Never give up…..

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My mum bought me this card last year. It was at a particularly difficult time in my life, when I was questioning nearly everything I had grown to understand and trust as true in the life I was leading. It really made me think and has almost become my mantra ever since.

It is obviously true to say that everyone experiences hardship in their lives. Whether it be financial hardship, poor health or loss, we have all experienced it at one time or another. Some of us seem to suffer more than most, however. I know that I have met people who sail through life and always seem to be in the right place at the right time (even if they don’t deserve it) and others, like me, who suffer at almost every turn. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a pity party of one I’m starting. It is just the acknowledgement that life is different for everyone. On my better days I truly believe that the harder life seems the more rewarding it can be.

That seems like a strange statement to make and I know that I have tired of the hurdles and uncertainties of my own life on more than one occasion, but I also know that when I’ve experienced something positive it feels really well deserved. Continuing to fight for the life you want, in spite of negativity and barriers, is the most rewarding thing a person can do. It is when you lose the fight that life loses all of its potential rewards. I don’t believe in making your own luck or any of that nonsense. I believe that good fortune is hard won and should never be expected or taken for granted. Those of you who always get what you want and live an amazing, lucky life are not living a truthful existence UNLESS you have fought for it. I honestly believe you need to experience true misfortune to be able to appreciate true fortune.

My fortune is my family. Without them I probably wouldn’t try as hard as I do to keep jumping the hurdles that my particular life throws at me. They are my backbone, my solace and my most trusted counsel. They are ceaseless in their belief that I will “get there in the end” as I have so much to offer and always offer encouragement and a reality check when I need it the most. My sister and mum are always on hand to instill a sense of perspective in me when I’ve lost sight of what’s important. They are family in the true sense of the word. Pulling together when it is the most necessary, and yet natural, thing in the world for them to do. They have never shielded me from the harsh realities of this world, but have done their best to prepare me for the hard knocks of life and have always, always been there to pick up the pieces, even when I’ve gone against their wishes. Not expressing disappointment or passing judgement have been essential tools they have incorporated into their roles as caregivers, even when they probably feel those emotions internally at times.

That being said, I have to live my life on my own and face things that I don’t want to face at times. I will have to struggle and learn throughout my entire life, but knowing I have had the best start to life and the best support network is my most treasured possession. This all may seem a little obvious, but it’s sometimes important to recognise the things we can’t control in our lives that make us the luckiest….and the richest. Family is one of those things.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

Gypsy blood…..

 

 

ImageFor as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with the circus. Not so much the poor offerings of the modern day, but the fabulously faded ones from the past. The circuses of the 30s-50s have my specific interest and that leads into carnivals, freak shows and beach entertainment of those eras as well.

As a child I was fascinated by the animals and the people who seemed fearless in the face of those unyielding beasts. I also remember, as an adult, going to a circus when I lived in France. It was something that would be hugely frowned upon in British society, as the animals were not treated with the respect they deserved, however it still fascinated me nonetheless. I think what I love the most about the circus and travelling world is the uncertainty of it. These people, and their animals, travel from place to place in the hope that people will want to see what they have to offer. They play on the natural curiosity of human nature – the fact that people want to be transported from their mundane, everyday lives, into a world of mystery and playfulness.

Having read the ‘Electric Michelangelo’ by Sarah Hall I was transfixed by the lives of the freaks and show(wo)men of Coney Island. It elicited a sense of sheer nostalgia in me and I got butterflies. I know I wasn’t alive during the early 1900s, however there was something about the characters that made me think, for just one moment, that I may believe in reincarnation. A feeling deep within me made me think that I had once been a part of such a wonderful AND sinister world. It excited me to believe this and I was saddened when, a few years later, I visited Coney Island and was shocked to discover the ramshackle buildings and faded carnival signs. It highlighted that this was a dying breed of people and a way of life that no longer suited modern culture. With technology and amazing cinematography, people no longer need to use their imagination when they want to see something spectacular. They pay for the thrill of being transported to a digital world where anything is possible. They don’t need to woop and gasp at the tremendous risks people are taking with their lives as stunt men and women, as well as a huge team of safety experts, are on hand to make sure nothing goes wrong. It wasn’t so in the time of the great circuses of the past. People lived, and died, doing what they loved or had been forced into.

