Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sunday Snippets - 28th August 2016

It’s been quite a mixed week, with some really good parts and some rather more difficult parts. I’ve had some lovely family time and enjoyed the sunshine, but have also had a hospital procedure and have found the heat pretty difficult to deal with. I can’t quite believe we’re almost at the end of August already. Where on earth is this year going?! Now that X Factor has started again and Strictly is on its way, I’m really starting to feel more autumnal.

Last Sunday I woke up really late, which was kind of frustrating but I obviously needed the sleep. I had a fairly slow morning sorting out my medications for the week ahead, playing with the dogs and watching The Simpsons. After lunch I spent some time writing and uploading a blog post. I chatted to my Grandma for a bit before watching some YouTube videos and doing some bits on my laptop. After dinner I relaxed with a lovely Lush bath and facemask.

As I mentioned in the previous couple of week’s Sunday Snippets, this month I’m joining in with the Crown and Glory Glitterati 2nd birthday celebrations, which includes a photo challenge on Instagram for the whole of August! If you want to see everyone else’s, simply search the hashtag #CGGlitteratiTurns2. Day 21 is ‘Quote’ – I have so many favourite quotes, but picked this one because I often look at it when I’m feeling down about my health and the fact I can’t always do things as quickly as I’d like.

I was up reasonably early on Monday morning so my Mum could take me down to the Doctors for an ECG. Thankfully the machine didn’t break this time! I spent the rest of the morning being quite productive. I edited a load of photos and then wrote two blog posts. In the afternoon I spent some time watching Family Guy and writing part of an article. My Dad then took me to the hospital for my first Tai Chi session with the physio. It actually went OK – it’s very spoonie friendly and I’m hoping it might be something relaxing I can do regularly. I opened some post when I got home, which included this new Neutrogena moisturiser I’ve been sent to review by BzzAgent so I look forward to trying it!

Day 22 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Style It Up’ – We had to flat lay our outfit of the day, so here you have a pair of New Look black leggings, this awesome Mickey t-shirt from ASOS and my Disney hair clips.

Tuesday was a busy, tiring but fun day. I went up to London with my Mum, Richard and Lisa. We made our way to the Magnum pop-up shop first and made our own lollies, which was good fun! We then went over to London Bridge, walked (or was pushed!) over the bridge and went to The Sky Garden, which is 30 odd floors up. We took in the amazing view first, and then managed to find a table so we could have a late lunch. It was all pretty expensive, but we managed to get a couple of bits to keep us going. After lunch we had a look round the garden bits and took in more of the view. By that point we were absolutely shattered, so headed back to Waterloo. Unfortunately the lift was broken, so we had a bit of a task getting me upstairs in rush hour. By the time we got home I was exhausted. I also vlogged our day, so keep an eye on my YouTube channel for that, and many other, videos.

Day 23 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Magic’ – I love the idea of magical worlds, which has to include a bit of Disney! I also love fairies and unicorns, especially this cuddly heat-up unicorn that I got from Topshop a couple of years ago.

These were the Magnum ice creams that we made in London on Tuesday. There were so many different toppings and options to choose from, and the store was lovely and cool, which was definitely a plus on one of the hottest days of the year!

There were amazing views of London from the Sky Garden. I’m glad we went on such a beautiful, clear day.

I had another early hospital appointment on Wednesday morning, this time with a new psychiatrist who I saw for a second opinion on my diagnosis and treatment. I was pretty terrified about the appointment, but thankfully she was really lovely. She agreed with us that I don’t meet the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder. I do have elements of it, but also have anxiety related issues. She believes I have something called Cyclothymia, which is a milder form of Bipolar. She thinks I need to have individual psychological input and is going to discuss it with her boss. I came home and spent the rest of the morning tidying in my bedroom. I had a bit of a funny turn (again) where I think my blood sugar dropped too low. It keeps happening and it makes me feel really unwell. Thankfully after drinking my Ensure I felt a bit better. David and Emma popped over, so I chatted to them for a bit. My Mum and I popped out for a bit to pick something up. I found this card when I was tidying, and by the time we got home all I wanted to do was crash out on the sofa.

Day 24 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Memory’ – A Crown and Glory memory I have is receiving my first Glitterati box in February 2015. I remember how excited I was when I saw the glittery tape and the Valentine’s Day theme was seriously awesome.

