Wednesday, 4 March 2015

WORRYING ABOUT THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPEN


ANXIETY.
Everyone gets it at one stage or another in life and it really loves to shake things up.

A little about me; November 2013 I was diagnosed with severe ANXIETY DEPRESSION after months of having 'freak outs' about my physical health (heart problems, stomach pains, uncontrollable bladder, chest explosions and the like) which turned out to be a panic disorder. One and a half years later and things have changed A LOT but life can still be an uphill struggle at times. I'm not here to blog about this for a pity party, but instead to share what I have learnt on coping with these issues. I'd like to hope that I can be a little handy at times!

One of my biggest regrets from this period is putting the weight of it all on my RELATIONSHIP with my partner. It is so hard to go through all of the sleepless nights and panic attacks alone, and the feeling of never-ending sadness can seem impossible to deal with, but you can do it without making things difficult for the other person.  You may not realize the pressure you put on someone else when you expect them to understand what you are going through.  They care a lot about you but they aren't qualified counselors. When you are feeling a bit lonely and lost in your little bubble of misery, there are trained counselors and doctors who are there on the other end of the line that you can call at anytime. Make use of the services because they know all about the feelings you are having and can genuinely help you at times when you are feeling helpless.


WORK was another hurdle for me. At my lowest points I was working a job that I despised. Granted, if I was to work that job now, I can't imagine that I would feel the same level of hatred for it than I did then.  It wasn't so much the work (repetitive & easy tasks) but the social aspect of the job. Holding down a conversation with fellow workers and forcing a smile for customers was a constant battle with myself. I knew I was capable of doing it, and yet when it came down to it I felt like a completely different person.
I had a few months off after that job and promised myself that when I returned that I would ease myself into it, and when I was worried about anything I reassured myself by telling myself aloud that it was okay. And it was.
Now a year on, I am in my dream job and I still have mornings where I maybe didn't sleep well or I am not feeling super positive - so I write myself a few tasks on my phone that I would like to get done within the first hour of arriving on the job and it motivates me to get going. It's maybe not something that will work for everyone - but I am such a dopamine junkie that when I achieve small morning tasks (putting on make-up, making my bed, clearing my emails) I just want to keep going. It can be hard to find this will to keep going, but if you have a passion in anything, let it drive you forward into your day!


FRIENDSHIPS are difficult when you get bouts of anxiety or suffer from anxiety depression. It can be difficult to explain why you don't really feel like going for pints or having a catch up over coffee without making out that you are trying to avoid them. But I have found it essential to share what is going on in order to keeping my closest friends in the loop. A few years back, as my issues grew harder to deal with, my friendships were deteriorating between people I had been close with for years. It was simply because I was disappearing off the face of the earth without explanation. I felt like I didn't belong, even among people who liked and knew me. I was becoming a lot more short tempered and generally a nightmare to be around, so those that were trying to stick about weren't getting to see me in my best light, but I never gave them explanation. We don't see each other anymore and I regret keeping everything a secret. A problem about mental-health is that there is a lot of stigma surrounding it and people tend to be embarrassed or ashamed for admitting it in public - which is completely the wrong way to look at it. Now I treat my 'bad days' in the same way that I would with physical sick days - If I was feeling ill and needed rest alone, I would have no issue with explaining this to friends, so why is it different when it comes to my mind? Well, it isn't. Don't put yourself/your friends through hell and misery by keeping your mouth shut. People will understand that it isn't something you control, and it will be okay.

One last thing I wanted to mention to knock a little knowledge into those who may, or may not want it is about SLEEP. Anyone who deals with anxiety will know that this is one of the things that gets effected the worst. You lay there, pleading for rest. You might be absolutely shattered and in pain from how tired you are, and yet your mind does not slow down. You worry about all of the things that have happened, will happen, could happen, and are happening. You worry about the fact that you are worrying about not sleeping. It is very very difficult to stop and before you know it, it's morning. Something I found helpful when I had trouble sleeping in my first year of university was guided meditation. I found hundreds of videos on YouTube that helped to take my mind away from all of my busy thoughts and helped me to actually sleep. Something I found out was that there was a huge community based on ASMR. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and is pretty much just a relaxing sensation that only occurs in a percentage of people. This has been an utter blessing for me and my insomnia and although not everybody experiences it, the videos are still that of a calming nature and can really help ease you into a relaxed mood and slows your mind down.   Another helpful practice is meditation with an app called HeadSpace which helps you to meditate and chill the flip out too and I would seriously advise everyone reading this post today to at least check it out.   A last helpful tip is to keep a pen and paper beside your bed. This allows for you to jot down any ideas, worries or 'notes to self' for the morning so that they are out of your mind and you don't have to remember them or worry about forgetting them. Using a computer or phone is not really a great idea, because the light will only make your brain switch on and make you feel more awake.
Maybe I will talk a little more about ASMR sometime as it is a subject that I really enjoy and yet have never read about in any other blogs.



That was a HUGE ass post, but I guess with mental health, there's a lot to be talking about, so if you are feeling under the weather or relate to anything in this post - be sure to get talking about it, and get in touch with your GP as you never have to go through it alone!


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These images were from the lost folder on my laptop from when I had just started shooting on film, and this was in fact my first shoot of 2015!
I am wearing a beautiful Topshop cardigan with a white smock dress by The WhitePepper (who you know are my favorite fashion brand by far!).

I'm really missing lilac hair these days, but I decided to opt for the bleached look. We'll see how long this lasts! ;)


Saturday, 28 February 2015

EBONY&SCARLETT


I had a recent discussion with my other half about tattoos and the the idea there are definitely people whom go through life without getting any skin art simply because they are too precious with their skin, despite having artwork that they dream of getting. There are also people who are the opposite and perhaps a little spontaneous when it comes to getting inked and perhaps feeling a bit of regret later in life (like their parents had warned).
I don't have any major artwork and I definitely have a few that I might look to get removed but I don't have any major regrets about them. The idea being that they were relevant to me at the time, memories and tell a story about me - one being that I apparently love alcohol and needles.

My friend has a 'YER MA' tattoo on his right buttock. That is something I believe that would qualify as a why the flip did I do that to myself for life? kind of tat, and despite it being hidden (unless alcohol intake it states that mooning is appropriate), so fairly unlife-changing, 
I luckily don't have any of those.
I do have "And if it comes to the rain, just be glad you'll smile again" along my ribs. This is from a song called Failure written by Laura Marling. I got it about five years ago and it remains to be very relevant to me. It's got that "everything will be okay, and if it's not okay, then it's not the end" sort of vibe to it and is always nice to reflect on when things don't go my way.

My most recent ink is a tiny outline of a heart on my wrist in white ink. This was my first experience of white ink and I had never seen it before, but I adore it. I got the little heart on my sleeve as a reminder to do so. I think I am fairly upfront with telling people how I feel about them, and tell those I care for that I love them as often as I see them. It's super duper important to share the love as (like my father says on a daily basis) "this may come as a shock to you, but one day I'll not be here...." - and it will be a shock to the system, but literally anyone in your life could leave tomorrow and it would be best if they had a li'l bitta lovin' before then.

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Speaking of tattoos here I'm wearing a tee by Belfast tattoo influenced apparel Ebony&Scarlett Apparel. I had a look through their monochrome range and really liked this 'Stag & Frame' tee. There's a very rock-style to their clothing so I decided to style it with this leopard print skirt and biker jacket for a glam rock feel. My little red handbag adds a burst of colour and was actually a steal from Tescos (who'd have thought it?!). 
You can check out their website HERE and enter their Instagram competition to win a beanie HERE.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

KODAK MOMENTS #5


Last week I wells asked why I used film cameras instead of digital.
PROS OF USING DIGITAL
You can preview the images as you take them and easily rectify any issues when you are shooting.
You can use softening settings on the camera to beautify.
In fact you can use many tools and editing software to beautify images.
Modern cameras allow you to zoom in scary amounts without noise.

CONS OF USING DIGITAL
You can get very caught up on creating the perfect image of a scene that you are more focused on what it looks like on a screen than experiencing it in person.
You can never trust what a person really looks like in person when you see a digital photograph of them. They could look like the Hunchback of Notredam but all you see is another Kardashian sister.
Noise is beautiful and little flaws and scrapes are interesting.


It's no secret that fashion photography includes hours of editing to remove stray hairs, cellulite blemishes and spots and, more often than ever, weight reduction. This doesn't stop at celebrities or magazine covers - and people are doing it all the time on Instagram. I accept that I don't always look my complete best in some of the photographs I get developed and it can be daunting sharing the odd spot with the world, along with a few uncomfortably unflattering angled shots but it is what it is.
I love seeing images that are a bit badgered and hairy, discoloured and blurry as its a moment in time that couldn't be recreated again. How poetic of me, but it is true. 

The above shots are from a really shitty roll I got developed in a different place from my usual. They made a huge cock up of the job and these were the only images that were clear enough to share. Still very pretty though! 


Monday, 16 February 2015

FESTI-FLORAL // ARMY OF NO COUNTRY


It's that time of year where everybody has acknowledged that while the winter is beautiful, and styling layered outfits can be quite satisfying (I mean, it can be hard to choose between your favorite jumper and cardigan so why not just wear both?), it's just depressingly cold and grim.
We are all looking forward to sunnier (or at least dryer) days when we reach for sunnies instead of umbrellas, and festivals replace nights in with Netflix. Oh boy, am I stoked for summer.

Last year I managed to only make it to two festivals. One was held on the wettest day of the whole summer - I swear it was like that scene in the Notebook where it is pissing down and Noah's all 'I WROTE YOU 365 DAYS.. IT WASN'T OVER, IT STILL ISN'T OVER'. Except that the only thing that wasn't over was the flippin' rain for 24 hours straight. The tent ended up flooding and I slept in the boot of a car. It would have been a whole lot more depressing if I hadn't of drank copious amounts of alcohol.

The other ''festival'' was one that was fairly close to my parents house. It was great; I was able to catch up with family and friends that all live up that direction and see a few fab bands. Problem was that I was driving - Of course I caved in to the ever tempting bottle of Buckfast and had to sleep in the car. That was not the issue. The issue was that someone had pissed the whole way down my right leg half way through the night, and I had to sleep in the filth until I sobered up.


So, here's to having a festi-filled 2015 summer and not getting pissed on.

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Today I am wearing a very festival inspired look as I await for the months to roll on by. My t-shirt is by a brand called Army Of No Country and has the most fabulous Cruella DeVille sporting a floral crown on it (not too far from the looks of my Flash Floozy floral crown!).
The floral crown is a staple for any festival look and I absolutely love how the AONC range has plenty of my favorite Disney characters rocking roses. 

I'm very excited to get girly this summer, but until then I'll stick with my duffel coat and knitwear!

DOWN IN THE ALLEYCAT


This Valentines my boyfriend and I hadn't planned a fancy meal in the Merchant, and we were really just looking to grab a bite somewhere low-key before a night on the tiles, and AlleyCat really hit the spot for us.
We arrived shortly after 6, and greeted at the doorway by upbeat staff before being seated straight away (which we were not expecting as it was reasonably busy).

We ordered a cocktail-teapot from their drinks menu (which was enough to fill up both our cups a few times, which worked out well), before ordering food from the super cute american diner style menu. I was sort of worried that my bacon-hating vegetarian other half could be a bit stuck as Alley-Cat prides itself on being in the meaty burger business (I mean, there was a burger called the Piginator..) - but they had a little selection of burgers and plenty of vege-friendly sides.

In the end I opted for the SGT Pepper Chicken Burger (bacon, mushrooms, onions..oh Christ that bad boy was good) & Kit got 'The Moroccan' (a spicy chick pea, pepper and grilled halloumi burger) along with fries on the side. And the Aioli Dip - I could talk about it for days; best frigging garlic dip ever.

After dinner we proceeded to order more funky cocktails (in lieu of dessert) and enjoyed the surrounding decor (even in the bathroom) and soundtrack of AlleyCat. Laura Marling, Dirty Projectors, Foy Vance...who ever was in charge of the ipod, deserves a raise.

It was the perfect way to kick off our night together and I will definitely be back again for some more garlic dip and popping-candy cocktails. 



Monday, 9 February 2015

NUALA RUDE

Next weekend will be valentine’s day. This means teddy bears, heart shaped chocolates and cheesy  I love you cards will be exchanged in restaurants packed with ‘table for two’ parties.
WRONG.


Valentines is the night when Nuala RUDE graces the stage to entertain the masses with her captivating burlesque routine. &I was lucky enough to have a private show with her and hear her talk a little about the art of seduction...

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THE BIRTH OF NUALA RUDE
Once upon a time, in a mythical land of opulence, there was an enchanted wood and in that enchanted wood lay an eleganza castle and in that eleganza castle lay a… Who the fuck am I kidding? Nuala Rude, not surprisingly, was born a burlesque baby of my darling co-worker Soup Du Jour! Over cups of tea in work and many glasses of wine we created our first collaboration act in which we one the horse races and became money obsessed lunatics… She helped create glittery monster!


THE HISTORY OF BURLESQUE IN BELFAST
I would consider myself a Burlesque baby so my knowledge of what happened before Nuala Rude was born is very limited! (I should do my homework!) We do however have a bustling and thriving Burlesque scene here which is fantastic and now we are very lucky to have lots of new and wonderful things happening here at the minute. Over the last two years old Soupy has created the first Belfast Burlesque Festival, which ran in November and was a huge success, including A Newcomer Night, The Belfast Crown and The Belfast Burlesque Market! My role was primarily raffle based this year, but from these events I got to meet some spectacular lads and ladies from all over! As well the festival Soupy has Tease-o-rama, which I am very privileged to have had many parts to play in! Because of this event I have had the pleasure to meet an array of spectacular performers from all over, including the lovely Belfast based (soon to be moving to Bristol sadly –CRIES-) Teezy Overeazy, the beautiful Dublin based Bella Agogo  and of course the amazing Srg. Die Weis from California! Not to mention my new sister from another mister Dina BonCoup… (New and exciting things to come from the pair of us) I’ve also been very lucky to have worked with Vera Fontaine who runs the Burlesque classes for the Crescent Arts Centre. She puts on a showcase for her students and had me and a few other girls come and perform alongside them at Christmas this year, which was fantastic! We are so lucky to have so many amazing performers here, making a lovely little Burlesque family that Nuala Rude is being welcomed into!


CONFIDENCE & BEING SEXY
Where do I even begin? Well for starters, I’m a signed actor. (Totally plugging this here too. I am running a showcase in Southbank Playhouse on the 6th February called Clatter O’ Actors.) So I’m used to prancing about onstage and having people look at me! Confidence is something that you HAVE to have in this industry, without it you really won’t go very far. You have to believe in yourself and selling yourself, which when you are having a bad day can be very difficult, you just need to keep your focus. But also, what people need to remember is that sexiness and sex appeal means something completely different to different people. So many people (myself included) stress over their looks or their weight, but it all comes down to owning who you are and being happy with it. Different people love different things and that’s what makes Burlesque as an artistic platform so powerful. You get to see such an array of different genders, sizes, shapes, forms, styles and backgrounds in one show! You’re all bloody spoiled really.


HOW TO BE A BAD ASS BURLESQUE MISSY
Luckily I was born a missy about town. But what I do think really helps is a background in either performance/acting or dance. It gives you an awareness of the stage and also the audience and because Burlesque is so creative and theatrical, the thought processes that go into choreographing a dance piece or writing a script makes it much easier. As I previously plugged, I am primarily an actor but all of my theatre work has really helped me develop my Burlesque persona, I just need to work more on my dancing… Boogying in Laverys doesn’t count… (Or does it?) Oh and as I’ve said it before babycakes... CONFIDENCE. You need to love who you are and believe in your own creations!! Aswell as this, the ability to sew is quite important too. I’ve learnt so much from working backstage with wardrobe (I was involved in the costume department for Bruisers production of Cabaret in the Mac in September) and also having people that you can go to for costume advice and recommendations. The Burlesque crew are always so helpful with suggesting the best types of fabrics and costume shops ect. I'm very lucky that I work in the Rusty Zip as well, so I have loads of styling experience and a good knowledge of Vintage fashion. A thick skin helps too. (Not literally. Ewh.) You have to be able to take criticism and work with it and listen to other people. That said you also need to be able to believe in yourself and know when to do what is best for you. Oh and get used to dodgy photos of yourself… There will be hundreds of pictures of the night. And you will have tummy rolls and idiot face in at least five of them. As for being a general badass? Well if the tiara fits…


MY MANTRA
Opulence


THE FUTURE OF BURLESQUE IN BELFAST & MISS NUALA RUDE
Well my next gig is Valentines Night in the Black Box. After that I will be looking for bookings for the rest of the year. I’m also going to enter the Galway Burlesque Festival this year and of course the Belfast Burlesque Festival. Myself, Dina BonCoup and the beautiful Die Hexxen (an amazing musician and performance artist) are planning to start our own eclectic cabaret night so add ‘Nuala Rude’ on Facebook for more information about that! What I will say is Burlesque in Belfast is only going to get stronger if we support the festival and any burlesque gigs that are happening here… SO COME OUT AND SEE OUR BOOBIES. Oh and hopefully you will see me acting and singing in lots of things this year too!


FASHINSPIRATION
Most of the time I look like a showgirl on crack. But my ultimate goal is to represent myself and my act through my costume. I mainly live for glitter. But other things are good too, like feathers and PVC. Hahaha. I'm getting more and more into making stuff myself. As my seamstress skills increase, the costumes get a bit more detailed and intricate, which is really inspiring and makes me want to learn more. Of course I have a soft spot for all things Vintage so I try to incorporate as much vintage as possible, be it a pair of vintage stockings or dance shoes. To be honest most of the time I look as if Kate Bush and Noel Fielding had a love child…


MISCONCEPTIONS IN BURLESQUE
People don’t really realize that there are different types of Burlesque and that these different types can include lots of different techniques and styles. Not everything is straight down the line feather boas and Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’. (Not that we don’t all love Peggy) Some acts incorporate comedy, dramatic sketches and different styles of professional dancing, as well as much much more. Other misconceptions are that Burlesque is easy. A good routine can take months to perfect and rehearse, especially if you are working in a troupe. It takes a lot to be able to write and choreograph and perform a routine as well as manage your own bookings and make your costumes. Some say that Burlesque performers could run the world…



Grab your tickets for the Valentines Tease-O-Rama HERE,
&we'll see you THERE!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

KODAK MOMENT #4



A month has passed, and what did you achieve this month after all of those resolutions?
January was absolutely swell for me (not to rub it in or anything!). I spent a lot of time with my family and friends (mainly over cocktails and video games), attended local gigs and celebrated a lot of birthdays ( as all my friends are apparently January babies). It was a really chilled out January and for once I really feel like I've got my shit together. I have been drinking less, and cooking more dinners from scratch – which are both very mature things, I think.

I have had three chai lattes all month (which beats my usual three-a-day) and I have had an absolute ball creating content for VENT; it has really slipped into my routine a lot better ever than before and I have found it super therapeutic and stress-free. &Most importantly, I have been making more time for my M I N D!

Yoga and meditation have been great, but I do believe that putting a pause on drinking copious amounts has done wonders for my anxiety level. It seems that whilst drinking, I feel very chilled out and relaxed as though nothing could beat it, but when that leaves, I am left feeling both sick and extremely anxious. I guess that most people call this ‘the FEAR’ – and it is fairly common, but putting a limit on alcohol intake allows to the best of booze without the horrific blow come morning! Ultimately, not drinking is probably the best option here, but alcohol is just too damn fun.


illustration by moi!
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