I Fell Off The #Stoptober Wagon

Hey Hey Guys!

So I have an update to last nights post; I have fallen off the #Stoptober wagon.

In my defence, it was in reaction to being made to go to the place that made me start smoking in the first place. I began my love affair with the humble roll up when I was made to go to an out-patient mental health clinic, a place I swore I would sooner burn down than ever return to.

Yet there I was today, fag in hand, staring nauseated at the thought of  having to go back on my promise to myself, searching every crevice of my will for the strength to walk up those stairs and into that bloody building. I must have stood there for a good few minutes, puffing away slowly, the acrid taste of the tobacco not quite managing to disguise the memory of the clinical burn of health centre-esque cleaning fluid.

I started smoking because I needed a stress reliever that wasn’t the one I was going to the clinic for in the first place. However, in yet another demonstration of poor life choices on my part, I picked up another bad habit; or rather, I picked up a cig.

So forgive me my “sin” for I have smoked. But that will be the last time. I hope. Maybe.

So long as they don’t make me go back to that place again!



Why I Am Doing #Stoptober

Hey Hey Guys!!

So I’ve decided to partake of the #Stoptober. Yes, my grammar is fabulous.

Yeah, so I have decided to stop smoking. I was never a heavy smoker, at most, 8 a day and I was on really cheap tobacco. I’m talking £3 a pack and buying it once or twice a week. I’ve had numerous people ask me why I even bother smoking.

The truth is, I like smoking. I enjoy it. Or at least, I used to. A couple of weeks ago I had a roll up in my hand and I just thought, “I don’t want this. In fact, I don’t want any of these. Imma put this out and go back inside.” So I did.

Not the most inspiring tale, I’ll be the first to admit that, but you know what – screw you guys, we all have motivations behind our actions. At least I’m potentially maybe, sort of increasing my life span, or improving my health or the environment or something.

So if I don’t seem to care about the positive health implications, why am I quitting? Well, I’m glad you asked. (and if you didn’t, why not? It’s a perfectly logical follow up to my previous statement.)

Honestly, I just decided to give up. No shit. I have no deep, meaningful, touching reason, like I had a near death experience (I did, this summer, but that is a story for another time!!) or someone I love died because of smoking related illness, or even that I want to get healthier. I do, but that’s not why I’m quitting. I seriously just decided I don’t want to do it anymore.

Smoking, for me, is a strange one. I started smoking when I was 18 because I was stressed. I was on literally two a week. Then 2 a day. Then 5. And that was about it, to be honest. And I was smoking baby cigarettes! Like, tiny little, thin as a shoestring, roll ups. I was actually laughed at by other smokers when I went outside for a smoke. I often felt like a kid, thinking I was so cool, smoking, surrounded by adults, being an adult. I was party to all those interesting, intellectual conversations that were discussed while peering through a mysterious, grey cloud of lung disease, foul smelling to non-smokers, practically scentless to smokers.

There I’d be, puffing away as I walked down the street, smoking away my problems, using that little white tube as a coping mechanism for much greater problems. But now, I’ve found other, healthier ways to deal with those same stressors. I don’t need to smoke anymore. I have found other things to fill my life with that are feeding me better (you will know what I mean if you know me well).

For a while I have been smoking simply because I wanted to, not because I needed to. I wasn’t allowed to go outside for 2 months, this summer, for health reasons, and, as I was in hospital that whole time, I wasn’t allowed to smoke; and it didn’t bother me in the slightest. I sometimes smelled it on other people and felt a craving but once they left, I didn’t care anymore. I realised in that time that smoking is nothing but a “bad” habit. And I do use ” ” for a reason. Because yes, I do know that smoking is bad for you, believe it or not, I am a relatively intelligent person. However! I don’t think anyone has the right to preach so I’m not going to tell anyone they need to quit. Smoking has done well for me as a stress reliever and sometimes, if a little indulgence into a bad habit is what you need to get through the day, then I say go for it! Whatever it takes to get you through the hard times, sometimes. I know; I;ve been there.

I am giving up for the same reason that I took it up in the first place –  because I want to.

