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We all have a woman in our mind that moves mountains and paves the way for light in the world. You might be lucky and know one of them. You may even be luckier to be related to one of them. I know for sure I am.

I could write a book on feminism, as most of my friends and family could testify, I do tend to rant often about my role as a woman and an unapologetic feminist. I know my place in this world, as a daughter, a friend, a girlfriend, and as an educator. I'm Scottish. I was brought up with two wonderful women in my mother and my grandmother. My ancestral history ranges from the Middle East to the Iberian Peninsula, to back home in Scotland and the Celtic isles. So I have mixed variables of heritages to represent me. And I champion that. I embrace the tangents of my history and who I am. And so should every woman.

But what I really want to touch on this IWD is education and why it is the answer to our problems.

As I have championed for years, I tell any person who says that women need to find their voices, or have someone speak on behalf of them, that actually no, we don't need someone to talk for us, or for us to find our voices. We have voices, we just have to be inspired to use them.

And I'm using my voice to raise the problems that women and girls face with education.

Education is a human right. Education is one of the greatest resources the world has to offer. Unfortunately, for some young girls and women, they are rarely given the same opportunities as boys to learn, study and succeed.

That's approximately half of the population of the world, isn't getting the right education that they are deserved.

Globally, over 65 million girls are not in school. Out of the 774 million people who are illiterate around the world, two-thirds are women. There are 33 million fewer girls in primary school than boys.

And education really does save lives: If every woman around the globe had primary and secondary education, childhood deaths would be cut in half.

Women and girls continue to face multiple barriers based on gender and its intersections with other factors, such as age, ethnicity, poverty, and disability, in the equal enjoyment of the right to quality education. 
This includes barriers, at all levels, to access quality education and within education systems, institutions, and classrooms, such as, amongst others:
  • harmful gender stereotypes and wrongful gender stereotyping 
  • child marriage and early and unintended pregnancy
  • gender-based violence against women and girls
  • lack of inclusive and quality learning environments and inadequate and unsafe education infrastructure, including sanitation
  • poverty
So why are we denying women and girls a chance of education? Why are there no programmes publicized for STEM education, and wide baring degrees that women can craft a path to a stellar career?

The answer. Our Governments simply aren't doing enough to promote education and encourage women to have a life other than outside of the family home. This isn't just across developing countries and countries with deplorable women's rights, this is also in our home countries, and they should know better.

We need the education to show young women and girls that there is a life other than being the head of a household, there is more to aspire to. That they are not here to provide for their men. Women across the world are waking up to the idea that they are more than an accessory to men. That they can have education and inspiration to grow and develop their skills, regardless of their geographical lottery.

Women can be capable of so much more when we have access to education. When we give women the chance to grow as human beings, then we are opening up the world to a fairer economy. Why would we deny the women of our world the access to corporate jobs, careers and skill sets that are formally held by men? Why are we rejecting the idea that we can hold the same position? If we are happy enough for women to raise our children then why aren't we happy with them running our businesses?

With better education and awareness, women have the chance to be at the helm of corporate and critical businesses. They have the chance to have a seat at the table, instead of having to build our own. They finally have the chance to be on the same level that they aim to, just by allowing them to run in the same race, without any disadvantages.

So how do we correct this problem?

On a political level, we can write to our politicians, our senators, our representatives and to anyone that will listen. Make a noise with the voices we have. Make moves with the education that we have had, in lieu of those who haven't got the access to it.

A prime example of this is Malala Yousafzai, the courageous and brave young woman who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for demonstrating her right to education, and the right for women in her country to be educated. Despite having a death warrant against her, she still used the voice she refined to not only survive and stand up for her rights, and also continued to speak out on the importance of education. In 2013, she gave a speech to the United Nations and published her first book, I Am Malala, and in 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala used her right to education to inspire her journey, her career, and ultimately her education as she now studies at the University of Oxford. 

Proving that education is a driving factor for many women to succeed is further solidified in the work of Michelle Obama. Motivating young women to strive to be the best they can be, and by this means getting on the path of education, which sadly they are normally the first women in their family to be higher educated over a secondary level. 

And on a personal level, we can encourage our young women to strive to better. Which you think might be easy, but when was the last time you looked into the eyes of a woman and really encouraged her to grab her opportunities and seize them? When was the last time you sat down with an impoverished child and opened up her eyes to a world beyond her local village? When was the last time that you educated a young girl about her life choices and helped her on a path to success? 

We can all do better in this world. We are not all perfect humans. But we can strive to do better, and one way I would encourage you all to do is to harness the power of your own education and career successes. Look at the ways that you can provide help to our fellow women. Can you donate your funds, your time or even just your knowledge to help many women's charities fight this cause? Can you look at your profiles, look at your outreach, who can you inspire? Can you look at your own status, what can you do to make a difference? 

The fact is that our world thrives on the will of its people. And it's our responsibility that we give the women of this world a fair chance of being a part of it, rather than being an accessory. 

So this IWD I really encourage anyone who is reading this to be a part of the revolution instead of watching it. Make the noise that your voice can deliver. Be the change that you would like to see. 

And most importantly, understand that the right to education is precious but endangered and we can not let it become abandoned. 

Women have the chance to educate the world, but only if we give them the right to educate themselves. 

Happy International Women's Day 

Mx 

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You're supposed to be in the prime of your life. Fertility wise that is, because we all know that guy who clearly peaked in high school.

But there are some things you can't really prepare for in your 20s. You've done what you wanted to and you've already made a headstart into your career by 25 and then the baby-isms begin. Unless you are the said guy who peaked in high school and he still spends every weekend cutting shapes to 'Bits and Pieces' in the ABC. Before you know it you are surrounded by babies and people who have babies, and people you don't even know are having babies and somehow you are like "OMG BABIES!".

