Truth will mess…

I’ve scaled back my ‘social engagements’ of late for various reasons, meaning note worthy outfits have been sparse. If I’m not in my jammies I’m doing medical nonsense or carry on with the little ones. High fashion has not been my go to.

Upping my #ootd game on my mind I planned something cute, did my hair & painted face. Then I made the stupid mistake of waiting until the end of a baba filled day to take any pictures. The rain wrecked my hair, I look frazzled and I’m really not loving how my arms look. I was going to abandon posting this look, but then it occurred to me that this is life. Flabby scarred arms, crumpled clothes & tired everything are reality. All the things you do to make the mess are worth more than the perfect picture anyway.

ly h KerrBaby playing

Close up eating broccoli ly h KerrBabies lunchingly h kerr rumpled

T- Shirt – Forever 21

Dress – Hearts & Rose

Shoes – Primark

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Please don’t wake me…

Today kicks off Sleep Awareness Week, which aims to highlight the importance of good sleep. As a chronic insomniac I am of course acutely aware of how important sleep is. I’m writing this at 4am, so I haven’t found the cure for sleepless nights. I do though have some semi successful strategies.

My relationship with sleep has flipped from one extreme to the other. In my youth I could drop off anytime, anyplace. I loved to snooze and had zero issues dropping off. I was the queen of the long lie. Sleep became a problem when I first experienced mental health problems aged 19. Unfortunately, I have never managed to regain my easy breezy relationship with slumber. Almost twenty years on I have become accustomed to functioning on a few hours a night. Chronic pain has done little to aid a peaceful night, but an inability to calmly shut down is still a major obstacle in my quest for rest.

A decent night’s repose can affect everything from heart health to sex drive. It goes without saying that exhaustion also has a massive impact on mental health. The NHS advises that most of us need around 8hrs sleep to function properly. In fact, lack of sleep can so massively impair cognitive faculties that experts suggest driving after only 5 hours sleep is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Everyone should be mightily relieved that I cannot drive.

The long-term effect of insufficient sleep is grim. The anxiety of going to bed each night knowing achieving sleep will be a battle is wearing. The more you worry about not sleeping the less likely it becomes. Constant fatigue makes getting through daily tasks difficult, which adds to one’s stress levels. This in turn pushes that magical 8 hours even further out of reach. Long sleepless nights are lonely. There’s rarely anyone else awake leaving a busy mind way too much room to mull over worries. Throw pain into mix and you have a recipe for despair. Moving through the world in a worn-out shuffle will grind you down, which is why I offer my extensively tested tips on getting some god damned sleep.
I’m not going to waste your time with milky drinks and lavender under your pillow. Everyone knows the basics and they aren’t going to cure hardcore insomnia. I don’t have a failsafe solution, if I did, I’d snoring now. However, these are the things that I have had some success with over years.

Bedroom Tips

Keep your bedroom cool. Lowering your body temperature helps the body prepare for sleep.

In theory that’s why a hot bath should aid sleep, but I find any sleepiness gained from the temp drop is lost during the process of getting dry and organised for bed. If you do less faffing post bathing it might work better for you.

No tv in the bedroom. This is a definite for me. I find a television to be the opposite of relaxing. I need my bed and bedroom to be a completely chilled out zone. Which sits nicely with my next point.

Try to make your bedroom as pleasant as possible to be in. Obviously, that means different things for different people. For me it’s nice sheets, subtle scents, comfortable mattress.

Black out blinds are your friend. I could not live without mine.

Invest in one of those huge maternity pillows. They give so much support if you have back or joint pain. Plus they’re just super comfortable.

Sound Effects

Rain on window

I use sounds machine apps. I like heavy rain/ thunderstorm type sounds, but experiment and see what works for you. Something about being safe & protected from the elements I’m hearing sometimes helps me drift off.

Soothing music (whatever that means to you) at a low volume can also help. I like to mouth the lyrics and focus on words I enjoy rather than my own thoughts. Getting the volume just right is key for me, so again, you might need to experiment. Select specific songs and make a playlist beforehand. You don’t want anything that unexpectedly bring unpleasant or stimulating associations to mind.

Preparation

I should probably have started here, but lack of sleep melts your brain. So, you’ll have deal with my disjointed thinking.

These are all evident. I’m going over them because sometimes you miss the obvious when you’re knackered.

Don’t eat too close to bedtime.

Don’t watch, read or listen to anything that will bring up stimulating emotions (nothing scary, disturbing, sad, triggering etc).

Avoid arguing or deep conversations right before you hit the hay.

Smoking, caffeine, some meds (check with gp/pharmacist) are no goes before you attempt sleep.

