I feel like throwing my hands up in the air…

I have been catching up with And just like that & I’m having a lot of feelings. I know, I know, it’s a tv show. These people aren’t real. Except, they kind of are. A little bit.

S&TC caught me at just the right time. I started watching right before leaving home & starting uni. I continued through 18 to 24, prime discovering yourself, life & love years. I re-watched again & again, Carrie & the gals my trusted companions. It hasn’t all aged well, there’s some really dodgy shit. Plus sometime I don’t even like them; Carrie could be truly toxic things. But, I still love them. There was nothing else talking about the kind of female sexuality I was exploring in the late 90’s. There were little bits of myself & my friends in all of the fab four. I could relate to their sexual & romantic adventures. I knew the unbreakable bond of female friendship. Carrie was a writer with a penchant for the older man for goodness sake. Then of course it was all so much more glamorous than my life. They were running around Manhattan in Manolos, whilst I could barely afford Malboro lights & rent on my dodgy student flats. We were both hiding our broken hearts in a haze of smoke & high heels, though. Fantasy wrapped up in just enough reality to capture my heart.

So, I loved them. I felt like I knew them inside out. Both the characters & the all the fragments of real people I saw in them. I have twenty odd years invested in these tv people. That’s crying on the sofa, drinking cocktails with the girls, hungover Sundays, hours of explaining to stupid boyfriends why Aidan wasn’t right & so much more. I want them to be happy. Real life is perilous on the happy ending front, but when last we saw Carrie & Co is was as close to a fairy tale as you get in NYC.

Miranda, Carrie, Charlotte & Samantha in coats walking in the street

I awaited this re boot with trepidation. There was never any chance of me not partaking, but I was worried. I feared they’d mess it all up. Successful drama needs conflict and I didn’t want my middle aged babes involved in any of that. They almost killed me with that first episode. I was always rooting for Big, even when he was a total fuckwit. I wanted Carrie & John to grow old together in harmony. Given what we found out about Chris Noth, it’s just as well they killed him off (but I can still mourn the character, right?). We also had Samantha’s absence to deal with. That empty chair at the restaurant. Those flowers at the funeral. It’s heartbreaking. I’m 41 now, I know those female bonds aren’t always so indestructible, but this is fantasy. Samantha would never have had such a silly huff. Two hard blows right from the kick off. The rest are good. I can take it.

Then comes Che and all bets are off. All of sudden I’m supposed to believe that Steve can’t make Miranda cum? The Steve that knew how to get her off from night one? They make him some lame guy who can’t finger his wife. Now Miranda is running off to surprise Che, who will almost certainly be screwing someone else when she gets there. I don’t want this. I want my loyal cynical Miranda with her sweet, loving Steve. I’m taking this betrayal personally.

That’s before I even touch on how they handled Stanford’s exit. Carrie going on dates or that hideous new apartment. Thank god for Charlotte & Harry. I hope. I may be a bit more jaded and lot less likely to fall head over heels, but I can’t take it if all those happily ever afters fall apart. Make believe is supposed to offer some escapism. Will no one think of the ageing romantics?

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The Easy Vegan

It has come to my attention that some of my readers would like some vegan tips. Always happy to oblige I got right on it. Which means I now present, the easy vegan.

Nutritional Yeast

Get some. You can pick it up in most supermarkets now. It has a kind of Parmesan type flavour & makes almost everything yum. Pasta, risotto, lentils, potatoes, sandwiches & more. Sprinkle generously. It’s good for you too, great source of b12.

Aquafab

Also known as the water from tins of chickpeas. This can be whipped up & used as an alternative to egg whites. It’s super easy and the final result tastes the same. Meringues, soufflé, mousse; all light & delicious.

Pink & white meringue kisses

Sprouts

Excellent in all forms. Little alph alpha sprouts are crunchy addition to sandwiches. Mung bean sprouts are an amazing to bulk up noodle, rice & veg dishes. Fling them into a pot with a little soy sauce & they’re good to go. Broccoli & Radish sprouts are a tasty topper for salads. They have bite & a unique fresh taste.

