Thursday, 31 July 2014

July Monthly Round Up

A collection things that happened in the month of July

This month has been pretty hot! If you’re like me you’ll have been looking for any way possible to cool down, but hey, it’s summer and this is what a good old British summer is all about! I’ve had quite a lot going on this month one way or another; some of which you will have seen in previous posts but some of which will be new in this post. You probably already know about my room redecoration (I’ve talked about it more than enough!) but that was a pretty big part of the month of July. My wallpaper is up, walls are painted and new furniture is slowly being added – it’s all starting to look how I’d hoped, which is rather exciting! I thought I’d share a couple of sneak peeks with you, as I’m hoping to do a room tour when it’s all finished.

Another exciting thing that has happened this month is my charity project, Creature Comforts, which is slowly coming together. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can check out the Facebook page here but basically we are asking people to volunteer to make animals in whatever way they can, which will then be sold to raise money for Beat and Mind. The very lovely Emily over at Jammy and Jelly has kindly done some of her amazing illustrations to use as part of the project, which includes this awesome logo, that I am so happy with! This month I got together with my brother’s fiancé and we made these funky sock monkeys to get the project started. Please do contact me if you’re interested in helping out!

As I’m still struggling a lot with my health, I don’t really get to go out and about an awful lot, which is pretty difficult as you tend to feel quite lonely. However, I saved up some energy and, a couple of weeks ago, dolled myself up ready for my work BBQ. I’ve actually now left work so I can hopefully go to college in September, so I wanted to make sure I attended my last work BBQ. Although it wasn’t easy and it took a lot out of me, I was so happy I managed to go and it gave me a great excuse to dress up and do my make-up.

I thought I’d finish this part with a positive step I’ve made this month towards improving my overall health. Although I will never be completely well due to the diagnosis I now have, there are things I can do to help myself to be as well as I possibly can be. One of these things, which I started this month, is doing gentle physiotherapy, which helps to build up my muscles around my joints and also improves my core strength. I’ve only had two appointments so far, and have been doing my exercises every day (before you think of me doing hardcore gym exercises I have to make it clear that physio exercises for this condition are incredibly gentle!) but I’ve been getting a lot of problems with pain. So, my lovely physio has now referred me for some hydrotherapy, which I’m due to start next week. We are hoping it will benefit me a lot more as it’s meant to be great for people who have multiple joint involvement. I’ll keep you updated!

Things I’ve learnt this month…

+   Finally having answers is a massive relief
+   I was right in what I thought
+   I love gardening, even if my plants do always die!
+   You know you’ve got a good friend when months apart make no difference when you catch up
+   I hate those days when the pain is so bad you can’t get comfy
+   Sometimes being positive is incredibly hard
+   It’s really scary when your health dips so dramatically
+   I’m fed up of fighting for help and just meeting constant brick walls
+   When they said men were confusing they weren’t lying!
+   Feeling sick and in pain all the time is so draining
+   I’m fed up of having a body that won’t work
+   I’ve tried being myself but I’m never good enough
+   I’m fed up of always being second best
+   Inside I’m still a young child and get excited about the littlest things!

What to look out for in August

I’ll start off with DVD’s, although in the month of August there don’t seem to be to many exciting new releases, which is a bit of a shame, although I don’t watch that many films over the summer holidays, especially when the weather is so lovely. Firstly comes Rio 2, which is due for release on 4th August, so not too long to wait! I have to admit I’ve not yet seen the first film, so perhaps I’ll have to pick up both of them and watch them if we get any rainy days. Then on 18th August The Love Punch is released. I don’t know an awful lot about it, although I do remember seeing trailers for it a while back. But it’s got Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson in it, both of who I like, so hopefully it will be a good watch.


Something I’m so excited about for August is the return of Great British Bake Off! It comes back to our screens next Wednesday (6th August) at 8pm and I will definitely be setting our box to record it, just in case I can’t sit down at watch it. I absolutely love watching it – getting inspiration for things I will never bake and watching Sue and Mel distract the bakers. Are you a Great British Bake Off fan?

