Hello my lovelies! I hope you had a good week and are enjoying your weekend so far! As for me, I’ve spent the day chilling out not doing much which was just what I needed after a busy week. So, as you can see from the title of today’s post, I’m going to be talking to you about fibromyalgia.
You may remember from my previous post talking to you about my spoonie journey so far that I’ve lived with chronic pain for around 5 years now, and when I wrote my last post I had just found out that my neck curves in the opposite way to how it should and that it’s something I’ve had from birth. At that time the physiotherapists believed that that could’ve been the cause of some of my back pain, but wanted to do some more investigations which led to me being referred to rheumatology and having more tests and scans done.
And after all of the results came back the rheumatologist I was seeing told me that my pain likely isn’t actually coming from the curve in my neck, and that she believes I have a condition called fibromyalgia as we have pretty much ruled everything else out at this point. And so.. back to my GP I went.
My GP then decided to send my back to physio for the hundredth time and when I described my symptoms to the physiotherapist she said I was actually describing most of the symptoms that are present in fibro and that I one of the symptoms I have is funnily enough one of the tests that is done to help diagnose fibromyalgia. After my physiotherapist said that she said she would send a letter to my GP so that my pain could finally be diagnosed as fibro since I just keep being send round the hospital departments in circles with the only thing in common with my appointments being that everyone thinks I have fibro and only my GP can diagnose me with it.
And so a few weeks passed and a phone call to my GP later, my chronic pain was officially diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a long-term condition that causes wide spread pain across the body which unfortunately doesn’t have a cure at this present time.
Although there isn’t a cure for fibro at the moment, there are ways some people manage it; following an exercise routine, taking painkillers, antidepressants, trying relaxation techniques and trying therapy.
So, now that you know a bit more about what fibromyalgia is and its symptoms etc, something I’ve been asked a lot is how do I feel about being diagnosed with FMS?
Well, it might sounds weird since fibro hasn’t got a cure but I’m actually kind of happy that I’ve been diagnosed, like it’s obviously upsetting that it’s a condition I’m stuck with that causes me a load of issues, but I’m glad that after so many years of questioning what is going on with me I’m just happy to finally have the answers behind my pain because having to constantly go back to the GP with the same issue for years makes you start to feel like you’re going mad and that maybe it’s all in your head when it’s not. But now I know what is the cause of my pain etc, I can start looking forward at what I can do and try out to manage my symptoms.
In terms of the symptoms that I deal with on a daily basis, I typically have back pain, fatigue, lack of sleep, fibro-fog and headaches. To manage my symptoms I work out two to three times per week, take naps when I need them, make to-do lists and put loads of reminders in my phone and take pain killers. I also have an acupressure pillow I sometimes sit with on bad flare up days which is essentially a pillow with loads of spikes all over it to help stimulate blood flow and help with pain management. There’s quite a few different types of products out there that I want to try out for managing chronic pain, so if you have any favourites or any that you’d like to see me try out and review then let me know!
It’s a weird feeling having a condition that can be pretty debilitating whilst also being invisible to others, it can sometimes feel like other people don’t believe you’re ill because ‘you don’t look ill’ and appear completely fine to the outside world, so I’m working on validating my own feelings and making sure I don’t overdo things and cause myself a flare up. When you live with chronic pain everyday, I think we sometimes forget to actually acknowledge how much strength and energy it takes to do everyday tasks, and because we’re in constant pain we sometimes don’t bother to even tell anyone we’re in pain because it’s just normal for us; so if you see someone and think they’re perfectly fine because they appear fine on the outside, maybe take a second to remind yourself that not all illnesses are visible and let people know that their feelings are valid.
Even though I’ve only gotten my official diagnosis this year, I’ve actually been living with fibro for around 4-5 years, and in that time it has taught me several things:
You can always tell if someone is ill just be their appearance
Your feelings are valid
It’s ok to rest when you need to
It takes time to find what works for you in terms of symptom management
You’re still you, even with a long-term condition
Find people you can talk to about what you’re going through who understand
So now you know a bit more about my spoonie journey, what I’ve learnt so far and how it’s changed since last year! And with that, I think it’s time to stop my rambling and brain dump for today!
Have a great weekend my lovelies and look after yourselves!
Hello my loves! I hope you’re doing well and are keeping your head up in these difficult times. 2020 has been a year of ups and downs (mostly downs) for a lot of us, but I have had one big piece of good news; I finally got a diagnosis for my chronic back pain I’ve had over the last 4 years.
Some of you may already know that I am a ‘spoonie’. If you’re not familiar with the term, ‘spoonie’ is a term that can be used to describe someone who lives with a chronic illness and pain. From what I’ve heard and experienced, it usually takes people up to/around 8 years to typically get a diagnosis when it comes to chronic pain, illness or autoimmune disease.
So, when did all of this start for me?
When I was around 15 years old, I started to get chest pains that were predominantly in the left side of my chest, right where my heart is; so naturally I was pretty concerned with the fact that I was getting stabbing pains where my heart is. It was the kind of pain that I couldn’t fully pin-point, it was under my left breast, deep and it felt like it was almost at the back of my ribcage, a bit like if a shard of glass was being shot through my chest. What’s worse is that it felt like no one believed me when I said I was having intense chest pains pretty much every day, sometimes preventing me from moving.
When I went to the doctors I was told that it’s anxiety and it should go away once I’d finished my GCSEs. Well it did not. I lived with that pain for another 3ish years, and then the pain began to fade away; then when I was 19/20 I found a lump in my left breast. Right where the pain had been. This led to getting my boobs out for several people (which is not as fun as it may sound I assure you!) and then having two rounds of ultrasounds on my boobs to make sure everything was ok. It was then that I found out that I have something called a fibroadenoma, which is a lump in my breast, but lucky for me it is benign. It just means it’s something I have to keep an eye on, incase anything changes. One thing I did find out at that time that fibroadenomas can cause pain, which would explain the pain I had in the left side of my chest for the previous years.
So, what happened next?
Well everything seemed fine for a little while, and then towards the end of 2017 I started getting a dull ache in my back. To begin with I just assumed that maybe I’d pulled a muscle in my back and after a few weeks all would be well again. But boy oh boy I was wrong. The next few months turned into a year and my pain had gotten a lot worse and had spread to more areas of my back. You might think that after a year of back pain I would feel fine about going to the doctors to get help, but it took a few more months for me to recognise that my pain is valid and I shouldn’t have to live in pain everyday not knowing what’s wrong. And I think part of the reason why I felt my pain wasn’t valid was because of my past experience not being believed by doctors, who told me I was too young to have anything wrong with me.
Once I finally went to the doctors in 2018, I was told that everything seemed fine with my back, and I’d probably just pulled something or bruised myself at some point. After all, how could someone have back problems when they’re only 22 years old? About two more months went by, and the pain was getting unbearable at this point and I now cracked like a glow stick whenever I moved, so I decided to go back to the doctors. After a fair bit of time trying to actually get an appointment, I saw a doctor who told me he thought that I had hypermobility in my back, and that that is what was causing my pain; so they sent off a referral for physiotherapy for me so they could have a closer look.
Fast forward about another month, and I get a letter in the post from the nhs, which I was hoping would give me an appointment date and time but in actual fact it just gave me the phone number of the physiotherapy ward for the hospital that I could’ve gotten off the internet myself.. so after calling up that number it was another 2 months before I could get an appointment with a physiotherapist.
So after much anticipation and waiting, my physiotherapy appointment finally came round and I was hoping I would finally get some answers. I went into my appointment, saw a physiotherapist and was told I had extreme joint hypermobility in my spine and that I need to strengthen up my core and glutes in order to get some pain relief because my muscles had seized up in my thoracic spine (mid back), and I was given some exercises to do at home and then some standard physio classes to take part in over the course of 6 weeks.
This did seem like it was a likely cause of my pain at the time because when I was little I had to have physiotherapy due to having problems with muscle tone and not having any in my stomach or bum. In particular my left butt cheek because when I was a toddle I didn’t have any muscle in it.. I had a big dip where a butt cheek should’ve been. I also walked with my feet completely turned in and had to do physio for months with my mum every single day to correct my legs as much as possible.
Having no muscle tone and issues building up muscle tone means that I would have to workout a whole lot more that other people to get even a remote change in my body; and this is part of the reason why I thought that the physiotherapist was correct in their diagnosis (it’s also why I’ve accepted I will never ever have abs and that’s ok).
So, the next 6 weeks go by and.. no change, well not completely true, I did build up my fitness quite a bit which was good, but my pain actually got worse. At this time though, instead of telling the physiotherapist that everything was getting worse, I said I felt a little bit better because I didn’t want to disappoint the therapist. So I left physiotherapy and decided to continue trying to build up my muscle tone by joining the gym and going 3 – 4 times a week, and after that didn’t help and a lot of googling at what else could be wrong with me, I decided to seek out an osteopath.
When I went to the osteopath I was then told that some minor realignments, deep tissue massage and acupuncture could potentially help with my pain after a few months of consistent work. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved these regular appointments because I essentially got my bones cracked, a massage and then some acupuncture that as super relaxing, but they did nothing for my pain. And at £40+ a pop for 45 minutes on an apprentices wage, I couldn’t justify continuing to go considering I wasn’t seeing results.
Next I decided to go back to my doctors once again. And it was in this appointment that I was told that I look fine and workout so the pain can’t be that bad, maybe it’s anxiety or in my head, because I’m too young to be in that much pain, especially in my back. I was once again told that it’s probably joint hypermobility, was sent for some blood tests and was prescribed some heavy duty painkillers and anti-inflammatory meds.
When my bloods came back fine and my inflammatory markers within the correct range, I decided not to take the drugs that were so willingly thrown at me to shut me up and was pretty frustrated and ready to give up on trying to find out what was causing me so much pain.
I even started to think that maybe this was all in my head. Was I just trying to attract attention? Or is my pain tolerance super low? Maybe it was my fault I was in pain, I can’t be doing everything I should be to help myself.
The medical professionals couldn’t possibly be wrong or dismissing my pain, after all, they’re trained and are experts unlike me and dr google.
I essentially gave up trying to get help at this point. Appointments every single month and paying out for prescriptions I wasn’t using because they were just being thrown at me to shut me up was getting so discouraging and expensive.
It got to the point where I was crying from pain, unable to walk more than 10 minutes without being in agony and having to take time off work because I could hardly move for me to go back to the doctors and ask for them to look again. And I was given a phone call appointment with a doctor who gave me some blood tests. When I called them up asking to discuss what my results were I was told that they were fine and that I probably have chronic fibromyalgia and that I should take more pain meds daily and try tai-chi. After that phone call I think I just sat and cried for about 2 hours, thinking what a load of absolute shit that call was and that they weren’t even going to try and look at any other avenues before diagnosing me with a crushing incurable illness.
After a good cry and letting my frustrations out, I decided I wasn’t going to take that as my diagnosis without further tests. So, with my birthday coming up, I asked my close family for money to go towards a private mri scan. By this point we’re in January of this year. Using money from my birthday and all of my savings, I managed to get myself an mri booked to take a look at my thoracic spine where the pain originated and where my spine continually pops and cracks like mad. And you’ll never guess what day my mri was booked.. my birthday. My actual birthday. Kinda funny when you consider that I was that desperate to get answers that for my birthday I essentially asked for an mri scan. So, on my actual birthday, in the evening (when I should’ve been having a nice dinner or something) I was in a metal tube surrounded by deafening noise feeling incredibly claustrophobic.
