Bored games?

Hi, I’m Katherine and I’m a board game addict… This is my story:

I love board games in all shapes and sizes. I especially love them when I’m good at them, but most members of my family are irritating mines of information (the usefulness of said information depends on the question…). I love the connections we can build with board games and, through them, with our friends and family. We all have that one person who gets your obscure reference that wins the open round on Articulate. And that pair who has to get separated because their level of miming telepathy is just plain cheating. Maybe, like me, you have a parent that played chess with a 3-piece handicap and still won (we don’t play chess anymore…). When something gets broken, accusations usually take the form of, ‘it was you, in the kitchen, with your mother’s best jug’ or something along those lines. I love Cluedo, but not in real-life. Yeah, you just try and prove I did it… where’s the evidence?! Sign the ‘fession!

It was a sad day in our household when we had to get rid of the interactive Star Trek Klingon game because we didn’t have a VHS player anymore. And the dinosaur bones game that’s pieces got broken. Nostalgia overload… I remember games that I didn’t actually know the name of so I just renamed. (‘Mummy, can we play the Goose game?’) I still don’t know the actual name for some of them or, now that I think of it, where on earth Mouse-trap got to…

Then there’s the classic, home-wrecker, rage-inducing Monopoly which brings out the worst in most people. Myself most definitely included. I tend to buy anything and everything then refuse to do any deals just to piss the other players off. It usually just leads to a stalemate and a tantrum. And that’s just my brother. Personally, I can sulk for days.

But, there’s very little point in crying over spilt Scrabble tiles. Pick up an X, Y or Z and triple it! I’ve heard Trivial Pursuit is quite civilised, too, but I find it quite trivial for my tastes. If you’re feeling particularly loquacious, Boggle is a mind-boggler for sure, and Bananagrams teaches you a thing or two about how to invent words when you have 5 E’s and no consonants.

At the other end of the spectrum, Cards Against Humanity is pure filth and goes excellently with an accompaniment of alcohol, if you’re into that. Not necessarily for family occasions, but you never know what grandma might find disturbing yet oddly charming…

It doesn’t have to be a rainy winter day to play board games galore! Crack out a pack of cards after dinner, use food as bets in Pontoon, play Strip Poker with your lover, get your Ticket To Ride and bring Backgammon back. Alternatively, use counters, tiles, cards and dice to make greetings cards or jewellery or maracas. Whatever.

 

Remember, kids, a board game is for life, not just for Christmas.

Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.

I’m a Feminist!

Ooh, you just cringed, didn’t you? Or was it more of a flinch? Maybe it was a knowing smile – a “middle-class, white, university-educated, 20-something girl thinks she’s got all the answers” kind of smile? Then, my dear, you don’t know me at all. But, frankly, my many neuroses aren’t the focus of this piece – it’s something much bigger than that. Call it what you want – gender equality, equal opportunities, anti-discrimination, sanity… it all boils down to the same thing. But we need to address the label, and I need to tell you why I’m proud of having it.

Names are powerful things. Example: Having someone spell your name wrong on an important document is irritating. Further example:  Calling a transgender person by the wrong pronoun is negating their true identity – it is an act of control and oppression. Likewise, telling someone that they cannot be a Feminist because they are a man or a model or a housewife or a Christian or because they wear make-up or are in a relationship or they like to be submissive in the bedroom or they are a man, is an act of control and oppression. If you believe in equality for everyone, regardless of gender, then you are a Feminist. Do not be shamed by your love of equality and tolerance.

If Feminism wasn’t a threat to what passes for ‘normal’, it wouldn’t sound scary, or be made to sound scary. Of course, there are people that go to extreme lengths with this belief system and, like any minority of extremists, their hatred comes to overshadow the essence of something which is based on love, tolerance and equality. One of the aims of Feminists is to remedy ingrained, fear-mongering ideas of women as having a multitude of negative characteristics. For example, the classic ‘hysterical’ woman is an argument long used by governments, husbands and employers in discrimination against women. It is easy to dismiss the anger or frustration of women, by citing ‘hormones’ or ‘hysteria’. For more on this, try this TED Talk by Robyn Stein DeLuca on for size. (PS: The 2011 film ‘Hysteria’ is just one of many reasons to love Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Likewise, the ‘angry Feminist’ trope is getting boring. Of course we are angry! Women are still not paid the same amount as men in equivalent jobs and still deal with sexual harassment as a normal part of their day. Don’t just take my word for it – read the @everydaysexism twitter feed or take a look at #everydaysexism or #wheniwas to see how our culture continues to undermine women’s freedoms and rights, starting when we are children. The most painful part of gender inequality is seeing people’s resignation to it; it is seen as a sad but hopelessly normalised ‘way things are done’. It’s time to kick that to the curb.