Remember Basics

If you work out what alternatives you like for your staples, vegan life becomes much simpler. Here are my favs:

Butter – I’ve never really liked the taste of butter so this was easy for me. I use an olive oil base spread. Most supermarkets have their own version, so it is inexpensive & easy to find.

Cheese – I like a few vegan cheeses, but I’ve found that the best ones are cashew based. There are so many vegan options out there these days, so it’s worth testing to find your favs.

Chocolate- My favourite is Vego. Especially the whole nut hazelnut bar. It is delicious.

Vego hazelnut chocolate on a wooden chopping board

Yoghurt – I do love some yoghurt and I’ve found the best dairy free are the coconut milk ones. They don’t taste like coconut, just much like plain yoghurt & they’re available in loads of flavours. Condensed coconut milk also works exactly like regular condensed milk for use in desserts.

Milk – I’ve never liked milk, so don’t need an alternative. However, the majority opinion seems to be that oat milk is the best non dairy. I have used it in baking & my wares were yum.

Boost your Veg

Obviously vegan cuisine contains loads of vegetables. Even the most devoted veggie can get bored with eating a lot of similar flavours. The good news is, you don’t have to, there are so many amazing things you can do to jazz up your greens.

Start with different cooking methods. Don’t just bung everything in a pot and boil. Try roasting, steaming, pan fry, stew. There are lots of options. Second, get creative with your seasoning. You can toss your veg in different oils before roasting or frying. Sprinkle with garlic, chilli, cinnamon etc for added flavour. Next go wild with your dressings; ‘Butter’ is great on loads of veg but don’t stop there. Soy sauce, houmous, satay, balsamic even a simple vinaigrette will all pep your veggies right up.

Thinly sliced roasted Mediterranean veg in casserole dish

Accidentally Vegan

Lots of common brand name foods just happen to be vegan. You’d be surprised at how many of your usuals vegans can eat. Vegan Food & Living have a comprehensive list of accidentally vegan options that is worth checking out.

Go Nuts

Nuts are good for everything. Easy & filling mobile snack. Tasty additions to savoury & sweet dishes. Stick some with your cereal, yoghurt, fruit to make them more filling. There are loads of varieties & they’re good for you; loaded with fibre, unsaturated fats & protein.

It’s never been easier.

Every supermarket has a vegan ready meals, every restaurant marks vegan friendly food on the menu. From sandwiches to fine dining there are options. Whether you’re sipping your toes in with Veganuary or going the whole quorn hog, it has never been easier. Go for it!

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Who wants to be a millionaire?…

It occurred to me recently that had I ever followed through with my invention I may be rolling in it by now. I know I don’t seem like high powered entrepreneur, but I’ve actually had a few amazing ideas that turned into real money spinners. Join me as trawl through the ideas I should have got a patent for!

The Vajazzle

Yes. Really. Way back in 1999 I came up with that idea. I welcomed a boyfriend back from a trip at Xmas time with a glittery festive shape instead of a landing strip. It was a hit. A mere decade later those damn Essex girls stole my idea and made a mint.

ly is naked holding her boobs.  There are lovehearta hiding her breats and a sign  saying nothing to see in front of her vulva

Folding Flats

You know those clever little ballet flats that fold into a tiny pouch? My best friend and I had that idea in the 90’s too. Sick of walking around barefoot holding our heels after a night out we drunkenly came up with fold away shoes. As with most 4am ideas we did no follow through. A few years later some other more committed bugger actually made them. Another money making opportunity missed.

Nail Art

Oh I know, this seems unlikely. It’s still true. I’ve been painting designs on my finger nails since my early teens. Granted, I wasn’t always good at it, but I was absolutely doing it before it was a thing. My little sister even got in on the act way before any professional salons started offering it. We were trailblazers. These days we both pull off amazing nails, but other folks are raking in the cash.

