Monday, 13 March 2017

#ScotRef

I knew it was coming. It was just a matter of when. I saw on Twitter late this morning that Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, had called a Press Conference at Bute House. Naturally I took to Twitter myself with a couple of tweets



And then the news broke. I wasn't watching it live but instead following on Twitter. Over the course of the following hours I retweeted 52 different  tweets, getting more and more excited with each one. 

Nicola Sturgeon today at Bute House

Why? Because despite my concerns over timing, (the importance of Local Authority elections first!), Nicola has just informed us all that IndyRef2 is ON! Or rather #ScotRef is a go-go. 

Initially I was a bit "aww man, couldn't she wait until 5th May?" at the same time as my heart and stomach were dancing and my head was buzzin. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face - hours later I still can't! 

Some people are less than enthused by today's turn of events, which I get. We have had election after referendum after election after referendum for the past 3 years and in less than 2 months we have yet another election, some peeps are exhausted and experiencing neverendumitis or plain political apathy. Others voted NO in 2014 and their view has not changed so are really quite pissed off that their choice is being challenged again. I get that. But I am not one of these people. I can't wait to get back into it again. To change people's minds, to challenge them on what HAS changed in the last 3 years, about why indyref is here again rather than in 15 years time etc. And importantly to talk not fight about it. Twitter is clearly NOT the place to have such discussions because you cant engage with trolls or folk who are just looking for a rammy, coupled with the fact that Twitter is essentially an echo chamber, where like follows like - no-one is really reaching out to anyone with a differing opinion, unless BBC QT is on the tv at the same time.

But, and a big BUT at that, is that FIRST and FOREMOST we have to concentrate out efforts on the campaigns leading up to our Local Elections on 4th May. BEFORE indy we have to elect a Local Government to deal with local issues.  This is not based on whether we are indy or not, it actually has sweet fuck all to do with independence, despite what the Tory and Labour or LibDem campaigns will tell you.  I don't want to know their stance on indy, I want to know what their Councillors will do for my town; about schools & education/ housing/ social care/ wheelie bins and dog shit/ libraries/ services and buses etc. No Councillor can affect independence or a referendum, only how the Council operates in their area. Fact!  We can't lose sight of that matter.

However, come 5th May, it's indy all the way. 

I'm ready. Are you?





Friday, 28 October 2016

New Blog


Hello!

If you have been following this blog over the past two and a half years, you will have noticed that I have been rather absent of late.  This is due to me having created a new blog!

I got a little lost here and needed a break. From that break Always Learning Forever Growing was born.  Please pop over and take a look.

Thank you for your continued support, reading my blog here. It is not going anywhere, as I still reference these posts so will continue to have both blogs available.

Love Lissa
x

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Long Live Snail Mail



I have a motto that I live by. It remains true no matter what.
Always learning; forever growing
For me (perhaps it's that I am a Gemini) I find that there is always something else to explore and tangents to go off on and try, discover, be inspired by or close that particular door as it's not for me. Some people may call me "flighty", or "inconsistent", while I prefer to say "evolving" and "being Lissa".  

Being Lissa. What does that mean? Who is Lissa? Your guess is as good as mine. Who are any of us? 

I began 2016 on a mission of sorts. Hmm, well, not really a mission, rather, exercising a bit more of a sense of purpose I suppose.  I was feeling a bit lost, uninspired and dare I say it, bored! I read about and began making a conscientious effort in finding and maintaining Peace, especially at home. This has since developed (hardly surprising) and evolved too, growing to encompass happiness, simplicity and above all, purpose.  This is all coming at a time when big decisions have been made (have put my notice in at work) and cogs of change are turning (identified what is working and not). All going well, life should be more peaceful and balanced rather than disappearing at a rate of knots into a wasted void of wishful thinking and vanilla monotony.


In my quest for peace, I have been reading. Oh yes, reading - books,(real proper paper books not just the internet). I've read more in the past 2.5 months than I have in the past year, and I read a lot of books. (I love books). I've been trying to expand on current interests and cutting out what no longer feels right. For example, I have been taking and sharing more photos on Instagram, but have deleted my Blog Facebook account.  I have a pile of new books checked out the library to join the ones that I have already at home still to read and collating a pile of others to read once I've worked my way through the current lot (starting with  Simone De Beauvoir's The Second Sex).