I was up at 5.30am on Thursday, which wasn’t much fun. My Dad drove me to the hospital and took me to the Day Surgery department before heading home again. I was taken through to a lounge for a while and then transferred to a bed. I took along a couple of magazines and a book to keep me distracted while I waited, but thankfully I was second on the list so didn’t have to wait too long. After changing into a gown and answering a load of questions, I was taken down to the theatre. My consultant was there, along with lots of other staff, who were all very lovely. I wasn’t 100% sure exactly what I was having done, as I knew it would depend how busy the list was. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it) there was only time for them to do one area. So they did the occipital nerve block, which meant doing some injections of local anaesthetic and steroid at the base of my skull. I didn’t have any sedation, so it was quite a painful procedure and I felt quite lightheaded and sick. Once it was over I was taken back to the ward to recover. Due to the area injected, it numbed parts of my face and my throat/neck area, so swallowing proved to be difficult. It also seemed to make my breathing difficult, which they were concerned about. My Mum was allowed to take me home and I slept for the rest of the day really. I felt pretty wobbly mentally in the evening, which always seems to happen after I have had a procedure in hospital.

Day 25 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Love’ – There are a lot of things that I love, but what I love more than anything is my family. We keep growing, and this year alone I have gained two new sisters, which is just awesome. Life is bloody difficult sometimes (well, a lot of the time) but knowing I have these guys around me makes life worth living.

I didn’t sleep particularly well on Thursday night, so was still feeling pretty rough on Friday morning. I spent most of the morning dozing and watching TV, but did manage to finish an article I was meant to send off on Thursday. I used to be such an organised person, but these days I just can’t keep on top of things. Everyone was out in the afternoon, so I snuggled up with these two and watched a bit of YouTube. The pain in my head and neck was definitely feeling worse, which they said might happen, although that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. The only thing I can take is paracetamol, which I can’t take that often and it doesn’t make much difference anyway. I just kept trying to tell myself that it would get better (hopefully). Alfie and Freddie were a good distraction, and it was very sweet seeing them curled up by the front door together waiting for my parents to get home.

Day 26 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Comfort Zone’ – We were meant to wear something out of our comfort zone, but I had to interpret it a bit differently. My head was still very painful after my injections on Thursday, so I decided to pick something comfortable to wear instead. I’ve really been struggling with the heat, even more so after the injections, so I used a funky scrunchie to keep my hair off me.

I didn’t sleep brilliantly again on Friday night, which I think was a mixture of the pain and the heat. My Dad asked me if I wanted to go to a coffee shop for lunch on Saturday with him and my Mum, but I didn’t really feel up to it so had to say no. I did manage to do a bit of video editing while they were out, which I was quite pleased with as I’ve got so many videos filmed that I need to get out. When my parents got back, my Dad asked if I fancied popping out to our church to see the entries for a garden and produce show, so I decided to go along, as I thought it might be a good way to get out of the house. Thankfully there were lots of chairs, so I was able to sit down lots and see these cute vegetable animals. I rested for a while when we got back and watched some James Corden Carpool Karaoke. I wanted to pop to the supermarket with my Mum to get a couple of bits. In retrospect I shouldn’t have gone, as it was too much and I felt a lot worse after. I’ve been trying to get my head around this whole pacing thing for nearly 13 years and I still can’t seem to get the hang of it!

Day 27 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Self Love’ – I’ve been meaning to buy myself some more flowers for my room for ages, so today was a good opportunity to do it. There wasn’t a huge amount of choice in Waitrose, but I picked a couple of bunches of pink gerberas, which are one of my favourites.

I know I’m biased, but how handsome is this gorgeous boy!

This flavour of Propercorn is my absolute favourite! I always find it good to graze on when I’m struggling to eat. I’m a bit sad that my local Waitrose no longer sell it though.

You can check out my YouTube channel here, where I have recently uploaded a few new videos (and hope to continue doing!)

I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Crown and Glory August Glitterati Box

I haven’t done a Crown and Glory Glitterati unboxing on here for ages, but this month I’ve finally got round to taking some pictures to share with you. For anyone that hasn’t heard of Crown and Glory, they sell a massive range of beautiful hair accessories covered in glitter, flowers, feathers and more! They also do their very own monthly subscription box – The Glitterati, which I’ve been subscribed to for quite a while now. Each month the box has a different theme, and because this month is a special second anniversary box, a poll was put up on the Glitterati Facebook group so we could choose what the theme would be.

I always get very excited to open my box and find out what the theme is each month, and this month I was even more excited than usual. Upon opening my box, I saw the pink tissue paper (always a good thing!) and a gorgeous little pink blossom sticker. The chosen theme was Sakura.

Inside my box was an array of beautiful pieces, which fitted in with the theme absolutely perfectly. With the overall colour scheme of pink and pastel colours, it definitely suits my taste for all things floral and delicate.

I love the fact that the information leaflet has a quote on the back of it, as it means I can pop it on my noticeboard or something, rather than having to just get rid of it. I particularly love this quote, although I wouldn’t say no to diamonds either!

Underneath the quote card was this beautiful cherry blossom crown, which comes in a variety of colours. If I buy things like this, I tend to always choose pink, so it was quite nice to receive something in a colour I may otherwise not choose. You can find a similar crown here.

Next up were these four little flower bobby pins in pinks, purple and white. These are right up my street and delicate enough to wear every day. They don’t have these exact ones available to buy, but you can find something similar here.

This Sakura hair clip duo in silver really caught my eye. They’re incredibly intricate and beautiful and are available to buy in gold or silver.

A new addition to the monthly box is something called The Hair Flair Club. It’s a new limited edition embroidered piece, with collabs from super talented artists and illustrators. This will be in the box every month from now on, which is quite exciting! The clip in this month’s box was this beautiful daisy, surrounded by pink flowers and green leaves. I’m really excited to see what future hair flair club pieces will bring!

With this being a particularly special, celebratory box, there was also another small packet with a balloon, sparkly confetti and a 31 Instagram challenge. You may have seen, either on my Instagram or Sunday Snippets posts, that I’ve been really enjoying taking part in the challenge over the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to the 31st when I believe there will be some exciting celebrations happening over on our Facebook group.

On the back of the Instagram challenge is another quote, which pretty much sums up everyone who is part of the Glitterati! I’m so happy with this box and am really enjoying being part of such a lovely, supportive community. I do enjoy getting a few other subscription boxes, but this is the only one I know of that incorporates a close community of like-minded people who offer love and kindness to each other.

Are you a Glitterati member, or have I tempted you to join?! Can you recommend any other subscription boxes?

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Monday, 22 August 2016

Cake Toppers*

I was recently contacted by a company called Cake Toppers, who are actually pretty local to me, which is always nice, as I like to support local businesses. I think I’d seen their name floating around before, but didn’t know an awful lot about them. So, when they asked if I would like to try out a couple of their personalised cupcakes, I couldn’t say no! Spookily, I actually received their e-mail when I was at my friend, Katy’s, house, and she just so happened to have used them to make some toppers to promote her business! It must have been fate!

They asked me to drop them an e-mail with the image I wanted on my cupcakes, so I decided to go for my lovely YouTube logo, designed by the brilliant Amy Rose Studios. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as I’ve seen personalised cupcakes before and they can sometimes look a bit tacky. So, when mine arrived, I was excited to see what they looked like.

My cupcakes came nicely and securely packaged, so there was no chance of them getting squished or damaged. I was really impressed with the quality of the image, printed with edible ink onto a thin sheet of icing, rather than using rice paper. They looked really professional and I would definitely be happy to promote my brand with them. But the most important thing was the taste test. If I’m completely honest, I expected the cakes to be a bit dry and tasteless. How wrong was I! The sponge was light and fluffy, and both the chocolate and vanilla flavours were extremely yummy. Unfortunately the actual cakes aren’t gluten or dairy free; however, you can buy the toppers on their own (which contain no wheat, gluten, dairy products, eggs or nuts) and put them on your own cakes, which is a really great option for people with food allergies.

Cake Toppers can do both cupcakes and larger cakes for a whole range of occasions, from weddings and anniversaries to birthdays and company logos. They also offer a selection of character cakes and cake toppers, such as Mickey Mouse, Frozen, Peppa Pig and Angry Birds for very reasonable prices.

As well as sending me a couple of cupcakes to try, Cake Toppers have also kindly sent me a discount code to share with you guys! So, if you want to get 10% off your cake order, simply type RJCAT10 into the promotion code box at the checkout. To get ordering, head over to the Cake Toppers website here.

Have you ordered any personalised cakes yet? I’d love to see what you order, so drop me a Tweet or tag me on Instagram!

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sunday Snippets - 21st August 2016

This week has been relatively busy, but thankfully mostly with nice things rather than medical stuff (that’s saved for next week!) I’ve been trying to make the most of the lovely weather and the fact I’m on holiday, so have been spending quality time with my family. However, I’ve been really struggling with severe fatigue, which is making life rather hard work at the moment. I’m trying really hard to listen to my body as much as I can, and allow myself time to rest and recover when I need it.

Last Sunday I decided to go to church with my Dad. There was a really good sermon about going through tough times, which struck a chord with me. A member of the congregation (who is also a florist) brought a few bunches of flowers in for people to take to cheer someone up, so we brought one home to give to my Mum. It definitely did its job and made her smile! When we got home I did my medications for the week ahead. Then I spent most of the afternoon writing and uploading a blog post. I also downloaded a load of photos and videos off my cameras onto my computer. I’m going to have to find a better way of storing them all, as my computer is filling up fast (although I do need to delete some stuff that I don’t need). I then uploaded some photos from Emma’s Hen Do to my Facebook. It’s only taken me two months! I really struggled with my mental health in the evening and felt pretty awful.

As I mentioned in the previous couple of week’s Sunday Snippets, this month I’m joining in with the Crown and Glory Glitterati 2nd birthday celebrations, which includes a photo challenge on Instagram for the whole of August! If you want to see everyone else’s, simply search the hashtag #CGGlitteratiTurns2. Day 14 is ‘Pamper Time – I’m not very good at the whole self-care thing because I often feel like I don’t deserve it. But I am trying to make more of an effort to pamper myself. So when I do, I like to have a bubbly bath, perhaps wash my hair and put some nice serum in it, treat myself to some luxurious skincare products and paint my nails.

On Monday morning my Mum, Dad, Emma and I drove to Mayfield Lavender in Banstead. Thankfully the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. My Dad pushed me in my wheelchair down one of the rows and I took lots of photos. It smelt absolutely beautiful and was so relaxing to just be in the middle of acres of lavender, with the sun shining down on us. My Dad also took some photos of me in my Simply Be Sprinkle of Glitter dress for a possible blog post (depending if I look awful or not!) We sat in the lavender for a while and just relaxed and soaked in the sun. At lunchtime we made our way to the little cafĂ©. They had a really lovely menu, with a lot of things infused with lavender such as scones, fairy cakes and tea. I had the most delicious lavender lemonade. I was quite tempted by the lavender ice cream, but we decided to look round the little shop instead. I was very close to buying quite a few things (tea, postcards, a bunch of lavender) but in the end we just picked a lavender plant for our garden. We made our way home and decided to make the most of the sun, so sat in the garden with an ice cream. I’ve been finding it really hard to relax recently, but being in the lavender (and the sunshine) seemed to help, so I’m thinking of getting an essential oil electric burner that I’ve seen on Amazon.

Day 15 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Day Job – I don’t work at the moment, but am studying for a journalism degree and fighting a number of chronic illnesses. It’s hard work and exhausting, but I’m hoping by studying something flexible (and that I enjoy) I might be able to work for myself and therefore work around being ill. It’s not what I dreamt of when I was growing up. I always wanted to be a doctor. But I’ve realised that I need to be realistic and stop chasing dreams that aren’t achievable. People sometimes see this as giving up, but I don’t think it is. I’m just being realistic and trying to make the most of what I am able to do in life. I love writing and broadcast and am loving my course. I’m finally starting to feel that I’m not settling for second best, but just going down a different path instead.

Tuesday morning I had a hair appointment for a haircut and treatment, which was nice. The salon was really quiet as well, which made it more relaxing. My Mum picked me up and brought me home. I felt so tired but really forced myself to stay awake because I always feel so lazy if I fall asleep. I know it’s silly and that I probably need the rest. I’m just good at giving myself a hard time. I watched a bit of TV and got some things done on my laptop. I filmed myself opening some post for my ‘What the postman brought…’ series on YouTube, which included some bath flakes from Better You that I’ve been sent to review and some lovely surprises from my friend Charlie that I look forward to trying. In the afternoon I popped out to the chemist and Waitrose with my Mum. I didn’t feel well though, and also just got really frustrated and confused again about food. It’s like my body and mind are constantly fighting. I’m trying to fight an eating disorder every single day and that’s hard enough. But then my body is broken and eating causes me to get more unwell physically. How am I meant to address both problems at the same time? We got home and I just tried to snuggle up and disappear into my own little world for the evening.

Day 16 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Double Trouble’ – Excuse my face, but taking an in focus picture of the top of your head isn’t very easy when you’ve got shaky hands! I teamed up this beautiful ladybird floral crown with these gorgeous golden bee hair slides for a very woodland themed look.

I got up later than I’d planned on Wednesday morning, but I guess I needed the sleep. I had a phone appointment with one of the arrhythmia nurses and we talked through how I’m getting on taking the Midodrine. After some quiet time, my Dad and I went to the cinema to see The BFG, which was really good. It reminded me of reading the book as a child – I always loved Roald Dahl stories. We then went to Bill’s for a late lunch and I tried this pink lemonade. It was really nice to have some Daddy daughter time; especially because the only time we really spend any quality time together is when he’s taking me to hospital appointments. When we got home I curled up on the sofa and watched some YouTube videos.

Day 17 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Storage’ – I think I mentioned this in a previous photo in the series, but unfortunately the way I store my collection isn’t very imaginative. I have some white drawers from IKEA that I use to keep them safe from little furry friends who like to nibble them!

I woke up really late on Thursday morning feeling pretty unwell with a pounding headache, exhaustion that I just can’t describe and generally just feeling really run down. I had a full day of working on my blog/YouTube planned, but that went out the window, so I ended up beating myself up about that. I just felt so lazy and useless. I’m really struggling with my mental health as well, which is making life hard work. My Auntie came round for a bit in the morning, so I chatted to her and my Dad for a while. I popped out with my Mum in the afternoon to pick a few things up for my friend, who gave birth to a gorgeous little boy a bit earlier than expected. My Mum offered to take me to Costa for a drink, but I didn’t feel up to it so we just came home and I rested on the sofa. I had a Twinings camomile, honey and vanilla tea in the bridesmaid mug that Lisa gave me, which made me feel a bit better.

Day 18 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Flower Power’ – We’ve got quite a lot of beautiful blooms in our garden at the moment, so I decided to wear this gorgeous lilac and peach flower crown to match our pink and orange flowers.

I had to be up early on Friday morning so my Mum could take me to the doctors for a blood test. I’m not sure it will give us any answers as to why I’ve been feeling a lot more unwell recently, but it’s worth a try. My Mum brought me home and thankfully I had no other plans for the rest of the day, so I could just take things at my own pace. I spent the morning uploading a YouTube video, editing photos and writing a couple of blog posts. I was actually quite productive for a change! In the afternoon I curled up on the sofa, did a few admin bits on my laptop and binge watched a load of Disney vlogs and other videos by the lovely Steph from Stephanie Dreams - you should seriously check out her blog, YouTube and Instagram if you love Disney and dogs!

Day 19 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Lucky Dip’ – This prompt asked us to pick a random piece and then style our outfit around it. So, the first thing I saw when I opened my drawer was these gold feather hair slides. For some reason, they always remind me on Harry Potter, so I chose this Primark t-shirt to wear with one of my favourite quotes on it: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of places, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

How cute is this picture of my sister, Bekkah, and our doggy friends.

I actually managed to get up at a half decent time on Saturday morning (with a few pokes from my Mum!) After taking things slowly for a while, my Mum and I then went to Tesco to pick up a few essentials. I bought a couple of magazines for my hospital stay next Thursday, a few toiletries and just couldn’t resist a couple of these. I’ve been wanting to collect the cuddly Disney Tsum Tsums for ages, but don’t really have the space, so have decided I’ll compromise with these little squishy ones (and maybe the odd fluffy one too!) We came home and Richard and Lisa popped in, so I chatted to them for a while. My Mum asked if I fancied going to Pets at Home with her, but after going out in the morning I was feeling pretty ill and exhausted. So, as much as I wanted to say yet, I listened to my body and stayed at home. I spent the afternoon curled up on the sofa catching up on episodes of Gogglesprogs and writing penpal letters.

Day 20 of the August Crown and Glory photo challenge is ‘Pets’ – I love these four so much. They are always there for a cuddle when I’m feeling low. As Alfie loves to be dressed up, I managed to get him to sport a pair of glittery bunny ears! Top right is Jaffa, who was bought for me as a kitten from the RSPCA when I first started getting ill. He keeps me company every nice, which is a massive help as nights can often be the worst. Bottom left is Xena, who we rescued as a tiny kitten after her mother abandoned her when she fell out of the nest she’d made in the roof of a garage. Our veterinary nurse friend and her dogs brought her up, so she does have some quite doggy characteristics. And bottom right is Freddie, another of our rescues. He was found wandering the streets as a tiny puppy and has fitted into our little clan perfectly.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I just wanted to let you know that I have a second blog, which mainly focuses on my health in more depth than I talk about it here. It’s largely for friends and family to follow and keep up with what’s going on, but if it’s something you would be interested in reading as well, you are more than welcome to follow me over there. It’s called ‘Zebra Crossing’ and you can find it by clicking here. I’m trying to keep it updated fairly regularly, so hopefully there will be something there for you to read!

You can also check out my YouTube channel here, where I have recently uploaded a few new videos (and hope to continue doing!)

I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

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