If we shy away from equality, we get in our own way. We should say what we mean and not trip over semantics. Don’t worry, shouting ‘I am a feminist’ won’t make a gang of death-eaters or snatchers come and drag you to the Voldemort. Besides, I find the prospect of Voldemort a lot more terrifying than people that want an end to inequality. We need to remove the fear from Feminist. Like Dumbledore and all-time-heroine Hermione say, ‘Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself’. And whilst Voldemort and his lack of hugging skills are deeply disturbing, he gets his comeuppance. If anything, the thing that should strike fear into us is socially ingrained sexism, but that is culturally gendered to be a ‘women’s problem’ so, why bother? Maybe it is because the word Feminist is also gendered female that people find it a threat. It’s an assertion of being ‘pro’ something – for women – which is misconstrued for being anti-men. And there it becomes a ‘man’s problem’.

Let us be straight – Feminism is the belief that those of all or no gender definition are and should be treated equally. It is a statement of human rights. It is a fight for an overhaul of a society which still teaches boys not to cry and girls not to be ambitious. It is the knowledge that physiologically we may differ, but that our rights and freedoms should not be impinged on because of these differences. It is the desire to put right centuries of oppression and dismissal based on something which is out of our control. It is everyone’s problem.

And trust me, Feminists do it better!

Garden Party Perfection

Be a May queen with these Garden Party inspired looks to thrill and delight! Whether its a barbecue, afternoon tea or a jolly picnic, get inspired, Your Majesty! Comment on your favourite below.

 

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing…

 

Get your Rockabilly on! Sometimes you just need a pattern overload so go dotty for this polka-dot power play. Good with a dramatic winged eye, pillarbox red lips and a Rosie The Riveter bandana do’.

Halter top (Actually a dress): Armstrongs Emporium, Edinburgh.

Skirt: Lindy Bop.

Petticoat: Purchased at Wartime Weekend @ Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield.

Cropped swing jacket: Armstrongs Emporium, Edinburgh.

 

Cotton Queen Dream

 

Day time/ Night time transition – keep it sweet with a boater or straw sunhat, or dress it up with a fur stole for a more elegant vibe. Matching gloves complete every garden party look – dead cert.

Dress: Mooch Vintage, Sheffield.

Faux fur stole: Armstrongs Emporium, Edinburgh.

Gloves: Car boot sale.

Handbag: Pi-Ku Collective, Edinburgh.

 

Crowning Jewel

 

Take pastels up a notch by adding jewel colours in complementing or matching tones – see this pashmina in royal purple and turquoise/ teal birdcage hat. Work with typical vintage styles like this tea-dress with a sailor-style collar.

Dress: A New Shop, Sheffield.

Cardigan: Primark.

Hat: Charity shop.

Gloves: Armstrongs, Edinburgh.

Pashmina: A loan from my mother.

 

Bring me sunshine

 

Hello, buttercup!  Bright is mighty. Smile back at the sun with some bright yellow. This dress has a gorgeous fitted bodice with scalloped edges and a skirt that can be left as it is or given a lift with a crinoline! Add pashmina or cardigan to keep it casually elegant. Effortless!

Dress: Armstrongs, Edinburgh.

Pashmina: On loan from my momma.

 

Tennis, anyone?

Be the cat’s pyjamas, the cream of the crop in this mono ensemble. Pleats add a 20s tennis feel, whilst sweet sheer gloves and a double breasted shirt over a lacy number adds glamour… You won’t be able to get enough of a good thing here, so add pearls and a brooch in ivory as well. You’re good to go.

Skirt: Mooch, Sheffield.

Gloves: Armstrongs, Edinburgh.

Blouse: Warehouse.

Lace camisole: Charity shop.

 

Push it real good

 

If you’re a trousers kind of gal, you can’t go far wrong for a vintage look with pedal-pushers or crops like these. If it’s not a skinny cuffed capri, then a more tailored look like these are excellent and work well with other tailored pieces in neutral colours. Let the accessories bring the colour.

Trousers: Charity shop.

Blouse: Lulu’s vintage fair.

Belt: H&M.

Bag: Zara.

 

Hula honey

 

Theme party? Hello, Hawaii! Get your huge hair flowers in, fashion a shawl against windchill or sunburn and get your hula on! This look is amazing with a playsuit in florals or amazing hula print like these shorts! If you’re feeling adventurous, just wear with a bikini top…

Shorts: Mooch, Sheffield.

Top (actually a leotard): Armstrongs, Edinburgh.

Shawl: Fabric from Leeds market.

Hair flowers: Available everywhere!

 

Go and be butterflies!

Pick-Me-Ups for Pin Ups and other magical beings

 

Pick-me-ups we could all use now and again:

 

  • Piece of quiet: Half an hour of carefully cultivated silence might do the trick.

 

  • Roller-set: Waking up to a done ‘do is some people’s idea of heaven. Definitely mine.

 

  • Prep-set-go: Get organised for the week. Make lunches, pack bags, iron clothes… Future you is going to love you!

 

  • Me-day: Give yourself a bank-holiday. Book a day off, get rid of the dog, kiss your significant other goodbye and plan a day of unadulterated ME time. Get lost in an antique emporium, eat ice-cream by the tub-load, book into a craft workshop, go to a sex shop, whatever it is, it’s yours!

 

  • Selfie-love: Taking that one perfect, crafted self-portrait gives you a buzz. Take a hit.

 

  • You scrub up well: It might be something as small as lip-liner, it might be a bobby-dazzler of a fur coat – dress up to the nines and shine!

 

  • Take me down to the paradise city: Day trip to a nearby city you don’t see nearly enough of… have a love affair there. With the city. Obviously.

 

  • Vital signs: Take a few minutes to scan your body and put anything right that you can right away. Take your vitamins, drink a glass of water, put a wheat bag on that niggly shoulder, put on some lip balm and hand cream. Note down anything that might need more attention when you have more time.

 

Disclaimer: There are other ‘Pick-Me-Up’ lists  on the market.

Scrapbook yourself

Get down and lovely with yourself. Make your commitment to yourself via a big, juicy scrapbook of yourself.

 

Make yourself a portfolio of collages, pictures, words, memories. Get your hands dirty with it. Peel the glue off your fingers and stain  your clothes with newspaper ink in your act of creation. Photocopy pages from books that inspire you. Steal your mother’s scent to spray a page dedicated to her. Write love-letters to yourself and affix a lipstick stamp. Print selfie after selfie. Be silly. Be serious. Be sad and be hopeful. Let every page shout out your best you. Maybe when you are making it you are hurt and you feel like your worst you. Your best you is always there. Cover a page with your signature, your lip-print, your hand-print. Put in a four-leaf clover or two. Write your own manifesto. Write your future. Remember, reminisce, retreat and rejoin the world. Wrap it up in colours. Label it with your intentions. Write about your heroes and heroines. Find out treasures. Tape in recipes that make you nostalgic for your grandma. Photocopy pages from magazines/ newspapers and make found poetry out of them. Write out lyrics that are significant to where you’re at – and where you’d like to be. Make mood-boards. Press flowers and sprigs of rosemary – make it sensual in every way. Spritz it with your own most luxurious scent. Dedicate a page to your achievements – you are all your own work! Claim your proudest moments. Take stills from iconic films and annotate with the characters’ qualities you’d like to emulate. Write at length how you will achieve them. Write your own 101 Goals in 1001 Days list, make it beautiful and then do it. Get postcards or prints of your favourite artworks and incorporate them into your own collage. Write reams and reams of things you need from your lover – be detailed. Write lists of the things you deserve. Make it a statement of intent, of everything about you – past, present and future. Be honestly optimistic. It’s all about you, babe!