Your period, time of the month, Aunt Flo, monthly visitor, lady time, painters in, code red.

Whatever we call it I think we can all agree it’s (roughly) five days of the month that totally suck!

Personally, if given the choice I would stay in the house for the full five days, hot water bottle firmly on my tummy and blanket wrapped round me. Ok, so now imagine this was never an option for you, even for one day of your period. Imagine you didn’t have a sofa to curl up on, no kettle to fill a hot water bottle. Imagine being homeless and getting your period?! No access to sanitary products or even a shower to get clean. Doesn’t really bear thinking about does it.

Our lady time is no longer a subject we can’t talk about, and why should we keep quiet about it? A huge chunk of the population experiences a period every month. And our periods have hit the news recently for a couple of reasons, mainly because “tampon tax” has been a topic of conversation for some time now. The tax that is added to luxury items also applies to sanitary products. I think all women would agree that a tampon or sanitary towel is far from a luxury item! And also because of “period poverty”, this is when women are in the position of having to make a choice between sanitary items and other household essentials. But when it comes to the homeless we often forget about the need for sanitary products. There are women having to use the likes of toilet roll and old rags in place of tampons or sanitary towels!

Simon Community Scotland have just launched a new initiative aimed at helping women during their time of the month. Simon Community help over 500 women experiencing homelessness every year. Through their street team in Glasgow they reach out to women and provide gender specific assistance supporting women in getting their lives back on track and providing emergency accommodation. Yesterday (23.08.17) they launched Period Friendly Points (PFP) throughout Glasgow to support women to get through their time of month with dignity. Period Friendly Points are places specifically set up for the homeless although it is hoped that this is something that will extend to other locations and will include the likes of coffee shops. These PFP will have free sanitary products, pants, disposable bags, wipes to allow women to feel clean and information leaflets offering help with using the products. As well as the essential products to get women through this time of month, there are people available to talk to, whether it’s a question about Aunt Flo or just to have a chat. Many of these women have never spoken to anyone about their period, some don’t know how long a tampon should be kept in or even what a period actually is! As well as the PFP the street team will be handing out Period Friendly Pax. These are compact bags containing the essentials.

A five day period costs Simon Community and their suppliers £15. This is for five towels, twelve tampons, three pairs of pants, travel wipes and disposable bags. You can help by donating. You can also offer your time as the charity are always looking for volunteers to help with re-stocking the PFP, sorting out supplies and packing the Period Friendly Pax or even just lending an ear to women who visit PFP and need someone to talk to.

To donate text PFPR28 to 70070 with the amount you want to donate – £5 or £10.

And next time Aunt Flo pays a visit, think about how lucky you are to be able to snuggle up on the sofa under your blanket.

Image provided by Simon Community Scotland

Last month was nice and busy!

I would love to say that we had a month of summer in Scotland, but that would be a lie… We probably got about a week of sun and a whole load of rain!

We kicked off the month with the wedding of one of Mark’s friends. I’m not a fan of weddings. Like at all! So I wasn’t really looking forward to it, I also didn’t know anyone else going. This isn’t always a great situation for a shy person to be in! Despite really not looking forward to it, the day was actually good fun. I’m going to put that down to the company, I kinda like my OH and have good fun with him, even when we’re doing stuff that isn’t really that fun! Plus, I actually had a wedding outfit that I liked and felt like me. There have been so many weddings I’ve been to where I have worn what I think you should wear to a wedding and I’ve felt like a tit. Must be something to do with age (and no longer giving a f**k) but I want to wear something that is me rather than what I think you should wear. No fascinators for me and I wore shoes I could keep all all day and night! I finished the look with my leather biker jacket 🙂

One of the sunny days we got was spent in Glasgow, not all fun ’cause I had to go into the Apple shop to get my phone fixed! But after that we headed to see my family who stay in Glasgow. We sat in the sun outside in the garden and had a BBQ.

I got to catch up with two of my favourite people for dinner at Candybar in Edinburgh. Leaving my job at the start of the year meant not getting to see two of my best friends every day anymore. As glad as I am that I took redundancy, not seeing their faces every day is a major downside! Group messaging is all well and good but in reality it’s not the same and you definitely miss out on things that are going on in people’s lives. Bonus was also getting to eat at Candybar, I love the food there and this time round I even had space for dessert!

July is Mark’s birthday month. Obviously when he was younger it always fell in the school holidays and he had the day off. This is something he has continued in adulthood and he takes the day off work. Of course I did too, and we headed into Edinburgh for the day. Our first stop was Calton Hill, a place neither of us have been before. A bit mental considering we actually don’t live far away from our capital! We also climbed up onto the monument, which seemed like a great idea until it came to getting down and my body didn’t physically want to allow me to jump! The National Museum of Scotland is somewhere we both like too so we visited there next, some new galleries have opened since the last time we went together which was cool.

Leonardo Hotels opened a new hotel in Edinburgh near Haymarket. Mark and I headed along to the launch night where we got to sample some of the food, (non-alcoholic) cocktails and got shown round some of the rooms. I wrote a post on it which you can read here.

The last weekend I did a charity walk, 10 miles along the Fife coastal path from Leven where I live, to Elie. We were so lucky and got a glorious morning for it, it was chucking down with rain later on in the afternoon! We managed to raise £800 for Homelands Trust, a charity based in Fife that provide accommodation for people with specific requirements. The money raised is going towards buying new specialist equipment for the lodges.

How was your July, did you get up to anything exciting?

Photographs by me

This week sees the start of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in my opinion the best time to be in the city.

The city is absolutely buzzing with street performers, people handing you flyers and so many food and drink stalls. Often the Royal Mile gets so busy you can barely move. It’s bloody fantastic!

So, for anyone who doesn’t know about the Edinburgh Fringe (are you even human?!), it’s basically a festival that runs for the month of August in our fine capital city. It’s often where comedians start their career, but if comedy isn’t your thing you can also see theatrical performances too and there are so many street performers you’re not short of choice. There is really something for everyone.

We went to our first of this year’s shows last night at the Gilded Balloon, Gillian Cosgriff: To The Moon & Back. A one woman show, it’s Gillian, her keyboard and loop pedal. This is a musical comey, and despite the fact that I’m someone who isn’t normally into musical comedy I freakin’ loved this show! She is looking at irrational fears, and in particular the fear of space (yup, it’s really a thing. It has a name and everything – astrophobia). The show starts with Gillian coming on stage in a NASA space suit, complete with helmet and gloves. Gillian claims that on the matter of visiting space there are two types of people – people who would jump at the chance to visit space if space travel were something the common person could do, and the type of person that absolutely does not want to go to space. Turns out Mark and I fall into different camps…he wants to go to space, I do not.

As well as space, Gillian talks about yoga and her fear of marriage and the fact as women it’s expected that we have reached that point of proper adulthood by a certain age and that you’re a failure if you have not.

Like many of the shows at the Fringe you’re in a small, intimate venue which is either great or very awkward and uncomfortable. This performance falls into the first category, Gillian engages with the audience in a way that is good – not like being singled out by a comedian just because they can see you. When she took her space helmet off she completely acknowledged the fact that she had lipstick on her chin and just rolled with it. It makes her relatable to the audience.

The songs were funny, especially the space song where she talks about Uranus and confirms that actually deep down we’re all really still 8 year old kids that can’t help but giggle at that word! I cannot confirm or deny if there will be any Savage Garden in the show…

If you’re putting together your list of shows to see this year then definitely go and see this, To The Moon & Back is running from 2nd-27th August (no show 15th August) at the Gilded Balloon – The Turret. You can buy your tickets here.

Do you have your Fringe calendar organised for this year? I would love to hear any recommendations from shows you have been to.

I was gifted with the tickets for the show by Gillian Cosgriff, all opinions are my own.


Images provided by Gillian Cosgriff

I actually find it scary how quickly the time is flying in!

Christmas will be here before we know it. Apparently there’s a scientific theory why time seems to go faster as you get older. It’s something to do with your perception of the present time going more quickly because relatively there’s more time behind you, so a year is a smaller proportion of the total time you’ve lived through… I’m not sure, maybe something to do with Einstein, I think he said the higher you are from the earth’s surface, the faster time goes. So maybe it’s cause my bedroom is upstairs…! Though I never really paid attention in science (so probably not).

So my circumstances have changed somewhat again this month. By choice this time! I want to make sure I achieve some stuff during August so I’ve put together a wee list of goals for the month.

Publish my first vlog

I’ve toyed with the idea of vlogging on and off for a couple of years. Then I filmed a wee bit for our Edinburgh Blogger Conference video and thought never again! Partly because it took an insane amount of takes, and partly because I heard myself and I sound SO Scottish! I mean, I’ve realised before that I’m Scottish so it’s not that much of a surprise but, man, my accent is broad! Recently though I’ve been trying out mini vlogging on Instagram stories and I’m kinda thinking just go for it. Apart from anything it will help me develop my video editing skills. So watch this space – video coming soon!

Go on holiday

This may seem like an odd goal. But Mark and I had plans to go away this year and visit more places. Redundancy put a bit of a spanner in the works! Travelling is something I feel I really missed out on during my 20s. I’ve never inter-railed round Europe, I’ve never been to America, and while I’m not the type of person who regrets anything in my life, and no holidays has meant I’ve got to do other things (mainly buy more clothes and afford a car), I’d like to see more places. So I had a bit of a f**k it moment. From my redundancy I’ve not really taken any money out to properly treat myself so I thought, life’s short, let’s do it!

Complete a 30 day ab challenge and reduce my 5k time

I’ve got a couple of fitness goals for August. For the last couple of months I’ve been doing 30 day challenges with some of the other people my PT trains. This month it’s abs! I’m super determined to finish it. My tummy is my least favourite body part so I’d really like to see a difference. With my running, I only got back into it in March this year after being out injured for quite a few months and although I’ve been building back up I still haven’t managed to get back to my previous pace.

Learn how to use my camera properly

I took the plunge and bought myself a DSLR a few months ago. And I still haven’t moved away from the automatic settings. This is not why I bought myself the camera! So this month I want to get out, take more photos and learn how it works!

