And a happy new year…

I think it’s fair to say that 2019 has been a shit show. A political nightmare on a global scale. Environmentally disastrous & frankly a genuinely worrying time to be alive. My faith in humanity has taken a battering this year.

It won’t be like this all the time stencilled onto a pavement

It hasn’t been an especially uplifting 12 months on the personal front either. There’s been loss, illness & a struggle for meaning. It has all felt a little pointless at various stages, but I made it. Here I am living & learning. Carrying on.

Woman in bed with teary eyes

The year got off to a heartbreaking start, but there have been ups. I cemented a crucial relationship & extricated myself from one, which in hindsight, I hadn’t wanted to be in for quite a while. My people have proven once again how marvellous they are. Circling around when needed & letting me be when required.

Txt conversation

There have been a few professional triumphs. I returned to public speaking (terrifying), embarked on a little social media consultation & posed for some excellent photographers. I produced writing I am proud of and my expanded audience significantly.

I applied myself to the task of enjoying life. It’s not always easy when dealing with chronic & mental illness; I’m pleased with my progress. My little ones continue to be of endless interest. I have immersed myself in the joy they bring as often as possible. I’ve allowed myself to enjoy time with someone lovely & undemanding. I even had some successful surgery.

Selection of pictures of children

Most importantly (I think), I have released myself from the need to know where I’m going. I always thought my biggest purpose was motherhood & letting go of that dream has been challenging. I felt bereft of meaning. It has taken time & wise counsel to discover that perhaps I don’t need all the answers right now. It’s ok to take some time to breathe & live. Hopefully other options will present themselves. In the meantime I can work on career goals and hopefully continue to squeeze maximum happiness out of life.

Path continued painted cement ground with foot & walking stick

So, it’s true. Life goes on. I suppose that’s as true on a larger scale as it is personally. We can still strive to be the change. Sadly, it looks like there will be lots of opportunities to test the courage of our convictions. I hope we prove ourselves brave.

Mirror image of fat women smiling

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* Photography Credit – Megi Aben

May all your troubles soon be gone…

All the last minute tidying is complete. The presents are wrapped, the festive bedsheets are on & the fridge is stocked. My final festive manicure is complete & my outfit is all picked out. All that remains to be done is put my feet up for the evening before the madness begins.

Xmas tree with presents

I’m getting very excited about the big day. I’ll be at my sister’s & her little man is so into Xmas this year. I can FaceTime my other wee ones to see them open their pressies. Plus I’m a big kid and I love getting gifts too!

Xmas nail art. Candy cane stripe & holly

As happy as I am to have friends & family to share the season with, there’s always a hole in my Xmas. Being reminded of all the family fun I’ll never have with my own children is hard. Lots of people who have experienced loss struggle over Christmas. That’s why organisations like Sands & Miscarriage Association are so crucial. Sands work towards reducing still birth and neonatal death. They also provide support for those have lost babies. The Miscarriage Association aim to support those who have suffered miscarriage. They also strive to end the taboo nature of baby loss. Both do essential work with vulnerable people. If you can spare a little, a donation will allow them to continue their essential mission.

Xmas tree, heart decoration with text no foot is too small to leave van imprint in this world

However you spend Christmas I hope it will be safe, warm & filled with as much joy as you can muster. If you are missing someone this year I send you love.

Easy ways to support your spoonie friend at Christmas…

I often share tips to help chronically ill people manage different aspects of their lives. However, sometimes the trickiest part of the spoonie life is dealing with how those around us react to our illness. This time I thought I’d give some hints to those who know & love a spoonie.

Please don’t give us a hard time when we cancel

This applies all the time, but especially during the festive season when there are so many events & parties. We know we disappoint you when we cancel. We aren’t sick on purpose. We can’t control our flares. Trust me, we really want to be there. We are sorry we’re missing your thing, particularly if it’s really important to you. It’s fine to say you’ll miss us or you’d have loved us to be there, but please don’t get angry. Try to consider all the times we do show up for you despite being in pain or dealing with other symptoms. We already feel more guilty that you can imagine & we are incredibly grateful that you stick with us.

