Wednesday, 13 July 2011


So today is July 14th. A date forever burned into my heart as the day, now 27 years ago, we were given Paul for a short while. Paul had Cystic Fibrosis and lost his battle in 1997, 2 months after he turned 13. Even though we knew all along that he would die young, and his doctors constantly told us "only a few month left" - it was still sudden. We'd gotten so used to hearing he was dying we forgot he was going to die.

The last time I had the chance to see him, my mum and sisters were going to visit, and I wanted to go see my friend instead, so I went there. I can't really regret it - I spent my whole life treating him like any one of my family and sometimes I was too selfish to do the family rounds. I was 13! I'm sure he forgave me. I usually hit him a lot, and said I was giving him physio! We knocked lumps out of each other really, but I had the upper hand (and used it!) since I didn't tire easy. Evil, wasn't I!

Really, we were just cousins. The whole dying thing was always there (and you bet your ass he used that fact!) but there is no greater power than the need to have fun when you're a kid. We spoke about it, sure, but everything else was more important. Things like Celtic Football Club, Michael Jackson, WWF (before it was WWE!) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

So yeah, it was sudden. Like Tara said, it's always sudden. The day I found out, I cried with my family, went round to my friend's house and drank alcohol until I passed out on the bathroom floor. I was 13. It was the first time I'd ever got drunk, and I kept thinking how Paul would never get illegally drunk with me. We wouldn't celebrate out 18th and have a legal drink together. I wouldn't hate and judge his girlfriends. I wouldn't kick him ever again. Wouldn't tease him. The day after the sun rose and life, as it's wont to do, went on. I haltingly told my Year head teacher my cousin... passed away. She said words that I'm sure were meant to show comfort and sorrow, but I was in a bubble. I didn't hear a word anyone said until the day my mother woke me up to tell me to get ready. For the funeral.

My 13 year old cousin had over 100 people show to pay their respects. It seemed like more. Maybe it was. We listened to Michael Jackson songs and sang You'll Never Walk Alone. We laughed, and it wasn't forced. We enjoyed his life, and the impact he had on ours. Someone remembered he owed Paul a fiver and we giggled.

It's hard to know that he's been dead longer than he was alive. He should be here. Paul is still so present in my mind that I hate using the past tense to talk about him. I can't imagine the person he would be and yet, when things get tough I use his memory as my less crazy side. He gets me through, simply by not being here. I  can say to myself, Paul isn't here to live his life, so YOU should. It should work more than it does, but I'm getting there. I know I can't live his life for him, or worse, live my life for him - but it's a reminder that I'm capable of so much more, if only I try. I don't have the troubles he did.

That's why I'm doing the gig tomorrow. To honour his memory, I'm not doing it simply to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, although it's definitely a plus. I'm doing it because I love music, I believe in my friends. I enjoy gigs. I've enjoyed putting it together. It's gave me something to focus on. When I've dealt with difficult things about it, it made me happy. I think I'll do it again. To honour him, I will honour myself.

I went to your funeral
Yet I see you everyday
In the faces of strangers
And they'll never know the beauty they possess
Was once yours alone

I hate looking at faded photos
Of who you used to be
And memories lose colour over time 
I learned the lessons
You don't know you taught

You're a bigger part of my life
Than you were before
Every second now is a breath
You haven't took
Yet you're more alive to me than before

The colours still fade though
And time takes you further than I can reach
Every moment I know you're gone
Because I went to your funeral
But I still see you everyday

Friday, 8 July 2011

Two down.

So, a day before Father's day I posted  a sort of farewell letter to a man who used to be very important to me. Today, I say goodbye to the biological one.

You're a child.

When things don't go your way you toss your dummy, scream and huff about how unfair the world is to you. Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that all those injustices have only one thing in common? Take a bow Mr Matthews, you're the star of the show!

I always knew too much about you. You wear your heart on your sleeve and your lies on your face. You treated me as a confidant, not a daughter, and I gave up so much for you. One by one the children you fathered fell away, unable and unwilling to deal with your pouting - but I stuck around. I made excuses for you. I felt sorry for you. I lost a great friendship and a brother for you. Twice.

I gave up, finally. I had to. I didn't agree with you on our last meeting. I held my tongue. I cared for my sister, after you left - she was a young woman just hours past a traumatic labour, and you made her cry. You walked in and you MADE HER CRY.

I've never been so angry with you in my life, and I have had plenty of experience in that. Don't worry, I won't elaborate. I don't have that much free time... and I'm unemployed.

That was the one time you should not have made it all about you. The one time you could have acted like a father. That night I left the hospital and walked 4 miles and didn't even notice. I was disgusted with you. Again, I've plenty of experience in that with you.