One of the books I read recently was a New York Best Seller called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I figured it would be along the lines of A Year Living Danishly by Helen Russell; set out spanning 1 year from January with a different focus for each month. And that is exactly the format of the book, except that it failed to hold my attention the way that Russell's did. I had given up on the book by June. I just couldn't read any more.  Whilst it had a fair few nuggets of wisdom that I have taken note of, there was simply too much "I tried this and it was wonderful" for my taste.

A piece of advice that I came across quite recently was to think about what I loved doing as a child/teenager and try and incorporate that, or an element of it, into life today. The purpose being for no other reason than joy. Not for money or career, for recognition, for other people, but something for pure enjoyment and making oneself happy. We have to take time out of our busy schedules to appreciate what beauty and wonder there is in life. Slow down, and enjoy the moment. Now, slowing down is not necessarily something I need "to do" but "enjoying the moment" more has a certain appeal.   When I think back to my childhood, something that I did for years and gave me so much pleasure, was writing - I had penpals. Lots of penpals!

Back in the days way before internet or mobile phones, kids the world over used to 'connect' via a penpal network. I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called, but I filled in the form, sent it off and waited. I remember receiving a bunch of tickets for people who's interests matched mine and selected the ones I would write to. I had pen pals in the US and Australia (Danielle in Pennsylvania and Meg in Tasmania were 2 that I wrote to for years).  When Teletext was still a thing, my friend and I used to search their penpals pages, we wrote our own message ad for penpals and ended up writing regularly with Sarah, Tracey and Nicole from different parts of England.  My first penpal was my Aunt (who was actually my Dad's Aunt) who lived in Liverpool. I wrote to her from when I was 6 years old until I was an adult (sadly she is no longer with us, but her letters are).  People met on holiday usually ended up being penpals for a wee while too. I did have one penpal from France with whom I only ever exchanged 1 letter. I wrote to her in my best French, and got a letter back asking me to write in English...I didn't write back...


This was a hobby I LOVED. The anticipation of the letters, the excitement of opening a new letter and then writing my own replies, and the cycle repeated.  I have no idea where all my old letters went (probably got chucked out when moving house) and that saddens me as someone took the time to write and converse with me, sharing their stories and news.

In today's world of texts and emails, the art of writing and pen(wo)manship is being lost. A handwritten letter is so much more personal (if less convenient) than an email or quick text. But speed is the essence of communication in the 21st century. As someone who has (a well documented) love/hate relationship with digital communication, I am all for bringing back letters. Long live snail mail!

So this is my new thing : letter writing. It allows for peace, time with thoughts, being creative (with words/handwriting/decorating the paper/envelope), connecting with others, it's fun, personal and has a purpose. All things I love rolled into one. It's also excitement for the delivery of post that's not bills or naff menus. It's friendship old and new (or in somecases, renewed).  It's also something I will encourage Kiddo to do as he grows (easier to encourage him to do something if he sees me doing the same).

Now I'm off to check my address book is up to date, birthday dates are up to date and get started.

x

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Style


Style. It's an incredibly subjective matter dependent entirely on personal taste. Some people are bestowed with the lofty praise of being the Epitome Of Style while others find themselves repeatedly on the Most Wanted List of the Fashion Police (nee-naw, nee-naw).

In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter what we wear? Well, yes, it seems it does. There is an entire industry built around fashion (obviously) and what a fascinating industry it is. Personally I don't care for or follow the current trends for what's fashionable, I don't read the fashion magazines*, but I love to get dressed and get dressed up. As a teen I read all the magazines such as Vogue and Elle and loved watching the Clothes Show with Jeff Banks and Caryn Franklin. Now though, I can't really be bothered with it all; I don't really care. I find it dull, and here's why: I have my own sense of style and know what works [I think] for me. 

* I did buy a copy of Vogue last year, but that was purely because of the interview and 6 page spread with Nicola Sturgeon. I have to say that the rest of the mag held no interest as I leafed through it. I would rather have an interiors magazine.

Every where we look we are being told what we should be wearing. This changes with the seasons and the trends (which change every 6-8 weeks) or are dictated to by our age, e.g. : 24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After 30 - F.Y.I. I still wear 13 of the things in the list! And when the weather gets a bit milder my many pairs of old converse gutties will be back out to play.


(purple converse with black and white patterened 
maxi dress from Oasis, bought in 2007)

We are told that we should buy only expensive well made, items that will last. We should not be buying cheap fashion that we will wear once and throw away, coz it was only a couple of quid. What's wrong with just wearing what the fuck you want and owning it? The ethics of fashion is a whole other post to itself. What I'm getting at here, is the fact that grown adults are being told where to and what to buy, or what to aspire to and desire, regardless of budget, and yet budget is a big and real deal.

