb to leave the beach. As we packed up I saw people stroll up. I knew it was going to be a problem.

And I was correct. That little sand dune fucked me up. I started trying to ascend it alone, but quickly realised that wasn’t going to happen. It’s hard to get your footing on slopping sand. Even harder to get purchase in moving ground with a walking stick. With every step the sand slid down the hill pushing me back. It was all working against me.

Foot with black painted tie nails on the sand with wave approaching

My sister saved the day. She let me lean on her, literally & half dragged me up that hill. Every step was excruciating. My knees felt like the where going to explode. My back, wrists, elbows & shoulders were all screaming. I couldn’t catch a breath, my lungs felt as though they were filling with the sand I was slipping on.

That little sand dune appeared to go on forever. The bench at top a promised land I’d never reach. Listen, the pain was bad, it wasn’t the culprit of tears at the summit. As my sister helped me struggle I saw my 3yr old nephew gamble up the slope. An old couple comfortably passed us. A nice man with a very concerned look stopped to ask if he could help. I focused on breathing whilst my little sister pepped talked me up that hill. I repeated ‘you’re nearly there’ in my head and tried my upmost to hold back the tears.

When I finally had my bum on that bench my nephew ran to give me a cuddle. The tears started streaming. I looked at the beautiful view as I silently cried. I didn’t want to make eye contact with my loved ones. I didn’t want my little rascal to see me in this state. I recognised the concern in my sister’s voice & the love in the silent shoulder my Mum offered to hold me upright. As much as I loved them for it, I hated that I have to be this way.

View from hill over a beach.grass & wildflowers with sand past leading down to the blue sea

It was another one of those ‘how did I get here’ moments that chronic illness brings. I never imagined it’d take a support team to get me up a hill at 40 years old. I’m not a person who likes to be publicly vulnerable, yet here I am. Regularly fragile & exposed as I try to scratch out something close to a normal life. I felt guilty and embarrassed and pathetic and grateful and burdensome and scared and loved. All crashing over me with more force than the waves below could ever muster.

I concentrated on the nature around me as fought to compose myself. I attempted to ignore the curious looks from strangers & the pain coursing through my body. I listened to the the waves and birds. I let the blue horizon pull me through all the heavy implications placed on the people I love. I dried my eyes. I got back on my feet.

The day continued. Me, making my way slowly behind the others. Stopping to rest. Taking pain relief. Zoning out when we got back in the car. It was all so much bigger than that stupid hill. I was hoping I hadn’t distressed the others. Dreading the pain that I knew was still to come. Feeling sad at the thought that I probably wouldn’t ever return to that blissful beach.

It is painful to accept one’s limitations. I find it incredibly hard to let more & more go. I hate that I’m always the one who has a problem with the plans. I despise that my difficulties are so visible. Gasping for air at checkouts that take a fraction too long. Sitting on floors when there’s no seats available. Calling in advance to check if my malfunctioning body can be accommodated. I don’t like being on display, don’t want to answer questions about my stick, shake off the exasperated sighs or smile at pitying strangers. No matter how kindly meant, I’d rather be suffering in private. I’m exhausted by the knowledge that I’ll pay for every slice of fun. Even more so by the battle with myself to keep reaching for those good times anyway. Most of all I’ll forever regret how much this impacts all the wonderful people in my life. I wish I could stop being a hindrance. I never want them to have to worry. I appreciate every tiny thing they do for me, but I still wish they didn’t have to.

This is chronic life. It’s not just the pain & illness. It is all encompassing. Lots of the time the only way to deal with that is to push it to the very back of your mind. These moments of brutal clarity never stop taking me by surprise.

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Put on your white dress…

I still can’t quite believe it, but my baby sister got married on Saturday. It was a wonderful day. She made an absolutely beautiful bride and everything went perfectly to plan.

My sister will always be stunning, so I had no fears about her finding the perfect gown. I, on the other hand was at panic stations. I searched & searched, but couldn’t find anything that worked. Finally, I found this pretty little number. I’m not usually one for sparkles, but this dress captured my heart.

ly is wearing green sparkly swing dress with gold belt & sandals
Dress – Dolly & Delicious
Belt – Boohoo
Kimono – Joanna Hope
Sandals – Schuh
Glasses – Where.light
Make Up – Stefanie Ferry

I felt awesome in my swishy skirt & shiny accessories. I loved watching my little sister seal the deal with her person surrounded by the people she cares most about. I’m so proud of the cute wee pest who has become the most incredible woman. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

Sunshine on a rainy day…

I hesitate to write that life is starting again because, well, we’ve been here before. I’m really hoping this time we really are on the road to recovery. In the meantime I will share pretty much every presentable look.

The relaxing of lockdown meant when we got rained out of the swing park we could continue the play date indoors. I wore an amazing linen dress that my excellent Mum found. The kiddies wore leggings that they managed to get dirty in 5 mins. Fun was had by all.

ly is standing by a brass floor wrap wearing a grey & green striped shirt dress and big square red & green glasses
Dress – Zea
Glasses – Where.light

The only thing cuter than me in this dress is of course these two little darlings.

Two toddlers kneeling in floor  playing.  One with arm around the other

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There’s gold in them hills…

I’m having a rough time. Everything is a bit of a struggle at the moment, so I’m going to do a wanky, hippie dippy post. Feel free to clock out because I’m about to deep dive into gratitude.

All the Basics

I have a safe, stable home. Food in the cupboards. Running water, central heating. Access to healthcare. A comfortable bed & wardrobe full of clothes. My basic necessities are taken care of and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

FaceTime

And WhatsApp, messenger, zoom & all the other clever doo dahs that allow me to keep in touch with folk. A friendly face or some carry on helps brighten my day.