Now I'll admit, if you handed me a baby at 21 I would have handed it straight right back to you faster than you could say "It's your turn next" (that single sentence is known to any 20-something that instantly fills them with dread, anger and a whole lot of f*ck you).

But now, 25 and somewhat in my fertile prime, I'll admit, it's actually fucking hard to get pregnant. What was I worried about at 17?! Jesus, it really is hard, and that's when you are somewhat cack-handedly trying.

Now, I'll put this out there now, I'm not pregnant, nor am I "actively" trying, by that I mean yes I have sex for fun (I am kidding, sex is less fun when you're actually adult about it and your pre-sex conversation is about who's taking out the bins and if you've finished your taxes) but if we fall pregnant we aren't going to freak out and have a fit like we would have done when we were 18.

But the rumors you heard at 17 about getting pregnant off a toilet seat (yup, someone apparently did get pregnant from a loo seat), or how you get pregnant faster in a hot tub (who in the sweet baby Jesus is having sex in a hot tub?) are just total bollocks. Yes, some people are naturally super fertile and have the perfect body like a week after giving birth but for us mortal beings, it takes a bit of planning and a bit of effort.

So what have I learned? Well for one, if you are aged anywhere between 24 - 29 you will be asked constantly "you trying yet?", and you are desperate to tell them your sex schedule and if they would like to watch since they seem so interested in your procreation habits, but then you remember you are in company and your mum is within earshot. Which while I'm here, sorry if you are reading this mum. I know in your head I'm a hard-hitting journalist, but really I'm sitting in my jammies writing about sex and the contents (or lack thereof ) of my uterus. Enjoy?

You can't walk through M&S without going to the newborn department (you'll, of course, say its via the food court, but we all know you can't resist looking at baby booties), and you'll genuinely feel warm and fuzzy inside. It's just so small! You can't imagine a human so small.

Or one day a little kid will grab your hand thinking your his mum and you feel like a responsible adult (for the first time in your life), and as you hand the kid back you can't help but think of the relief that went through its poor mother's mind as she is reunited with her little one. You sympathize with her because one day you couldn't find your phone in your back pocket and you totally relate.

You wonder what it could be like to be pregnant, even though you've been nursing a burrito baby since lunch that makes you look at least 6 months pregnant. You see it as a badge of honor, and then you hear the horror stories. You hear about the pooping, the tearing, the hormones and the fact your feet can grow?! You quickly forget about the pregnancy glow and how amazing Meghan Markle looks and you take solace in the fact you don't have to deal with that yet. Even though you might enjoy it.

The other thing that will hit you is the day your boyfriend turns to you and says, "wouldn't it be nice to have a baby?". And you sit there, him looking directly at the TV at whatever game he's playing, you gazing at the cactus sitting on his window ledge that's been dead for about a year and you wonder what in the actual fucking dreamland does he think he's in? You ignore it of course because if another word comes out of his mouth you will swear on his mother's life that you will smother him with a pillow. And also, there are no words to coherently describe your answer to that ridiculously stupid question.

But then a few days go by, and you catch yourself at dinner on a night out making faces to the toddler at the next table, giggling over his chubby cheeks and cooing over his adorable little dungarees. And then you wonder what in the fresh fuck has come over you. Your other half is staring at you, terrified that you will get any ideas despite what he said a few days ago because of course, he doesn't remember. And you look at each other, just about to utter something about babies, and said toddler that was adorable two seconds ago lets out a wail that could make Piers Morgan cry, and you both say "NOPE" and carry on with your dinner.

Because fertility in your 20s is just that, highs and lows of fighting with your hormones on trying to decide if you want a baby. Of course, you can't afford it. You're still paying off your student debts and no one pays your bills anymore. Of course, you know that you'll never have a night out again in the next 18 years, but let's be honest, it's not like you do anything on the weekends anymore anyway is it? Our generation invented the Netflix and Chill. Except "Chill" doesn't mean sex is on the cards, it actually means getting your other half to rub your back because you spent all night making dinner.

Another thing that happens is you get asked by the doctors "could you be pregnant" and you genuinely reply "I've no idea", because you don't know, you've got no idea. Your hormones are on a rollercoaster ride and you are crying at otters one day and throwing up the next, but are you pregnant? Who knows at this point, nothing can surprise you.

So what can we conclude from this? We all talk about pregnancy and fertility in your 30s, but us mid-20-somethings are always left out. We don't have all our shit together right now, we don't even know if we want a baby, but one thing is for sure if we hear the words "you're next" one more time, we will not be accountable for our actions.
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Even just writing the title of this makes me shake and shiver in anxiety. I've written and deleted the opening line to this post over 100 times, and it never seems to make sense. To me at least.

20 years of anxiety and depression. 2 years of CBT. A year of intense therapy and I'm just beginning to realize that sometimes you have to remove toxicity from your life. Even if that means going no contact with one of your parents.

Yes, it's hard. Yes, I can understand that some people might judge my reasons, and they are just that, my reasons. I'm pretty sure that many people would have done things differently. But my situation is unique to me. And after what I have gone through, I have decided to remove my catalyst for my depression out of my life.

I've spent most of my 25 years on this earth in search of love and acceptance from my father. Times I thought I achieved the basic need of this childlike need, only to be let down and devastated that I not only wasn't accepted by my father, but I was used for his own personal gain, or to inflate his own ego.

I've never been particularly close to my father, not even as a child. My mum has always been my closest ally, and even now we are very, very close. Especially after my parents divorced, myself and my mother, both unsure of what to do next, found solace in each other's company in times of distress.

In fact, I was terrified of my father. A very tall, dark man who was mostly angry and defensive, I became terrified of him. Having nightmares, watching over my shoulder, crying in the middle of the night thinking he would appear.

