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

Advertisements

With logs on the fire & gifts by the tree…

We made it. The big day is almost upon us. Take my advice, if you don’t have it by now, forget it. I did the last of my Pre Xmas visiting today, so that I don’t have to run around tomorrow. In my opinion Christmas Eve is for resting up before you get your jolly on.

I dropped presents off at Dad’s today as I will be with the Toyboy’s family for Xmas and it’s too far to go back and forth. I took the opportunity of a festive encounter to get my velvet out. Even a wee bit of velvet really puts a xmassy spin on a outfit.

ly h Kerr ootd

Camisole – Boohoo

Skirt – Lindy Bop

Cardi – Primark

I suspect I’ll be pairing this camisole with any number of items over the holiday period. My face and hair unexpectedly decided to behave today. I’m sure this means they will refuse to play ball for Christmas Day, but oh well.

ly h Kerr

I actually have spectacularly dark circles under my eyes and some impressive spots, but I somehow managed to cover both. If only I could remember which combination of products I used (& in which order I applied them). Never mind, if I look like hell on Tuesday I’ll just slap a filter on; it’s what the baby Jesus would have wanted.

Family pic

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 multitude 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 phone call for a meet up, 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?

It’s coming on Christmas…

I’m feeling the need to immerse myself in the festive spirit this year. The tree is up, the presents are wrapped, but I want a more. Thus, I have concocted a not at all cunning plan, but I think it will be effective.

Step 1 – Up the daily merriment with lots of Christmas nail art. I always keep my nails adorned anyway, so I might as well up the glitter quotient & get my crimbo on. First up was this simple swishy tree. Rouge Noir is never not perfect.

ly h Kerr Xmas nail art

Step 2 – Spread the goodwill. As Cliff said, it’s a time for giving and there are hell of a lot of people in need. I have decided to commit to one bigish charitable act each week of December and as many small gestures as I can muster along the way. First up is the reverse advent calendar. Basically, you get a box and put a foodbank donation in it every day of advent. Individual foodbanks list what they most need at any given time, so check their websites. At this time of year I like to add some treats along with the basics. If a person can’t afford food they are unlikely to have money for Christmas present and extras. No one should have explain to their child that is Santa isn’t coming. I am by no means rolling in it, but with a little planning it’s possible to pick inexpensive items that will make a huge difference to a little one. Even chocolate Santas/coins can really help a family struggling at Xmas. We are living in difficult times, the continued roll out of Universal Credit in particular is leaving many people in financial hardship. Those of us with enough should & can give a little (or a lot) to the people our society is currently failing. Plus, it makes you feel really warm inside. It’s a win/win you feel like a lovely person, people in need feel a wee bit less bleak.

If you’re local to me here are some links to Glasgow Foodbanks & other food services. Otherwise you can search via postcode here. Sadly, Foodbanks are springing up everywhere, there will be one in your area.

Crookston Community Group & Foodbank

Storehouse Foodbank

Glasgow City Mission

Wayside Club Centre

Deck the halls…

It’s December and you know what that means. Yup, it’s time to get Christmassy! My insomnia came in handy for getting decorations up bright & early on the 1st. Then I really got into the festive spirit with a trip to the most beautiful Xmas Fayre.

The Christmas Fayre was at House for an Art Lover, a stunning Charles Rennie Mackintosh building hidden in the middle of a a very cool park. There were many beautiful wares for sale, but the building itself stole first prize. Our little monkey enjoyed exploring all the pretty nooks too.

House for an Art LoverHouse for an Art LoverIHouse for an Art Lover

For our festive outing I wore giant polka dots. I don’t often wear white, but I couldn’t resist this dress. I’ve actually had it for ages (I forgot about it, oops), but this is it’s first outing. I love it. Add a cardi & some boots for cute day wear. Reveal the cute off the shoulder fit & some statement jewellery to up the oooh. As is often the case with Boohoo, size up!

ly h Kerrly h Kerr tartan boots

Dress – Boohoo

Tights – Asos Curve

Boots – Primark

As for my Christmas decor, it’s perfectly sparkly. It’s amazing how warm a sprinkling of festive cheer can make you feel.

ly h Kerr Xmas decsly h Kerr Xmas decs

The first noel…

Now I know a lot of people feel it’s too early to be mentioning the C word. I mostly agree. I don’t want to put up my decorations or see Christmas dinner on the menu in pubs. However, I have a lot of gifts to buy (plus a tonne of December birthdays too), so I have to be organised. I started weeks ago, but I know lots of folk are about to get stuck in. It is for those ‘cannot wait til last minute’ people that I present my early Xmas gift guide.

