Just a wierd man playing a violin while walking a tightrope. Standard in Glasgow

Radio Show Glasgow Adventure Time

Hey Hey Guys!!

Today has been a good day.

I had my first ever Radio Show, What’s Up With Gem?, on www.radiocaley.com, I got some life changing news and I saw (potentially) the love of my life. Yeah, y’all heard it! I’m making it  more than FBO; I’m taking that s**t to the BLOG!!

Just a wierd man playing a violin while walking a tightrope. Standard in Glasgow

Just a wierd man playing a violin while walking a tightrope. Standard in Glasgow

So today I have a lot to be thankful for. It all started this morning, early (too early for my student brain to get it’s tiny little temperament around, if I’m honest). My doctor gave me the news I’ve waited 106 days to hear. I literally skipped down the corridor from his office with glee that would make McKinley High School proud.

Then I got an email from Scotcampus (shout out, by the way!! Follow them dudes on twitter!!) saying that they would like to meet me for an interview for an internship! At a magazine! A real one, not just one that is online! I was about this excited last time this happened, with Source Magazine pity that one didn’t quite go as planned…

Then I had my first show on Radio Caley! Well wasn’t that something! Honestly, it was great. I’ve been on the radio before but I have never hosted my own show. Now, I have one every Tuesday! On my way to Uni (where the studio is) I passed by a girl busking. But she wasn’t just busking. Oh no, she was busking my first song!! FLEETWOOD MAC, GO YOUR OWN WAY!! This lovely lady was playing it 🙂

Lovely Busking Lady

Lovely Busking Lady

I saw a man playing a violin while on a tightrope… so that was a thing… (see above) Pretty standard practice on Buchannan Street, to be fair…

I bumped into an old friend on my way to the studio (which was lovely) then I got to present my show with one of my best friends as a guest, which was such a relief! He’s far more technically minded than me and fixed all my little (*ahem* potentially disastrous *ahem)* technical hitches without a thought. Which I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to do without him. Because I am so technically challenged it’s legendary. ( The tech guys in uni won’t let me borrow equipment without a tutors’ say… I try, guys, I really do…)

On the show there was a major topic I wanted to discuss. For the past 4 years I’ve been heavily involved in the Mental Health services of Scotland, mainly as a patient, but also as a volunteer. It’s a subject close to my heart because it’s affected not only me, but my family and friends, as an extension. I’ve been going through what my dad describes as “a little blip”, but what my psychiatrist would probably call “the reason he has a job“.

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I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable revealing exactly what I’ve been going through, but I’ve hinted at it in previous posts. My point is, though, that this is Mental Health Awareness Month an I am a survivor. I’ve been through the worst (twice) and now, look. I survived. I’m back at Uni. I’m (hopefully) going to be interning at a magazine. I’m on the radio. There were only 5 listeners but still! That’s 5 people who I hope have been enlightened a little bit, amused, heartened or even just mildly entertained. If one of those 5 got any kind of enjoyment or education from my heartfelt statistics, then I consider that, job done.

What could have, and with my luck might well have, been a catastrophic black hole of a day, was actually something rather wonderful. I’m cherishing this day because there are so few like it for me. There are so few days when things actually go relatively to plan. So often there is something that plagues me, that s**ts all over everything, no matter how hard I try. I neglect self care because if I don’t love myself, then I can’t be disappointed when I receive no love in return.

Keeping it real

Keeping it real

I don’t seek attention, I seek to attend to others. But now, maybe it’s my turn. Maybe I will get the chance to be happy. So I’m going to work hard to make that happen.

SSDD

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

Hey Hey Guys!!

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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NHS treatment of SAD

Samaritans

SSDD

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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.

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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!

SSDD

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Hey! Guess Who’s Back??

Hey troops! Long time no write!

I have been somewhat (ok, COMPLETELY) absent from the blogging scene for a long time. I just felt that nothing I had to say was important anymore. That hasn’t so much changed, as I feel like I’ve been on a journey. I’ve had adventures and I want to share them once again. I have still been writing, but not here, and I have missed the community. So, here we go again bitches!!

A quick catch up on where I’ve been at.

Since last year I have been travelling, I have been at Uni, I have made friends and lost friends and I have been on the 2nd biggest, 2nd most terrifying journey of my life. I went to live in BARCELONA for a semester. I actually just got back a week before Christmas so I’m still adapting to the CRAP Scottish weather 😄 But that’s ok, I have Scotland in my blood, I might not like it but the belligerent highlander in will get me through.

So, get ready for tales of sunny Barca and news of my adventures. I’m planning on making some review post and the like but at the moment i’m really thinking i’m just going to wing it and see how it goes.

So I hope you will join me on my wee blog and I hope you enjoy whatever trial nonsense I post here. I will leave you with this astonishing piece of trivia:

Snakes have 2 penises but only use 1 at a time!