All because of his actions. Which I'm not getting into due to my own mental sanity. But trust me when I say, he committed a lot of terror and fear into my life at such a young age.

It took me a long time to even leave the house without my mother next to me after he left. I was so petrified my father would be there that I was having panic attacks every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I was depressed because he made me believe that this was my fault. That his actions were a direct result of my existence. Which no child should ever have to feel.

Looking back I can't help but cry in pain for my mother, having to watch a horrendous divorce play out in front of her child, being silenced to even explaining it to her distraught child, and having to endure the suffering from him as he time and time again put our lives into turmoil and in his own words "couldn't care less if we were on the streets, because he will make sure he will put us there".

He cared not for his child, nor for his wife - someone who he once loved and respected enough to have a child. He only cared about his own personal gain, and how he would "win" a situation.

Do you think this is typical fatherly behavior? Do you blame me?

I would say it gets better, but we have at least ten years plus of no contact from him, which was great but left me with a lot of issues regarding his abandonment, his abuse, and his lack of fatherly love and attention that left me feeling vulnerable, even more, depressed and lacking in self-confidence, to which my mother always overcompensated for, and I couldn't thank her enough for that.

Jeez...and I bet you are think was all Meghan Markle's dad did was a few badly represented interviews.

As an adult, I had a rather bolstered view with my own emotions. In the sense that I didn't let myself feel any. Nope. None. Which as you can imagine built up over a lot of years and accumulated in going into therapy for the first time at 24.

Nervous, shaking, crying and ready to faint, I walked into my therapist's office thinking I would fall dramatically onto a chaise lounge, and woe is me my way through the next two hours. Which obviously, if you have been to a therapists office in Scotland, isn't like that at all.

As a small curly haired woman appeared who barely even muttered my name and pointed into a room and told me to sit, I was looking for the nearest exit to get ready to bolt my way out faster than you could say "daddy issues".



However, when I sat my backside down on the chair, I felt superglued to the fabric and unable to move. This woman staring into my eyes speaking something that I couldn't even hear due to my heart beating so loudly, seemed to me like she was treating me as case no. 8292 and reading off a script ready for me to give robotic answers and tick off a checklist.

But as she kept talking I felt the little kid inside me, the kid that felt abandoned, unloved and emotionally and mentally abused by her father, raring her little curly pigtails and I started uncontrollably crying. Crying so hard I couldn't breathe. Crying for the little girl that was so hurt by her own father. Crying for her injustice. Crying that by what he did to me has led to 20 years of anxiety and depression and resulting in my having to endure hundreds of doctors appointments, various medications and finally being referred to a therapist to try and undo nearly two decades of emotional and mental abuse.

Through my treatment I felt even more depressed, I was desperate to live but for some reason, my mind was telling me that I wasn't good enough for this world and I should end my own life. I knew my mindset would get worse before it gets better, but this was something else. Dredging the pain and the feelings of a kid that was made to feel invisible by her father were enough to send my brain into a complete chaos movement. And that was how I suffered my first mental breakdown.



During the next 12 weeks, I was looked after by my therapist and my doctor, my mother, and my family and friends, all helping me see the best of my achievements, and nursed back to a stable mindset that I am good enough for this world. I was prescribed anti-depressants - which I am still on now and not ashamed to be taking them. I had weeks where I would spend my hours in my bed, not moving, crying and letting my emotions run free for the first time in decades, literally.

It was during this point that my therapist, during a session, took my hands and told me to cry. Just straight up, looked into my eyes and said "cry". And with that came years of pent up emotions, unleashed into an hour of crying, that I can honestly say healed my soul. She told me that none of what I endured was my fault. I was not accountable for his actions and I should never let myself feel that I should bear the emotional baggage of the last 20 years. I had a right to feel abandoned. I had a right to feel pain. And he was at fault for making his own child feel like that.

It was at this point that I came home after a session and looked at myself in the mirror. And I told myself that I was sorry for letting him in. I gave the child in me a cuddle and told her that yes, you will be okay.

And that is the essential part of healing. No matter what you go through, you have to get to the root of your issue and face it in order to feel normal again. You have to look at yourself through the eyes of the past you that faced that trauma, and I would 100% recommend therapy for that.

I decided that in order to heal properly I had to confront my father. So I did, and I told him my story. I told him all the years and suffering and even how I nearly didn't make it through my depression. I told him everything, and I was confronted with his response. That yet again everything was about him. In response, he told me all of his problems, his issues, how he was the victim during the divorce, how nothing was his fault. His truly narcissistic and sociopathic responses bounced off my armor that I helped myself build because I knew at that point that he truly did not care about my feelings or what he had done because he genuinely lied to himself and he didn't believe it himself. Like a true narcissist.

I knew then that it wasn't my fault. And he was never going to understand the impact of his actions.

So that brings us to now, starting a new year off and going no contact after a final attempt of reaching out to him, a final attempt for him to be the father that I always wanted him to be. Not just for me, but for my brother and sisters. I gave him a final chance to get his act together and become a father. I helped him with his issues, his own alleged depression and became the shoulder to cry on that gave a relationship less of father and daughter and more of father and therapist. In this, I was blindfolded into thinking that I was finally having a relationship with my father when really he was just releasing his guilt onto me and pretending that made it all better.



Then came the day I found out I finally got my degree. On the same day I found out my paper would be published. And on the same day, I found out that I was invited to be a Professor for my university on a research project. So I was over the moon. That not only had I built a blog, two businesses and overcame depression, I also got my degree and accomplished my life goal. Naturally, I wanted to tell the world, and with that included my father. And what did I get in reply? Nothing.

Two weeks went by and my pain turned to a realization. He was never going to change. And all he brought was his problems and his toxicity. I was better off without him. Look what I achieved in the years since he left. And I did it without him. I did it with my loved ones around me.