Against Accepted Wisdoms

Sleeping cat

I’ve consulted many Drs, Psych’s and other practitioners over the years and some of the oft repeated advice they’ve given me has turned out to be just plain wrong for me. If you find something that really does or doesn’t help, even if everyone is telling you the opposite, do you. For me this includes:

Looking at my phone in bed. Putting it on night shift mode to alter the light tone to yellowish rather than blue is a must. Otherwise I find aimlessly scrolling can be very helpful in getting me sleepy.

Reading in bed also works for me. I can’t fall asleep without reading. I find that if I just keep going until I literally can’t keep my eyes open, I have a good chance of getting into a proper sleep. I think it’s because my mind is occupied with the content of the book rather than whatever mess is in my head. Clearly, it’s important to choose the reading material with reference to my previous points.

Sharing the bed with pets. So many people have cautioned me against this. I find my petting my cat and hearing his purrs excessively relaxing. Thus, I ignore such warnings.

Hippie Dippie

Constellation lamp

I hate to be that person, but occasionally the esoteric route gets you there.

A constellation lamp in a dark room can offer something uncomplicated to focus your attention on long enough to get to sleep.

Gentle yoga – clears the mind & stretches everything in a pleasing manner.

Desperate Measures

When you’ve been attempting shut eye for hours and are reaching the point of hopelessness; get up. By that point you aren’t going to sleep. Every toss & turn just raises anxiety levels. I find it much more productive to get out of bed and stop forcing it. Do whatever you can manage and if you get drowsy try again.

Medication – You need sleep to operate. There comes a point when discussing medication options with your Gp is the sensible thing to do. I have tried several sleeping pills over the years. Most didn’t work for me. Most are not a suitable for prolonged use due to addictive and/or tolerance building properties. There are some drugs that can be used for longer periods. I have been prescribed one such medication. It doesn’t have a 100% strike rate, but when it does work it knocks me out all night.

Sleep when you can in extreme cases. Often napping is counterproductive when fighting insomnia. However, when you haven’t had more than a couple of consecutive hours sleep in weeks that goes out the window. When my sleeplessness is at its worst, I will get so completely exhausted that my body will crash. That doesn’t always happen at bed time. Take that sleep. You need it. Sleep all day if you must.

Last but Not Least

Oxytocin

Sex and orgasms in general are brilliant for sleep. Sex works on so many fronts. You can tire yourself out, all those feel good hormones chill you out and of course it’s the perfect distraction from any negative bullshit you have going on. Flying solo releases all that lovely oxytocin and melatonin too, so don’t be shy about giving it a try.

Make it easy on yourself…

2019 has barely gotten going & it’s been rough already. In a matter of weeks I have lost my baby & my boyfriend, which is less than an auspicious beginning. If I sound flippant, I’m not, I’m just trying very hard to put one foot in front of the other.

The demise of my pregnancy is devastating. My relationship’s end is sad, but the right decision and that’s about all I have to say on the topic. I find myself approaching the year (and my life) alone again. Being single hasn’t ever worried me all that much. I’m definitely not scared to be that kind of alone. Childlessness on the other hand, terrifies me. What do you when you’re facing your biggest fear? I haven’t a fucking a clue.

#projectpostit

For the time being I have taken the clichéd approach of one day at a time. I’m trying not to spend every day at home in my jammies (there is however a lot of crying on the sofa). Functioning is a struggle for a multitude of reasons. Primarily, I am exhausted. I’m always tired. Add even less sleep, the effort it takes to contain my anger at life itself, the fact that I will not stop bleeding, so despite the blood transfusion my haemoglobin level continues to flag and you get extreme fatigue. Having a different emotion every 5 seconds is tiring. Battling (& often failing) to contain the tears is wearing. Breathing & washing & conversing & not screaming is all taking gargantuan effort. The truth is I’m not managing very much. I’m practising being ok with that.

Blood transfusion, Rose wine, snuggling cat, reading baby

I recommend spending time with people who don’t expect too much of you. I’m giving priority to anything that give me comfort; my little people & potatoes pretty much have that covered. Hot baths have featured heavily as has ‘fake it ’til you make it’ make up. There was one afternoon of day drinking with a lovely friend that actually helped a lot, but not something it would be wise to make a habit of. My purring cat is a godsend. I’m reading, sleeping whenever I can and endeavouring to be gentle with myself.

ly h Kerr

I have no clue how to tackle the overwhelming sense of guilt. Chipping away at how ‘not fair’ this is may well take the rest of my life. I’m focusing on the small stuff. Giving myself a pass on the growing mountain of washing, the ideas that go unpitched and being awfully rude to the person who called about my non-existent road traffic accident. I find it harder than you’d imagine to let that stuff go. Being hard on myself comes easy. i have learned that when life gets you on the ground it’s worth tackling the instinct to kick oneself whilst already down.

Sunset

With logs on the fire & gifts by the tree…

We made it. The big day is almost upon us. Take my advice, if you don’t have it by now, forget it. I did the last of my Pre Xmas visiting today, so that I don’t have to run around tomorrow. In my opinion Christmas Eve is for resting up before you get your jolly on.