White txt on pink background, my brains says let’s do something exciting today. My body says don’t listen to that fool.

Take our restrictions/limitations into account when planning activities

Disabled & chronically ill people can have a whole range of needs. We really don’t have a problem answering questions when they are considerate & relevant. If you take into account accessibility needs (disabled toilets, stairs, seats, dietary restrictions, crowds etc) it is much more likely that your spoonie friends can attend. More than that they’ll actually be able to stay for the whole shebang & enjoy themselves. It is actually much easier that you think these days. Many venues are happy to help you make accommodations or already have them in place. All varieties of specialised food are commonly available. Plus I for one am often happy just to know there will definitely be a seat so I can retreat if I need to.

Take no for an answer

If we say we are too ill, we mean it. It’s not an excuse nor the start of a debate. We’ve always thought out every possible variation before deciding we can’t make it. It doesn’t help when you say we’ll feel better once we’re out. We’ll feel much worse if we push ourselves too far. We know our limits & all our responsibilities; we are the best judge of what we can handle.

No comparisons

Please, I beg you, don’t do comparisons. Getting upset because we went to so & so’s birthday, but can’t come to yours is pointless. It won’t make us any more able to attend & will just make everyone feel worse. Chronic illness is a crap shoot. We never know how we will feel on any given day. We might have been the life & soul at dinner last week, had a ball with the wee ones on Tuesday & unable to move without crying on Thursday. There is no predicting how chronic illness will behave. The things we don’t attend is not linked to how much we wanted to be there.

Siamese cat on blue background with txt, no pain no gain. Chronic illness is not a competitive sport.

Bonus Tip

Don’t tell us we can do anything we put our minds to. We absolutely can’t & this is a shitty reminder. It’s not inspiring, it’s dismissive.

Your spoonie friend loves you. They are delighted that you are on their life and they are doing everything they can to be reliable & fun & supportive. Please cut us a little slack.

Lonely hearts club band…

Miscarriage is lonely. When it happens you’re on your own. No matter how much support you have it’s still just your body failing. Your dream dying. Even if you have a loving partner who shared that dream, they’re not bleeding. Their body isn’t an empty husk. Yes, I know this isn’t necessarily true, but believe me, it’s how it feels.

That sensation continues. The loss is isolating. For all the reasons we’re starting to talk about and for others that will surprise you when you thought you were ok. It is an uncomfortable topic. No one really wants to talk about your unsuccessful pregnancies. Often most people in your life don’t even know about them. Those that do will forget the dates & details. That’s not a complaint, just fact. Your baby wasn’t real to them. It’s hard to feel anything about a life that never tangibly existed; your baby only really lived in your world. That’s not to say your people don’t care, they do. Perhaps they just don’t want to upset you. Or they genuinely don’t have the words. Time goes by. Life is lived. The only evidence of your loss is an absence. But the missing party was never there to anyone other than you. It’s a crime without a witness, but it isn’t victimless.

To a certain extent you adapt. You carry that lonelines. It’s occasionally acknowledged that once upon a time your life was almost something else. You quietly carry your grief and you carry on. Along the way you find new challenges. You discover that there are a bunch of seminal moments & experiences that you have to put away. You aren’t really allowed to tell those stories like other mothers do. You aren’t even allowed to call yourself a Mum out loud. The title doesn’t make sense to the world when you have no flesh & blood children to show.