August has some great cinema offerings, which is great if you’re on your summer holidays and want something to do (think of that lovely air conditioned theatre!) Firstly comes the Inbetweeners 2. Expect lots of funny antics as the boys go backpacking in Australia – I’m hoping it will be just as good at the series and first film. If you’ve got children to entertain there are quite a few showings of kids films old and new, so check out your local cinema as they often have special screenings for younger children. A couple that look like fun are The Nut Job, where a thieving squirrel needs to rob a nut store in order to survive, and Planes 2: Fire and Rescue – a follow up to the first film, made by the same people who made Cars. Either of those look great for the adults as well as the little ones, so be sure to check them out. A film that I didn’t realise was being made comes out in August. It’s called Hector and the search for happiness – you may have read the book previously, which I know I did. It was quite a nice little book actually, about a psychiatrist who goes in search for happiness, and it made me think a lot about my own life. I’m hoping the film will do the book justice and am looking forward to checking it out. Lastly, Daniel Radcliffe is back in another non-Harry Potter film, What If. I’ve read quite a lot of positive reviews saying it’s your typical Rom Com type film, so if you want a light-hearted watch, this might be your thing.

In August, something I’m particularly looking forward to is going on our family holiday. We’re off to Center Parcs at the end of August and I can’t wait! We went last year and loved it, so are heading back to the same place. I’m looking forward to enjoying our hot tub, perhaps going swimming, definitely having a visit to the spa and maybe even having a go on a Segway. I’ll be sure to fill you in on all the details when I get home. Are you off on a summer holiday?

Do you have any favourites or things you’ve learnt in July? What are you looking forward to in August?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Life lately

I’ve seen a few bloggers doing photo posts of what’s been going on in their life recently, and they’re the kind of post I really love to read, especially if the photos are good! So, I decided to share with you some photos of what’s been going on in my life lately. I hope you enjoy!

This Raspberry Lemonade is delicious - perfect for the hot weather

I'm really into unicorn stuff at the moment!

Love these pyjama bottoms I found in Tesco

My bedroom is slowly coming together

I had a great visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour

We have some beautiful flowers in our garden at the moment

I love the summer when you can get away with wearing floaty dresses and flowers in your hair

My Mum brought me home this yummy pink cupcake to try

My brother's fiance and I made our first sock monkeys

I finished reading this great book by Cecelia Ahern

Found this gorgeous bunny in Next, who now guards my bedroom

What’s been going on in your life lately? Are you enjoying the summer weather?

Pillow Fort - And the winners are...

Prize 1

Prize 2

My giveaway in collaboration with The Pillow Fort has now ended and I'm pleased to announce that the winners are....

Cherie Shaw
Kim Neville

I will drop you both an e-mail and we can sort out getting the prizes to you from there. Thank you to everyone who took part and keep your eyes peeled for future giveaways!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday Spotlight - 27th July 2014

In my life this week…

Art for my walls

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m currently in the process of redecorating my bedroom. Wallpaper is up, painting is done and I now have a bed, desk and filing cabinet up and ready to use. I decided that I’d like some art to go on a couple of the blank walls I have, but instead of going to IKEA and buying pieces that hundreds of other people have, I decided to ask around some of my very talented friends to see if they could do me some one off pieces. Thankfully they agreed, and I’m now collecting up pieces that they’ve done, plus a few I’ve ordered from small businesses I’ve discovered. I think it’s so much more personal having individual pieces and I’m really excited to get them up once the rest of my furniture is in.