I dropped presents off at Dad’s today as I will be with the Toyboy’s family for Xmas and it’s too far to go back and forth. I took the opportunity of a festive encounter to get my velvet out. Even a wee bit of velvet really puts a xmassy spin on a outfit.

ly h Kerr ootd

Camisole – Boohoo

Skirt – Lindy Bop

Cardi – Primark

I suspect I’ll be pairing this camisole with any number of items over the holiday period. My face and hair unexpectedly decided to behave today. I’m sure this means they will refuse to play ball for Christmas Day, but oh well.

ly h Kerr

I actually have spectacularly dark circles under my eyes and some impressive spots, but I somehow managed to cover both. If only I could remember which combination of products I used (& in which order I applied them). Never mind, if I look like hell on Tuesday I’ll just slap a filter on; it’s what the baby Jesus would have wanted.

Family pic

This week I have been mostly…

Trying (& failing) to get some sleep. I’m really fecking tired. Once I’ve done all the yoga, watched all the relaxing tv, had baths with bombs, face masked myself into oblivion, finished the housework & whatever book I’m reading & sprayed every calming scent known to man there is just one thing left to do. Lie still in a dark room & turn up the music.

I require only a couple of things from my insomnia tunes; they must be deep enough to flood the room & gentle enough to let me float away. Wonderful by Lianne La Havas complies. Her thick sweet voice coats me in wistfulness. I feel this song’s warmth in my chest. Its steady pace a comforting secondary pulse. The lyrics tempting & bittersweet. This is perfect middle of the night music.

Every now & then I stumble across music from my past and it opens a door to another time. David Gray’s White Ladder is just a such a time capsule. The intro of Please Forgive Me was enough to shoot me back to the year 2000. Despite that being a fairly mixed year for me this song holds only uncomplicated feels. It has connected itself to chilled after parties; the smell of dope & DKNY. To falling asleep in beds shared with a bunch of friends & waking up to 5 girls talking at once. It feels less like lightening & more like friendship running through my veins. I know it’s a love song, but for me it’s an ode to student flats & almost adulthood.

A Star is Born almost killed me. Seriously, I weeped myself raw, but Shallow saved me. Man, it is hard keeping it hardcore. I’m so relieved to have found softer ways. This is one of those songs that rouses every bloody emotion. I seems like I’ve been far from the shallows for a very long time. It feels good to sing it out loud.

Which brings me to my brand new discovery, Yoko Pwno. I heard them play at the last Yellow Sunday & was utterly captivated. A unique & totally bewitching band; they are comprised of violins, drums & techno synth type sounds. They’re hard to quantity, but oh so easy to fall in love with. Currently blasting in my late late playlist is It could always be worse. Mainly because when played at volume it washes over me & allows my mind to drift. Also, though, because that title’s a good reminder not to despair when I find myself still awake a 5am. It can always be worse, but it’s likely to feel better if you stick Yoko Pwno on.

Rhapsody in blue…

Another Friday, another cosmetics quickie. I’ve been really struggling with sleep this week and my tired face needed serious help. All hail, Nyx, to the rescue.

It’s amazing what a pop of bright colour can do to a weary visage. I went for blues to compliment my eyes & me likey the results. I already have a few of the other vivid brights liquid eyeliners, so I knew how good they are. The sapphire doesn’t disappoint. Mixing with the black liquid liner & white pencil on my lower lid really worked. As a less then expert eyeliner applicator I’m definitely in favour of the fine tip on this one.

I did a little bit of experimenting with this gorgeous icy blue mascara. My lashes are too blonde to use it on its own, but it works well on my lower lashes. Plus I added a wee flick the the ends of my outer lashes on top of my regular black. I kinda like the effect.

The star of the show is absolutely the lippie. Liquid matte in this amazing purple tone will definitely get you noticed. I never used to bother with lipstick, but am now a total convert. The more dodgy I feel, the bolder my lips gets; I find a really vibrant lip is a wonderful distraction.

I finished off my cruelty free face with my usual Barry M strobe stick, body shop tea tree primer & Laura Mercier foundation. I have to admit to being pretty chuffed with the end look. Especially considering the sleep deprived canvas I had to work on.

Anyway, I took my pretty painted face (& the rest of me) off for a date night with the Toyboy. We had yummy Mexican & an obligatory margarita; no Mexican meal is complete with tequila. We then hit the cinema to watch Red Sparrow in the comfort of reclining chairs.

I had mixed feelings about the movie. I wouldn’t advice it for anyone who is sensitive to sexual violence. It’s a tad heavy on the ‘America is morally superior’ front, but otherwise quite an enjoyable spy thriller. The reckoning chairs are an unambiguous hit. I only ever want to watch films tilted from the repose of a luxurious angle.

Project Post it & this week’s diy manicure also came along for the ride. Well, a girl has to maintain her personal brand 😉