Help me if you can, I’m feeling down…

Are you losing the plot yet? I fear I’m getting there. Lockdown is getting harder. If like me you already have less than perfect mental health, you may be closer to the edge than most.

I’m with you. I’m finding all this time alone is churning up lots of issues I would prefer remain undisturbed. The isolation is leaving far too much room for pondering big issues. Existential questions that I couldn’t answer before the world went mad & are even more confounding now. I swing between Groundhog Day dread and being on jangly high alert. Trying to break the monotony of another day home alone by sorting your underwear drawer is a tiny bit depressing. My already racing heart attempting to burst right out my chest every time my noisy neighbours thump really isn’t fun either.

Am I doing anything that matters? Am I running out of time & is this pandemic melting huge chunks of what is left? Can I continue to makes ends meet? Am I doing enough for those who can’t? Can I get a Tesco delivery slot or my prescription? Will I ever get rid of long covid? Will all my loved ones get through this unscathed and will we ever be permitted to be in the same room again? This shit is only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface are all the intrusive thoughts and fears of catastrophe.

Image of iceberg above & below waterline. The sea is vivid blue.

I say this with the knowledge that I am in a privileged position. I have security & a support system that many do not. Too many people are living in situations that are perilous in every possible way. Accessing even the most basic of assistance is getting harder. Half a carrot, a handful of tuna & frubes will not feed hungry children (if you don’t understand this ref, read this & try to control your rage). When you can’t rely on the system to ensure kids don’t starve you can bet that mental health services are in distress. A fact that has been keeping me awake at night as I worry about my own mental wellbeing.

With that in mind I wanted to share some resources. If you don’t feel you can wait to reach the top of an nhs waiting list one of these may be helpful.

Theses organisations offer reduced cost therapy.

Arbours Association

Frontline Therapist

Problem Shared

The Guild of Psychotherapists

Dedicated to Change Project

The Spark

Sandyford Glasgow

Most universities & colleges offer counselling services. If you are student it’s worth checking out what help your institution can give. Many also offer low cost therapy with students training in psychology disciplines.

You can find online support here:

Samaritans

Mind

Calm

Age UK

Women’s Aid

Beat

The Mix

Childline

There are also local services across the UK, a bit of google research may lead you to affordable (or free) help in your area. I know that none of these options are perfect, I wish I had the answer. In the absence of a complete solution I hope these options might be helpful.

As always when discussing mental health it is important to state that I am not a professional. Please seek advice from your GP in the first instance and contact emergency services if required.

You wear it well…

We have a new strain and new lockdown. Infection rates are rising. As are long covid cases. I can attest that the long term symptoms are a struggle. Now is not the time to get lax. Please stay home as much as you can. Wash those hands every opportunity you get and wear a damn mask.

With a mask you can show that you care about the welfare of others and make a statement. Facemasks don’t have be boring, go for it!

I have a Sara Conde and I love it. Handmade, three layer with a nose wire. It’s super comfy & she has the cutest prints. Who wouldn’t want all these beautiful boobs on their face?

I’m a loud & proud feminist, so this amazing design from KultKutie Handmade rings my bell. If you want to support the sisterhood & public health, this is the way to go.

The advent of masks has scuppered our lipstick game. If you’re missing a big bold lip, KhaatiMeethiLondon has got you.

Fuck the Tories can do no wrong in my eyes. This lyrical beauty gets your point across with a little humour. Three layer with a filter. You’ll feel safe & sassy.

If like me you are prone to losing things DearSoho have the cutest fix. Chains that will up your cool factor and ensure your face mask is always at hand.

Everyday it’s getting colder…

I managed to sneak in a little trip to the park before we completely locked down. I took the opportunity to wear some Xmas pressies since it’s unlikely I’ll be out of lounge wear for quite a while.

The only possible fashion choice in this weather is layers. I piled them on for my icy outing. My excellent Mum found this lovely vegan brand & showered me with their accessories. While my sister indulged my leopard print love.

ly I’m standing in park with walking stick wearing jumpsuit & faux fur coat
Jumpsuit -Asos Curve
Scarf – Pom Boutique
Coat – Marks & Spencer
Cardigan – Boohoo
Boots – Dr Marten
Glasses – Where.light
ly is  wearing leopard print jumpsuit & navy maxi cardi. The photo had Forrest background superimposed
All those mirror selfies are getting boring.

The boy found new ways to play with my walking stick & slid around on the ice with his Mummy. We completed our winter adventure by feeding the wildlife. Those swans are so beautiful, but not above squabbling over grub.