And yet, I still tried. I called. I texted. I spoke to you about my wedding. And yet I've not heard from you at all. I'm done trying.

Your girlfriend walked right by me yesterday. I've got bright red hair and she didn't miss me. Neither did her mother. Your youngest daughter, I'll give the benefit of the doubt too, since she hasn't seen her oldest sister since November. Today I tried to contact your girlfriend on facebook. I'm off her friends list. When did that happen? I texted you my new number two weeks ago. Nothing. I just called you, to be sure. Well, you're certainly not using that number anymore, are you?

You chicken shit.You couldn't even face me to tell me how much of a coward you are. It's ok though. I knew all along.

You're going to die alone Roy. You'll fuck this little family up too. Why change the habit of a lifetime? And I've gave up caring.

I will never contact you again. In fact, after this moment, I will never think of you again. You've just lost the one person in the world who understood you and tried to love you anyway.


Thoughts of a let down.

Lately, there’s been a phrase running through my head constantly. A phrase from my childhood, a phrase anyone growing up in a Scottish playground has heard at least once.

Don’t act smart.

You know the one. The condescending tone, usually the speaker stood before you hand on hip, and mocked you for some slight you tried to make. The warning from your peers not to try to think above your station in life.

I never understood the saying, although I can definitely be accused of saying it more than once, a throw-away phrase to show your disdain toward someone else’s opinion. Why shouldn’t you act smart? Why shouldn’t you try to put into practice a newer understanding of your world, even if it’s not perfect? Isn’t that the essence of learning, of growing? Usually, as I seen in the playground, the person saying it was usually masking their own ignorance or at least an unwillingness to understand what someone else was trying to say.

In short, I thought it was a way to bully the people who tried to learn.

So why is it running through my head so much lately?

If you know anything about me, you’ll know I left school straight after my Standard Grades at 16. After 4 years of being my school’s verbal (and sometimes physical) punch bag, I speedy gonzaled out of there so fast I might have ran straight through a wall and never noticed. But an odd thing happened as I passed the school gates for the last time. I felt guilt. And disappointment. I knew in that moment I’d failed myself. Even without seeing my results, still months away, I knew whatever I scored wouldn’t show me at my best. I never studied, didn’t pay much attention in class, pretty much just coasted by on the natural intelligence I have without once trying any harder than I needed to. I felt like school didn’t really teach me anything I couldn’t have figured out by myself. I was bored, and instead of seeking out help from teachers to challenge me more, I fell into the trap of not caring enough, not realising that maybe the adults were right when they said these were my formative years, that everything I did in those 4 short years would reflect on the rest of my life. Oh yeah, I was intelligent, but I wasn’t smart.

When my results came, I scored absolutely average. Most of my scores fell under the “general” category. If I’d attempted even slightly to study, I would have received credits across the board – I’ve no doubt about that. But it’s too late. I need to let any and all of my employers know I am nothing but average, when I know I am anything but.

I vowed I would change then. I was on my way to college, and I’d be surrounded by people who were there because they wanted to learn. I’d be safe to act smart. But there was something I didn’t anticipate.

I was 16 and stupid.

Suddenly I was alone. Legally recognised as an adult, responsible enough to live in my own flat, pay my bills (ha!) and be capable enough to attend to my education off my own back. I went crazy with freedom. I slept in, missed class all the time. I was too busy playing grown up to actually grow up. A year passed, then another, then another. Before I knew it, my 2 year head start was gone and I was not more educated than my old classmates who were now leaving school with Highers. Again, I messed it up by not trying hard enough.

I’m 27 now. I’m unemployed. My prospects for any future employment remain the same sort of jobs I would have applied for 10 years ago, unskilled retail work. Call centres. It’s difficult; these are the jobs right now that per job, on average 250 people apply for. It’s a daily battle to even get a CV seen.

It’s my own fault. I could blame the job market for the difficulties I’ve had finding work in the past 6 months – but let’s face it, I could be applying for better jobs with better qualifications. So it’s on me. I’ve no-one to blame but myself in the end.

I don’t want to keep writing about how I know how much I’m missing out on by screwing up. I don’t want to be writing again in 10 years about how I know what mistakes I’ve made and how I’m hoping to change that.

It’s time to stop acting smart.

Just be smart.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


about the NOTW thing... to be honest, I think the innocent employees are being thrown to the dogs, so the real guilty parties can hide behind the scandal of the paper being closed down. At first thought I figured the closure was a good thing, before realising what it meant for the majority of the employees of the paper. How long before the celebration of what, at first look is a victory, turns into outrage for the people who have just been unceremoniously dumped? 