Pillow Slides

Bought on a whim. Incredibly ugly, but oh so kind to my joints.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a genius plant. First & foremost it’s hard to kill. If you don’t have plant mum skills aloe is for you. It looks good, it adds oxygen to your room & it’s even easy to grow more from cuttings etc. Added bonus, our bodies love aloe. Need a moisturise, got sunburn, heat rash, a blister? Cut open a leaf and whap it straight on. Upset tummy, mouth ulcers, bad breath, ibs? Add a teaspoon to a glass of water. Wonder plant*

Temporary Solutions

I have a lot of issues with no permanent cure. Hence I have grown to appreciate a temporary solution. Diazepam is certainly not for long term use, but it bloody works for a day or two when your brain thinks the world is attacking you. Jane Austen will not fix my life, but she will soothe things for an hour or two. Whilst mint tea can’t cure my stomach disease, it can soothe the spasms attempting to eat lunch caused. They will return, but the minty goodness will buy me enough time to get home. Temporary solutions are various & abundant. Hugs, hot baths, sex, lidocaine patches, a big glass of wine… Moments of respite are better than none at all.

The Sea

Everything about the sea is soothing. The never ending expanse of it, the smell, the sound of the waves lapping. I always feel calmer by the shore. I can breathe deeper and see more clearly. Pretty lucky that I live on an island. The dazzling deep blue is never too far away.

Bronan

My lovely big loyal boy. Always gentle. My own living hot water bottle. An adorable wee tyrant who has me wrapped around his paw. Who doesn’t want to be awoken by a meowing creature in their face at the crack of dawn every morning?

Vincent D’Onforio

I like how brooding he is and that head moving to maintain eye contact thing he does on Law & Order. He seems like he’d be clumsily kind if you were feeling bad. He’s always despicable when he plays a baddy, which I like, no half measures. I get completely absorbed in the character when I watch him. I always believe it. Also, good name.

Summer Rain Showers

I like the ones that come on heavy, but run out of juice quickly. Summer rain smells good, it freshens everything up and gives me a good excuse not to hang the washing out.

Diet Coke

It is really bad for me, but it tastes soooo good. Big icy cold gulps. I don’t know how to quit you, Diet Coke.

Specs Appeal

Statement specs bring me joy. If I have to wear glasses every day they are going to be splendiferous. Big, colourful, can’t be missed face furniture is the only kind I will consider.

Ian Hislop

It’s very sexy when a person is that good at anything. He exudes the confidence of knowing he’s top of his game. He can slag off the bad guys with impunity because he leads a pretty decent life. He is cute and funny and incredibly smart. I’ve always been fairly sure that he has a huge, beautiful dick too.

Love

This might be where my sincerity gets too much for you. I care not. Life really wouldn’t be worth much without love. Giving or receiving, it’s wonderful. All those little thoughtful things a person does because they love you. Tiny gifts, texts, snapping a pic of something you’ll like. It all feels good. The warmth of knowing I’ve made someone smile or that they wanted to make me smile. Being able to comfort with your words or a cuddle. Sharing milestones & cups of tea. Love is the point, right? How can we not feel grateful if we have it.

Period Pants

A new thing for me and I like them. Wearing a pair to bed is so much better than using a tampon & worrying you might sleep too long. Likewise, so much better for those last days when you’re not quite sure if your period is actually finished or not. I can’t stand the feel of sanitary towels. Nor do I relish the sensation (or risk) of pulling dry cotton from my body. Period pants are a comfy godsend.

Choice

I’m so happy to live in a time (& place) of choice. So many aspects of my life offers abundant options. I can access almost any song in the world from my phone. Look up current affairs, trivia, what time the chemist closes by pressing a few buttons. I have films, shows, games, podcasts, strangers & friends at my finger tips. Whatever food I fancy can be delivered to my door. In theory I can pursue any career I’d like. I can vote how I choose. Do as I please with my body. Get married or not. Sleep with who I want. Wear what I like & go wherever I want (pandemic aside). Choice is not to be sniffed at.

Gardeners

Hallelujah for folk who will sort the garden in exchange for money. I am physically & constitutionally unsuited to maintaining outside spaces. I do however enjoy utilising them. I also like not stressing about ever encroaching weeds. I will never underestimate the peace securing a good gardener brings.

Little People

I have seven perfect niblings. My oldest niece is the smartest, coolest, kindest 11yr old you will ever meet. She will always be my little muffin, but she has grown into a person who makes me so proud. Then there are my brother’s boys who are his complete mini mes. His oldest is so patient & protective with his little brother. It is gorgeous to watch. My sister’s boy is half rascal pirate, half total love bug. He is a joy to be with. My bestie’s big girl is so cute & sassy. She may only be three, but that girl knows what she wants. Then there are her brand new little brother & sister. Newborn twins are a hand full but man alive are they adorable. I am so lucky to be part of their lives. Helping them become the people they want to be is an honour.

Disabled Ammenities

Parking spaces, toilets, seats right by the door on trains. I love them all. Anything that takes into account that every step hurts is a life saver. Extra space, bars to hold onto, not having to wait, all make my life immeasurably easier. Disability can rob you of dignity in so many ways. Things that allow me to navigate public spaces without being humbled are magnificent.

Sister Tik Toks

I love it when my sister and I send each other tik toks. I feel very seen when she sends me clips that make me laugh out loud or that relate to some shared experience. Having a sister is a lovely thing. Having a sister who gets you is even better.

Life has turned out to be harder than I had imagined. Amongst the struggle it helps me to acknowledge all the little & enormous things that make it worthwhile. I know it’s cheesy, but give it a whirl.

*Not a cure or medicine. Speak to your dr about any health concerns.

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