Can you live a 100% fearless life?



Feel the fear and do it anyway


Recently I read this feature about older women role models by Lauren Laverne writing in The Pool

The same day, I went to a talk at one of the UK's top all girls schools, and (randomly, apropros of nothing) the head teacher said Does anybody here read The Pool? It's very good you know. Lots of intelligent writing for women.

I raised my hand. OK Universe, I get it when you're trying to show me something. Liking your style, though.

The thing that struck me about the article in The Pool was that I agreed with all her role model choices - Grace Jones, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry. What I don't agree with is Laverne's claim that "they live fearlessly" because really, does anyone truly live like that?

I drove home in the rain from the talk at the school. It was a very stormy night and the road was packed tight with cars nosing through the downpour. Even though I don't have fear of driving any more, I found it quite stressful.

Fear is an emotion our brain creates when it feels threatened. It's how the brain alerts itself to danger and the need to protect itself. It's always been around as part of human consciousness, since the world has always had dangers.

Fear is a subject that interests me very much. I lived under it for many years when I had driving phobia, and eventually wrote a book about it. I've put a lot of thought, possibly too much, into fear. Even without a phobia, I still get scared and feel threatened from time to time. I'm a hardcore introvert so it goes with the territory.

But I don't let that put me off. If anything, if I am slightly scared of something then I am more likely to have a go at it. I never want to let simple fear limit my experiences. I never say I can't do that, I'm too scared. I make a point of doing things that are scary as a way of pushing my comfort zone out a little more, and in doing so hope to keep growing as a person.

Given how innate a human emotion fear is, I don't believe for a minute that Grace Jones or Debbie Harry or Patti Smith or anybody else doesn't feel it. It's what you do next that makes the difference. They're all performers, and many performers will tell you that a little pre-show fear can be a good thing. As long as you channel it into energy, it'll keep you on your toes.

Writing about Grace Jones' new memoir in The Guardian, Barbara Ellen refers to 

"Jones’s recurring fear of “Vegas” – not so much the place as the concept, being forced to behave and conform, in a demure wig and long sparkling gown. It’s her vision of creative death."

So Grace Jones has her fear like the rest of us - a fear of selling out. The question is - what do you do with that fear? Do you roll over and play victim to it? Or do you stand up and be a survivor and ultimately be victorious?

Do you, like Grace Jones, keep your bullshit detector set to high and always, always trust your creative instinct?

These amazing women that you think are fearless? It's not so much that they lack fear, it's just that they deal with it better, and their attitudes are supremely kickass. They stand up and deal with things rather than letting fear push them into a corner.

I think that aiming to be fearless is like aiming to be the perfect parent. None of that is real. You're striving for something that doesn't exist, and are therefore doomed to failure.

So to sum up - if you are looking forward to a future time in your life when you feel fearless, don't bother. It's not coming.

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway, as one of my favourite books says. And above all, start today because your future is already here.


Mother of Dragons! It's the Dragon's Loyalty Award featuring Old School Bloggers

I'm so chuffed to have been nominated by HeavenZanny's Skincare and Makeup Tips and Tricks for the Dragon's Loyalty Award. 


The Dragon’s Loyalty Award Rules:

  • Display the award certificate on your website
  • Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award
  • Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself

OK here are 7 things about me that not too many people know:

    • I am actually a Reverend
      As in, many years ago I wrote off to an address in the back of the National Enquirer to a mail order ministry and got ordained by post. I don't think I have any real powers but you can call me Rev if you like. I sometimes get asked to do marriage ceremonies by people who don't really want to be married.
    • Actually, make that a Pope
      I know a lot of people who are into Robert Anton Wilson and if you hang out with those guys you sort of become a Pope by default. I also have a little button badge that says Pope! and I don't think even the real Pope has one of those.
    • Places I have lived in:
      Belfast; Manchester; Liverpool; Cardiff; Norwich; Nottingham; London; Brighton. I'm sticking with the latter for now.
    • I was once in the cinema in Belfast and a bomb went off outside, and I didn't leave until the movie finished
      Because THAT'S how much I love films. Though in retrospect this wasn't my smartest ever move. I can tell the rest of this story in another blog post if you like.
    • I am held hostage by a demon cat called Dennis
      Please come and rescue me. Send cookies. Not website ones.
    • I've started learning Adult Ballet
      Ach, don't laugh. I'm doing it for posture. So far, my greatest achievement has been not mentioning my Adult Ballet on social media. No selfies at the barre for me.
    • Bands I have seen live include:
      The Smiths (3 times); Nick Cave; Echo and the Bunnymen; New Order; Sisters of Mercy; REM; Super Furry Animals; Kid Creole and the Coconuts (who had better hair than you might remember)



It's very hard to think of nominations for something like this because it's a bit like picking your favourite child, if you had eleventy billion children. Plus there are lots of blogs that I maybe don't follow all the time, but I like to read from time to time.

