Self-care for summertime sadness

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Summer. Some people get through the winter months, subsisting on the mere thought of it; some people cringe at the thought of all that daylight and those sweaty nights. I tend towards the latter, personally. Whatever your stance on summer, it happens. It’s important to keep up with good self-care practices, whatever the weather, so here are a few suggestions:

  • Asparagus weather: Indulge in some seasonal vegetables. I recently made this asparagus and radish risotto and it was divine!
  • Don’t shave it: If you’re a person that shaves, it can be a ballache when it’s too hot to wear tights or to have your legs covered up. Shaving too often can be damaging for your skin though, especially if you have a skin condition like ezcema. Give your skin a break and go au naturale.
  • Sunnies and sun creams: Protect your little eyeballs and your skin, especially if you’re fair and can easily burn. Don’t underestimate the blazing solar overlord.
  • Nature or nurture: Summertime can make us feel guilty for being indoors. Whilst it’s true that we need to top up our vitamin D levels, sometimes our self-care has to come first. Don’t feel beholden to the sunshine – do what you need to do, regardless of the temperature outside.
  • Goddamn mermaid: Water your animals, your plants and yourself. One of my favourite mottos is ‘Keep your friends hydrated’.
  • House rule #1: Simple – Don’t beat yourself up.
  • Pal up: Spend nice times with nice people. Picnics, ice-cream and walks are delightful ways to do this, but watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race obsessively with the curtains drawn is equally valid and awesome.
  • Juicy peach: Have some fruity goodness in your life. Vitamin D is not the only vitamin.
  • Follow your fancy: Be whimsical. Even if you get the summertime sadness, it can be nice to treat it like a holiday season. Revisit childhood summer shenanigans. Splash about in a paddling pool, buy pick’n’mix and eat it walking round town or go messing about in boats.

 

Keep cool and don’t sweat it.

 

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Dating Manifesto

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Sweet peach!

TW: Over-generalisations left, right and centre. Boys are rubbish. Not really.

Here it is – the good, the bad and the ugly. A new and (vastly) improved dating manifesto. Disclaimer: by, to and for myself.

I solemnly swear that I will studiously avoid pursuing, fantasising about, dating or committing to the following:

  • Shitheads: non-specific, but covers the wider categories of fuckwits, dickheads, arseholes and ignoramuses.
  • Psychopaths: turn around and run. Leave no forwarding address.
  • Work colleagues: don’t shag where you eat, so to speak.
  • Spongers: Always 50/50 in relationships…
  • Narcissists: self-obsession tends to get in the way of a partnership.
  • Alcoholics: substance dependence is a sure-fire romance killer.
  • Emotional robots: Cold-fish need not apply.
  • Religious fanatics: Three’s a crowd.
  • The intellectual: Who must always be right but have nothing to say when they’re not.
  • The Meninist: Apparently some people are more equal than others…
  • Right-wingman/ Brexiteers: Or anyone, basically, who doesn’t live in the real world. May be identified by wild patriotism or Gap Yah rhetoric.

… and anyone that believes in steak and blow-job day…

So there are the no-goers. And yes, its totally fine to be decisive about what you don’t want in a potential friend/ partner/ lover/ spouse. Your emotional and physical space is sacred and shouldn’t be lightly given up. Being open to people is great but you should follow your instincts. Being closed to people who set your alarm bells ringing is no bad thing, as long as it doesn’t turn into straight up prejudice.

If you’re worried that you or a friend might be in an abusive relationship, have a look at these warning signs:

  • Big changes in habits or behaviour i.e. eating less, being late when usually punctual etc.
  • Submissiveness or seeming to lack own volition to do things – seeking approval for everything.
  • Withdrawal from socialising – being quieter, drinking more, not going out at all, being uncontactable.
  • Change in taste/ preferences to mirror new partner/ lover etc. This could indicate certain elements of brainwashing or manipulation i.e. change in clothes/ make-up/ hair
  • Mood swings – being unable to regulate mood may be due to a general sense of anxiety/ uneasiness/ sense of isolation. May also be due to the abuser poisoning the victim against family or friends.
  • Social media posts can be out of character/ extreme/ use unusual language etc. Also may be more sensitive about photos etc. going on social media.

 

But it can’t all be doom and gloom. This is a manifesto – it should be a statement of intent. So, the game plan is to work on my singles game before even attempting a double act. Two is tricky. Check out my posts on self-care if you’re struggling to be good to number one. It’s harder than it seems, especially if you’re going through a bad patch. If you want/ are ready to meet a sweet peach or several juicy nectarines, make sure you know where your limits lie – not just want you want, but what you need and cannot compromise on. Go slower even than you think you should – if they are worth their salt, they’ll be patient and give you the breathing space you need.

Maybe this manifesto should be a celebration of all the beautiful qualities that make a beautiful person. So, here’s to honesty and openness. Here’s to good communication. Here’s to making each other laugh. Here’s to generosity, kindness and considerateness. Here’s to patience. Here’s to creativity and being energised. My manifesto is an elegy to growth and mutual support.Here’s to nourishment. Good people breed good love. Here’s to all kinds of health – mental, physical, emotional. That’s a manifesto worth believing in.

