Monday, 8 April 2019

"Life" after Kinga - the Early Days.

Hello everyone... Still seems wrong to not see posts on this blog start with 'hello jelly beans!' or similarly adorable things. It is even weirder to think that these are not her words. That these words are not filled with her energy and bursting with her personality. I hope she would be happy with my continued, more sombre posting on her blog... As I stated in the last post I made here, I would like to continue posting here to keep this space alive... To keep Kinga alive.

I would like to talk today about my own experience with grief. I am still early into this journey - it is a little under four months since she was killed. I don't claim to be an expert on the topic - my head still isn't particularly straight. But I hope that this may have an impact on those who choose to read it. My message to those that haven't experience may come to understand how fragile, unpredictable and precious life is... Life is made worth living by the people around you; the rest is noise, in reality. Those who have experienced grief... Well, I have gained so much from reading your stories - and I hope you may gain some comfort from hearing my own.

Grief is something that we as a western society do not talk openly about - but almost all will experience. If we go by the 'plan', we will all say goodbye to our Grandparents, parents, pets, and potentially partners. This grief is real and can be beyond painful - but society should prepare us to expect this at some point - I'm certain nobody would dispute that it is far better for a child to bury a parent that the other way around. The thing is, despite this, people do not talk about death - leaving the majority of us completely unprepared when it strikes - even when the death has become expected. I believe that society should be more open to talking about death - accepting that it is always a possibility - to better equip people for this eventuality. My Nan was a Marie Curie nurse before she died - she would often talk about death, and it was always so awkward. After this experience - I think she had the right idea.

Kinga's death was not, however, part of the 'plan'. She was 26 - and is survived by her relatively young parents, and even a couple of Grandparents. I always thought she would outlive me, if we are being completely honest - I am actually 11 months older than her. The thought that I have lived more than she did is... Eerie at best. She was not ill. There was no hint or warning that this would happen. As readers of this blog will know - she was a careful, kind young woman, with plans, goals and ambitions - really just at the beginning her life into adulthood. She was not meant to die. All grief can come with shock: but the extremely sudden death of such a young, healthy woman adds so extra many layers to this.

Kinga was killed on a mundane, and unremarkable day - a Wednesday, no less. A reminder that any day could spell the end of your life. She was on her way to work - taking the same route she had taken for four and a half years. The day started like any other - I was working a 12 hour shift, and left the house at 6am - she was asleep. We talked via texting a little when she was getting ready - as always. The last text I received from her was simply a complaint that her route was too long (she had slightly modified her route that day - due to mud - but she was killed on part of her regular route). I didn't hear from her for a couple of hours - but didn't think too much of it at the time.

I got the call at midday on the 12th December. I was told there had been an accident and the police were coming to get me. I waited 40 minutes - the longest 40 minutes of my entire life - before the police came and told me what had happened. The rest of that day is a blur. I know that after informing her parents (out of respect for them, I shall not go into this), I went home and laid on her side of the bed a while, before feeling compelled to leave and walk up to the spot where it had happened. I remember needing to see it to believe it (I didn't see her until later on). By the time I had gotten there, the road was open - there was only an outline left to indicate anything had happened at all. My world was gone, and there was almost nothing to show that it had happened. I do remember a lot of shouting and screaming, and lashing out at inanimate objects at this time, as my brain tried to make some form of sense as to what had just happened - and fighting against completely shutting down. But it is such a blur.

I remember that as I was working late that day, I had to wait a while for my train home. Kinga would often send me to the supermarket whilst I waited - and put together a list on her phone. She wouldn't send it until literally five minutes before I was at the shop as she knew I wouldn't remember otherwise. That day was one where this was meant to happen - I later found that list on her phone, ready to be sent to me later in the day. It is strange how such a silly plan  can hold so much power over you at times like this. Just a reminder that her death was not part of any 'plan' - one of many, many reminders.

At the house, there were so many more reminders. Spare shoes by the door. A cereal bowl in the sink from that morning - waiting to be washed up. Her tablet casually laid on the bed; she would watch videos whilst doing her makeup in the mornings. A crappy Disney Princess advent calendar I had bought her (something that was so bad it had made us laugh daily) - ominously ending at door 12 - never to be finished by her. She wasn't meant to die. There was no 'fate'. It wasn't her time. My head - even now - cannot understand that she has died. I know she is gone - but I don't know she is gone. And everything in that house was a reminder of that. When I think - really think - about the fact she is gone, I am overcome by dizziness - like my brain literally cannot comprehend what has happened. Any thoughts that extend beyond the immediate future are like daggers to my brain.

I spent a few days afterwards with Kinga's parents - going to the house only to make sure the hamster was fed. This period is such a complete blur - most of this time has been - but the earliest days... I remember almost nothing. I know that I did reach out to people - but whatever I said is a mystery to me. One thing I do remember is being inundated with official phone calls about her death. The day after I answered one from some life insurance company - ironically. Completely unrelated. Was just an example of how the world outside had continued spinning - when ours had been completely shattered. A couple of days later we all went to a supermarket, to get flowers to lay at the site of where it had happened - we were all pretty messed up at the time. It struck me as to how many normal, smiling happy people were there. How could they be happy after what had happened? Why had the world carried on like this? This was exceptionally hard to understand at the time.

For quite some time I was acting on auto-pilot. Things had to happen and I was best placed to deal with a lot of them. Debts. Funeral. Finances. Hell, I had to move house - couldn't make our rent alone. I've always been a fairly reserved guy, who found it difficult to talk to strangers - but nothing seemed hard any more. It was a complete daze. I kept thinking about how Kinga must be feeling - knowing what had happened... And then seeing me having to handle everything. She was a control freak in life - the idea of me sorting out everything after her death would have given her so much anxiety. Urgh... I miss that about her too. Just... Everything. Such a complete person - here one moment and gone the next. And the world; just robbed of her vibrance and intelligence. It is just so wrong.

But over time, things have changed a little. I function now, to a degree. I am back at work full time. There is not any part of the day where she is out of my head - not one second - but I have learned to put on a front that protects me from most triggers. It is still absolute utter Hell - but it is slightly less all-consuming now - enough that I am able to write at least. In the off chance someone comes here from a similar situation looking for support - I can highly recommend the support group WAY - Widowed and Young. This group is for people who have been widowed before their 51st birthday - people who have suffered a loss too young. It is sad that so many people are eligible for it... But I have found a great deal of support through there. I have been able to vent in a safe space - and heard from so many in my situation. If you are in crisis, I would urge you to contact Samaritans, or one of the many hotlines. I can't validate their usefulness - but they are there for a reason. The most powerful thing I have been reminded of throughout my grief is that I am not alone. Grief is the loneliest place - but it is sadly far from uncommon - even at this age.

I also have to say that people have been immensely supportive. Despite us being a pretty reserved couple (reading Kinga's blog that might surprise you), people who I have never considered close have been there and offered support. I mean - grief is Hell, there is no other word that comes close to describing it. But it has meant so much that so many have offered their genuine support when it was needed most - I know her parents feel the same way. Her funeral was very well attended - which was not fully expected, but very welcomed. It has just been immensely powerful to know that so many people have genuinely cared about her passing.

I hope you all don't mind me using this outlet to talk a little more about my own grief. It is all to do with the Kay you know and love - but perhaps less directly than my previous posts. I would like to talk more about grief - as I said,  I think it may be a little constructive to do so - as well being a little cathartic for my own selfish recovery. I intend to keep posting - one post I want to do soon is to highlight some of my personal favourite posts that Kinga made here - I have read every single one that she has written when she posted them - it would be nice to bring some her writing to light again.

Thank you all again for reading; if this is your first time here, then I invite you to read some of the previous posts I have written about Kinga here: as well as the three years worth of posts Kinga made. She was an incredibly special woman, who deserved so much more than she got... Words just don't do her justice. I doubt they ever will.


Friday, 15 March 2019

Shoes and Glitter - after Kay

Hello everyone.

A good friend of mine, who has been helping me come to terms with Kinga's passing, sent me this quote a little while ago, written by the late Terry Pratchett.

“No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away, until the clock wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life is only the core of their actual existence.”

It is a quote that has stuck with me. Kinga didn't get the opportunity to fully realise her dreams - hell, what 26 year old does? The further along this path of grief I get, the more I come to realise that so much of Kinga lives on only through me and her family. I have come to see myself as a caretaker of her legacy - one who has a responsibility to keep her 'ripples' moving through this world. 

Whilst tending to Kinga's roadside memorial, last Tuesday (the 3rd month anniversary of her passing), a man on a motorbike stopped and spoke to me. He said he regularly drives past the memorial, and said that her death had really affected him - despite him not even knowing her name. He told me that strangers - not just him - were thinking of her. This was a really powerful interaction, that further influenced this decision.

I want - no, need - the universe to know her name. My life is now dedicated to this singular purpose. I am not sure precisely how I will achieve this - but I will keep talking and writing about her until the world loves her as much as I do - or until people are sick to death of hearing about her. Whichever comes first.

Kinga's roadside memorial, as it currently stands. The lantern lights up when it gets dark - it says ' Kinga ♡'

When Kinga passed, I never imagined posting on this blog past the original memorial post - I just thought I would let it pass on into history. I knew I would continue paying for it; but I have come to realise that to truly honour her, I need to let this site live. This blog was a huge part of her life - it is here that she shared her interests, passions, hopes and vulnerabilities. To let it go is to let her go, to a degree. I am not willing to do that.

This blog will always be Kinga's blog, but I want to keep posting here, every so often. The aim behind this decision is to keep her memory alive. I may also talk about my own experience with grief - as I believe it is something that people are not willing to have discussions about, and thus utterly unprepared for. I won't be talking about makeup - anyone who remembers the 'Boyfriend Makeup Knowledge Tag' will remember how much of a travesty that would be! Kinga was moving toward a more lifestyle based approach to blogging anyway - I doubt she would disapprove. 

Plus, selfishly, writing about her gives me a degree of therapy, and helps to fill this crushing, endless silent void. But I digress.

Chilling on top of a volcano.. Yep

I doubt all that many of you will continue reading into this new 'epilogue' era of Shoes and Glitter - but I thank you either way. If this is the end of your road with this blog then I understand entirely. All I can ask is that you appreciate your loved ones - without taking them for granted, and never, ever forget about Kay.

Thank you all, once again.


Friday, 15 February 2019

Kinga Głowacka - Extended Thoughts.


Hello everyone.

I doubt many of you are still reading this page. Kinga (Kay) was killed just over two months ago, and the world has kept on spinning... Not so much for myself or her family, however. The last post I put together felt a little rushed, and I don't feel like it said everything that needed saying. It was written in a daze, and I want to talk a little more about just how great this woman was... At this point, writing about her is more for me than for anyone else. That said, this is most certainly about her, and our relationship - not myself.

Shoes and Glitter has  died with Kay. She built this platform, and poured her heart and soul into what it has become - a fluffy, safe space, where she shared her passions, intelligence, and vulnerability.  She was not given the opportunity to achieve all of her dreams, and reach her full potential... But she gained so much from her experiences here. This blog is a testament to the person she was, and shows how much she would have achieved. We can celebrate her life - but it will always be an example of how fleeting and fragile it is - no matter how pure, amazing and kind you are, life can end at any time - at any moment.

This was us on our first date... So young!
As I said last time, I first started 'dating' Kinga nine and a half years ago - on the 29th of May 2009. She was 16 - and I was 17. We were two broke college students, who spent all of our money just trying to see each other (we were fairly long distance for the first two years of our relationship). Most people go to restaurants, cinema, parties, etc for their first date, but we couldn't afford that! Our first date involved a walk on a beach up to a hill, and about 8 hours of conversation. We clicked instantly. We were both fairly reserved people in person - but we made each other instantly comfortable. I knew from the first time I met her that I loved her. Our date may sound pedestrian, but it was absolutely perfect in every way.

Kay, looking beautiful, in our first flat together.

We were young, but our relationship, whilst not without it's troubles, was always strong, despite our age. We never broke up, or had one of those infamous 'breaks' We grew up together - we spent over a third of our lives together. We moved in  whilst we were both at university - living in Plymouth for a time (which meant a two and half hour commute to university for me - the things you do for love!). We continued living together for seven years up until her death.

Kinga never felt or did anything half way. She was either all in, or not interested - and it was usually the former. She was an intense and passionate woman. I think her passion in particular shows in this blog - the thought and care she put into every single post - especially her pictures are plain to see. Kinga's favourite quote was (I don't know the source) 'Do not rely on motivation for anything. It is fleeting and unreliable. Discipline, however, is unyielding'. I think that is the key to all of her successes in her short life - and would have been the key to her future success.

On our holiday in Marrakesh, 2016. She blogged about this one early on.

Kinga was many things; but I think everyone knew her for her fierce intelligence. She was forever one step ahead of all of us in life – frustratingly so! Nothing got by her. She came to this country without knowing a word English and learnt it well enough to get a B in GCSE English in her first year here - I know many native speakers who didn’t do even close to that well - a year in and she was already putting us natives to shame. She excelled at anything she put her mind to – be it her job, university, her blog, her relationships, or even just having fun. No problem was too small for her – she was such a perfectionist, that it almost drove her mad. But it made her who she was.

The side that you are less likely to see, is that she was totally bad ass, and had an amazing hidden strength to her. She didn't always appear that way - she was a beautiful, anxious, loving person with many insecurities - some of which she shared in this space - but she would always stick up for herself and people she cared about it ways you can't help but admire. She would never take crap from anyone... I think if she knew what had happened to her, she would be beyond pissed off before she felt sad about it.