I’m a bit mixed up when it comes to the festive season. I love some of the old traditions; I still send cards, I do not want pink trees & I’m definitely into a stocking bursting with fillers. On the other hand I have no time for gendered gift guides or waiting to open presents. Be assured if you give me a pressie before the big day, I will absolutely open it immediately.

With all that said here are some pretty picks with which to treat your loved ones. I have tried to cover all budgets whilst hopefully stretching across a range of demographics. I may also have thrown in a few items with a Scottish flavour.

Shall we start with the crimbo must haves? I think so.

I’m a fan of making my whole house smell like a cross between a Dickensian Xmas party & that stable the baby Jesus slept in. Fortunately M&S create those fragrances, package them up pretty & even stick a 3 for 2 deal on them. The sprays make a home smell divine. The pot pourri have equally delicious scents & also make great gifts.

M&S Xmas fragrances

In my opinion you can’t have a proper Xmas without a little booze or a lot of chocolate. My seasonal tipple is the delicious winter Pimms. I mix it with some ginger beer, but many yummy cocktails can be created with it. For chocs this year I’m looking to Fiars for their gorgeous vegan advent calendar & exquisite vegan boxes. I’m also very excited to try Vegan Burd’s new walnut whips.

Vegan burd walnut whip, friars vegan crocs

Next up are recommendations for a cosy cute Christmas. We all know there’s nothing better than slipping on some jammies & snuggling up to admire the sparkly tree. All of these festive comforts also make lovely presents.

Festive comforts

Stag Duvet, Asos Safari Pyjamas, Primark Grinch Boxers, Star Slipper Boots, M&S Velour Pyjamas.

Plus a little something that will make that tree really special

Bonnie bling still game de s

Bonnie Bling Still Game Decorations

Christmas is party season & everyone likes a bit of sparkle. Whether that’s to complete a glam look or soak in after one too many nights out, you can’t go wrong with beauty gift.

Lush is always a safe bet for smellies. This year they have some fabulous Xmas special editions. From minty fresh skin conditioners to decadent cognac infused bombs everything looks wonderful.

If you’re looking for something more personal I highly recommend Inara Candles. All hand

poured & using only soy wax they have some unique scents. They also offer a personalisation service, meaning you can add messages, intials etc to the candle label. Such a nice touch.

Inara candles

I’m looking to my old fav BarryM for a touch of shimmer with their amazing Unicorn Beauty Elixir & Liquid Glitter. Both can be used alone or mixed with other products to give anything from fresh glow to dazzling glitter. Then there’s the new kid on the block, Inglot. This is Jlo’s cosmetic range. As expected there’s a lot of highly pigmented products. One of the most Xmas gift appropriate is this vivid red liquid lippie with just enough sparkle.

BarryM & Inglot

Music & books have long been gifts I have enjoyed giving & receiving. It’s nice to have something to unwind with once the craziness of Xmas is over. These beauties are guaranteed to cheer up a dreary January.

Saltire Comic Book, Lily Allen’s No Shame, Challenge Accepted by Celeste Barber, My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen, The Beta Band’s 3 EPs.

I raved about Spunkrock Star before & I am sure I will continue to do so. Her sublime erotic art is perfect for any kink lovers in your life. Her beautiful portraits are also really smashing present.

Spunkrock star

If you want to make someone feel extra special this Christmas time I think Jewellery is the way to go. Rather than focusing on expensive fancy brand names I think you should check out these independent jewellery designers. They’re each creating breathtaking handmade pieces. What’s more your paramour will be donning something much more exclusive than anything you can source from the high street.

Oh Gosh Silver produce simple & timeless pieces.

Oh gosh silver

Chalso offer delicate beaded jewellery and silver work. Clean lines & skilful use of colour combined to make lovely pieces.

Chalso jewellery

Last, but the exact opposite of least is Kracken Jewellery. I have one of their pieces & I cherish it. Kracken have an eclectic range of designs. The incredible Gaudi inspired silver pieces are guaranteed to start conversations. Whilst the brightly coloured laser cut plastic rings will definitely brighten your days.

Kracken jewellery