When I eventually confronted him and finally told him my pain for the last time he replied with denial. And told me to stay humble. That was what got me the most. Stay humble. Like I wasn't allowed to be proud of my achievements.

After a night of crying (and a lot of wine), I made the decision to go completely no contact. Just like Meghan. Just the same way that her family used her for their own gain. I felt for her because it's heartbreaking. I wasn't close to his side of the family because they ostracized myself and my mother. We were our own unit, just like Meghan and her mother.

It's hard to cut someone out of your life. Especially it being your father. But sometimes people aren't ready to be parents, no matter how many children they have, even after how many marriages.

Once you have been through what I have through, walked in the shoes of someone who was repeatedly let down by their father, you can see how you have to remove them from your life. It is heartbreaking. One to admit to yourself that the person who was put on this planet to be your father is incapable of doing so, and as a result doesn't respect you as a person. And two that you have to understand what you have gone through and ignore their guilty pleas.

But now I stand right now as a blogger, a graduate, and an author. Not to mention an activist and a powerful feminist. And now finally a professor of dictatorial led marketing, I can say that I did it without him. I didn't need him. And I can say I am better off without him.

I did it with my loved ones around me. I did it with their love and guidance. I did it because my mother worked her backside off to make sure she gave me the best in my life while he walked away.
I did it because I could. And I did it for myself.
And still. I rise.
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Curry. Arguably the nation's favourite dish. I know its certainly one of mine! I love a good hearty curry, be it spicy or not, it always has to be rich in flavor and plentiful!

This Jeera chicken curry is a favourite for me, it's super rich and indulgent, but surprisingly light in texture and melts in the mouth. With a beautiful heat and richness from the toasted cumin seeds and a creamy texture from the yoghurt, this is a beautiful curry that will impress your loved ones, and it will take you very little time to make at all!
Ingredients 1 (1 pound/ 800- grams) chicken, cut into 12 pieces in a large mixing bowl
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
8 to 10 green or red chiles, stemmed and cut in half
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup plain yogurt, whisked
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
7 to 8 black peppercorns, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional) 
MethodPut chicken in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and stir well. Cover the bowl with plastic and put into refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes.

Place a medium nonstick saucepan over medium and add the oil. When the small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the cumin. When the cumin begins to change color, add the chilies and turmeric, and saute for 10 seconds.

Add the chicken and saute for 8-9 minutes until well browned. Add the yogurt, cilantro, peppercorns and remaining 1 teaspoon of the salt. Stir well and add the cup water. Cover, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cook through.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the mint and serve hot.
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Soup. It's like a hug in a bowl. The nights are getting colder and darker and Autumn has well and truly arrived. Which means it's soup season!

Laksa soup is a classic Malaysian dish that can be served with chicken, prawns or any kind of seafood, regardless of what meat you pair with it, it is guaranteed to be a dinner table winner. 

It does take around an hour an half to make which can be off-putting to some, but it is worth it for the work you put in. Even though its gone in minutes!

This Lasksa soup is a new favorite of mine. I love the spicy orange curry broth mixed with thin noodles and salty pulled chicken. It's for sure a new dinner favorite in our household and once you make it, you will love it too! 

Pairing the dish to finish with some fresh cut chilies and coriander cuts the creamy softness of the soup with a sharp freshness, and a squeeze of lime rounds it off with that well-needed zing!

For me, I've always been a fan of Spanish, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines, so these kind of flavours are not new to me, but if you are wanting to branch out into tasting more on the world, this soup is the perfect, gentle way to do so.

Enjoy! 

INGREDIENTSFor the paste
2 red chilli, plus more to serve
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the broth1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 500 millilitres boiling water
1 400 millilitre can coconut milk
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
200 grams cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional - sub for a good pinch of salt)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 limes, 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges
2 chicken breasts
150 grams finely sliced fresh greens
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pack rice vermicelli
25 grams coriander, stalks trimmed
40 grams bean sprouts, rinsed (optional)
INSTRUCTIONSPut all of the laksa paste ingredients into a small food processor or spice grinder and blitz until you have a fine paste. Cook off the paste in a large saucepan for 10 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t burn, until the oil starts to separate. Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk, then add the sliced carrots, and cauliflower. Cook for 30 minutes until the vegetables.

While the broth is cooking, heat a griddle pan. Flatten the chicken breasts and season with salt and fresh black pepper. Cook for 4 minutes each side, until golden brown and cooked through. Put onto a place to cool then roughly rip into shreds.

Sautee the greens in the soy and garlic until they wilt. Put the noodles into a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under cool water. Divide the cooked and drained noodles between 4 serving bowls.

When the vegetables in the broth are very soft, liquidise it with a stick blender. Stir fish sauce or salt, sugar and lime juice through the soup and add extra water, if needed, so that it’s not too thick. Divide the soup between the bowls. Top each dish with bean sprouts, chicken, sauteed greens and fresh coriander. Serve with a lime wedge and extra chili on the side.

And enjoy! 
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Depression. Ugh, even just typing it makes me feel knots in my stomach. That horrible D word that we have come to hear more and more over the last few years as people like myself open up about what life is like actually living with this horrendous disease that literally makes you fight your own brain every minute of every day.

I know I've suffered from depression for a long time, but it's only more recently that it's raised its ugly head even more out of the water and I've not been able to ignore it. The pounding doom feeling has gotten stronger and louder and I can't switch off for it anymore. Great right?

Depression is such a selfish bitch. There I said it. It doesn't give a fuck of who, why, when or how it strikes, but before you know it there was a knock at the door and depression and all it's little bullshit friends moved into your brain before you could even say "Teas and coffees anyone?", and before you know it, your brain has squatters and you're losing your marbles about how to get them the fuck out.

Yup. That's depression. And it's a bag of shit.

Waking up at 3:45am, lying in my bed and feeling like the whole world is going to crumble around me. Weird thoughts set in like, "What if tomorrow you decide you'll be suicidal and there's no one there to save you?" or "What if this never gets better and I'm going to be stuck my whole life with this feeling. I don't want that, who does?" or my personal favourite, "What if I can't control my brain anymore and I do something stupid?". Yeah, it can make you think some dark shit dude.

But here's the thing with depression, yeah it's a dick, it's selfish, it's very uncomfortable to live with, but it is beatable. Something I wish I'd known a few days ago when the world was crumbling round about me (it wasn't, it just felt like it was) and I couldn't pull myself out of the depressive hole that I kept digging.

Depression is a sickness. Just like if you get the stomach flu, you'd take a few days off until you are better. Well, depression is just like that, it's a sickness of the mind. So why aren't we prescribing some well-earned sympathies and a few days of rest to sort out your cranium? Because we aren't talking about it enough. We aren't being real about it enough.

It's vile to talk about. Even just writing this I feel the knots in my stomach get tighter and the feeling of doom get louder, but I know it's a story that has to be told. I'm not embarrassed by my depression. But it ain't no fluffy puppy that is all smiles and rainbows, that's for sure. It's an uncomfortable experience to talk about it, even just opening up to my friends and my loved ones that I felt depressed and low was really sickening, but the feeling after it was as close to euphoric as I could get. Relief, freedom, crying with happiness, it was all there. And it's kind of here now as I'm writing this, I'm deciding to not let it hold me captive in my own mind. It's got its damn eviction notice and I'm going in it get it out!

I read a book a few days ago that put me in a new perspective about my depression, anxiety and my intrusive, unwanted thoughts. It was written by a comedian, a monk and a neuroscientist (I'll leave it in the links below if you are interested), and boy oh boy was it enlightening and educational.

Now if you are anything like me, with an addictive personality, you have to know the why's, where's and how's of why something is happening. But when the part that you're trying to find out about controls your whole body, it's a little daunting. Now I don't have no PhD, but I'm about to drop a big knowledge bomb right here, you ready?

"Your thoughts do not define you. You are more than your thoughts."

 What? But I thought I was a worthless person earlier. I thought I was heading for my doom. I thought this will never go away.

Yeah, you are more than that. These are nothing more than what they are on the tin, thoughts. Stupid thoughts that feel like the world is taking over, but really shouldn't be given more of an "ok, that was weird" and move on.

I know that seems hard to do. But it can be done, I promise. Depression is like an addiction, it feeds off your willpower. It drains you until you become dependent on it, and you don't even know it's happening, which is the scary part. Before you know it, it's there and it's big and all you want is freedom. Which is sadly where a lot of people decide to end their own lives. I've been there myself and the comforting thing to know is that you are not what you think, and it will get better. But the hardest step right now is finding your get up and go. Your Mojo. Your reason for living. We all have a purpose on this earth, all of us, even you reading this, you have a purpose. There is no reason to give up. There is no good reason to end it all. There is a hope. It is not easy, trust me, but there is a better way of living than just giving up.

I still suffer from depression. Heck, the last few days have been like hell for me, feeling like I've taken two steps back on my progress. I've felt myself slip back into my old ways and it's been harder to pull myself out of it. But I'm learning not to beat myself up about it. It's a journey. There will be times where you feel like you've not made any progress, and there will be times where you skip down the road knowing you've come a long way. It's all about the journey.

What is helping me right now is learning mindfulness. Which you've probably heard before if you've looked for help with depression. And you've probably wondered what on earth is it and why is it so effective. Well for me it's like training my brain to have a well-earned recess from the chaos. Mindfulness teaches you how to separate your thoughts from reality and how to stop the thoughts from growing legs and taking over.

My journey is at the point where I've accepted I have a problem and I'm actively doing what I can, be it therapy, mindfulness, research etc, to find my solution to getting rid of depression. For me, I've found that mindfulness does help, but you have to be strict with it. Some days it works and other days you're left scrambling because it doesn't, but at that point, you haven't mastered mindfulness, so keep going. It will click one day.

My favourite technique is when you get a thought in your head that you don't want or is causing you distress, put it in a bubble like you know the cartoon speech bubbles? Stick it in one of them, and as soon as you've done that imagine you have a pin or just use your finger and pop that bubble and see that thought disappear. It sounds ridiculous, but by god does it help.

I've also found along this journey that not only can depression be something that is like an addiction, it can also be worse when combined with OCD. Not the kind where you're turning off a light switch 1000 times a day, the kind where you have these thoughts in your brain and you obsess over them until they tear you up inside. Your brain gets stuck in a loop and each time that loop goes around, you sink further into a depression because you can't break said loop. It's vile, and it's what I suffer with.

But actually finding out this was a thing helped me further establish that I am not my thoughts. I am more than my thoughts. And I WILL beat this.

If there is anything to take comfort from it is this, literally millions of people suffer from depression regardless if they open up about it or not. Some you'd be surprised at. People you look up to, your idols have all at one point suffered from this, I guarantee you. You are not alone in this fight. So many people have overcome it, and are here to help you fight yours. I know it can be so gut-wrenchingly scary, you feel like there is no way out, but there is, and it's not suicide, it's not ignoring it, and it's certainly not pretending you are okay. You have to fight this fight head-on, turn around and face your biggest fear. Oh, my days is it hard, I can't even begin to describe how hard it is, but it is doable, so many people like you have felt like this. So many people like you have overcome it. It's more common than you think it is. But there are so many reasons for beating it. And I know it doesn't feel like it now but it will go away someday and you will be able to live your life without it. It just takes time.

The best quote I read during all of this was explaining that if you keep running away from the monster that is chasing you, you'll run forever and it will eventually catch you, but if you turn around and scream in its face it will stop in its tracks and will run away from you.

And the first step to beating that monster is telling someone. Don't suffer it alone. Don't let it eat you up inside. There are people there to help you. People want to see you do well, they want to see you get better. You just have to be brave and take the first step to beat it.

So what came we take away from this? Well, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we are all in it together and we all want to beat it. We know that the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem and talking to someone, the next step is putting in a plan to get better. We know that the road may be bumpy ahead but we know that we have a purpose and a reason to live, we know that we have help at every bump and there's always someone to guide us over the next hurdle.

We know that we can beat this. We know that we are stronger than our thoughts. We know that we are loved.

If you are in need of any help urgently please call the Samaritans number on 116 123.

Here is a list of books that I found helpful:

Overcoming thoughts book - here
Ruby Wax - How to Be Human - here

Also, please persist with your doctor to find a good CBT therapist. Even if you have to change doctor, you will get there.

And if you need to talk to someone who has been through it, send me a message, you are not alone in this fight.
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For me life is simple, you work hard, party harder and always keep yourself in check. Surrounding myself with some of the most powerful women I know, I always had my support ready, and my crew to keep me in line, so I always felt like I could do anything I wanted, and not step on anyone's toes while doing it.

In a world full of Love Island's, The Bachelor's and The Kardashians, we are constantly subjected to female drama, maybe we crave drama that isn't in our actual lives, or maybe its fed to us via the media's drama pot stirring agenda, I'll never know. But after watching three girls tear into one another on Love Island, it's obvious that some people crave the drama.

I'm not bashing shows like this, I actually love them myself but after having drama in my own life I couldn't help but wonder why we subject ourselves to mindless arguments are purely orchestrated to make one person "mug someone off" and the other to "throw shade" back to them, in order to trend on twitter. To me it's baffling.

Take Love Island for example. Here we have a villa filled with six girls and six boys (usually) all battling it out to couple up, find "love" and win £50K in the process. Some girls have found genuine connections a few weeks in with their male counterparts, and are therefore not in any competition, so they are seen as friendly. Others have had their love ripped away from them with no warning or even so much as a "sorry" and they are seen as a threat because they are now single and deemed as desperate.

Is this what we have become? Single and "desperate" women are to be feared?

Back in the villa, we have seen girls and guys romp on national television, bitch fights, serial cheating, and a hell of a lot of grafting, but it only ever seems to be the women who are trending on Twitter over their late-night antics, never the guy is held accountable. Even self-branded love rat Adam, who has famously coupled up with more girls in the villa than he's had a change of boxers, has had the limelight fully pulled away from him in favour to watch a poor girl's mental meltdown after losing him to a new contestant, just days after they've "cracked on". But it wasn't her that cheated, oh no, it was him, and he's nowhere to be seen, leaving the ladies to battle it out for his heart and let the nation watch it unfold.

Even the girls who have had sex in the villa have been slated for doing just that, having sex. The one thing that we all enjoy doing. But she's done it on telly so that makes her a bad person. Wrong.

Imagine this, you meet a guy, things become a bit of a whirlwind and you find yourself falling for him. You think you might take it to the next level, you're naturally curious to know what he's like in bed after a few flirty texts back and forward. You think, "fuck it" and do it, you sleep with him and fall even more for him than you did before.

Would you think of yourself as easy? No, because you did what came naturally.

Now imagine you did that on national television, fell in love in front of a nation and naturally took your relationship to the next level. Did everything you would do outside of the prying eyes of the British public, and enjoyed it unapologetically.

Does that now instantly make you easy? No, because you did what came naturally.

So why do the stiff upper lip of Britain scoff and betray women who show some form of sexual pleasure. Jesus, we all do it. And if you enjoy it or not is your problem. But why should we slag off a young woman for having sex on tv, even though we all do it at home? We are no different.

I blame the standardised media for this. For pitting women against each other from day dot just to fill up column inches and grab headlines. Successful, beautiful women, are constantly made to be at war over men, when in reality we couldn't give a stuff because he was a bit of a loser anyway.

So why are we like this? Why do we thrive on women hating other women? Why do we constantly have to have what she's having? Can't we just be content with being in our own lane?

I respect women who stand up for us in this bullshit world. Who come out and say "yes, she may be seen as competition, but to me, she is my equal", who forego slagging off other women to advance their status or careers, who say no when probed to bitch and sneer at another woman's actions. I respect women who not only stay in their lane by not stealing what isn't theirs (be it men, jobs, promotions, anything) and help other women to advance in their own lane. Because for me, being a woman means we were instantly born into a sisterhood, an unbreakable bond between our sex that mutually acknowledges the struggle, pain and hardship of those that have come before us. Being a woman means I am strong, but not overpowering to intimidate. I'm knowledgeable, but open to know more. I'm ambitious, but I know not to steal someone else's dream.

But above all, I'm brave, because I know when to take a leap, but not to leap into someone else's hard work and achievements.

We aren't all out to get each other. This isn't a "dog eat dog" scenario. We are women, working hard in a world that already has its odds against us. We should be learning from each other. Building up each other. Working together to achieve equality and justice. Not tearing each other down for our own small personal gain. That little gain means nothing if you've torn away another woman's world just for you to get your hands on what is hers for your own selfish agenda.

Ignore the media. Stand up for yourself and for other women and help each other to climb higher. Ignore what they are trying to pit against us. Ignore who wore it better. Ignore the love triangles, the body shaming, the worst dressed lists. Ignore all that bullshit. Erase it from your memory. We are better than that as women. We don't need any of that to make ourselves feel better about our lives. We need to learn that tearing someone down doesn't make us stronger, building them up does.

Because the higher we build up each other, the closer we are to smashing the glass ceiling.
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Ten Minutes With....The Wednesday Edit
Here's my interview with the wonderful team at Girls Day Out - hope you enjoy and make sure to get your tickets here

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Here at GDO, we’re all about fashion, beauty, lifestyle and bringing you the very latest in brands, products and trends to look out for.

This year, we’ve been teaming up with some well-known influencers across the industry – proper experts who live and breathe fashion, beauty, hair, makeup and lifestyle every day.

This week we caught up with the lovely Mollie Rose Houston who is the brains behind hugely successful Glasgow-based blog The Wednesday Edit. If you don’t already know of the Wednesday Edit, you can hop on over to her website, where you’ll see honest reviews, opinions, product news and other fabulous content across travel, food & drink, shopping and more.


We caught up with Mollie at our recent GDO photo shoot where she gave us an insight into what it’s like to be a blogger plus a heads up on some of the best brands and products out there at the moment!

Hi Mollie! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us. We love the blog and we’re constantly following what you’ve been getting up to on social media – you’re always going to different events and talking about so many products – we’re jealous! How did you get into blogging in the first place?

"I started just over nine years ago and I just wanted to create a space that I could share my love for things that I have found that enhanced my life; from yoga to makeup and everything in between. It’s matured as I’ve gotten older and I’m happy that I’ve been able to tackle some topics that are quite sensitive so I can use my platform I’ve built of the greater good!"

How did you decide what to write about?

"I just started writing! I loved writing so I just opened up my MacBook and got writing about what was in my makeup bag. I’d just had my birthday and was given a Mulberry makeup bag as a gift and I felt like Kate Middleton! So I just got writing and it did so well that nine years later I haven’t stopped!"

What’s the best thing about being a beauty, fashion & lifestyle blogger?

"The fact I don’t have to work at an investment bank anymore! Only half kidding! I think the best thing is I get to do what I love every day. I love writing so being able to write about what I’m passionate about every single day is something I 100% don’t take for granted. I worked so, so hard to build up my blog so I could leave my job and do it full time, so I realise how lucky I am that I can do it. It is hard work, it’s not just about writing. I can work a 17-hour day quite easily! But it is so enjoyable – I love it!"

Describe a typical day for you.

"So I normally wake up around 7:30 and I always make time for puppy snuggles – I have a little dog who follows me about like mad so she always gets a snuggle and a play before we get up.

For the majority of the day I’m either writing, editing, taking blog photos, responding to emails, on shoots for my PR clients, and lots of digital marketing. I also like responding to comments and feedback on my posts or social media so I’ll work on that for a good bit of time.

Every day can be different but right now I have quite a lot of events in the evening to attend so I’ll make sure I can attend them and that my work is done for the day.

But events aren’t always just fun and games, most times I’m working or networking so I’ll find that I’m not back till 11pm at night and I’ve been working since 8am!

As I said earlier, I think because I enjoy it so much it doesn’t feel like work, but there are some days I come home at midnight and melt straight into my bed - ready to do it all again the next day!"


Take us through your daily make-up routine – what are your staple products that you couldn’t live without?

"Right now I’m loving a lighter base. I love showing my freckles off now it’s Summer! So I’m loving the Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser for that.

I never leave the house without some mascara and my favourite is the Diorshow Iconic mascara. It holds a curl in my stubborn straight lashes!

Pixi are also one of my favourite brands, and I love their skincare. I think when you’ve got a great base in your skincare to work with then makeup looks so much better! I love their Rose Oil and their Rose Flash Balm, they are the key to glowing skin!

When it comes to events I always sport a smokey eye, though I’m always a bit too cack-handed on the eyeliner! I love Stila for eyeshadows, they have such a buttery texture and go on like a dream! And my tip for dark haired and eyed people like me is using a purple eyeliner in your waterline - it’s less harsh than a black and brings out the brown so nicely! Chanel Cassis Liner is my go to!"

Do you have any favourite brands right now?

"My fave brand at the moment is Pixi – they are just killing it! I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Bell a few months ago and she is such a brilliant Artistic Director, she lives for the brand! I think they work well for me because everything is about enhancing what you already have, and I love that!

I also love Nars and Laura Mercier – I actually nearly worked for Laura Mercier way back in the day! I love how Nars always break the mould with new launches and let you have fun with makeup. And Laura Mercier are all about that beauty within, and I love that!"

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start blogging?

"I think there is so much room for new people in this industry, despite what people say. Blogging can be notorious for drama, bitching and people calling people out, but if you stay clear of that and focus on your journey then you will do well.

You will find those who are in it for the right reasons, and the more you avoid the drama the nicer people you meet.

Always reach out to other bloggers to collaborate and talk to – they can only say no! Having friends in the industry helps make it less insular and lonely, and makes it more fun!

Make sure you find a topic you are interested in, look at what makes you different and you’ll sail through your way to being a top blogger!"

You’ll see Mollie shopping the latest styles at this year’s Girls’ Day Out Show – she’s been a show regular in recent years so do make sure to say hello if you spot her!

You can also follow the Wednesday Edit’s blog and social media using the links below!

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It's no joke when I say that I've been called every race under the sun. Latina, Asian, and "Ohh a little spicy" are words that have followed me throughout my whole life - and weirdly it never bothered me.

I always knew I wasn't strictly white. I'm a sallow-skinned, dark-hair, eyes as dark as the devil kind of girl, while all my friends were light skinned and fair, eyes you could actually see their pupils type thing.

My mum, being slightly lighter than me, green-eyed, dark hair and rosy complexion, slightly middle eastern looking woman, but nowhere near as dark as I am. So I never got much pigmentation from her. My dad is a dark Spanish looking man, but still not as dark as me, so again not much there. But put the two together and boom you get one foreign looking kid.

