The No BS List of What I’m Obsessed With Right Now

So my friends Jen and Courtney recently shared their lists of what they’re obsessed with at the moment, and I jumped on the chance to create a relatively easy post because I’m lazy af (see: the rest of the content I create).

Turns out, even writing about stuff I’m obsessed with is hard! Who knew? My own laziness lied to me. I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere. Anyway, onwards!

Making

I’ve just came back from Lorien Trust‘s The Gathering of Nations event. Yup, I’m a LARPer. Yip, it’s just as geeky, crazy and fun as you suspect. Before the event, I was busy making a ton (ok 4) of stuff from scratch, as well as updating and making existing costumes more awesome. I’m going to write a post about it shortly! I’ve since packed away (most of) my kit for the year, but the making bug has not left. There was still some stuff I wanted to make and after my ankle heals (another story!) I’ll be back on my sewing machine, where I plan on making another tunic for Gof, a dress for my sister, a skirt for me and a *something* for my nephew. Here’s just a couple of pics of what I made so far, I’ll get better pics for the other post! (Also yes, my nephew is literally the cutest)

Cooking

Gof and I are currently eating what I’m calling lazy Keto (me, lazy? Groundbreaking). At the moment, it’s just not financially feasible to go 100% Keto but frankly we’re seeing great results in weight loss, energy levels and improved skin already. One of the biggest changes is substituting rice with broccoli rice and frankly, I doubt I’ll ever go back. I was terrible at making rice anyway, but this is SO easy to do. I often say regular rice is simply a carrier for other flavours, whereas broccoli rice enhances the dish with more flavour. My current favourite dish is homemade veg curry with broccoli. So filling and delicious!

Drinking

Alongside the Keto diet, I’ve also upped my water intake tremendously. I’ve always stuck to drinking squash in my home and dislike buying fizzy drinks because THEN I’LL DRINK IT. My new rule, which I’ve stuck to, is only fizzy when I’m using it as a mixer (although my alcohol intake is very low at the moment) and no more 2ltr bottles in my shopping. It might be more cost effective but when I’m drinking it all it’s hurting my body. My purse doesn’t have health issues. I do. I’m not saying never, I’m allowing myself to have a can here and there – but I’ve wanted one maybe twice in the least month. GOOD THING. But yeah – water and squash is cool and you should do that thing.

Reading

Gof thinks I’m crazy because I can read several different books and keep them seperate. I call it practice. I’m always reading. (Ask about the beans story one day!). Right now I’ve restarted Good Omens – I read it years ago but deliberately didn’t re-read it ahead of the tv adaption so I could enjoy it on it’s own merits. I loved it so much and I’m enjoying reading it now with the actors playing the roles in my mind. I’m also re-reading Treasure Island because my LARP group is a bunch of pirates gentlemen of fortune and I’m trying to combat post-event blues. In the non-fiction section, I’m also reading Lookers Into Bookers, a marketing book written by my friend and old boss, Chris Torres. It’s focused on marketing in the tourism industry, but so much of the advice and information is totally transferable to other sectors and no he did not pay me to say this. I’m just so proud of him.

Playing

Fallout 76. Yup, it’s had its fair share of backlash and it still isn’t perfect – but I really love exploring post-apocalyptic Appalachia. If nothing else, it’s the only online game I’ve truly enjoyed and played long term. I adore the GTA games but I just gave up on the online side within a few weeks of it going live. Too much hassle. For now, I’m enjoying being a good and kind witch in West Virginia. If you’re on Playstation, add me! I’m mamasilverside (shocker).

Take me hoooommmeee, country roooooads….

Enjoying

I’m enjoying watching the colours change for autumn; my favourite season. I really really can’t handle heat so I’ve been hiding indoors over summer. I’m enjoying getting back out for my walks around my neighbourhood as well as just watching my dear green place turn a bit more autumnal.

Glasgow Uni is a mere 5 minutes from my door!