I am saving very little money. £3 a week will go in a jar and I’ll use it for a night out at Christmas or something. But it’s really not the money that i care about, or even the potential health benefits. It’s simply that i am transitioning into another phase of my life, a new me being born into this world. And apparently the new me is a non-smoker.

So there you have it, my Stop Smoking Story. Do you have one? Are you quitting this month? If you need a little encouragement, message me on Twitter @gemc200 ! :D


I absolutely HATE Battenberg...

Wasn’t There Supposed to Be Cake?

Hey Hey Guys!!

Cake is a curious thing.

It’s something that is expected in certain situations, can have strong connotations and memories associated with it, the taste, the texture, the scent, the colour. Where you had a certain piece and how it made you feel.

Then there is cake in a general sense. It appears in certain situations; birthdays, weddings, anniversaries… funerals.

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Have you ever noticed (well, you will have, even if you don’t immediately realise it) that cake is often present to sweeten the pill in horrible situations?

mood cookies

Fancy Shmancy little Battenberg...

Fancy Shmancy little Battenberg…

Now, I’m going togeneralise here and cast the same net over certain biscuits as well as cakes. In fancy waiting rooms, there is often a sweet “treat”. You might be offered a slice of battenburgh with a beverage, or a very British, Victoria Sponge, if you are particularly fortunate (and so help you god if you mention the fact that you recognise that cheap, dry sponge and overly sweet, grainy filling as the £1 round you get from the co-op when you are absolutely desperate for a favour to take to the neighbours’ BBQ).

homemade cupcakes

homemade cupcakes

**As a wee aside, I actually hate Battenberg cake and am always bitterly disappointed to see it in a selection. Marzipan is the devil. It is always a bad omen.**

I absolutely HATE Battenberg...

I absolutely HATE Battenberg…

The thing is, there are some situations where cake is a terrible omen. Whether you are presented with a stale selection of sponges that might be the same ones you declined from your elderly neighbour, or strike gold with one of those pick ‘n mix boxes of biscuits, the result is always the same and always two-fold; the custard creams, jammy ones, cookies and anything containing chocolate are snapped up as soon as the seal is broken and the Garibaldis’ and those weird little wrinkly edged ones that taste like cardboard and aren’t quite a tea biscuit, nor a shortbread, are always left neglected. And you are in for some serious news. Generally, bad.


See, these are the sweets and semi-sweets that are broken in places like hospitals, doctors surgeries, lawyers offices. Places where there is a 50/50 chance you were to nervous to have lunch before you went there so just swigged from the open wine bottle in the fridge, put on you best “I’m totally in control” mask and walk in there like you’re heading to the gallows. Those who run these establishments know this and it means all sort of paper work for them if they have a client pass out on them, so they try to gently pump you full of sugar.

But when I got my bad news today, it was over the phone. I was on my way back to my (soon to be vacated) flat. I was outside. So I ask you;

Wasn’t there supposed to be cake?




Blame It On The Weather. No, Seriously, Blame It On The Weather #depression

Hey Hey Guys!!


Depression is something that can change like the weather. Think I’m joking?

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a genuine illness. Not gonna lie, I’m not an expert, so I’m not sure if you would class it as a mental illness or a mood disorder, but it is classified as a varied form of depression.

So what actually is it. Well, the NHS UK website says this:

Sunlight can affect some of the brain’s chemicals and hormones. However, it’s not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel.

In people with SAD, a lack of sunlight and a problem with certain brain chemicals stops the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect the:

  • production of the hormone melatonin

  • production of the hormone serotonin

  • body’s circadian rhythm (its internal clock, which regulates several biological processes during a 24-hour period)

It affects an estimated 2 million people in the UK, commonly affecting people between the ages of 18-30 and, like other forms of depression, is more common in women than in men. There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the condition, mainly because it can be difficult to understand how someone can feel depressed simply because of the weather. It’s one thing to say that you change your mind like the wind, another to say that you can’t face getting out of bed because it’s raining.

Symptoms include lethargy, insomnia, poor concentration, negative thoughts and mood, unwillingness to socialise, decreased libido and weight gain.


This is what 12 million people across Europe are facing. Again, I’m not an expert, but as a sufferer, there are a few words I can impart on the subject.