You’re welcome.

SSDD

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Linda Macdonald Does It Again…

Ever wondered what that perfect piece of jewellery looked like? That one that was simple, understated, sat perfectly on your person like it was meant to be there?

Yeah, me too, and I’m yet to find it as well! But I have come pretty close with a few different ones.

A ring

Amethyst and Diamond Ring my parents gave me for my 20th birthday

Amethyst and Diamond Ring my parents gave me for my 20th birthday

A necklace or two, depending on my mood

My Linda Macdonald necklace

My Linda Macdonald necklace

It is the memories of who gave me these items, why and how I came about them that give them that importance to me. It is for that same reason that I doubt I will ever truly consider them perfect, as not all these associations are happy. They are like fragments of memories, both good and bad.

I’ve been thinking a lot about nature recently. There was a time, last year, when I was quite unwell. At one point, I went for a month without ever going outside, I was so sick. When I did, it was for only 10 minutes, to see the fireworks on bonfire night.

As much as I absolutely despise the cold that seems to linger in your bones in this god awful weather, I do love the freedom and the sense of utter release you feel to be outside. Something to do with all that space, I think. You can look all around you at eye level and there is stuff, buildings, cars, people… But then you look up. Look up and there is nothing. Just sky and space and air and freedom.

Well, that is something I like the idea of.

And I have found some more of my favourite things that represent that – jewellery!!

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I posted something recently, too, about a very special necklace given to me in thanks for helping someone through a tough time, as well as an actual entry about the lady that made it. Well, the lady that designed said necklace has been in touch with me to tell me about her new collections and I spoke last time of the Wee Pods collection. She has another. Forget Me Not.

LINDA MACDONALD

It is majestic, intricate and makes childhood an actual, present thing. How this woman does it…

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I saw the pieces on her site and fell in love. They represent things to me, much as my own necklace does. They are sweetness and delicacy, they are little pieces of pure life that you can wear around your neck and on your finger.

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There is a design in particular from the Forget Me Not collection that I loved the idea of. It is a pair of silver earrings with a little gold flower, looks like a bouquet of flowers with a dangley bit on it and a little tear drop hanging from the end. It reminded me of seeing those bursts of light and colour last year, set against the dark sky. To see the trinket would be like looking into one of those fireworks. Coming up to Christmas, can you imagine how much meaning one of those little bouquets could hold for someone? That seed would become a memory. Attached to it forever, would be the two of you.

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The Forget Me Not collection is intricate yet sweet. It is the sort of thing you would feel good about gifting to your 5 year old daughter or your 95 year old gran. Either way, the beauty would not be lost on them.

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I will tell you all more about these wonderful pieces, but for now, here are some I am lusting after, as well as a few things I am also keeping my eye on that compliment them – it is Christmas after all, and while anyone will tell you I’m not materialistic… 😉

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Stay tuned, as there is one more in this series to come, and that pertains to one of the most special gifts I have ever been given… and it comes from this magical lady herself!

To see pics you will have to wait a few days though, as I am off to LONDON BABY!! Just for the day. I leave tonight! And the **ahem** item, will be coming with me. So by the time you lovelies get to see it, it will be well traveled 🙂

 

SSDD

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Linda Macdonald Brings Christmas

I am no hipster, but I like special items I buy to come from a special place.

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It’s all to do with brand identity. Price is of course something we all heartily consider when putting our hands in out pockets, but there is something about forking out for something fairly valuable to a company you don‘t care about that just feels… wrong.

I for one can’t do it. Just can’t. There is something that makes my bank card snap in half in my minds eye and I just can’t put it in that inoffensive little slot. (I see the slot sucking the money from my account like an evil hoover, mocking me as it does.)

Call me frugal, but I would rather the money go on something I really care about and give my hard earned pennies to a company that is actually going to benefit from it. Maybe that is part of why I love independent stores so much. I’m like that with movies too, I find I prefer something that has had to put in a little bit of work to make it interesting. Ones that are a little more cerebral. (fast becoming my word of the moment, that, cerebral…)

Linda MacDonald Insignia

Linda Macdonald Insignia

Linda Macdonald is one of those rare jewellery designers that make my heart skip to see her designs. Forget trawling listlessly through the racks of cheap tat on sale in chain stores. Everyone loves a glittery trinket from time to time – but you don’t really care when one of the gems falls off or the chain breaks.

Linda’s pieces are not like that at all. Then again, Linda’s pieces are far less likely to snap than your standard shiny plastic. Nothing but solid gold and silver here.

Have you seen the special little diamond surprise...

Have you seen the special little diamond surprise…

As this is a designer local to me, having her base in Cardross near Helensborough, (that’s Scotland, for those of you unfamiliar to what “local” is for me) I am keen to make sure as many people as possible hear about her. She’s a one woman, creative, jewellery making machine whose work has taken her all over the country recently. She and her team have been working relentlessly to make her vision come true this year, with expansions abound and new designs aplenty.