Three days later my results arrived. Pictures and report included. It said I have mild lower disc degeneration, TOTALLY NORMAL FOR A 24 YEAR OLD.
The next day I called the doctors up yet again.
And by some miracle, I finally got in to see the only doctor in my entire practice that I was yet to meet. I told them what the other doctor had said to me, and that I had paid for an mri and gave him my results. It was then that this doctor listed my complete history from my back and then asked me to talk him through what had been going on, which nearly made me cry. I was finally being listened to. Finally being heard.
It only took going through every single doctor in my doctors practice to get to this point..
This doctor then told me that I shouldn’t have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia without exploring all other possibilities, and that my lower disc degeneration is to be expected with joint hypermobility, however this disc degeneration is 10 years too early even in this case. They even said that at 24 I shouldn’t be in this much pain and pain meds are not something I want to be on long term. I was then poked and prodded, and this doctor said they would refer me to rheumatology because sometimes blood tests don’t always show when something is wrong.
After that appointment I’ll be honest, I was finally feeling hopeful. I’d been listened to, my pain validated; I wasn’t imagining this pain, it was real. So, a month goes by and I get a letter, my rheumatology appointment is at the start of June.
Then covid happened. Lockdown is in full swing. Everything feels a little like it’s going to shit.
Then around April I get a letter saying my appointment has been changed to a phone call. Safe to say I was gutted, angry and disappointed beyond belief. I did understand, with covid and everything I was expecting things to change, but that didn’t change the fact that I was disappointed that the appointment I’d waited nearly half a year for, was now going to be a 5 minute call.
So, we get to June, and my phone call appointment happens, after about 5 minutes of chatting the rheumatologist asked if I could come in and see her that day, in about an hour and a half’s time. Lucky for me I live about 10 minutes away from the hospital by car.
Along I went to see the rheumatologist in this deserted hospital because of covid, and she takes a look at my back, has a poke and prod and then right there and then says she’s going to send me for blood tests that day and thinks sending me for an mri to specifically look at my spine is a good idea!
Bloods taken, about 2 weeks later I get a letter with my date for my mri – the end of July. Here’s where things finally start picking up and getting better for me, don’t get me wrong, I was and still am in a lot of pain, but I was closer to getting answers than before and things were finally starting to happen. July came round and I got to go to the still deserted hospital, put on a very sexy gown and got my mri done.
A special thanks and mention for the lovely mri ladies who played music loud enough to actually drain out most of the machine and for having calming lighting in fading through the rainbow colours to make this scan a lot less stressful and claustrophobic. Y’all were amazing!
About 3 weeks go by and I get my results in the post!
And after years of back pain and many misdiagnosis, I found out that not only have I got some lower disc degeneration, but I also have congenial ‘reversal of the cervical lordosis’.
A mouthful I know. But what that essentially means is that the curve in my neck is going the opposite way to how it should be, and it’s something that I have no control over, so it’s not something I have caused from bad posture etc. So, the curve in your neck should be like a wide capital C, but mine is the wrong way round; most likely causing the rest of my spine to be aligned incorrectly and straining my muscles. And that is probably what has been causing my back pain for so long and why nothing I’ve been trying has been helping because all of the focus has been going towards the wrong part of my spine.
So, although I have sadly got something wrong with my spine that I can’t do too much about, I can’t quite describe how happy it made me actually getting a diagnosis after so many months of waiting and stressful tests. That may sound weird to some, being happy about finding something wrong with my spine, but after years of being told I’m too young to be in pain and that I look fine so I must be, it was a relief.
Now that I’ve finally found out what’s going on with me and my health, I’m hoping I can find a way to manage my pain and I’m looking into if there are any ways I can reverse the reversal of my neck curve!
I’m now waiting on an appointment to discuss what we’re going to do about my spine which is in December, so I’ll definitely give you an update in the new year. Part of me still can’t quite believe I’m so many years in and have only just found out what’s been causing my pain, but that’s a surprisingly short period of time compared to some of the stories I’ve heard; so I do feel very grateful for that.
And that is my spoonie journey so far! It’s taken years of not being believed, a lot of tears, days in bed and days wanting to just give up, but I feel like we’re finally getting somewhere.
Over the last few years I’ve learnt the importance of allowing yourself to take a break and that you do need to listen to your body. And if I need a day in bed, I’ll take a day in bed! You’ve got to be kind to yourself, if you’re having a bad pain day, it sucks and trying to be everything to everyone just isn’t always realistic and ignoring your pain signals can sometimes (usually always) make it worse the next day. So take a day when you need to, and know that it’s okay and you’re not alone.
Are you a part of the spoonie gang? I’m super interested to find out how long it took for your to get diagnosed, and how it made you feel. Let me know in the comments! And with that, I think that’s enough chattering away from me for today. Have a great weekend my lovelies and please stay safe!
Hello my lovelies! Can you believe we’re already at the end of November?! It’s madness, festive and great but madness that the year is nearly through. It feels like only yesterday the year began.
With the festive season well on its way, we’re all getting busier and busier getting things ready for Christmas and trying to put in those extra hours to make the most of this time of year and it’s festivities. And because we’re so busy, we often forget to take care of ourselves, which can lead to burnout.
Burnout is when you feel exhausted emotionally, physically and mentally and is caused by prolonged stress that has built up over time. Burnout, if not tackled can lead to mental health challenges and health problems.
So how do you know if you’re heading towards burnout?
Well, here are five things you can look out for:
Feeling tired and exhausted no matter how much sleep you get and what you do.
Feeling little to no pleasure or motivation to do any of your hobbies and/or work.
Your space is becoming untidy when it’s normally clean and organised. This one is a big que for me, when I’m feeling overwhelmed it can often come out in how messy my room will get!
Neglecting yourself physically or taking part in unhealthy behaviour patterns.
You’re thinking about work, when you’re not at work.
Now that you know what burnout can look like, what are some of the things you can do to stop burnout?
As someone who has experienced burnout myself, I’ve come up with 5 tips for dealing with burnout. Also, you should never be ashamed for struggling with burnout, it’s actually pretty common nowadays with the always working on yourself culture that we have.
Here’s my tips!
1 . Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. – If you’re struggling to get to sleep and find yourself laying awake with thoughts going through your head like me then I highly recommend an app called PocketCoach. It had guided meditations, courses on how to change negative thoughts and has great breathing exercises. I use their sleep guide often aa it helps me fall asleep straight away.
2 . Make time to relax and do nothing. I can’t stress this enough. Sometimes, with our busy lives we forget that we need time to recharge, as an introvert myself, I need lots of time away from busy crowds to build my energy back up. It can be hard to make time to do nothing as we often feel guilty when we do, but it’s so important that we take that time to recharge and build our energy back up.
3 . Have a social media break. I try to post regularly on my social media, particularly Instagram, but if you’ve been checking my insta over the past week or two, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted as much as I do usually. This is because I started to feel a lot of pressure to keep uploading more during the week, so I took a little break. And guess what?! Nothing drastic happened whilst I was away!
4 . Spend some time organising, decluttering and tidying. This helps me put any stress I may have been having subconsciously about my surroundings being untidy to bed which in return makes me feel a lot more relaxed and like I’ve got my shit together.
5 . Do something active that you enjoy. For me, working out with the be.come project has helped me more than any other form of exercise ever has. It’s transformed how I feel about my body and I always have a clear head and feel great after.
So, those are some of the signs of burning out to look out for and my tips on what can help in the event of burnout and to prevent it. How do you keep on top of your wellbeing and stress levels? If you’re worried that you may be suffering with more than burnout then please do talk to your GP and your loved ones as they can offer great support!
And with all of those tips said, I’m not off to do a bit of decluttering and then veg out on the sofa watching all of the star wars films! Have a great weekend everyone! Be sure to make time to relax!
Hello my lovelies! How’s everyone doing this week? Are you a lets go splash around in the rain kind of person or are you more of an indoor- let me wrap myself up in a duvet person? I’m a bit of both, but more of the duvet person, because who doesn’t like getting cosy?!
So.. onto this week’s post. This week I’ve finally decided to put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard..haha) and tell you about my fitness journey.
This journey is one that I’ve been on for a long time, and I’ve had mixed feelings about posting this purely for the fact that I have a love hate relationship with fitness posts; because they always lean towards the side of “here’s how to change your body”. Which is something I am not about at all, the aim of this post is to simply tell you about my journey with fitness and how I’ve got to a place where I actually look forward to my workouts.
If you’re new here, then you might not know about my history with my body, long story short: I was extremely overweight for my height, I then healthily lost weight and then developed an eating disorder and then I overcame that and have been in recovery for over a year now.
And because of the last few years going through hating to loving to hating my body, it’s safe to assume that I’ve had a pretty complicated relationship with working out and just any exercise in general.
But for the last few months, I have finally found a workout routine that makes me feel amazing and the best thing is that it isn’t all about changing your weight, your appearance and it doesn’t tell you to eat a certain way. It’s all about body-neutrality.
Body-neutrality is not the same as body-positivity. Body-positivity is where you are always being positive about your body. Whereas body-neutrality is where you can sometimes you feel bad about your body and sometimes you feel good about your body but you always respect your body no matter how you’re feeling about it on the day.
The workout routine I’m now doing is called the be.come project. It’s an app, but you can use it on their website too, and I actually found it because of a Buzzfeed video! You can view the video here:
As soon as I finished watching this video I started looking up the be.come project, and after reading what the project was all about and Bethany’s story I was sold! I signed up there and then and couldn’t wait to give this a try.
The project costs around £29 a month which I think equates to $36 per month, which when you think about it it’s around what you could be paying for a gym membership.
Something that I absolutely love about this workout project is that IT’S A NO IMPACT PROJECT!!! That’s right, for all of us out there who can’t do impact exercises for health reasons, Bethany has got you covered! All you need to be able to do is any form of plank and lunge.
The be.come project also doesn’t do before and after photos, so if you were hoping to see some, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed, partly because I didn’t take any and I want to stay true to be.come – sorry not sorry!
Each week you get a workout video to do all week as much or as little as you like and then on Monday it changes and you start to learn another one. It’s really helpful that the workout changes each week because I don’t know about you, but doing the same exercises over and over and over again every single week is so boring!
At the start of the week is when you begin learning the routine and then by the end of the week you’re skipping the tutorial portion of the workout and getting straight down to business. And that’s also when you start to see how much better you’re getting at the routine and how strong you’re be.coming! (see what I did there? Hahaha).
Also, at the start and end of every workout you input what your mood is for the day, which is something I find really helps me reflect on how I’ve been talking to myself and my body that day, sometimes positive, sometimes negative; but after every workout I always feel so positive, strong and energised.
So far I’ve been be.coming for around 10-12 weeks, and I workout around 4 times a week. Every workout is about 25 minutes long which is great if you’re short on time, or just can’t be bothered to do hours on the treadmill.
So, since I’m not sharing before and after photos, I’ve decided to share with you how I feel about my body now compared to before I started this workout routine.
Before starting this process I disliked a lot about my body nearly all the time. I wanted to change so much about myself but I didn’t want to spend hours doing boring workouts so I just decided I wasn’t going to work out really at all, especially because when I did any form of cardio and gym workouts I’d be in a lot of pain because I have muscle skeletal issues.
Since working out with the be.come project I now feel a lot better about my body and I now like my body most of the time and I’ve noticed that my clothes are getting a little looser and my weight has actually increased by a few pounds too.
Side note – I can’t believe I’ve even written that I’ve gained weight for you all to see because that’s something I’ve feared for so long, but it doesn’t scare me anymore because I know why I’ve gained weight; it’s because I’ve built up muscles. Muscles that were hardly there before.
I can see such a difference in myself mentally and physically, so I’m not about to stop working out with the be.come project now!
I now use my workout time like you would a meditation session, I spend the whole workout focusing solely on each muscle I’m working and just being in the moment for the entire 25 minutes.
If you’re interested in checking out the be.come project’s social media, here’s Bethany’s Instagram! Each post is motivational, real and just makes you smile. Plus, Bethany posts informative videos so you can make sure you have the correct form when you’re working out too!
And that’s about it for my fitness journey with the be.come project! I’ve never stuck to a workout/fitness routine for more than a 2 weeks due to just hating every minute of it, but Bethany has made working out something to look forward to and enjoyable.
Well, that’s all for today my lovelies! If you’re into yoga, dance or pilates I recommend trying this! I often get asked about my workout routine, so I hope this answers most of your questions! The most important thing I’ve learn’t from this experience is that it’s okay to not love every aspect of your body everyday, what’s important is that you give your body respect for everything it does for you. – I sound a bit like a motivational wall decal right now but I don’t care.. haha it’s true!
What’s your workout routine look like? Do you go to a gym, or do you like working out at home? Let me know in the comments!
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend! So a lot of us will be showering our mums with love and tending to their every need. When deciding what I wanted to write for today’s post, I stumbled between the idea of a mushy post about why I would be lucky if I turned out remotely like my mum or if I wrote about my ancestry that I found out recently with 23 and Me.
So, I’ve decided on a bit of both. My mum and I aren’t what you’d call super cuddly or expressive with our feelings when it comes to reminding each other what we like about one another, which is why I know my mum is cringing reading this right now just like me! Haha sorry mum, but I love ya.
It’s not that we don’t like expressing our feelings, we’ve just never been that way when it comes to talking about each other. And she’s more like a best friend than a mum, and we can tell each other anything (yes that does mean we can talk about emotional stuff, but that’s not us and that’s ok), honestly I don’t really know where I’d be without her. Also, can we just appreciate the fact that my mum, Lindsay, is incredible at encouraging me to wear whatever I want, and she could pull off wearing a bin bag and look great if she wanted too. Although here she’s rocking a neon green crop top (she hate’s this photo, and I can’t understand why, because she looks great! So make sure you show her some love in the comments!).
Right, that’s enough mushy stuff, onto why I wanted to find out my ancestry. Well, for years I have wondered what my heritage actually is, because I’d heard several stories from different family members and where I come from.
So naturally over the years I’ve become more and more curious about what’s true and what’s just a rumour! Which led me to buying a 23 and Me pack.
The entire process took about 3-4ish weeks, and that’s from receiving my box, sending it off and being sent my results. One thing I love about 23 and Me is that they update you and keep you informed about what is happening at every step towards getting your results.
So, what did I think my heritage was?
I was told by family members that they thought I could be:
Something else I can’t remember..
What were my results?
Well, I found out a few things I wasn’t expecting! Here we go:
100% European, Northwestern European
Broken down into:
65.8% British and Irish – UK & Ireland
10.9% French and German – Germany & Netherlands
9.4% Scandinavian – Norway
13.9% Broadly Northwestern European
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from my results! I was just excited to see where I’m from, and finding out I’m more than British was a big shock to me; I have no idea where the Irish, Scandinavian, German or Netherlander (I don’t know if that’s the right way to put it) in me came from.
So once I found this out, I was able to see where/who in my ancestry timeline this DNA has come from.
This was so interesting to find out, and it also got me thinking, who in my family do I think could be part of a certain population. And I’ve since asked my family members that I’m close too, about what they know about their own ancestry and it’s sparked some really cool conversations!
I also paid to do the health reports from 23 and Me; so I got to find out about what my genetics say about my personality, appearance, carrier status, health risks, hobbies etc. To give you an idea of what a few things I found out (there’s about 5-7 reports when it comes to the health part so I’ll stick to a few very brief things):
Likely to have blue or green eyes – That’s true, I have bright blue eyes.
Likely to have lots of freckles – Also true, more so in summer!
Likely to have lighter skin – True, and it’s no surprise now considering my heritage.
I don’t have an athletes genetic makeup – so guess who’s not going to feel guilty about not enjoying exercise anymore….hahaha.
Here’s a few generations of the women in my family, featuring my incredible dad and nephew (we’re all a little nuts, but I love that about us!). So left to right we have my nephew and niece – such cheeky monkeys, my little sister, my parents, then below left is my granny and my great granny:
Now that I know more about my heritage, I am going to look further into my ancestry, and where I’m from. I also now feel like I know more about myself and why I am the way I am, because of my genetics. And it makes me want to go visit all of these amazing places I’m from even more now, because I have only been to Germany and I live in the UK!
To anyone wondering whether they should do something like this and find out about their genetic makeup, I’d highly recommend it, especially if you’re unsure what your heritage is. I mean, I found out I’ve got 1,126 third, fourth and fifth cousins probably from a line in my 3rd set of great great grandparents!! And those are just the people who have already done a kit with 23 and Me, and they are from all over the globe! Maybe I’ll connect with them one day, who knows!
Family means the world to me, and I feel like I know mine a little better now. And I just want to thank all of the amazing women (and men, but you know.. it’s mother’s day) in my family for everything they have done and I want to wish them a very happy mothers day. You deserve everything!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you incredible mums, dads and other family members who are doing both roles out there. You’re so important and loved and I just want to remind you of that! Have a great weekend.
Thursday was my birthday!! Which means I ate cake, got pampered and did a bit of reflecting on what I want for the next year of my life. I guess it’s a little like new years resolutions but without the guilt if you break them. Reflecting on what I want for myself in the next months is something I’ve never really done before, but the time just feels right.
So, lets get into it!
1 . I am learning (and loving) how to be unapologetically myself.
2 . I want to wear whatever I want, no matter how wacky, weird or boring without fear of being judged, because my opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to my appearance!
3 . Not feeling guilty for any food I eat or workouts that I don’t do.
4 . Be proud of myself for my little achievements.
5 . I want to schedule away at least one day a month for a selfcare day.
6 . Continue to push myself out of my comfort zone and try more new things.
7 . I want to read more books, I love reading but struggle to find stories I get sucked into, so I am on a mission to find some new books!
8 . Learning to love my hair when it’s natural and style it without heat.
9 . Continue blogging as it has brought me so much joy, and I love being creative!
10 . Giving people compliments when I like something about them, whether it’s a piece of clothing, their personality, attitude and/or anything really. It’s always nice bringing a smile to someone’s face, and you never know how much of a difference it can make to someone’s day.
Well, that’s what I’m going to be doing for this upcoming year, and I can’t wait to see what it’s going to throw at me! And I cant wait to see where I’m at in another years time.
So here’s to being another year older, wiser, happier and more comfortable in my own skin. Have a great weekend everyone!!
It’s #SelfcareWeek ! And it’s got me thinking, what do we actually think classes as selfcare? For me, I typically start thinking about face masks and bubble baths. And well yes that can be classed as selfcare; but as amazing as those things are, there are hundreds of other things you can do. And over the last few days, I’ve been partaking in a few of these myself.
The thought for this post came to me whilst I was walking home from the gym; it occurred to me that even though I think of lots of luxurious things as self-care, there are lots of small things I do for myself that make me feel good, and these count too.
Here’s a few things I’ve been doing for myself that aren’t always considered self-care:
Going to the gym, and doing what I want there, if I don’t feel like doing the stair climber today, I just don’t do it and I refuse to feel guilty about it!)
Buying myself a hot chocolate when walking home after going to the gym.
Putting on my moisturizer.
Listening to the Peptalk app (I highly recommend this one for when you’re commuting and walking anywhere, it’s a great motivational tool!)
Watching Nikkietutorials (believe it or not I watch Nikkie’s videos when I’m at the gym and they make me so happy!)
Cleaning my room.
Playing with makeup.
Putting on makeup when I’m not going anywhere!
Lighting scented candles.
Having a bubble bath.
Unfollowing any social media profiles that make me feel bad about myself.
Watching my favourite films.
Cooking my favourite food.
Singing in the shower.
Talking to friends.
Finishing work ON TIME.
Related to the above – not looking at work emails when I’m off work.
Making myself a great breakfast.
Painting, drawing and being creative.
Getting 7/8 hours sleep.
Wearing thermal socks.
Using a 99p face mask.
Chatting to my sister.
Seeing my Niece and Nephew on FaceTime reeking havoc in my sisters house.
Driving round to look at Christmas Lights when they go up.
Making myself a cup of tea.
Meeting up with friends for a chat/food/movies (basically spending time with the important people in your life)
Wearing my favourite clothes.
Honestly the list could go on and on. I love selfcare, sometimes I do still feel selfish or guilty for spending time on ourselves, but we really shouldn’t. We’re stuck with ourselves for life so we better take care of that person we see in the mirror.
And at the end of the day, if something makes you happy and feel good, it’s probably your own version of selfcare. We’re all different so it’s impossible to say that one thing will work for everyone; telling someone to go take a bubble bath to relax if they hate having baths is pretty pointless. It’s a personal thing.
Some of the things in my list you might not consider to be selfcare, but for me, they are. Just doing one small thing for yourself a day can make such a difference to your mood and wellbeing. And myself from a year ago would say something along the lines of “I’ll start next week or in the new year”, but that’s not how I think anymore, the time to start is now.
That’s all from me today, I’m off to go get myself a hot chocolate and sit in a blanket with a book. Have a great weekend lovelies! You’re all amazing!
This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time. And what better time than than a few weeks before ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ begins. Just warning you now, this might be a bit of a long one, but I think talking about these things more does a lot of good, and if this helps anyone out there then I’ll be happy.
Only a small number of people know this about me, but about 1 1/2 years ago I was doing a quick breast check after reading about boobs in an article (I think it was from somewhere like cosmo?) and I found a lump.
Lucky for me, it ended up being labelled benign which means it’s cancer free and shouldn’t impact me. I recognise that I am incredibly lucky that my lump ended up being benign as not everyone is so lucky.
Let me take you back to when I found this lump, I think I was reading an article about why all boob shapes are beautiful (being a girl just wanting to like her body for what it is and all that.. still working on that now haha) when it occurred to me that I hadn’t checked my breasts recently.
So that was when I decided to give my boobs a once over. And that was when I found a pea sized lump towards the bottom left of my left breast. It was like the entire world had stopped when I felt it, then the panic set in. That was when I got my mum to see if they could feel it and that I wasn’t going mad for nothing.
Unfortunately they could feel it too, which meant the next day ringing up the doctors to get an appointment. Sadly my doctors are a bit short staffed without as much people as they probably need for the area I live in, so I had to wait a little while before I could get booked in, but I know that they’re doing everything they can in the current funding situation.
The day of my appointment came and off I went to the doctors absolutely terrified because in the time waiting for my appointment my anxious had wreaked havoc with my head and I had basically come to the conclusion that I was going to have to have surgery or it meant death. Some people may think it’s silly that this is what I was thinking, but that’s the reality of anxiety for you, it’s not rational and you can’t control it.
Once I went in for my appointment the doctor was so lovely and she calmed me right down; she asked me about what I’d felt, where and if I was in any pain. For the record, I’ve suffered with chronic chest pains for about 6 years in the left side of my chest reaching round my entire back and through my shoulder blades (I’ve been back and forth to the doctors for years about it with no avail), so I mentioned this in my appointment to see if this lump could be the cause of the pain if it had trapped a nerve or something, I didn’t know what it could be because I’m not a doctor and no amount of googling was helping me out.
I’ve recently found out the pain is actually coming from a few other conditions which I’ll talk about in another post, but I am okay and getting treatment so it’s now being managed. Right, back to talking about boobs!
After talking about what was going on, then came the examination. It was pretty nerve wracking getting my boobs out for a complete stranger, but it had to be done. She got me to show here where the lump was and then she felt my breasts for lumps. That was when she confirmed to me that I was right and that there is something there.
The doctor did then confirm to me that yes there is a lump, but the good news was that it was very small, around 8mm-1cm big, which meant it was probably benign which is great news. In order to just double check everything from my appointment, I was then given an appointment for an ultrasound so we could actually see what was going on.
The hospital appointment came round about two weeks after my doctors appointment which was pretty fast in my eyes. And I was glad because I just wanted to know what was happening and if I needed to start thinking about how I was going to potentially tackle the big C.
I brought my mum along with me to this appointment because 1.) We love doctor/hospital shows like 24hours in A&E and stuff like that, and 2.) She’s always there to support me in whatever way I need it. Going in for my ultrasound was pretty surreal, I walked into this dark room with 3 medical professionals in it, a load of equipment, a medical bed, 2 chairs and a curtain. My mum stayed with me for the entire thing, which helped a lot with the nerves.
So, I said hello to all of these very welcoming women in this dark room, took my top and bra off and laid down on the medical bed. It’s pretty weird having 3 women that you met 5 seconds ago staring at your boobs I’m not going to lie. The main doctor there did another examination on my breasts and then she put the coldest gel in my boobs I’ve ever felt haha. Then came the ultrasound machine, the doctor pushed it all over my boob until we came across a dark blob on the screen. My lump.
Here came the good bit for me. After a bit of moving around the blob the doctor came to the conclusion that my lump is definitely benign, and that I actually have something called a fibroadenoma. Fibroadenoma’s are a range of solid breast lesions that can feel hard, soft, smooth and rubbery, a bit like a pea, but they can be larger. Fibroadenoma’s are usually painless, but if they are causing significant pain they can sometimes be removed; you should also keep an eye on the lumps and go back to your GP if anything changes.
It’s pretty strange looking at an image of your boob on an ultrasound screen, especially because you only ever see ultrasounds happening to check on pregnancies.
So, once my ultrasound was done, I headed out with a leaflet about fibroadenomas and a huge sense of relief. I was and am incredibly lucky that my lump isn’t anything that serious.
At the beginning of this year, I thought my lump might had gotten bigger; but this was also around the time that I had lost a lot of weight, so I wasn’t sure if maybe I could just feel the lump more. So along came a second round of appointments to the doctors and hospital and lucky for me, nothing had changed other than myself losing weight.
This was great news for me as you can imagine. Some people aren’t as lucky as I am and I will be forever grateful that my lump is nothing serious. I’m still living with my lump at the moment, and it does cause some achiness now and again, but I know things could be so much worse.
What I want everyone to take away from this is to make sure you’re checking your breasts on a regular basis. You never realise how lucky you are until you have a scare like this. Even if you’re a man reading this, check your chest too, because men too can breast cancer. If you’re looking for some more information about what signs to look out for when checking your breasts, you can find that here! You can download a leaflet on what to look out for here!
I hope you’ve all enjoyed finding out a bit more about me and have found this useful; I know it’s been a bit long winded, but it’s an important issue that needs to be spoken about.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! And I also want to say a big thank you to all of my lovely readers for all of your support, and to celebrate my first 100 subscribers and say thank you to you all, stay tuned for a giveaway at the end of the month!!
So that’s it from me for today! Have a great week everyone! Love,
We all know that feeling when pay day hits; you know, the feeling you get when that little voice in your head says treat yo self! You deserve it! And then you go and buy a load of stuff that you forget about until you’re surrounded by loads of mystery packages.
I’m pretty bad for buying stuff that I don’t need when pay day hits, and I always forget about budgets and keeping track of my spending habits, which is until the week before pay day where I don’t stop checking my bank balance.
This is why I’ve decided to create a list of 10 presents you can buy yourself for a treat which are great for some self-care without breaking the bank! And they’re all available on Amazon!
Because who doesn’t need a little pick me up every now and again? These are little quotes, inspirations and motivations to give you a boost every day for a month and are great for if you’re having a bad day and need a little positivity boost! 2 . Mini Elephant Shaped Candles Gift Set. £5.11
These are just so cute! They are all scented as follows: Purple is Lavendar, Green is Jasmine, Pink is Rose, Red is Strawberry and Yellow is Lemongrass. These would be great for when you have a big bubble bath to relax! 3 . BiC Coloured Pencils. £10.00
Coloured pencils are always a good treat, and are necessary when you buy the next gift for yourself!
Colouring isn’t just for little kids; it can be really therapeutic and great for mindfulness. I personally love tuning out and doing a bit of drawing, so being able to chill out and just colour is great!
Sweets and chocolates are a great way to do a bit of self-care; and retro sweets are so yummy! This should keep you going for quite a few weeks too, and are great for a movie night! 8 . Weighted Fitness Hula Hoop. £12.99
We’ve all heard a million times about how exercising is good for our mental health as well as our physical health, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Which is why I’ve put this fitness hula hoop in here! 9 . Glow In The Dark Star Stickers. £11.99
I’ve had these for quite some time now, and they’re just plain great. I will warn you though, I stuck all of mine above my bed on the ceiling and it took about 1/2hours in total. But the result in completely worth it! Especially as someone with mental health challenges, these really help my mind settle when I’m trying to get some sleep. 10 . Burt’s Bees Tip and Toes Kit. £9.99 in the sale and £12.99 usually
Finally, good ole Burt’s Bees! Because who doesn’t like stuff from Burt’s Bees?! A great way to take care of yourself is with a bit of pampering, and using things like this are a great way to distract yourself from any anxiety or panic thoughts.
So that’s it for this weeks post! I just thought that a little bit retail therapy never hurt anyone? Well at least these prices won’t! And the majority of these can be bought with prime so you get free next day delivery!
And remember, no matter whatever some people may say, ‘self-care is not selfish.’
Have a great week everyone! Let me know if you decide to get any of these gifts to yourself! Love,
Since I tried BoomBod for a week about 2 months ago, I’ve been getting lots of requests for more posts like that! So over the past 2 weeks I’ve been trying the oh so famous Bootea! I wanted to see if all of the claims it makes are true or if it’s going to be a similar story to my experience with BoomBod.
I will state now though, that these posts aren’t sponsored and that these are just my personal experiences and reviews with these products and how I found them to work! So even if something doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work for other people.
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what I ordered:
So, it is claimed that this teatox “will leave you feeling energized and motivated to reach all of your fitness goals. Beat the bloat and feel better than ever with our two-week programme, complete with Daytime and Bedtime tea bags to keep you on track” – Bootea 14 Day teatox description.
Well, I’m here to put this to the test.. and see if it would do anything for me without changing my lifestyle. Just for the record, I currently work out regularly between 4-6 times a week and have a healthy diet, so whatever happens should be from the teatox.
With the teatox you’re supposed to drink the day tea first thing in the morning and then the night tea every other evening before you go to bed. So if you order it and are wondering why there’s half the night teabags, that’s why.
Right, on with the review! I’ll give you a rundown of how my two weeks went and then show you my photos from throughout the week! First off, here’s what the tea looks like, yes it looks like pee when made, so don’t be alarmed when I goes a yellowy colour!
Day 1 – 3
Thoughts: If this does anything I’ll be impressed, especially because it’s just a cup of tea in the morning and every other night. Taste wise these are okay, the morning tea tastes like a variation of green tea to me; which I personally don’t mind. The night tea however tastes like peppermint tea, which I haven’t ever had before so we’ll see if I end up liking it by the end of this.
Thoughts at the end of day 3: This seems very easy compared to Boombod, and since I love a good cup of tea, this is pretty good if it does anything!
Day 4 – 7
Thoughts: So far I’m not seeing any results, but I am finding that the peppermint night tea helps me fall asleep a bit better than without it. I think I’m starting to get used to the taste of it too which is good. I have found that the morning tea keeps me fuller for longer and I’m finding that I don’t need anything after breakfast to tide me over until lunchtime.
End of day 7 thoughts: I quite like this teatox, but there doesn’t really appear to be any visible results as of yet.
Day 8 – 11
Thoughts: Today I feel like I’m starting to see a little more definition in my stomach, but my stomach still looks bloated in my opinion. At least this is a simple teatox rather than something that’s a hassle to make up every time. One thing I have noticed is that I’ve started looking forward to the teas in the morning and especially in the evenings. I’ve been trying to be mindful as I’m having my tea first thing, which has been quite a good de-stressor for me, so that’s good.
End of day 11 thoughts: I wonder if this would make a difference if I started exercising even more and eating healthier? But then the results could just be from upping my exercise routine and changing my lifestyle further.
Day 12 – 14
Thoughts: I think I might actually re-buy this teatox, purely because I like the taste of it, not because it’s done anything physically. I’m pretty sure the only reason I’ve actually enjoyed this teatox is because I’m a bit of a tea addict, and love a good cuppa to wake up with first thing in the morning, and throughout the day t be honest..haha. These two weeks have gone fast, and I think the only difference physically is very minimal between the start and now, so I do wonder what this tea is actually supposed to do.
End of the 2 weeks thoughts: When I started this I thought that the only thing these teas could possibly do was make you need the loo more, which I doesn’t anymore than normal green tea. And I didn’t expect the tea to do much else, which I have to admit I was right in my opinion.
Here’s my before, during and afters! And as you know by now, I like being real with you on here, so here you’ll get to witness me in my very unsexy pants and pyjamas because I’m not going to dress up and be fake to you guys, this is me (I took these first thing in the morning half asleep!) and what the teatox actually did..haha!
What I would take away from this is that if you’re looking for a quick fix to lose weight, this isn’t the answer; sorry, I know for a lot of us we wish it is, but the sad reality is that working hard and eating right is the healthy way to do that.
What I will say is that I have decided to order another batch of Bootea, purely because I like how it tastes and I’m curious to see if doing it for another 2 weeks will make any difference. But don’t worry, I’ll do a follow up in another 2 weeks time if anything has changed after doing this for longer!(nothing changed! Surprise..surprise..)
My final thoughts on the Bootea 14 Day Teatox are that for me it didn’t really change anything physically. However, I have noticed that I feel more confident in my appearance due to drinking the teas and feeling like they could be helping me feel a tiny bit less bloated; but I think the reality is that it’s the placebo affect.
Nevertheless I would suggest giving this a go if you’re generally curious or wanting to try out some new teas. The only reason for saying give this a go if you’re curious is due to the fact that It’s surprisingly cheap considering the reputation they have with celebrities promoting it and stuff. I bought my pack whilst it was on offer for £12.45, so it didn’t feel like a waste of money giving this a go and not seeing results.
At the end of the day though, this experience has been a reminder of how we should all learn to love ourselves as we are, with no ideal body types, shapes, sizes or colours in mind; because we’re all beautiful no matter what. One thing I did notice was how Bootea did say on their website that they do not promote a certain body ideal, which I do appreciate. But I think that celebrities and influencers should take care in what they promote, because you never know how their messages can effect someone.
I hope this helps out any of you looking to try out Bootea! And remember, you’re perfect as you are and the only thing you need to do is realise that! Have a great weekend lovelies! Love,