This week my friend Lilli came over for a catch up, which was lovely. As well as chatting for England, we also decided to try some knitting. I’ve been trying to teach myself to crochet for a while now, but am making very slow progress, and as Lilli knows how to knit I thought I’d ask her to teach me. I’m really surprised at how well I’ve done for only one lesson – it actually looks like I’m doing proper knitting! We’re hoping to catch up again soon to do some more – I still need to learn to cast on and finish as well as learning pearl stitch, but I’ve made a good start. I’m thinking of looking for a simple book that will teach me the basic stitches and how to follow patterns, so if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them.

Harry Potter Studio Tour

On my last birthday my parents gave me tickets to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. Unfortunately, I booked a date for back in April, but because I’d just had my second operation in a couple of months I was too unwell to go. But the lovely people at the studios were incredibly helpful and let me postpone my tickets to a later date, yesterday. I’m going to be doing a blog post about my adventures with Harry Potter, so I won’t go into what I got up to too much, but all I can say is I had such a lovely day and it was worth being more ill for!

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Friday, 25 July 2014

It's OK to feel sad

This post is a bit different from my usual posts, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. I guess I’m writing this to convince myself more than anything, but also to reassure you that feelings of sadness are OK.

Image from Weheartit

Do you ever get those days when you just feel sad? Life might be plodding on OK. Maybe you’re in a great relationship, you’ve got a fantastic job or a brilliant group of friends – everything outwardly seems great. But, for some unknown reason, you just feel sad. I often get this and sometimes I can understand it. I get sad about my health and about not being able to do all the things I want my body to be able to do. But other times, even when I tell myself I’m happy, I get days when I really struggle.

I often beat myself up for feeling sad. After all, compared to a lot of people I’ve got so much to be happy about. I’ve got a great family, some really supportive friends and am able to get out of the house, even just into the garden, most days. I know that I’m lucky, and this is when I beat myself up. I shouldn’t be feeling sad. I should be grateful for what I have and what I can do. But I’m now beginning to accept that everyone feels sad sometimes and you don’t have to have a reason. Sometimes it’s OK to just feel sad. You don’t need to have a reason. Life could be going great. Feeling sad is completely normal so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Image from Weheartit

So, when you’re feeling sad, what can you do to help yourself? Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you can accept the feelings of sadness. Own them and tell yourself it’s OK for you to feel them. Don’t spend your time searching for reasons not to feel sad because you’ll only beat yourself up with these reasons. Just accept that right at this moment you don’t feel 100% and that that’s OK. I guess this is a bit like mindfulness, living in the here and now rather than thinking back to the past or looking too much into the future. I find this approach really helps me when I’m struggling. Accepting how I feel means I’m no longer fighting with myself to feel something else. I’m by no means advocating wallowing – that’s not very healthy. But there’s a big difference between wallowing and accepting the way things are.

If there’s something specific that’s making you feel sad then address it. You may not be able to change it, but you can look at the situation and perhaps look at different ways to deal with it. For example, I often feel sad thinking of people I’ve lost in my life, which is, of course, incredibly normal. Everyone grieves differently, so you need to do what is best for you, but again this comes back to acceptance. Accept that this person has gone and that makes you sad. Tell yourself this is completely normal, but that it’s also OK for you to not feel sad all the time. Feeling happy doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten about them. Going out and enjoying yourself doesn’t mean you no longer care. They would want you to get on with your life and as soon as you can accept that you are allowed to move on with your life things will become easier. I’m not saying the hurt will ever go away, because in reality it won’t. But, over time, you will learn to deal with that sadness.

This can apply to any situation – not only the biggies like losing someone close, but any situation that brings about negative feelings – not getting a job you’ve applied to, breaking up with your boyfriend, having an argument with someone you love – anything that makes you get that sinking feeling deep in your stomach. I’ve found the more I over-analyse a situation, the worse I feel. Whereas if I just say to myself ‘OK, so this situation has made me feel sad, but that’s OK and I can cope with that’ then I can learn to live with this feeling and move on with my life.

