As Season 10 Sashays Away

I have thoughts about RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 finale. Don’t we all? Do we? Anyway I will get back to THAT final.

I first watched RPDR three-ish years ago, shortly after a whispered discussion about perceived gender in The Thinking Cup, a very lovely café in Belfast, with Abbye, when Abbye somehow sheepishly admitted to watching it and recommended it to me. (Coincidentally, we then went on such a funny Segway tour with a dodgy man in Craigavon, went to a near-rave that night, and I spent the next day throwing up. Different story) Reality TV is not usually my thing, I’m stubbornly refusing to watch Love Island, but season 2 onward was on Netflix, and the rest was her-story.

RuPaul’s Drag Race for those who don’t know, is similar in format to America’s Next Top Model. But RuPaul wants to crown America’s Next Drag Superstar. 12 queens are chosen from thousands, enter the work room, do mini and maxi challenges each week, ‘slay’ looks and ‘turn it out.’ Generally one Drag Queen is eliminated every week, after the bottom two queens ‘lipsync for their lives.’

But, it is the most entertaining show in the world. First of all, I am fascinated how these gay men (always gay, as far as I have seen) often manly, sometimes not, transforming themselves into the most beautiful queens. Like, they are so much more beautiful than me! And I’m a real woman. My only drag Queen connotations were of square jawed men in wigs, something comical, not REALLY giving the allusion of femininity. I think I have a real interest in gender, and society’s relationship to it. This really is a beautiful experiment with/ representation of gender.

RuPaul calls the contestants his girls, and always by their stage name even when they are dressed in their usual me’s clothes in in the work room. They call each other GURL and bitch, and refer to RuPaul as Mama Ru. Fascinating.

Also, the catchphrases are to die for, hunty.

RuPaul Andre Charles, 57 is an amazing figure. Original Supermodel of the World (1993-1997) American Drag Queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter and author. Since 2009 he has created and hosted RuPaul’s Drag Race. He’s a very smart business man. I notice things like, at the end of every episode, after the losing contestant has ‘sashayed away’ the remaining queens are invited to dance briefly to whatever Ru’s newest single is. They use the same track throughout each new season. He is like the oracle, the viewer always agrees with his critiques and decisions, and although he has fellow judges, the final decision is always his, or hers! to make.

There’s so much humanity. There’s been heartbreaking confessions onstage, but mostly heartfelt discussions in the work room, when the queens are preparing for the runway, candid admissions while pritt-sticking their eyebrows (!) and contouring their unique and colourful faces. There are tears and feelings. It’s laugh out loud funny, impressive and thoughtful. Sometimes it’s dramatic-emotional but it’s all good. It’s a celebration of being different and expressing yourself. RuPaul is really doing his part for LGBT+ inclusivity and equality.

My sister laughs at me watching, gasping at ‘the shade of it all’ the mesmerising lip syncs and the judge’s critiques. There are so many good traditions:

  • Lip sync for your life!
  • Snatch Game
  • Reading is Fundamental/The Library is Open
  • Everyone loves puppets
  • Lipstick mirror goodbyes

After watching in horror at Trump winning the election, comedian John Oliver said “I watched 5 back-to-back episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It was the version of America that I wanted to live in, rather than the one that was unfolding in history.”

Anyway, now finally for the ***SEASON 10 FINAL SPOILERS*** look away if you have avoided them so far.

Just between us squirrel friends, what do you think?

I had the feeling Aquaria was going to win. She’s very talented and very confident. She was even quite likeable in the end up. I really didn’t want Eureka to win, she’s just so different of a person to me, and I can’t relate to her. Also, although a big introvert myself, there was something about Kameron that didn’t sit right with me as we neared the end of the season. There’s introverted and there’s rude, sometimes.

But Asia O’Hara! I really liked this older, talented Queen and her kindness and standing up for weaker contestants, or misunderstood queen’s was very impressive. She almost ruined her chances early on by spending too much time helping the other contestants. She is wise and so likeable. She was really funny too. I voted for her on twitter (first time I have been able to as Netflix is uploading episodes weekly now!) but she had a huge disappointment.

From Butter face to Butterfly gate. Oh Asia! Releasing live butterflies from your huge pretend bosoms under those stage lights while dancing frantically. She said she sought expert advice for months… I don’t know how anyone thought that was a good idea. It also makes me sad that all this year’s finalists were desperately trying to match Sasha Velour’s amazing rose petal reveal from last year’s final. Eureka had 3 mad outfits one under the other. 3. Also even Aquaria maybe won because of her firework and confetti bursts. It shouldn’t be about the reveals and props. And Asia suffered. (The butterflies didn’t fly… she was panicking on stage) And she was accused of cruelty to animals/insects? I felt so sorry for her! I think Kameron and Aquaria did the best lip syncs.

Thanks for reading as I basically man-splained RuPaul’s Drag Race. I really love it and all it stands for.

And remember, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

Can I get an Amen up in here?

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Grey Hair, Do Care


So I’m 29 and the grey hairs are definitely coming in thick and fast at this point. What do we think about grey hair in women? It seems overlooked in current feminism trends. Yes, men have the luxury of being silver foxes, at any age. What about the ladies? Silver vixen sound pretty sexy. I have had a lot of time to think recently, I’m not sure I have been thinking about the right things, and I have neglected my appearance a little bit. I have been dyeing my hair, as close to natural colour as possible, for the last 3 or 4 years.(I just looked it up on instagram, since January 2015)  There doesn’t seem to be any real rush to do it at the moment, so I keep parting my hair in strange ways in the mirror to find all the white strands. Wisdom highlights, someone said on the internet. It’s fascinating in its own way. Mines are mostly underneath, below my temples and above my ears. Because I have dark hair I’m aware of them being more noticeable too. People are clearly lying when they say they can’t see them?

Anyway, I would say I am relatively low maintenance. I never bothered learning to contour and my hair skills are virtually non-existent. So it’s maybe not a major deal but I feel like grey hair in women especially is seen as unprofessional or lazy. Roots growing out are sometimes sneered at . For some reason, this line from Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal came to mind, “I caught a glimpse of her armpits which were…speckled with black stubble. I do hate it when women don’t keep their personal grooming up to scratch. Better the full bushy Frenchwoman’s growth than that squalid sprinkling of iron filings.” Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I mean either go grey completely or keep dyeing religiously. Is being in between somewhere sloppy and unprofessional? If I have job interviews is it important to not have stray greys?

This is the dye that I use, mixed with the peroxide as recommended by Chelsea from my old work who was a hairdresser 🙂

I am a huge worrier, as everyone knows. I wonder how true it is that stress causes grey hair! Also I am 29. That feels OLD to me sometimes. Old people have grey hair. Argh.

When I think of the women I know who do rock the grey look, I am inspired. There’s a primary school teacher my brother had at least 20 years ago, and she always speaks to me, she is the most gentle person, always stylish, and her softly curling many toned grey hair is sometimes braided or pinned up and it’s just beautiful. (Shout out to Mrs Carlin!) When younger women have gone grey, they sometimes have that angelic lilac tint and its super cool. But maybe they bleach first so maybe it’s not authentic. Also I really don’t think my entire hair is grey at this point! And really it’s the transition stage that is difficult. I’m sure one of these days however I will lose patience and grab the dye and ruin another t-shirt.

Anyway, this is a little stream of consciousness, it would be nice to hear your thoughts. Any compliacted opinions on the greying of women’s hair?

29 Things I Have Learned


Hello, in honour of turning 29 today (what!) I came up with 29 things that I have learned so far, which may be of use to you. I’m hoping for a low-key celebration involving family, Gap coffee co, friend catch ups and hopefully cake.

  1. Worry is pointless. Though that barely stops me. Worry unsettles your mind and really takes over. Stop worrying! Easier said than done and I struggle with this every day.
  2. In times of hard stuff, self care is important! I know it’s a buzz word at the moment. But I love when people say ‘Be gentle with yourself’ You really should. I like lattes and cake in pretty cafes, getting lost in a book, spending time with life giving people and the occasional massage.
  3. TRUST YOUR GUT. It can be hard to do, but deep down you know. Please listen.
  4. A loving family is priceless. When everything has gone terribly wrong, they are there for me. So many people don’t have that and I’m grateful.
  5. Hard and horrible life events can be overcome. Things are changing daily. Stuff is happening behind the scenes. Trust, take another step.
  6. Josh Ritter is the best songwriter in the whole world.
  7. You don’t have to be nice to men on public transport or customers in work who are being inappropriate/ in your personal space or making you feel uncomfortable.
  8. Kindness is so, so important. And you will get it back if you give it away.
  9. Reading is a magical gift. Words can soothe, distract, educate, amaze.
  10. Social media is exciting, addictive and fascinating. It can be a major curse too. A necessary evil. Be careful.
  11. It’s ok not to know what you want to do with your life. I feel upset and confused about this all the time. But enjoy the journey and keep moving forward. If you can’t see where to go next, bloom where you are planted.
  12. Grannies are so very special. My Granny Mc was my biggest fan. My Granny Breslin had the most amazing story and raised a big, beautiful family. I lost them both in 2017. But I feel them with me, and love doesn’t go away.
  13. Being a bridesmaid is a beautiful honour.
  14. If you don’t ask for and demand respect in a relationship, you won’t always get it.
  15. RuPaul’s Drag Race is the only and best trash TV that I watch (on Netflix). The transformation of men into beautiful drag queens is amazing. And it’s so quotable. “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Truth, queen.
  16. The days are long but the years are short.
  17. Big families are cool. I always say it’s only good at Christmas, but I think as a support system even for future it’s a definite comfort.
  18. The truth is the truth, even if everyone else believes a lie.
  19. We are all addicted to our phones. It’s so bad for human connection. And won’t end well.
  20. Giving your time to someone is one of the most powerful and special gifts you can give. Children and romantic partners will especially appreciate it.
  21. Walking away from busy roads, preferably in nature is a zillion times better than walking along a main road, when ‘out for a walk.’ Walking is great for getting out of your head a bit.
  22. I know I will probably go on about it forever, but a personal, old fashioned letter in the post is both beautiful to receive and joyful to post.
  23. “Was she crazy? Or did he make her crazy?” Oh I hated when my friend said this, in response to how a boy I cared about described his ex. She is so right though. I have definitely acted so crazy, but only in response to upsetting and disrespectful behaviour pushing me over the edge.
  24. Going out for breakfast is such a lovely way to cheer yourself up and ease into the day. Underrated.
  25. If a door is completely shut in your face, no matter how disappointed or upset you may be, trust that God will open another.
  26. Life is a balance of holding on and letting go – Rumi
  27. If you don’t go out of your comfort zone, it gets smaller and smaller. If you step outside every day, eventually it stretches until you’re doing things you never thought possible. (I have this is theory but not often practice)
  28. I should always try to write more. I have taken to writing down thoughts and feelings, but I’d love to finally start writing something properly.
  29. I have arrived at this age, 29, feeling rather defeated. It’s been rough the last month especially. Truly don’t know where or what I would be without people who love, support and don’t judge me too harshly. I have almost descended into cliches and quotations here, but I’m taking one day at a time, trying to see the next step. I’m home again, in every sense of the word. This birthday seems scary and very serious but I’m also grateful for a new start. A fresh year, what could be nicer?

Thank you for the birthday visit! I can scarcely believe I am 29. Comparison is the thief of joy so I’m not comparing myself to any other person, at least for today. I’m healthy and I’m loved. I hope you have a beautiful day, maybe we can celebrate soon. Much love x


A Memoir of Chaos and Grace

From the moment Laura Jane Williams mentioned her friend Meg Fee’s book on Instagram, I knew that this book would be a comfort to me. It just came along at the right time.

Places I Stopped on the Way Home: A Memoir of Chaos and Grace – Meg Fee

In Places I Stopped on the Way Home, Meg Fee plots her life in New York City- from falling in love at the Lincoln Centre to escaping the roommate (and bedbugs) from hell on Thompson Street, chasing false promises on 66th Street and the wrong men everywhere to finding true friendships over glasses of wine in Harlem and Greenwich Village.