So, you learn to smile & say nothing. Just nod and ask questions when others share the tale of how they discovered they were pregnant. You can’t join in with a silly story about peeing on a dozen sticks. You can never say how you somehow knew before it was ever possible to do any test at all. Your stories aren’t cute. That’s someone else’s lot. You won’t be thanked for ruining the mood. Likewise you mustn’t share pregnancy tales. No friendly bonding over how tired you were or sick you felt. Cravings & aversions will remain unknown because, again, you have no happy endings. The tone of your reminiscing isn’t light. You can never empathise with a pregnant friend. To do so would be to draw attention to tragic realities. There isn’t a guilty party. You aren’t being maliciously excluded. It’s just life. Your child didn’t make it. Reminding everyone of that turns warm-hearted conversations into sad, awkward exchanges. You can’t broach the subject because you don’t want to spoil other people’s nice time. They won’t include you because they don’t want to hurt you or because they forget (or never knew) that you are part of that gang. You’re missing the vital component required for membership.

That hurts. The silence is painful. Biting your tongue & standing on the perimeter takes effort. Not letting any of it show can be torture. Not fatal though. You’ll find yourself in these situations repeatedly. You’ll realise you can survive them. You will nod along & take your sadness home. Unpack it when you’re alone. Go over your own pregnancy chronicles in the privacy of your head. Then you’ll have to take a deep breath & face the new hush.

You have nothing to add to the next part. The trimester you didn’t reach. The birth. The nights the baby didn’t sleep. The trials & triumphs of breastfeeding. Words and steps and sobs and kisses. You’ll have nothing to share. All you have is second hand information. When you help your experience isn’t really yours. Just borrowed. Never actually a mother’s wisdom. It’s still no one’s fault. You don’t wish they wouldn’t share. Don’t want to stop being a part of the whole wonderful process.

It’s lonely.

To feel like a mother & never have anyone call you mummy.

To shake your head no when you mean yes.

I know other people understand, but I’m still on my own.

Don’t forget to shout…

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s a wet, grey day & my mood is bleak, so it seems like an apt day to talk about suicide. Although, to be honest I want you to do more than talk about it.

Suicidal ideation impacts the lives of more people than you would imagine (1 in 5). It’s not rare for a person to reach a point where they are so desperate that they just don’t want to continue. In my experience those thoughts are insidious. Once you have seriously considered ending your life, it enters the sphere of available options. So, whilst I absolutely do not want to die; I can’t deny that occasionally at really bad times ‘kill myself’ would be the last entry on my list of possibilities. What makes it a remote last resort rather than an actual risk is a combination of factors. People love me, I love them, there is joy & purpose in my life. The only reason I can recognise & enjoy those factors is years of intensive support from mental health professionals. I am grateful for the people who stood by & helped me access the treatment I needed because without that professional intervention, I would certainly be dead.

World suicide prevention day

So, yes, I do want to us all to talk about this. I want to break the taboo. I want people suffering to not be silenced by shame. It is important that you listen to loved ones in trouble. It matters that you care, but what is even more important is that there are effective mental health services to seek help from. Talking & listening isn’t going to save anyone unless it’s backed up by solid treatment. In short, we need better mental health services.

There is no point in asking people to reach out for help when none is available. A cup of tea & chat with a friend is nice, but it will not solve the underlying issues that lead to suicide. We need to be able to offer people more than a 6 month waiting list for a hand full of CBT sessions. When your loved ones tells you they want to die, you should be able to take them to a dr & get them immediate help. Instead the current response is often no beds & here’s a crisis team number.

I want you talk about suicide. I want you talk about mental illness. I also want you to do more. Don’t vote for people who will continue to decimate the NHS. Find out how the mental health services are performing in your area. Write to your Mp/Msp about provision of those mental health services. Sign petitions. Write to newspapers. Share your experiences. Do everything within your power to raise the profile of mental health services. We are failing really vulnerable people everyday. We beg them to ask for help & then tell them none is available. If you really want to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts, you have to do more than talk. We have to fight to give them another credible way to end their pain.

Actions speak louder than words

Find your MP here.

Find your MSP here.

Check your MP’s voting record here.

My new year week in pictures…

2017 was a tricky year. I came really close to my version of happily ever after, but it wasn’t to be. I did however face the worst possible thing & I wasn’t destroyed by it. I welcomed a wonderful new person to my pack & said goodbye to people who deserved longer. I’ve been sick & sore and still produced work I’m really proud of. Best of all I still have a loyal & fabulous troupe who are willing to dance in my storm. That one of them is a rather lovely man with a delicious arse only makes my life better. 

I have high for 2018. There will be new nieces/nephews to adore, exciting work prospects & who knows what else. I am ready for a brand new year & it is off to a great start. What’s better than celebrating that by sharing with you all. So, here it is 2018’s inaugural week in pictures. 

The Toyboy & I made the last minute decision to spend Hogmanay at the last ever Club Noir. Thus, we rung in the new year with loads of burlesque shenanigans. It was excellent. I am so sad the Club Noir is  no more, but very pleased I got to witness its last hurrah. TB & I also decided we should definitely see more burlesque shows. If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments.
Smiling couple at Hogmanay celebrations Club Noir Hogmanay celebrations

New Year themed nail art manicure

After a remarkably hangover free New Year’s Day spent on the sofa eating junk in my pants, I was totally ready for a little shopping. I met my Mum & Sis for the best kind of retail therapy, baby shopping! I wish I could say we were one of those perfect families who are always on the same page, but we are so not. Me, my sister & our Mum all have our very own views on what’s gorgeous in infant wear. Luckily we can all see the funny side of our disagreements & a consensus was reached. Next up on the little people front was my beautiful little Madison. I highly recommend having a best friend with a baby. I can think if no better way to spend an afternoon than talking about every last thing with my bff whilst cooing over her mini me. 4 months is a great age & Madison is a great baby. Talking of great babies, there’s my nephew. Although, to be honest Kevin is fast outgrowing the baby moniker. My little superbaby is walking, talking & totally time obsessed with birds. I spent Thursday evening playing & getting ready for bed with him and my absolute favourite part is when he brings me a book & climbs up in my lap to listen to the story; even if he does get impatient for the pages with the birdies on them.

Vegan snacks, no make up selfie

Cute bear snow suit

This is the best thing I have ever bought. 

I finished up the first week of the year with a wee sneaky hotel stay. The TB & I were visiting friends for a b’day in a slightly out of the way place, so we decided to make a getaway out of it. We had a problem with our shower & ended up with an upgrade. Our new room had the most romantic skylight directly above the bed. Falling asleep below the stars is definitely a treat. I sn big believer in a nice hotel to chase away the January blues. You don’t have to go far, one look at the fancy bathroom & breakfast in bed menu will whisk you away from your daily drudge. Being a luxury bitch does everyone a little good. 

Romantic winter mini break, Scotland
And as always here are variety of other things that pleased me. 

Glasgow underground, winter sun, thigh tattoo in the bath

I hope 2018 has found you well & continues to treat you right. 

A time for giving…

According to Cliff Richards, king of the xmas tune, this is a time for giving. Whilst Cliff is wrong about most things, I think he’s right about this. I love Christmas. I am fortunate enough to have wonderful people to share it with. We always have more than enough food to fill our tums & plenty presents under our tree. If like me, your festive cup runeth over, please consider making a donation to one of these excellent organisations.


Simon Community helps homeless people in Scotland. They provide a number of wonderful services. From teaching life skills to providing accommodation to help people get on their feet, they support homeless people in a multitude of ways. This year they also launched a new initiative to provide both period products & education for people experiencing homelessness. You can help Simon Community by donating your time, money and a number of essentials items. You can find more information here.

Luisa Omielan is my favourite stand up comedian. Her material is not only hilarious, but covers incredibly important issues. She talks about mental illness, body positivity & female empowerment in her hysterical routines. This year she lost her Mum suddenly & horribly to cancer. She has now not only incorporated the difficult topics of palliative care, NHS under funding & death into her routines, but has also started a foundation, in her mum’s name, to raise money to provide comfort items to hospices. My own family was also touched by cancer this year & I became aware of just how important good hospice care is. Until now I was not aware that hospices are charities that do not receive government funding. People at the end of their lives, often suffering, should have access to the best possible care. Luisa is trying to make that happen. Please give whatever you can to Helena’s Hospice Foundation.

Save the Children work around world with children in desperate need. Their mission is to keep children safe and healthy, whether that means battling poverty or exploitation. They fight to create and enforce legal rights for children as well as providing food, clothing and other essentials for those in need. There are too many frightened children in too many places tonight. If you can help give them a better tomorrow, please do.

Tribe is a Scottish animal sanctuary providing a loving home for animals who have been victims of abuse, neglect or who have been saved from slaughter. Their aim is to keep animals safe, but also to encourage compassion for animals not normally considered pets. The sanctuary was founded by John and Morag, animal advocates who wanted to truly live their beliefs. They currently house cats, dogs, cows and chickens. You can get to know their growing family & find out how to donate here.

Please dig as deep as you can and have a very Merry Christmas and a fun filled Hogmanay.

There’s nobody else here, no one like me…

I’m about to get a bit happy clappy, so if that gets your goat (I hear you), skip this one.

I know it’s been disaster movie of a year. There are truly despicable things happening all over the globe. So, I feel quite guilty about this, but 2016 has been my personal best for a very long time. Selfish or not I want to acknowledge my successes. Queue the happy bit. 

This year I have been comparatively sane. I’m not cured and of course there are bad times, but I have felt psychologically healthier & happier than I’ve been in several years. I’m pretty confident that I’m finally taking the right medication. Meds aren’t magic beans, but the right combination has given me much more solid ground to build on. I’ve been able to push myself, expanding  my social & professional lives in the process. 

Now, here comes the big one, I have not purposely hurt myself in well over a year. Again, I’m not recovered, I suspect the urge will always be with me. The difference for me has been releasing there are things I want more than blood. I’m not going to bullshit anyone, it’s a grind; it’s a battle I decide to fight every day. This is a war that’s been raging for 17 years, but I’m stating to believe I will emerge the conquerer. 

Next up; gettting all proud of myself & shamelessly blowing my own trumpet. 2016 has been a professional triumph. My writing has featured in publications I have long admired. My blog hits have soared & more importantly I produced more work of value than ever before. I am proud to be writing about issues that need to be talked about & creating work that readers really connect with. 

This year I also took a leap of faith & extended my wee empire to include oPeration BoPo. I wanted a thing that didn’t exist locally & so, I just went ahead & made it happen. My first event was an amazing success. I believe there is a need for accessible body positive projects & I am determined to meet it. I have some exciting things in the work for 2017. Get ready to join the self love revolution. 

This year I have gained a confidence that I feared was gone for good. I took charge. I had some big scale health issues & disappointing discoveries, but I kept rolling. I let go of yearning to be the girl I was before life got fucked & embraced the woman I am because & inspite of it all. 

This has been a year of seizing what control I can & trying to accept that it will never be the unbridled authority I desire. My body & mind will continue to usurp me. I’ll just have to wrestle them into the best submission I can manage. 

I’ll be honest my life can be brutal. You know what? I can be too. I’m heading into the new year with a 5 year plan, a growing business, my first nude photo shoot under my belt, ovaries that are really trying & the very best people supporting me. 2017, I’m ready for you. 


I hope there were some bright spots for all of you too & that next year brings you all you’re hoping for. 

I get by with a little help from my friends…

Chronic illness can be overwhelming. When every little thing is a struggle it’s hard to remain stoic. In the midst of a severe flare I really have to fight not slip into a morose frame of mind. 

When life is just too hard what keeps me going are all my wonderful people. My incredible friends & family are so supportive. I really couldn’t do it without them. I am a big believer in saying how you feel out loud, so I’m taking a moment to say thank you. Thanks for all the chats, the midnight drives to a&e, advocating for me when I am unable to do it myself, the cuddles, the laughs, the understanding; thank you for the love. 

Not only are my people the best people, they are also a bunch of lookers. Big love, darlings.