So just to keep it neat I have decided to pick 15 Old School Bloggers - ie they've all been blogging for 5 years or more, so by default that means you'll get something different from their blogs than you might do from more recently born sites. Not that older is necessarily better; it's just beautiful in a different way.

Also I don't think they will mind if I call them dragons. 

Not Supermum - Like me, Jean has been blogging since 2007 and is blessed with a dose of the teenagers. I feel your pain, Jean.

BabyBaby - Born in 2009, this blog written by Sandy is one of the first I can remember reading. Sandy has gone off blogging a bit now (and who can blame her?) but what she doesn't know is that I coming round with a big stick to prod her until she gets cracking on the keyboard again.

Domestic Goddesque - Another one dating back to 2007. What was going on then? Was it an especially bad winter or something? Anyway, Kelly has a nicer house and better shoes than any of us but try not to blame her for it, she could probably fight dirty if she had to.

The Bungalow Rides Again - 3 Bedroom Bungalow used to be one of my favourite blogs, and now Kat is back back BACK to roar again. 

Me, The Man and the Kids - I remember way back in 2009 when this was Me, The Man and the Baby. Now there are a bunch more kids and stuff and Emma is just rocking on and being cool at the heart of it.

Mummy from the Heart AKA Michelle, blogging since 2008. I have met Michelle a few times but have yet to nab a hug from her, though rest assured it's ON MY LIST *Michelle quakes in fear*

Mum in the Madhouse - Now, Jen I have hugged a few times but I could always go a few more. And what's this, an award winner in our midst! Winner of Best Craft Blog in the recent MAD Awards, Jen does lots of admirably crafty stuff with her kids so the rest of us don't have to bother.

Thinly Spread - I always think of Chris as being much more elegant than me, on account of all that lovely floaty hair she has, and also the fact that being more elegant than me is not a high bar to vault. This is a lovely mix of lifestyle posts and veggie recipes and floaty hair. I think you'll like it.

PetitMew - Speaking of bloggers with admirable hair, come over here and worship the pinkness, then worship some more the formidable gaming skills.

Sticky Fingers - I remember when it was all .blogspot around these parts. The photography on this blog is fantastic, plus they have The World's Handsomest Dog who probably never keeps them hostage in the basement. I might get Dennis the Cat to start reading this one.

Typecast - Nickie has been blogging since 2009 and I like how she literally does refuse to be typecast; always has something new to say and it is inevitably not what you thought it might be.

Mum's Gone To - Trish is another 2009-vintage blogger with a life I would quite like to have. She goes to all sorts of awesome and interesting places and blogs about them. She's just back from Lyme Regis, which is one of my most fave places. I once shared a speedboat with Trish which was thrilling for both of us in many respects.

Making it Up - Jax's blog dates back to 2003! Most nu-school bloggers weren't even born then. Always interesting, always honest - just how I like a blog to be.

Expat Mum - A view from the USA, stretching back to 2008. These days, Toni's nest is emptier, but she is writing for no less than the Wall Street Journal which has to be better than doing the laundry.

Vegemite Vix - For many years I thought this blog was called Vegemite Mix, and that its roots were in some sort of dried mix that you could make Vegemite out of.
During the life of this blog Vicki has bounced from New Zealand to the UK and back again. You see the lengths long-term bloggers will go to to have something to blog about? Now that's dedication to the cause.
Also it turns out that Vegemite Mix is not a thing, although I wouldn't put it past somebody to start a Kickstarter fund to develop it.


It's taken me a long time to get this post together, and tomorrow I will probably remember somebody I should've included, and will fret about it.

But I hope you like this Old School Class and will maybe explore some of these blogs to see what life was like way back in the olden days of 5 years ago. Some of us didn't even have smartphones then, but like the tenacious types we are, somehow we survived.

Now I wonder what the next 5 years of blogging will bring? 

Happy Doctor Who day!

It's here at last!

Who needs Christmas? (or as we call it in our house - Doctor Who Special Day).


The new series of Doctor Who starts tonight, September 19th at 7:40pm on BBC1. See you there, I'll bring the crisps and cider and jelly babies.

Deadhead skincare: The Walking Dead facial pack by TonyMoly review

I love the TV show The Walking Dead. It's a great depiction of how people behave when everything is against them and the whole world has gone to shit.

I don't really watch it for skincare tips, although I have noticed that they're all doing pretty well in a world without sunscreen.