Pale pink and blue manicure with half pink/half blue love hearts n

Armery

In the early 2010’s Mary Portas Lauched her Armery collab with Charnos (many brands have had similar designs since). She claimed it was her revolutionary idea, sleeves that could be worn under anything for women who didn’t want bare arms. Well, once again, I beg to differ. Portas was not the first to think this up. Myself & many other self harmers had been taking scissors to tights to fashion an identical product forever. Necessity is the mother of invention. Hiding the tell tale signs of our terrible secret had us innovating long before Mary. It’s pity some of us didn’t get together and launch the idea.

Torso of model wearing black vest and blue Armery sleeves

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Don’t leave me this way…

Since we seem to be heading full steam into SUCK IT territory for the disabled & chronically ill I wanted to talk about my experience of covid. There has been an overarching theme of those with existing health conditions being dispensable from the start, but now it’s pretty much being explicitly stated by our leaders. I want everyone to know how frightening this is for those of us that so many are happy to sacrifice.

As a person with chronic health issues (arthritis, fibromyalgia, stomach disease, anaemia, PCOS) I took covid seriously from the beginning. Lockdown was a complete lockdown for me. I stayed at home. I had no visitors. All my essentials were delivered. The only contact I had with anyone was the occasional driveway visit. My sister or bestie would stand in my drive and I’d sit in my open from door. I didn’t touch another human being or leave my house for months. I had hospital stays without visitors, didn’t celebrate my 40th birthday and spent Xmas 2020 at home on my own. My lockdown stretched on further than the official stay at home orders. Since early 2020 I have spent the majority of my time at home and I have been scared since the beginning. I had no idea what covid might do to me. I’ve experienced catching bugs or viruses that were no biggie for others, but sent me to the hospital. Every time I heard of someone dying being caveated with they had existing health problems, I knew that could be me. This pandemic has always been an emergency situation for me & those like me.

I now regularly see family & one close friend. I wear a mask, sanitise, stay outside as much possible. If I must be inside I go to places that follow all covid precautions and I exercise extreme caution. Doctor appointments aside I leave my home about once a week. I still have everything delivered and avoid contact with those outside my immediate circle. I do home tests before and after I go anywhere. With a couple of exceptions a restricted life has become my normality.

I contracted covid 19 in oct 2020. At that point I was spending 99% of my time alone at home. I was seeing only my sister, mum & nephew and wasn’t visiting anyone indoors. I still managed to catch the virus despite none of the family I was in contact becoming infected. The acute illness was not severe. It lasted about ten days & felt like having a stomach flu. I had more gastric than cold/flu like symptoms. My cough was very mild. I lost my sense of smell & taste. I felt terrible, but I didn’t require any medical attention. In the following weeks I really struggled with breathlessness & racing heart but assumed this would pass. It did not.

15 months later I am still dealing with long covid. My already limited mobility has been massively impacted. I become breathless even moving around my own home. I have to sit even to brush my teeth, make a cup of tea etc. I have overwhelming fatigue, brain fog and widespread pain have markedly intensified since having covid. I experience palpitations and chest pains on the slightest exertion. My heart rate regularly climbs to heights whilst trying to complete the most basic of tasks. I have been hospitalised on 4 occasions because my heart rate would not slow down to an acceptable level. Drs can monitor and treat symptoms, but they know almost nothing about long covid. They can’t tell my why these symptoms persist or if they will ever go away. My chest x rays are clear, my heart is not damaged. The tachycardia & breathlessness are a covid mystery.

