Monday, 16 February 2015

Ask the experts (that's you, dear readers)

I've been pondering all sorts of questions lately, and then it came to me: why not ask my readers? I'm always grateful for the insightful and helpful comments that people leave here, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get your opinions on these niggly little issues. So, here goes. Answers sought for the following...

1. How can I stop my fingernails from breaking? 
I'm not on a quest for long talons, but nails that reach past the end of my fingertips would be nice. I've always had weak nails but this winter has been beyond the pale, as one after another, each nail snaps and breaks, leaving me with painfully exposed nail beds and ugly-looking hands. What can I do to strengthen my nails enough that I can at least pick up a piece of paper, or close a door, without them breaking?

2. Lyric tattoos: A good idea?
As I've stated many, many times before, I love WORDS. Words in books, words in art, words everywhere. So it seems obvious that I'd think about having words tattooed. However, the lyrics I scrawled on my school books now feel meaningless to me; what if the same thing happens with a tattoo I can't get rid of? (By the by, the line I'm considering is from Hole's Gutless: "Just you try to hold me down, come on try to shut me up.")

3. To Disqus or not to Disqus?
I love using Disqus on other people's blogs, most importantly because it alerts me to replies so I can continue the conversation my comment began. Blogger, being a bit rubbish, doesn't allow for anything as useful, so Disqus seems the obvious solution. However, I've heard one too many horror stories about how difficult it is to move from the Blogger commenting system to Disqus and, even worse, that my comments archive might be lost forever, which would break my heart.

4. Are we ready for a cat?
Thomas loves cats. Like, completely utterly adores them and follows them down the street and talks about them all the time. I, too, love cats (although perhaps not as much as he does) and have very much enjoyed living with them in the past. Yet we don't (yet) own a cat. Why not? Well, neither of us have ever been a cat owner, or indeed a pet owner at all, so the responsibility seems like a big step. I'm also allergic to cat hair, something which can be controlled with anti-histamines but nevertheless is a bit of a pain. We spend a lot of time looking at the local cat rescue centre website, picking out our possible puss, but taking the leap into actual ownership isn't something we've managed.

5. How do I beat the Sunday Sads?
Thomas plays football very Sunday morning until 1pm, something he really enjoys, but it restricts the things we can do on Sundays. This fact never used to bother me - I enjoyed having a morning to myself and then a relaxing afternoon at home - but recently I've been struggling with a malaise I can best describe as The Sunday Sads. I'm wasting half my weekend on moping around the house, ironically feeling most frustrated by my lack of activity. I'm hoping it's just the end-of-winter blues


  1. I'm sorry to say the most effective remedy I know of for brittle/rubbish nails is eating fish, which is a non-starter. As I understand it, there's a large number of trace minerals in fish thanks to their scooping up dinner from the wider oceans, and those are good for forming nails. Carnivorous consumption is a convenient shortcut to forming complex proteins, by robbing them from other organisms. There is an amino acid called Cysteine which is necessary to build good nails, and a few non-animal sources exist. Here is one such example

    And regards cats - yes. 100% yes, you should get a cat because if you can let yourself love a cat, you will get even more love in return. And don't worry desperately about the allergies, I am allergic to cats when I don't live with cats. Within 6 weeks, I'd built up a tolerance and now, I can nuzzle a cat's belly fur without incident.

    1. That's pretty weird, because the only non-vegetarian thing I've been craving is fish! It used to be that, when Thomas went out for an evening, I'd eat really cheesy pizzas and stuff. But recently it's been a salmon stir-fry every time. Maybe my body knows what it wants better than I do!

      (Also, good news about cats - I actually only became allergic when I stopped living with them, prior to that I don't remember any problems and I lived in houseshares with cats for about 5 years, it's like the lack of exposure then triggered the allergy, so it makes sense that it would work the other way around)

  2. Here is my answers for what there worth!
    1) Is this something that has got worse since you have gone vegan and cut out dairy? You will need a good calcium/vitamin D supplement which will take about 3 months to have any effect. Evening Primrose is also good for your nails as well as PMS BTW.
    2) Follow your heart, not your head.
    3) I don't know much about disqus. I know that sometimes its a pain in the ass to use. Although I did forget which email address I registered with etc! I now use it through my Google plus account and it seems OK.
    4) Do it! We talked for ages about what pet to get when we first bought a house together, as Rob is allergic to cat hair and I wanted a dog, but we couldn't leave it indoors all day on its own etc. In the end a snap decision was made when our old neighbour Trish threatened to leave Poppy out on her doorstep overnight as her cat Toby would not accept her. So we said we would have her and tiny kitten Pops was passed over the fence! A friend of mines sister has a cat that does not shed its fur which might be worth considering. Sorry, I cannot remember the name of the breed, but its not a baldy Dr Evil one!
    5) This is tough. I get them too. I think with me its part boredom and not doing what to do with myself. Designate the time for crafting or blogging maybe and have set plans for the rest of the day spent with Thomas when he finishes footie.

    Hope that helps! x

    1. Ace advice, thanks! I'm such a div, I never connected my nails getting worse to the change in my diet. I'm far less careful about getting the nutrition I need than Thomas is - because I *can* eat dairy, meat, fish, etc, I sort of assume I'll be fine, regardless of the fact that I don't actually eat much of it at all (although my cheese consumption is always high)

  3. 1. Tough one. If you wear nail polish maybe just give it a break for a few weeks. I have tried plenty of nail fixers but my nails still peel. I spend most of the winter applying cuticle cream though and that make my hands feel less gross.
    2.Tattoos are so personal. I would tend to wonder also if the words would still hold the same meaning 20 years later (I'm old enough to have a 20 yr. old tattoo, of a dragonfly, which i still like). But unless it's something you're really passionate about I would hold off. I've had a tattoo in mind for years now that I still can't quite commit too though!
    3. I like Disqus too, but having moved to Blogger recently and lost all previous comments from my other blog, it really sucked!
    4. I'm allergic to cats too/also asthmatic so they are a no go for me. But long haired cats aren't as bad for people with allergies I'm pretty sure. They bother me less anyway. Definitely no short hairs. Maybe borrow a cat for a week or foster one for a short time to see how you cope?
    5. Mid winter is just the worst. But it sounds like maybe you feel like you wish you had an activity too like your partner, maybe start arranging a cinema date (alone or with a friend), or something else you enjoy if you are bored of being alone in the house. :-)

    1. Excellent advice for #5, I'd been thinking about needing to arrange my own stuff on Sundays so thanks for the push! Weirdly, I'm much worse with long hair cats - like, huge asthma attacks worse - than I am with short hair, which just make me a bit hayfever-y.


    Re Disqus, I recently did mine using this tutorial and it was SO EASY plus all my old comments are still there. Only thing that bugs me is that it doesn't say '2 comments' or whatever when you're reading from the main page or on mobile view, it just says 0, so I had to switch to email notifications, although I know it's possible to get that working again cause I've seen it the on other blogs.

    Re the nails, I used to have great stuff called simply Boots Nail Strengthener that came in a nail polish bottle but dried into your nails. I haven't been able to get it in years but it was so good and saved the removing of strengthener that acted like a base coat since that was what weakened my nails most, the remover. No amount of Google searching has thrown up anything similar and I'm desperate for more. Not helpful at all but if you ever find anything good let me know!

    1. Oh wow, that tutorial is ace! Right, that goes onto the To-Do list for this half term!

  5. 1. I also suspect this is worse because you're on a largely vegan diet. See if you can introduce more (full fat) dairy.

    2. I have no tattoos so I'm not the right person to give advice. I know I would have ended up regretting every tattoo I've ever considered, though...

    3. Disqus. It's surprisingly easy to move over and I didn't lose any comments. Worth ten minutes of head scratching.

    4. Obviously I'm pro-cat. My brother-in-law always seemed to be hugely allergic but, since getting two kittens a few months ago, he hasn't had any problems at all. I'd generally say to adopt from a shelter where you can but if you're really worried there ARE certain breeds which are less allergenic; apparently long haired cats trigger less allergies, too.

    5. Um... I'm hoping this is end-of-winter blues. Are you get a bit cabin feverish, maybe?

    1. Re. 5, yep I think it's mostly winter blues combined with cabin fever. I find it really hard to motivate myself to get out of the house even when I KNOW that it will make me feel better!

  6. Hello

    Try Nail Envy by O.P.I.
    I wouldn't buy it from Boots as it's about £20 a bottle but you can pick up a bargain from eBay. Within a week of using it you will see the difference. Hope this helps.

  7. 1. Agree with the others, its probably the vegan thing. Evening Primrose oil, or loads of sunflower/pumpkin seeds (my sister has ridiculously strong nails and she swears its down to seeds)

    2. I really want a lyric tattoo aswell - but what happens is, I'll choose one, think about it for a few months then change my mind. So I don't think this is going to happen for me. I'd say proceed with caution

    3. Disqus. Love it. It's easy and I didn't lose comments although their layout is a bit odd now. I can live with that though

    4. Hmmm. I love cats and used to own 2 (which are now with my ex). The downside is that they're a tie, in that you've got to arrange cat sitting when you're away, plus they make a mess. They are lovely though, but I'd say no.

    5. I'm feeling like that just now, and growing very frustrated at (a) my wasted weekends and (b) the fact I have done absolutely nothing of note all month. So its probably just a winter thing

    Hope this helps!

    1. It does help, thank you! Seems like Disqus is definitely the way to go.

  8. Hi!
    Good questions.
    1. I have nails that break easily too and I eat enough fish, so not sure what to say about this!
    2. I am not the best to ask about this as I have a minor phobia of ink on skin so I would never have one done but certainly unless there's something you really feel reflects you and would stand the test of time,I'd wait until something you really think is meaningful!
    3. I hate disqus. I can never get it to work on my phone and have to type my address, name, etc in. I tend to comment less when it's Disqus because I just don't like it! It seems I am in the minority over the comments so far though.
    4. I LOVE cats! I wouldn't have one though as we are out too much and we like to be away in the holidays and it wouldn't be fair on them. Plus cat hair on clothes is not something I miss (I had 8 cats growing up).
    5. I always get the Sunday blues. After I get back from church I just feel the misery of going back to school.
    Could you find something fun to do this winter, go out for a lovely walk to somewhere new each week maybe? Fresh air and light is always invigorating.

    1. Re. 4 - that's the thing that has stopped us so far. We often go away for a weekend or overnight, and every school holiday too. That's a lot of expense in a cattery OR a lot of lonely cat time.

  9. I know you've got lots of answers but I thought I'd put in my two pence anyway!

    1. I use Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails which is good.

    2. I say yes to lyric tattoos. However, it might also be cool to get a visual representation of it instead so that the tattooist can exercise their artiness?

    3. Disqus is great but you definitely need to get the help of somebody who knows how to export and all that. I got a friend to do mine! It would be too sad to lose your comments forever.

    4. YES. Cats are always a good options.

    5. Sunday blues are awful and I used to suffer really badly with them but I'm trying to make an effort to have productive Sundays which seems to help. I don't let myself think about Monday until about 9pm!


    1. I'm trying really hard to stave off thoughts of work on a Sunday, because it definitely makes the blues 100 times worse, but school has been so stressful and all-encompassing lately that it's been tough to ignore.

  10. If your going to get a pet..then a puss would be great.They are independent and not hard to look after at all. You can go away for a night if you get an automatic cat feeder.Cats get used to them! Other wise a friend or relative could bob in and feed and there are lots of nice catterys. I know people who are allergic but they build up a tolerance when they live with a furry feline. I hope you get one.:)

    1. Me too! (although I am a bit worried that Thomas will love it more than he loves me)

  11. I'm a little late to the party but just in case…..
    1) my sister had really bad nail breakage this winter too and I'm with lots of other people, sounds like a diet thing. My sis was very stressed as well which definitely didn't help.
    2) I think if you I like it then you should do it, maybe just not too big? Saying that I do have a tattoo (from when I was 18) which I now regret but thankfully it's in a place where I and everyone else hardly see it.
    3) I was thinking about Disqus too but I've not heard any horror stories. My sister did it v.recently and it worked perfectly for her.
    4) That sucks about the allergy but I guess if you really want a cat you should get one. Maybe do a trial (cat-sitting someone else's for a couple of weeks or so) to see how you cope?
    5) damn those Sunday sads! Sounds like you need to join something or make plans (coffee, cinema, brunch) with someone to get out of the house. I used to spend my sundays doing some knitting or sewing but I know that sometimes that isn't enough. Leaving the house is key and it'll be so much easier once it gets a bit warmer :)

  12. If you could find the cure to the Sunday Sads you would be a flippin' millionaire.


    And a tattoo. Know what you mean about the words/lyrics stuff though. Hard to find something which would be everlasting and meaningful. But then again, if it's meaningful at the time then that's half the story behind the tattoo surely? If I was that angsty about mine I wouldn't have 3 out of the 4 I do - but I wanted them at the time so that's good enough for me. Man I really want another tattoo...

  13. My nails have always been hopeless, but I've never really drunk milk as I don't like it and it's only recently that I've upped the amount of fish I ate- was vegetarian for a good number of years until quite recently.
    I've been pondering tattoo designs for about ten years as I'm so worried about having something I'll fall out of love with - I'm so fickle.

  14. I switched to Disqus pretty painlessly, but then I don't have many people commenting on my blog!
    I find that being notified about replies helps me actually have conversations rather than writing someone a comment and then forgetting all about it.
    Do you have friends who have cats & need a cat-sitter while they're away? Could be a way of test-driving a cat :)

  15. Oh, I love this idea! Here are my answers (very late, as I've been away from blogging - reading and writing - for a bit). Sorry if I repeat stuff people have already said - no time to read all the comments, alas.
    1. It might be complete coincidence, but a few months after I went properly back to eating meat after being vegetarian+fish for a long time, I noticed my nails weren't flakey any more. I used to have really bad nails with sort of separated layers that would peel off (properly gross) and never grow. Now they're healthy and strong, even in winter. So maybe the meat helped - but who knows for sure.
    2. I think this can only be your decision in the end, and I wouldn't let anyone else's view sway you. I suppose I like image tattoos more than words because they're meaning isn't tied down in the same way, but that's just me!
    3. Can't advise on this one, soz.
    4. Cats are awesome!! But then... allergies are not so awesome. I guess you have to figure out if you could live with that. Is there anyone you could cat sit for, or some other way you could spend an extended period of time around a cat maybe, to see how bad it is?
    5. Sunday sads, oh no! That sucks. Well, for what it's worth, I've been feeling loads more energetic/generally upbeat since I've been doing a lot more exercise. I am not a sporty person at all (like AT ALL), but I've found a few things I like (spinning classes, squash, hot yoga, climbing) and it's really spurred me on. Now I actually feel a bit antsy if I don't do any exercise for a few days (maybe there is something to this endorphins business!). So I guess my advice would be to find a class you like, or a buddy you can have a regular weekly fitness date with. Hope you get out of the Sundays sads lady xx