Walking dead

But it turns out that The Walking Dead can be a source of skincare inspiration, since Korean brand TonyMoly have created a Walking Dead themed range of beauty products.

Yes, that's right, zombie-themed skincare, for when you absolutely, positively have to look like you've been dead for three weeks.

And since I have yet to reach the limit of weird crap I will throw at my face, I had to have some.

TonyMoly's Horror Fantasy range also includes a Red Blood Wash shower gel, which looks like it has the potential to get the user arrested:

Tonymoly red blood washNo way am I buying that, it's insane.

OK maybe for Halloween.

So I went to TesterKorea, trotting through the weirdest ingredients I could, and ordered TonyMoly's Walking Dead Facial Pack. Because that way, the cabbage toner and broccoli moisturiser in the rest of my order would look positively normal.

Since it arrived I've been trying on zombie skincare for size and I warn you - the results ain't pretty. But maybe that's the point.


Image (4)

This is a rose-scented gel mask which dries into a tight plastic sheet, then cracks and flakes off across the skin.

The star ingredient here is dragon's blood, I guess on account of all the dragons in The Walking Dead. Wait, I think they got mixed up, or possibly ran into copyright issues with Game of Thrones.

Alas this is not actual blood from an actual dragon. It's sap from the dragon's blood tree which is credited with healing and protecting the skin.

The Walking Dead Facial Pack also contains rose water, and the whole thing promises to tighten and lift the skin. Cos zombies care about that sort of thing. Almost as much as they do about eating brains.

The instructions for this mask include the legend: Enjoy zombie face for 10 minutes! Thank you, I most certainly will.

I wanted to enjoy that zombie feeling so much I left it on for 15 minutes. Big mistake. By then it was pulling painfully tightly on my skin and making my face go even pinker than usual, as you can see on the left below.

Manipulating the face to make the mask crack was actually quite fun, but at the end of the day there's no doubt that this is a deeply unattractive mask. Maybe not quite zombie-worthy but you wouldn't wear it down the shops.


Image (5)

Some of the bits just flake off, and the rest has to be removed with the aid of water. A bit of it got left in my eyebrow and when I tried to remove it later, it had dried like cement. If this happens to you DO NOT PULL IT OFF. I made that mistake and now I'm down half an eyebrow.

My skin did feel tighter but also very dry and in need of some serious rehydration afterwards. Now, where did I put that broccoli moisturiser?

Ultimately this is novelty skincare rather than majorly effective. Don't bother if you have very sensitive skin or are trying to avoid people putting a stake through your head.

But since Halloween is not too far off - the only time you can legitimately scare children and get away with it - I can see this winning TonyMoly plenty of fans, undead or not.


Stockist details:

I bought the TonyMoly Walking Dead Facial Pack from TesterKorea for 11,800 won (around £6.50) plus shipping.

Giveaway: Dove Youthful Vitality Hair Essence

Giveaway: Dove Youthful Vitality Hair Essence
She said - There's something in the woodshed

I was recently invited by Dove to an event to celebrate how badass women over 45 can be and also, along the way to promote their Youthful Vitality hair care range.

Ageing simpleton that I am, it was news to me that Dove even had a hair care range. I thought they were all about deodorants and shower creme.

But they do! And it's pretty good, even if you smoosh it all on your head at once!

I've been using the Youthful Vitality shampoo, conditioner, BB cream and essence over the last few weeks and I really like it (once I had got used to a BB cream for hair that is).

I thought you might like to try it out too, so I'm giving away the Youthful Vitality Hair Essence which was given to me at the Dove event.

It's marked as being best suited to 'ageing' hair, but really that's all of us, since as we know if you're alive then you are by definition ageing. (And it's nothing to be scared of, since it's infinitely preferable to the alternative)

So I think you would enjoy this hair essence whatever age you are, especially if your hair is on the dry side. It's light enough not to weigh the hair down but still thickening enough to add a bit of oomph and movement. 

Use it on wet or dry hair by spraying 10-12 pumps in at the roots and massaging throughout the hair. The essence works best when used as part of the rest of the Youthful Vitality range but you can use it on its own too.



1 winner will receive a brand new 125ml bottle of Dove Advanced Hair Series Youthful Vitality Thickening Essence. In fact you get the very bottle shown here. I've already retrieved it from the woodpile and it's sitting on my desk waiting to find a new home.



Enter via Rafflecopter below - lots of options so do as many or as few as you want.



Closing at midnight on Sunday 4th October 2015. 1 winner will be chosen at random and the prize sent out as soon as possible after that.



UK only. One entry per person please.


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