I’m now also recognising that not everyone got a choice about being a part of the circus. Some were forced into it, bought into it or just didn’t know any other way of life and so were trapped in a world where everything else was seen as “odd”. Freaks were bought into the circus and had to face atrocities – not all at the hands of other circus workers, but by the paying customers. They saw it as a safe haven where they could gain money from their disfigurement or body modifications. Others lived brutal and cruel lives at the hands of their captors. There are always two sides to the circus coin and I am aware, and have researched, both so that I don’t live in the idyllic, top hat and tails world where everything was glamorous and rosy.

It is probably the fact that circuses exude glamour, but are not all they seem, that attracts me to them. We all want to be seen as something we may not wholly be, but it doesn’t mean we can’t candy coat it. The circus is all about that – presenting something to the world that is, in the cold truth, fake. However, having read oodles of books and seen countless films and documentaries on circuses of the past, I have to say I am still a huge fan and find it absolutely fascinating to read about the things that went on. The shocking horrors of times gone by and the courageousness of the people who were involved. It is them that I am most interested in – these strong minded, strong bodied people, who lived by a strict code of “we’re in it together” and always supported each other. There were times when things were fraught, even amongst the performers, but they always came back together in the end. The circus taught me to understand that sticking to your guns is important and pursuing what you believe in is essential if you are going to be true to yourself. The perceived glitz and glamour of it is just a ruse, but the truth behind the curtained windows of those little trailers is where the most fascinating stories of all occurred.

Looking beneath the layers of something is so important in our modern world of fakery. Giving people a chance to shine, and looking beneath what they present to you, is really important. I will always love the circus for teaching me so much and allowing me to believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. It also taught me to be grateful of those who believe in me. They are few and far between and are treasured for this very reason.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

Pom pom heaven!

It hasn’t escaped my notice that pom poms are seriously IN right now! I remember making them ad nauseam as a child and not knowing what exactly to do with my finished products. Now I know. With serious insomnia occurring at the moment, I decided to use my time wisely and get crafty. Having bought a pom pom headband from ASOS for about £10 I realised I was missing a trick by not making my own. I have a craft box that is fit to bursting, enough glitter to make a unicorns lair look naff and plenty of ideas. Where headbands ended, rings began and here is just the start of, what I hope, will be pom pom heaven! Please excuse my less than glamorous self. Blame the aforementioned insomnia!

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I’ll post more as I create, but I feel very happy at that start! Let me know if anyone wants any pom pom action and I’ll make you your very own.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

Happiness is…..

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There’s an advert on television at the moment where the narrator asks what it means to be happy. It is a very interesting question and one that has no right or wrong answer. Happiness means so many different things to different people. There are those for whom it means a fleeting moment of intense joy, others who are happiest when they are with people they love and then there are those who are unsure if they have ever been truly happy. These are the more interesting answers that people can provide.

I think it is fascinating to understand the human mind. It is something I know very little about and struggle to understand on a regular basis. How can we all be considered human beings when we all feel such different emotions and struggle to understand the emotions of others?

If you think about it, when was the last time you felt truly happy? That’s probably the toughest question you’ll be asked today as it has no singular answer. There is no formula to work out or tangible evidence to suggest that at this moment, on this date, you felt happiness. It is merely how your memory lets you believe this was what happened. For me, the last time I was happy (as an adult) was when the following things happened:

  • I was sat at the Basilica, in the sunshine, whilst living in Lyon and I remember thinking “this is my life. I can do anything with it” and I felt blissfully happy
  • I walked out of various loveless relationships
  • I snuggled my puppy on the sofa while she fell asleep
  • I stroked my cat, concentrating on his contented purrs until I felt at peace

These are all such different experiences of happiness and yet they all felt as powerful as each other, at that moment. I think, in all honesty, happiness is what you make of it and nothing else. There’s no mystery to it. It isn’t a tangle of emotions waiting to be untangled by knowing fingers. It is yours, alone, even if you experience it with someone else. Neither of you will feel exactly the same thing within that moment. For those of you who think they have never or will never again feel happiness, know this. Happiness is like beauty – it is in the eyes of the beholder. Sometimes you may look back on your life and realise how much happier you were once compared to now. We probably all need to stop worrying about being happy and just BE. When I’m miserable I know I’m the only one who can change that. Stop concentrating on what you don’t feel and concentrate on what you DO feel. Then you can make better decisions on what you need to change about yourself or your life to be the person you want to be. Knowing yourself can be happiness enough.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

A digital world…..