Will the people who authorised the hacking be truly punished? Probably not. And yet thousands of people have just lost their jobs in an country of mass unemployment. I've been looking for a job since January without luck, and like it or not, people who work(ed) for this paper will no doubt be tainted as a bad choice no matter how innocent they are of any wrongdoing. 

I don't think closing down the News Of The World is a huge loss to News International as a business. Yes, they're closing a national institution, whether you agree with its views or not - but the paper doesn't make up a huge part of the company. James Murdoch will just walk into another job, which will probably be kept quiet  in the worst kind of nepotism. I mean, do you really think daddy's boy will be punished? I doubt he'll even face criminal charges, although he should.

No, this stinks of a stunt, something to keep the public talking about the paper while behind the scenes Rupert Murdoch's main concern is acquiring BSkyB. Like a baby being distracted with a toy when they're about to receive a jab, they hope the public will be too busy screaming about the very real injustices of this whole debacle. If I were a more cynical person, I'd be inclined to believe they actually welcomed this scandal as a great distraction while they attempt to monopolise the ACTUAL news of the world. 

Another reason to hate Murdoch.

Stop him from getting his dirty hands on our free press

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

So, I've been busy....

July 14th would have been my cousin Paul's 27th birthday.

Sadly, he died when he was 13, after a long and hard battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

From the Cystic Fibrosis Trust website, the facts about CF are as follows;

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of the UK's most common life-threatening inherited diseases.

Cystic Fibrosis affects over 9,000 people in the UK.

Over two million people in the UK carry the faulty gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis - around 1
in 25 of the population.

If two carriers have a child, the baby has a 1 in 4 chance of having Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food.

Each week, five babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis.

Each week, two young lives are lost to Cystic Fibrosis.

Only half of those living with Cystic Fibrosis are likely to live past their late 30s.

My family all miss Paul every day. He was the very heart of our extended family, and had the biggest sense of humour about the struggles he dealt with every day.

In his name, we are holding a charity gig for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a fantastic charity that tries in every way to help everyone who is affected by a CF diagnosis, as well as fighting toward a breakthrough in both treatments and cure.


We have ALL bands confirmed, so go check them out!

Fin Ray, Heavily influenced by grunge and psychedelia, this garage band is brand new to the gig scene!

Bunny & the Misshapes, a band living the best of Blues and Rock, with a side of pure naughty!

Echo-Bass, a powerhouse of metal, guaranteed to have the place bouncing!

Tickets on the door on the night, £4

Doors 7.30pm

STRICTLY 18+ ONLY, sorry!


If you wish to donate to this cause but can't make the gig, please visit the website at

We will be holding a raffle for extra donations, if you're a gifted creative type and wish to donate an item for raffle, please send me a message or comment below and I'll get back to you.

Please invite anyone you think would like to come along!

Thank you!

Paul Gillan 14th July 1984 - 27th September 1997
Beloved. Missed. Never Forgotten.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

On blogger's drama

I love reading blogs from around the world. From all different walks of life, from an international playgirl to a stay-at-home mother with a love of comfort and vintage, I find myself linked to these amazing women who are courageous enough to put their lives online. Sometimes, there is scrutiny and even "hate" for people who are accused of not entirely truthful. It makes me wonder of how truthful anyone is when they blog about about their lives, and how much it matters.

I've got conflicting opinions about this. Firstly, if someone puts it all out there, I believe that if (and when) questions are raised about their life, they should answer these questions. Not because we as readers have the right to know, but if your whole life is an open book with a few missing chapters, people can and will question that. Not answering will at best will make you look like a liar and at worst a scam artist. Especially if there's money involved. I know there are people who blog about their life and stop at a certain point, and clearly explain that there is a part of their life that will remain private. That's perfectly acceptable to me. Some people will just not accept that. It makes me wonder of how important these bloggers are to the people who set out to "expose their lies". Why bother? Ok, if there's cash involved I understand the need to seek compensation, and maybe the need to warn others about your past experiences, but not to devote huge amounts of time, effort and even money to ruin said bloggers life and/or livelihood. I simply do not get it. Unless it's something highly illegal or immoral, I just don't get it.

There's one car crash I keep an eye on. Most people here in the UK don't really know who Tila Tequila is, or at most know she was the "star" of MTV's A Shot at Love a few years back. I was informed 2 years ago about her, and her various wrongdoings involve faking several pregnancies, then miscarriages, allowing sexual deviants and minors talk to each other on her website, and sometimes participating herself, posting videos filled with sexual and violent content. There's also the "charities" she has founded, and accepted money for. Then there's also the whole case of Casey Johnson's death. There's a good couple of valid reasons why there's so many people are actively pursuing her, and hoping for a conviction of at least one of her many crimes. In my opinion, these people are well within the right of moral and legal decency to fight for that. I look forward to the day I see that she's been arrested.

