Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….



‘On the interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio, host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. What are your responses?’


On cold, grey days like this, when all I see is doom, gloom and Christmas looming, these little prompts really are a blogger’s life line….. 

On with the questions:


Now this is a difficult one, rather like choosing your favourite cake, wine or HBO programme….

I love words that are so descriptive, they can do it all, and then some, on their ownsome.

Words like sumptuous, malevolent, and a particular favourite, exquisite.  If someone tells you that a person/dress/performance was exquisite it tells you everything you need to know about that person/thing/experience and you can see it clearly in your mind’s eye.

A more economical word that I loved to use in my scarier, Queen Bitch days when was pissed off with someone/something, was evidently.

Sounds innocent, doesn’t it?  But this simple four syllable term, phrased and intoned in the right way can chill the offending person right down to the bone.

An example:

Your Partner – “Oh, I’m so sorry, I thought we said 8pm not 7.30pm, but anyway it’s only just started raining, your hair looks lovely all curly like that and hey, I’m, erm, here now!’

You, with soft, cold menace – ‘Evidently’

Tradesman – “Well it didn’t turn out quite how you expected luv, but we can do so much, you can cover it up with a picture, and my boys did the best they could!”

You, in clipped tones, with excoriating scorn, and a slighly raised eyebrow – ‘Evidently’

And so on.  Help yourself, I’m sure you’ll get as much pleasure from it as I have! 🙂

I also love plenty, as it is such a comforting, reassuring, generous word without implying greed.



I know I run the risk of offending people here, but I have to be honest, I absolutely loathe the use of the ‘word’ ‘anyways’.

For a kick off, it’s an adverb and shouldn’t be used in the plural, secondly it just sounds so wet and passive aggressive because whenever I’ve heard it, it’s being used by someone who thinks the other person is being unreasonable and/or talking shit and they want to change the subject.  So instead of saying ‘You’re talking absolute bollocks’ they sigh, roll their eyes and say ‘…well, anyways….’ 

Just hearing said out loud makes my arse clench with suppressed rage, and I have to fight the urge to grab them by the throat and scream, spraying their face with spittle, ‘The word is ANYWAY!  A-NY-WAY!’

I have no idea why it riles me so much.

It’s especially annoying when men use it (?!) and a particular ‘friend’ of mine now makes a point of saying it as often as possible whenever we meet to get a rise out me.  For my part, I refrain from letting him see even a flicker of my mounting irritation, but have to excuse myself and go to the Ladies, where I can fall to my knees, howl with anguish and claw at the tiles for five minutes before composing myself, making use of the vending machine and dropping a tampon in his beer by way of revenge. 🙂



Authenticity, every time.  People who are being who they really are, and create great stuff because that’s what comes out of them, and not because they are trying to sell more records/books, get more press, or make people like them.   People who are focussed on expressing themselves rather than on their potential income or popularity.

For example, Amy Winehouse was absolutely, 100%, the real deal, amazingly talented and innovative, and did everything she could to keep herself to herself and avoid the press, who, because they found her lifestyle shocking, stalked her mercilessly and drove her to an early grave.


Then there is Mylie Cyrus the home grown Disney Princess, who was moulded into a career of being a clean cut girl next door, has yet to do anything musically to make me (or anyone else that I can see) sit up straight and listen, so is now jumping around in front of the world’s media like one of those eejits who goes to the Running of the Bulls, flashing her labia, dry humping anyone that stands still for five minutes, desperately trying to shock in the hope that the resulting notoriety keeps her famous and in the money instead of working on her ‘talent’.  Someone ought to tell her that the press won’t go away when she wants some privacy and she may live to regret baiting them like this.

And that is the difference between a star and a celebrity.


And no matter how drunk or drugged poor, vulnerable Amy got, or how many times she fell over in the street, I don’t ever think that we ever got to see her minny, which let’s face it, is how it should be.

What was I saying?  Oh yes, and individuality and innovation!  I love to hear a track on the radio or put down a book and think ‘Who the hell was that? They are amazing, I want more!’  and then hunt their back catalogue down.  And one day I would love to produce something that will make others say that about me. Fat chance, but no harm in wishing, hey?