Watching

I finally got into the Derry Girls and holy hell (pun intended) did I do myself wrong by not getting into it earlier. As a Catholic school survivor I find the humour so on point, and although I wasn’t subject to the entirely too scary ‘growing up in The Troubles‘ childhood, Glasgow has a massive Irish community (even if generations removed), and as such has the same sectarian history and culture (essentially Catholic and Protestant fighting each other, a lot of the time literally). I relate all too well to these kids just trying to be normal in abnormal circumstances. I remember wondering why it was wrong to question why it was so important to everyone – and why it was worth the violence we did to each other. I still wonder that.

Hoping

Next month I was supposed to get my third ankle operation; the second on my right ankle. I’ve been waiting since April and was gearing up for it. Last week I was told it had been delayed as my surgeon needed emergency surgery of his own and it threw his schedule out. I’m glad he’s ok – he’s a lovely guy who actually listens to me – but I’m really down about the delay. However, I did say I’d be available at short notice should any cancellations come from now til the end of December (provisionally when my date will be) so I’m hoping that’ll come through. Please hope with me. I’m eager to get my ankle sorted!

Wearing

Layers! Yay autumn! I’ve been pulling out all of my comfiest clothes and making like a fat (not a negative word!) witch. Since I wear mostly black and jewel tones, I focus on textures and there’s no better time to wear them all together than in autumn. From sheer kimono style cardigans to velvet gloves and plaid skirts, chunky sweaters and patterned tights, I get to throw it all on and call it FASHUN, DARLING. The last year or so has really seen me return to my gothy aesthetic and it makes me so happy. I used to care so much about my clothes, then I got really depressed and STARTED WEARING JEANS. I do not suit jeans. Now, I’m back to picking out clothes with intention and it shows. Want a peek at my favourite style? I spend way too much time on Pinterest looking for inspiration, since about 90% of my clothes shopping comes from charity and thrift shops.

Sorting

My house out! I started as a way of preparing for that aforementioned surgery, since I’d be house-bound for a few weeks after it and even the smallest thing would definitely start bugging me. I’m getting rid of so much stuff I simply don’t use or even need and it feels so freeing. Luckily I live in the middle of second hand shop heaven, so they’re benefiting from my clear out! I used to have 4 full boxes of ‘sentimental’ stuff just taking up space – I’ve cleared that down to half of one box. It’s an ongoing process but I’m pretty happy with my progress so far. We have waaaay too much stuff for a one bed flat – and we both have hobbies that involve THINGS; burlesque, general sewing, miniature painting and table top gaming, larp, reading and movies – it all takes up space. We recently got rid of over 100 DVDs but that was less than half of our overall collection so possibly need to do that one again… I’ve just started on the books which is considerably harder since we both love having the physical books instead of online/e-reader copies. We’ll get there. Eventually.

Right on, Giles

Ok, I could go on – there was a lot more subjects to discuss in Jen’s post but since I’m quite incapable of writing a brief sentence when a novel will do, I’ll stop here! Please let me know if you also do this kind of post, I’d love to see what you’re up to right now too! See you soon!

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10 minute make up (aka fling it on your face and hope for the best)

I constantly talk about doing more videos, but YouTube isn’t making it very welcoming for the people who already create so much awesome content, never mind someone who will admittedly be very very sporadic about it.

For instance, my good friend Courtney, who has been blogging and doing videos for over a decade was recently hit with instant demonetization on her recent Summer Goth Lookbook for no discernable reason. Luckily her appeal went through successfully but she shouldn’t have had to do that in the first place. She creates quality, enjoyable and informative content and I really can’t see what the issue would have been.

My other friend Ali is also constantly battling the powers that be over being paid a fair amount for the content she creates for the platform. She also kills it with her content and she’s insanely (and rightly) popular in her community and her views reflect that. Still, she also needs to go out of her way to make sure her subscribers actually see her content instead of trusting in the supposed tools (ring the bell!) available on YouTube.

I digress, as usual. I have videos sitting on my computer ready to upload but they’re so dear to me that I think I’d actually be really upset if they didn’t do particularly well. I worked hard on them and yet I can’t seem to pull the trigger on actually putting them up.

So instead, I put up this. A no nonsense, low effort but fun video. Why not? It might encourage me to finally get those other ones up – but for now enjoy my ridiculous face for 10 minutes. Have fun!