But the there people who feel the people they read about should answer to them for silly reasons like what their children's name are or whether or not they someone else helped them write a post. How much of your life would you keep private? Should you explain why? Afford these bloggers the same respect. In the end, does it really matter? Read something that inspires you, and take it at face value. Educate yourself. If your bullshit detectors go off, by all means investigate - and if they aren't exactly kosher by all means vote with your click and don't go back, if there's anything more serious only then should you do anything more. Let it go behind you and find something else to inspire you. Or - be inspiring yourself!

Just be the person you want to be and let us know how it goes. (I promise not to ask unwelcome questions.)

Saturday, 18 June 2011


I suppose it took seeing you, finally, to know for sure what I haven't missed. One look and I was transported back to the days I've long since left behind. 

You're still there. Your life hasn't changed past the knowing that what you chose was never good enough for you. I saw that in you that night, the sadness and resignation. But you're stuck there. We were tossed aside; my sisters, myself - all those years ago and my god I'm glad we were. 

I could tell you all about our lives and make you understand your greatest failure was turning your back on us when we needed you most. But I won't. I will not cheapen my choices, my life or theirs, to make you see. We deserve more than that. You will never know anything now, good or bad, about us. You gave up that right. You will never hear our voices on the phone, or a text from the daughters you raised. We won't confide in you. You will never hold our children, nor walk us towards our husbands. We will never ask you for help. We will never call you dad again.

 Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy. 

You failed here, twice over. I hope you'll succeed someday, but never with us. Live the life you've chosen. I never want to see you again. You disappointed us. You lied to us. You lied to yourself.


I struggled over whether or not I should post this. In the end I decided to, not to stir up bad feeling and drama - but to finally lay it to rest. The saddest thing is, I'm not even upset about it.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Tumblr biz!

A new start.
I lost my camera. Well, I left it at a friends and I’ve not got it back yet and that was my excuse for not posting. Then it was laziness, a feeling of, why bother? But I’ve come to realise I shouldn’t use any excuse NOT to do something, but to use every excuse to ALWAYS try. 
So I’m putting myself back on here. I’ll be damned if the only thing I’m consistent in is giving up.
Yesterday I went to a physiotherapist about my back. She seemed more than slightly amazed that I was so flexible (for a fat chick). I know my main problem regarding my back is I ignore the pain to get the job done, push through it, and end up in soul crushing agony for days. Can’t do that anymore. So I have a new exercise routine and someone irl to answer to if I don’t at least attempt to stick to it. Thankfully, it still involves the Wii. 
So, the plan is;
  • 20 mins of cross trainer spread over the day in 5 min sessions
  • yoga poses I should work on, like sun salutation, the warrior, and the sphinx. Nice basic ones, for now.
  • an hours power walking a day, cut into manageable sessions, like 20 mins a time.
  • my (should be usual) 30 mins of Wii Fit Plus.
We review in a fortnight.
I also went to my doctor, who took blood to make sure I don’t have any underlying causes to my weight gain. We weighed me, and I am actually shocked. I’m hitting 15 stone. At my healthiest I was 9st 11oz. I’m carrying 5 extra stone. I’m disgusted with myself, and it’ll be a damn big reason to why my back is so bad.
So, full disclosure. No more hiding the embarrassing stuff.
Here goes nothing!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

2 in one day!

Lucky you, eh?

So, any regular readers will know I CONSTANTLY go on about how this time I'm determined to lose weight.

Funny thing is, I'm all full of vim and vigour for, ummmm, three days maybe? Then before I know it I'm stuffing my face with crisps and I haven't moved from the sofa in a week.

I suck at sticking to a goal.

So I've joined a facebook group called Operation Boudicca: One woman's quest to look like a Warrior Queen in the hopes that trying to lose weight and get fitter while talking to like minded women about it.

The truth is, I can't afford the gym. I eat when I'm bored. I don't exercise half as much as I should. I'm low on energy and I want to sleep all the time. I know I need to push through the energy lull to actually get more energy. I'd rather focus on getting fit than losing weight, but I also want to slim down my legs, my back and although my belly has always been on the chubby side, I'd like to get back into my size 12's.

Here goes nothing!

***And if I could end up looking like Christina Hendricks, that'd be just... ace***


Three days before I was due to appear at Ooh La La with cakes and the like, my oven gave up working.

I tried shouting at it, kicking it, screaming about its perfect timing, and begging it not to quit on me dammit! But nothing worked. I had a batch of cake dough sadly waiting to be turned into edible goodness. I had rum soaked raisins waiting to get poured into cake batter. I had a bottle of unopened gin in the cupboard.