Weaving together her joys and sorrows, expectations and uncertainties, aspirations and realities, the result is an exhilarating collection of essays about love and friendship, failure and suffering, and above all hope. Join Meg on her heart-wrenching journey, as she cuts the difficult path to finding herself and finding home.

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From a watercolour by E. Rhondeau Morgan

Ok, this makes it sound really cheesy. But as I try to make my own way in the world, I am loving this wave of wise young women sharing the lessons they have learned. Made more exciting by the way we think we ‘know’ them from their social media and blogging presence. Also: I don’t know if it’s solely because of Royal Wedding fever but I think there is something of Meghan Markle about the beautiful Meg Fee? No?

Meg lived in New York for 13 years, since she was 18. She met a lot of ‘maybe’ men, she battled an eating disorder, she hated jobs, she lost a friend in that painful way we all seem to have suffered. But she makes every warm cupped latte and cold bitter wind sound beautiful.

Laura Jane Williams, a feminist whirlwind I love to follow on Instagram @superlativelylj was email friends with Meg Fee for several years before they finally met in Paris. They shared the most intimate things across the Atlantic Ocean. I love that. And it gives reminds me of Time to Talk Beauty and I! (Irish Sea… met in Belfast, still!)

“This is a missive to and from the muddled middle.”

Each chapter is a place in New York, the West Village, The A Train, West 10th Street. She plots disappointments and her own mistakes, she doesn’t dwell on work, because it’s not important. I love how she writes. There’s one chapter, ‘On Home’ and she writes ‘And when I call you in hysterics, when I collapse into you undone by something you think small and ridiculous, just the moment before your impulse to fix everything kicks in, give me three words: I hear you.’

Reading between the lines, I don’t think she’s met the man of her dreams just yet, but she’s ok with that. She’s often overwhelmed by how much there is to look forward to. Most of the women I have read, shared, sent the link around to friends recently, the ones writing most truthfully and relatably about love are alone.

Maybe the danger is Meg’s chaos and grace are not as chaotic and a lot more graceful than mine. Briefly I worry that my misadventures and wasted time and indecision are a lot more damaging than hers. But this is not the point.

It’s a book you want to underline and memorise passages from, and I just love that so many women are sharing their favourite lines online. I was crying by the end. There’s a lot of wisdom here. I was annoyed LJW picked out a line in the foreword, ‘I am every man who has hurt me, and the quiet hope that we’ve only got to get it right once.’ Because what a cracker of a line, and I was waiting for it throughout the whole book.

‘The year leading up to my 30th birthday was astonishing. Mostly in it’s ability to wound. It was a year of so many What Ifs and blind curves on unlit roads. A year in which, just as soon as I thought I knew where the story was going, the ground would shift beneath my feet.’

I think anyone who is struggling with their twenties will get something from this book. I have read it twice already. Hold fast to hope, as Meg would say.

Back to Lyrics

I was walking home the other night, and it was later than I really should have been walking alone, and I didn’t have earphones, so I listened to some music out loud, relatively quietly on my phone. I felt like some of the songs really struck me, applied to my life and I was singing along quite passionately. And like I was in a music video. As one does.

My love for good lyrics featured strongly in my idea for this blog, and appeared a lot more in the beginning.

I have thought about giving up this blog recently, partly because ‘social’ media can be such a pain when you have other things pressing, and no one should feel like they have to explain hard, hard things to the internet. (When they’re still trying to figure it out themselves) I find this fascinating but also awful when it comes to the lives of youtube stars, and how they get hounded to share really personal stuff before they’re ready, because the subscribers have questions about what they have shared thus far. I think there’s a thesis to be written somewhere.

But I do love it, and I want to try harder as always! I have recently been thinking about how it’s ok to not have a ‘niche’ to blog in. And in fact the blogs I most love to read are snippets of someone interesting’s life, their views, their experiences.

Here are some lyrics that are comforting and encouraging me at the moment. Feel free to share any that you’re loving too.

  1. Open Arms – Elbow

The first line of this is the tag line of my blog, at the moment. I think the lyrics that most make sense to me at the moment is the chorus, “We got open arms for broken hearts, like yours my boy, come home again.” It’s like a celebration for someone’s return, and the comfort and backwardness of coming home. You’re always you when you’re home, and people know you. “The table’s are for pounding here, and when we’ve got you surrounded, the man you are will know the boy you were.” Ha, I’m crying thinking about it. It’s a whole community coming together to cheer someone up. It’s funny and comforting and deep. I said it before, Guy Garvey is a genius. “And you’re not the man who fell to earth, you’re the man of La Mansha, and we’ve love enough to light the street, cause everybody’s here…”

knots lisa
Lisa in the Knots video

2. Knots – Lisa Hannigan

A great beat, a good shouty chorus. “In my high heels, and my old dress, with my new keys in the wrong city.” This could apply to so many situations. And she ties knots to remember in her heart. Knots are usually not a good thing either, if your stomach is in knots or even if your heart is tied up in knots. It’s stifling. It’s such a good image. Lisa has a real way with words and it has been myself and Caoimhe’s pleasure to see her live a handful of times.

3. Slow Show -The National

This is my very good friend Lynn’s wedding dance first song. I have recently downloaded it because I kept singing it to myself and thinking about it. It definitely makes me cry sometimes. I can’t admit to understanding the whole of this song. But I think the singer is uncomfortable in the social situation, and he sings, “I want to hurry home to you, put on a slow dumb show for you, and crack you up.” But the most special part of this song comes right at the end, and is the reason my good friend chose it. “You know I dreamed about you, for 29 years before I saw you. You know I dreamed about you, I missed you for 29 years.” My Mum always tells me how she prays for my future husband everyday, and this just make me think of that. And how it is so beautiful!

4. Remember Me (lullaby) – Coco Soundtrack

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Miguel and his beloved great-grandmother Coco, who doesn’t really speak or understand anymore but whom they all treat with such respect and love.

I took my two youngest sibling to see this new Disney Pixar film a few months ago, and we were all in tears! I think everyone could relate to it. It’s basically about death, but portrayed in such a gentle way. The protagonist Miguel somehow gets stuck in the land of the dead during Dia de Muertos. This is a song Coco, Miguel’s great grandmother’s Papa sang to her when she was a tiny girl and he was going touring with his music, “Remember me though I have to travel far, remember me each time you hear a sad guitar, know that I am with you the only way that I can be, until you’re in my arms again, remember me…”

5. Wedding Song – Anais Mitchell

I saw Anais support Josh Ritter in Belfast in December. I thought she was wonderful and talented. This is a song from her musical Hadestown, which I would love to see! It is the courtship of Eurydice by Orpheus. She is coyly asking him, a poor musician living in a deep economic depression, how he will afford to marry her, “times being what they are?”

“Lover when I sing my song, all the rivers sing along, they’re going to break their banks for me and lay their gold around my feet, all a-flashing in the pan, all to fashion for your hand, the river’s going to give us the wedding band.” I think it’s really about faith and trust that things work out, and everything is provided in good time.


What I read: January 2018

This long old month is finally coming to a close. I have written 2017 almost every time I have had to write the year, as usual. Only managed 2.5 books this month, there has been a lot going on! I have really enjoyed them however and would like to share.

Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

This was started in 2017 and finished at the beginning of the year. I was really enjoying Master of None on Netflix, and remembered someone recommending this about a year ago. I don’t really know what to comment on the recent accusations against Aziz. This is a great investigation by Ansari and the social psychologist Klinenberg. It begins by polling elderly residents in US residential homes about how they met their partner. And so many were from the same block, or same apartment building! And they were so happy. Now that the whole world is open to us through online dating etc, are people still so happy? It’s witty and thought-provoking, and uses a lot of actual data without being boring at all.

The Power- Naomi Alderman

Really fascinating. Women have developed an electric ‘skein’ a power that allows them to hurt and help with electricity from their fingers. That sounds ridiculous, but it is such an eye opener when men are afraid to walk down the street alone…hold on, is that familiar? And what a basement full of enslaved sex workers will do when someone sets them free and gives them power… Some of the personal stories were not completely riveting for me. Although abused Allie who becomes cult leader Mother Eve, like a holy female Mother is truly amazing. This book rewrites history in a way, a fictional female editor recommends that the man writing this particular history publishes his book under a female name to give him more authority. She thinks the image of male soldiers is super sexy because they’re just so unlikely.