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Having just finished watching ‘Her’, I have to say it left me a little cold. I’ve been a digital specialist and lover of all technological developments for years now so I was surprised at how empty this film was. It is very possible that I missed the whole point seeing as it was very slow, long and extremely beige in colour, but it did start to make me wonder how much (or indeed, how little) emphasis we put on the real, physical elements of our lives.

Nearly all of us have Facebook and Twitter and most of us have Instagram. However, it seems the more technology is created, the quicker we become bored of it and seek out new realms of pleasure. The latest one I’m seeing people rave about is Tinder. This is a dating site, akin to Grinder, but for straight people. I can’t say I’ve been on it, but from what I hear it sounds a bit like a sticker album of singletons – a place where physical beauty gets you selected and anything less than that leaves you on the shelf. I may be being too critical here, but it is the same premise as ‘Her’. The main protagonist is unable to have real, physical relationships without picking holes in his significant other and, inevitably, pushing her away. Instead he turns to an ‘OS’ or Operating System.

He gets to choose her voice and the topics of conversation they have and ends up falling in love with, what is essentially, his own creation. The scariest thing about this whole movie is that I can see this happening. People are already able to command their computers and consoles with voice activation so how long will it be before we can create virtual partners? Someone who is always there when we need them, has access to the whole World Wide Web to obtain any information we require, and who has studied human behaviour so closely that they know exactly what to say and how to soothe us. The female OS in ‘Her’ is a bit like the robot in ‘Short Circuit’ – able to read books in seconds and offer advice based on what she has gleaned from her vast knowledge bank. She is even able to feign emotions based on studies and scientific research she has digested and spit out.

The whole film makes you realise what fools we can be as humans. That we are not as evolved as we make out and that all we really want in life is to love and be loved in return. The problem is that life and love are not that simple. I suppose that is what makes it fascinating, overwhelming and crucial to our existence, however, it is terrifying how much we crave to be a part of a couple and don’t, truly, feel content as an individual. We seek reassurance in everything we do (sometimes without knowing it) and we want to be the best at everything, including being the best partner for somebody – their one and only.

This film was really educational for me as it made me realise that we need to place more emphasis on being the best version of ourselves (I’ve mentioned this in other blogs and am sticking to my guns on this point!) We need to mend the cracks in our own selves before looking to someone else to do it for us. Relationships often fail and this is just a fact of life, but the relationships that last, and are good, do so because the people entering into it are content in themselves. They don’t feel the need to change the other person and accept their flaws along with their strengths. It is about finding someone who reinforces your strengths and doesn’t judge you for your weaknesses. This is what makes a lasting, loving relationship. It has taken me a long time to work this one out and is something I’m still working on, but I know that whatever happens in my own relationship I will be OK because I know myself and I never forget what I was like before that person came along. I know that my partner enhances me and my life, but he doesn’t make me who I am. The same can be said for him and how I am towards him. I accept him, warts and all, and don’t bother trying to change him (even though aspects of him truly irk me!) because he is who he is and if he can accept me, warts and all, then we are a good team. We support each other as best friends and don’t just concentrate on the outer shell. By trying to preserve what is INSIDE that shell, we have created something better than any computer system could replicate…….reality.

Reality is scary, but it is also tangible and losing that would be truly heartbreaking. Maybe we should focus more on what we can do ourselves rather than looking at technology to do it for us. I’ll always love technology and am fascinated by how it can save lives through operations and 3D transplants, as well as offering light entertainment. However, I’ll always love reality and how it makes me feel. Without human emotions we would be truly lost.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

Living life in hues of pastel……

I’ve been a massive fan of pastel shades for a while now and decided to take my passion that little bit further and get lavender hair. Yes, I am taking the advice of my last post and being a bit more unicorn!