Tolerance, acceptance and non judgement (says Ms Tolerance herself – ha!).  Truly spiritual people do not spout rules, dogma or threats at others, they share their knowledge when asked, work quietly through their karma, try not to let the mind-monkeys get to them and help others along the way, no matter what their religion, if and when they can.


Honesty.  Simple as that.


Oh God, where to start?

Usually people.

People who spit in the street, eat chicken on the bus and hurl the bones everywhere, people who chat/text/eat/drink loudly in the cinema and kick the back of your seat, Jeremy Kyle, snotty egg whites, intrusiveness, people who talk loudly on the mobiles/cell, attention seekers, fakes, ‘celebrities’, cruelty to kids and animals, people who yell at their kids in the street, people who wear fur, cheap, sugary cup cakes, gobshites, arse lickers, greasy pole climbers, game players, processed food and fizzy drinks.

I’m going to stop now, before you start thinking that I am one intolerant biatch…..


Oh, that’s probably going to have to be twat; it’s so emphatic! 😉


The sound of the ocean, baby laughter,  a knife going into freshly baked bread, early morning birdsong, crickets in a hot country at dusk, the sound of a yoga bell calling me to satsang, thunder and lightning, the roar of a big cat, my little cats ‘talking’ to me with their strange little chirrups and meows, the sound of a kettle boiling for m’tea of a morning.


Intrusive chatter, the alarm clock, supermarket muzak, electronic voices on phones/tablets, other people having domestics, crying children, bills hitting the mat, someone hawking up snot <retch>, people having sex (it’s surprisingly boring to listen to), doors slamming, pneumatic drills.


A columnist, an author, cafe owner, healer, maybe even an actor, as I’ve recently discovered, I find it much easier to be someone else than be myself.


Politician, middle manager, PR, sales, any role that would require me to be anything other than my authentic, ethical, honest, bullshit free self.


“OK, stop your whining, you’re back!  Told you it wasn’t that bad didn’t I? It all came right in the end, didn’t it?  OK, you’ve done your bit, you never have to go back down there again!  Unless you want to, that is….”

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I’m not very good at Artist’s Dates.

Well, it’s not that I’m bad at them; it’s just that I don’t always want to do them on my lonesome and from now on I’m giving myself permission to do them my way however that might be.  

Ordinary folk who work full time, have a partner/kids/dog and a very full life with barely a moment to themselves probably claw a little ‘Me Time’ away from the chaos with their inner artist every now and then.

Me?  Time on my own is the norm, so this time, I invited someone else along.

A second date with Mr Goatee was in the offing (the guy I met at Waterloo), and I was dying to see ‘David Bowie is:’ at the V&A, so I suggested he came along too, which was a great idea, especially as he got there first, did all the queuing (something I hate) and had tickets in hand by the time I arrived.


And it was everything I hoped for.

The exhibition, not the date 😉

Actually, joking aside, it was great to have him there as music is something Mr G and I have in common, and both being huge fans of the Thin White Duke, it made the whole experience so much more enjoyable.

And of course it goes without saying that as far as fulfilling Artist’s Date criteria, it was (or should be) any Creative’s wet dream and then some.

It takes someone pulling together something like this to realise what an extraordinary career this guy has had.  The exhibition takes you from his humble beginnings in Brixton, to his mooching moodily around Soho, on stage at ‘Top of the Pops’, Berlin, Manhattan, the world, and through a plethora of metamorphoses that, if you’re a fan, will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  

Because it takes courage to be different and as soon as his fans got used to one incarnation, he would snatch it away and come back as someone completely different, and shock/amaze/inspire the world all over again.


And he did all of this pre-punk when the world was still shockable.

There was so much to see from posters, to album covers, records, lyrics scrawled on exercise book paper, props, film clips, specially created sets and the costumes of course, are glorious.  All of this plus wireless activated dialogue via headphones, and an endless soundtrack of his back catalogue which just makes you want to go home and play all his stuff on shuffle again, again and again.

Suffice to say, his influence on music, fashion, art, popular culture and of course, all of us odd ball, unconventional, never-could-fit-in freaks was and is immeasurable.