Three things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon

Ah, my personal favourite. And not just because it has a Battenberg pattern on the front! I was crying in Cafe Nero today reading over bits to write this.

  1. The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
  2. There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
  3. Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.

I have read Dr Joanna Cannon’s blog for so many years, shes a psychiatrist who has worked the hospital wards for many years. Her stories are beautiful, and full of care and patience and love. There is at least one beautiful sentence on every page. I remember printing out a blog post she wrote about her mother getting old for my Mother and Aunt. She’s that good!

Florence, an elderly resident at Cherry Tree Home has fallen and she is waiting to be rescued. She goes over the last few weeks, the new resident who is not as he seems, and tries to find a terrible secret from her past in her memories.

It’s a book about loneliness, friendship, kindness and forgiveness. Flo and Elsie are the stars of the book, the friends. I think I figured out one of the things about Elsie early on, but it didn’t take away from the book at all. It’s interesting in this sense how Elsie prompts and helps Florence remember things. They depend on each othter.

Even the secondary characters Miss Ambrose, who is like the manager of Cherry Tree and ‘Handy Simon’ the repair man, I could really relate to their anxiety and worry about their career, and their meaning of life searches and disappointments and hope. I also think its so special that Joanna thinks of these issues, as she is a Psychiatric doctor, surely she doesn’t have these dilemmas?

We walked into the men’s department, and it was coat-hanger quiet.

Jack bought several pairs of socks and a new pullover (which he said would see him out)

Jo’s experience on hospital wards have inspired her, she’s obviously understanding and kind, she can and does teach us about loneliness and caring for each other.

Perhaps the most important moments of all turn out to be the ones we walk through without thinking, the ones we mark down as just another day…we benchmark our lives with birthdays and Christmases and holidays, but perhaps we should think more about the ordinary days. The days that pass by and we don’t even notice. Elsie once said that you can’t tell how big a moment is until you turn back and look at it, and I think, perhaps, that she was right.

7 Year Itch

They seem to get closer and closer together, but I’m writing this with two minutes to go on the 7th birthday of my dear old blog Life Lyrics and Lemon cake ! Although we had a meagre 2017, (I lost two beloved Grannies ) I’m still proud of my wee section of the internet, and I’m glad I have this platform should I see fit to use it. I have higher hopes for writing for 2018, and I am hoping to make exciting changes to my life really soon, and I want this blog to be there as a testament to that.

Birthday Card by Happy Jackson

My writing has been virtually non-existent in recent months…years. I know that writing is something important to me, I just wish I could find my fire. Maybe I still have to do a bit of living first?! Half a shelf of beautiful blank notebooks have me thinking.

I have finished my first book of 2018- The Power by Naomi Alderman. Impressive! It took me a while to get through, mostly because of life being busy and my visitors from Germany.

I’m now reading Three Things About Elsie by the wonderful Joanna Cannon. (I’ve loved her blog since forever!) It’s just gorgeous and thoughtful so far. It also has pictures of Battenberg on the cover ! So I hope to have a few reviews soon.

This is my 218th post. I still don’t have a specialised niche. thank you for reading as always about books, letters, love, life, friendship and Josh Ritter.

Also a funny lemon cake story from last year, while in a freezing Strasburg with P in November, we went into a cafe bar for coffee and I was too shy to really use any of my GCSE French (Sorry Monsieur Gallagher). I was asking the lovely French waitress for a slice of lemon meringue in my dirty Derry accent while the half German rolled about laughing and she wondered what in the world I was talking about. I still have to work on my Universal English skillz.

I’m attempting the ‘curly girl’ conditioner-washing method on my hair for a couple of weeks. So far, oily scalp is the problem as I knew it would be, and my hair isn’t going curly very much. There were years when I was about 16 when it really did curl up with no effort! Does anyone have any experience/advice? I wonder should I give up or try to persevere. This is random information, but since we were catching up …:)

Anyway, happy 7th birthday to the blog! Thank you to my readers. Please stay with me on my 2018 writing journey. The internet can be lovely place for creatives sometimes.

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