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.

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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?

Do I wear you out?…

I’ve had another really bad week pain wise. It feels like I’m been having a lot of bad weeks recently and I’m tired. So very tired.

Life goes on, though. Nothing stops because I’m in pain. So, I try to keep on going too. It’s exhausting. Pain wears you out. Even before you attempt to do anything, just being in pain is tiring. I’m not sure that many people know that. You start the day fatigued. Every single task you perform from that point takes enormous effort. You’re fighting the pain and the growing exhaustion.

Drs will tell you to rest, but complete rest isn’t feasible for very many people. I can’t rely on or expect other people to take care of my life for me. My house will stay dirty if I don’t clean it, my fridge will stay empty if I don’t fill it, my bills won’t pay themselves, medical treatment doesn’t come to my house, my cat needs fed and my teeth, hair, body won’t clean themselves. Those are just the very basics of life, but they can be overwhelming when every move you make is agony. It’s a no win situation. If I neglect these basics my quality of life is seriously impacted. My stress levels soar & mood plummets. Trying to keep up with daily life saps all my energy. Pain is exhausting & exhaustion lowers your ability to cope with pain. It’s a vicious circle with no obvious escape.

Plus living is more than one’s basic responsibilities. There has to be human contact & stimulation. Unfortunately those can be just as tiring as the daily dirge. I love writing. I love swimming. Both are good for me, body & mind. Doing either involves a string of wearying steps. I have to wear myself down in the hope of benefits that are never guaranteed. I have a wonderful friends & family. Excellent relationships I don’t want to lose or neglect. However, just making myself fit to be in company is sometimes a mammoth task. I don’t even mean appearance wise. My people will accept me with no make up & greasy hair. They can handle the days that I can’t walk very far or do very much. For which I am grateful. What I can’t ask of them is to soak up my ill temper. Pain makes you snappy & negative & frankly unpleasant. No one wants to be around that. Also, no one wants to treat the people they love that way.

What do I do? I monitor myself. I constantly keep a tight grip on that grump. Take a deep breath & swallow it down. Let me tell you, maintaining that front, is exhausting. Also, essential. I don’t want to be a nasty bitch. I want to treat people with respect. Of course I gain from this; my life is immeasurably better for having date nights & sister time & lunch with my bestie & joyous mini people in it. Pain is absolutely not an excuse for being a fuckwit. It’s right that I censor myself into being nice. It’s just that it’s incredibly draining. It is the same catch 22, don’t push myself to do these things and my life would be empty. Do them & I pay the price.

None of this is anyone’s fault. There isn’t really anything anyone can do to change these things. This is just my life. Oh & a lot of other people’s too. I have this idea that maybe if we understand each other’s experience we might understand each other a little better. I think that would probably be a good thing. Further more, I’ve been trying to hold in all my grump & I am very tired.

** Apologies. I know this is not my best writing. I’m really sore & really tired.

I’ll be there for you…

I’ve had a hard week. Pain is hitting a consistent 7/10, I’m getting hardly any sleep & of course I have tonnes of stuff to do. So, when I had a free afternoon I really wanted to be still & rest. Alas, my pesky little sister really wanted to go to FriendsFest. She was so right, it was awesome.

The 90’s was my decade & Friends was the ultimate must see tv in those days. Stepping onto the actual sets of the famous apartments was really cool. All the other Friends themed attractions were spot on & tonnes of fun.

ly h Kerr FriendsFest

All the details were perfect & messing around with the interactive scenes was amazing.

Friends set

My sis was the perfect person to visit with as we spent a lot time watching Friends together when we both still living at home. We used to play a game where we’d give each other a random topic & we had to come up with a Friends related quote. Now that I’ve written it down that story looks kind of tragic, but we did cool stuff too.

Pivot, Vegas wedding, meat trifle

You probably shouldn’t marry your sister, but if you do try to have a sister who makes the ugly wedding dresses look cute.

FriendsFest was a blast. I felt like I was half dead & I managed to have great time. If that’s not a rave review then I don’t know what it. Oh & yes, I did look cute. A swing dress plus red lippy is the quickest way I know to take yourself from drab to fancy.

ly h Kerr, Lindy Boply h Kerr rainbow petticoat

Dress – Lindy Bop

Rainbow Petticoat – Lindy Bop

Necklace – Fuck the Tories.

Don’t even try to tell me you wouldn’t watch this show.

ly h Kerr, opening credits

My week(ish) in pictures…

I know it’s boring to talk about the weather, but can you believe what’s going on outside? We’ve had almost 6 weeks of solid sun & it’s still showing up everyday! Needless to say I’ve been trying to make the most of it.

The Toyboy surprised me with a wee spa break last week. As you can imagine I was delighted. Fancy hotel, lovely treatments & yummy cocktails. Oh & of course it wouldn’t be a hotel stay without some sexy lingerie. Hotel sex is the best, right?

ly h Kerr, stockings & cocktails

I can’t really handle too much heat, so indoor fun is essential if I want to avoid fainting. Yellow Movement Saturday at The Clutha was perfect as it is technically in doors, but the glass ceiling & tree in the middle of pub give an outdoor feel. The music was good, company even better. My particular favourite was Fnuf. If electronic reggae with a french hippie vibe sounds appealing you should check him out.

Project Post it at The Clutha

This weekend we took a trip out to Musselburgh to see some lovely friends & enjoy the sun. Lisa gives the best cuddles in the world, little James was cute as ever & Gordon revealed his wicked side during a game of Cards Against Humanity. Bar a bit of sunburn (I missed a bit with the sunblock) fun was had by all.

There has also been a dinosaur filled midweek movie, bubbles on the mound, project post it & lots of nail art.

I went swimming with my sis & bestie plus their adorable babies. Purchased the most incredible blue lilies & we did a spot of babysitting.

ly h Kerr, blue lilies ly h Kerr

My cat remains the cutest, I continue to snap random pictures, Oh & I had a really porny pudding.

ly h Kerr, porny pudly h Kerr, Project Post it

I hope you’re enjoying the summer as much as I am. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

My week(ish) in pictures…

It seems like we are actually getting summer in Scotland. It’s been sunny every day for week & shock horror, we’re getting used to it. I’ve been taking full advantage of the weather (& my sister’s maternity leave) to get out & enjoy my beautiful country.

Living in Glasgow is amazing. The city is a hub of culture; great architecture, food, bars, shopping, museums. Oh & Edinburgh is almost as good & just down the road. Plus 30 mins drive from the city centre is the stunning Loch Lomond & loads of other equally beautiful places. We really do have the best of both worlds & I’ve been exploring them.

I’ve been taking in stunning views, soaking up the sea air & swanning around my city rocking my summer wardrobe.

ly h Kerr, Balmaha

ly h Kerr, bath st, Glasgow ly h Kerr, National Gallery of Scotland

There have been movies & yummies with my favourite people. My nails have, of course been killer. Obviously #projectpostit has been getting around with me too.

Project post it, Glasgow

ly h Kerr, the toyboy

ly h Kerr, Tarbert, Kilberry bay

Ringo came to stay, Bronan continues to be the perfect meow. My little people light up my life & make me laugh so hard I look like a walrus. There was also a tiny bit hospital fuckery.ly h Kerr, Ayr, seb

Light, sky light, bff,

ly h Kerr, Nail art

I even fitted in a wee stint as a luxury bitch. The Toyboy & I had a night in a fancy hotel. Plus some general lazing around. You gotta take it easy in this heat.

Spinning around in the air…

It has been a right old slog this week. I was certainly happy to make to Friday. What better way to celebrate it finally being the weekend than having a drink & dance? Well, I was only watching the dancing part, but it was still fun.

An old friend of the Toyboy’s is going abroad with her husband for work & they decided to a hit a ceilidh in one of Glasgow’s oldest pubs for their leaving do. I used to love a ceilidh, but alas, my knee stops me galloping about these days. Still, watching people really throw themselves into the moves is amusing. Even more so when it all goes horribly wrong. Ceilidh’s can very quickly descend into upbeat chaos. It doesn’t hurt that Sloan’s is a really cool venue. With an historic feature staircase, grand ballroom & some very Glasgow centric murals.

Since I wasn’t dancing I thought I better look extra good. I definitely didn’t want to be mistaken for a wall flower. So, I thought this metallic number would do the trick, especially when paired with my equally shiny brogues. I haven’t worn wrap dresses in a while, but after the success of the my Xmas day dress, I’ve fallen for the style again.

Dress – Pink Clove

Brogues -Primark

I’m not loving this one as much as my velvet beauty. It cuts across the bust in that awkward way that some wrap dresses do. Meaning one boob is always on the verge of escaping. I’m not a fan of having to adjust myself all night. It also crinkles up in a slightly strange manner, which I think makes me look like my body is rumpled & stomach is angular. Not the look I was aiming for! Anyway, I do love the cut of the skirt & the shiny, shiny fabric. I think I will wash it & give it another go. Sometimes clothes just sit nicer after they’ve been laundered. Fingers crossed.

I was chuffed with my icy blue eye make up & my high voltage nails were spot on. My silver brogues were also killing it, so it definitely wasn’t an outfit fail just room for improvement.

Watch out for a hopefully more successful restyle on this dress.