Bowie, with his mismatching eyes and crooked teeth never tried to hide his weirdness; indeed he flexed and worked it like a steroid fuelled muscle man, and in doing so made himself the living icon that he is today.

And if he dared to be different, then why can’t we?  

Whilst Bowie studied and always feared mental illness (his half brother committed suicide in 1985), if it was ever part of his genetic inheritance, he trounced it and turned it around by allowing himself to let loose with his wild imagination, and be entirely, utterly and unapologetically himself.

So my fellow fruitcakes, from now on I’m going to try and be myself without fearing what anyone might think of me, and I’d love it if you did too.

After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

World domination? 😉

Go and see this if you can.

And gimme your hands; ‘cos we’re wonderful x

P.S. Another date is on the cards too!





The last week or so has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me, but knitting this bad boy, along with the company of good friends has to take a great deal of credit for bringing me out the other end.

Craziness and creativity have long been firm bed fellows, and having a creative outlet does more for me than any of my meds.

Well.  At least as much as 🙂 .

When I first looked at this pattern, I nearly went cross eyed with confusion, but once I got into the flow of it, it all made sense.  And the end result, if it looks anything like this pattern will be worth all the hard work, as it is so my style.


Something lovely from feeling horrible.

Sounds like win/win to me.

I wanted to share the love so to speak so if you click on the link below, you’ll be able to download the pattern; treat yourself to some nice yarn, and off you go!

Back to the needles…..will show you the end result.

Happy healing knitting!

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I have been an on/off knitter since I was about 11 and was taught by my mother.

For those of us who struggle with depression and anxiety, knitting is perfect for helping to  silence the critic within as your attention and concentration is on your garment, and this helps you block out its deranged ranting, plus you end up with something beautiful/presentable/passable to wear. Win/win, no?

Having a mother who knitted was a double edged sword; on the one hand, she taught me a skill that I have retained (to a degree) and use to this day, on the other I was the obvious target, sorry recipient, for some of her more erm ‘creative’ projects.

So whilst everyone else at the youth club would be wearing trendy bat winged tops and tartan trimmed white shirts, I would be sweating away in some hairy monstrosity made from wool farmed from my Dads old fishing pullover, refusing to dance to ‘Tiger Feet’ lest I pass out from heat and humiliation.

The main lesson I learned from this is to never, ever knit anything for anyone that you would/could not (a) wear yourself and (b) hold against your skin for a good ten minutes without breaking out in hives.

I am not, however, against recycling yarn, especially if the failed garment is unwearable and made from lovely yarn, and these leg warmers are made from wool sourced from a scarf that came off worse after a somewhat harrowing encounter with one of my cats.

Made from Debbie Bliss alpaca silk aran in a lovely shade of teal (colour 25005), these little lovelies are beautifully soft and snuggly, can be worn under boots, and are great for keeping you warm when doing yoga on these cold, frosty mornings.

The pattern is ‘Ballerina’ by Drops Design and can be found and downloaded for free on Ravelry via the hyperlink below.


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THE ARTISTS WAY: Week Two – Recovering a Sense of Keeping the F*ck Up


So, yes, I admit it, I didn’t check in this time last week; I fell of the horse (mechanical bull more like) but I’m back on it.  Just.

Rather than cram everything into this one post and bore the arse off you, I’m going to do last week’s key observations today, and Week 3 observations tomorrow, OK?

One thing I need to flag up is that unlike most of the people following this course, I’m kind of doing it in reverse; I’ve got some creative stuff going on in the form of this blog but need to use the lessons to get back into the workplace, make new friends and carve a complete life for myself without losing my creative self again.  And do even more creative stuff.

OK.  So last week was about Recovering a Sense of Identity and this mainly addresses the people/things/thoughts that can trip you up along the way. Again, I don’t have work/family commitments or distractions but the ‘Poisonous Playmates/Crazymakers’ section was very interesting.

A Crazymaker is essentially some arsehole that makes unrealistic demands on your time, surrepticously puts you down, and tends not to be too chuffed when something actually starts to go right for you.