There are days when the thought of having to choose one pair of socks over another seems like an insurmountable problem. Can you imagine the implications of going outside when it is anything less than radiant out there? As if were not bad enough that the world already seems like one of the blackest corners of hell; what if it’s raining as well!? The fact that the weather reflects damp, cold in your soul, preventing you from feeling the glow of all the good things in around you is just confirmation to the depressed side of your brain that there is nothing good out there to admire. That everything really is as horrible and out to get you as you suspect.

But if the sun is out…


I’m a total fire baby. I was predisposed, being a Leo (m’on the August-born troops!!) and if it is anything short of swelteringly roasty toasty, then I am inconsolably miserable. I’m talking, in tears, shaking, terrified of even the slightest baby’s breath of a draft. Lemme put this into context for you; I was in Ibiza during a heatwave and wore a cardigan. Yeah. So the fact that I live in BLOODY SCOTLAND, one of the coldest places South of the Arctic, is a hellish situation to be in. I don’t think people realise quite how many layers I wear on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a useful thing that I’m so skinny; all those layers don’t look so thick on a skelatal frame.

The past few days we have been experiencing a random heat wave and I know several people with varying forms of depression and anxiety who have (seemingly inexplicably) seen a lift in their mood. I swear, Blame It On the Weather! Being in the sun can literally feel like bands are being removed from your chest and you can breathe and in hail the sweet scent of real oxygen. Not just tolerate the stale air you’ve tasted recently.


However you want to call it, Sunny Side Up, Everything’s Better on the Other Side, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Mr Sunshine, Light of My Life, Build Me Up Buttercup, Mr Golden Sun; attribute any cheesy song lyric you like, the summary is still the same – EVERYTHING IS BETTER IN THE GODDAMN SUNSHINE!!!!!

The irritating thing, is that it has not been sunny all day. It comes and goes. The problem with this is that my mood has been going up and down as well. Literally, the sun being out one minute means I’m relatively happy, not too bad, occasionally I’ll giggle. Then it goes behind a cloud. Maybe there is a smattering of rain. And suddenly that cloud burst seems more like hell is spitting like icy shards of glass at me, determined to extinguish that ember of happiness fighting to burn hot enough to light so much as a candle. It’s exhausting.

Here is a link to treatment advice on SAD as well as some lovely handy dandy websites for mental health issues. Seriously, i have used some of them and even the info you can get online these days isn’t half bad.


Remember though; the sun can be thought of in the same was as those middle aged women/students think of booze – if it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, it’s mid day somewhere else! The sun is always up somewhere, even if it isn’t where you are. If you are a sufferer of depression or SAD, do the daytime version of what Oscar Wilde liked to do; instead of looking at the stars, look to the sky. See the sun, love the light, feel the glow.


NHS treatment of SAD




Letting Go… and Holding On

Hey hey guys!!

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So I have majorly let this blog slide. I really shouldn’t have, given how much I love blogging. But you know, life and all…

Actually that is what I was wanting to blog about. That’s what I’ve always wanted to blog about. Life.

It’s something I’ve been having a bit of an issue with, not just now, but for a few years. I can’t decide whether it’s the thing we should all endeavor to protect and cherish the most, or whether it’s something I wish could just be eradicated. Certainly where people are concerned.

I’m not saying all people are evil, or that there are not wonderful things out there, happening every day. Just that, in seemingly greater amounts, there are are truly horrific things happening as well. And when pain outweighs pleasure, it sits badly with me.

Unfortunately, I am one of those people who are deeply affected by the shit storm of life. I’m one of those people, the pessimists, the sceptics. Call it what you like, but I tend to disasterise before I see the silver lining. It’s a curse, but I know I’m not the only one to think like this.

See, to quote Young Guns (a British rock band, look ’em up)

The weight of the world is a burden I can’t bare

The crappy thing is, it’s a burden I tend to try my damnedest to bare, regardless of how difficult it is, no matter how impractical, no matter how insensible. I would rather take everyone I care about’s problems and add them to the pack on my back than watch them do anything other than sail through life.

Yet I’m reaching the end of my ability to do this, it seems. I’m holding on… but only just. It’s time to let go… I just don’t quite know just yet what to let go of.

Life is the sort of concept that is too big for me. I love all the existential, interesting questions hat challenge human behaviour, but as for actually dealing with it myself? Not so much something I’m really great at. As much as I love adventuring, experiencing things I’ve never seen before or done, there are days when even the thought of leaving my bed, let alone my flat or my parents house is a challenge in itself. The thought and effort that it takes to so much as visualise doing anything other than taking my next breath can be staggeringly exhausting and actually making moves to get up can be something so far outside my abilities that it’s not even worth considering!

I’m skirting around the issue here, but if you have half a brain you will understand why all this is. I want to link you to something that will explain this better than I ever will be able to. HERE you go.

“Getting better” isn’t even something I’m all that interested in, most of the time. If the idea of “life” is exhausting, simply opening my eyes and being aware that there is something outside the disembodied sounds in my head, then having an exterior that reflects wellness just doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s juxtaposition in the truest sense.

I have little motivation to eat and at present I am eating just enough to keep me round about alive, but not really living. It’s not a long term plan. I went to a family party and some sort of primal instinct kicked in and I ate more in one afternoon that I have collectively in weeks. This actually make me really annoyed. The extra vitamins are going to be reflected in my appearance tomorrow when in reality I am going to be feeling a dreadful as ever, if not more so, owing to the fact that the extra nourishment is one step back from the brink that I’m teetering, tempted, over.

Where I go from here is right now a fluid concept. I am very much in flux. Right now I don’t even have a definitive address. I get up every day because I have more than one illness of the mind. One conflicts with the other and it’s an exhaustive concept and it means I sleep very little, think a lot and worry and feel stressed and sad and hopeless and conflicted and… well, a cocktail of terrible things, most of the time. There is a cacophony of sound in my head, all the god damn time and I hate it, I hate it so so much. I’m in constant pain and i can’t concentrate. University is getting so hard when these voices and sounds get so loud.

Imagine it like this; you’re trying to read something, that is what your goal is. But you are listening to a really angry podcast in headphones in one ear, with someone yelling at you in one of those little in-ear, spy gear things in the other. There is also a conversation happening nearby that you should be paying attention to you, so you are trying really hard to listen in, but it’s hard to hear because there is a conversation between a bunch of people happening in your head as well and there are some really difficult to ignore voices in that conversation. Those voices are the worst because all of them are so angry and saying some truly horrible things. You kind of feel like your bones are being squeezed really hard and that your lungs are half the size they should be. These is also this blackness creeping over you. Even if it’s sunny, you feel cold, desolate, like you are sitting on a block of ice in a dark room.

This might not be the best description but you will have to forgive me; I can’t quite form a reasonable line of thought over all the white noise and voices… I wish they wouldn’t quiet down a little… I’m really, really tired…

Anyway, I thought I would check in. I might post a few more like this, we will see. I’m somehow simultaneously super busy and have nothing to do. Life, eh??



The Yellow House By The Sea

Hey Hey Guys!!

Inverclyde Council have passed a motion to have a bright yellow house re-painted, citing it as being “too bold” for the local area.


The Varese family have spent £3,000 painting the front of their house yellow, making it a ray of sunshine on an otherwise grey, waterfront street.

The decision to force the family to cover the yellow is based on an that is almost as archaic as the idea of paying for produce with buttons; an official statement in the initial planning report said:

The bright yellow and gold tones of the dwelling are not colours which would traditionally have been used on a house of this period style or have been found within this part of the Greenock West End Conservation Area.

“The colours form an intrusive feature within the streetscape and are therefore not appropriate.

“There is no objection to the use of colour on The Esplanade to add variety to the appearance.

“However, the shades would require to be derived from soft, pastel hues found in traditional limewashing which are appropriate to the period of the buildings.”

Basically, in keeping with traditionalism, the house shouldn’t be that colour.

Let us ask ourselves; who is this hurting? Laws have been passed recently that “break from tradition” as they have been seen as outdated and irrelevant – allowing gay people to legally marry, for instance, women being Bishops (because being a woman totally makes you less holy and connected to God, of course, because that makes perfect sense…)

If a mans home is his castle, why shouldn’t that castle be any colour you want it to be? Why should a persons vision of ideal and happiness be limited to the imagination of the few who dictate the norm?