Image from Weheartit

If you’re a friend of someone who is feeling sad, then please don’t say anything to them about how they have nothing to feel sad about. Chances are they’re already beating themselves up about that very fact, so hearing it from you isn’t going to help. Instead, why not acknowledge that they feel sad and tell them that it’s OK for them to feel like that. You can then focus on working through that feeling and finding ways to deal with it.

Obviously if you are feeling sad all the time then you might need to have a chat with your doctor. Sadness is a big part of depression and there are various treatment methods that can help. But they’re not going to completely take away that sadness all the time. This is where I really struggle. I’ve suffered with depression for many years, and for a long time my goal was that I would never feel sad or down. I related these feelings solely to my depression, so told myself that to be free of depression I must not feel these things any more. But that’s not how life goes. Everyone feels sad sometimes. It doesn’t mean they have depression though – it’s a normal part of every day life. So, if you struggle with depression, try not to put pressure on yourself to be happy all the time because it’s not a realistic goal. Life is about feeling a whole range of emotions, both negative and positive. It’s about learning to deal with those difficult feelings, accept them as part of you and know it’s OK to feel the way you do.

Image from Weheartit

I’m by no means saying I’m an expert on any of this. It’s mainly just what I’ve learnt through my own personal experiences of depression and life, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. I hope this has helped to reassure you about your feelings and put you more at ease when dealing with these feelings.

How do you deal with sadness? Do you beat yourself up for feeling sad or have you learnt to accept it as just another emotion?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Olivia Burton Watches

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for pretty watches. I love that something so functional can be made to look so stylish and fashionable, and I feel I can justify spending a bit more on a watch because for me it is such a necessary item. When browsing ASOS fairly recently, I came across this gorgeous watch from Olivia Burton.


At £55 I thought it was incredibly reasonable for how sleek and stylish it was, so I decided to look up Olivia Burton and see what else they had to offer. I was also lucky enough to talk to Jane from the company, who sent me over some more information about the watches so I could tell you a bit more about them.

Olivia Burton was founded in 2012 in London and is now stocked in a string of impressive stores including John Lewis, Harvey Nichols, Anthropologie and ASOS. The designs are strikingly original, but still very contemporary in style, which make them a much lusted after purchase.


As I mentioned above, the prices are incredibly reasonable, ranging from £55 to £125, which I think is incredibly affordable for a statement watch that doesn’t compromise on quality. The finest materials are used to carefully craft each individual piece and meticulous attention to detail sets the brand apart from other watches.


I love how clean and simple the designs are. I tend to find that a lot of designer watches can be quite difficult to read due to embellishments and the material they are made from. This is not a problem with the ranges from Olivia Burton. All the clock faces are clear and simple, even those with more decorative designs still seem to be easy to read.


There are a huge range of designs to choose from, including neons, florals, animals and more simple designs, such as this Modern Vintage Tan and Gold watch for a very reasonable £65.


If you’re interested in looking at the wider range of designs, you can find them here at the Olivia Burton website. One of my favourite watches is this Rose Gold Metallic one for £75, which is bang on trend at the moment. I’ve seen so many rose gold watches in the shops, but I think this one is particularly great – it has a simple, easy to read face, beautiful number detailing and strap and a fantastic price. I will definitely be putting one of these watches on my wish list. Now comes the difficult job of choosing which one!


Have you seen the watches by Olivia Burton before? Do you already have one or are you putting one on your own wish list?

Monday, 21 July 2014

Primark and River Island Haul

Fairly recently my Mum took me on a little shopping trip in my wheelchair and the first place we headed was good old Primark! That’s the one thing I really miss about shopping – all the rest of the shops I can do online, but Primark has to be visited in person. So, I was wheeled round the shop and this time round I managed to pick up quite a few nice bits and bobs for summer! I’ve also done a tiny bit of shopping on the River Island website, so thought I’d include my purchases in this post too. I’ll begin with my Primark bits though.