An Open Letter to my MSP

https://twitter.com/askthe700

Dear Sandra

I’m one of your constituents. I’ve actually reached out to your office for help before; help that I gratefully received. I voted for you. I believe you want the best for your community, your city and your country. I thought you would speak for me and my interests. However, this time I have to reach out to ask you not to help. Please, don’t try to help people you clearly don’t understand.

The most simplistic way to look at stripping is to see it as pure male gaze objectification. The women on stage, in private rooms and on laps are victims. It’s easy to think that and not look deeper into it. It hits all the important socio-political points of today; the #metoo movement, equality, human trafficking, women’ rights, exploitation, mental health, and sex work. It gets to claim that being against stripping is to be a champion for women, to protect against potential violence and crime against them.

A lifetime lived is enough to know that it is dangerous to look at anything that simply and set a law around that simplicity.

Let me change the subject slightly. When I was a kid, my neighbourhood relied on the local community centre. It was a cafe, a meeting point, after school care, a place for various different classes, for people of all ages. It was a hub of society in an area otherwise afflicted by poverty, sub standard education and below average quality of life. Despite being vitally needed, the centre eventually closed down, not least of all because of the ‘bad elements’ that also used the facilities. Some dodgy deals were arranged and done in those halls; everyone knew but dealt with it the best they could in order to protect the very real good the centre provided overall. When that community centre was closed down by well meaning but oblivious councillors, we lost a crucial part of our community. The criminal element moved someplace else and we were left without a place to rely on for those classes, the after school care disappeared, and the cafe; so affordable to those on very low incomes, had no local equal. The community as a whole suffered. We became more insular, further education and hobbies stagnated and probably most ironically, crime soared. It soared because a lot of the kids lately involved in classes, hobbies and a place to go no longer had that, angry and isolated not to mention disillusioned, turned to petty crime and violence. From public nuisance, destruction of property to gang violence, the closure of that little centre caused far worse than it sought to avoid. More than 20 years on, I still feel massive sorrow for everyone who suffered the unintended consequences of closing our community centre.

Why do I mention this? Apart from knowing this is just one of many similar tales about the closures of community centres around poverty stricken areas, I see the same sort of unintended predicaments that threaten our city following the banning of SEVs. I see that trying to eliminate the very real issues surrounding regulations in SEVs will instead shatter all the good they do, and rather than stop the negative aspects, it will drive those deeper in the shadows; not gone, but that much more difficult to fight against. Such a simple solution is never simple. Sex work will continue as it has since the beginning of time, and those who prey on the vunerable will be empowered to do so since there will be no protections in place for the people who rely on or simply enjoy sex work as a career.

It is not for anyone, even elected officials, to judge people in sex work. Morals against a career simply don’t apply the same way they don’t apply to someone who has a career in shelf stacking or selling cars. There is no moral outrage necessary to accept that sex work is and always will be a valuable commodity in society. The old adage ‘sex sells’ is jokingly referred to in aspects of every single industry in the world, but only in the actual sex industry is it so tightly restricted by the moral outrage of those not actively involved in it.

That is not to say there is not room for improvement. Of course there is. Sex workers should be better protected in ways that make sense for them, a collobrative effort between their expertise and comman sense laws. This includes creating and maintaining safe places for them to work. It includes a mutual conversation between who make laws and who needs them to do their jobs. A conversation, not one side dictating to the other. Sex work needs regulation, sure – but to tar all sex workers as victims is to demean those who make an active choice to make this their career. They are not asking you to babysit them. They are asking you to look upon them as equals, with real insight and knowledge of how to create a safer workspace for all involved in the industry. To remove them from the conversation is to create victims of the people you are purporting to help. You are not helping them, you are telling them they are worthless, and isn’t that what you’re saying you want to stop?

Simple is never simple.

Involve those people, empower them to create their own solutions and remember you are on the outside looking in. Do not ban the places they can do their work safely. Do not do it in my name, or for my sake. I did not ask you to, and neither did any of the 700. Ask them what to do, instead of imposing your well meaning, but ultimately ill informed views on them.

I hope you see the sense in this. I hope I can feel good about voting for you again.