I held strong, and transferred all my bakery stuff to my friend's house. Sans gin, but I may or may not have bought a bottle of wine on the way.

The next few days were a blur of flour and sugar and pink stained fingers, not to mention travelling between 2 sets of friend's house to use their ovens. But at 4am on Sunday, the day of the fair, Gof and I iced the last cake. Well, technically Gof finished the last when we woke up a few hours later, but you get the idea. We were EXHAUSTED, but our lovely friends drove us through to Edinburgh, where we got lost and arrived 5 minutes before opening. In the end, we managed it, and while we didn't make our first million there, everybody enjoyed our cakes and for the first time in ages I felt totally proud of myself.

I slept for 12 hours when we got home.

Since, I've managed a migraine, conjunctivitis, and a job interview. Which I better start getting ready for. I also have physiotherapy tomorrow, which I'm both looking forward to and dreading.

Ok... I need hair and makeup. And to get ready. And to get this job.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The art of me.

This might be the understatement of the century, but I love make up. I know, I know - wild confession! There's a few different reasons why, of course - but let's face it, they're not exactly ground breaking or exclusive.

Make up is my comfort food, I apply it like armour when I'm feeling vulnerable, I use it to hide my less than perfect mood, I take joy in feeling amazing in it. I enjoy the ritual I have of being so particular, cleaning my brushes, sweeping on some liner, and watching as I transform myself into a different side of me. I bestow care and attention on myself - and for a little while, it's all about me. Exaggerating my lips, drawing on a pout, or even just shadowing in my eyebrows so they photograph better when I know I'll be out on the town.

“Pretty is something you're born with. But beautiful, that's an equal opportunity adjective.” -Anonymous

I've already wrote about how I knew I wasn't pretty. But to me, this was a good thing. I knew I could care for myself and feel pride in knowing I looked after myself in my own way. I think, all things considered, it gave me confidence, knowing I could practice beauty, not rely on prettiness. Some of my idols are their own created beauty. Mae West, Dita Von Teese, Marilyn Monroe.

“The makeup is simply an extension of the personality and colors, clothing, makeup all express something.” -Gene Simmons

These women are larger than life. Their painted face, the control, the poise. Even faked, the image they leave is hard to forget. But make up didn't make them who they were, or who they became. It was the cliff notes version, one look and you knew what they were about. Marilyn, a next door girl become sex goddess. Dita is controlled, powerful, and just a little naughty. Mae, well she just didn't get a fuck, she'd prefer you take her, but see ya if you left. They commanded, and got, respect. It isn't the make up on their face that made these women iconic, but it makes looking up to them easy on the eye!

“How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.”- Oscar Wilde

Every person in the world is entitled to feel amazing. But no one deserves that attention or respect if they won't even give it to themselves. Everyone has their own way of stamping their identify on the world, even if they don't know it yet. Mine's is make up, and my red hair. I may not always feel the most gorgeous, the most talented, the most anything - but I know I've done something I love to do, and that makes me, me. And because of make up, I decide to be a different me every day.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.” -Miss Piggy

***I was gonna put pictures of my different make up pictures here, but blogger is being a baw. Sorry.***

Sunday, 22 May 2011

What I did the day after the Rapture.

Woke up. Demanded coffee.

Drank said coffee.

Woke up.

Realised the world hadn't ended.

Went, "meh".

Played Fallout: New Vegas. I may as well get the practice in for when the world actually does end.


Currently watching the BAFTAS.

About to make cake.

I have my family here, my sister Lyndsay, brother-in-law Alan not in the picture and nephew and niece Thomas Jack and Olivia, since they were going to Alan's brother's wedding and decided to make a holiday of it. It's been... busy! They're here for another week, and I intend to get my sisters all out together and get bladdered merry.

I realised I've not blogged in a while. I'm not promising to rectify that, because when I do I don't, but I will try. Honest.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Flashback - The Tale of the NaziFem

A little wander around the interwebs always amuses me, especially when I don't know where I'll end up. I've learned many a little known fact, gossiped over stuff I have no real care for, found great music/movies/people; generally, had a great time.

But every so often, there's a real WTF moment - and recently there was one I couldn't pass without comment.

So, I was on TvTropes (yes, thank you Maffu - bastard) and ended up finding some ultra Nazi Feminist's blog.

Let's call it the online version of a car crash - bloody disgusting, and shaming to stare at it, even though you can't help it. And no, I'm not linking it.

The woman (and I baulk at calling her that, so lets call her NaziFem) was so twisted, so convinced her way was the only way to be, and even though she stated she would welcome open discussion, she banned certain comments from appearing, if someone was to have a different opinion than hers.

But there was one post in particular really really, offended me. She was getting all uppity about Firefly, and the fact she didn't think it was a female-friendly story. Now, that opinion doesn't bother me, not everyone will like the same things I do because they're stupid, obviously, but she went on to state that the way Joss Whedon writes his women characters obviously means he is a rapist.

I'm serious.

She outright said he rapes his wife.

I wish I was kidding.

NaziFem goes on, after some apparently non offensive (to her) prodding, to state that she believes in the radical version of what is considered rape. Which is to say that if a man (of course) tries to initiate sex (with a woman) it is rape, since the woman didn't ask for sex. Even if she consents, it is still rape, because the man pressured the woman into agreeing.

NaziFem is a lesbian, of course. The worst kind, who give the other, normal lady-lovin' ladies a bad name.

When someone asked NaziFem if a woman tries to have it on with another woman without her prior consent to try, if that was rape, and she admitted she hadn't considered that theory.

Of course.

Another woman commented, and told her that as a rape survivor  (she quite rightly doesn't want to consider herself a victim), she found the blogger's "crazy notion of rape offensive". Said NaziFem "your opinion isn't welcome here".

Such a great feminist.

In truth, I've no idea what I'm more angry about. Calling Joss Whedon a rapist is definitely batshit crazy, not because I know for a fact he isn't. But the reason (and I loathe to say reason) behind her thought process, which led to this proclamation on such a public forum, is exactly why innocent men can and have been accused of  rape. It also belittles Joss Whedon's wife, a woman whom I have no doubt is in a normal, healthy relationship. There is no proof she is a cowering, scared, and abused woman whose husband forces himself upon her emotionally and physically. And yet, NaziFem would point blank refuse to consider the very real possibility that she was wrong, and anyone who questioned her was either ignored, deleted, told they were obviously stupid and brain-washed by the evil man, or all of the above.

Is this feminism? Taking extremely biased and hate-filled opinions and using them to blast people as stupid and ignorant? Or worse, rapists? No. These "feminists" are not feminists.

Women who want equal rights are feminists. Women who are true feminists don't hate men just because they have a penis.

Women like NaziFem don't want equality. They're guilty of the worst kind of hypocrisy. Just as they assume every man in the world wants to belittle women and "keep them down", if they had it their way, the I AM WOMAN brigade wouldn't seek equality, but would just simply switch the gender roles as they see it and claim superiority over the men. They're guilty because they assume woman who don't agree with their views are stupid and brainwashed by the men, not that they might just hold different and no less valid opinions. And yes, just because I really don't agree with NaziFem's opinion doesn't mean I don't consider it valid. It is, to her. I pity her the same way she pities us poor little brainwashed women with minds of our own.

I want equality. True equality. I want a world that doesn't base opinion on gender, sexuality, race or creed - but personality, talent and worth. I want people to respect, and respectfully agree or disagree with, everyone's else's opinions.

I don't think Joss Whedon rapes his wife. I don't think Mrs Whedon would appreciate the fact anyone would implicate her husband like that.

If that makes me brainwashed, then so be it.

Sometimes, I love it when my boyfriend takes the initiative too.

Suck it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Red (and long) hair care

As you probably know, I've got red hair. Long, thick, red hair. It's difficult to manage at times - but it's worth it. I've been a redhead more often than not for about 6 years. Every time I consider cutting/dying my hair another way, I'm very quickly told off!

So, I'm asked pretty often (and often by complete strangers) how I manage to deal with my hair. Well, this is how!

1. I only wash my hair once a week.

Ok, this sounds gross, I know. But red is a notoriously difficult colour to keep, and the colour fades very easily. I wash  it with either Aussie Colour Mate Shampoo or Herbal Essences Ignite My Colour, then squeeze out the excess water before using conditioner from the same ranges. After rinsing, I blast the cold water (good for closing your pores too!) so it shines. Only occasionally do I use any other product, if I feel my hair is needing a pep up, I'll use either leave in conditioner or olive oil as a hair mask. In between washes, I use dry shampoo, usually Batiste, although I'm looking at trying new brands to mix it up a little :D

2. I dye my hair every 5-6 weeks. 

I've recently went back to basics, and started using Ion products from Salon Services (aka Sally's). I personally use 006 Red Performance Colour with Ion Creme Developer, either 9% (30vol) or 12% (40vol) if I want to go even brighter! In between dye jobs, I also use Directions temp colour in a mix of Poppy Red and Pillar Box Red to keep the colour looking fresh without adding more bleach. Before I started back on Ion, I was using Schwarzkopf Live Color - and frankly, it were shit. I got into the habit of buying it because it was cheap and always on special offer. As I need two boxes for my mane, I got used to picking it up. Newsflash though - it's cheap and always on special offer because, I repeat - it's shit. It weakened my hair and was NEVER even remotely close to the colour on the box. Don't get me wrong, if you have great success with Live, fair enough, but for me - it were shit.

3. Especially for long hair, it's important to trim it regularly.

I've not had my hair cut in a while, and it shows. With such thick hair, it's important for me to cut some layers into it to make it more manageable. When your hair is long, it's a false economy to not cut it. Everyone, no matter how diligently they keep their hair will get split ends and the longer you have them, the further up they go. I had a REALLY bad haircut from an inexperienced hairdresser that caused horrible split ends and when I had my hair rescued after two weeks of putting up with it, the hairdresser had to take another two and a half inches off! Goodbye long hair, for a while :(

4. Use heat protection when using heated hair tools.

Should be a non brainer really, but so many people use hair dryer, tongs, heated rollers and straighteners without protecting their follicles first. After taking every care with the previous steps, it makes sense to follow through and not undo all that hard work! I spritz my hair with heat protection spray (personal favourite is VO5 Tame & Shine) before I blow dry my hair, then a little more if I straighten it. Blow drying, I try to leave my hair as longer as possible before turning the dryer on, so I don't need to use it too long. I always finish with a blast of cold hair if I'm not using the straighteners later, to seal. Pretty much the same theory as the cold water trick. When I straighten my hair, I first go through the length of my hair, missing the roots and tips at first, then when I've done that, go from root to tip quickly.

5. Don't be tempted to overdo it on the hairspray/mousse/whatevs.

Your standing at the mirror. Your hair is gleaming, bright and perfect. So you want to keep it *just* the way it is, right? Don't grab the hairspray and start spraying til you can't anymore. Hair products have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, but that doesn't mean you don't have to be careful in it's application. With hairspray, don't spray direct on to the hair. Instead, spray above your head and let the mist fall and settle on your hair. A few short bursts should set your look. With mousse or curling serum, the trick is to use a small amount and rake through your hair, gently squeezing, then use tongs to create your curls. With shine serum, I use a teeny tiny amount, rubbing it over my hands, and focus on the tips of my hair before using the flat of my hand to smooth it over where light naturally hits my hair.

Go forth,and enjoy your hair!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Joan on Holiday

Flashback - 14 August 2010

More than a few of my friends have commented on my usually successful trips to the charity shops in my area (I live in the mecca of charity and vintage shops :D), and often ask how I always come away with at least one thing. Any time I wear one of my new treasures, someone always asks where I got it and most are surprised when I say the charity shop!

But, surely, they no doubt wonder, that's where bad clothes go to die, after languishing at the bottom of the wardrobe for years - unloved, unwanted?

Well, no. Not always. Don't get me wrong, I usually have to rake through an awful lot of crap to find a diamond, but there is always items that have simply been donated out of the goodness of peoples hearts (or they ran out off storage and were forced at gunpoint to get rid of some stuff they loved but hadn't worn in ages - who, me?) , and they're there to be had.

Today, I was only supposed go to the bank, then the doctors, but walked back into my house with a skirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of shoes. All from charity shops.

I can't find my camera, so I'll describe what I bought.

One pair of black oval toed patent and snakeskin "look" courts with three thin straps, originally from Nine West. A snuggly, but not fluffy baby pink v neck 3/4 sleeve cotton jumper, originally from Debbie Morgan. A pair of bootcut blue jeans, originally from New Look, and finally, a black A-line skirt, originally from Wallis.

In fact, I'm wearing the skirt right now!

So, I started thinking - what are the rules I stick to when I go shopping? Charity and vintage shop finds account for over 80% of my wardrobe, so I must be doing something right if I'm constantly complimented!

So far, here they are.

1. Never buy anything originally from Primark. If you didn't buy it in that place, you're not likely to really want it now, are you? Plus it's so cheaply made, everytime!
2. On that point, look out for labels and brands you know and trust, or that have been recommended.
3. Know your colours. That neon green halter might look fun and kooky on the hanger, but is it really something you'd enjoy wearing if you usually wear pastels?
4. Sizes ALWAYS vary, so don't be depressed if that size 12 fits more like an 8.
5. When you do have a potential diamond in your hands, check stitching, for any flaws, frays and discolouring. In shoes, check the heel tips, inside the shoe and for any scuffs.
6. Yes, I know you like that black cardigan, but you have 12 at home. Do you really need another?
7. No matter what style you lean towards, every woman needs a little black dress, a white shirt, good fitting pair of jeans. 
8. The more of an idea you have of what you're after, the better. There's less of a chance of coming away with either nothing or something just to buysomething.
9. In saying that, be open to something amazing to appear out of the blue (and bargain bin!)
10. Don't spend more than you intended to. My rule of thumb, especially with vintage is asking if I would be happy paying double the tag if it was brand new. Mostly, it works out!

Go forth, and happy shopping!!!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Rio Cafe

I always want to do a review on the different cafes and such I go to. Living where I do, there's a wealth of experience right on my doorstep.

Today, I went to the Rio Cafe for the first time. I've always wanted to go and check it out, and to be honest I've no idea why it's taken me as long as it has to.

The Where -
 The Rio CafĂ©
27 Hyndland Street,
GlasgowG11 5QF

The When - 
Sunday 27th March, around 3pm

The Why -
Hangover Brunch!

The Who -
Me, Gof and Jaime Leigh

The What -
Me - Black Coffee, Stornoway Black Pudding, Bacon and Poached Egg
Gof - Pot of tea, Stornoway Black Pudding, Bacon and Poached Egg, side of toast
Jaime Leigh - Can of Irn Bru, Full Breakfast

 Inside, it was fairly busy, and we were seated at a very small table and gave our drink orders. I went outside to put a poster up for Ooh La la (shameless plug, I know!) and within minutes our drinks were on the table. After we ordered our food (eventually, thanks Jaime Leigh!) Gof noted the his tea cup wasn't exactly clean.I thought it was more stained than actually dirty, and he still used it, so I guess it wasn't a huge deal. My coffee cup though, had a dried in spill on the outside of the mug, so maybe a quick check before mugs go out is in order. The actual coffee had very little crema, and tasted slightly burned, but was still drinkable, and still better than Starbucks! As we waited on our food, we chatted about the decor of the place. It has a definite 50's diner feel about it, lived in and authentic rather than the sterile atmosphere you get in the sort of place that's trying too hard to be perfect.  Like I said, the place was fairly busy and I get the feeling we were the only "new people" there. Just before our food arrived, a booth opened up and our waitress offered to move us, which we did!

I was 3 bites (read, scoffs) in when I thought to take a picture of my dish. It was absolutely DELISH, and Gof, having ordered the same thing, concurred. Jaime Leigh's breakfast look well made and lovely, her only
complaint was her sausage "looked like cheap basic sausages" although it tasted "ok". The toast that Gof and Jaime Leigh had was browned perfectly, I was quite jealous! But my dish was enough on it's own, great portion and every bit tasty. Over all, the food impressed me, it was much better quality than I anticipated.

Again, we chatted about the cafe, Gof expressed surprise over the the great food, but wasn't too sure on the over all "feel" of the place. He conceded that somewhere that busy was popular for a reason, but he wasn't sure if he'd choose to go back. His main concern was the "grubbiness" of the cups, the high chairs that were stack up out of use were dusty and needed a good wipe down, and the staining on my cutlery. Jaime Leigh enjoyed her breakfast, but didn't like that the waitress didn't ask her if she wanted ice for her Irn Bru (she didn't) and filled her glass with it anyway. I thought she was just being too fussy! Her first choice of eats, a mozzarella, tomato and basil panini, would have been perfect for her with the inclusion of bacon, but she didn't want to ask the waitress if it was possible so I don't know if they would have done that for her, but I believe they wouldn't have had a problem fixing it for her. Still, that's a question for another trip! Otherwise, our waitress was attentive and lovely, without being intrusive. 

Food ate and drinks drunk, we got the bill, around £23 all in. I was happy with both the service and the food, I understood Gof and Jaime Leigh's complaints but in general I wasn't fussed. Sure the place could have been a little cleaner but as far as I can see it wasn't at cockroach level, and I'm saw more than my fair share of those sort of places! I'd happily go back, even though, as is typical, my choice is seriously restricted since I can't eat wheat. Still, that isn't a unique problem to the Rio Cafe, but nowadays a lot of places are starting to wise up to the dietary requirements of people, especially in terms of dairy and wheat, so maybe the Rio Cafe could explore their options in that area. Even for people who don't have a medical reason for avoiding certain foods, there is a growing demand for something other than the usual sandwiches and wheat based main courses like pasta and pizza. I for one would be happy to pay a little extra for the convenience of wheat free pasta, for instance.

 The Basics
Open - Mon to Sun, 9am to 12am
Food served 9am to 9pm
Licensed - Yes
Dietary options - not apparent from menu
Child friendly - Yes, high chairs and a box of toys available
Outdoor area - Yes, chairs and tables available
Value for money - Yes
Overall - 7/10, would go back, needs improving on cleanliness and coffee skillz, but 
food and service excelled expectation.