One of the first things we came across in the store was a whole rail full of different t-shirts, including this ‘Happy’ one. I love it because it’s fairly thin, so brilliant for this hot muggy weather, and whenever I wear it, it helps me remind myself to try and be happy.

Next to the rail of ‘Happy’ t-shirts were these similar tops, with the phrase ‘Dream It, Wish It, Do It,’ which is one of my favourite sayings. I knew I had to put one in my basket and it’s also lovely and thin material so it’s been brilliant for the last week or so.

You’ll probably know by now that I’m a bit obsessed with Disney, so when these leggings caught my eye they went straight into the basket. They were on a rail completely on their own and in my size, so I decided it must have been fate!

Please ignore the fact I've forgotten to take the label off!

I’ve been looking for a nice maxi skirt for ages but never seem to find anything that I really like. Primark has loads of different options, but when I saw this pretty floral number I knew I’d found the one. Unfortunately when I got it home I found the material was coming away from the waistline, but thanks to my thrifty Mum it has now been fixed and fits me perfectly.

I’m getting really into skirts this summer. I spent most of last summer wearing trousers because I felt too self-conscious to show my legs, but this summer I’ve decided to fight against that critical voice in my head and wear what I like. River Island has had some lovely skater style skirts on offer, and most of the ones I picked up were in the sale, so even better! This pink one particularly caught my eye, most probably due to the colour!

The pattern on this blue skirt really stood out to me when I saw it online, so I was thrilled when it arrived and it looked even better in person. It’s just the right length for my figure and feels really comfortable to wear.

I first saw this skirt on a friend’s Instagram and really fell in love with it. After finding out she had bought it in the River Island sale I quickly went online, only to find that they no longer had my size. I left it at that, but then a few days later, after popping out shopping, my Mum surprised me with this very skirt in my size! She’d gone into River Island on her shopping trip after hearing me talk about how much I loved the skirt and managed to pick one up for me. Aren’t Mums the best?!

Have you checked out Primark or River Island recently? Have you been doing much shopping in the summer sales?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday Spotlight - 20th July 2014

In my life this week…

No more side effects!

I’ve had a real scare with my health this last week. Last week I commented that I seemed to be feeling worse and was having problems with my legs, and as the weekend progressed into this week, my health deteriorated further. I got to a point where I couldn’t sit or stand, was sweating bucket loads, felt too sick and dizzy to eat or drink and could not keep my body from shaking. Scared was definitely an understatement. On Monday I decided to ring the doctors, who told me they had no appointments. After much ringing and begging I managed to see a doctor on Monday afternoon, who decided to take me off a new medication I was trying, and thankfully after a few days I was feeling much more human again. It’s crazy how a few little tablets can make you so unwell, but I certainly won’t be taking this medication again in a hurry! This photo, with my brother, his fiancé and my sister was taken on the first day I felt able to stand up again.

Air con

I’ve been melting in the heat this week, especially up in my bedroom. Because my room is up in the attic, it seems to get a lot hotter than the rest of the house, and the Velux windows can act like a green house. Thankfully, a few years ago my Dad bought me an air conditioning unit, so this week it’s been back up in my room cooling me down. I’d be lost without it and it’s meant I can get on with blogging and other bits and bobs in my bedroom, which is great. The only downside is that it’s so noisy, so I’m just using it sparingly.

Old friends

This week I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with a couple of old friends, which has been lovely. One of them was my friend Katrina, who I met when we were at college together but she actually only lives down the road from me! We used to do everything together – shopping, cinema, meals out, trips to London, but then a couple of years ago she was offered an amazing job over in Dubai. I’ve really missed having her around, so it’s been lovely catching up with her while she’s back to the summer. We’ve so far managed a trip to Costa, and this week a mooch around a local garden centre and a drink in the café, and we’re hoping to see each other a few more times before she heads back to Dubai for September. We’ve also been chatting about having a girly holiday to Cornwall next summer, which I’m already getting excited about, as long as I can get my health a bit more stable.

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!