Friday, 26 October 2018

Memory Lane - Halloween Manis

Hi Goddesses

I don't get the whole American version of Halloween (never have) but I dooooo love the Season of the Witch, and this time of year was always a special time on my blog.   November always seemed like a purple month to me lol, and as the nights got darker, the witch in me would become inspired for some dark and twisted manis.

I thought you might like to see some of my old Halloween manis - maybe you're still looking for inspiration? - and we could also have a laugh over whether we still like them lol.

Let's start with the older, and therefore SHITTIER ones - 

This one's not too bad - apart from the rotting cuticles lol - and was relatively simple.   Purple base, purple sponging around the edges and stamping in the middle.  All before the days of the see-through stamper too.  Check ME out lol.  Link HERE.

A spiderfest.  Gotta be honest, this doesn't exactly scream Halloween at me, but I suspect I desperately wanted to use that stamping plate and lacked any more original ideas.  Link HERE.

Super simple.  No talent required here!!  Black base and then stamp in metallics!   Very easy if your nail art isn't the best.   Link HERE.

OMG this is one of my earliest posts!!  This is 7 years ago - 7 years !!!  Super simple, and something I would happily do again.   Hey, I love crackle and I'm not ashamed to say it.  Crackle just zazooms any mani and it's crazy easy.   Link HERE but proceed with CAUTION, the photos are baaaaad.

Another one from 7 years ago. My god that fucking date stamp aaarrrgghhh. And let's not even discuss the lack of cleanup.  As my dear friend used to say "cleanup required in aisle 9!"   That said, who doesn't love a good splatter.  Again, I could be tempted to do this again .... if it weren't for the clean-up.  I think black splatter on red .... hhhmmm.  Oh, link HERE.

Ah look, we're on the grown-up stuff now.  I always ALWAYS laugh at the difference from a newborn blogger's photos to when they know what they're doing (this post is 3 years ago).  And guess what never changed?   My love of simplicity.  A black and white horror flick with an assortment of stamping plates.  I'm so lazy.  Link HERE.

Ok, I'm not gonna lie, this is one of my favourite manis I ever did.  I was soooooo proud of the idea for this one.  No denying a more talented blogger could have rendered it better, but for me this was Ambitious with a capital A.  The Tale of the Disappearing Cat ....schpookeh!  Link HERE.  

Hhhhmmm so isn't this a weird one.  I'd actually forgotten all about this one.   And I actually think I like it, because it's so weird and different.  This is Decomposing Roses - orange base, splodges of green and purple, and then black stamped roses.  The garish, ghoulish, over-made-up side of Halloween.  Link HERE.

And here she is. Ah, still very proud of this.  I even remember famouser, betterer nail bloggers saying they couldn't replicate it.  My beloved Halloween ghost cat ..... So simple (but you have to be lucky with the the water blobbing) ... and can you ever really beat a black matte base?  Link HERE.

A slightly better spider mani - I called this one Toxic Spiders lol.  Link HERE.

Again, I had COMPLETELY forgotten about this mani!  How is that possible, cos looking at it now, I actually love it (once you realise I've spelt out the word blood on my nails).   Maybe that's just what happens when you churn out so many manis in a short amount of time.   Link HERE.

I hope you've enjoyed this midnight stroll with the ghosts of manis past.  All the old posts are still on this blog - you can search Halloween and Hallowe'en to see them all.   I was also very religious about labelling everything, so if you're viewing this blog on a device that shows you all the labels at the bottom of the page, you can look up pretty much ANYTHING .... if you want to.

Happy spooking!

Thursday, 25 October 2018

If You're Writing, But No One's Listening, What's The Point?

Hi my lovelies

Image result for is anybody out there

Transitioning this blog from nails to something else is ... interesting.  Good interesting - loads of great new topics to write about - not-so-good interesting - a lack of interaction.