Having said that, my grandmother on my mother's side always baffled me. A very beautiful looking woman who was always radiant in her complexion, but again, not looking as white as her relatives did. I used to joke with her that I got her pigmentation, and she joked that we had an Indian grandmother, which I always laughed and brushed off.

My gran always had sallow skin, dark pigmentation, prominent blue/purple tinges in places where there should be colour, eg her lips. I had this too, being so sallow-skinned my lips shone blue due to my pigmentation, again she always joked it was from our Indian family.

She had hair that was darker than mine, so dark and black like a raven's wing it shone blue. She was unbelievably beautiful from her younger days right through to her final years, but she never looked white.

My great-grandmother Mary (who was affectionately called Molly, and who I'm named after) was also the same. Sallow-skinned and dark, she also had the same beauty around her. I sadly never got the chance to meet her, but I was always told of her beauty.

So this brings me to my family, full of dark-haired children, but only a select few with the same complexion as our grandmother. I joke that we are the chosen ones but we really just got hammered in school, or at least I did.

So it begged the question of my father's side. Now I am easily the darkest out of them, with my pigmentation being the strongest, and notably, I do look like my father as my father would be the next darkest to me, but what about his father? Well, he was just as dark as us. And the four of us (including my half-brother) are all very tall, very dark and very sallow-skinned.

So okay, I'm clearly not the full Colgate white here. We've established that. But where did it come from? Where did we get this colour from? I thought we were all Scottish. But are we?

Truth is, we aren't.

I've been on a journey for years to find out where I am from. I've been told we were Indian, a little Asian and Spanish, but not very much else due to wars, documentation going missing and the traditional stiff upper lip getting in the way of truth and family anomalies.

An example of this was at my birth when a blue, pigmented spot appeared at the base of my spine. With a frantic mother and a lot of panics (as with any new mum) I was rushed to the doctor's where they were presented with the question;

"Do you have Mongolian ancestry?"

Now for two (albeit every so slightly foreign-looking) white parents you could imagine them looking at each other baffled and shaking their heads like two cartoon animated characters.

They were informed that what I had was Mongolian Blue Spot, which is exactly as it is, a blue spot from those with Mongolian ancestry. So with obviously no knowledge of this prior to falling pregnant, my mum had a whole lot of questions.

As it turns out, one of my great-great-great-great-grandfathers (however many times great) brought home a Mongolian wife on his travels. Which I can just imagine my mother sitting baffled and jaw locked at this news.

And that was how we found out I was the great-grandchild of Genghis Khan. Kidding. Kind of.

Jokes aside that's how I found out I was a bit Mongolian. So what next?

Well, Armenian, Mexican and more Iberian and Middle Eastern to name a few.

We started out finding out about the Middle Eastern part of my DNA. With my grandmother always saying we were part Indian, I was so confused to find out that we actually had no percentage in India, but actually in Armenia, Pakistan, Iran and, Iraq. The biggest of they percentages being in Armenia and Pakistan.

So what? You're a Kardashian now?

Well, pretty much. I do have the booty.

The other side was obviously Spanish and Portuguese, being Iberian. We have connections in El Salvador, Mexico, Belize and, Guatemala, which most Hispanic people do, but I never knew how broad my DNA went. To go from a small town in Scotland, knowing only small parts of my history, to finding out that I'm equal parts Middle Eastern and Hispanic as I am Scottish. It blew my mind.

The girl who always wondered why there was no Disney princess to represent me, now has a mix of them all running through my veins.

But don't we all?

As much as we all have strong heritages and cultures that define our lives, we all are a blend of individuals from all different backgrounds.

And frequently through my life, I've had comments, jibes and full out racist bullshit directed my way.

For no reason other than the lack of education. I say a lack of education because we still live in a world where we categorize and discriminate against people based on their skin colour and cultural differences. And that's purely down to the lack of education. Decades of racism bred into some people without thinking about its effects or how it could be stopped.

Just as recently as last week, I was stopped in my tracks as yet again I was tormented for who I was. And with simple education, we could stop that from happening again.

The matter of fact is that we all come from different backgrounds, and that's perfectly okay. We can be all shapes, sizes, colours and cultures and that is also perfectly fine. We are all a blend of different people, be it a first generation or further back. So there is no need to point the finger and call someone out because of their background, because unless you know every single generation of your family from day dot, then you don't have a technicoloured leg to stand on.

For me, it's simple. I was brought up with strong women, and the colour of their skin didn't inhibit them from inspiring me and bringing me up. Behind every woman was another woman, and behind them stood another. They all worked with sheer grit and determination to make the world better for the generation that followed. They all worked immensely hard so that the women who came after them had a voice. And could be heard.

I’m a proud woman. Proud of my heritage however colourful it may be. Proud of the women who came before me to give me the voice I have. Proud to call myself a feminist. A woman. A fighter.
I speak without permission because I do not have to ask. I live my life free because I do not have to be shackled. I love who I love because I live in a world where love is love. And it is because of our women. Of all nations. All colours. All races. All women.
The women who came before me and you fought discrimination and hardship to give us the platform we have to shout for our voices to be heard.

The colour of their skin? No issue here.

And it shouldn't be.

Today I stand as a perfectly blended individual. With the colours of all the cultures running through my veins. And that excites me. It makes me alive. It inspires me to carry on the work of these women from the cultures that apply to me. It makes me feel educated, knowing that I've researched the hardships and events that the countries I share my DNA with have been through.

But most of all it makes me feel me. Because without that savvy and empowered woman from the Middle East, without that strong and bold Hispanic lady and without that fierce and brave Scottish woman that all did what they had to do for their families, I wouldn't be standing here today being the person I am, doing what I do to change the world I live in.

And for that, I thank all the women, of every culture across the world, for making this possible.
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