Being the defensive old cow that I am, any psychopaths that wander into my life are given very short shrift indeed, but the friend I am estranged from didn’t seem to like the fact that I was coming out of victim mode and trying to get back on track. She’s not a bad person and may not have known she even felt that way, but it’s probably useful to think about your friends and do a quick ‘health check’ on them and make sure you don’t have a secret saboteur. Remember, you don’t need to be paranoid to have someone in your life who’s out to getcha 😉 !

Another part asks that you analyse where your free time goes. Mine tends to be taken up with being in a drugged stupor on the sofa, buried under  a blanket of cats, watching ‘Real Housewives’ (aka narcissistic bitches with more money than sense, who would find someone to argue with if they were at the bottom of a lift shaft to the centre of the earth.  Post Armageddon), but that’s all about to change.  I’m going to start putting together a plan for every day so that I can’t fanny around and waste this precious life God has given me.  I mean it this time.  Honest.

This will also incorporate doing some of the list of ‘20 Things I Enjoy’, some of which I already do so can tick off (yay!) but picking at the wound on my hand doesn’t count, so am I going to force myself to really push the envelope and have a good time this year.  Yowser.

My biggest challenge however and something I need to put some real work into is ‘ATTENTION’.

When one is paranoid, panicky and generally bonkers, you are essentially driving on autopilot because your mind is whizzing around like a rat on a wheel, and you pay only enough attention to not totally insult whoever you are with, get knocked down by a car, or get the sack.

Because I’m constantly obsessing about me, me, me, I tend to pay very little attention to others.  It’s not because they’re not important or interesting, but I’m totally absorbed in trying to survive.

Every encounter with a stranger or a group of people would end with me thinking something along the lines of the following examples:

‘Phew, she didn’t seem hate me; think I got away with that! Hang on, what was her name again?’

‘Oh God, they totally hate me, I saw that blonde one look at her manager and smirk! They think I’m shit, that I’m a joke, word will get round, I’ll lose my job, and…..oh fuck, I didn’t take any notes, what am I going to write this report with?’

‘Well, he clearly thinks I’m desperate, I bet he thinks I’m a sure in for a shag but not good enough to be his girlfriend!  Oh no, he clearly thinks he’s much too good for me!  Well, I’ll show him, just wait till he calls, I won’t be in and….’

Even typing this out makes me cringe, but I can be frank with you, and quite honestly, to date, I can’t help it.  And because this is my default, I have to constantly back peddle to try and catch up with the things I should have taken notice of, and eventually I end up so paranoid and defensive that these people don’t want to be around me anyway.  And who can blame ’em?

What also doesn’t help is I’m ‘blessed’ with quite an aloof face when I’m not smiling (not my choice, I wanted a J Lo or an Angelina – thanks again for that, God…) so a lot of people think I’m snooty.  Little do they know…..

I saw the above image on Facebook today, and it hit me like a frying pan upside the head, so I thought I’d share it.

Who knows, maybe someone else on here has ‘Chicken Licken Syndrome’ and/or is as demented as I am, if so, this is for you my feathered friend.  Take heed.  Worrying is pointless.  Bok, bok, bok, SQUAWK!

I’ll close with the part about ‘Praying for Guidance’.

Look, I haven’t got clue who is up there.  I could be God, Buddha, Allah, Thor, but I don’t actually care.  I feel and have always felt that there is another greater, higher intelligence who exists alongside us, and I don’t think he/she/it cares what you call it either as long as you call it.

I call it intermittently; sometimes I pray, sometimes I meditate, sometimes my yoga feels like a dance with it, sometimes, when I’m angry, hurt, or afraid, I tell it to bog off, but I know it’s there. Hovering.  Hoping for the best for me, willing me to get my idle arse into gear and make a difference, I just wish it would give me a frickin’ clue sometimes.

But again, maybe it’s me who’s not listening…..

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THE ARTISTS WAY: Week One – Recovering from a Sense of Excruciating Embarrassment


In order to try and aid myself with my aims/resolutions for this year, I’ve decided to try and work though a creative self-help book called The Artists Way for a 12-week duration.