My wonderful friend is a hairdresser and he has been a miracle worker getting my bright red (dyed) hair to silvery/lavender in only two sessions. I’m absolutely in love with it so went out and bought a few accessories to match!

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I keep my hair all lavender and lovely by using Fudge Clean Blonde Toning Shampoo. It’s bright purple in colour and can stain things so use it with caution, but it takes out any brassiness from the hair and adds a lavender touch to it. It also smells like fudge so it is a winner with me! I love all of the products in the Fudge range and have previously mentioned the high shine spray for keeping certain styles in check. You can pick them up from your local salon or on Amazon (Note – it doesn’t come with a free purple Jesus, but he’s so sparkly and purple he had to be included!)

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Now, I don’t often go into Primark, but I have to say they do a pretty mean pastel collection at the moment. I picked up this jumper for £7. Can’t say fairer than that!

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I also have yet to get round to posting about my love of Etsy, but here is just a little example of why it is one of my favourite places to shop – these rings from I’m Your Present are very cute and the whole set came to £7. I think I’ll wear them all at once as I can’t decide on my favourite!

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Finally, my pom pom headband came from ASOS (another firm favourite of mine). It was £10 and comes in different colours. I will do my hair properly to wear it in future, but couldn’t wait to show you my outfit today. Lipstick is from my absolute favourite cosmetic company – Lime Crime and is a shade called ‘Chinchilla’. Not your every day lipstick, maybe, but I find a way to include it ;)

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

When I grow up…..

Recently I seem to have written a lot of retrospective posts. Posts about how I expected my life to be and things I still have the power to change. It may be obvious that I’m turning 30 this year, however, it also got me thinking on a less deep level. Having watched ‘Despicable Me’ several times over the past year (it seems to forever be on ITV!!) one of the scenes struck a chord – when Agnes prays for a lovely family and happiness and then ends it with “and a pet unicorn” before singing the above unicorn song. It really reminded me of me when I was little. I used to wish for the most bizarre things, knowing, on some level, that I would never get those things, but still having hope that I MIGHT! How I would love to be that innocent again…..so I’m going to try. On many levels I still haven’t grown out of that childlike mentality that the things I wish for may never come true, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing them in the first place.  I also adore all things unicorn (Yes, I AM aware they are a mystical creature that only have a place in fairy tales, but that’s part of the charm).  I have decided that this childlike quality is actually an endearing one and not weird. Unicorns have many things going for them that we could maybe incorporate into our adult lives.

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Unicorns have a radiant, spiralling horn on their foreheads and are often represented in books in pastel shades. They are by no means your average animal. They strive to be different. They strive to be fabulous, unique and just a teensy bit feisty (you wouldn’t want to mess with something with a horn so beautifully dangerous!) I have always loved the idea of dress-up. The idea that you can be anything you want to be and wear anything you want to. However, dress-up is just for that period of time, that party or event. Then you have to go back to your real life and be serious, sensible and take responsibility for your actions. BORING! Why not add a bit of unicorn to your life every day. OK, so I don’t mean you should dress like this every day (though my hair is going to be like this by the end of the week):

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BUT….you can add a splash of colour and mystery to your life whenever you want to for as long as you like. Even if you just wear bright coloured or patterned undies then at least YOU know you’re being a rebel, even if noone else does. I think my point is that it is all about your attitude that can affect the person you are and how you are perceived. I’m definitely perceived as a big kid, but that means that people see me as fun, quirky and a little bit outrageous. Those who know me, though, also know that these qualities are what make me so creative and good at what I do for a living. They also know that I can be relied on and sensible when it is required of me. I think being mulit-faceted (like a diamond….ba-boom!) is probably the best unicorn quality one person could have. Let’s all try to be a bit more unicorn and stop feeling weighed down by the pressures of life and trying desperately to define yourself. There’s no need…..you can be as many versions of yourself as you like whenever it is required. Just know that, whatever you do/however you do it, do it with a big:

il_570xn-252025064(Headband by Janine Basil at Etsy)

I can’t wait for my custom Unicorn dress to be made by the wonderful Eustratia – more on this when it arrives! Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox