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!
Happy Saturday my lovelies! This past weekend I turned 25 and got to join the quarantine birthday gang. Since I couldn’t (and still can’t) go out or do anything for my birthday I decided to chill out with a slice of cake, low-alcohol wine and an episode of the Great Pottery Throwdown; which honestly is probably how I would’ve ended my birthday anyway being an introvert and little old lady at heart.
One of my Christmas presents was a gratitude journal so I’ve also been reflecting on what I’m grateful for, what lessons I’ve learnt over the last 25 years and I’ve also decided to make a list of things I want to do before I turn 30.
Things I’m grateful for are:
My body for getting me where I am today – even though I live with chronic pain, I’m grateful for what my body allows me to do.
My imagination and creativity.
My family and friends.
My job – it’s honestly the best job I’ve ever had and that’s not only because I love me work family but I also love making an impact in the mental health and addiction sector.
My newfound ability to not care what others think of how I look.
Music – it helps me find motivation, brings me joy and always helps me unwind.
For finding myself again over the last year.
So, onto the 25 things I want to do before I turn 30 (in no particular order):
Go to pride in London – I wanted to go last year but obviously due to covid we couldn’t, so hopefully by 2022 we can have an in person pride!
Buy my own home – at the moment I’m living at home with my family and saving up for a deposit so I can get a mortgage in a year or two.
Have a full diagnosis of my chronic back pain – if you didn’t know already, I’m a spoonie and have been going back and forth for over 4 years trying to find out what causing my back pain (you can read more about it here!).
Travel somewhere by myself – you always hear about these transformational travels people go on and I want to experience that!
Get a new car – mine happens to be slowly deteriorating on my driveway at the moment..but I’m also not going anywhere so it’s pointless replacing it until we can go out again.
Learn another language well enough to be able to actually have some form of simple conversation with others – I’m currently learning Spanish with the trusty ‘ole Duolingo.
Go to one of the sleepovers at the Natural History museum!
Get two more tattoos – a big one of peonies and another of a robin.
Learn how to code – I’m already learning this and know a decent amount, but it’s always good to keep learning and I want to be able to remember all of the different codes without needing to triple check them.
Take a fitness/dance class without feeling self-conscious – when I say that I look like a robot who has two left feet I’m not exaggerating.
Try throwing pottery – I’ve just never had the opportunity to do and love sculpting with clay in general.
Take a full life drawing course – I’ve dipped in and out of life drawing lessons over the years and I always absolutely loved them so I want to make them a regular thing when we can all meet up again.
Join or form a book club – I just need to read more to be honest and when I find a book I love I read it in about 4 days and then can’t find a book I like for ages.
Learn how to animate – I’ve made a start on this already by learning how to do basic animations in procreate but I want to get better at it!
Fully understand how taxes and all the other finance stuff works that we should’ve been taught in school.
Have a decent amount of money saved for emergencies.
Design and sew an entire outfit – I love the Great British Sewing Bee and I have an A-Level in textiles but I never give myself the proper amount of time to actually finishing sewing projects.
Sell some of my art – I’ve made art all my life and been too scared to actually sell it even when people say it’s great, so I think it’s about time I actually believe it when people say they would buy my work.
Have a solid morning and night routine.
Make more friends – I have less than 3 friends outside of my work family so I really need to learn how to make friends as an adult. If anyone knows how to do this please tell me hahaha.
Get better at swimming – I am an extremely weak swimmer.
Try more food – I’ve been a fussy eater all my life and I’m slowly getting better. Progress is still progress no matter how small.
Grow my hair as long as I can stand it now that it’s healthy – and then maybe I’ll shave it again and donate it for charity? Who knows?!
Do something that scares me.
Learn to stand up for myself when a boundary is crossed.
And those are my 25 things I want to do over the next 5 years. One of the biggest things on that list is getting my own place, and I can’t wait for the time when that happens, not only because it’ll be my own place, but also because I love interior design and can’t wait to decorate and make the place my own. Another thing I can’t wait to do is go to pride because it’s just such an uplifting time filled with celebration, community and love and to be there in person will be amazing.
You may have noticed that there are two things I’ve missed from my list that people my age are quite likely to include which is getting married and having kids. Well, I’m currently single, and believe it or not over the last year I’ve realised that I don’t actually mind being by myself; that doesn’t mean there aren’t days when I feel lonely, it just means that I’m fine with being by myself if that’s what happens in the end. And on the kids front, I’ve always imagined myself having kids one day, in fact when I was younger I thought I’d have kids by the time I’m 25, but as time has gone one I’ve realised that I’ll just have kids when I’m ready instead of putting a proper timescale on it. And if I do end up not having the ability to have children by myself for whatever reason (whether it’s because I’m by myself or if I’m in a relationship and it’s not possible) then I’ll either adopt, get a donor or foster.
It’s funny to me how much I’ve changed over the last year. I used to think that I needed to have so many big life events happen before 25 or before 28 and I would put stupid time frames on events you haven’t always got control of; and that was because I kept seeing people on social media my age having kids, getting married and buying their own places already. But what I completely forgot is that photo of house keys or engagement ring isn’t the entire story, and the majority of people feel like they’re behind. I’ve also realised that I’ve actually done a hell of a lot in the time I’ve been on earth, and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve achieved so far!
Happy Saturday my lovelies! Can you believe we’re in September? It’s finally spooky season! As someone who loves Autumn and Winter, I can’t wait for Halloween and then Christmas, and the weather to get chillier. It’s this time of year when everyone starts to put away their Summer clothes and pull out their cosy jumpers and ankle boots.
And that leads me onto today’s post; as you may know, over the last few months I’ve been doing a sort of fashion challenge – project 333, and for the first 1 3/4 months it went great. And then, I sort of fell off of the project 333 wagon. But you know what, that’s ok.
I think part of the reason why I struggled to keep up with the project was because I hadn’t thought about how long 3 months really is, and in what 3 months I would actually have to keep my 33 items and the project going for. And what I’d completely forgotten was that Autumn would begin half way through the project. Which meant that my wardrobe of choice probably wouldn’t be suitable for the change in temperature.
Another reason why I failed the project was because I went on a bit of a shopping binge. You see, over the last few weeks I’ve really been thinking about the clothes I love and the style that I love to wear, and to tell you the truth I caved and went on a shopping spree and picked up a few new t-shirts, jeans, cardigans, jumpers and basically anything I loved that would fit with the aesthetic I love.
So yeah, I failed project 333, but that’s ok; because I learnt a lot from the project not only about the importance of trying to avoid fast fashion and being more conscious with clothes waste but also about my own sense of style and what makes me feel good. When I go shopping I try and stick to brands who are more eco conscious and have values I believe in.
What I have decided to do now, is donate the clothes that I don’t wear anymore, and put together a condensed capsule wardrobe of sorts with around 40 pieces of clothes and about 5 pairs of shoes. When I pick up anything new I give myself the task of thinking of at least 5 different outfits I can make with it before deciding if it’s something that is worth buying, so I’m not picking up one-wear-wonders.
So, what does my wardrobe contain now?
Well, I have a selection of t-shirts (I’ve been loving tying tee’s up with high waisted skirts and jeans), mom jeans (with one pair I have personalised with fabric markers, you can see them in the photo above), jumpers, cardigans and skirts.
Here’s some pieces from my updated wardrobe:
It’s funny looking back over the last few weeks at what’s changed and what hasn’t, one of the biggest changes being how much my hair has grown and that I’ve dyed it a dark auburn colour! Here’s a rough run down of what my entire wardrobe entails now:
And those are all of the items in my new wardrobe! There’s a few more classic items like a few more vest tops and black and white tshirts, but that’s about it for what I’ve got. I’ve also included my black military boots, some brown ankle boots, two pairs of platform trainers, black flats and a pair of white converse.
All that’s left is to find a dress that I like and feel comfortable in for lots of different occasions and I think that’ll be everything I need in my wardrobe. Another thing I’ve found a love for is gold jewellery and headbands. Headbands in particular at the moment because my hair is growing out and is in between styles, and these have been super helpful in helping me tame it a bit.
Even though I changed my capsule wardrobe from my project 333 one, looking back I still like all of the outfits I made with that wardrobe, but I feel a lot more happy with my updated one. I think my favourite items are the mom jeans, my personalised mom jeans, camel cardigan, printed t-shirts and my grey halter-neck waistcoat top.
Although I didn’t manage my three months with my 33 items, I don’t see it as a complete failure, because at the end of the day I found out what I do and don’t like to wear, which is one of the main goals of the project, so in some ways, the project was actually a success? I’m looking forward to seeing how my wardrobe evolves over the next few months, and if I can find a dress I feel comfortable and happy in. I think my new goal for my capsule wardrobe of sorts is to stay under 50 pieces in total, and not have many items I rarely wear.
Hello my lovelies! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far and that it’s not pouring down too much! (That being said, I kind of love thunderstorms..) So, this week shops have begun opening again and lockdown measures are beginning to lessen, which is great news; and if you’re off out to them, please be safe and wear a mask! It’s amazing hearing that lockdown is sort of at its end now, and with shops opening it certainly feels a lot more like how it used to be; but at the same time it feels so strange because I’d gotten so used to everything being shut and no one going out!
Being in lockdown has allowed me to do a range of things I’d either forgotten about, didn’t feel like I had time for and has given me some time with myself and my thoughts. And with everything that’s happened (and still happening), if I didn’t take care of my mental wellbeing, my mind would end up a bit like this:
Naturally, having my mind acting like that is not ideal, so I’ve been taking care of myself by doing all sorts to manage my wellbeing; and I’ve learnt quite a few things about what makes me feel good and sets me up to have a good day.
So, what have I learnt? Well…
Something as small as a good cup of tea can work wonders when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
I’ve been trying all sorts of teas during lockdown and have finally landed on one that I absolutely adore, redbush tea. It’s naturally sweet and smells great. Plus it’s naturally caffeine free, and as someone who has anxiety, decaf is all I drink. I also used to have a heavy sugar and then sweetener addiction, and during lockdown I’ve managed to curb that to the point of only needing one sweetner in my tea since redbush is so naturally sweet. Anytime I feel like I need five minutes completely to myself, I go and get myself a lovely cup of tea and chill out for a few minutes.
Audiobooks are a great escape from the news.
The news has gotten so overwhelming and is the same thing repeated over and over again, so I’ve been limiting how much time I spend listening and watching it and have been listening to audiobooks instead. I found they’re a great way to escape the never ending covid news and just tune out and chill out for a bit.
Plants are an incredible way to brighten up any space and simply put, bring me joy and peace.
I have fallen madly in love with house plants over lockdown. Maybe it’s not being able to go outside much or something else, but I’ve gone from having three fake plants to over 10 alive ones during my time at home. I’ve found they’re a great distraction from everything going on, and they’re something you can focus your energy on even when you don’t feel like looking after yourself. And on top of that you’ll breathe easier with more plants in your space!
Redecorating is a great way to feel refreshed and give you that new start feeling.
I had been in the same space for several years, and it was a pretty dark room due to there being slanted ceilings and only one window. My brother had had the smallest room in the house for years and long story short he kept asking me when I was moving out (gotta love saving for your own place..) so he could have my room. So, I thought about it and decided it’s about time he got a big room. And so, over the course of a weekend we painted, moved furniture and reorganised each others room; now I’m in the smallest room in the house. You might think having a tiny room with only enough space for a clothes rail, bed, desk and bedside table would feel cluttered and give you anxiety; but it’s actually been incredibly refreshing and has encouraged me to completely declutter all of my belongings to what I actually need. My room feels fresh and bright and is the new beginning that I needed.
No one is looking at my scars when I’m out without makeup on. My skin looks fine with and without makeup.
Since we’ve all been inside for a long time, a lot of us who would normally wear makeup regularly have reduced our days wearing makeup to virtually zero. And as nice as I feel when I’m wearing a full face, not being able to touch my face for fear of my makeup coming off everywhere just isn’t worth it anymore for me. So now I only wear a full face when I’m doing a photoshoot. And even then it’s a much paired down makeup routine to my previous one. When I do go outside I wear a tiny bit of clear brow gel, clear mascara and lipgloss; and even then that’s a rare occurrence. At first I was concerned that my acne, rosacea and psoriasis scars would make people stare at me, but to be honest, no one really cares at all. And now I don’t even wear foundation in most of my photoshoots!
A light projector is a great way to rid you of night worries.
I picked up a light projector from amazon after switching rooms with my brother because I had individually stuck 800 glow in the dark stars to my old ceiling and my new room felt weird without them, so this was a great replacement. The light can change colours, project water and stars around the entire room. Plus this projector light is also a speaker and has a timer setting so you can leave it on when you go to bed without fear of it staying on all night and overheating. I like to put on a mix of red and blue light with the stars whilst I listen to meditations or read before bed. It’s super relaxing, and I’d recommend it to anyone who struggles to get rid of worries before bed.
Yoga is a form of meditation for me.
Before lockdown I would practice yoga on and off every now and again, but about halfway through lockdown I started practicing yoga for 30 minutes each day to chill out and reset. I’ve been watching Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and am about 3/4’s of the way through her 30 day yoga practice/challenge. These have helped me unwind after a day at my desk and spend some time acknowledging my thoughts and feelings and let them be what they are. Yoga is something I don’t go a day without now because it allows me to release and explore anything I need to without pushing my feelings down until they inevitably explode out of nowhere.
Just because I’m not going anywhere doesn’t mean I can’t look cute.
Something I used to do before lockdown was wear simple outfits during the work week with a hint of my unique style, and then go all out at the weekend. But since we’ve been inside an awful lot, I have taken pleasure in dressing completely unapologetically in my unique style, going all out with my outfits every day. Gone are the days where I would save outfits for an occasion; because after all, you don’t buy clothes to have them stay on the hanger only to be worn once in a blue moon.
Shaving my hair off is the most freeing and liberating thing I could have ever done.
As you probably know, at the beginning of lockdown I shaved my head. It was something I’d always wanted to do, and lockdown gave me the perfect opportunity to do it. Shaving my head was scary yes, but oh so worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat because I’ve never felt more like myself. It’s helped me reassess what about my appearance I relied on as a comfort blanket and how I feel about how I look. I feel beautiful with and without hair and let me tell you, not having to do your hair in the morning is an incredible feeling.
Time really does heal.
So, at the end of February my ex and I broke up. We’d been together for over 8 years, since we were 15 years old. He was my first love and to be honest I think we weren’t sure what we wanted anymore. To tell you the truth one of the good things about going into quarantine is that its allowed me to process my feelings and work through what I needed to work through, and now, four months on I feel amazing. Time really is a healer and quarantine is the enforced time I needed for myself.
Days doing nothing are necessary.
Looking online I saw so many people talking about how they were working on their next project or finding a side hustle during their time at home, and it made me feel like having a day to do nothing was a waste of all of this new found spare time. But, as someone who hasn’t actually been furloughed and worked the entire way through lockdown whilst simultaneously running her own business, my spare time actually felt shorter than ever before and I began feeling guilty for wanting to spend the day in front of the telly. However, if you don’t take time to look after yourself and recharge, you’re going to burn out. So, I ended up taking a few days holiday during lockdown to literally do nothing. And they were just what I needed to recharge and refresh myself ready to get going again. You haven’t always got to be doing something!
Photoshoots are a great way to boost your mood.
Something I’ve been doing is having photoshoots with no real goal or purpose in mind other than to turn up some music and vibe; and let me tell you, it is such a great way to give you a mood boost. Plus, you get some super cute photos out of it too! I like using this as a tool for testing out new outfit ideas I’ve had as well, and the second I’m vibing in the outfit, it instantly brings a smile to my face making everything even cuter.
Family quiz nights are perfect for catching up with family without the awkward ‘how’s your love life?’ questions.
Most of us have been talking to family and friends even more than before over the last few months, and for my lot, we’ve been having two different game/quiz nights, one board game night on a friday with one side of my family and a quiz on the saturday night with the other side of my family. I love a quiz so these have been so much fun, and since we’re all focused on the game/quiz, all awkward questions you don’t want to answer hardly ever get asked.
Skincare routines are a small way to show yourself some selfcare.
I’ve taken this time at home to fully delve into my skincare routine and find things that truly work for my skin. In the morning I use my Carbon Theory soap bar, followed by a serum or complete care cream (I alternate these daily) and then in the evening I use an aloe vera cleansing foam followed by an aloe vera moisturising gel and then my adapalene retinol cream. I’ve stuck to this routine for about 3 months and my skin has never felt better. Yes, I still have my adult acne, but the texture of my skin has changed and I think my skin tone has evened out a bit. 5 minutes in the morning and evening to look after yourself can really work wonders.
Tarot card readings help me feel centered.
This one isn’t for everyone, but I personally love doing tarot readings. I like to burn some incense sticks, put on some relaxing music and then give myself a tarot reading, focusing on whatever question or worry I’ve had going through my mind. The cards don’t give you direct answers of course, but they can give you a gentle nudge into a direction you could take. And I personally find a little bit of calm in allowing other forces (believe what you want to believe.. if you don’t believe in that sort of thing that’s your choice and you do you) to give me a bit of guidance on what I can do.
Routines are necessary to keep me productive on weekdays.
As nice at it was to work in my pyjamas every single day, it stops the day from being broken up and you can lose a sense of what day it is. So, I’ve created a routine which I stick to every weekday to help my days stop blending into one. I wake up at 6.30am, go get breakfast by 7am, have a cup of tea and then wash my face and brush my teeth; then I watch some youtube or tv and then start work at 8am. I then work until 4pm with a lunch break in the middle and then at 4.30pm I start cooking my tea. By 6pm I workout and shower, then play some animal crossing, watch some tv and then get ready to go to bed and then go to sleep by 10pm. Having structure has helped keep me productive and make sure I’ve scheduled in some time for selfcare.
And those are what I’ve learnt from being in lockdown!
I feel like I’ve grown a lot during lockdown, at the start of lockdown it had been about 3 weeks since my ex and I had split, I was in a completely different space mentally and physically, I was surrounded physical clutter too and I was stressed about all sorts. But now, I’m single and happy, I’ve moved into a new space, I’ve thrown away and donated the majority of my belongings by going minimalist, I’m finally on top of my savings and can manage my finances with (some level of) confidence and I’m now adult enough to keep plants alive and I give even less of a care about how others view my appearance!
Looking back at who I was at the beginning of lockdown is truly like looking at a different person. My family and friends have said I seem more like myself and happier than ever and I can’t help but agree with them. Truth be told I think lockdown was the time out from the outside world that I didn’t know I really needed.
What have you learnt from being in lockdown? Let me know in the comments!
Happy Saturday my lovelies! This week has flown by for me, I think I’ve lost track of what day it is at least 3 times everyday, and haven’t actually been outside other than twice this week. Today was the first day I’ve actually allowed myself some time to actually have my daily walk, because all throughout the week I’ve just been way too busy to do so!
It feels weird being so busy now, especially because I know a lot of people aren’t working right now. I’m one of the very lucky people who can work from home, so I am working monday – thursday with my full time job and then I’m also running my own business in the evenings and on fridays, as well as writing this blog, trying to stay fit and doing some hobbies.
One thing that hasn’t been taking up my time, is doing my hair. Because as you may know from my post a few weeks ago and my insta, about a month ago, I shaved my head for the first time.
And since then, I’ve learnt quite a few things.
1 . I love not having to wake up and think about styling my hair. In fact, I have hardly thought about it at all since chopping it all off, and I’m a lot less stressed when it comes to getting dressed and ready for the day because I’ve saved about 40 minutes from my morning.
2 . My skin is thanking me. I don’t know if it’s related, but before I used to have my hair on my face all of the time, and due to having naturally curly hair, I always used products to tame it, and since having no hair to go on my face my skin appears to have cleared up a bit (I’m also trying out some new skincare products, so that might be helping too).
3 . I love a beanie hat. Or any hat to be honest. When I was younger I loved wearing hats in all forms, but as I’ve gotten older I always struggled to feel comfortable and stylish whilst wearing them. And I realise now that I think it was partly down to hat hair and not finding a way to wear a hat without feeling drowned; but now I don’t have to worry about hat hair, so I bought myself some beanie hats because I was getting a little chilly, and I now wear them nearly every day! They are just so cosy and I have a few colours which go with any of my looks for the day.
4 . Showers are so much quicker, and cheaper! We all knew that showers would become quicker, but I didn’t realise how little shampoo and conditioner I’d actually need. I haven’t had to spend any money keeping up with all of my hair products which is great!
5 . I didn’t realise how much of a comfort blanket my hair was. It’s one of those cases where you can’t see how something has affected you until it’s gone. For me, that was definitely my hair, it’s one of the things everyone recognised me by and knew me for. I think that’s why it took me so long to actually shave it off, I’d always wanted to do it of course, but it was the fear of hating how it looked and being judged and seen differently that stopped me. Now that it’s gone, in fact the second it was gone, I felt so incredibly free that I’m not sure why I hadn’t done it sooner!
6 . Hair doesn’t make you any more or less feminine. I was very paranoid that people would think I was a man or misidentify me. But I don’t know why I thought this, I think this is something that’s unconsciously ingrained in us since we’re young, that girls are supposed to have flowing hair and boys are supposed to have short hair. What I’ve come to see as I’ve gotten older is that I frickin love women with short hair and men with longer hair, and every other form of hair style on all kinds of people. When I had long hair I had days where I felt more masculine and then days where I felt more feminine and then days where I felt neither, and having my hair this short just reinforced that gender stereotypes are a load of bollocks and you should do what makes you happy.
7 . Your hair will grow back, and your hair grows faster than you think it does! I’ve trimmed my hair every weekend since I’ve shaved it, and I’ve had just over half a cm come off each week. It doesn’t sound like a lot I know, but when you think about it, it’s not bad!
8 . I’m not sure I want to grow my hair out again. I don’t know if it’s because it’s so comfy and freeing and easy or if it’s purely for the fact that I love it. Oh and the fact that head massages are even better with no hair.
9 . I’ve never been happier with my appearance. If you would’ve asked me 5 years or even 10 years ago if I would be my most confident self with a shaved head I would have laughed in your face. But who would’ve known! I love it!
10. I know myself better now. In shaving my head, I’ve finally began spending time actually looking at what makes me feel good and feel like myself. And over the last month and a half I have had days here and there where I’ve not felt my best self, but I think that’s pretty normal given the state of things, and then I’ve had days where I absolutely love how I look, but I can honestly say I have 90% more days where I live how I look. I’ve had time to actually look at my face, and I mean really look at my face; it’s not something we usually do, not when you really think about it, we get distracted by our hair and how that changes our face, so I’ve taken time to actually get to know myself better.
And that’s what I’ve learnt so far. I never would’ve thought simply having little to no hair would change me so much, and when I say change me, I don’t mean change who I am, I mean that I’ve changed in the sense that I’ve so much more confident, more accepting and less judgemental of myself and I couldn’t care less about what traditionally makes us attractive in society.
So, after all of that I’ll leave you with this:
One day I woke up and realised I was not made for anyone, I was made for me. I am my own.
Powerful stuff eh? Anyway, look after yourselves my lovely! Have a great weekend and stay safe!
Hello lovelies! How was everyone’s week? Are you looking forward to the Bank Holiday Monday? I know I am! So, you can probably guess from the title of today’s post what I’ll be chatting/writing about. I have been learning to play the piano!
Ever since I was little I wanted to be musically talented. You know what it’s like, ‘I want to be a popstar!’ and all that. But, sadly for me, that was not to be. I have zero musical abilities and have tried, failed and vowed to only listen to music over and over again and give up on my dreams of being able to play an instrument and sing.
Well, about a month and a bit ago, I decided that I was going to learn to play the piano once again. And this time I promised myself that this time I WOULD NOT GIVE UP. If you’ve been in this position before and tried to learn an instrument then you’re likely familiar with feeling super motivated and determined and then trying to play a tutorial from YouTube and then realising you’re in over your head. And then giving up.
Also it didn’t help that last time I tried to teach myself the piano I was trying to do it on a small kiddies keyboard that was bright pink.. you know the ones, you get them from Argos for about £20. Bargain for young kids who are just starting out if you ask me! But maybe not ideal if you’re teaching yourself.. especially if you’re in your twenties..
And when I tried to learn before I had no intention of starting with the basics, I couldn’t read sheet music, couldn’t use both hands to play anything and just generally couldn’t do anything other than the start of maybe one song without any cords.
So, what changed this time?
Well, I decided I wanted to learn to play again when I found a fairly decent keyboard in our loft! This time I WAS going to learn and I was going to take it seriously and practice everyday and actually have some structure to how I was going to learn.
I’d seen adverts for the app Simply Piano (by JoyTunes) more times than I could count so I thought I’d give that a go. The app is a subscription based app but for me, I figured that would give me the motivation I needed to keep learning and not give up on it.
The subscription is about £38 for three months I think, which originally I thought was a lot, but when you think about how much actual lessons with a tutor cost per session, its really cheap! (By the way this isn’t an ad or anything, this is just what I’ve been using and liking!)
So.. on to how the last month and a bit has been. Well, I have been doing at least 30 minutes of piano practice everyday (I try to do 1 hour per day, but sometimes you just haven’t got the time!) and I am actually seeing progress!
I can now read sheet music, which I never had any idea on where to start in learning how to read music before. So that’s as big achievement for me. Also, I can now play quite a few songs with sheet music and I’ve been learning how to play some piano songs I’ve loved forever with the help of some easy YouTube tutorials.
One song I’m super proud of myself for learning (it’s only the super simplified easy version) is Yiruma – River Flows In You. I’ve added the video I learnt from below! Totally recommend this channel for beginner piano tutorials!
I’m definitely going to continue learning and practising the piano because I absolutely love it and I feel like it’s helped me with my mental health too. Music is something I’ve always used to relax and just tune out of whats around me, so being able to play it means the world to me! And I never imagined I would get as far as I have with my learning, and I’m not embarrassed to say I’m super proud of myself for sticking with it!
There are some things to remember when learning to play a new instrument or skill in general; first up, don’t give up! We all have bad days and good days, so even if you’re having a bad day and just can’t seem to get into a groove (pun intended haha), keep trying! Because the next day, you might be able to do whatever you struggled with without any issues!
Schedule away some time everyday to practice, so you know you’ve got time to work on yourself! This has really helped me to keep up with my lessons and progress, because if I didn’t put a reminder in my phone, I’d completely forget to practice.
Learning a new skill won’t happen overnight. It takes patience, practice and time!
Finally, BE PROUD OF YOURSELF. Making the decision to learn a new skill, no matter what it is, can be nerve racking, but so worth it! So be proud of the little things, for me learning to recognise a note on sheet music is huge for me, because I never imagined I’d be able to read music.
Here’s me playing River Flows In You based from the video above! Please be nice, I know it isn’t perfect (and I didn’t have the cables to record it any other way so the quality isn’t great..) but we all gotta start somewhere!
Another thing I’m super proud of is that I’m beginning to be able to play with both hands consistently without looking at them both constantly, which is pretty incredible coming from someone who would play the right hand from music tutorials with both hands..
Alright, I think that’s enough waffling on from me for today haha! Let me know in the comments what instrument you play or would love to learn to play. Also, when I’m confident in my keyboard/piano skills is that something you would want to see? Let me know!!
Have a great day everyone! And Happy May Day for Monday!
p.s. Here’s me playing the extremely simplified version of ‘Comptine d’un autre été’ from the same YouTube Channel shown above!
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!
So this week I’ve realised that 1.) I’ve come a long way with my eating disorder treatment, and 2.) I’ve learnt a load of lessons not only about myself but about how I should see the world; and this is why I’m writing this today. What made me come to this realisation is the fact that I got my haircut, well, I got bangs.
Why would getting bangs make me have this big realisation you ask? Well because I had been thinking about getting bangs FOR AGES (I was totally inspired by Devin Lytle’s hair – fellow thin hair gal who is amazing, who works for Buzzfeed and is in Buzzfeed’s Ladylike which I LOVE along with all the ladies there so you should defo check them out!) but every time I went to get booked in at the hair dressers I chickened out because I thought it might look bad and that people would think I looked stupid. That’s when it hit me, why am I worried about what other people think?! All that matters is what I think and if I want bangs then I should just get some damn bangs cut!
Once this realisation hit me, I decided to book in a haircut to get bangs, and because I’m ridiculously indecisive I actually ordered some clip in bangs to check if I definitely wanted them. Here’s the bangs I ordered:
Once these arrived I did ask people what they thought, and they weren’t sure that it would suit me and then I realised that if I liked them, and I wanted them, I should get them cut no matter what anyone else thinks.
Something I was scared about was that my boyfriend wouldn’t like how I look with them, especially since he wasn’t sure that they’d suit me; but guess what, he told me to get them cut anyway because he knows that my opinion is what matters most and that he’ll love how I look no matter what (and to be honest, he’s seen me at my worst so I couldn’t get much worse than that haha). And with that sense of ‘it’s my hair so I’ll do what I want with it and I’ll rock it no matter what’ in my head, I went and got it cut.
And guess what?! I think I look pretty with them.. (that feels weird to say but I’m trying to be nicer to myself).
Ok, now that I’ve rambled on about my hair for long enough, let’s actually get back to why I’m writing this post.. here’s some life lessons I’ve finally learnt:
If you want to try something new with your appearance (or really anything in life – providing it isn’t harming anyone duh) and are unsure, just give it a go; you’ll often find that you’ll rock it and look great!
2. Confidence is key. (I’m still working on this one but I’ve realised that if you act like you’re confident even when you’re not, everyone around you will think you’re a boss ass b*tch. And you’ll look good because quite frankly, confidence is sexy and looks good).
3. When it comes to your body and appearance, your opinion is the only one that matters, and anyone that tells you how or what you should look like can go f*ck themselves because you’re perfect as you are.
4. Self care is not being selfish. You gotta take care of yourself! After all, you’ll be living with yourself for the rest of your life.
5. Learn to accept compliments without putting yourself down after hearing them. If someone is complimenting you, (unless it’s unsolicited catcalling from a stranger, in which case.. they can eff off) it’s because they want to, no one is forcing them; and why wouldn’t they want to compliment you?! You’re great!
6. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and you’ll find you feel so much better after asking for help. Plus you’ll find that you’re probably going to make some really great, reliable friends along the way.
7. No number defines your worth, whether it’s on the scales, on your clothing labels, social followers/likes or your bank account. You are worth so much more than any stupid numbers!!
8. And finally, sugar and chocolate WILL NOT KILL YOU. Eat what you want, when you want it. Nothing is unhealthy in moderation so try to stop labelling food, because that’s all it is. Food. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just food that tastes good and nourishes your body.
So that’s what I’ve learnt recently, and if you’ve ever had some realisations of life lessons yourself, definitely let me know what they are! Also, to finish, to the right is a selfie of me and my new hair in case you haven’t seen my insta, because why shouldn’t I show this off?!
Oh and buy the way, I totally recommend trying out clip in hair pieces (when it’s cheap) if you’re thinking of changing up your look but aren’t sure yet, here’s the clip in bangs I bought (I did trim mine but do what you want with them!).
Hope this helps any of you out there who tend to worry about what other people think about your appearance (aka people like me.. I’m working on that haha) and remember, your opinion of yourself is the most important!
A little life quote to end: “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms”.
It seems a bit bizarre writing this letter to you, since I am you(just older), but here we go. It’s been 12 years since I was 10 years old, and it honestly feels like a lifetime ago; so try not to waste a moment. You may not realise it now, but time is a truly precious thing.
There are so many things I want to tell you about. You’re 10 years old at the moment; which means you’re about to go through some pretty big changes soon, like moving up to a big secondary school, becoming a young woman, finding love, creating friendships and so much more. You’re going to get stressed about grades, homework, being bullied and getting a boyfriend. Try not to freak out at this point. I know it’s already sounding like it’s the end of the world moving schools and growing up, but there are so many great things that come from it. I’ll tell you about them a little later on.
One thing you should know; all of these worries and stresses you’re having, well.. everyone around is having them too. Yes, even the ‘cool’ girls. And believe it or not but the second you go to secondary school you’ll understand. Speaking of secondary school, there are some things I’ll let you know about in advance.
The FIRST day.
You’ll spend the majority of this day learning teachers names, trying not to get lost, finding your form group (and yes, you will have to put up with them for 5 more years.. so do your best to make friends!), your timetable and clinging to the one person you recognise from primary school. Oh and just a heads up, you’re gonna miss the bus home.. yes, on the first day. So when this happens don’t panic. Mum will come and get you within half an hour and all will be well. Just know that when you miss the bus again (you only do it two more times so you can breathe a bit haha) you’ll know what to do and not to freak out.
You’re going to come across bullies in all walks of life. Sometimes you’ll know why a person wants to pick on you, other times you wont. What’s important is that you don’t let it get you down too much(easier said than done I know), because you are worth so much more than that. And yep that’s right, you do get bullied. (I know, I can sense your heart sinking already). Don’t dwell too much on this. It actually makes you a better person in the end and we meet some great people who are going through the same thing. Also, I’m not proud of it, but one day you will hit a bully back. Hard. Then you’ll apologise profusely. It just goes to show that we’re a good person because even when we hit someone back after being repeatedly punched and kicked in the ribs, head and back for a laugh, we still knew hitting someone was wrong. On the plus side, you’ll learn that you’ve got a fairly good right hook if you ever need it.. haha. The bullying will end once you leave secondary school, and although that seems like a long time, you’re better off for it. It’s made us who we are today.
Picking your GCSE’s.
You’re going to be stressed and think you’re picking the wrong things and you’ll question yourself a million times. Just know that mum and dad are here for you and will help you through it.
You’ll find that they’re the most supportive people you know, and if you ever have a row it’s usually because they want whats best for you(and they’re right..). They’ll encourage encourage you to take the subjects you enjoy. I want to say right now, do the subjects you enjoy. Taking subject you enjoy is so important especially if you don’t know what you want to be when you’re older, which I’ll say right now is not the end of the world. I thought it was the case for a long time, but in the end, everything works out alright!! And if you decide at a later date that you want to go down a certain career path, you can always go to college or university in specific subjects. It’s not all worry and stress with GCSE’s though, because you’ll actually find that you love school and learning; and you’ll work hard and pass them all(go you!).