Sincerely

Useful beauty tips? Here?

I’ll never be a beauty guru. I’m utterly fine with that; I have neither the skill nor the ego to deal with that kind of attention. I dealt with a small kind of notoriety writing Oh Dear Doe Deere for years. I couldn’t handle that and the nonsense that comes with trying to be hashtag glam too.

Plus my lipstick application is SHITE.

In saying that, I have a love affair with cosmetics. I used to play with my mum’s makeup when I was a kid and no one told me I wasn’t allowed to use lipstick as blush or that I had to tame my eyebrows. My mum has most of the photos, but here’s 2 of my favourites that I’ve managed to nab at some point. Be gentle!

Living my blue eyeshadow, pink lipstick and top knot fantasy at 9
On my way to a dance competition (aforementioned lipstick-as-eyeshadow!) at 11

Have you ever seen more 90’s photos in your life? Believe me, my mum is a prolific photographer so there’s more where that came from! There may be many Spice Girl related videos too…

Anyway, despite not being a fancy gooroo, I have managed to pick up a few not so standard beauty tips in my time. Everyone knows they should always clean their makeup off before bed and drinking water is the best thing for your skin, but what about the stuff you kinda figure only you do? I want to know yours, so here’s mine!

  • When cleaning my makeup brushes, I dry them off as much as possible by laying them on a microfibre cloth then holding my hair dryer with the diffuser over them. ALWAYS use a cool setting and don’t expect them to dry completely, but usually they’ll be dry enough to use within about 5 minutes if you’re in a rush.
  • I’m guilty of always thinking my manicure or pedicure is dry enough to touch and immediate ruining it. I’m spoilt by acrylics and gels, but in between those I still sometimes use regular nail polish. I got over ruining them by doing something I can waste hours on – gaming! I’ll paint my nails right before I sit down to play Fallout knowing I won’t accidentally brush them against something while they dry!
  • I’m better at it now, but I used to never be able to cope with doing the cold water splash on my face. I tackled that by instead washing my hands in super cold water until they were cold then press them against my face. I think it still helped without shocking my face. I still mostly do this instead of a full splash of water.
  • Not so odd, but even before I started to do the Curly Girl Method, I used an old t-shirt as a hair towel instead of a regular. Taking it a bit further, if I’m doing a deep condition treatment, I’ll wrap my hair in tee to squeeze out some of the moisture, then pop the wet tee on a warm radiator while I apply the treatment, before wrapping the warm damp tee back around my hair. If the radiator isn’t on (for those 2 days of Scottish summer), I’ll just blast my hairdry over my tee wrapped hair while the treatment does its thing!
  • I always try to clean my hair brushes with a toothbrush and kids shampoo. With the amount styling products I use it’s really a necessity to get rid of the build up! It’s kinda more satisfying than cleaning my makeup brushes to be honest!

What are your favourite personal beauty habits? Let me know!

My nails broke my heart!

*none of the links are sponsored or affiliated, I’m no influencer!*

Over the last few months I’ve been pretty unwell and as a result my entire body is totally run down. It’s still going on, and I think at some point I’ll write about it. I’ve been bumping up my skin and hair care lately to combat my shitty immune system, but I neglected my nails. So, a couple of weeks ago, I treated myself to spectacular purple acrylics from my gorgeous and talented friend Jaki at Nova Nails; then last Tuesday I went back and had them removed, deciding to a gel manicure over my natural nails afterwards. I’ve done this loads of times with no issue so didn’t expect anything different this time. I tend to prefer to go from acrylic, to gel, to natural nails, then repeat as desired. It’s a system that’s always worked for me. However, a few hours after getting them done, I knew something wasn’t right.

My nails felt absolutely fine during treatment but now they were weak, bending and finally split in a few places. They bled a bit and were sore to touch. I’ve always had great nails and this has literally never happened before. I trust my friend completely and knew it wasn’t anything they did wrong. I instantly realised my utterly run down immune system has affected my nails too. Thankfully, Jaki had some availability the next morning and she recommended we get the gel straight off and get some IBX treatment on them, so that’s what she did.

Last week, straight after the first IBX treatment

This is what I ended up with. My nails are so thin that she didn’t want to use too much acetone or overbuff to take the gel off so there’s a little bit still on, but I already feel the difference just having the IBX on. I’m so grateful she was able to help me straight away – now I’m barred from any kind of polish or acrylics for at least 6 weeks so I can intensively look after them!

I picked up Sally Hansen Vitamin E cuticle oil last week and I’ve been using it constantly, but wasn’t exactly thrilled with it; weirdly I felt it dried in super quick and left my nails feeling almost gritty? Anyway, I’ve switched to this Cutex Intensive Recovery oil and already I’m feeling it is more moisturising and it smells lovely. I’ve got another IBX treatment next week and after talking to Jaki about in between treatments, I’ve decided to apply a green tea & bamboo nail strengthener tonight before re-upping the cuticle oil. I’ve also picked up acetone free polish remover so I can remove that before the IBX treatment. I’ve decided to keep my nails as short as possible since they seem to be growing more straight, I’ve lost the C-curve of my nails for now and the whites of my nails were catching on EVERYTHING which was painful since they were bending backwards. Ouch.

Today, post cuticle oil up!

Like I said, I’ve never had an issue with my nails before. It makes sense that since my hair and skin have been suffering, my nails would too. Putting acrylics over already less than optimal nails (although granted not bad enough to be noticeable at that point) wouldn’t have helped. Having Jaki pretty much on call has been wonderful; I’ve had issues with hair/skin before and can handle that, but my nails suffering is a new and weirdly scary thing for me. I’ve made sure to also eat more iron and protein rich foods, which has also helped my hair and skin, so I’m really pushing the self care inside and outside!

To be honest the thing I’m struggling with most is keeping my nails out of water as much as possible. I take about 25 minutes just to wash and condition my hair, and wet style it since I’m bringing my curls back, plus I tend to do the dishes every evening. Avoiding the hair wash has been doable for now since I only wash it once a week (although I’m really pushing it now!) but not doing the dishes has thrown my evening routine out of whack. Plus I hate waking up to a full sink so I’ve had to moan at Gof to do them, and he already does plenty of chores! I got kitchen gloves and used them today even though I generally hate them. Needs must!

In saying that, I’m happy with the progress so far. There’s definitely a massive difference in the strength of my nails. It’ll take some time before they are back to normal, and I’ll check in when there’s more to talk about!

Next blog, what I’m doing hair and skin wise? Let me know!

Snugglebumm back to life!

Spritely’s original look

So this wee Snugglebumm has been in my life for as long as I’ve been alive (1984!) and poor Spritely has been through the wars, becoming filthy and bald. I finally gave him a makeover and a new hairdo, the colour isn’t the same as his original hair but I think he suits it! Boy looks FANCY now!

I used a mix of dish soap, bicarb soda and warm water, scrubbed him with a soft toothbrush and cleaned off as much glue off as possible. Luckily the dirt lifted right off and most of the glue residue came up too.

I tried a few different ways to fit his new hair, from tracing a pattern onto a scrap fabric, which emphatically did not work, to trying to sharpie the outline of the head then pressing the fabric onto the wet ink. Also didn’t work. I ended up just pressing the centre of the hair onto the centre of the head, then pushing the edges in, cutting the excess, then glueing the edges down using E6000 and pushing it back into place. I had to go in very small spaces, slowly, since there wasn’t a flat straight line at any point! This took the longest time but was worth it.

I was worried I’d not like the difference in colour for his hair – but luckily it was a pretty perfect match to the darker blue of his brows, freckles, mouth, and heart! That was indeed a happy accident, and to be honest I think I actually prefer it to his original hair!

He now sits on my computer desk and I can’t stop smiling when I look at him. I’m so happy with the outcome!

Ok this isn’t my computer desk but the cat tower is right next to the window!

I have another 2 toy projects to work on, my Lucy rag doll needs A LOT of work and I’ve already started, so hopefully a post on that is coming soon. The other is just some cleaning up and potentially replacing some wool hair of my horse Bobbin (from The Land of Pleasant Dreams range). I’m excited to work on them!

What was your favourite childhood toy? Do you still have it?