Our holiday in Tenerife, 2018. This was the dress she wore at the funeral. She loved this holiday so much.
I could talk about Kinga all day. She has been my world for almost a decade. I thought she would be my future, as well. We had planned to have children, once our careers were sorted (we had guessed two years from now - we thought we had time). We were going to travel more - we had just booked our 10 year anniversary trip to Cyprus. We had always wanted to go to Iceland - to see whales... She also wanted to go to the blue lagoon, because of course she did! She always wanted to go to Australia - to see the Great Barrier Reef (before it died). I can't say that she loved life - the daily grind definitely got her down - but she loved so many parts of life, and and always looked forward to them.

Also, I would just like to remind you all the Kinga did film a few videos - her youtube channel is here. I find them hard - but comforting to watch... She was so magnetic in them.


There are things I want every single person who reads this to think about. Kinga's death was completely senseless and will never have meaning. It is the kind of event that should make people - even strangers - re-evaluate their life, and behaviour.  Kinga did nothing wrong in this accident - I cannot speak to the circumstances but I strongly believe there was nothing she could have done to prevent this accident.

- Treasure your loved ones. It is a cliche thing to say 'live every day as if it is your last'. You never think tragedy is going to strike you. But any day could be your last. Life is just noise - it is important to remember what is important in life. Getting wrapped up in stresses and material worries is time wasted.

- When you say goodbye to your loved ones - even just for work - think about how you would feel if that was the last time you saw them. I can't remember my last moments with Kinga - I was half asleep, having gotten up at 5.30am for work, when I last saw her alive. I would normally kiss her goodbye - but I was so out of it that I don't remember doing it. That haunts me.

-If you drive, never take that for granted. Don't drive if you are unfit to do so - no matter how important it may seem. If you are too tired, under the influence of anything - don't be stupid. Find another way.

- Always look at the damn road. It may sound trivial, but if everybody did this, there would be far less death on the road. I doubt the driver who ended her life is an evil villain - as much as I want him to be. He is likely a normal person, who got too cocky on the road, and someone else paid the price for his gross negligence. If you drive, you should be 100% focused on the road at all times.

This is the real world consequence of one man's idiocy.
Where it happened. Some of the flowers were used for her blog pictures.

I wrote and read a list poem at her funeral. My thoughts are difficult to express - even now. This helped, somewhat. Even this doesn't really say it, but it is something. I would like to share it here.

I miss you.
I miss everything about you.
I miss your piercing blue eyes.
I miss your overwhelming beauty and your ever-changing fashion sense.
I miss always looking forward to our evenings and weekends together.
I miss falling asleep with you every night and waking up with you every morning.
I miss our spontaneous adventures to random places that we’ve never heard of.
I miss wading through a muddy field just to go and see a cute Shetland pony or tiny ‘teacup’ cow.
I miss going blackberry picking and making terrible jam.
I miss using our made up language, and talking about things in a ridiculously childlike voice.
I miss getting drunk with you and trying to educate each other on what is definitive music taste.
I miss arguing with you about nonsense, and always making up the same day.
I miss cuddling with you and intentionally watching every bad Nicolas Cage film that exists.
I miss your love for anything that was cute – and your hoarding of cuddly toys (they have feelings, remember!)
I miss your insistence that unicorns are real – and that you were always going to see one someday.
I miss spontaneously deciding to go to Tesco’s for wine, because why the hell not, you only live once.
I miss our holidays – the only time you would fully relax and enjoy life to it’s full.
I miss your surprisingly dark sense of humour, and the way we used to laugh about things no one else would find funny.
I miss calling it ridiculous when you called yourself a ‘hamster mum’ – Cinnamon Roll misses you too.
I miss hearing about the most mundane things and stories you had found, that you just had to tell me as a priority.
I miss doing the same to you.
I miss always having each other to talk to, no matter how bad things got. 
I miss our plans for the future, everything we could and would have had.
I miss the immense amount of love you had for those closest to you.
I miss your passion, and your burning ambition.
I miss my best friend, my lover, and my entire world.
I wish that you weren’t ripped away from us.
I wish you were here.

Kinga Głowacka


Never, ever forget her.


Thursday, 17 January 2019

In Memory of Kinga Glowacka (Kay)

If you follow Kinga's twitter, you will know that she was involved in a fatal accident on the 12th December 2018. She was only 26. I am her partner, Sakima, and I wanted to put together a final post for her blog. I apologise for the delay in putting this together - it has been an insanely hectic and difficult time since her passing. 

Kinga, or Kay as you all know her, loved blogging, and the blogging community - it gave her an outlet and a sense of purpose. She dreamed of doing this for a living someday - growing her brand and working in this industry. Her dream was to one day create her own perfume range (anyone who follows her here will know how much she loved and hoarded perfumes). She was always so driven, and I have no doubt she would have gotten there one day.

I met Kinga nine and half years ago, when she was 16, and I was 17. We grew up together, essentially. Words cannot do justice to my own feelings about her - and many of those thoughts are for her ears alone. She was a truly wonderful woman, who has left a hole in mine, and her family's life that will never be filled. She is survived by her parents, and younger brother. And a hamster, of course... She loved her Cinnamon Roll.

Kinga was always happiest when we had a holiday booked; and we had just booked our 10 year anniversary trip to Cyprus in May. She would have continued with her passion to create things – she had just started putting together a book on perfume. According to her plan, she was about two years away from becoming a mother –  we are all robbed of seeing the amazing, wonderful woman she was destined to become. 

If anyone wants to see the official press release (I wrote this as well) then you can find it here. It provides slightly more detail about the accident.

Below are some tributes that have been left by some of her blogging friends. I thank anyone who contributed to this. If anyone else has a tribute to add, feel free to leave a comment.

Mira Sophie (@Mira113)

Kay was one of the first bloggers I truly connected with and I always enjoyed reading her blog so much. It was through her that I got to know the blogging community and made many friends on here and I will always be grateful for that ❤️ She was one of the best people who followed my blog and her encouragement meant the world. She will be dearly missed in the blogging community.

Leta (@TheNerdyMeBlog)

Kay was one of the first people I've met in the blogging community. She was such a lovely, warm and special soul. I remember talking with her about literally everything from our similar origin to blogging world. I cannot explain how much I cared for her as a friend. She always supported me, showed love and caring, made me feel included and like I belong to a community, like a had a close friend that will always stand by me even if I have never met her in a real life. For that I will be forever thankful. Some time has already passed but I am still in a deep denial. I simply cannot believe that Kay is no longer here with us. She will no longer reply to me on any social media, she will no longer be able to show her support and I will no longer be able to get inspired or learn something new from her. Most importantly, I will not be able to actually meet her in real life. This is heartbreaking truth that I do not want to accept. But I sincerely hope that Kay is in a good place now, that she is not in pain, that she is smiling and looking at all us from above with the same kind and big hearth that we all know she had. You will always be in my heart, Kay.

Thefashionfolks (@thefashionfolks)

I'm so grateful to have had her as a blogfriend and grateful for the bonding through fashion and beauty. She has encouraged me immensely through the years and for that I'm ever so thankful. She had a lovely way of spreading happiness and her presence online will truly be missed by me and many more in the blogging community - no doubt about it.

Nadia (@MielandMint)

Kay, where do I even start… I miss you. From the moment we started blogging around the same time 3-4 years ago, we connected and have been there for each other. Not only supporting each other’s creativity, but being friends and getting to know each other. I am so lucky we got to chat on Skype as well - you were so lovely and bubbly. You’re such a ray of sunshine, Kay. You’ve made such a massive impact on so many people in the blogging community. You will not be forgotten by everyone who you became friends with. Thank you for your friendship and for always being so wonderful and sweet. You are so so missed by myself, your friends and your loved ones. Sending you heaps of love… and thank you so much for being my friend. You will always stay in my heart and memories. xxxxxxxxxx

And finally Hannah E. Padilla (@im_hannaheunice) posted her own tribute post on her blog. You can find it here: Below is an extract:

Her passion for blogging and taking photos showed, and it inspired so many others. I was always looking forward to her next post. Despite how well-known she was in the blogosphere, with a fairly large following on Bloglovin’ and Twitter…she was just one of the nicest bloggers I knew. She never let the popularity, tags, etc.get to her head and she still went out of her way to get to know you, reply to your comment and comment on your blog back. Once bloggers reach to a point where they think they “made it”, they don’t bother. Not Kay. 

The outpouring of grief from the community has been overwhelming, and I just want to thank everyone on behalf of myself and her family for their messages of support (her family have read them). 

If any of you wish to stay in contact for any reason - or see more pictures, you are welcome to add me on Facebook (Sakima Branch) - I know a couple of people have asked. Just message me before you do so I know who you are. I intend to keep paying for this domain, and keep this blog up indefinitely. I may add another post when her headstone is ready, or perhaps for more thoughts. But this is it for now. Thank you all for supporting Kinga through her 3 year journey with this blog - I know it gave her much comfort and support when times became harder for her.

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