You. You and more you.
So, since you’re 10 at the moment, you’re going to be going through puberty pretty soon and with this will come a few things, body hair, getting smelly, getting boobs, spots and hormones going mad. I know it sounds like a lot. It doesn’t all hit you one morning like a slap in the face, don’t worry. You’re going to want to change your body all the time, you’ll hate certain parts of yourself and I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to have a lot of bad hair and makeup days. But you know what, when you’re older you’ll realise that the things you wanted to change about your body are beautiful as they are. And you are unique, clever, strong and pretty. Don’t think that you need to look like girls and women in magazines or on telly, they’re photoshopped and fake and are there to make you want to buy stuff. You’re going to be scared to experiment and go against the flow of what everyone else is doing. But please do it anyway. You’ll find that you will enjoy yourself more and love how you have something different about you. Find your own style, however weird and wacky it may seem. After all, you’ll look back at those times and smile because you’re only a young kid once.
Remember when you’re going through tough times, just think, it’ll all work out in the end. Because it will. Because you’re smart, beautiful, independent, have a top notch personality and can do anything you put your mind to. When it all feels like it’s getting too much, you can always turn to mum or dad and there’s loads of people you can call up for free just to talk. Don’t take them for granted, you’ll appreciate how much they mean to you and how much they do for you as you get older. And lastly, don’t waste any opportunities, you’ll be terrified of doing something wrong or making a fool out of yourself, the only thing you will do is regret not taking a chance.
So, that’s basically it from me. You’ll realise when you’re older how amazing you truly are, it may not seem like it always, but you are. And it’s important that you take time to take care of yourself and love yourself for you. No one else.
Shift work can be amazing for some people, whereas for some people, like me.. Its not. So, a bit of background on me. Once I’d finished school, sixth form and college, I went on to a steady 10-5pm Monday-Saturday retail job and then to a supermarket for shift work, and finally where I am now; an Apprentice in a 9-5pm job and I’ve never been happier to go to work in my life.
For me, working at a supermarket doing shift work was good for the first few months, I was on good money and didn’t mind the bizarre hours. After a little while however, I was switched to doing 10 hour night and some day shifts 5 days a week without being able to have my weekends just didn’t work for me; I work better with a steady routine and I just need my sleep. Although my time wasn’t great when I worked shifts, there were still a few things I liked about working shifts.
Some people unlike me, prefer shift work, and I admire these people because its just not for me. Lots of people need to do shift work as it works around their childcare, other jobs and is just how they like to work.
So what did I learn from doing shift work? Well let me tell you..
1. Keep a record of your rotas.
This is something I learnt very early on. Take photos or notes of what your hours are for the month as soon as your new shift rota is out so you can still plan your life around your shifts.
2. Track your hours.
If you’re like me, money has never been something I’ve been good at monitoring. How much money I was owed was never something I kept track of or checked (it’s bad I know). When I started my shift work I downloaded a clocking in and out app which I could input my hourly rate, and this worked wonders for me.
3. Book your holiday at work in advance.
The amount of times I was denied time off was crazy. And that was partly because it was too short notice or there were already loads of people booked off for the time I wanted. Get your holiday booked in early and you wont have the disappointment of being told no, give it in at least 5 weeks in advance.
4. Prioritise your downtime.
You’ll feel like you’ve got more time off if you prioritise what you want and need to do when you’re not at work. I found to-do lists extremely helpful and making sure I’d planned meeting up with friends and family in advance, which certainly helped my wellbeing because I was still able to have somewhat of a social life and chill out time.
5. Enjoy going out during the 9-5 hours!!
Something I loved about working shifts was the fact that I could go out shopping and to do stuff during hours that the majority of people worked. Shops and car parks were always empty which meant no queues!!!
6. Remember to take some time for yourself.
This was something that I would do in my time when I woke up before work if I was doing the afternoon shift. I would literally stay in my bed until about 11am and then sit around just relaxing. It made going to work and doing 10 hour shifts a bit more bearable!
7. Plan your meals ahead.
One day a week I would batch cook and plan my dinners for the week. When you work weird hours, this can be a real life saver! Just knowing that you’ve got something yummy to eat during or after a long day is a lovely feeling!!
8. Finally, make those weird working hours work for you.
If you end up working 3pm-10.30pm some days and 6pm-4am others, make those hours work for you! Get yourself into a pre and post work routine that sets you up for the day ahead so you don’t feel completely scattered.
So those are a few things that I learnt whilst doing shift work.. Whether you’ve done shift work before, are still doing it or are planning to do it, I hope you are able to find these tips helpful!! The funny thing is, I didn’t actually realise I’d learnt and likes doing these things until I’d stopped doing shifts!
If you have done shift work before or are still doing it let me know what worked for you!! Have a lovely week everyone!!