Victory! Vintage hair-styling to dye for…

 

Photo credit to Jessie Clark (JRCPhotographic)

Hair and Make-Up by our kid, Jennifer (Curly Woo Hairdressing)

 

Recently, my babe of a hairdresser, Jennifer, who styled me for my Golden Girl post, did me up like a Vampire-Pin-Up-Badass! After she’d made me into a Jean GreyRogue hybrid, that is. I didn’t get super-powers, but I did get a sweet little cinammon swirl on top of my head which is all I’ve ever wanted in life, really. So I decided to write about hair, glorious hair…

No matter how good your outfit is, a kick-ass coif will kick up your whole look into transcendence. It is the ultimate accessory and it’s right there on your bonce. You can be anything you want, too – beekeeper, poodle… you name it.

I’m a novice at more complicated styles, like victory rolls, and tend to keep things simple with a Marilyn swoop and a pin curl or two. If I’m going for a more casual style, a pompadour or bandana makes life easier. For a quick fix: add hair flowers for instant hula goodness, you Tiki princess super-star!

My favourite way of styling is a wet set, because it feels much more authentic and holds well for a day or two. It gives as much volume as you could possibly want, too. It can take a hammering from the paddle brush until you get the curls just right. A setting spray or lotion makes for a strong hold, if your hair tends to lose curl easily. My issue is frizz-control – it’s a little unruly at the best of times! Serum and spray are the way forward for wayward curls, although I’m not a fan of the overly sleek vintage look, partly because its so much effort, partly because it doesn’t feel authentic to me. I take it easy for the every day. I save back-combing for special occasions…

 

Top tips for vintage dos:

  • Call in the experts: Find a hairdresser that specialises in vintage styling – it all starts with the cut!
  • Patience is a virtue: Getting used to doing a wet-set takes practice but you will get quicker at it, and re-setting the second day is a doddle, but at first it’s a right pain in the pompadour. Muscle memory, baby. If you’re using a heat tool for pin-curls, it’s important to let the curls set until they are completely cool so get the kettle on.
  • Tips and tricks: If you’re a beginner (like me!) or are starting to try more difficult styles, watch Cherry Dollface’s Do’s and Don’ts video.
  • Girls just want to have fun: Enjoy it! If you’re not used to teasing your hair or wearing it up, it feels weird at first. I did a bit of a suicide roll the other day and it felt HUGE! But it looked awesome!

 

Vintage Vloggers

I like to catch snippets of ideas whilst I’m doing other things, like styling my hair, or doing my make-up. If I’m not watching a TED talk, I’ll be fan-girling over a vintage vlogger or two.

Here are my favourites and the reasons why:

  • Cherry Dollface: An all-round nice broad. Funny and genuine, she does a lot of life-hacks, day in the life, OOTD and make-up tutorials. Also has excellent hair.

 

  • PinupDollAshleyMarie: Voluptuous, immaculate and stylish. Excellent at wardrobe envy. I love her haul/ styling videos and cute bloopers.

 

  • A Vintage Vanity: Adorable geekery to be had! Jennifer is a crafty lady, handy with a sewing machine as well as a curling tong. Retro ramblings and tea-time are not to be missed.

 

  • Vintagious: Lots of great hair tutorials and a ‘What Would Marilyn Do?’ beauty section with helpful quick tips.

 

 

Get inspired!

How to streamline your life.

It’s easy to get caught up in stuff, whether emotional or physical – sometimes you need to muck out and let the horse crap of your past fertilise your fallow future (I’m big on metaphors and bucolic imagery). So cut the crap, live little for a while and see how the world gets bigger than the inside of your head.

  • Set Fire to the Rain: Burn things. Burn your ex’s t-shirts, your old school books, Christmas cards from people you hate, whatever it is that you’ve been hoarding away – take back the space.
  • Get creative: Write a song or a poem. Title it, ‘Fuck (insert object of your aggression here)’
  • Release the beast: Scream into a pillow. Pillow optional. Release brings renewal.
  • Pantry party: Use up everything in your cupboards, clean them, restock in an orderly fashion.
  • Sell-out: Sell any of your possessions that have bad associations. Especially that red dress… I know what you did last summer.
  • Discoball: Make something shiny with old CDs. Inspiration here.
  • Trink-ing of you: Have something that reminds you of someone? Write them a lovely letter and send them a little trinket. Unclutter and reconnect in one fell swoop.
  • Bastards, cripples and broken things: Like Tyrion, we all have a place in our hearts for the imperfect. But be realistic. If you have a single shoe, get rid. If you have multiple breadmakers with no home, get online and find them one.
  • Get to the bottom of it: Simmer in the last of your Christmas smellies, hold a fire festival in your house with your half-burnt candles.

Life can be a bit treacly sometimes and a bunch of stuff weighing you down will only get you drowned in delicious, deadly treacle. So inhale that cow-pat-scented air and let it clear out your sinuses. Bucolic enough for you?

Default is just a detail.

I start this from my default position which is, of course, fear. ‘A-bit-of-a-worrier’ doesn’t quite cut the proverbial mustard in my case. And Black Dog doesn’t seem to cover my off-days. But I know, in that magic way that mothers always know when its going to rain and you’re going to need your raincoat, that the world is going to keep being beautiful in spite of all that. In spite of war, discrimination, hatred, the world keeps turning and as long as it is there will always be beauty in it. I like beautiful things. I like honesty. I would like to share both with you. So here’s my world, the everyday and the extraordinary, the madness and the method. Welcome, we’re all mad here.