In the Immortal Words of the Spin Doctors…Two Princes and a Pocket Full of Kryptonite. What Homeland Really Means to Me.

Carrie Mathison – she tells it like it is for high-functioning Bipolar people the world over.  Because she and actress Claire Danes and I have led similar lives since she and Jared Leto starred in My-So-Called-Life during my own college years between 1994-1996.  She inspired me to be just like her.  I chopped off my long brown hair; and started wearing checked shirts and dyed my hair red up until the day I turned 30 and then I decided to go back to my natural brunette roots.

I won’t go down the whole dystopian story of my own life; as Homeland has told it for me.  This goes out to the fantastic support network of NHS staff that I have had around me since 1996 and also my own teachers and professors that have supported me in my continuing education ever since and enabled me to get on my career ladder when my world fell apart when I was 18.  I have always sought my own counselling; and I owe so much to those who have patiently listened over the years and have helped me to unravel the broken links that we all suffer from.  I was able to gradually able to put my life back together piece-by-piece like Lego bricks and re-invent myself and rebuild my trust in people.  Because at the end of the day; you are your number one priority and no-one else.

This goes out to all the Russian Gulag male friends that I have made throughout my life.  But a certain special someone who is working so hard through his degree to make this world a better place – not just for me; but for everyone he meets.  I have known him for five years now; and I don’t need to mention his name; as he knows exactly who he is.

Take care tiddlypeeps xxxx


Serious Procrastinating Ways to Help You Get Through Lock-Down…

Unfortunately, due to lock-down, I was unable to go and spend a week with The Delectable Mr B on Monday 30th March, and alas, due to him having to work remotely from home, he was unable to make his trip Up North to see me yesterday.  However, on a much more serious note, my Mum was extremely worried that me self-isolating at home was a tad too much for me.

But my bad, for booking that train ticket from Liverpool Lime Street to Clacton-on-Sea and nearly getting arrested for going to visit my own partner.  I was escorted by my family to a safe haven instead, and have been there ever since.  Thankfully, I have had my medication adjusted for my Bipolar, I now have a Care-Coordination team, and in the immortal words of Frank Turner, ‘The Best People Looking Out For Me’.  However, I did contract a mild-form of Coronavirus and had to self-isolate again for 7 days whilst on the ward; and was swabbed and tested and re-tested last night.  Answers will be on a postcard in a few days.

So, during my lock-down self-isolation, I have been getting along with some serious air guitar, air drumming and singing along to my favourite musicians in my room.  I have started listening to A Game of Thrones on Audible, and have been keeping my partner and my family up to date with my progress by WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger Video Calls.  I wasn’t able to bring my Burlesque Dancing Chair into the ward with me, but I did bring my Sugar Von Strudel Hoodie, plus my Dogs Trust Volunteer Fleece in with me.  You know what they say, ‘Red for Danger’.  Oh, and I have been exercising loads in the Ladies’ Yard (A certain song by Kelis comes to mind there)…and my 1.5 litre Volvic Water Bottle has been used as a javelin, discus, football and even a tennis racket  Who would have thought?

Having registered on the 18th March for A222 Exploring Philosophy in October, prior to being admitted into hospital, I had started revising Book 2, Philosophy of Religion.  So, whilst I am gradually typing up One Note for Chapter 1, I am well ahead into Chapter 2.  I have some serious set text reading too; but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is revision.

I have watched a few episodes of Lucifer Series 2 on my phone, whilst in my room, and have been keeping up to date with Homeland Series 8 – two episodes to go and that’s the end of that – and meh!

Oh, and I have watched a few live Frank Turner and Jess Guise gigs, live on Facebook from their humble abode and donated money in the process to support their good causes.

If I play by my Consultant’s Rules, my six-month stretch, may be over in two weeks’ time (as of Tuesday this week)…and we have to social distance ourselves here too…

Well tiddlypeeps, I bid you all a good-night.  I am off to get some fresh air in sunny St Helens on a Saturday evening x x x

Radio Days and Resilience…

Right now, we are all living in what is known as ‘existential dread’ and, quite rightly, so.  Self-isolation is one of the most difficult things that one has to go through, but, sometimes it is necessary and a force for good as opposed to bad.  Covid-19 is literally your equivalent of G.R.R Martin’s White Walkers from Game of Thrones; or, if you prefer, Negan from The Walking Dead…you know, with his baseball bat.  Unfortunately, we have to stay in our homes, behind locked doors, with all our creature comforts and mod cons.  However, this doesn’t mean that all hope is gone.

‘Life is like photography, and you need the negatives to develop’.  You need to cling onto whatever you believe in, and that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.  And remember that life is a marathon and not a sprint.  All cliché, but it takes time to solve a humanitarian crisis.  However, six months is a relatively short price to pay for all our freedoms.  So, just follow protocol, that’s all you have to do.

And distract yourself with the things that you enjoy, whilst the sun is shining.

Take care tiddlypeeps xxx

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse…

Here I am, sat in my favourite local Costa Coffee, armed with hand sanitiser and a packet of tissues, thinking to myself, just how lucky I have been over the past fortnight to attend both Crufts 2020 and Stereophonics’ Kind Tour 2020 at Manchester Arena; before our Prime Minister fell in line with other members of state to ban live events/mass gatherings as of next week.  Whilst I am no doubt concerned about Coronavirus or Covid-19, and the devastating effects it has had on people globally; am I panic buying?  The answer to that is a big fat nope.  Because, quite frankly, I don’t see the point.  I am fortunate enough to have a food cupboard stocked with basic staples and other ingredients, and a freezer stocked with enough food to see me through the next few months.  And, I could probably even feed a few friends with the food I have too.  I even have alcohol, and happy to make you a Long Island Iced Tea if that grabs you.  So yep, no need for me to hit the supermarkets just yet.

Panic buying is getting everyone’s goat at the moment; mainly us folks who aren’t sheeple.  Those who are doing ‘Supermarket Sweeps’ on a daily basis seriously need to take a step back, dial it down and consider the rest of society.  My parents, aunties and uncles all fall within the Baby Boomer generation; and like other vulnerable senior citizens out there; their needs come before mine.  Secondly, the countless families and homeless people who rely on handouts from foodbanks on a weekly or monthly basis – newsflash; foodbanks typically receive their donations from supermarkets that give them surplus stock.  So, sheeple, if you continue to deplete items from the shelves, you are making the situation much worse for those out there that fall into this category.  And this leads me onto breakfast clubs, holiday clubs and after school clubs up and down the nation; who also rely on supermarkets to get essentials such as bread, cereals and milk – schools have to budget accordingly for such items, because, another newsflash for you, they don’t get them for free from the government!  How do I know this?  Well, because my Mum ran all three of them for many, many years.  I may not have children of my own, but that doesn’t stop me from being aware of their basic needs; such as baby food, nappies, baby wipes…the list is endless.

Already, we are starting to see the rapid increase of holidays being cancelled the world over.  Our global economies and infrastructure will only be able to cope with so much.  It saddens me to see check-in desks empty at airports, and cities like Barcelona, Venice and Milan on lockdown.  If the aviation industry is starting to show a strain, then soon enough, the food manufacturing sector and warehousing and logistics for the supermarkets will eventually follow suit.

I am sorry to be such a mardy bum, but this is the reality folks.  So, before picking up that extra packet of toilet rolls or the extra pack of nappies, ask yourself, do I really need them?  If not, leave them where you found them.  Or if you do decide to buy, then drop them in the foodbank donation box on your way out.  If we start being sensible and pull together as one, then we can get through what is fast becoming Armageddon; and hopefully avoid being issued with ration books that were rife during WW2.

Take care tiddlypeeps x x x


March Already…

So, here we are, the first month of spring.  Or, if you’re a member of my family, or indeed, a friend, it’s birthday month.  Yesterday, I posted a birthday card to my cousin Debbie, who resides in my spiritual home of New Zealand, with the sheer optimism that it will arrive there on time.  Technically, Royal Mail and co. have just three days to deliver it.  As I say, I’m optimistic…

Anyways, that’s enough talk about birthdays, because if I continued to discuss them, it would take me right up to the end of the month, literally.  I’m going to chat to you tonight about my bullet journaling, a task I set myself in September, to keep a journal of daily/weekly activities and to try and keep track of my daily/weekly/monthly spends.  For the first two months, I found it easy to jot down the amounts I was spending on needless things.  And, quite frankly, it shocked me.  If you know me, I’m pretty much unshockable.  When I deferred my OU studies in November, I cut down on my stationery supplies from Wilko’s.  However, in December, I set up my new dog blog, and that was a complete and utter indulgence.  And then January came, and so did the new clothes for my wardrobe.  Oops, my bad.

Having said that, I haven’t needed to buy any toiletries or No.7 treats since Christmas Day, due to the thoughtful gifts off my parents.  But, as we don’t have a main library in St Helens, I have been doing most of my blogging in Costa Coffee.  Which is a cab ride away, not to mention my favourite cheese and tomato toastie, and a bottle of Diet Coke.  And more often than not, I head to the cinema afterwards, with my laptop bag, and there’s another bottle of fizzy pop to have whilst I’m sitting in my seat.

I will be the first to admit that I do spend on impulse, and most of it is driven by how I’m feeling emotionally.  I try to reconcile with myself that I don’t smoke, drink or do recreational drugs; but what I do spend my money on, is like having an addiction.  Whilst I have stopped buying notebooks and pens, I am not yet ready to give up buying books.  Right now, they are a source of education and entertainment for me, and I aim to read as much as I possibly can until A222 Exploring Philosophy starts in October.

Recently, I shared a photo to my Facebook page, @clairekatereynolds.  In this photo, are the three irreverent self-help books that I have purchased from Waterstones in the last six months: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k; Get Your Sh*t Together; and You Do You.  They are written by Sarah Knight, and are fantastic to read, as well as laugh out loud.  And yes, I realise that I may indeed be lining the author’s pockets, a fact that Knight herself readily accepts in her second book.

On a separate note, I have also keeping up to date with my dear friend’s wellbeing and lifestyle blog, and her mission to live a life that’s more simple, intentional and sustainable.  This has included ‘No-Spend’ challenges for January, regular updates as to how she’s getting on with her goals, and a review as to what was bought in February.

With my new bullet-journal, the self-help books and the posts from my friend in mind, there’s so much in my life that I can at least try and cut down my spending on, and reduce my own disposable, single-use plastic footprint.  For example, my old bullet journal highlighted that I saw a total of forty movies within a six month period at my local cinema, as well as renting on Rakuten TV at home.  Now, I have an Unlimited Cineworld Card that I pay just under £20.00 a month for, so, by watching two movies, it has already paid for itself.  However, when I take into account what will be spent whilst I’m out, it all mounts up, big time.  From the tasty goodies to all of the empty bottles of Diet Coke that end in my recycling bins each week.  I can hear loud and clearly, the angel on my shoulder, Sarah Knight, shouting down my ear with a megaphone, ‘Get Your Sh*t Together’.

And, you know what, she’s right.  But first of all, I need to work through the life-affirming exercises from her first book before I can seriously tackle my finances.  I started today, and I am giving myself four weeks to complete them, and I will be updating you all as to how I got on.

Another thing that I have revealed on my personal Facebook page in the last week or so, is the physical activity goal I set myself in February.  I applaud people who go the gym week in and week out, but it really isn’t for me.  Nor is jogging or running.  Trust me, I have tried them all, and have never felt the endorphin rush that such people talk about afterwards.  So, whilst sat on my sofa scrolling through Facebook on my mobile phone, I came across an advert for a local ‘Burlesque Chair Dancing TM’ class.  And I ummhed and ahhhed about it for a while, and thought, nope, I will phone the instructor and find out more.  And you know what I’m glad I did.  I even found myself some exercise buddies to join up with me too.  Wednesday evening will be our third week, and the penultimate week to perfect the dance routine that we’ve been learning and practising.  I’m not at liberty to share just yet as to which one we’ve been doing, but believe me, it’s an intense workout.  And for £5.00 per session, I can’t argue with that.

Hehe, perhaps next month, I’ll be brave enough to share with the rest of you my Burlesque name!  Anyway tiddlypeeps, goodnight and sleep tight xxx