Some people live in Mansions, others cottages. Yet, do the walls around them decide how satisfied the occupant is to live there? Does the colour on the outside reflect the worth of the dweller within?

Of course not. We all have the right to live where and how we wish. So the wall is yellow. So is the sun. So are buttercups. So are bananas. Are the council now going to pass a motion that nothing yellow can be seen for fear of being seemed too obnoxious?

So, the current occupants say they will not re-paint the house unless the council come in with a bull-dozer. Personally, I’m on their side. Lighten up, Inverclyde!


Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday – Big, Bold, Beautiful. Plus Size Is On the Rise!

Hey Hey Guys!!

Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday

Big things are happening in the fashion industry. Tess Holliday is one of them.

The bootilicious beauty from Mississippi is making history as being the first size 22 model to be picked up by a major label, UK based company, Milk Model Management.

Tattooed, pierced and rocking a little more junk in the trunk than your bog standard clothes horse, Holliday is breaking all the rules and breaking onto the scene in a big way.


“Bigger is better…”

This is certainly true for the humble, 29 year old mother of one from Mississippi. Not only is Holliday stunning, but the alternative model is making waves as a campaigner for change in the fashion industry and for beauty standards in general.


In 2003 she created #effyourbeautystandards encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to love their bodies and feel empowered by their individuality. It has gathered her an impressive 455,000 admirers on Instagram and almost 28,000 Twitter followers, where she posts behind the scenes shots of her on shoots, as well daily fashion snaps.



Suicide Girls are an alternative models website and founder Selena Mooney rates Holliday’s future. “I’ve been following the #effyourbeautystandards movement for a while now, and I think it’s fantastic. Women have been put into boxes and made to feel ashamed if they don’t meet this specific cookie-cutter look that society dictates. Everyone is beautiful in their own way.  I’m just glad there are strong, intelligent, and gorgeous women like Ms. Holliday to influence and encourage society to break the mould and get people talking about female empowerment.”

After so long pandering to the obscene and regimented standards of most fashion houses, Holliday is presenting an alternative – a realistic, alternative.

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Critics have suggested that, far from being a positive representation of the female form, she is encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle with her size. But this is far from the truth, as Holliday works out with a trainer three times a week to maintain her glamorous curves.

With her flowing auburn hair, she looks reminiscent of a model from the Romantic period. Though her body confidence is something that has grown with time, much like the booty that is making her so worshipped now.

She told Look magazine, “I had to leave school at 17 because of bullying. I understand not everyone understands what I’m about. But to me it’s such a simple concept. It’s all about loving your body regardless of your size and chasing your dreams.”

Speaking to the Daily New York News she spoke of the struggles of her childhood. “I feel like I’m breaking ground. I never could have imagined that I could be here. It took a really long time to get over things that had happened to me during the vital years of my life. My mom always encouraged me, I’m always still that 13-year-old girl in Mississippi who people told I wasn’t good enough. I never could have imagined that I could be here.”

Tess is not only a great addition to the fashion industry as a model, but an inspiration as a role model. Real-world body types are grossly misrepresented in high fashion, television, advertising… Where is the variety? There is an increasing level of discourse between the pictures seen in magazines and the reality of life. An average UK woman is a size 16, yet models are generally an 8-10.


It is becoming more and more difficult for females to accept themselves when being constantly told they are not “right”. For this reason, we need more pioneers, more strong minded, self-respecting role models to look up to.

The 5 foot 5″ babe is several inches smaller than the average plus size model, who generally stand at 5 foot 8″, making her yet more unique. Milk have been keeping quiet about what their plans are for their new star, but we can certainly expect to see those ruby locks a lot more in the near future.

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We aren’t all Victoria’s Secret models. Few of us can even afford to shop there and their gym bill must be more than rent in halls! But we can aspire to the mind-set of Holliday; live to make you happy. Screw what other people think and if they give you crap for it – show them one of Tess Hollidays’ super sexy, uber confident Instagram pics, with their sassy tags and F**k the haters mantras.


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