Fiona Duff: A kick up the behind's not always the answer

Jojo Fraser will be running the Edinburgh Marathon on May 29. Picture: suppliedJojo Fraser will be running the Edinburgh Marathon on May 29. Picture: supplied
Jojo Fraser will be running the Edinburgh Marathon on May 29. Picture: supplied
SO today is the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week. It wasn't that long ago that such a condition was not given much credit. There was a real feeling of 'pull yourself together' or 'she just needs a kick up the backside'.

I, like so many people, know what it is like to feel down and depressed. Life sometimes doesn’t feel fair; perhaps everyone else has got the luck or all around seem to be having fun. Social media such as Facebook doesn’t help – I mean look at all those people having a great time with all their friends and holidays in places I could never dream of visiting.

However, that’s not real depression or mental illness, that is just needing a kick up the bahookie – personally I find that turning the radio on full blast, singing along totally out of tune and dancing helps me perk up a bit. Obviously, this is in the privacy of my own home otherwise there is a strong chance that I might be arrested for scaring young children.

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But seriously, unless you have looked ahead and seen nothing but a dark tunnel; thought that there is nothing else that life can give you and perhaps, even if to the outside world you have everything, all you feel is nothing, there is little that many of us can do to help.

We read so much about how to keep out bodies healthy – smoothies and no sugar, jogging and yoga not to mention carbs (or the lack of them). However, keeping our soul and spirits in good condition is as necessary if not more important. It is something that people sweep under the carpet, laugh about with friends and then go home and weep. Talking about such problems is the first step but can help in leaps and bounds.

Jojo Fraser is someone who doesn’t live by the boundary of keeping a stiff upper lip. On her blog,, she talks about how depression has affected her family and reading it must help others.

Personally I think she is a bit crazy – nothing to do with mental health, but on May 29 she’ll be donning her trainers and setting out for a 26-mile run, otherwise known as the Edinburgh Marathon. She’ll hardly be alone as there are thousands of people joining her, although obviously not she whose name is at the top of this column.

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She might be pushing her body beyond endurance but she isn’t running away. She’s tackling mental health issues face-on with a heck of a lot of courage. So the next time a friend or family member seems distracted and displaced don’t give them kick and tell them to pull it together. Think about what might be going on in their heads and soon we’ll understand that a broken mind is worse than a broken leg. Apart from anything you can’t put a stookie on it, get your friends to sign their names and then take it off six weeks later.

Restaurant’s a Wee marvel... but don’t tell a soul

Recently I was invited to the opening of a new eaterie in town. It is called The Wee Restuarant and is on Frederick Street. By not mentioning it earlier I was, as ever, being totally selfish.

You see the owner and chef, Craig Wood, is someone I met years ago when he produced delicious food at The Hallion Club (RIP). When he left he told me that he was going to open a restaurant in North Queensferry, where he lived with his wife Vikki and their children.

He was going to call it The Wee Restaurant – “that’s a rubbish name” I told him. “Too bad, the sign has been painted” he replied. Over the years the mountains have come to Mohammed as foodies have crossed the Forth to sample his delicious fayre and unbelievable mushroom risotto (sorry to go on, Craig, but it is a thing of wonder). I am not talking offal here – in 2015 he was the Catering In Scotland Chef of The Year.

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So the reason I haven’t mentioned him before is that it is indeed a truly small restaurant and I really don’t want to be told that there are no tables available when I phone. Please delete this from your memory now.

Emma’s magic spell is broken

So that Emma Watson, probably better known as Hermione from the Harry Potter films, is in a row about tax evasion.

I wasn’t a fan of the films, countless of which I had to sit through with children. However, she seemed to come through it all as a poised, intelligent woman standing up for female rights working with the United Nations and forever managing to look classy without the need to disrobe for the cameras.

It appears that she bought her gaff in London through some dodgy offshore Panamanian account. Of course, she says this wasn’t for tax reasons but instead of privacy.

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Yes doll, if every actor in London has to put their money through South America I might believe you, but you’ve just lost any credibility in this household and no magic wand will make that reappear.

Run and hide from culottes

Big news this week with a range of clothes from Marks & Spencer. Now I have nothing against good old St Michael, patron saint of most of my underwear, quite a bit of my overwear and the occasional prawn cocktail treat from the foodhall. But seriously – leather culottes? They must be having a laugh.

If you aren’t size 6 and aged 15 you’d look like a deranged clown and to be honest if one of my daughter’s friends turned up wearing them I’d have to have a quiet word in her shell-like. However, it just goes to show that fashion editors are on a different planet from us mere mortals. If that’s the ‘in’ thing to be buying this year I need to book a flight on Virgin Galactic and get myself out off this stratosphere immediately.