A frightening and very real mystery. It is scary to feel as though your heart is going to burst out of your body. Or to be so out of breath that your head spins and chest burns. It’s a million times more terrifying to be told that the experts have no idea why it is happening or how they can make it better. Fear has been common thread. 2021 has been a really hard year for my health. All of my existing symptoms have worsened. The added problems have caused me serious problems and I think I have picked up every cold, stomach bug & infection going. All of which has been alarming. I’m worried that the next illness or flare might be the big one. I’m stressed about all the work I can’t do and the financial repercussions of that. I am chilled at just how little I am now able to do before becoming too exhausted/sore/dizzy/breathless to continue. Most of all I am terrified of what could happen if I get another variant of covid.

I am fully vaccinated (& boosted). I have masks galore, anti bac in every bag & pocket. I still leave parcels & deliveries by the door for an hour before I touch them. I bought a device to sanitise my phone. I’m never in crowds. I rarely go out. I’m acutely aware that I was being even more careful when I caught covid the first time. Every single aspect of my life has been affected by this pandemic. I know I am not alone. Most people have sacrificed. Many are in the same boat as me & others in far more treacherous vessels. I understand that this has been a collective trauma that everyone is eager to put behind them. I just wish more people would understand that this isn’t over yet.

When you justify the need to ‘live with covid’ by saying that most healthy people only experience mild symptoms I am the exception in that sentence. People like me will die or be permanently disabled if we ignore how dangerous covid still is. I understand that you want your life back. You want to stop worrying and missing out. I do too, but if we throw caution to wind now it’s not without consequence. If we pretend that covid is just another part of life we are throwing the sick, disabled, old & vulnerable to the wolves. I believe that those lives are worth as much as any other. Our needs are already ignored in so many ways, please don’t abandon us altogether.

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New year, New lingerie…

What better way to start the year than in some gorgeous new knickers?

I can never have enough lingerie , so I’m always excited to get some for Xmas. I’m loving all the lace detail especially since the fabric is super soft. I adore the shape the bra is giving me. The whimsy of the French knickeresque pants is delightful.

ly is standing with her hands on her hips wearing deep red lingerie set wth kace. i
Bra & Pants – Figleaves Curve

You know your knickers are making you feeling yourself when you have the urge to snap a booty mirror selfie.

ly is taking a pic of herself over her shoulder in a mirror wearing burgndy pants

Blue eyes & attitude…

Boxing Day is my Mum’s birthday, so I took advantage of a nice family lunch to try out one of my Xmas gifts.

This dress is from my Mum & it’s a cracker. Super soft & comfy, fits like glove. It is my first from In the Style and it’s getting a big thumbs up.

ly is standing against blurred background with her hands on her hips wearing a pale blue button up jumper dress n
Dress – In the Style
Tights – Snag
Glasses – Where Light

I felt so good in this dress. Plus it was so easy to wear. I like that go up to a 28 (not perfect, but much more inclusive than many). I also like that most of their styles are available in their full size range instead of a just a small selection in a plus range. All in all I’m loving this brand.

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I am anything I want…

I’ve had another sleepless night and I used the extra hours to clean up outstanding admin. One of the tasks I enjoy the least is dealing with the angry dms/emails etc I get from random followers who hate fat, single woman being happy & online. Recently there has been a sharp upturn in the number of messages telling me I should be ashamed, i’m a bad influence, should have more self respect… To those I say, SUCK IT,

close up of red haired woman with retro glasses &  septum piercing sipping straw in iced drink

You’re not a slut (unless you like that term) if you enjoy lots of sex. Nudity is not inherently sexual and even when it is, it is not dirty. No one has to justify their sexual agency. I’m a grown ass woman with a healthy sex drive & I give zero fucks about what anyone thinks of that.

I have a sex life. Fat women are desired. I’ve had various partners. Some were great ideas others not so much. I’ve shed some tears, discovered things about myself, been frustrated & had a fucking ball. I’m am sick & tired of the contempt for female sexuality. I’ve regretted some of my sexcapades, but I’ve never been ashamed. In fact, I’m delighted to offer some high(& low)lights in service of the sex positive feminist agenda.

There was the Brazilian bus driver turned surgeon who was fun and precipitated an embarrassing incident.

The night club bouncer I fell arse over elbow for only to have him wreck my life.

The university professor who was kind, smart, committed & gorgeous, but just not the one.

The stunning aspiring stage actor who had the sexiest curves I’ve ever seen. She soothed my broken heart, boosted my self esteem and invited me to her wedding years later.

The film critic who gave great date and turned out to be full shit.

The part time novelist who was a talented writer (& lover), but wanted me much more once he couldn’t have me.

The librarian union rep who presented as the ultimate lefty. Unless it related to feminism, then he was the laziest of ‘not all men’ misogynists.

The post man who was just a terrible rebound mistake and had to get up way too early.

The student who’s very catholic Mum popped in when were having sex on the sofa. The 3 minutes it took me to find anything to hide behind were probably the most awkward of my life.

The bar manager who got clingy two dates in despite telling me she didn’t want anything serious.

The biologist who was fine really, but always thought he knew best. Good time in bed. Frustrating conversations.

The IT analyst who wanted to move way too fast. Very romantic, but scared the shit out of me with detailed future plans.

The tax man who started out a lot of fun. Settled into something comfortable. Ended up a huge cowardly disappointment.

The electrician who was a whirlwind. Crazy night outs. Cuddly weekends watching old movies. Fizzled out fast.

The newly divorced Mum who was actually pretty incredible, but really wanted to live the party girl life. I was just too old & tired for clubbing on a Wednesday.

The rugby player who was an entirely different person in front is his friends. I met a cool, sensitive guy. Every time we went to the pub I was with a rugby boy cliche. Big nope.

The lottery fund allocator who could have been perfect if i wasn’t so ridiculously bad at recognising the nice guys.

The mental health worker who was all erudite and kind. Big social conscious. Fostered rescue cats. Was also way too interested in my scars in bedroom. Creepy & ugh.

The photographer who was exciting & hilarious, but only because he took copious amount of cocaine. Pro tip ladies coke is no friend to the old erection.

And more.

I have a favourite who blew my mind. There were crazy hot folk, guys that others thought weren’t attractive at all, relationship, flings & the odd one nighter. It’s all fine. Every (consensual) sexual encounter was ok for me. Sex is fun. It’s natural. It can be as big or as little a deal as you feel it is.

ly is posing in black underwear with red faux suspenders tights . She has her arms above her head

Safe sex between consenting adults is A OK. Have as much or as little as you want. Talk about it or don’t. Your body is yours to do with as you please. Enjoy.

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Booster adventures…

My health has been yuck for the last few weeks and have been stuck at home. It’s been all jammies & running life from my phone for me. My biggest adventure has been finally getting my booster jab this week.

After a really rough weekend with a stomach flare it felt really good to keep down some toast & mint tea. That little boost encouraged me to put some mascara on & get my Xmas t shirt out. I was only going to get my Covid booster, but it did feel nice to get a little fresh air and see the outside world. Of course I also felt relieved to be fully vaxxed again!

ly is standing in front of Xmas tree wearing leopard print trousers,  black t shirt & purple cardigan
Trousers – ASOS Curve
Cardigan – Handmade by my Mum
Tits the Season T-Shirt – Paper Press Ireland

My Xmas parcel from my dear friend Jenna arrived early from philly, of course I opened it. One of the lovely gifts she sent was this bangle, which I wore immediately. She knows me so well.

Pale wrist with gold bangle inscribed with  societal norms can suck dick
Bangle – Metal Marvels

I got my vaccine at Glasgow Central Mosque. The building is really pretty so I could not resist snapping a photo. Along with a few other random ‘I’m outside’ pictures.

Central Mosque
In the queue to get boosted.
Glasses – Where Light
Pretty lights on the way home.

Please do get your booster. We do not want to be messing around with new variants. I felt a little rough yesterday, mostly a bad headache. Much improved today and delighted for the reassurance of extra protection. Take care out there.

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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