9 things I liked in June…

I’m doing a spot of enforced positive thinking & hoping it bears fruit. Join in me in focusing on the pleasant and crossing my fingers that the good feelings grow.

1. I don’t have much call for work out wear, but I did love that plus size Nike mannequin. Fat folk can & do live full lives. I love it when brands get behind us wearing whatever the hell we want. It’s also satisfying to watch people tying themselves in knots trying to excuse their fat phobia.

Plus size Nike mannequin

2. I’ve been planning a self love/sexy gallery wall in my bedroom for so long and this month I finally executed it. It makes me happy to lie in bed and look at my kinky Shakespeare.

Framed art on red wall

3. I’ve been out of the dating pool for quite a while. My initial dips back in were disappointing & a tad stressful. I didn’t feel all that hopeful about finding the sort of chilled out experience I was after. Colour me surprised to have spent June having a relaxed & super fun time with someone lovely.

4. In the grand scheme of things this may be on the trivial side, but I like it as a symbol. The Trump administration banned embassies from flying the rainbow flag for Pride month. Lots of embassy staff around the world found other ways to show their solidarity. Possibly the best example being the embassy in New Delhi, who lit up the entire building. In the face of this appalling government it is heartening that people are taking steps to visibly resist.

New Delhi embassy lit in rainbow colours

5. While we’re on the subject my nails have all been rainbow themed this month & carrying Pride around with me has been very pleasing.

Pride nail art

6. I am a late adopter and probably about twenty years too old, but I have fallen in love with Lewis Capaldi this month. His songs are beautiful and his insta stories are bloody funny. If you are the one person left on the planet who hasn’t heard of him, fix that.

Lewis Capaldi

7. My amazing muffin made me incredibly proud this month when she won 2 bronze medals at her first Jui Jitsu state championships. My girl is so talented & her accomplishments make me so happy.

8. It’s hard not to smile when you know you’re wearing the cutest knickers. Wilde Mode happy pussy pants have been a simple pleasure this month.

9. June was the month that finally brought the new series of Killing Eve. It’s been driving me crazy that our American friends got to enjoy Villanelle’s antics whilst I languished murderless. All I can say is, it was worth the wait. Sandra Oh is a goddess.

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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 Byrd’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

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

Rainy days and Mondays…

How did it get to be Monday again so quickly? These weeks just keep pounding on. Mondays are usually filled with drudge for me. Errands, nurse for bloods, housework & remembering to put the bins out. It’s not exactly an inspiring day. So, this week I thought I’d break up the tedium with some exuberant art. Enter @creatively.caring & their wonderful self love project.

The project is the brainchild of the very talented Alexandra. They create body positive sketches of participants & share them via the creatively.caring Instagram account. They also offer participants an opportunity to share their thoughts on body positivity and/or their own self love journey. I adore this project. Not only does Alexandra produce beautiful portraits of fat bodies, they also give the owners of those bodies a voice. I believe an important factor in fighting fat phobia is normalising fat bodies. Representation matters. Seeing positive images of more than one kind of physique helps to destroy the notion that some bodies are not ok. Furthermore, seeing yourself & others with body types outside the accepted norms portrayed as worthy & attractive is hugely powerful. It is, in my opinion one of the first steps to accepting yourself as you are.

ly h Kerr by @creatively.caring

I can’t thank Alexandra enough for this amazing work. Anyone can take part by completing the form linked on the Instagram page. Giving people the opportunity to see themselves as a wonderful piece of art is a true gift.

As any creative knows, making your art sustainable is no easy task. Which is why you should also check out Alexandra’s cool colour portraits. Done in the same sketch style, they’re perfect for business cards or bold headers. They’d also make a really nice gift. I can vouch for a great price & super quick turn around time. It’s so important to support independent talent. So please, click that follow button & think about snapping up some original work.

ly h Kerr by Alex Matealex