I did attempt to do this last year, but true to form, I ducked out at around week nine, so thought I’d give it another go as if nothing else it should get me out of the flat a bit.  If I do as I’m told :-).

The book tends to be aimed at people who have too many other things going on in their lives to be creative or those who are ‘blocked’.  Time clearly that isn’t my problem, so I fall in the latter category.

From a creative perspective, apart from a bit of cooking, this blog is the only thing I write, but believe me, it’s more than I have done for quite some time now, and the only thing I’ve stuck at for a long, long time.  That said, I would ideally like to earn a living from being creative in some capacity (yes I know, me and the rest of the blogging world), so I need to try and resist taking the piss out of this before I’ve even gotten started, and give it a proper go as I need all the help I can get.

Whilst the book claims not to have any particular religious message, methinks it doth protest too much.  It is very God centred (the Christian variety), and there is a none-to-subtle push towards the reader forging a relationship with him/her/it.  This might jar with some people, but it doesn’t bother me.  The man upstairs and me know each other of old, so as long as no bible clasping, wild eye evangelists pester, attempt to chuck holy water at me, or make me sing groovy new hymns (‘cos Jesus loves rock’n’roll!) I can just about cope.

So.  Week 1 is entitled ‘Recovering a Sense of Safety’ and is focussed on enabling your creative child to feel safe enough to come out, addressing negative beliefs and where they come from and helping the reader appreciate and accept themselves for who they are.

Please.  Don’t vomit.  Show some stamina, this is just the fucking start.  I haven’t even gotten to the affirmations yet.

I won’t bore you with an amateur book review, but at the end of each chapter there are some exercises to complete prior to the next week/chapter. This week I had to list what my inner negative voice says about my doing this course and change them to positive statements, remember and write about who picked on me and quashed my creativity when I was at school, write…..

Oh God, this is so embarrassing. 

OK, I’m only going to tackle the essentials in list form, as it seems the least cringeworthy thing to do, rather than boo hooing all over the page over some fat bitch that used to steal my Love Hearts, or some smelly snot gobbler who tore my Bay City Rollers poster or something.

The Essentials

  1. Morning Pages

This has to be done very single day and basically consists of grabbing a pen and paper the second you wake up (in my case the second after one cat or another bounces off my chest with a happy little chirrup demanding his breakfast) and writing 3 pages of anything that comes into your head. 

The first line tends to be ‘Charlie, you little shit!’ or a variation of this, followed by, well pretty much more of the same, i.e. 3 pages of post sleep, pre-tea vitriol.  Mornings really aren’t my thing…..

Did I do it every day? I did actually, maybe not for 3 pages, but I did something every day.  

Tick!  Check!

2.     Artists Date

This is a weekly task where you have to trot off somewhere on your own (Ha! A busman’s holiday for me) and have some quality creative time.  The first helpful example in the book is going to a shop and buying coloured stars, sequins or ‘tiny dinosaurs’, just for fun. WTF?

There are no prizes for anyone who has guessed that I didn’t do anything, but you’re right, i didn’t.  Unless you count my weekly schlep to Sainsbury’s that is. But well done. Give yourself a gold star or something…..

3.     Affirmations

These are positive things that you have to write about yourself in order to change any negative belief patterns.  You have to write them out numerous times, like lines and read them to yourself of a morning. This week mine are……

OK, stop.  Look, I really cannot do this in front of you, which is odd really given that (a) I’m anonymous (b) We don’t really know one another (c) there isn’t that many of you anyway, but this is all so predictable and derivative, I can’t even bear to type it out.

Here’s the deal; what I will do, once a week, is share anything interesting that comes from working on each chapter for as long as I stick it out this time, and then it’s not too painful for either of us.


What I will share with you from this week are my ‘Imaginary Lives’.  These are five jobs that I might have done had I lived a different life. 

The first career choices that sprang to mind were:

  • Writer (original)
  • Healer
  • Vet
  • Dancer
  • Tarot Reader

Right, so first thing in the morning, it’s off to the Job Centre for me then! Aunty C will be pleased.

Welcome to my nightmare, only 11 weeks to go……