There are many people whom I believe to be very stylish in their own way, rather than 'styled' by a professional stylist. Women such as Iris Apfel (I love this woman), Fearne Cotton, Ellen Degeneres and my friend Marion who has fabulous style and feathers in her hair. l also appreciate, okay, love, the style of the 1920's flappers, the hippies of the late 1960's, the sexy undies worn in the 1940's, Madonna's entire wardrobe in Desperately Seeking Susan. I still have a lot of affection and actually some original items from the grungey early 90's and indie/britpop mid 90's. Just wish I still had my docs. 

I'm 37.5 years years old and my style is exactly that; mine. There will be no particular trend that I will be following from season to season, but there will always be layers, and more often than not, a scarf. Oh, and generally, lots of colour too. I don't have a separate summer/winter wardrobe. By adding my staple black poloneck to my summer outfits, I instantly have my winter ones. Easy peasy. Saves me a fortune too.



(I love this dress TK Maxx 2013.  
 My sleeve - Green cardi from ?? top from 
Natural Collection 2008, owl top, details below)

When it comes to shopping for clothes, I don't have the funds to go on big (or little for that matter) splurges.  My clothes are in for the long haul (which is handy then that I don't follow the trends) whether I spend £7 on a top in the TK Maxx sale (which is my first port of call) or £15 in New Look (usually my second) or more elsewhere, they are worked hard and expected to last.  My wardrobe and drawers are crammed full of items that have been with me for years, some since I was in High School. I shit you not! My black jumper I have had since I was 15 (ONLY worn when feeling poorly or just slobbing about the house - this will never again be worn in public, everrrrrrrrr) and my denim jacket that was actually my sister's, which I 'borrowed' and never returned - this I do still wear regularly, PLUS it's proper vintage now, and has aged beautifully (I just can't fasten it, but who fastens a denim jacket anyway..?).


(the denim jacket! With silver scarf 
bought at a market in Gran Canaria 2008)


Friends who I see regularly will have seen the entire contents of my 'wardrobe' but probably not put together the same way each time.  I like to get creative with my ensemble, change it up and try something different. 

Christmas and birthdays (handily my birthday is in June) always mean gift vouchers and clothes shopping. Or money and clothes shopping. Last year my birthday cash was well spent in the vintage shops of Glasgow's West End (£7 for a velvet blazer and £18 on a 60's print shell top to name a couple of purchases) and last week I was treated myself to a pair of dungarees (finally found a pair that doesn't make my arse look like the back of a hippo or look like I'm wearing a baby's romper suit - these have taken years to find, so am delighted) and a pinafore, which I didn't know I was even looking for until recently. Ordinarily I live in ripped jeans or cords, but fancied a wee change. 


 
Here is what I wore today:
The Pinafore (New Look, bought last week),
Peter Pan collar blouse with tiny owls printed on it, also seen in photo above (Next A/W 2011), Green tights (Morrisons 2013), Brown with orange and green flowers over the knee socks (stall in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow closing down sale 2015), Brown Fly Boots (Office 2013). All mixed up and cobbled together. Does it work? I think so. Do I feel comfortable? Absolutely.










I have no interest in what something cost, only, does it look good, do I feel good in it? Designer names hold no significance. Just because something has a name on the label does not necessarily mean it is stylish. By the same token, just because something is vintage or charity-shop-chic, doesn't guarantee that it will work, that is down to the individual to pull it together. I really believe that the magic ingredient for whether an outfit or piece of clothing works and is stylish, is confidence. If you feel good, what does it matter what anyone else thinks? It's really that simple. Years ago, I admit, I used to look a what people had put together and think "Did you get dressed in the dark? Do you not have a mirror or best friend?" yip, I was a bitch. In fairness, I come off of really judgemental stock, so, you know, a little leeway here - I've grown! And from being on the receiving end of such judgement on many an occasion from my Mother, Father, sister and others more times that I care to remember, or even care about, now I just think "are you happy/comfy/confident/bothered? Wonderful." Why must the parade be rained upon just because someone else doesn't like what someone is wearing? It's bullshit.

Everyone has their own quirks and sense of style. Whether that style is 'stylish' or not, well, that's a matter of personal taste.

Lissa
x

p.s. Upon writing this post I have discovered my freakishily long and weird memory has came in handy as I can recall when the majority of my individual pieces were bought!