No one expected me. Everything awaited me. 

As the past year draws to a close and a new year is fresh in it’s beginning, now forms a time open to conclusion and reflection, a look back on previous adventures and the importance of noting and filing your achievements and blessings. A time to appreciate relationships and to take heed of proposed plans and suggestions. A fresh start, an untried challenge, an unlikely path, alternative perspective or perhaps, followed footsteps. There is nothing more refreshing or stimulating than the clearness a resolution into the new year can bring.

2015 brought indescribable excitement my way and I saw incredible achievements in my career, not only did I make my debut, styling at London (LC:M) Fashion Week, I was also given the opportunity to style under Head Stylist Gary Gill at the Vetements show at Paris Fashion Week, attributes I’ve confirmed to mimic and add to in 2016. Continuing to work alongside and assist Gary in various photo shoots throughout the year, found me at the latest Axe Deodorant (formally Lynx) Advertising Campaign as well as the United Colours of Benetton, 50 year Anniversary Campaign and not forgetting various other fashion collectives and publications.

Gratefully, I was asked to judge a competition, which is close to my own heart- Wella Generation Now- which catapulted my career two years ago and influenced lucrative relationships with talented and productive people within my industry. I was invited to attended numerous events with Wella throughout the year, which allowed me to cement association with my own personal salon colleagues and others brought together under the Wella family umbrella.

Throughout 2015 I have maintained my writing and my blog has grown, GG BOBS HER HAIR has gone from strength to almighty strength, accumulating a staggering 50,000 visitors, reading my 55 blogposts. Writing keeps me sane and I have pushed through struggles and leapt over hurdles to keep consistent with my posts. I’m truly thankful to be continually encouraged by Professor Mike Press, I have delightedly collaborated with him at many events throughout the year including our successful Lunchtime Talk along with Linda Barclay and Ruadhan Scanlan at Dundee’s Literary Festival in October. I’m anxious but enthusiastic about emerging projects for next year and I hope to enhance my art in storytelling.

My family life is booming and my relationships have never felt so genuine or on track. My daughter and I shared a trip of a life time when we travelled together to New York City back in May. My biggest and proudest achievement of this year has been the development of my character and inner strength, combining Shinrin-Yoku with exercise has allowed me to find calm within chaos and has acted as a vent for my frustration and stress. During the last quarter of the year, I made a conscious decision to quit alcohol for a reasonable 60 days, which I’m faithfully inspired to reveal has changed my perspective on life and has made me a nicer, stronger, more determined, understanding and caring person. My self denial of alcohol has given me so much belief and self respect, I have chosen to continue without it for the foreseeable future, I know I am a better person without it.

Last Hogmanay I started to write things down, my hopes and my dreams, when I reflect back, all have come true. Already my 2016 diary is full of crazy adventures, which will see me travel across the world. My only resolution is to structure things more appropriately to allow my time to be spent more accordingly. I’m ready to make lists and I’m excited at doing so.

Thank you to everyone who was made 2015 extra special, I can’t send enough gratitude.

2016 are your ready? Because there is no stopping me!

‘For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’lltak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.’- Rabbie Burns 

Long live the VEF and HAPPY NEW YEAR QUEENS!

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk…

 I woke up unexpectedly at the Shudehill Interchange in Manchester, a repeating voice in my ear, my brain shaking violently in my skull, I lay torpid and unaware of my surroundings, wrapped in a fleeced pyjama top, I was dreaming, hopefully, although my face felt as though it was attached to a sheet of glass, a window, my back creaked with the pain of a five hour journey. I felt the sting of vomit rise in my oesophagus and I reached for something, anything to hold my gag as it expelled triumphantly from the unwilling exit.

I was on the Megabus. I checked my belongings- my purse, my phone, a half empty bottle of vodka and a sequinned suit jacket. I checked myself, a pyjama fleece, jeans and sky scrapper heels. I checked my surroundings, my boyfriend Darren and my friend Josh, along with another twenty or so passengers, all making the same gruelling seven hour journey from Scotland to London.

This was not an exciting, planned or prepared holiday with a group of willing friends, we were elevated, yes, but for all the wrong reasons. The evening previous was spent guzzling glasses upon glasses of red wine in various establishments of Dundee’s busy west end, heading back to my flat to continue senseless but fun behaviour, where we dressed up in vintage clothes and performed scenes from Carmen Miranda movies. Joined by Darren, India, Josh and photographer Ross McLean, night turned into morning and we all decided to accompany Darren to the bus station, to send him sweet farewells and to wave him off for his work trip to London.

I nudged Josh, ‘where the fuck are we?’ As the scenes thereafter rewound in my memory. The driver had been packing the luggage at the bottom of the bus as we both lunged, ninja like, towards the top deck, rewardingly necking straight spirits as we left Dundee unscathed and unseen.

Four days we spent there, replenishing our five a day with fermented fruit, I took hobo de rigueur to another level and eventually the episode ended with a tormented panic attack in a park by Victoria Station, where I lost my front veneer and my marbles. The horrid journey home and the repercussions I faced should have made me learn a valuable lesson but I continued to loathe and wallow in self inflicted circumstance for some time after.

Eventually the exhaustion of my hectic work schedule, demanding family life and my frenzied partying took it’s toll, the penny had finally dropped.

I was going sober.

For me it was less choice and more necessity, I had forgotten myself and glazed over things with a rosy hue of induced merriment. I was battering through life, good and bad, without giving myself a chance to stop, relax and reflect. Do not mistake me, things were going well, I am an enthusiast and a hard worker, I was reaching my goals, my life was on track but I lacked essential fulfilment, I felt a fraction lost and the strain on my mental health was unforgivable. I am guilty and my sentence is served for all my lost time, days of suffering a variety of dark symptoms. I was missing the fundamental value of living and I had selfishly forgotten this wasn’t just effecting my existence but the people I was disengaging from were the people I loved the most.

The first few weeks were easy, I was pissed off at my previous behaviour and that alone kept me focused. The undisturbed sleep left me fresh and revitalised, working advantageously on my completion and mood. My informed choice of nutrition has saw me shed weight and my body appears svelte and toned. Time is my own and I’ve learned to unwind, exploring positive avenues of relaxation and discovering what I enjoy.

My relationships feel indestructible, my eyes are wide and I view Ruby with greater admiration than before, I’m curious of her growth stage and I am relishing in what she has become. I’ve turned extraordinarily patient, watching each of her little quirks with feelings of overpowering pride. I feel more open and honest with my parents and I’m less embarrassed by my weaknesses, I can share with them more as my guard has become lower and more transparent. I find different assets in my boyfriend, qualities I had yet to notice and this cements our partnership and plans for our future. I’m thankful and grateful, my happiness has multiplied and I look forward when waking up each day. My job excites me again and I’m ready to develop my career further, seeking greater challenges and proving my capability, I’m ready to turn up the heat.

The greatest revelation of all, is that I like myself, whereas before I struggled with who I was and the way I was behaving. I have found myself shouting out and feeling not embarrassed or self conscious but proud at being heard. I am confident and I am happy and I want to share that with the world, I have butterflies in my belly at the prospects and adventures of my future.

Furthermore I’ve developed stronger self control and I am slowly managing to curb my acute mood swings, partaking in Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku at least once a week, combining mindfulness and exposure to nature which positively creates calming neuro-psychological effects, allowing me to feel light and free of stress, anger and anxiety.

I’m 60 days sober and I am a different person. My mind and body are strong and burst with clarity. My challenge is over and I reach the other side with great knowledge and more understanding of who I truly am. My relationship with alcohol has changed and I’m excited that my new outlook will allow recreational enjoyment with the poison, instead of the binge and abuse I dealt prior.

I would recommend this for anyone who chooses to reconnect.

‘One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.’-Charles Baudelaire

Long live the VEF and I challenge each and everyone of you to go 60 days Sober Queens.



Ruby’s Yule Time Tale

Photography by Dylan Drummond, Son of the Sea Films

Props and costumes Tammy-Lynn Shaw

Featuring Darren Tait, Holly Scanlan and Ruby Scanlan