Have at least one hour tech-free each day

One of my 2017 goals was to stress less. Well, we’re more than half way through the year and it’s not really going too well to be honest. I’m a stress head. I worry about the day that will never come and I really struggle to switch off and chill out. So my plan for this month is to have at least one hour tech free a day. Switch my phone to aeroplane mode so I’m not distracted by notifications, put down the laptop and chill. Read a book or magazine, do some yoga, write or colour in. Something to relax. I’ll report back in September and let you know how that goes!

Set up some desk space

I’m currently sitting cross-legged on my bed writing this. My writing place varies between the sofa, the bed and the kitchen table. None of these are very comfy and since technically I’m going to be working from home with what I’m planning on doing next, a dedicated workspace is pretty much needed. I think I’ll be more productive if I’m not sitting with the tv on in the background too. So a trip to Ikea is on the cards. Although I’ve already picked out the desk and chair I want you can guarantee we’ll come away with a lot more than just that (plus a belly full of meatballs…)!Do you have any goals for the month?

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Is everyday sexism “real” sexism?

Andy Murray hit the headlines on Wednesday this week, not only for getting knocked out of Wimbledon during the quarter finals, but also for correcting the reporter who commented on Sam Querrey being the first American semi finalist since 2009.

Murray corrected him by stating he was the first male player (both Williams sisters have been in the semi final and actually Serena has won multiple times, including last year). This has sparked quite a debate, and the topic of everyday sexism was discussed on the Kaye Adams show on BBC Radio Scotland yesterday.

I’m a feminist. And it’s something I’ve become a lot more vocal about as I’ve got older. I’ll correct people or make comments about wondering if I’ve stepped out a time machine and gone back fifty years. We’ve come so far in our fight for equality, but we still aren’t equal by any means. There are the obvious things – not getting equal pay, not having the same career opportunities and the fact that those career opportunities are often damaged by going off for maternity leave. But everyday sexism is actually worse, it’s subtle and brushed off as a joke. But these “jokes” have an impact. And there is so much in our lives that is the daily norm, so much so we don’t even see it as sexism.

I’ll give you a recent example when everyday sexism affected me. Not too long ago I got a parking ticket for £85 for parking in a hotel car park I’ve used many times (two days before this visit the hotel introduced a parking charge – there were no signs advising of this). I was using the hotel to have a meeting with someone regarding the then upcoming Edinburgh Blogger Conference. When I went back to the car I had a charge stuck to the windscreen.

I disputed this with the hotel at the time in person and got no help, so of course being the social media type, I took to Twitter. Keen to actually get this sorted I thought I would go with the DM route first, no point making it public straight away and annoying them – I wanted to get the ticket cancelled! I explained why I’d been using the facilities, had used them many times before and if there’d been clear signs I’d have happily paid the £3 parking charge (or gone to Starbucks nearby which has free parking). The operations manager came back and said there was nothing he could do as the car park was now dealt with by another company.

The car I was driving this day was Mark’s so it would be him getting chased up about it. So after my failed attempt Mark got in touch with said hotel, stating the same as me. He said the person who used the hotel had been there for a business meeting regarding an upcoming conference. And guess what? Within about 3 emails the issue was sorted and the ticket was cancelled.

Now, the cynic in me says it’s because a man got in touch with them, and his business would be more important than that of a female blogger (my Twitter profile states I’m a blogger). I might be wrong, but I suspect I’m not and to be honest the company maybe didn’t even notice they were being sexist.

“Jokes” and “banter” about women, whether saying a woman’s place is in the kitchen or being a homemaker/housewife, these are the things that are put in the subconscious of younger generations. These are the things that make people still think gender specific roles are a thing: women cook and clean, men DIY and do the gardening. Guess what, men eat and make mess so why shouldn’t they help? And women want a garden that doesn’t look like a jungle and don’t always want to call on the man of the house (if there is one!) when a picture needs hung, why shouldn’t we grab a hammer too?

I live with a (wonderful) man who mucks in around the house, we have specific roles to an extent, but these are to do with our preferences, not gender. I clean the bathroom, Mark does the hoovering. We both wash clothes and dishes and we cook dinner together. He never makes sexist jokes. He says he’s not feminist, he’s ‘personist’.

I’m not saying that sexism is something that only comes from men, there are many women who are not feminist (I feel for any sons and daughters they have) and still think gender specific roles should be followed. There are so many examples of everyday sexism from women, from still expecting doors to be held open by men, to the expectation that a man will give his seat up for you. But one of the biggest are marriage proposals. A lot of women still expect to be asked. It’s the twenty first century, if you want to marry the person you’re with you don’t have to wait for them to ask you, you don’t have to wait until a leap year. JUST ASK!

As women we won’t have full equality until we embrace it too. With each generation it gets a bit better, maybe by the time it comes to my grand-kids generation equality will be so common place we won’t even have to talk about it any more!

And next time you see a guy standing on the train or bus, why not ask him if he wants your seat? Although if he’s as tall as Mark, he might not fit in it, but that’s another rant for another day.

What are your thoughts on the everyday sexism debate?

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