Toddler in coat & Woolly hat in playpark
Pink post it note on frosty leaves
Swans on an icy pond

New year, Same me…

I am preparing for the onslaught of new year, new you bullshit. I suspect a global pandemic will make no dent in the diet industries’ shame tactics. I am starting the year as I intend to go on; as part of the fat positive fanfare.

Since I am a very lucky girl I received the perfect ‘flaunt it’ lingerie for Xmas. I am so happy to finally get my butt into this fabulous set. Body Liberation is about so much more than just self love, but feeling good is really important. Battling fat phobia is a tough, high stakes business. Feeling upbeat about your body helps fuel the fight.

Large bum in pale blue mesh pants with sel love brings beauty embroidered in pink

I want to start the ‘21 by recapping some easy ways to leave internalised fat phobia behind. Self love doesn’t happen overnight, but anyone can learn to appreciate their body. Aim towards acceptance & take it from there.

Step One

Stop consuming anything that makes you feel bad. No, I do not mean food. You eat whatever your body needs. What you must cut is magazines, social media, films etc that give you the idea that you’re not enough. I cannot articulate how big a difference this made to my self esteem. When you are constantly bombarded with the message that there is something wrong with your size, it sinks in.

Step Two

Replace all that negative chatter with joyful body positive content. Fill your feeds with happy fat people living their lives to the Max. Educate yourself on fat politics. Learning how wrong the things we’re taught about fat are is a revelation. As is witnessing people with bodies like yours succeeding.

Large boobs in pale blue harness bra with self loves brings beauty embroidered in pink

Step Three

Explore your body. Look at yourself. Discover how you look in different clothes, in your undies, naked. Let yourself see what you like. Question what bothers you about the parts that you don’t. Practise being kind to yourself. Appreciate the magic of all that your body allows you to do. Touch yourself. Get comfortable with your softness. You will be amazed at how many aspects of your body you already already value.

This is not a route to complete body liberation, but these are tried & tested first steps. You are more than enough. Go forth & love yourself.

ly is posing with her arms above her head wearing pale blue bra & knickers
Bra & Knickers – Playful Promises x Felicity Hayward

A Very Covid Christmas…

Like many others, last minute covid restrictions scuppered my Xmas. I was bummed not to be able to see my people, especially the wee ones. Ultimately though, it wasn’t so bad.

My digestive tract is still struggling with the long covid, so Christmas dinner was never going to be an option. I’m way too sore & tired to relish the idea of getting all gussied up. The wonder of video calls mean I could still watch the kids open presents & have a carry on. Thus, Xmas day on the sofa wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a magical day. I don’t fancy making a habit of it, but needs must. I still had lots of gorgeous presents & messages of love. I think more than anything what got me down was just the lack of distraction. Enjoying the kid’s exuberance takes my mind off not having made any of my own little people. This year I couldn’t help but dwell a little longer on the the Christmas traditions I’ll never be a part of.

2020 has been a wash out for most of us. I still feel I’m stumbling blind when it comes to discovering a new focus. I have actually achieved things I’m proud of this year. I’ve smashed some career boxes that I didn’t think would even get ticked. Those successes don’t fill that motherhood chasm.

My Corona Christmas has been reminiscent of the whole 2020 experience. I’ve felt a lot aimless, a little sad and entirely capable of making it through. Surviving is the only goal this year & we’ve almost reached it.

ly is wearing red glasses & leopard print. She is cheersing with a glass of bucksfizz

Merry Christmas to me…

I’ve wrapped everyone’s presents & sent all the cards. The cupboards are stocked, the house is tidy. There’s only one thing left to do; treat myself!

I could not resist getting myself a wee crimbo pressie. Despite having nowhere to go I plumped for these amazing Snag tights. I’ve been wanting the faux garters for ages, so I snapped them up in red. Then grabbed some slate grey because they kind of go with everything.

Two  little parcels wrapped in blue paper with snag tights card on a rainbow blanket

No sooner had I ordered those beauties than I noticed Snag had added some new designs. When I saw the leopard print l just had to order them too. I’m desperately hoping I’ll be able to show them all off soon, but in the mean time I’ll settle for shameless internet displays.

Plus size women standing in front of Xmas tree wearing black knickers & harness bra with red faux garters tights.  She had her arms up holding her on top of her head
Tights – Snag
Bralette & Knickers – Tutti Route

Have a Holly, Jolly & Safe Xmas…

Christmas is coming at us fast, but I’m still lacking in merriment. Between feeling rotten and almost everything xmassy being cancelled I’m struggling to feel the cheer.

So, I’ve turned the festive up on my lockdown. I’ve trimmed the tree, festooned everything in twinkly lights & all my presents are beautifully wrapped. I’m particularly pleased with my little robins.

Faux green Xmas tree with white lights & gold decorations
Xmas presents wrapped in white & good paper with red ribbons & tiny robin red breast decorations
Gift wrap – Marks & Spencer

I have launched a festive nail frenzy. Every glittery & gilt polish has been pressed into service.

Gold nails with green & red wreath accent nail
Shimmery white nails with blue Xmas trees and sparky snow flake
Red and green candy stripe nails with white snow flake accent

The ultra cosy bedding is on. The Christmas scents are go. I even put some real clothes on & venture out with a cheeky wee elf.

Bell jar lamp, candles &  framed photographs on antique table
Candle – Aphrodite & Ares
Soft grey fleecy bedding on king size bed
Ly wearing polka dot dress, leopard print cardi &  face mask with toddler in elf outfit
Dress – Monki
Cardi – Boohoo
Boots – Dr Marten
Mask – Rosana Exposito

I’ll be seeing more of my little ones over the next week and I’m certain watching them open presents will top up my seasonal joy. It’s been a rough year & will likely be a strange Christmas, but I hope you all find safe ways to have holly, jolly time.

Red text  ‘holly, jolly love from me to you’ on black background with gold stars

You gotta give a little…

The world is in an extra big mess this Christmas. Corona have wreaked havoc and not many of us are feeling financially or emotionally buoyant. With that in mind I thought a little giving might do us all good.

A little can make a huge difference to the life of a person dealing with homelessness. Social Bite can provide a Xmas dinner or emergency winter food pack for just £5.

Kids out work with children living in refuge. At this time of year the ask for donations of Xmas gifts for little ones who may not otherwise receive any. They simple requests are so humbling. They are hoping for so little. You can select a gift that suits your budget & but it online here.

Xmas tree with giving tree decorations

Centre Point so amazing work with homeless youth. Christmas dinner can be a really important symbol, especially for young people who cannot be with family. Ten pounds can cheer up a lonely Christmas with a delicious xmas dinner.

Cats Protection can feed a cat in their care for 50 days with a £10 donation. I’d adopt them all if I could, but helping others take excellent care of them is the next best thing.

Black and white cat wearing Santa collar

If you have no cash to spare, but still would like it help keep someone warm this winter, The Big Issue can direct you to a drop off point near you. As temperatures drop coats are desperately needed. If you have an unwanted winter warmer in your wardrobe please pass it on!

Give a little in black letters inside red love heart

It must have been the mistletoe…

I’m usually a stickler for leaving Christmas until December. I get started on the shopping, but the tree et all must wait. This year has been an aberration in so many ways and I needed a little cheer. The tree has been up for a week.

Now it is time for my manicure to get in on the act. Since I won’t be having any actual parties any time soon, I’ve thrown a festive nail party. This is my first attempt at a disco ball & I’m loving it.

Xmas nail art.   Glitter ball and mistletoe on green background

Present wrapping is my next Xmas distraction. I have an idea that I hope will be as pretty in reality as it is in my head.

Shop Small this Xmas…

I always enjoying supporting small business, but this year more than ever they need our custom. If you’re after for some beautifully different presents for your loved ones, look no further.

Illustrated by Charlie can cover two Xmas needs, gift & cards. Their fun prints would make a fab present and humorous take on festive cards are sure to make everyone smile.

Candles can be a passé as a gift, but not if you find some that are really special. ESH do exactly that. All 100% soy wax, handmade beautiful designs. I have my eye on those pillar stars.

Jessica Jumpers creates beautiful prints, portraits and totes. Her work often features two of my favourite things, ‘kitties & titties’. She also takes commission for portraits. Her unique style ensures any purchase would be a delightful gift.

Tote bag  with ‘titties & kitties’ slogan Sms drawing of naked woman bending over to stroke  a cat.

If African prints warm you heart, My Ankara Love is the place for you. These fabrics are divine. They stock everything from interiors to jewellery. I would die if I found any of their pieces under my tree.

Lamp, bangles, dress &  cushion is African wax print fabrics

Hatch is a retail space in Glasgow that curates independent makers from throughout the UK. They have so many beautiful things that would make amazing gifts. If you’re local I definitely recommend you check them out.

Dried flower wreaths octopus plate, good posnt holder with ivy, stained glass robin window decorations

Curated by Girls have the most amazing feminist tees. All of which are already on my Xmas list. If you know a woman who takes no shit one of these would make the perfect present.

Women wearing t shirts with feminist slogans.