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Since 1997 she has been a business. Or rather, I like to see it as she has been in the business of making people’s day, making memories special, but that is just my romantic side coming out. She supplies the likes of John Lewis and more than 125 independent galleries and boutiques, all of whom are proud to stock such a wonderful designer! They are all lovely, but why settle for lovely when you can have stunning

a selection from the collection...

a selection from the collection…

Named British Jewellery Association’s Designer of the Year 2012 her pieces are recognised as timeless. You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate beauty – hey, I’m just the human manifestation of a magpie, what I know about jewellery wouldn’t fill a post-it!

Companies like this need support to flourish in the current – dare I say it – economic climate. And I want us all to do that. Not only for Linda, but for others like her too. If you know a company/ a shop/ an artist near you that is independent and unique, don’t overlook them, just because there is an easier option. Pay patronage and reap the considerable benefits.

Linda Macdonald has a couple of collections that I think are cute, seasonal and great value for moneyperfect for Christmas.

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The Wee Pods and Forget Me Not ranges are her newest additions to her rapidly increasing family of 21 collections of glittering goodies.

But she also has products for under £50 –  a bargain when you consider what you could end up paying in a store for something vastly less appealing and machine made.

I would rather have something hand made by someone who really cares about what they are producing than by a machine that doesn’t care at all. I am by no means fashion conscious but my jewellery is important to me. I think it is the little choices that declare you as a person. Therefore, more attention should be paid.

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But then, when you see such beautiful things that have simply cropped up in the mind of an individual who has taken it upon herself to create beauty from the glimmering idea in her head, it is so easy to see why the UK has such a thriving Market culture and an love of unique things.

So indulge! Enjoy! And remember the name Linda Macdonald; I feel it is one you will be seeing a sizeable chunk of your bank account being transferred to!

But fear not. The joy you will get in return will more than make up for it. 🙂

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Here is a link to all her stuff – you will not be disappointed. I certainly haven’t been 🙂

LINDA MACDONALD JEWELLERY

SSDD

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Love Mika’s Boutique and… I’M BACK!

Great News!

Well, two bits of great news.

1. I am back on the blogosphere after an intensely busy period of faffing around with Uni and freelancing like a demon.

2. I have discovered a wonderful woman to share with you all as my welcome back gift to you!! 😀

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The internet has seen fit to treat me with word of another wonderful company! Therefore I feel it my bloggerly obligation to share my tie-dyed find! 😀

LOVE MIKA’S BOUTIQUE is a one woman operation from Wichita, Kansas (USA) and she makes hair bows and headbands for bold fashionistas.

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I’ve been looking for new hair accessories since Uni is starting again soon and I always feel that a little new detail in your outfit can act as a wee talisman, a confidence booster to make you feel good. This is especially true since I went for the chop and got my hair cut from waist length to shoulder!! So when advertising on Facebook randomly assigned this little gem to my sidebar, I was super happy! Useful pop-ups for a change! Yay commercialism (for a change)!

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I got in touch with the very talented lady behind the venture, Kamika Hicks, to, firstly congratulate her on being creative and awesome, and secondly to find out where her inspiration came from. Because small businesses are the stones that lay in the foundations of our global economy and people do not appreciate the effort they go to enough.

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Starting 2 years ago Kamika spends time creating these magnificent head pieces, crocheting, tie-dying, designing and decorating fabrics to make her products, originally just for fun and then commercially on a small scale. She has a passion for beautiful things and told me:

“During my senior year in high school I started to sell them to people around school and I really enjoyed doing it. Not for the money but also by making people happy and by seeing them smile when I would give them something I made…”

I respect this so much.  For someone to want to create purely for the fact that it makes them happy is the kind of artistry that is relatable and I feel makes a more unique product. And if something is handmade then it’s one of a kind.

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With young people constantly trying to differentiate from their peers, LOVE MIKA’S BOUTIQUE is a fantastic idea. All her products are hand-made and super colourful, but in my opinion not overdone. These days I think some hair accessories are so overly extrovert that there is more focus on the thing bouncing around on top of your head than your face, which kind of defeats the purpose of, you, know, having a face, if all the people around you are doing is staring distractedly at the glitterball on top of your barnet.

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Being that she is a strong independent woman, she is of course doing very well. She recently set up a store on etsy. com, which I advise you take a look at HERE.

Seriously, for the festive season, there is nothing better than a custom made hair accessory. Bows and adornments are a cute way to spice up a look at any time of year, but at Christmas they are all around us. Stand out from the crowd and roll custom – VISIT HER AND HAVE HER AWESOME STUFF IN YOUR LIFE.

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I would only suggest her if I thought she was the best since I’m really particular about my hair… mainly because my hair is so hard to make look interesting. Trust me.

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SSDD