The world has changed since I blogged at least once a day (sometimes twice or more - crazy times).  I remember blogging and moaning with my fellow bloggers about the lack of comments, how everyone had become 1-click happy and just wanted to "like" posts and photos.   This time around, there aren't any pretty pictures, so I'm not even getting likes lol.

Image result for blog

Of course my readership numbers have gone down.  People who joined for a sexy polka-dot aren't necessarily going to stay around for a meander through mental health, but I've been surprised just how low the numbers are, and especially the lack of interaction through Twitter (I thought everyone did Twitter, maybe I'm wrong).

In the old days I obsessed about my numbers, but I am finally more relaxed this time around, although it did pinch slightly this week when my Facebook likes fell below 10k for the first time in years.   When you don't blog, it's easy to maintain your numbers, because people forget they were following you (no one really goes and declutters the pages they like) - when you start to blog again and they don't like the story, of course they're going to Unlike, and hey, I've done that lots myself.

Image result for i blog

The problem, if it is a problem, is that I feel I have a lot to say.   I feel I have a voice.  And I want to be heard because I think I can help a lot of people, whether through mental health or just a good old chuckle, but finding a new audience is tough.  I'm oh-so-grateful to the followers who always loved my writing and are still following me, but how to connect with different people who might need to hear that voice in the dark?

I'm going to be honest.  I thought a few hashtags would do it.  Stick a #mentalhealth here and a #leadership there, maybe @a-famous-person and boom! they would come!  The @a-famous-person would retweet me and their thousands of followers would flock to me like bees to blooms ... but no, lol.

Image result for writer

So does it matter?   Well at the moment, not massively.  I'm enjoying writing, and knowing I am connecting with a few people is enough.  But how long will this sustain me?  If I'm writing, and no one's reading, doesn't that suggest that what I'm writing is shite, or of no interest?   And if I am of no interest, why blog?    Why spend time writing and putting emotion and energy into something that will never be seen or FELT?

Well, in my head, someone at some point is going to stumble over my blog and turn it into a book or a new career lol but until then, it's ok.  At the moment.   I caveat that because I can be fickle, and lose interest, and I don't want to this time.   My head is still full of the lovely Rachael Hodges who recently died from cancer whilst writing a book for her son.  Now, I'm not suggesting that's why I'm writing this blog, but I like that Beth will one day be able to look back at the pieces of me, and understand how I fitted together.

Image result for i blog

More than anything though, I love to write AND it's cathartic.   Writing about post natal depression and The Cry was like an outpouring - and a really cleansing one at that.  I think I've said before, writing is the only thing that takes me out of time and out of myself.   It's the only thing that stops me eating lol.  I have issues I want to explore within myself, and writing them on a blog might help more people than if I just jot them down in a notebook.

So for now, I write and I blog, and if you read, I thank you. If it helps you, I'm grateful, and hey, if you want to invite all your friends along for the ride, I don't mind lol.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

How BBC1's The Cry Provides a Brilliant Examination of Post Natal Depression

Hi Everyone

Image result for the cry
Sooooo, in the UK we were recently gripped by Bodyguard, a fab thriller on BBC1.  That ended 4 weeks ago and a new series started - The Cry.   From the trailers, it looked mesmerising - a child goes missing - with haunting echoes of Madeleine McCann, the dingo baby and a thousand other awful stories.

What I wasn't prepared for, was that the series would start with the nightmare of new motherhood, and specifically post-natal depression (and don't worry, there are no spoilers in this post.)   It's one of the very first times I can remember PND being portrayed so accurately in a drama, and for me, as a survivor, most of that accuracy comes from how it is *under*played.

Image result for the cry
Post natal depression isn't some big blasting melodrama; it's the very opposite - silence, absence of self, a desire for everything to just fade away.   We can be functional or semi-functional on the surface, but inside we're shitting ourselves, waiting to be found out, feeling useless and just wanting that baby to stop crying.

Jenna Coleman's portrayal is spot on.  It's in the little moments.  It's when she's so sick of the baby crying, she locks him in the bedroom and turns up the TV so that she doesn't have to keep hearing that DAMN noise.   It's the filthy look she shoots her husband as he slumbers blissfully and she absorbs all the stress.  It's the way she lies to a friend about loving motherhood, when every fibre of her being screams otherwise.

Image result for the cry
I hated new motherhood.  Not going to lie.  Hated it.  I felt out of control (not a control freak's favourite modus operandi), hopelessly unprepared, thrown in, and worst, alone.  I had no nearby family, no nearby friends.  I am an only child so babies weren't something I'd ever been around.  And the day after I got home from hospital, my husband went back to work.

I was terrified.  I used to the count the minutes down, to prove that I was getting through.   I had no clue what to do with the baby between meal times. I didn't want to leave the house, but I didn't want to be stuck inside either.   And oh, I so badly wanted to run away.

Image result for bbc1 the cry
The isolation of early motherhood is extreme.  You are thrown completely out of yourself and into an existence you are completely unprepared for.   You live only to serve the baby-tyrant, and if you're not naturally maternal, there's not a lot of joy to be had in this phase.   I am so thrilled for all the mums out there who enjoy motherhood, but for some of us, it's a struggle, as alien as trying to juggle knives without stabbing ourselves.

I see myself in the moments where the husband, as hero, and after he is glutted with sleep, takes the baby and tells Jo to get some sleep.  What a joke.  In a state of stress and fever-pitch anxiety, we can't just go "oh ok" and switch off - although men, maddeningly, can.   Even when we are given help, it's hard to take the time back for yourself, to repair yourself, because PND has taken you so far away from yourself that it takes a long long time to travel back.

Image result for bbc1 the cry
When the baby is taken in The Cry, Jo barely reacts.   She stands, not quite comprehending what is happening, as the husband-hero goes into rescue mode.   Her disconnection from the world is profound and this is the kicker - the mother terrorised by PND doesn't know what's just come true, her worst nightmare, or her dream.

For a split second, for Jo, the trauma is over.   The crying has stopped.  The tyranny is over.   It's as if a tumour has been removed.   She's still too stunned to speak and react, and her lack of emotion scares others, and implies her guilt.  But how do you convey that although you would do anything to get your baby back, you're secretly relieved to have this breather?   That secretly, a version of this is what you've wanted since you came home from the hospital?

Image result for the cry
One final point.   At some point in the future, Jo is asked how she got through it.  She tells us she remembered she used to be strong.  Motherhood can slay anybody.  It is all-consuming and never-ending.  In the process, most of us lose ourselves (some willingly, some not).  We step out of our own lives and into the life of our baby, and each day it gets harder to step back.   We become absent from our own lives, and our own selves.  We forget who we were.  But when we remember, the strength comes back to save us.

Image result for postnatal depression quotes
Post natal depression is akin to suffering a trauma.   Those of you who have never felt this way may feel this is an exaggeration, but I promise you it's not.  It's a profound place of shock, sadly with very little awe.   If you have any of these symptoms, please see a doctor - 

* struggling to get out of bed
* lack of personal hygiene - not showering, getting dressed
* not eating
* resentful of your partner
* wanting to escape

Image result for postnatal depression quotes
And if you can, these are the best ways to get through it - 

* see a doctor.  I know not everyone likes medication, but it can help and it helped me

* accept absolutely every offer of help and support - don't say no!

* if you're on your own, invite people round.  Being less alone will ease the struggle for a little while

* time-keeping.  I was a control freak.   Counting down to when I next had to feed Beth / take her to the doctors / bathe her, helped me get through the minutes LITERALLY 1 AT A TIME

* don't be ashamed to tell people how you feel.  The myth of motherhood as something that completes us and gives us nothing but joy is just that - a myth. Tell people how you feel and you'll not only feel less alone, you'll find out some of them felt that way too.


Sunday, 21 October 2018

Bossy or Collaborative? The One Where The Apprentice Can't Decide What Makes a Good Leader

Hi Everyone

Image result for quotes leadership

This week, The Apprentice marched into its 3rd week, and provided a complete contrast to last week's shenanigans.  Both weeks, leaders were criticised for their style - but if they are opposites, and both to be criticised, then what is acceptable?

Leadership is a vast topic, and style is both learned and down to the individual.  It's also about the team - some teams need more direction than others, whilst a mature team would hate to be micro-managed.  This also ties in with Tuckman's model of the journey a team takes through Forming - Storming - Norming and Performing.

Khadija Kalifa, The Apprentice (BBC, EH)

Last week, the girls were led by Khadija Kalifa, a no-nonsense bossypants who bulldozed everyone in her path.  Her style of leadership was dictatorship as she told her team what they would be doing (all her ideas, of course) and limited contribution, because who could no better than her, right?
Image result for quotes leaders become great

Not surprisingly, the team hated her style and found it easy to criticise her.  They were frustrated, marginalised and far from harmonious.  It was a recipe for disaster, but because the boys were worse, the girls won, and Khadija's style was given less examination than a defeat would have caused.   

Personally, I found her style abhorrent.  You can't talk to people like dog shit, and you can't exclude them from the very purpose of the team.  There was no inclusivity, and leadership was clearly all about ego.

Tom Bunday, The Apprentice (BBC, EH)

This week, Tom Bunday was ALLLL about inclusivity.  He consulted the team, asked for their thoughts, facilitated organised debate and allowed everyone to contribute.  For me, it was good leadership - he created a harmonious dynamic we rarely see on The Apprentice.

Karen Brady hated it, accusing him of sitting back, stepping back, leading by putting things to a vote, but for me this misses the point completely.   A good leader SHOULD invite contribution, even when they absolutely know what they want.  Leadership is not about directing, it's about ENGAGING, and that's what Tom's style did.

Image result for quotes leadership

I once worked at a food company.  I led the sales team, but the bulk of the business was a factory, and as such, a factory culture was everywhere.  At one point (as so often happens), my team needed answers from the head honchos, so I arranged a meeting where they could ask all their questions and understand where the business was headed.

This meeting was for my team.  The agenda was theirs, not mine, so I allowed them to run the meeting.  They brought the questions, so it didn't feel fair for me to ask them on their behalf.  So I facilitated - I chaired the meeting and ask them to air their concerns.

Image result for quotes leadership

The verdict? That I wasn't a leader.  I had let my team take over.  I had abdicated and let my team "run wild" - honestly, they said that. I was being judged by people who were not leaders - managers, yes; leaders, nooooo - people who didn't understand that it was important for employees to have this opportunity to resolve issues.

Le sigh.  I think the lesson is, when your style is quite "hard", quite no nonsense, quite directing, it's very hard to understand how a low key, collaborative, almost self-effacing style can ever be successful.  Now those drivers might still understand the need to engage people, but usually, it's lip service.  They already know what they want, they just offer the illusion of debate.  A true leader, one who is completely for the people, is genuinely consultative, and egoless enough for that to be the best solution.

Image result for quotes leadership

So which leader are you?   Most of us are somewhere on the spectrum between Khalidja and Tom, and that's fine.  You can be one or the other as long as you appreciate the benefits of both.  Remember, leadership really isn't about you.  It's only ever about your people.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

A Week of Anxiety

Hi Everyone

Image result for anxiety quotes

I mentioned in yesterday's post that it had been a bit of a mare of a week, and to be honest, that's an understatement. I've had anxiety, migraines and sheer terror.   But I'm still standing.

Staying standing is quite the achievement.   Anxiety is paralysing, and scares the crap out of you.  All you want to do is hide under the duvet, or stop the world so that you can jump off.  Cruel fact - the only way to escape anxiety is to plough through it and confront the very thing that terrifies you.   As Winston Churchill said, when you're going through hell, keep going.

Image result for anxiety quotes

I find with my anxiety that the worst moments are before I keep going.   It's when I'm paralysed, incapable of action, mind spiralling on all the hideous possibilities that might await me.   Usually, once I've taken the first step, I'm "fine".   Not ok, but it feels like control starts to trickle back.

I liken this moment to the scene at the end of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where he has to cross that massive chasm to get to the Holy Grail.  There is no bridge, no walkway, no obvious way to "keep going", so he has to take a leap of faith.  And the moment he lifts his foot in the air and plants it down, a path appears.

Image result for anxiety quotes

Anxiety has so much in common with this. We stand on the edge of that chasm, paralysed, no way of getting across, terrified to get across, scared of staying put, getting more and more frantic.   We then do something that Matt Haig calls "catastrophising", where we imagine the worst possible outcome to our situation, or rather, the only possible outcome IS the worst possible outcome.

Image result for anxiety quotes

My terror this week came from knowing my tenancy is up for renewal, and it will only be renewed if I pass the next house inspection.  I had suggested a date for this in a couple of weeks time, to give me chance to get everything ship-shape (one of the realities of living with mental health issues is that it's hard to summon the energy for washing up and scrubbing floors; plus, Crumpets are not naturally tidy creatures).   That night, I panicked.  It's one of the worst terrors I've ever had.   It went something like this ....

what if they don't agree to my date

oh god, what if they say they're coming this weekend

well that doesn't give me enough time

the house will never be tidy enough

I won't pass the inspection

they won't renew the tenancy

they'll kick me out.  

I can't just move somewhere else because I don't have the spare cash to fund a deposit and the referencing fees

and fuck me, I certainly don't have the energy to pack everything up

oh my god I'm going to be homeless

Beth will have to go and live with her father

I'll end up sleeping in my car

I might as well die

Image result for anxiety quotes

See, from simple situation to suicide in a single bound.  And that's what it's like inside The Bell Jar. However, this week, there WAS a difference, and I credit Matt Haig (again) with this.   In his amazing book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, he talks about how we consume ourselves with worrying about a million different possibilities, when actually only one thing is true and real - the here and now.

So, too scattered to eat or think or do anything, I went to bed early with my trusty Radio 5 Live (if I listen to other voices, I can't hear my own.)    I snuggled down to sleep (even though it was only 8pm, mentally I was exhausted).   I felt my mind lean towards the terror, addicted.   I reminded myself there was nothing I could do, and worrying would not help.   I focussed very much on my breathing, and after about 20 minutes of repeating this, I managed to fall asleep.

It's taken me 30 years to learn this.

Image result for anxiety quotes

Anxiety feeds off us.  It feed off our powerlessness, making us more powerless as a result.  The only way to defeat it is to starve it.  Now, not for a minute am I pretending that's an easy thing to do, but you have to learn to indulge it a little, so that you can then triumph over it.  It's a little like the dieter who can stick to the diet if they have one small square of chocolate a day.   In the past, I've been made redundant (wow, you can imagine the catastrophising THAT produced), and in both cases, I allowed myself 1 day to wallow.  To succumb to the tears, the anger, the fear, the need to hide under the duvet.   I made a deal.   I would do this for one day, and then I would get up and solve the problem.

Image result for elizabeth taylor quotes you just do it

It worked for me, I can't say if it will work for you, but the hardest thing (and it's also the only thing) is to try and find a way to exercise power over a controlling beast, even though you're at your weakest.  Knowing your enemy, naming your enemy, is step 1.

Step 2 and beyond, that's what some of us spend a lifetime learning.

Sending you love and a massive hug if you've had a bad week too.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

BBC The Apprentice - Series 14 - Is This What Young Women Think You Have To Do To Succeed?

Well hello-ha ...

Image result for the apprentice 2018

I hope you are all well and having a lovely weekend.  I've had a bit of a mare of a week (more of that in a separate post), so I haven't done much this week, although I did make time to catch up with the new series of The Apprentice.

I've watched The Apprentice for a long time now, and here we are, in series 14.  14 !!!  For the first time ever, I wasn't excited for the launch of this series, and I wasn't even sure I was going to watch. However, the daughter loves it, so watch it we did.

I lost a lot of interest last year with The Ultimate Cop Out, when Lawd Sugah wasn't able to decide between the 2 shit finalists.... so he chose both ... but I think what annoys me the most is how over the last 5 years, the girls have just been HORRENDOUS, shrill, bitchy banshees who Karen usually has to give behaviour yellow cards to.

Image result for the apprentice 2018

This first episode was no different.  The girls were awful.   Aggressive, loud, snarky - they even pushed each other under the bus.  They have pouffy hair, over-inflated lips, identical dresses and somehow manage to run around in heels, all whilst muttering they would all do a better job than so-and-so.

I don't understand what's happened to the women on The Apprentice over the years.  Originally, both the men and the women were shit in the opening episode, but over the years, the men have become more reliable, mainly because they'd rather get on with the task than jockey for the right camera angle.

Image result for the apprentice 2018

Worst is that opening intro where they all give some cheesy quote to camera.  Once this used to funny, but now it's just a joke. I don't know what these people are thinking.   They're certainly not thinking about what image they want to convey.  They seem to think it's only about arrogance and generating money, when running a successful business is about SO much more.

A few of them talk about changing the world - but more for personal glory than altruism. None of them talk about helping people, developing people, improving the world, providing great customer service.   Now don't get me wrong, of course you enter business to make money, but you don't have to be a twat at the same time.  In fact, the only way you will succeed is if you are NOT a twat - you have to be able to take people with you, and none of The Apprentice candidates seem to grasp that.

Image result for the apprentice 2018

The best people who have been on the show over the years - and I even include Katie Hopkins in this - have been able to engage people and unite them in a common goal.  The only thing this week's women were united in was not wanting to be team leader (and even that back-fired).

It used to be that the gobby one would turn out to be a rough diamond, and would polish up quite good over the series.  Now they just reveal new depths of shallowness, and hopefully that they're less cringey than other people. 

Image result for the apprentice 2018

So what were this week's Leadership Lessons?

1.  COMMUNICATION - it's all about communication.   Communication is not about TALKING, it's about ensuring the message is understood.  Usually on The Apprentice, communication involves talking over each other - hence this week's scenario where both sub teams bought the same item.

2.  PLANNING - to be fair, the girl's team leader wanted to do more planning, but the team just wanted to crack on.  YOU CAN'T JUST DIVE IN.  If you do, you might find there's no water in the pool and crack your head open.  If you plan, you don't have to flap around like a headless chicken in killer heels ... with big lips.

Image result for quote planning

3.  TIME-KEEPING.   You've got to stick to schedule.   No one mapped out their day.  Half the girls didn't get to the airport on time.  No one knew Malta had a daily siesta .....  seriously.

4.  CONTRIBUTE.  Week after week, Lawd Sugah will say "you disappeared .. where were you in this task?"    When you're in a team, you have to contribute.  If you're out of your depth, you have to remember what you ARE good at, and do that.  Even if it's just fucking TIMEKEEPING.

5.  ACCEPT CONTRIBUTION.    I am the team leader, I have made up my mind, I am not going to listen to anyone else because if I agree your idea is better than mine (and it is), I'll look shit.  What utter BOLLOCKS. Good leaders know when to draw back and let others shine.   Ok, on The Apprentice you're not going to let others shine, but at least allowing others to contribute will engage them and get them working WITH you rather than against you.

Image result for the apprentice 2018

I used to love The Apprentice.  It used to be fascinating, watching leaders and teams forming and storming and occasionally performing.   It used to have some serious-minded business people involved who, whilst far from perfect, learnt from the journey.  Now, it's like the contestants are picked up outside a nightclub, and worse, it doesn't make for better TV.  

But I've started the ride, so I'll continue, hoping as always that interview week makes it allllllll worthwhile.  

[And why has Karen been so ridiculously airbrushed in these promo pics?   C'mon guys, this is supposed to be a SERIOUS show, not entertainment.]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips